The List - July/August 2016
Chantel Davis Bass graduated from Alabama State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business/marketing and secondary education. While pursuing her degree, she worked at Peppertree Steaks N’ Wines developing and perfecting their classic recipes. Upon graduation, she was promoted to marketing director and developed a deep understanding and appreciation for the constantly changing wine industry. In 2012, she began teaching continuing education wine classes through Auburn University Montgomery. During her career at Peppertree Steaks N’ Wines, she has made many business and personal connections, including meeting her husband and Peppertree chef, Andrew Bass. Her current position as general manager, marketing director and catering coordinator allows her to implement her marketing skills and wine knowledge to educate and serve the community’s many wine connoisseurs. Chantel loves the Southern hospitality and small-town feel of Montgomery. She says, “I love that I can be standing in line at a store or sitting by a stranger at a Biscuits game and strike up a conversation!” Chantel loves serving her community and helped plan the annual Reds, Whites & Blues fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, bike riding with her 15-year-old son, Leonard, and hosting wine-pairing dinner parties with her husband.
Patrick Cross The first time the team at RSVP heard Patrick Cross perform, he instantly became a go-to musician for events. Talented, charming and humble, it’s easy to see how Patrick brings life to a room at the first strum of his guitar. Growing up in a house with musician parents, it was easy to see the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree. One of the best parts of his music career is when fans make connections with Patrick through his songs. He says, DzThe most rewarding moment is when someone stops me and says how much a song means to them. It is cool knowing people can relate to what I am saying in a song.dz However, the spotlight is nothing new to Patrick, he played in Tim Burton’s Big Fish as the little kid on the airplane making puppet shadows. Now you can catch this likable longhaired singer around town playing at various venues with a set list for music lovers of all kinds.
The Montgomery restaurant and hospitality scene is nothing new to general manger of A & P Social, Taylor Hardy. Previously, Taylor has worked at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, a front house manager at Central 129 Coosa and as food and beverage manager of Perdido Beach Resort. Being a Montgomery native has helped Taylor understand the beautiful personality and identity that his hometown has to offer his career. The main obstacle Taylor has had to overcome in his industry is his age, which has helped him learn a lot about himself and his ability to manage people through loyalty and respect. But he owes his success to Municipal Judge Jim McLaughlin of Auburn, who taught him the poise and professionalism that it takes to be successful. One of his favorite things about his job is the one-on-one engagement with people. He says, “The most worthwhile experience is the personal connections and conversations you have with a random individual that connects your world to theirs.” Taylor’s life is enriched by his 4-year-old golden retriever named Shadow, and he is one reason Taylor enjoys being involved with anything that will help better the Montgomery community, specifically the Humane Society and Helping Shepherds of Every Color Rescue.
Through her career and community involvement, Dr. Molly Killingsworth raises the bar to help schools and districts create better learning environments for children in Alabama. After receiving her bachelor’s, master’s, and education specialist degrees from Troy University and AUM and her Ph.D. from Auburn University she served as a guidance counselor and school district administrator in Elmore County for 13 years. She is now the regional support coordinator for the Alabama Department of Education and is a board member of Elmore County Partnership for Children and Leadership Elmore County. Growing up, her father always stressed the importance of education, independence and self-sufficiency. She says, “Lessons learned at an early age have stayed with me and guided me through my career decisions. His teachings, along with the love and support of my brother, have molded me into the person I am today.” Her favorite part of her job is to watch the turnaround when she is able to identify a problem within the system and develop a solution to improve the environment for Alabama’s youth. Molly enjoys reading and traveling and loves the cultural and historical aspects Montgomery has to offer.
Montgomery native Jordan Kameron Kirkland has given the local live music scene anew edge as the founder and coordinator of Live & Listen, a nonprofit music production company that raises funds and awareness for many of Central Alabama’s local charity foundations. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in public administration from Auburn University, he began working as a sales consultant for Capitol Container where he gained confidence in the world of sales and began constructing the idea for his Dzpassion projectdz that is Live & Listen. With the help and support of Montgomery’s local business owners, Live & Listen has raised over $13,000 for charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cancer Wellness Foundation, and the Parkinson Association of Central Alabama. Jordan has always had a passion for live music and is able to use this company as his outlet for promoting music while also doing a service to his community. Jordan attributes Live & Listen’s success to the help and support he’s received from others. He says “We are constantly working on new ideas to make these events more successful, but we would not have been able to make any of them happen without the support of our business sponsors.”
