6-2-22 Todd Lasseigne / Executive Director, Bellingrath Gardens & Home

Dr. Lasseigne serves as Executive Director Bellingrath Gardens and Home, a position he started in September 2020.  He joins a team of board members and professional staff working to bring forward the legacy of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath at their renowned estate and gardens located on the Fowl River south of Mobile.

 

Prior to coming to Bellingrath, Todd was President and CEO of Tulsa Botanic Garden (Tulsa, Oklahoma), an institution he led for over nine years, working to build it from the ground up with over $20 million raised and invested during his tenure.  Dr. Lasseigne also served as the founding Executive Director of Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden (Kernersville, North Carolina) from 2005 through early 2011, and as Assistant Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum (Raleigh, North Carolina) for 5 years.

 

Todd is a highly respected plantsman, horticulturist, and public garden leader.  He is widely recognized as a leading horticulture expert among nursery professionals and in the public garden world.  He has delivered invited lectures across the U.S., in Japan, South Korea, and Mexico.  Todd has visited over 450 gardens around the world during his career.  He lives with his wife (Heather) and five cats in Grand Bay, Alabama.

May 26, 2022–Karlos F. Finley / African American Heritage Trail

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
of
Karlos F. Finley, Esq.
Karlos Finley is a solo practitioner at the law firm of K. Fitzgerald Finley, P.C. His family’s roots in the city
date back to the late 1860’s. His parents were both educators. His father would eventually become a
pharmacist and open the first chain of drug stores in the state of Alabama owned by an African-American.
His parents, alongwith other progressive thinkers, led the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960’s and early
1970’s in Mobile with the goal of bringing about a more unified community, and equality for all of the city’s
citizens. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He was decorated
with the a Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal for relief efforts during several Gulf Coast Hurricanes
and the Good Conduct Medal, then Honorably discharged. Finley earned his Bachelors of Science Degree
from the University of Mobile, Cum Laude and his Juris Doctorate from Miles School of Law in Fairfield,
AL, where he was chosen as class valedictorian. His first job as a lawyer was as an Assistant District
Attorney in the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office. He is a member of the Alabama Lawyers
Association and a past President of the Vernon Z. Crawford, Bay Area Bar Association. He is a member of
the Mobile and Alabama State Bar Associations. He serves as President of the Dora Franklin FinleyAfricanAmerican Heritage Trail and of the Paul W. Brock, Mobile Inn of Court. He is Vice-President of the Mobile
Bar Foundation. He’s a Fellow with the Alabama State Bar Foundation and a member of the Alabama
Lawyers Association. Karlos is married to Mrs. Kelly Finley, they have three wonderful children and five
dogs. He is a lifelong member of Most Pure Heart of Mary church and is an alumni of the 121 year old Most
Pure Heart of Mary Catholic School.

May 19, 2022–Leavie King, III / Mobile Black Chamber of Commerce “A Few More Bus Rides”

Biography:

Leavie D. King, III, M.S., B.A., C.P.S., C.S.P.

 

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of COACHEDUP, a professional development consultancy established in 2014 and located in Mobile Alabama. He has held positions of training manager with FedEx providing executive leadership and training throughout the southeast region. He also has held several high and mid-level management positions, such as Compass Bank-Branch Banking Officer, Consumer Money Management-District Manager, and DRC-Vice President – Training and Development.

Currently, Leavie humbly serves as the Chairman for the Mobile Area Black Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Hope Boxing Academy, Board member Alabama Special Care Facilities Financing Authority, Vice Chair Africatown Heritage Preservation Foundation, Advisory Board Member Ignite! Alabama, and Development Council member Victory Health Partners. He also has established philanthropic mentoring projects and is designated as a Partner in Education with both Ella Grant Elementary and Maryvale Elementary Schools and is the founder of the COACHEDUP Boys 2 Men Conference.

