Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Alabama A&M University is one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 19 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands who will be able to strengthen their academic resources, financial management systems, endowment-building capacity, and physical plants as a result of a $227.9 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education today. Of which Alabama A&M University received exactly $3,236,524.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs today announced the appointment of Julian Green to the newly-created position of vice president, communications and community affairs. Green has more than 15 years of experience in communications and most recently served as director of media relations for MillerCoors, where he was chief spokesperson for the company's operations in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Peter Chase will continue to direct media relations for baseball operations, while Green will direct non-baseball communications. Green served as Illinois press secretary to then-United States Senator Barack Obama from 2005 to 2007 and as campaign press secretary from May to November 2004. He served as director of communications and marketing for the Chicago Park District from July 2003 to May 2004.
Prior to joining the Park District staff, Green was an assistant press secretary to then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. Green also served as deputy campaign manager and communications director for Mayor Daley's re-election effort in 2003. Green is an interim board member of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which oversees Navy Pier and McCormick Place.
Green received his bachelor's degree from Alabama A&M University's School of Mass Communication with a specialization in Radio and Television Broadcast. He and his wife Antris reside in Chicago with their three children.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Alabama A&M Alum, Dr. Marquita Furness Davis makes history as Alabama's First Female State Finance Director
Alabama A&M University Alum, Dr.Marquita Furness Davis, 44, fit the bill, he said.
"She'll make tough decisions, and that is what you need," Bentley said.
Dr. Davis takes the reins as state finance director next month, making history along the way as the first woman to serve in the position. Dr. Davis has served as commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs since 2008.
And despite her rise in state government, she is a self-professed independent voter and political outsider who said she initially found the political waters of Montgomery tough to navigate.
"I found my fit in Birmingham, but I'm very much an outsider in Montgomery," Davis said.
Dr. Davis grew up in Peoria, Ill. Her mother was a teacher. Her father, a former paratrooper and semiprofessional football player, worked for Caterpillar Inc. and died at the age of 37.
Dr. Davis, who is fourth-generation college educated on her mother's side, said she was raised to focus on academics. When Davis headed to college, she assumed like many 18-year-olds in the 1980s that a career in business and a fancy BMW would be in her future. But plans changed when the Generation Xer was drawn to a future in public service.
"I always knew I was interested in public service, helping children and families," Davis said.
She earned a bachelor's degree in family social services from Northern Illinois University. She wanted to attended a historically black college for graduate school and picked Alabama A&M to complete her Masters degree. She then earned a Ph.D. in early childhood education and child development from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Davis was the Head Start director at the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity in Birmingham when she was tapped by then-Gov. Bob Riley to be the director of the Office of School Readiness and Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program. Riley, and later Bentley, appointed her commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs, a cabinet level position.
Efficient government has to be a priority, she said.
"I believe in data. I believe in outcomes," Dr. Davis said. "How do we make sure that the citizens of the state are getting what they need -- and need and want are two different things," Davis said.
A colleague praised Davis' managerial style, saying she is a collaborator who tries to keep people focused on the broad picture. "She's such a team player. She doesn't just make snap decisions. She gets everybody's opinion," said Susan McKim, deputy commissioner of Children's Affairs. McKim said Davis has been innovative at Children's Affairs. When the department's proposed budget was slashed, Davis spearheaded a federal grant writing effort to make up the difference.
Davis' degrees are not in finance. Her professional background is in academics and in the administration of children's programs. But Gov Robert Bentley said a major job of the finance director is to be a manager overseeing multiple state divisions. Currently, Dr. Davis manages more than 350 emplyees with a $20 million budget. Davis points out that recent finance directors have been lawyers.
Dr. Davis is the first female and the second African-American to hold the position of state finance director. This is Dr. Davis's second cabinet position appointed by the second Alabama Republican governor. Davis acknowledges she is an independent and doesn't vote any party line.
Dr. Davis is married to Michael A. Davis, the principal of W.J. Christian School in Birmingham. When she is not in her Montgomery office or driving back and forth to her home in Hoover, Davis said she simply likes spending time with her husband and friends.
