Dec. 1, 2022–Dr. Gia Wiggins, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP / President, Morale Resource

Gia Wiggins is a career Human Resources Professional. A native of Mobile AL, she received a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Grambling State University. After working as a Human Resources Manager for 16 years, she completed her MBA from California State University. She received a Ph.D of Business Administration at the University of South Alabama with a concentration in Management. She currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor with the University of South Alabama and the University of Mobile teaching Human Resources Management, Intro to Business, and Business Communications. She also holds (SPHR) Senior Professional Human Resources and (SHRM-SCP) Society of Human Resources Management – Senior Certified Professional certifications.

Gia has held executive human resource management roles in companies such as AT&T (formerly Southwestern Bell), Sears, Target Corp, Cintas Corp, and BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards. Gia serves on the Board of Directors and Leaders Council with the Eastern Shore Chamber and Board of Advisors with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. She considers her biggest accomplishment to be a happy and healthy family, (husband Bart and three kids Mallorie, Trey, and Kenley).

In 2015, Gia founded Morale Resource LLC, a human resources consulting firm that places special emphasis on developing employee engagement programs and activities. One customer at a time, Morale Resource LLC helps businesses take care of their most important asset, its people.

Nov. 17, 22–Kane Wommack / Head Football Coach, Univ. of South Alabama

Kane Wommack was named the head football coach at the University of South Alabama on Dec. 12, 2020. At 34 years old, he became the third head coach since the inception of South’s program and the youngest of any head coach at the FBS level. Kane and his wife Melissa returned to Mobile after his first stint as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in 2016 and ’17. He came back to South after spending three years as linebackers coach at Indiana including serving as the Hoosiers’ defensive coordinator his final two seasons, where he was named a finalist for the award given to the top NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision assistant coach last season: the Broyles Award.


In just his second season as the Head Coach at South Alabama, Wommack has led the Jaguars to their winningest season as an FBS program and their 3rd bowl game berth in program history, with two regular season games left to play!


Kane and his wife Melissa have three sons, Asher, Tatum, and Jones and they are all thrilled to be back in Mobile, the city they call home!


Please welcome the Head Football Coach of your South Alabama Jaguars, Kane Wommack!

Nov. 10, 22–Todd Greer / Executive Director, Innovation Portal

With two decades of on-the-ground work in a wide variety of organizations, Todd Greer joined the Innovation Portal team with a background as an experienced startup advisor, educator, community builder, facilitator, and leadership development consultant.


Prior to serving as the Executive Director of Innovation Portal, Greer served in multiple capacities at the University of Mobile, first as Dean of the School of Business, then Vice Provost, and finally as Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Todd holds a Ph.D. in organizational leadership with a major in human resource development from Regent University.


A passionate community servant, Todd has served as an instructor, volunteer, or board member for many Mobile-area organizations including the Minority Business Accelerator, I-Corps, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, the United Way of Southwest Alabama, Innovation Portal, and Mobile United and currently serves on the boards of Real Advice Mentoring Program (RAMP), Springboard to Success Inc., Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at USA, and ForMidtown.


A native of Southeast Michigan, Todd and his family have called Mobile home since 2014.

Oct. 13, 2022–Stephanie Dragotta / ALDOT “Mobile River Bridge Project”

Stephanie Dragotta, P.E. , Project Manager

Alabama Department of Transportation


Stephanie Dragotta is a professional civil engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). She has been with ALDOT for 13 years during which time she has held a variety of positions in the Pre-Construction section such as project estimating, environmental review, plan review, and local transportation coordination. For the past 4 years she has been serving as a project manager for the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project.


A graduate of Mary G. Montgomery High School, Stephanie attended the University of South Alabama where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2009. In 2013 she obtained her license for professional engineering in the State of Alabama. During her time as a student she was awarded with the National Association of Women in Construction Scholarship. She is married to Phillip Dragotta who also graduated from the University of South Alabama with his bachelor’s in radiologic science. Stephanie resides in Grandbay, AL and is the proud mother of a 7 year old daughter, Abigail, and a 5 year old son, Asher, and enjoys her time practicing T-ball and gymnastics with them.

Oct. 20, 2022–Jim Smith / Chairman, Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission & Executive Chef, The Hummingbird Way “Alabama Seafood”

Bio: Chef Jim Smith


Chef Jim Smith is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Hummingbird Way Oyster Bar in Mobile, AL.  The Hummingbird Way opened January 7, 2020 and is committed to serving the best local and sustainably sourced foods available.