Having the humble pleasure, Leavie has served the Mobile community on boards of numerous organizations and held several leadership positions within local groups, he served as former District Chairman-Boy Scouts of America Mobile Chapter, former Board Member -Center for Fair Housing, former Board Member -Feeding the Gulf Coast, Former President -Downtown Toastmasters and Former President -Urban Financial Services Coalition. Leavie is a proud United States Marine and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

He holds several certifications; Certified Public Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Trainer, Association for Training and Development – Gold Certified, and has won over 25 oratorical competitions nationwide. Leavie holds a Master’s degree in Science Management and a Bachelor in Business Administration from Faulkner University.

May 12, 2022–Joe Womack / Executive Director of Africatown-chess.org & Co-Founder of africatownhpf.org “Africatown – 1810 thru 2022”

Major Joe Womack USMCR(ret)

Executive Director of africatown-chess.org

Co-Founder of africatownhpf.org

jnwomack1@yahoo.com

251-404-9558

Leader, Doer, Storyteller

 

Major Joe Womack, born in historic Africatown, Alabama in 1950 & graduated from historic Mobile County Training School in 1968 (the first training  school for blacks in the state of Alabama & a Rosenwald School). After earning a degree in Business Administration from Saint Paul’s College, Major Womack served 20 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, leading operations in Japan, Korea, Pensacola, FL and New Orleans, LA.  In addition to working 16 years at Shell/Dupont and being the first black professional to be promoted at that chemical facility. Major Womack has initiated many locally led community efforts, some include:  Mobile County Training School Alumni Association, Africatown Community Development Corporation, Mobile County African American Summit, Black Military Workers of America, Inc. & The Mobile County Environmental Justice Action Coalition.  Major Womack is an inspiring leader in promoting positive and sustainable change and currently leads a non-profit organization called C.H.E.S.S. or Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe & Sustainable Community, Inc.

 

May 5, 2022–Jim Nagy / Executive Director, Reese’s Senior Bowl “2022 Senior Bowl NFL Draft Review”

Jim Nagy was named to the position June 1, 2018, by Mobile Arts & Sports Association Chairman Mr. Angus Cooper II.  In his role, he is responsible for both the football and business operations of the nation’s premiere college all-star game.

While the Senior Bowl has long been regarded as the preeminent event on the NFL scouting calendar, the game has reached new heights over Nagy’s first three years, both on and off the field.  Since taking over for former Cleveland Browns General Manager Phil Savage four years ago, Nagy’s overarching vision for game was to position it as the unofficial start of the NFL pre-draft process, which led to the organization’s trademarked mantra “The Draft Starts in Mobile”.

On the football side, Nagy is primarily responsible for the identification, evaluation, and selection of the top NFL prospects to be invited to the game, as well as serving as a liaison to the agent community representing those players. Under Nagy’s leadership, the Senior Bowl team is coming off a year in which it strategically and skillfully pulled off the event despite the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, something no other pre-draft event accomplished, including the NFL Combine.

The past three games have produced a three-year record 292 drafted players, including 20 first round picks and an all-time high 106 total prospects a year ago.  In each of the three years prior to his arrival, the Senior Bowl’s total number of drafted players represented 32% of the that year’s total draft class. That figure has climbed from 36% in each of Nagy’s first two years to an all-time high 41% last year.  Moreover, Nagy’s classes have enjoyed incredible staying power once they get to the NFL.  From his first two Senior Bowl classes (2019 and 2020), 90% of the players (218 out of 243) wound up making an active 53-man NFL roster at some point during their rookie season.  Some future NFL stars who played in the Senior Bowl the past three years include: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, Washington Football Team WR Terry McLaurin, and New England Patriots QB Mac Jones.

