Feb. 1, 2024–Ellie Watson / Program Director, Sweet Grown Alabama

Ellie Watson grew up on a row-crop farm in Colbert County where her love for agriculture began. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in agricultural communications. When Sweet Grown Alabama began in 2019, Ellie was hired as the first director of the program. She currently lives in Autauga County with her husband Dalton and daughter Charlotte

Jan. 25, 2024–Mary Van Brunt / President, Spring Hill College

Mary H. Van Brunt, PhD
Mary H. Van Brunt, PhD, began her service as the 39th president of Spring Hill College on January 1,
2023, making history as the first female to serve in the top leadership role.
Dr. Van Brunt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., a
Master of Business Administration in Accounting from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., and a
PhD in Economics from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
Van Brunt brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in Catholic higher education. She has
served as Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and founding Academic Dean. She also spent
twelve years in the banking, securities, and pharmaceutical industries.
As an award-winning economics professor, she received the NCES/AEFA New Scholar Dissertation
Award, Warren York Fellowship, and the Charles R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for
Excellence in teaching. She is a published author, consultant, certified global business professional, and
prior certified management accountant

Jan. 18, 2024–Jimmy Baker / Chancellor, Alabama Community College Systems

Jimmy H. Baker
Mr. Jimmy H. Baker is a native of Coffee County Alabama. He attended high school in New Brockton, and
later earned a BS degree in Business Administration from Troy University. He earned a graduate degree in
Economics and Education Administration and an Education Specialist degree from Auburn University, where
he was also certified in school administration. He served for six years in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Professionally, he has taught history and social studies at the high school level; coached football and basketball
at Daleville High School; served as Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of Education for the
Daleville Board of Education; and Superintendent of the Coffee County Board of Education. In 1979, he was
appointed to serve as the State of Alabama’s Assistant State Superintendent of Education of Finance and served
in that role for four years.
After serving as president of an investment banking firm, Mr. Baker managed the gubernatorial campaign for
Governor Fob James. He was appointed as State Finance Director from 1994-95, where he developed and
assisted in the passage of the funding formula known as the Foundation Program. Later, he was appointed as
Deputy State Superintendent of Education to implement the new funding program. He returned to the
Finance Department as Director during Gov. James’ administration, after successful implementation of the
Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in the development of partnerships with businesses including
medical evacuation, real estate development and governmental affairs. As an educator, he has chaired and
served on numerous committees including the Alabama Textbook Committee, the State Tenure Commission,
and the Alabama Association of School Administrators
After joining the Alabama Community College System, first serving as governmental affairs consultant, he
was appointed Chief of Staff in January 2016. Mr. Baker was appointed as acting chancellor of the Alabama
Community College System in August of 2016. On March 15, 2017 he was named Chancellor of the Alabama
Community College System.
Chancellor Baker was selected “Alumnus of the Year” on November 3, 2018 by Troy University’s Alumni
Association; received the Doctor of Law Degree on July 26, 2019, during Troy University’s Summer
Commencement Program and named a Distinguished Community College State Director by Phi Theta
Kappa’s Honor Society February 2021.
He is married to Joy, a retired teacher, and they are the parents of two daughters and proud grandparents to
four grandchildren

Jan. 11, 2024–Robert Craft / Mayor, Gulf Shores

Bio – Mayor Robert Craft

Robert Craft has devoted the last 20 years to serving the City of Gulf Shores. Mayor Craft was elected to serve as the ninth mayor of Gulf Shores in August 2008, and prior to that, he served on the Gulf Shores City Council from 2004 to 2008.

During his time as Mayor of Gulf Shores, Mayor Craft has focused on enhancing the quality of life for every Gulf Shores resident. Under his leadership, Gulf Shores has seen remarkable progress, with more than $272 million invested in capital improvements and $76 million secured in grant funding. His tenure has witnessed transformative initiatives, such as establishing Gulf Shores City Schools, a state-of-the-art freestanding emergency room, revitalizing Gulf State Park Restoration and Lodge, the addition of the Auburn University Education Complex and various critical infrastructure enhancements.

