Board of Directors
Hargrove Engineers + Constructors
Monica S. Garsed
Hancock Whitney Bank
Alabama State Port Authority
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
Industrial Valve Sales & Service, Inc.
Southern Earth Sciences, Inc.
Long’s Human Resource Services
Driven Engineering, Inc
Dunn Building Company
S. J. & L Contractors
Ritchie R. Hurt
Hand Arendall, LLC
Olds Filtration Engineering, Inc
Michael "Gene" Rader
David P. Scheid
Outokumpu Stainless USA
Dr. John Steadman
University of South Alabama
S. J. & L Civil Contractors, Inc.
Ranger Environmental Services, LLC
Ex Officio Helmsing, Leach, Herlong, Newman & Rouse, P.C.
Elizabeth Weatherford Thomas is External Affairs Manager with Alabama Power. She joined the Southern Company in 1990 and has worked primarily with Southern Nuclear. Most recently, she served as the Nuclear Development Communications Coordinator at Southern Nuclear Public Affairs in Birmingham. Beth holds a double major from Troy University in Print Journalism and Public Relations. She has been active in her community and professional life, including serving as APSO state president in 2005.
Monica S. Garsed
Monica Garsed is Manager, Industrial & Business Development, for Mobile Gas. Starting at Mobile Gas as a Commercial Marketing Representative in 1995, Monica has worked with and managed the ares of commercial, residential and industrial development as well as advertising and community relations. Prior to that, she worked as a test engineer for Ingalls Shipbuilding. Monica serves on the University of South Alabama National Alumni Board, The Downtown Alliance Board as VP of Marketing, the Saraland Industrial Development Board, and The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Energy Committee. Monica graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1991. She and her husband, Chris Garsed, P.E., have two daughters.
Robert “Perkins” Fendley, P.E., is the Leader of Project Services for Hargrove Engineers + Constructors. He is a graduate in Mathematics from Auburn University and holds his Professional Engineering license in the Control Systems discipline. Perkins has served as Hargrove’s Operations Leader for the Mobile Division, as Resource Leader in both the Electrical and Instrumentation Department and the Project Controls Department. His expertise includes project management, instrumentation design, control systems implementation, estimating, scheduling, cost control and construction management.
Allan Gustin holds a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi in Building Construction Technology (1989). With over twenty-eight years of experience in various types of general contracting including design-build, manufacturing, industrial, health care, institutional, retail, multi-family, and high rise residential. Allan is a past president and current board member of the Partners for Environmental Progress, and currently serves as an officer and board of directors member for the Associated General Contractors of Alabama Mobile Section. Allan also served as Past President of the Associated Builders and Contractors Mid-Gulf Chapter.
Bill Pfister is the Vice President, Facilities Development at Austal USA. He was instrumental in establishing the new aluminum shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. With over 35 years of marine construction experience, he was formerly with Halter Marine and the US Navy. At Halter he was involved with the design and construction of their high-speed, low-wake ferry and the development of large fast aluminum vessel capability. With the US Navy, he was responsible for the design and construction of Auxiliary and Special Mission Ships. In an extended tour as a Major Program Manager for the Navy, he managed acquisition projects that resulted in one-third of all the ships bought by the Navy. He left the Navy with the rank of Captain. At Austal USA, he was in the initial management cadre that set up the company, put the facilities in place, and started building fast aluminum vessels. He is now responsible for the acquisition and development of new facilities.
Clyde Collins serves as the Manager of Operations at the Mobile corporate office of Industrial Valve Sales and Services and is over the Service, Surplus and Sales of the Bastrop, Louisiana and Cleveland, Tennessee divisions. Prior to this position, Clyde worked as an Outside Sales Consultant at the Mobile office 1987 to 1989. From 1989 to 1990, Mr. Collins served as the Plant Superintendent at the Cleveland location. At the Bastrop office Mr. Collins served as the Director of Operations from 1990 to 2010.
