RSVP Montgomery

The List March/April 2015



Hillary Andrews

Although Hillary Andrews felt as if she was “late to the party” when deciding her life’s plan, there’s no doubt she’s on the right path now. Hillary attended college at Troy University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in design, technology and industry with a concentration in fine art. While in school, she ran her own business, Pint Bottle Photography, and also did freelance photography, videography and screen-printing. Hillary currently works for Cunningham Group, a marketing and public relations firm located in downtown Montgomery. She says the thing she loves most about her job is that she forms a vision in her mind and then creates something tangible that others can see. “Taking a design from conception to realization can be as simple as moving some type around on a page, or as difficult as constructing an entire website with code,” she explains. No mater if the task is easy or hard, Hillary says the end result always makes her smile. She loves being able to donate her time and give back to the community. She is currently working with the 11th Annual Crawfish Boil for Autism and Hospice of Montgomery's Kentucky Derby event. In her spare time, Hillary likes to cook, read and listen to her record collection. She also enjoys spending time with her big, fat cat named P and her puppy, Myrtle.


Dr. Elise Barnett

Elise P. Barnett, M.D, FAAD Heavily influenced by her grandmother, who graduated from medical school in the 1940s, Dr. Elise Barnett decided to specialize in dermatology. Elise attended LSU medical school in New Orleans and interned at Tulane University but finished that internship in Houston, Texas after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. She completed her residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Although Elise found herself at home with her nose in a medical book most of the 12 years she was focusing on her studies, she says, “All of the sacrifice paid off, because I am able to do what I love every day.” Since joining Dermatology Associates in 2011, Elise has felt embraced by this community. Her patients have been extremely welcoming and her best advertisement has been word of mouth. Besides being fixated with all things having to do with skin, Elise finds interaction with her patients to be the most rewarding. “I truly enjoy helping people look their best while using a gentle and conservative approach,” she says. Elise also teaches UAB medical students and Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residents from the UAB Montgomery campus and serves as vice chair of the Leader’s Society campaign within the Dermatology Foundation. Elise and her husband, Clay Barnett, also support many local charitable organizations. The couple has two children, 2-year-old Houston and 9-month-old Elizabeth, and a 12-year-old terrier mix, Elvis. Elise says her favorite thing about Montgomery is the sense of community. “It offers all the amenities of a larger city, but still has a very small town feel,” she explains. When not in the office, you can find Elise playing with her children and hiking, swimming and boating on Lake Martin.


Summer Fuller

Summer S. Fuller Having been employed with First Community Bank of Central Alabama for 13 years, Summer Fuller currently serves as assistant vice president and loan officer. Summer graduated Alabama Banking School from the University of South Alabama in 2013. “While I have worked very hard to get where I am today, First Community Bank has been an awesome support team in my education, family and career,” she says. Summer loves being part of a community bank, and she enjoys forming relationships and helping others. “Our customers are more like family to me. I get a chance to be a part of major milestones in their lives, whether it be building a new home, buying that first car, or starting a new business,” she explains. Summer is an active member of the Bankers to Leaders section of the Alabama Bankers Association and is also involved with numerous activities, including chamber and civic events. She is an active member of Goodhope Baptist Church. In her spare time, Summer enjoys working out because she feels that she can release all frustrations at the gym. A frequent traveler, Fuller says, “I love living in the moment, making someone laugh or smile while creating new adventures, and making the most out of every day.” She has two children, eight-year-old Dalton and seven-year-old Isabella.