Dr. Davis said she didn't intend to stay in the South when she came to Alabama for graduate school decades ago. But she is glad she did. "I'm a believer. I think you will be where God intends you to be," Davis said.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Background: Gilford, 66, capped a childhood in civil rights-era Alabama with a 2007 contract to help construct D.C.’s first tribute to that era’s most famous face, Martin Luther King Jr. With that memorial to be unveiled in August, the Beltsville civil engineer is now vying for his fourth project on the National Mall. Gilford has faced plenty of life’s darkest moments — he lost daughter, Kesi, to fatal lupus complications — and yet says he still wakes up each day “tickled” to be alive.
Education: Bachelor’s in civil engineering, Alabama A&M University
First job: I worked all my life on my dad’s farm, starting from 6 years old.
Family: Wife Ollie, son Louis, in Silver Spring
Biggest current challenge: The same one I’ve had all along: access to working capital and surety bonding.
On client care: I’m a believer in customer satisfaction as the first step to customer loyalty. Do whatever it takes to keep them coming back. Satisfaction does not always equate to customer loyalty. There are certain clients, no matter how hard you work for them, they’ll turn around and make you bid the next job against the world. So there are certain clients we don’t do business with because of that. We look for clients that realize a good quality firm and take that into consideration when they have their next project.
How do you keep a competitive edge? Once you get the job, give it everything you’ve got. As contractors, we allowed ourselves to become a commodity, and we’re not. We’re a service provider. Everyone’s not going to give you the same type of service. Oftentimes, we have clients who look for the lowest bidder, and you usually get what you pay for. We have a saying in the construction industry: You pay with peanuts, you get monkeys.
Best business decision: Trying to accumulate as much working capital as I possibly could from the very beginning. The key was to accumulate it faster than our growth.
Hardest lesson learned: Putting people in responsible positions who were not 100 percent trustworthy. Sometimes you know in the back of your mind, but you’ve got so many things going on and you’ve gone through so many people that you finally say everybody has some flaws and you try to trust them. And I don’t know how you guard against that.
How do you recover from failure? A lot of prayer. If you focus on not turning bitter towards people and towards society, you come through it. By far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to contend with was the loss of my daughter. Anything else shy of that, I almost grin at it. Other things come and go.
Most people don’t know about engineers: We are very precise people. We rarely see gray areas. Everything’s black and white.
Guilty pleasure: I’m really into photography lately, the restoration of older images.
Personality in high school: Very into sports. Basketball, baseball, football. I could play ball all day, every day.
Car: Ford Fusion hybrid. I am totally green. We recycle everything. I’ve even had energy audits and LEED improvements to my house.
Where were you when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot? I had just left work. I was working for IBM and hadn’t even graduated from college. That day, I had just bought a used MG from one of my co-workers. That night, we had a rally that led from the campus to downtown Huntsville, and a reporter was trying to get through the crowd to the person speaking. He sat on the front fender of my brand-new car, and I worked him all the way through to the front of the crowd.
Favorite book: John Henry Johnson, “Against All Odds”
Favorite restaurant: TJ’s in Beltsville
Favorite place outside of the office: Taking pictures in Ocean City. We have a place there that we go to at least once a month.
Source: Washington Business Journal, Friday, July 8, 2011, Commercial Real Estate Section
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Jordan will be responsible for promoting the City's economic development plan and will become Huntsville's chief federal strategist in Montgomery and Washington, D.C.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Jordan earned her Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at Alabama A & M in 1992. She began her career in Washington, D.C., working for the Forest Service in environmental compliance, and later returned to Huntsville to serve as an environmental specialist for Earth Tech. The City of Madison hired Jordan away in 1995 to work as a planner and capital improvements program manager for their burgeoning community. She managed Madison's $30 million capital improvement program and implemented the city's award winning Comprehension Plan. From Madison, Jordan moved to Decatur where she assumed the role as Director of Planning and Development. In Decatur, Jordan coordinated city-wide development, managed block grants, code enforcement programs, Planning Commission, and the Decatur Business Incubator.
When Jordan assumed the role of Community Development Director in Huntsville, she managed multi-million dollar grants and urban development projects. Her negotiating, leadership and teambuilding skills quickly earned her recognition as a rising star. Jordan succeeds Joe Vallely, who joined UAHuntsville earlier this month.