Dr. John Steadman
John W. Steadman, Dean of Engineering at the University of South Alabama, is a native of Cody, Wyoming and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in 1964 and an M.S. in 1966 in Electrical Engineering. After obtaining his M.S. degree, Dr. Steadman was employed by General Dynamics in San Diego, working on astronaut life support systems as a life sciences research engineer. He received a Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 1971 and joined the faculty at UW. Dr. Steadman was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy in 1997-98. He served as Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering at UW. A licensed professional engineer, Dr. Steadman served sixteen years on Wyoming’s State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors at the request of three different governors. At the national level, Dr. Steadman has risen to positions of leadership of the National Council for Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (President – 1993), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – USA (President – 2004), the Order of the Engineer (Chairman – 2002-2003), and the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (Team Chair – 1996-2002). Technology (Team Chair – 1996-2002). Locally, John serves on the boards for The Exploreum and Alabama School of Math and Science. He recently served the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce as Vice Chairman for Economic Development.
Judith Adams is Vice President of Marketing for the Alabama State Port Authority. Her areas of responsibility include media, community and government affairs, real estate/asset management, and Theodore terminal operations. She is also responsible for economic development initiatives at the Port Authority, participating on project teams that successfully recruited Aker Solutions ASA, Standard Concrete Products, Berg Spiral Pipe Corp., and ThyssenKrupp. Ms. Adams is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, the Southern Economic Development Council, Leadership Alabama, and the Public Relations Council of Alabama. She is also active on committees for the American Association of Port Authority and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Adams is a graduate of Louisiana State University.
Michael B. Tew founded S J & L Civil Contractors, Inc. in 1978 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. A native of Mobile, AL, Michael began his career working in the family plumbing business; starting his own company, S J & L Civil Contractors, Inc. at the age of 25. Over the past 33 years, he has experienced and performed every facet of the business as it has grown from a small start-up company to it’s current present day capacity. Michael remains very active in the daily operations of the firm.
Ritchie R. Hurt
As Manager of Business Development for Thompson Engineering and Watermark Design Group, Ritchie is active in all aspects of new business development, as well as the entire process surrounding project development and long-term client relationships. Ritchie got his start in business development as a Project Manager for the Economic Development Department at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce in 1993. With this excellent training and knowledge base, Ritchie had an opportunity to join the local private business community and worked with BE&K Engineering before joining Thompson Engineering in 2002.
Daily activities include any number of internal and external duties related to supporting and increasing the visibility of Thompson Engineering and Watermark Design Group. While focusing on industrial, state/local and commercial opportunities, Ritchie helps prepare marketing materials, researches potential new business leads, calls on clients, maintains long-term client relationships and supports the Thompson/Watermark team of 300 engineers, technicians, scientists, and architects. Ritchie acts as a project manager and team lead during Disaster Recovery projects.
Ritchie is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and as a child lived in Texas before moving to Jackson, AL. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Montevallo and later lived and taught English in Hitachi, Japan. During his two years in Japan he studied the language and passed the 3rdlevel of Japanese Proficiency (of course, all faded by now) before arriving in Mobile in 1992.
Ritchie is active in numerous community organizations and has been a Board member for Junior Achievement, BBVA Bank Business Development Board member, Camping Committee Chairman for the Boy Scouts, Member of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee, Workforce Strategic Planning Committee and a graduate of Leadership Mobile, Class of 1997. Other organizations he has been active in are: the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA), The Forum, Partners for Environmental Progress (PEP), Manufacture Alabama, Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA), Greater Mobile Emergency Planning Committee (GMEPC), Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC), Association of General Contractors (AGC), Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.
He and his wife, Ashley Rich Hurt, have two children, Ryan (18) and Madelyn (14).
Scott Rothermel, a native of Baton Rouge, graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.S. degree in Construction Management. He joined Performance Contractors upon graduation as an estimator and has worked for them ever since. In 1998, he created the Southeastern Division of Performance Contractors, and as Division Operations Manager, took the company from its traditional petrochemical cliental into a more diversified role, serving the steel, auto, power, and petrochemical needs throughout the Southeast. Scott serves on the Board of Advisors for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of Associated Builders and Contractors.