Smith served as Executive Chef of the State of Alabama for 8 years.  As the state chef, he has placed an emphasis on Alabama ingredients and made strides to support Alabama farmers and fishers. He used his position to be an ambassador for Alabama foods, to promote farmer’s markets, and events that support Alabama food products.

In 2011 he was crowned the King of American Seafood by winning The Great American Seafood-Cook-Off and became the national spokesperson for Alabama Seafood, American Sustainable Seafood, Gulf Seafood and the NOAA.  As the winner he traveled the country educating Americans about the benefits of sustainable seafood.

Chef also serves as the Chairman of The Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission.  In his position as Chairman, Chef Smith is proud to be a part of the great work being done to promote Alabama Seafood.  He is also a Chef Advocate for Wild American Shrimp.  He has been working closely with The James Beard Foundation for years as a Boot Camp for Policy and Change Alum and supporter of James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch Sustainable Seafood and Scholarship Programs.  He is also an active member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

Chef Smith is best known for his appearances in seasons fourteen and sixteen of the Bravo television cooking competition show, Top Chef.  Smith finished in the top ten and was a fan favorite.  He is very proud of the time he spent on Top Chef and how he represented himself and the state of Alabama.


Oct. 27, 2022–Bradley Byrne / CEO, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce “Business in Mobile”

Bradley Byrne has been named the next president and chief executive
officer of the Mobile Chamber. He has more than 30 years of experience
as an attorney in private practice and more than two decades of public
service. He is widely regarded as a thought and action leader who gets
things done.
Bradley spent four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives serving on
the Armed Services Committee and the Education and Labor Committee,
where he chaired the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. He was
appointed by two Speakers to the prestigious Rules Committee.
In Congress, Bradley was known as a fierce supporter of business and
industry, often leading on important issues where his experience in labor
law, workforce training, and education policy gave him a unique
perspective. Bradley has led initiatives that have increased access to
education and job training, benefiting Alabama’s workforce and
businesses alike.
Education Honors
Prior to serving in Congress, Bradley was an elected member of the Alabama State Board of Education and the
Alabama State Senate and was appointed as the Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system. He also chaired
Alabama’s Workforce Planning Council.
As a lawyer, Bradley has represented numerous clients before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As a
member of Congress, he frequently dealt with these agencies and with the Department of Labor, including its Wage
and Hour Division.
Bradley is married to Rebecca Byrne, who is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of South Alabama,
and together they have four adult children.

Oct. 6, 2022–Dr. Charles Wu / Professor, Univ. of South Alabama “Taiwan”

Charles Wu Biography

Dr. Charles Wu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at South. His primary research interests fall into the intersection between International Relations and American Politics, and his research agenda focuses on the factors that influence public opinion on military operations overseas. Dr Wu’s academic and policy work have been published in Social Politics, Scientific Data, Journal of East Asian Studies, Journal of Asian and African Studies, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, The National Interest, The Diplomat, and The Pacific Forum. His latest coauthored book is Presidentialism, Violence, and the Prospect of Democracy (Lexington Book, 2021).

Sept. 29, 22–Candace Cooksey / City of Mobile “How to Grow Mobile”

Candace is a seasoned message management and communications professional for government agencies, political campaigns, elected officials, and corporations. Candace has managed or worked with over 70 political campaigns, including leading Mayor Stimpson’s two successful mayoral campaigns and building a strategy and winning team for his 3rd successful campaign in 2021.


Through the campaign consulting company she co-founded, Alexander Cooksey, she has run successful local, statewide and federal elections in all branches of government.


With 15 years of public opinion experience, she is battle-tested in crisis communications, campaign management, strategic communications, and political strategy. Candace has a strong track record of managing dynamic teams through complex and high-pressure operations.


Through the work of her company, Candace ushered in an era of data-driven campaigning to the South Alabama area. Using data from surveys, voter files, predictive modeling, and raw data sources has allowed her to develop successful micro-targeted communication strategies that can be emulated in many competitive market industries.


In August 2020, she accepted the position of Director of Communications for Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the City of Mobile. At the city, Candace oversees an award-winning communications team of talented professionals who are dedicated to serving the citizens. Since taking this role, Candace has implemented a new texting service for citizens to communicate with city government and instituted the “No Wrong Door” philosophy, allowing citizens multiple avenues for communicating with their city government.

Candace is a member of the Rotary Club of Mobile. She and her husband (Will Cooksey) attend Covenant Presbyterian Church in Mobile.