One of Nagy’s first moves was to build the game’s first-ever personnel department composed exclusively of former NFL scouts, which in 2021 included seven scouts with a collective 120 years of league experience. The Senior Bowl’s year-round evaluation process begins each February with extensive tape study on college prospects, continues through the summer with recruiting visits to events like the Manning Passing Academy, and concludes each year in the fall after more than a hundred live game exposures on campuses around the country.  Before invites are sent, Nagy relies on his over 20 years of relationships in the NFL to get input from the league’s top decision-makers to ensure the Senior Bowl is bringing the best draft eligible talent to Mobile each year.

An integral part in the Senior Bowl’s success during Nagy’s tenure has been the use of social media to connect with potential players and expand the reach of the Senior Bowl brand.  Since August 2018, Senior Bowl Twitter accounts (@seniorbowl and @JimNagy_SB) have grown exponentially every year, increasing total impressions from 40 million in 2018 to a staggering 350 million in 2021.  Embracing the power of social media has helped the Senior Bowl maintain a consistent year-round presence and greatly enhanced the game’s overall visibility.

Another significant growth area over the past four years has been the acquisition of several prominent national partners. With new additions like Nike (on-field) and Swet Tailor (off-field) as the official apparel sponsors, Panini America as the official trading card/NFT partner, and Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux as the official practice partner, Senior Bowl sponsorship revenues have nearly doubled since 2018.  In addition, prominent local businesses such as Regions Bank and Alabama Power have made significant commitments to the growth of the game over the past three years and Wind Creek Casinos recently did the same by signing on as the official sponsor of the Senior Bowl Street Party.

Away from the field, Nagy and his staff have added three exciting new January events—the Senior Bowl Summit, Player’s Mardi Gras Parade, and Downtown Concert—that have quickly transformed Senior Bowl week into more than just a game.  Star-studded events like the Summit, which has featured guests like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, and celeb entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, and free concerts by groups like The Revivalists and Grammy-winners Portugal The Man have helped drive tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Mobile over the past few years.

The Senior Bowl remains an active community partner throughout the year with its youth NFL Flag league, charitable events such as the Senior Bowl Charities Celebrity Golf Classic, which raised $20,000 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters in its inaugural year last June, and the Turkey Bowl that helped feed 1,000 underprivileged families at Thanksgiving.  Additionally, through the Mobile/Baldwin Athletic Partnership (MBAP), the Senior Bowl awarded over $50,000 in grant money for team equipment needs and donated Nike uniforms to several local public high school programs in the city of Mobile.

In addition to his duties at the Senior Bowl, Nagy has worked as a draft analyst for ESPN, covering both the NFL Combine live from Indianapolis and the NFL Draft live in Nashville.  He also does extensive work across various football media platforms, including regular appearances on NFL Network and NFL Sirius Radio, and he was named one of the “Top 50 NFL Twitter Accounts” by The Athletic in 2020.

Nagy, a native of Traverse City, Mich., graduated from the University of Michigan in 1996 and was honored with a career achievement award from the school in 2019.  He broke into the NFL as an intern for the Green Bay Packers during their Super Bowl XXXI winning season and held various scouting roles over his 18 years in NFL personnel departments, elevating to national scout with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-2012. Prior to coming to the Senior Bowl, he spent five years as the southeast area scout for the Seattle Seahawks.  Nagy was a part of six teams that reached the Super Bowl and four Lombardi Trophy Champions (Packers XXXI, New England Patriots XXXVIII and XXXIX, and Seattle Seahawks XLVII).

Nagy and his wife, Lindsay, have two children, son Hayden (16) and daughter Lillian (13) and they have lived in Mobile since 2007.

Apr. 28, 22–Ben Raines / Environmental Journalist, Filmmaker, Charter Captain

Ben Raines is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His new book, The Last Slave Ship – The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning, detailing his discovery of the Clotilda, published in January.  His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other national publications, and he is a coauthor on several papers published in scientific journals. His underwater film work has appeared in documentaries on public television, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Television. He wrote and produced the award-winning documentary America’s Amazon, and its companion book, Saving America’s Amazon, and directed The Underwater Forest, about the exploration of a seventy thousand-year-old cypress forest found off the Alabama coast. Ben Raines lives in Fairhope, AL, with his wife Shannon. He holds a degree in filmmaking from New York University and is licensed charter captain who leads adventure tours in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and to Alabama’s barrier islands.