Tom Damson is President of Long’s Human Resource Services and was born and raised in Mobile. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he is also a Certified Personnel Consultant. A former Army aviator, he has served on various community boards including the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, BBB, Mitchell School of Business advisory board, Mobile Chamber of Commerce, is a past president of PEP, and currently serves on the executive committees of Temporary Services Insurance Limited and the Captive Investors Fund which are Cayman domiciled companies.
Hayden Olds is President of Olds Filtration Engineering, Inc., a distributor of industrial filtration products and air pollution control systems. Hayden is a graduate of Fairhope High School and earned his B.A. in Business Management from Huntington College in 1990. He joined the family business soon after graduation. A lifelong resident of Baldwin County, Hayden and his wife, Felicia, reside in Fairhope with their two children. An avid outdoorsman, Hayden serves as a volunteer and supporter of various coastal and wildlife conservation organizations.
Javier Hernandez, originally from Arecibo, Puerto Rico, has more than 27 years of experience in operations, technology and continuous improvement in manufacturing. He began his career with Abbott Laboratories. In 1991 he started to work for DuPont Agricultural Business at their Manati site in Puerto Rico. After several different roles in Puerto Rico, Javier was transfered to the Axis, AL plant in 2006, where he lead Technical, Operations and Distribution for five years. In 2011, he was transfered to Newark as Plant Manager for a polymer plant. In 2014, Javier became the corporate global leader for DuPont Production Systems (DuPont Continuous Improvement Engine). In April 2016, he was assigned Plant Manager for DuPont Company, Axis, AL. In November 2017, The DuPont Plant in Axis, Al was sold to FMC Corporation. Javier earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico. He is certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt, Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). He is married to Betsy and they have four children. Javier served as a coach and mentor for the DuPont Hispanic Network and a BOD member for the ASPIRA in Wilmington, DE.
Jena Longo Berson currently serves as Director of Business Retention and Expansion for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Previously, she served as Director of Community Initiatives for The Community Foundation of South Alabama and Director of Local Initiatives for Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
Jena began her career on Capitol Hill in 2003 in a variety of roles for various U.S. Senators. Jena grew up in New Orleans and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University. She lives with her husband Michael, son Bram and dog Beckett in Midtown.
Cory Holcomb is a Vice President of Project Management and Operations of S J & L Inc. and works to ensure that even the most challenging projects go as smoothly as possible. Cory believes that hard work, dedication and punctuality are the most important factors leading to success in civil contracting.
Cory is an active member of the Ala. AGC Mobile Section Contractor Board as well as a Young Contractors’ Forum Steering Committee Member. Cory holds a bachelor’s degree in Building Science from Auburn University. In his spare time, Cory enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his wife and their two dogs.
Tim recently joined the Akzo Nobel team in the LeMoyne site as the Site manager in January 2017. He is a graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in Chemical Engineering. During his career with Akzo Nobel, he has worked in multiple capacities at the Columbus Facility, most recently as the Site Manager, as well as the Bleaching Market Manager in Marietta, Georgia.
Tim has been married to his wife, Beth, for over 25 years, and they have two sons, Sam and Nick. The family has recently relocated to the area and look forward to enjoying all of the activities offered in south Alabama.
Michael “Gene” Rader
Michael Rader, before being recently promoted to Safety, Health and Environmental Manager has been employed at Mitsubishi Polysilicon since 2010 as the Safety, Health and Environmental Specialist.
Michael previously owned a consulting/training service providing OSHA, EPA, HazMat, Rescue, and EMT training in the industrial environment, for both local companies as well as in countries such as Russia, Oman, Qatar, Philippines, and Vietnam. He has held the role of Safety Manager with multiple companies in Mobile County and South Mississippi.
Avalisha is the sole owner and President of Driven Engineering, Inc., a six-year-old civil engineering, environmental consulting and land planning firm. She has worked in the civil engineering field for more than twenty years in the Mobile and Baldwin County area. Avalisha was raised in Fairhope, Alabama and graduated from Fairhope High School. Avalisha graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Cum Laude B.S. in Civil Engineering. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, ASCE and AREMA. She serves on two AREMA committees that are constantly updating the AREMA manuals that govern the construction and operation of rail facilities across the US.