Rocky Prince is no stranger to the culinary world. After many years of traveling from Alabama to California then back to Alabama working for various top-notch restaurants, Rocky is now the executive chef at Wind Creek Casino’s Itta Bena. He took a chance on a small French bistro, 3,000 miles away from everything he knew, which turned out to be one of the best moves of his career. He says, “Being an executive sous chef at such a young age, garnering the respect of a diverse kitchen staff was a huge obstacle, but taught me how to earn their respect by respecting them.” Rocky thanks Jill Bosich and Craig Peterson for contributing to the success of his career by giving him a world of education that far surpassed his culinary school experiences. Montgomery’s community has given Rocky the chance to showcase his talents while giving back to the community by participating in charity events like Culinary Caper, Chili Cook Off, Burger Bash and Cajun Cook Off. In his spare time, Rocky enjoys skydiving, making specialty themed cakes and preparing meals for the Ronald McDonald House of Birmingham.
Dwight N. Rodgers, Sr.
At a young age, Dwight’s mother taught him that in order to be successful, one must serve. His passion for working with and helping others in the Montgomery community runs parallel with his success and reputation in the business world. As Director of Outlets for Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at The Convention Center, Dwight N. Rodgers, Sr. has made networking connections with many individuals and organizations. His service to the Montgomery community extends from his career as President and CEO of his nonprofit development and consulting company, which he partners with Mr. Kory Ward, which helps organizations achieve their not-for-profit status, Board of Directors development, and also assists in grant funding and research inquiries. Dwight holds an associate and bachelor’s degree in management with a concentration in human resources from Post University and is currently pursuing an MBA in project management. He gives his mother the credit for placing the biggest impact on his success. He says, “With her words of advice in mind, I always remember to treat each person with respect, remain humble and continue to strive for the best.” He lives in Montgomery and has two children, Dwight and Orlando, and enjoys sports, cooking and travel.
Nicole Smith Salter
After graduating from Samford University with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, Nicole Smith Salter started her career in kitchen and bath design then moved into health care designs. She then found her passion after several residential and light commercial design projects and started Interiors by Nicole. At the age of 5, Nicole would tag along beside her grandmother on excursions of her home remodel projects, which in turn had a big influence of her career. As a single mom, Nicole knew reaching her goals and becoming successful wouldn’t happen by itself. She says, “I grabbed the bull by the horns and pushed myself into a mode of ‘GO TIME’ to ensure success and my family’s happiness.” Nicole loves creating the space for a client to make it their own and accessible to those who think they can’t afford a designer. Without the strong relationships with her clients, Nicole wouldn’t have had the continuous networking opportunities that have helped promote her business and stay successful. Her two children, Robert Taylor and Marlee Elizabeth are the absolute center of her universe.
A Gulf Shores, Alabama native, Caty Jane Turnipseed has brought her faith and passion for helping others to Montgomery and surrounding areas with her service to the community. Caty is a member of the Montgomery Lion’s Club, Emerge Montgomery, and Torchbearer’s of Leadership Montgomery. She is also a volunteer at Saint James School and an active member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church and their praise team. Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Caty is now the development coordinator for the Family Sunshine Center, a nonprofit organization that has helped victims and survivors of family violence for 35 years in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties. Caty was able to reach this place in her career by taking a major leap of faith, and she has enjoyed every minute of it. She says, “What I love most about what I do is speaking to leaders and people in our community, telling them of the awesome things that are happening at the Family Sunshine Center and sharing the success stories of our clients.” She currently lives in Pike Road with her husband, Ian, and their two children, Tommy and Ella Jane.
Ada Katherine van Wyhe
Ada Katherine van Wyhe, account executive with Vertical Strategies, is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and is from Reedley, California. Currently she is pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Growing up with teachers as parents, the value of an education and its power to positively transform lives was something instilled in her from a very young age. The impact of her students and the educators Ada Katherine taught alongside have greatly impacted her professional career path. There are educational inequities in Alabama that Ada Katherine knows need to be transformed, and she is currently working to facilitate necessary reforms to the state's public school systems. She says, “Working together to give our children a chance to grow, learn and succeed will change our community for good.” Ada Katherine loves that her job affords her the opportunity to use her voice to impact real, meaningful change for her students and the greater community. She is involved in numerous organizations including Emerge Montgomery, Junior Board for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alumni Board for Teach for America, Junior League of Montgomery, and the River Region Junior Board for Magic Moments. Montgomery has offered Ada Katherine a chance to enjoy SEC football culture, meet new people, and enjoy great Southern food.