Nov. 30, 2023–Brian O’Donnell / President, American Weatherstar

Born and raised in Mobile, one of six children to Jim and Mary O’Donnell.

Davidson HS, class of 1987

South Alabama, class of 1992

Put myself through college working full time at Winn Dixie

First job out of college was an outside sales rep for Lamar Advertising.  Spent one year in Roanoke VA with Lamar.  Best sales training year imaginable.  While I wasn’t very good at selling outdoor advertising they taught me a great deal about B2B sales.

Moved into the roofing industry in 1993 in Atlanta GA as an outside sales rep for a shingle manufacturer

My first roof coatings job was in 1994 with Gardner Asphalt covering 13 states.  With such a large territory I was able to move back home to Mobile in 1996.

Soon after I met my wife Laura.  We weree married Feb 7th 1998.

In 2000 I started an Ind Rep firm in order to learn and sell all other roof coating chemistries I was not working with

In 2004, with help from Laura, I stared American WeatherStar in our home.  That same year we had our first two children, Ryan and Ainsley

In 2006 we had our third child Maggie, and moved the business from our home into a small office.

American WeatherStar has moved two more times since and is now on a 10 acre complex in Irvington.

My older two children are now 19 and are sophomores at UA.

Maggie is a Junior at McGill Toolen HS.

Laura and I have been married for 25 years.


Nov. 16, 2023–Steven Clarke / CEO, Sliver Ships, Inc.

During Clarke’s time as CFO, Silver Ships saw revenue increase more than 40%. Since 2015 Clarke has focused on diversification of the Silver Ships customer base. This includes segmenting the customer base from more than 80% military focused to a more even mix. The shipyard has expanded to include industries such as fire rescue and law enforcement.

Clarke began his career as a data analyst at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in North Carolina. He then became a financial analyst at West Coast-based Coast Crane Co., a subsidiary of Essex Rental Corp. In 2015, Clarke joined the Silver Ships as co-owner and CFO.

“Since joining the team in 2015, I have had a passion for working to create and refine our business processes and continue to vertically integrate our manufacturing. Through strategic hiring, employee development, marketing, and business development, we have invested in Silver Ships,” Clarke said in a statement. “This investment has had a direct impact to broaden our customer base and grow our revenues. I am honored to be able to serve as CEO, and eager to work alongside my team to meet our customer’s demanding missions, continue to innovate in our field and grow the profitability of Silver Ships.”

Nov. 2, 2023–Melissa Wells & Ralph Drury, III / Bellingrath Gardens & Home–Magic Christmas in Lights Manager & Showrunner and Maintenance Manager

Bellingrath’s Magic Christmas in Lights – Behind the Scenes

For almost three decades, the 68 acres of Gardens at Bellingrath have annually been transformed for Magic Christmas in Lights using dozens of custom-built set pieces and millions of colorful lights. The resulting show has earned the Gardens a top ranking on annual lists of the best holiday light shows in the United States.

Three years ago with the arrival of Executive Director Todd Lasseigne, a nationally recognized designer was hired to reimagine the show and provide a new “wow” factor each year.  A master plan has been created to delight first time and repeat visitors alike.

Additions to the visitor experience include open fire pits for “S’mores” and hot chocolate as well as  a selection of beers and wine.

Today’s program will feature Bellingrath staff members Melissa Wells and Ralph Drury who will give a behind the scenes look at all that it takes to create Magic Christmas in Lights each year.

Oct. 26, 2023–Governor Kay Ivey / State of Alabama Governor

Growing up in the small town of Camden in Wilcox County, Alabama, and working on her father’s farm, Kay Ivey was taught the value of hard work and living within one’s means. Her parents instilled the Alabama values of faith, family and community.

After graduating from Auburn University in 1967, Kay worked as a high school teacher and a bank officer. She served as Reading Clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives under Speaker Joseph C. McCorquodale and was Assistant Director of the Alabama Development Office, where she worked to spur job creation and economic development across the state.

In 2002, Kay became the first Republican elected State Treasurer since Reconstruction, and she was re-elected in 2006. As Treasurer, Kay was committed to making the office more open, transparent, and efficient. Kay was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2010, becoming the first Republican woman to hold the office in Alabama’s history.

She again made history on November 4, 2014, by becoming the first Republican Lieutenant Governor re-elected to the office.