Bill Watts is a member in the law firm of Helmsing, Leach, Herlong, Newman & Rouse, P.C. He is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A magnum cum laude 1974) and the University of Southern California Law School (J.D. 1980). He is a member of the State Bars of California and Alabama and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in the State of Alabama, and the U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. His practice includes the field of environmental law and litigation and he has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers of America in the field of appeallate law.
David P. Scheid
David Scheid is an experienced Human Resource professional with over 25 years of experience primarily in the manufacturing industry. Prior to joining Outokumpu Stainless USA, f/k/a ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA, in 2007 as the Vice President of Human Resources, David worked for North American Stainless in Ghent, KY on their Greenfield startup. David has also worked in the automotive industry with UBE Industries as well as Avon Products in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. He has worked with multinational corporations from Japan, Spain and Germany assisting in building new manufacturing operations in the US and Canada. David earned his undergraduate degree in Business with a double major in Marketing and Management and his Master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Cincinnati. He has served on boards including various Chambers’ of Commerce and workforce development. He has worked with the Big Brothers program as well as Junior Achievement. Currently, he sits on the Executive Committee of SAWDC. He has been married to Susan Scheid for the past 21 years and has 3 daughters.
Helen Bush is currently the manager of all logistics operations at the Mobile Evonik site including warehousing, order management, trucking, and rail operations. Helen is also responsible for infrastructure planning as related to logistics and is responsible for all related capital projects. Her department also has some regional and international responsibilities within the company including providing DOT compliance training and participating in the teams that are developing and piloting automation solutions to the company. She is also one of six Evonik leaders in North America training other leaders in constructive culture behavior. Prior to working for Evonik, Helen worked in Atlanta at UPS as a strategic planning manager in the Advanced Analytics group. Before that she was an engineer, then later a technical manager, for Lucent Technologies at a fiber optics cable manufacturing plant. Helen Bush graduated magna cum laude from Mississippi State University with a BS degree in Industrial Engineering. She went on to earn a MS degree and a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Helen and her family have lived in the Mobile area for eight years. Her husband and two daughters are chemical engineers (one still in school) and her son, who will graduate from Spanish Fort High School in May, is planning to be a biomedical engineer. Helen enjoys hiking and biking along the Crepe Myrtle Trail.
Neil Johnston serves as the Leader of the Real Estate, Land Use and Timber Practice Group for Hand Arendall, LLC. He is a graduate of University Military School, Rhodes College, and the University of Alabama School of Law. His practice includes environmental permitting and enforcement, storm water matters, real estate development, linear projects, forestry, natural resources, conservation, business and foundation law. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Environmental Law, Real Estate, Water and Natural Resources Law, and Timber Law. Neil is a board member of numerous national, state and local forestry, wetlands, trade, conservation and environmental organizations, including the Alabama Coastal Foundation and The Project CATE Foundation, Inc. He frequently lectures and writes on various environmental topics. Prior to his serving on the PEP board, Neil received PEP’s 2009 Community Partner Award.
Spencer Wiggins is a Vice President of Commercial Banking at Hancock Whitney Bank. He has been with the bank for over 11 years and has held positions as a branch manager and in business banking. Spencer holds a B.S.B.A. (graduated cum laude) in Finance / Banking and Depository Institutions from the University of South Alabama where he was also a member of the Jaguar baseball team. Spencer is the team captain for Hancock Whitney Bank’s Chamber Chase team, member of the Mobile Section of Associated General Contractors, member of the Young Constructors Forum Steering Committee, previous board member of the Alabama Leadership Bankers, previous United Way loan executive. Spencer has also been an assistant varsity baseball coach at Bayside Academy and the head middle school baseball coach at St. Paul’s.