In addition to his daily mayoral duties, Mayor Craft serves as one of 10 Alabama leaders to sit on the RESTORE council, which is responsible for allocating the $750 million in funding earmarked for Mobile and Baldwin counties from the Deepwater Horizon spill. He is a board member of the Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gulf Shores Utilities, Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism, and an active Gulf United Metro Business Organization (GUMBO) member.

Before assuming office, Mayor Craft had a successful entrepreneurial career in agribusiness and real estate development. In 1986, he developed Craft Farms Residential Planned Community and Golf Courses comprised of nine residential villages, two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses, a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, and Cypress Point Condominiums. He is also the founder of Craft Turf Farms, a 1,200-acre turf farm that has provided quality turf grass to builders and landscapers since 1974.

Mayor Craft is a graduate of Foley High School and Auburn University, where he received a degree in Agricultural Science. He is married to his beautiful wife Trudy, a Mobile native, and he has two children and seven grandchildren.

Jan. 4, 2024–Cam Marston / Workplace Consultant & Public Speaker

Cam Marston is an author, advisor, radio talk show host, 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 called What’s Working with Cam Marston that was soon picked up by an FM radio station in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Cam interviews guests to understand the trends influencing their workplace, workforce and marketplace to help listeners adjust their own organizations to face similar changes. Today, with well over 225 shows behind him, the show is now broadcast in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Montgomery, as well as Mobile. In the spring of 2022 he released a book called What Works: 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. The commentaries have recently been converted into short, subscription-based videos to be used as inspirational and motivational weekly training content for the workplace.

Cam’s expertise and acumen are the products of over 20 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.

Dec. 14, 23–Tom McGehee / Museum Director, Bellingrath Gardens & Home “Paul Harris”

Tom McGehee

Tom has served as Museum Director for Bellingrath Gardens and Home for 30 years.  In his capacity as curator over the collections there, he has participated in numerous study courses dealing with decorative arts and garden estates in the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany.

In addition he has been researching the history of Mobile and south west Alabama for more than 35 years and has appeared weekly on NBC’s Gulf Coast Today with his series “Lost Mobile” while his Ask McGehee column has been a regular feature in Mobile Bay Magazine for more than 20 years.

He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Mobile where he is a Paul Harris Fellow and was named Rotarian of the Year in 2012.  He is the author of “A Century of Service Above Self:  A History of the Rotary Club of Mobile, 1914-2014.”

Tom serves on the board of the Rotary Children’s Foundation, the Friends of Magnolia Cemetery, the Historic Restoration Society and the Friends of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion.

Tom is married to the former Ceil Smith of Monroeville and he has a daughter, Megan, currently residing in Athens, Greece.

Dec. 7, 23–Chris Andrews / Bienville Bites Food Tour

Chris Andrews is the founder and CEO of Bienville Bites Food Tour in Mobile, Alabama and Taste of Fairhope Tour in Fairhope, Alabama. Chris was born in Mobile, Alabama and a graduate of Satsuma High School. In 2017, Chris combined his passion for food and history when he launched the first and only food tour in Mobile. Since then, Bienville Bites has been named the “Best Food Tour in Alabama”, awarded the “Certificate of Excellence” by TripAdvisor which is given to the top 10% of attractions worldwide based on excellent five star reviews and recently finished #2 in the “10Best” Food Tours for 2023 by USA Today. 


In the fall of 2020, Chris and his wife Laney launched the Taste of Fairhope tour giving people an opportunity to connect through food and drink on both sides of Mobile Bay. He is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Mobile, host of the Port City Plate Podcast, and is the author of “A Culinary History of Mobile”. Through these endeavors, Chris is passionate about connecting people to the city through food and drink while giving them experiences and stories to share with others.


He lives in Saraland and enjoys spending time with his wife Laney and three children, Audrey, Sawyer, and Carson.