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S&P raises UAB bond ratings on very strong financial and enterprise profiles

President Ray Watts, M.D.

President Ray Watts, M.D.

“S&P has a rigorous and thorough assessment process, and we appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate UAB’s financial status and strategy to S&P’s analysts,” UAB Vice President Allen Bolton said Wednesday. “A ratings upgrade in this environment is a very positive validation and another proof point of our great institution’s positive momentum.”

UAB President Ray L. Watts says the raise to AA is another major step forward on the university’s upward trajectory.

“Our leadership team, especially in Financial Affairs, has worked diligently to enhance UAB’s financial position and establish a strong financial pathway that will support our institution’s ambitious goals across each pillar of our mission — education, research, patient care, community service and economic development,” Watts said. “This positive outcome is a reflection of the hard work and dedication by our faculty, staff, students and supporters throughout our UAB community.”

Allen Bolton

Allen Bolton

Many factors contributed to the raise in UAB’s rating. The following excerpt of S&P’s news release describes the justification of the change:

  • UAB’s very strong enterprise profile is characterized by its role as one of the state’s major comprehensive research universities with a focus on health sciences and engineering. UAB’s generally stable, though occasionally cyclical, enrollment and favorable student quality and retention also shape our view of its enterprise profile. UAB is part of the University of Alabama System. Oversight from the System combined with UAB’s generally stable management team leads us to conclude the university has healthy governance and management.
  • UAB’s very strong enterprise profile also reflects robust economic fundamentals associated with Alabama — a state that has maintained S&P Global Ratings’ second-highest rating for over 40 years. UAB’s very strong financial profile reflects our view of its sound financial management policies and financial performance with recurring positive operating margins recorded on a full accrual basis, ample available resources and a low debt burden.
  • The stable outlook reflects our belief that UAB will experience enrollment and patient utilization growth over the next two years, in addition to continued very strong financial performance. We also expect governance and management to remain sound. UAB’s financial resources are anticipated to strengthen further, thereby offsetting some of the risks associated with health care operations and research funding levels.
  • We could raise the rating on UAB if enrollment increases dramatically, financial performance remains very strong, financial resource ratios strengthen significantly relative to annual operating expenses, or if debt burden remains low.

Football, baseball greats among 2016 inductees into Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

The 2016 class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted tonight. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

The 2016 class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted tonight. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Shirley Samuels thought she knew best, and now as her son gets set to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, she knows it for sure.

Shirley Samuels said she knew her son was special long before his induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Shirley Samuels said she knew her son was special long before his induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

The mother of former Alabama offensive lineman Chris Samuels was told that her son should repeat the sixth grade when sinus ailments caused him to miss time from school, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

I said, ‘No, I don’t want to hold him back,’” she recalled. “’He’s going to be a very special child and he’s going to make the whole world proud of him.’”

Tonight, Chris Samuels will be one of eight members of the 2016 Class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He joins former Auburn running back James Brooks, former Tennessee and Ole Miss football coach David Cutcliffe, former Alabama basketball player Jim Fulmer, former major league baseball standout Oscar Gamble, former amateur golf champion Martha Jones Lang, former Alabama track star Calvin Smith and basketball great Andrew Toney.“

The 48th annual induction banquet will be today, Saturday, May 21, at the Birmingham Ballroom of the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. A public reception is at 5:30 p.m. and the banquet starts at 6:30.

Edgar Welden is this year’s Distingushed American Sportsman.

Here’s a quick look at the inductees.

James Brooks

James Brooks (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

James Brooks (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

A native of Warner Robins, Ga., Brooks was selected All-SEC first team and second team All-American in 1980 while playing running back for Auburn. He set school records for both kickoff return yards (1,726) and all-purpose yards (5,596). He also scored 30 touchdowns during his Auburn career.

Brooks was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers and played 13 seasons with four different teams (the Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers).  He was a four-time Pro Bowl Selection with the Bengals (1986, 1988, 1989, and 1990).

– See more at:

David Cutcliffe

David Cutcliffe (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

David Cutcliffe (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

A native of Birmingham, Cutcliffe was a long-time assistant coach at Tennessee, where he received the Frank Broyles Award in 1998 as the Best Assistant Coach of the Year. He was also Tennessee’s offensive coordinator when the Vols won the national championship in 1998.