Tom Bramlett, a native Mobilian, has served as President of Office Equipment Company (OEC) since 1978. OEC is an office furniture and office products sales and distribution company. Headquartered in Mobile since 1973, OEC has branch locations in Pensacola, FL and Gulfport, MS. and has been the Steelcase dealer for the Central Gulf Coast region since 1981. Tom graduated with a B.S degree in Industrial Management and a MBA degree from the University of Alabama. He has been married to Nancy since 1968 and they have two adult sons and three grandchildren, and they are members of Ashland Place United Methodist Church. Tom has served on the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as Chairman of the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Alabama, and in 2001 as the first Chairman and current board member of Partners for Environmental Progress. Tom previously served two terms on the Steelcase Dealer Advisory Board and is a former Chairman and current board member of Independent Stationers – a national office products cooperative based in Indianapolis, IN. Tom spends as much of his free time as possible outdoors and enjoys both fresh and salt water fishing.
Clay Turner serves as the Senior Environmental Engineer for Ranger Environmental Services, LLC, headquatered in Mobile, AL. Contributing to the growth of Ranger Environmental , Clay successfully diversified the company’s market into the industrial, maritime and construction sectors. He is a graduate of UMS-Wright Preparatory School and the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. During his time at the University of Alabama, he was an accomplished athlete on the men’s Collegite Rowing Team. Prior to Ranger Environmental, Clay worked for Mercedes-Benz US International Assembly Plant in Vance, AL where he was tasked with the implementation of several environmental initiatives. He currently serves on the YCF Steering Committee for the Associated General Contractors. A Mobile native, Clay is married to Ms. Madeline Chesnard of Atlanta, Ga. The Turners reside in Fairhope, AL.
Lewis Copeland is the Executive Vice President and Mobile Branch Manager of Southern Earth Sciences, Inc. where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Lewis is a native of Mobile and began his career with SESI in 1991 after obtaining his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of South Alabama where he was President of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. He has previously held positions as Staff Geotechnical Engineer, Drilling Department Manager and Material Testing Department Manager. He is a member of ASCE, ASPE, ACEC and AGC.
Christopher J. Blankenfeld is the Senior Health Safety and Environmental Manager for Austal USA where he is responsible for overseeing the health and safety of 4400+ employees. Mr. Blankenfeld has over 23 years of experience in Industrial Hygiene/Health and Safety and extensive experience working with federal agencies including OSHA and the EPA, state agencies and local business communities.
Mr. Blankenfeld has served as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Force, Health and Safety Office for the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Gorton, Ct and Health and Safety Corporate Mobilization Manager for Envirocon, Inc.
He holds a B.A. in Business Management from USCG Deferred Studies Program – USCG Institute Dante. He has completed Oil Pollution Control School and Inland Oil Spill Training through Texas A&M University.
Mike Wilson is the Engineering Manager at BASF in McIntosh, AL where he has worked for the past 35 years in both Engineering and Maintenance along with other special assignments. This includes a 3-year role as Engineering Manager at the BASF site in Lampertheim, Germany. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama. Mike is a native of Mobile and is married with 2 daughters and likes to fish and play golf. He is on the Board of Directors of Jubilee BEST Robotics and helps organize the annual competition that introduces students through High School to the Engineering, Science and Technical fields as part of workforce development.
PEP’s Executive Director, Jennifer Denson, a native of Mobile, has a long career in the formulation of public policy on complex and controversial issues. Since 2007, Jennifer has served as Executive Director of Partners for Environmental Progress. At PEP, she works to promote sustainable economic development and stewardship of the unique environment along the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Jennifer received a B.A. in International Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a M.A. in International Relations from The American University in Washington, D.C. Jennifer spent more than 15 years in D.C. working on various public policy issues. Jennifer served as the Associate Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a national non-profit public interest organization with more than 250,000 members. Over the course of her career, Jennifer has managed government relations, grassroots, research/publications and major donor programs. She has appeared on CNN, FOXNews, MSNBC, and various national and local radio talk shows.
Jennifer represents PEP on numerous community groups and projects. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, is Co-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee of Mobile United and was appointed by Governor Bentley to the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee. Jennifer is active in the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, including Envision Coastal Alabama, and the Transportation and Government Affairs Committees.
Jennifer volunteers in her church, her children’s school and is an active member of the Junior League of Mobile. She is an alumni of Leadership Mobile, Class of 2012.