Governor Ivey has been honored to receive numerous awards for her service to the state of Alabama, including the 2015 ALFA Service to Agriculture Award; Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential Female Republicans in the country; the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2016 Public Service Award; and 2017 Citizen of the Year, by River Region Living Magazine. In September 2019, the Alabama-Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America distinguished Governor Ivey as a Golden Eagle for her ‘scout like service’ and being a trailblazer for women. In 2021, Governor Ivey was awarded the prestigious Army Aviation Order of St. Michael Knight Award. The American Village also presented the governor their highest honor, the Cornerstone of Liberty Award. Most recently, Governor Ivey was presented the inaugural Cognia STEM Champion Award and the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame Award.

On April 10, 2017, Governor Ivey was sworn in as the 54th Governor of the state of Alabama in the Old Senate Chamber in the Alabama State Capitol by Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart. Following a successful nineteen months in office, the people of Alabama made history again in November 2018 by electing Governor Ivey to a full term. She is the first Lieutenant Governor of Alabama elected to a full term after taking over as governor due to a vacancy in the Governor’s Office.

On January 14, 2019, Governor Ivey was officially sworn in for her full term by Associate Justice Will Sellers. Governor Ivey’s first term brought conservative leadership with effective results to make this generation more productive and the next generation more prosperous.

Governor Ivey was reelected to a second full term November 2022 in a landslide voting outcome, and she was sworn in January 16, 2023. Noting education, economic development, roads and bridges, broadband expansion, public safety and government reform as the top priorities of her second administration, Governor Ivey vowed to keep Alabama working, ensuring the state’s best days are yet to come.

She is a member of the First Baptist Church of Montgomery, the Montgomery Rotary Club and the Board of Directors of the Montgomery YMCA. Governor Ivey is also the first Girls State alumnus to be elected to an Alabama Constitutional Office.


Oct. 19, 2023–Dr. Jim McClintock / Endowed University Professor of Polar & Marine Biology, UAB “From Penguins to Plankton – Impacts of Antarctic Climate Change and What it Means for Alabama”

James B. McClintock is the Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1978) and his doctoral degree from the University of South Florida (1984).  In 1987, after completing a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he joined the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He became a Full Professor at UAB in 1997 and has also served as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (1999-2003) and as Interim Dean of the Graduate School (2003-2005).  Dr. McClintock’s research has been funded continuously over the past 33 years by the National Science Foundation and focuses on aspects of marine invertebrate nutrition, reproduction, and primarily, Antarctic marine chemical ecology.  Over the past fifteen-years, his research has also encompassed studies of the impacts of rapid climate change and ocean acidification on Antarctic marine algae and invertebrates.  He has published 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications, edited and written books, is invited to make numerous scientific and popular science presentations, and his research has been featured in a variety of public media outlets including the NPR Diane Rehm Show, NPR’s “On Point” with Tom Ashbrook, NPR Morning Edition with David Green, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Discover Magazine, Scientific American Magazine, CNN, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and The Weather Channel.  He has been an invited speaker for ‘TEDx’ (Birmingham) and ‘The Moth’ (Lincoln Center, New York City) and has served on workshops sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences on Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems.  He recently returned from his 16th research expedition to Antarctica where over the past two decades he and his research collaborators have become among the world’s authorities on Antarctic marine chemical ecology and drug discovery and have developed an award winning interactive educational outreach web site (  His expertise on the ecological impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine life of the Antarctic Peninsula has garnered numerous invited lectures and he writes in the popular literature on this timely topic.  His book Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land (Palgrave/MacMillan) was released in September 2012 (paperback edition released in 2014 with a Foreward by Sylvia Earle) and has garnered considerable national and international praise (  In June 2013, a video short based on his book was produced and released by the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation that featured narration by Harrison Ford.  His second book A Naturalist Goes Fishing (St. Martins/MacMillan), released in November 2015, combines fishing adventures with an overview of pressing needs for freshwater and marine conservation (  He has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the UAB Ellen Gregg Ingalls Recognition for Excellence in Teaching and the UAB Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Prize for Outstanding Scholarship.  In 2001, he was given the Wright A. Gardner Award for the most outstanding scientist in the state of Alabama and he was selected in 2012 to serve on the Advisory Board of the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.  In June 2018, the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), represented by 43 member nations, awarded him their inaugural SCAR Medal for Education and Communication.  In December 2018, he became the national face of the Nature Conservancy’s ‘Can We Talk Climate’ campaign.  He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an elected Trustee of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a board member of The Cahaba River Society and Alabama Forever Wild and is an elected Fellow of the Explorer’s Club. On March 16, 2019, in the company of eight former Apollo Astronauts, the Explorer’s Club presented Dr. James McClintock with the Finn Ronne Memorial Award for Advances in Antarctic Science and Education.  In October 1998, the United States Board on Geographic Names designated the geographic feature “McClintock Point” in honor of his contributions to Antarctic science.