As head coach at Ole Miss, he led the Rebels to four bowl victories. The Rebels tied for the SEC Western Division championship in 2003. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2003. He is now the head coach of Duke.

Jim Fulmer

Jim Fulmer (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Jim Fulmer (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

A native of Florence, Fulmer was a part of the 1956 Crimson Tide basketball squad that went undefeated in Southeastern Conference play to win the conference’s regular season title. He led the team in scoring in 1957 with 557 points and averaged 21.4 points per game. Also that year he led the team in field goal attempts (481) and tied for field goals made (184) in a season. He also led the team in free throw attempts (263) and free throws made (189).

Fulmer led the Tide in rebounding in both 1957 and 1958 with 383 and 225. He presently ranks third all-time in single season rebounds with 383 and ranks sixth overall in career average rebounds per game with 9.4.

Oscar Gamble

Oscar Gamble, right, with Scott Myers of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Oscar Gamble, right, with Scott Myers of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Gamble played 17 seasons in the major leagues for seven teams (Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees (twice), Chicago White Sox (twice), San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers). The Ramer native had a career batting average of .265, with 200 home runs and 666 RBIs.

Gamble’s best overall season was in 1977 with the Chicago White Sox, when he had a .297 batting average, career highs in home runs (31), RBIs (83), runs (75), and doubles (22). His best year hitting was in 1979 when he played for both the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, with a .358 batting average.

Martha Jones Lang

Martha Jones Lang with Edgar Welden, Distinguished American Sportsman. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Martha Jones Lang with Edgar Welden, Distinguished American Sportsman. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

A native of Decatur, Jones Lang played golf collegiately at the University of Alabama, where she earned All-American honors. She won the Alabama State Junior Championship four consecutive years (1967-1970) and the Alabama State Amateur Championship in 1973.

Jones Lang won the Women’s Southern Golf Championship twice (1974 &1980). She also won the Women’s State Amateur in Texas (1979), and had a successful amateur career in Louisiana as well.


Chris Samuels

Chris Samuels, center, unveils his Alabama Sports Hall of Fame display with his family and Scott Myers of ASHOF. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Chris Samuels, center, unveils his Alabama Sports Hall of Fame display with his family and Scott Myers of ASHOF. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Samuels won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best college interior lineman for the University of Alabama. He also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s most outstanding blocker in 1999. The Mobile native was a consensus All-American and first-team All-SEC pick. In his 42 starts for the Crimson Tide, he never yielded a sack.

Samuels was drafted third overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played his entire NFL career (10 seasons) with the Redskins.


Calvin Smith

Calvin Smith (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Calvin Smith (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Smith has the distinction of having been the fastest man in the world. He was a star sprinter at the University of Alabama, where he was an eight-time All-American (four times indoor and four time’s outdoors).

The Bolton, Miss., native won a gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics in the four-by-100 meter relay; and a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in the 100-meter dash. At the 1987 World Championships, Smith successfully defended his 200-meter gold medal. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Andrew Toney

A product of Birmingham’s Glenn High School, Toney averaged 26.1 points per game in his senior season and 23.6 points for his career at Southwestern Louisiana.

The shooting guard was drafted eighth overall in the 1980 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played eight seasons – all with the 76ers – and was named to the NBA All-Star Team two consecutive years (1982 and 1983), helping lead the Sixers to the NBA Championship in 1982-1983 over the L.A. Lakers.

Edgar Welden

In 2002, the 2016 Distinguished American Sportsman founded the Birmingham Athletic Partnership, a non-profit organization which supports the city of Birmingham’s public middle and high school athletic programs.

Welden, a native of Wetumpka, co-chaired the committee that was instrumental in bringing the World Games to Birmingham in 2021. He now serves as chairman of the board.

Healthy Snacks: Quick tips for parents

Healthy Snacks: Quick tips for parents

Snacks give kids important nutrients and help control hunger between meals.

Try these healthy snack ideas.

  • “Ants on a log” (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
  • Fresh or canned fruit (canned in 100% juice, not syrup) with fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese
  • Vegetable “matchsticks” (thin sticks made from fresh carrots, zucchini, or bell peppers)
  • Whole-wheat bread or apple slices with peanut butter
  • Quesadillas (low-fat cheese melted in a whole-wheat tortilla)
  • Unsalted pretzels or air-popped popcorn
  • Baked (not fried) tortilla chips and salsa
  • Whole-wheat pita bread with hummus (dip made with chick peas)

Put fresh fruit in a bowl that’s easy to reach in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter. This will make it easier for kids to grab a healthy snack.