Apr. 21, 22–John Sledge / Author & Historian

Education

 

Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Fall 1980-Spring 1982

Master of Arts in History with emphasis in Historic Preservation

Thesis: “Summerfield, Alabama: Historic Preservation in a Rural Context”

 

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Fall 1977-Spring 1980

Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish

 

Work History

 

Mobile Historic Development Commission

Architectural Historian 1985 to present for this city agency.  Responsibilities include coordination of easement program, historic building marker program, tax credit work, environmental review, and frequent public speaking on local history and historic preservation topics.

 

Mobile Historic Development Commission

Acting Director March 1997 to September 1998.  Responsibilities included supervision of MHDC staff and volunteers, coordination of the Commission’s committees (properties, finance, awards, education), management of the city’s two architectural review boards, and working with the mayor, city council, other city departments and the citizens of Mobile on historic preservation issues.

 

Mobile Register

Books Editor, August 1996 to 2012.  Responsibilities included writing a weekly book review column, “Southern Bound,” and coordinating and editing local reviewers.

 

Main Street Pulaski, Inc.

Project manager during 1984 for downtown revitalization project in this Tennessee community.

 

Middle Flint Planning Commission

Historic Preservation Planner from May 1982 to January 1984 for an eight county area of Georgia.

 

Professional Affiliations and Awards

 

President Historic Mobile Preservation Society, 1995-1997

Founder Church Street Graveyard Preservation Foundation, Inc.

Board, Friends of Magnolia Cemetery

Elizabeth B. Gould Research Award 1988, 2001, 2009

Robert Bell Writing Award, 2004

Distinguished Service Award, Alabama Historical Commission, 2002, 2010

Virginia Moran Writing Award, 2009 (first awarded)

Alabama Library Association Award for Best Nonfiction Book, 2009

Clinton Jackson Coley Award for best local history book in Alabama, 2016

NSDAR Historic Preservation Award, 2016

Apr. 14, 22–Cam Marston / Author, Radio Host

Cam Marston

Expert on Workplace and Marketplace Trends

 

 

CAM MARSTON is an author, advisor, and top-rated keynote speaker on the trends shaping the workplace and marketplace. His presentations are informative, engaging, humorous, and full of concrete research that is tailored to his audience. Cam enlivens the data with anecdotes, tales from the real business world, attention-grabbing visuals, and quips that make the messages and actionable strategies memorable.

 

His original focus was on generational differences and their impact on the workplace and marketplace. Cam and his firm, Generational Insights, have provided research and consultation to hundreds of organizations, ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations, as well as to major professional associations. Cam’s four books and countless articles describe and analyze the major generations of our time, explaining how generational workplace and marketplace preferences affect every aspect of business, including recruiting and retention, management and motivation, and sales and marketing.

 

In 2018, Cam began a podcast that was soon picked up as an FM radio show titled What’s Working with Cam Marston. Cam interviews a wide range of expert guests to learn about the trends influencing their workplace, workforce, and marketplace, and how they are successfully reacting to them. He has now broadcast over 200 episodes and released his fifth book, What’s Working with Cam Marston: The Ten Best Ideas from the First 200 Episodes.

 

Cam also records commentaries for Alabama Public Radio called Keepin’ It Real. They’re his humorous and inspirational observations of the world around him and have won both statewide and national awards. You can find both his radio show and his commentaries on your favorite podcast app.

 

Cam’s expertise and acumen are the products of over 25 years of research and consultation across a wide range of industries. He has provided insight and advice to leadership at the some of the world’s most prominent corporations, including Kaiser Permanente, Charles Schwab, BASF, Nestle, Schlumberger, Fidelity, Warner Brothers, ESPN, Qualcomm, RE/MAX and Eli Lilly. He has also offered presentations and consultations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Internal Revenue Service, NASA and the U.S. Army, as well as for major professional associations such as the American Bankers Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, FMI/The Food Industry Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the Million Dollar Round Table.