Oct. 12, 2023–Owen Bailey, M.S.H.A., FACHE / CEO, USA Health

About Owen Bailey

Owen Bailey serves as chief executive officer and senior associate vice president for medical affairs of USA Health. His leadership responsibilities include University Hospital, Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Mitchell Cancer Institute and USA Health Physicians Group. He previously served as administrator of Children’s & Women’s Hospital, president and chief executive officer of Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, and as an executive vice president for Infirmary Health System.

A fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives, he has served on the boards of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the University of Mobile. He is past chairman of the Southwest Council for the Alabama Hospital Association, Mobile Area Education Foundation, Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council and the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on several boards including the Business Council of Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Hancock Whitney Bank Alabama Market Advisory Board, America’s Essential Hospitals Membership Committee, and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. He also serves as the state delegate to the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board and is past chairman of the Alabama Hospital Association Board of Directors.

Bailey has received numerous awards, including the Up and Comer Award from ModernHealthcare magazine, the Young Healthcare Executive of the Year and the Regent’s Award from the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration from Auburn University, where he served as drum major of the Auburn University Marching Band. He earned a master’s degree in health administration from UAB. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Fairhope, and he and his wife, Genie, have four children.

Oct. 5, 2023–Tonie Ann Torrans / Executive Director, Penelope House

Tonie Ann Coumanis Torrans

Tonie Ann served in the United States Peace Corps in Kingston, Jamaica where she helped set up a Social Work Department in the Bustamante Hospital for Children (the only children-specific hospital in the Caribbean)- 1989-1991

Tonie Ann worked as a Medical Social Worker for nearly 15 years at Providence Hospital before coming to Penelope House in March 2007

Tonie Ann received her Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi and her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a Social Work Emphasis at the University of Southern Mississippi where she played Varsity Volleyball for four years and was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority

Currently, Tonie Ann is the Executive Director of Penelope House, attends the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and is a member of the Junior League of Mobile, Daughters of Penelope, and NASW (National Association of Social Workers)

Tonie Ann is the proud mother of two sons: ages 19 and 16


Sept. 28, 23–Dr. Leida Javier / HABAGC (Hispanic American Business Association of the Gulf Coast)

Dr. Leida Javier- Ferrell, is a 27 year resident of Mobile and native from Puerto Rico. She has helped, showcased, represented and empower the Latino community in our region

Leida worked at Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce as Director of the Center for Workforce Development. She was VP of Youth and Adult Programs at Mobile Works, the Workforce investment consortia, where she managed an assistance grant after Katrina and lead to achieve above performance records. In addition, Dr. Javier-Ferrell worked as Assistant to the President of Airbus Military and as Community and Business developer for a German IT company. She has also taught at the University of South Alabama, Springhill and Bishop State Community College.

Before coming to Mobile, Dr, Javier was Dean and VP of Student Affairs in 2 large private universities in Puerto Rico. She stressed the development of leadership and community service.

After retiring in 2020, Dr. Javier-Ferrell established a project management and workforce development consultant company, Javier-Calametti, LLC,  Still has dedicated most of her time in volunteer service, including providing  leadership in the organization of the Mobile Latin Fest,  raising funds for scholarships and assistance to the Hispanic Community.

In 2021 Javier Calametti  LLC was awarded funds from Mobile United to train, certify and license Hispanic women to start food businesses. The certification classes in Spanish have served over 40 participants through BSCC and Coastal Alabama Community College. To complete this business incubator project, the Hispanic Association received a Grant from the American Recovery Act to establish a Shared kitchen Commissary Kitchen. The Continental Kitchen will open in late September. Leida has been the construction and project manager as a volunteer.

She holds a BA in Political Science from The Inter American University of Puerto Rico; an MA in Sociology from the University of Northern Iowa; and a PHD in Higher Education Administrations from Illinois State University.


Recent recognitions

2023- 25 Women that Shape the State of Alabama, Alabama Media Group

2022- Alabama Power-  Power Moves Magazine recognition

2021 40 over 40 Focus Women Award  recognition in Mobile

First group of Herstory Award- Museum of History of Mobile

Seven Seals Award from the Armed Forces -For bringing the Hiring our Heroes Program to Mobile

Leadership Mobile Class of 2012


Involvement in the Community:

Chair- DHR Board

Member of the Board of the United Way of Southwest Alabama

President and Founding member of the Hispanic American Business Association of the Gulf Coast

Advisory Board of BBVA Bank

Member of several working committees of the city of Mobile, workforce development and education programs

Board of the American Red Cros, MASS, the Homeless Coalition, The Interfaith Coalition, and of Professional Women International.


At 71, Leida still thrives as a disruptive leader!