Snack healthy on the go.

  • Take unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruits, fresh vegetables, or fresh fruit in small baggies.
  • Pack low-fat string cheese sticks.

Set the rules.

  • Teach your kids to ask before they help themselves to snacks.
  • Eat snacks at the table or in the kitchen, not in front of the TV.
  • Serve snacks in a bowl. Don’t let kids snack directly out of the bag or box.
  • Drink water, milk (fat-free or low-fat), or 100% fruit juice instead of soda or fruit-flavored drinks

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Flying legends of World War II grace Birmingham

Front profile of Fifi (Photo by Drew Burke)

Front profile of Fifi (Photo by Drew Burke)

Fifi’s rumble in the sky is like hearing history, a tale with echoes from Birmingham.

In the waning months of World War II, hundreds of B-29s like Fifi flew in and out of Birmingham every day.

Now the only flying Superfortress in existence is on display in the Magic City.

“We keep planes like Fifi airworthy to tell the story of the men that flew them and the women that built them,” says Paul Maupin, B-29 volunteer pilot with the Commemorative Air Force squadron.

During the war, nearly half of the 4,000 Boeing B-29s produced passed through Birmingham for upgrades at the Bechtel, McCone & Parsons Airplane Modification Center.

Now mostly vacant lots with weeds through the cement, the once-sprawling complex west of Birmingham’s airport at the height of WW II employed 14,000 workers, 40 percent of them women often referred to as Rosie the Riveters.

“World War II broke out, I wanted to be in the action,” says Fran Carter, who not only worked on B-29s like Fifi but started the nonprofit Rosie the Riveter Association.

“I had a victory garden, performed with the USO, was teaching kids, but it didn’t seem enough for me to help our boys fighting the war, so I came to Birmingham from Mississippi after hearing they were hiring women to work on planes. I applied and was hired to be a riveter, along with thousands of other women.”

“We all wanted the war to end but knew it wouldn’t until Germany and Japan surrendered,” added Carter who, after the war, married paratrooper John Carter.

The two eventually pursued doctoral degrees and taught at Samford University. At 94, she tells Rosie the Riveter “You Can Do It” stories to great-great-grandchildren of her generation.

“Fifi and every plane in the Commemorative Air Force stand as a testament, regardless of how they served, as a part of history for the men and women of World War II,” Maupin said. “We want to inspire young people to learn more of their own history, then to pass that along to future generations.”

History repeats itself 

This weekend the B-29 Superfortress along with the Rosies who helped build them will be at two events at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport: The AirPower History Tour and Rosie the Riveter Rally. What both have in common, aside from a significant impact in World War II, is preserving history.

“I grew up reading in awe about Flying Fortresses. When I first saw Fifi up close, it was like meeting a cartoon superhero,” said Joshua Cargille, who is about 70 years younger than both Fifi and Carter.

Curtis Wester, B-29 crew bombay (Photo by Drew Burke)

Curtis Wester, B-29 crew bombay (Photo by Drew Burke)

Cargille, a student at Southern Illinois Aviation Management and Flight and pilot, will ride along on the B-29 all summer learning about the plane, ensuring the flying piece of history remains airworthy.

“You don’t get the full sense of what these magnificent planes were until you hear them fire up, see them in the air,” Cargille said. “Riding inside drives home the significance of the war effort, makes it very real. These have a soul. They’re like living legends.”

Carter’s daughter, Nell Branum, has written several books about Rosie the Riveters. She said any woman that worked in the war effort is considered a Rosie, riveter or not, but that even men can join the Rosie the Riveters Association.

“The ‘We Can Do It’ slogan of Rosie inspires young people for generations as a reminder of the brave efforts of men and women working together for a greater good. A reminder of what their parents and grandparents gave. A part of history but also the future,” said Branum.