 

Apr. 7, 22–Rusty Murdaugh / President & CFO, Austal USA

Rusty Murdaugh
President and CFO
Rusty Murdaugh is president and CFO of Austal USA. He leads an
organization of nearly 3,200 shipbuilding professionals headquartered
in Mobile, Alabama, with operations in Washington, D.C., San Diego
and Singapore and is responsible for all aspects of Austal USA’s ship
manufacturing, service and support operations worldwide.
Murdaugh brings over 33 years of strong financial and business
management experience from within the defense contracting industry.
Before joining Austal, he served as vice president of finance for a
business segment of Esterline Corporation. Prior to Esterline, he was
with Avnet, Inc., where he held the positions of group financial officer followed by vice president of financial
planning and analysis. Earlier in his career, Murdaugh held financial
and business management positions with United Technologies (formerly Goodrich) and Honeywell.
Murdaugh holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and management from Saint Leo University and a master’s
degree in government contracting from the Florida Institute of Technology. His vast global finance and
management experience includes operations, government contracting, and strategic planning. He has a
proven record of leadership in complex business environments with strong financial performance.
Murdaugh is a Six Sigma green belt and a certified Lean Practitioner Trainer. He is a member of the Propeller
Club of the United States: Port of Mobile.
About Austal USA
Austal USA is an advanced shipbuilder headquartered in Mobile, Ala. with service centers in San Diego and
Singapore. The company’s modern ship manufacturing facility is designed to maximize efficiency through
the use of moving assembly lines for module construction and adherence to lean manufacturing principles.
Austal USA joined the U.S. defense market in 2004 and quickly rose to become the fifth largest shipbuilder
in the U.S. Today, Austal USA supports both steel and aluminum ship construction as well as services and
support worldwide. The company is under contract with the U.S. Navy to build the small surface combatant
Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship, the auxiliary ship Expeditionary Fast Transport, and the Towing,
Salvage and Rescue ships. Earning safety excellence awards the last six consecutive years, Austal USA
continues to be one of the safest shipyards in America.

Mar. 31, 22–Abe Harper / President, Harper Technologies, LLC & Chairman, Board of Directors, Prichard Prep

Abe L. Harper Jr.
Harper Technologies, LLC
Abe Harper is the President and CEO of Harper Technologies, LLC – a “Concierge Culture” IT
Service Provider based in Mobile, AL. Harper Technologies specializes in Managed IT,
Infrastructure Services, and Data Services. As a business in a fast-paced industry, Harper
Technologies, employs the latest industry tools, knowledge, and methodologies to solve
clients’ problems. Every procedure and tool are consistently evaluated to ensure that they
embody the company slogan, “Today’s Company, Tomorrow’s Technology”
Abe, a native of Daphne, AL, is an alumnus of the Alabama School of Math and Science. He also
attended Florida A&M University and the University of South Alabama where he met his wife
Audra. They have been married for just over 15 years, and have two princesses (Natalie and
Erin),one prince (Abe Harper III) , and one puppy (AJ Harper).
Aside from being an entrepreneur, husband, and a father, Abe has a specific passion for the
local and regional community. His desire is to help create better future opportunities for the
generations to follow. Abe is very active in the regional community serving in several
organizations, including the following:
Merchants and Marine Bank – Board of Directors
Alabama Innovation Corporation –Corporation Member
Prichard Preparatory School – Chairman, Board of Directors
CityHope Church – Elder
Alabama Small Business Development Center Network – Advisory Director
Aside from work and community activities, Abe also has a few hobbies and tries to indulge
when things are quiet. He loves travelling and is also private pilot. Additionally, he enjoys
fishing, photography, and saltwater aquariums.