The AirPower History Tour is offering up-close viewing with tours and flights in Fifi, as well as a P-51 Mustang, a C-45 Expeditor, a T-6 Texan and a Boeing Stearman at Atlantic Aviation, 4725 65th Place N. through Sunday, May 22 in its space next to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

Nearby, the Rosie Rally featured a dozen Rosies, including Carter. The event featured riveting and welding demonstrations, live music, family entertainment and regional food trucks on Saturday, May 21. The Rosie Rally was held at The Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St. N. in Birmingham.

Tickets to the AirPower History Tours are available at both Atlanta Aviation and Southern Museum of Flight locations.

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport adding electric chargers for ground-support vehicles

Bham-airport-logo-shot-featureThe Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) is moving forward on a project to install 27 electric charging stations to support ground-service equipment at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM). The charging stations and supporting infrastructure will be located on concourse A and C.

The BAA has partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Alabama Power, Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines to provide these charging stations at BHM.  Both airlines have committed to replace select diesel powered ground service equipment with electric equipment.  Alabama Power is partnering with the airlines to help them replace their diesel powered equipment with electric equipment.

The project is funded in part by the FAA through the Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program.  The program supports sustainable projects that help reduce emissions at airports.  This is the third VALE project the BAA has received in the last four years.

“This project supports the airport’s long term goal of being an environmentally friendly airport.  We are grateful to the aforementioned partners for bringing this project to fruition,” said Alfonso Denson, President and CEO.

LOCAL, a perfect FREE event for families, groups and anyone who calls Alabama home

From Alabama’s best merchants, farmers, artists and musicians to favorite local food trucks, celebrate all things Alabama at the third annual LOCAL on Saturday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m.

From Alabama’s best merchants, farmers, artists and musicians to favorite local food trucks, celebrate all things Alabama at the third annual LOCAL on Saturday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m.

Presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, LOCAL is a free event designed to share the best of Alabama, set up outdoors on the ASC’s Engel Plaza. Shop, eat, visit and listen to music.

This year’s music lineup includes Microwave Dave & The Nukes, Clinton Babers, Rollin’ in the Hay, and DJ Supreme & Shaheed.

Celebrate all things Alabama a free event designed to share the best of Alabama, outdoors on the ASC’s Engel Plaza. Shop, eat, visit and listen to music.

Alabama merchants scheduled for LOCAL include:

Birmingham Henna
Revelator Coffee
Lindsay Brook Designs
Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn
West Homewood Farmers Market
G Momma’s Cookies
Polish Boutique Fashion Truck
Eastaboga Bee Company
Night Owl Paper Goods
Zkano Socks
Kilted Kraftsman
Birmingham Breadworks
Spoon and Ladle
Jim Reed Books
Birmingham Candy Company
Ivory LeShore’s Gourmet Bread Pudding and Cheesecakes
Left Hand Soap Company
Copper Pot Kitchen
Anthony Tavis Folk Art
Broken Not Shattered
The Greek Kouzina
Gina Hurry Art
Bare Naked Noodles
Turnip Patch Artisan Jams & Pickles
After Midnight Salsa Co.
The Heavenly Donut Co.
Old Town Pizza
Eugene’s Hot Chicken
Tre Luna Catering Co.
The Hot Tag
Steel City Pops
Magic City Ice
Big Spoon Creamery

Anyone interested in becoming a LOCAL vendor may call 205-975-4118 or email for details.

Secretary of State John H. Merrill Teams with the Legislature and Probate Judges to Ensure Voter Readiness

MONTGOMERY – In an effort to ensure that eligible Alabama citizens are able to vote, Alabama’s Secretary of State John H. Merrill has asked the members of the Legislature, as well as all Probate Judges to provide three separate and specific days of the week, times, and venues in their areas where the Secretary of State’s office may hold a drive for voter registration and photo I.D issuance.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s next registration events will be held in:

· Winston County on May 21, 2016, at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – D.H. Hamner Park, 7160 1st. Avenue North, Akron, AL 35441

· Houston County on May 23, 2016, at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Ashford Train Depot, 312 Midland Street, Ashford, AL 36312

· Covington County on May 24, 2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Opp Adult Activity Center, 500 Brantley St, Opp, AL 36467

· Jefferson County on May 25, 2016, at 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Midfield Recreation Center, 410 Grant Street, Midfield, AL 35228

· Jackson County on May 26, 2016, at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Stevenson Library, 102 W. Main Street, Stevenson, AL 35772

· Elmore County on May 31, 2016, at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Elmore Community Center, 485 Jackson Street, Elmore, AL 36025

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID. Forms of photo ID accepted at the polls include valid: driver’s license; Alabama photo voter ID card; state issued ID (any state); federal issued ID; US passport; employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state; student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools); Military ID; or Tribal ID.

To receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card a citizen must be a registered voter and must not have one of the valid forms of photo ID listed above.

When applying for the free Alabama photo voter ID, a voter must show: a photo ID document or a non-photo identity document that contains full legal name and date of birth; documentation showing the voter’s date of birth; documentation showing the person is a registered voter; and documentation showing the voter’s name and address as reflected in the voter registration record. A citizen’s name, address, and voter registration status can be verified by Secretary of State staff, using the statewide voter registration system.

Examples of non-photo ID documents that can be used in applying for a free Alabama photo voter ID card include a birth certificate, marriage record, Social Security Administration document, hospital or nursing home record, Medicare or Medicaid document, or an official school record or transcript.

For more information on the process on how to receive a free voter ID, voters can call 1-800-274-VOTE or go to The mobile site schedule is also posted there.

American Airlines gets its first Alabama-made Airbus A321

The first Airbus A321 wearing American livery emerges from the paint shop at the Alabama facility. (Photo courtesy of Airbus)

The first Airbus A321 wearing American livery emerges from the paint shop at the Alabama facility. (Photo courtesy of Airbus)

And this is only the beginning as the airline will receive another delivery – soon.

American Airlines has claimed its first Alabama-made Airbus A321 passenger jet after a ceremony at the manufacturer’s production facility at Mobile Aeroplex. 

The A321, sporting American’s logo and colors, is the second aircraft to leave the assembly line at Airbus’ new $600 million Alabama plant. The first – named “BluesMobile” — went to JetBlue on April 25.

”The delivery of this aircraft is another key milestone for Airbus and for Team Mobile,” said Daryl Taylor, general manager of the Alabama facility. “It’s also a symbol – a symbol of what can happen when a team works together to create something special, and I know we are creating something special here in Mobile.”

During the ceremony, American executive David Seymour said the airline will return to Mobile for 12 additional deliveries this year.

”It’s a very extraordinary accomplishment, I think, when you look back less than three years ago, you were breaking ground here for this facility, and now we’ve taken delivery of our first aircraft,” Seymour said.

American Airlines has its first Alabama-made Airbus A321 passenger jet (Photo courtesy of Airbus)

American Airlines has its first Alabama-made Airbus A321 passenger jet (Photo courtesy of Airbus)

American Airlines operates the largest Airbus fleet, with more than 380 aircraft. The A321 delivered was number 182 of that model, making it a workhorse in their  fleet, Seymour said.

“With this delivery, we are adding a very special aircraft to those already sporting the American livery – an Airbus aircraft built here in the USA,” said Bob Lekites, Airbus Americas executive vice president of customers.

“This is the first of many American Airlines airplanes to be delivered from Mobile, and we are proud it will join a growing, thriving fleet.”


In addition to the American A321 delivered, there are several other A320 Family aircraft in production at the facility. Airbus has said it expects to deliver four aircraft per month from the Mobile plant by the end of 2017.

The passenger jet handed over to American first flew April 19 in a test flight that lasted nearly four hours. Tests were performed on the plane’s systems, engines and structure during the initial test flight.

The Airbus Alabama facility now has around 350 team members. The Mobile Aeroplex facility is expected to support 1,000 jobs once production hits full tilt.

Clayton Birmingham Home Show draws business owners from more than a dozen states

Eight companies built 27 homes in seven days for the Clayton Birmingham Home Show at the BJCC. (Michael Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

Eight companies built 27 homes in seven days for the Clayton Birmingham Home Show at the BJCC. (Michael Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

Clayton Home Building Group is holding the inaugural Clayton Birmingham Home Show this week and organizers hope it is the first of many.

Keith Holdbrooks, president of Clayton, said when the manufactured homes giant wanted to break away from the industry show in Tunica, Miss., the Magic City was where they hoped to go.

“Alabama, we feel like, is our home,” he said. “It was great to be able to pick a venue and Birmingham was number one on our list.”

The inaugural Clayton Birmingham Home Show from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Clayton, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is hosting the show by invitation only for its suppliers and retailers from across the country. Holdbrooks said representatives from companies in more than a dozen states are visiting the event, which ends Thursday, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

To make the event worth the trip, Clayton brought in eight of its companies to actually set up 27 homes in a parking lot beside the BJCC. Those represented were Buccaneer Homes, Cavalier Homes, Clayton Series, Energy Homes, River Birch Homes, Savannah, Southern Estates, Southern Homes and TRUmh.

Seven of the eight companies are in Alabama, where Clayton currently employs 2,142 workers and 10 additional supply operations. Last year the company built 5,734 homes in the state.

SEhomes, an Addison- based operation, is the official host of the Birmingham show.

“SEhomes is proud to host the Clayton Birmingham Home Show in our home state of Alabama,” Britt Richards, vice president of Clayton Home Building Group, said. “Birmingham was an obvious choice for an annual event because of its close proximity to our retailers and facilities. The city has been extremely accommodating and welcoming throughout the process, and we’re excited to witness first-hand the revival of downtown Birmingham.”

Among the homes showcased are a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom energy efficient model and a “tiny home,” the latest addition to the Clayton lineup that follows a trend popular with millennial buyers.

“That’s a fun and exciting new home for us that is getting a lot of attention,” Holdbrooks said of the tiny home.

He said as more millennials are reaching points in their life where they are looking to buy homes, the market is recovering.

“The upside is in front of us,” he said.


Clayton builds traditional site-built homes, modular homes, manufactured housing, “tiny” homes, college dormitories, military barracks, and apartments. In 2015, Clayton built over 34,000 homes.

Holdbrooks said they are already looking to do the home show in Birmingham again next year with plans to expand it to include the general public.

Meet BLSA President and Vice President, A Chapter of NALS Inc.

Angélle Marie García, ACP

Angélle Marie García, ACP

Angélle Marie García, ACP

Angélle Marie García received her diploma in paralegal studies from the Texas School of Business in 1994.  She has over 22 years of experience and has been employed with Baker Donelson for over 15 years.  She has a true passion for the legal field and is currently working in the Corporate Finance & Securities and Estate Planning Groups of Baker Donelson.  In 2008, she received her certified paralegal designation as well as her advanced certification in discovery from the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.  This year she obtained her advanced certification in Business Organizations:  Incorporated Entities.  Angélle is a professional who truly loves what she does and looks forward to many more years of service in our legal community.  She is the current President of BLSA, A Chapter of NALS, Inc. and is also a member of the NALS, Inc. Editorial Board for the 2016-2017 term.

Elizabeth Keener, PP, CLP

Elizabeth Keener, PP, CLP

Elizabeth Keener, PP, CLP

Elizabeth Keener graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration.  She found a calling when she completed a Business Law class as an elective, so she went on to earn Minor Degrees in business law and economics.  She then attended the University of Alabama School of Law.  However, before finishing her first year, she stepped away from the law, turning to accounting.  She eventually became a staff accountant for several companies in Birmingham before she heard the law call out to her once more when a friend told her of an entry level job opening in a local law firm.  She took another turn to come back to the law, and started working as a file clerk, working her way up through learning dictation, how to file documents in court, and the practical side of practicing law as a legal assistant.  She also discovered an organization that has been invaluable on her journey.  She joined BLSA, a Chapter of NALS, Inc. in 2013 after completing their legal education course in preparation for her first certification exam.  With their help, she passed that certification exam, and has gone on to earn two additional certifications.  Most recently, she has found a law family and home at Christian and Small, LLC.

Angélle and Elizabeth attended the NALS 2016 Professional Development & Education Conference in Tulsa earlier this year where they were both inspired and encouraged by leaders from across the United States.  All of the incredible sessions they attended provoked discussion during the breaks about how to best serve the members of BLSA this year.  During the breaks, they would find they had written the exact same ideas in their notebooks.  They concluded that they wanted to follow their inspiration and work on serving each and every member where he or she is at this moment in his or her career.  With a basic plan in mind, they have started work on incredible opportunities for the membership of BLSA to be inspired by each other, inspired by leaders in our field, and to be encouraged about the future of BLSA.  On May 5, 2016, BLSA, along with others, sponsored a CLE on proficiency in emerging legal technologies for its members and the local legal community.  Additionally, there are preliminary plans for an incredible one day CLE event in October and other exciting legal education opportunities from BLSA this year.