Rachel Gandy

Rachel Gandy Not everyone gets to say they work with Governor Robert Bentley, but Rachel Gandy is one of the few that do. After graduating from Montgomery Academy, Rachel went on to receive a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of North Alabama, majoring in human resource management with a minor in Spanish.She returned to Montgomery to fill the position of assistant to the governor. As a member of the governor’s staff, Rachel serves the Montgomery community and the state of Alabama. “I like the opportunity this position gives me to impact the community. I have the platform and resources to make a difference, not just as a member of the governor’s staff, but as a citizen of the state of Alabama,” she says. While Rachel has been blessed with a supportive family and educational opportunities, she says, “The greatest obstacle I have had to overcome is recognizing and further accepting the idea that I am able to engineer my own path in life, regardless of expectations.” Outside of her work, Rachel is actively involved with the Beta Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Greater New Life Church and Emerge Leadership Montgomery. Rachel says her favorite part about Montgomery is the new developments downtown. She loves meeting new people, spending time with her friends and catching a movie at the Capri Theater.


Will Garrison

As a bartender at La Jolla, Will Garrison gets to meet and interact with a lot of different people on a daily basis, and maybe you have been lucky enough to be one of them. Though Will is not a native of Montgomery, he has been integrated into the community with the help of his friends. “I am not from Alabama, but my friends and community make me feel as though I have always been a part of their world,” he says, “I love the people I get to work with everyday, and the ability to help people have a better day. I get to have conversations that other people don’t get to hear. It is always interesting.” When Will isn’t spending time with his daughter, Jasmine Renee, he enjoys being an active member of the Alabama Chivers, which raises money for various charities. Recently, he started a local group called Gumptown Chivers. Through collaboration with other members, Will has helped the community through food drives and Toys for Tots donations. While the Chive keeps him busy during his time off, Will is also trying to get involved in skydiving.


Elizabeth Hawke

Elizabeth Hawke, owner and artist of OneBirdsNest.com and business development director of Seay Seay & Litchfield Architects, is definitely no stranger to the area. A native of Montgomery, she graduated from Saint James School and then headed to Tuscaloosa to further her education. Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama. She says she has always had a proclivity for business and marketing, and it is what has fueled her passion and full-time employment as a business development director. Equally, she recognized an ever-strengthening desire to explore the creativity of her spirit, which truly came to the forefront after the birth of her daughter, Anne Helen. “The inspiration for my artwork of OneBirdsNest.com comes from a desire to encourage my daughter to pursue her dreams and believe in the talents and strengths she possesses,” she explains. Elizabeth receives endless pleasure in shaping her home into a place she is comfortable in and happy to occupy. “My home is my family, my retreat, my culinary school, my boardinghouse, my cinema, and even my night club (on a good Saturday night),” she says. Elizabeth enjoys helping others create a space that they are equally as pleased to dwell in through her art. She attributes every bit of her success to the community and with each encouraging word and purchase, becomes more and more confident in her pursuit. She is married to Harrison Hawke, an account executive at Thompson Insurance. Elizabeth’s vices are coffee, chocolate and any television show that comes on Bravo.


Steven Lambert

Montgomery may not be the largest city Steven Lambert has ever lived in, but it has been the place where he’s built a home. After studying art and design at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Steven opened his own design and screen-printing shop, working mainly with clients in the music industry. Steven made the move to Montgomery in late 2012 with his wife, Michelle, to work for Mims Management Group. In May 2014, Steven furthered the up-and-coming creative community in the capital city by serving as the creative director for Cotton & Pine Creative, a design studio, letterpress and print shop. “I love that Montgomery is a city ripe with opportunity. If you want to have a hand in shaping what Montgomery will look like in the future, you can do that, regardless of your age, background or affiliations.” he says. As a trustee of the Gumption Fund, which provides grants in support of projects that promote the good of Montgomery, Steven loves hearing others’ ideas and being involved in making them a reality that can benefit everyone in the community. Through Cotton & Pine Creative, Steven has been a source of creativity for many people, but his fuel and motivation for his work comes partly from his wife, who has been his constant support system and collaborative partner since before they were married. The two just recently embarked on another new journey together—welcoming their first-born son, Ocean, into the world.


Alice McCollum

Alice Barganier McCollum If you’ve lived in the Montgomery or Prattville area for a while, you’ve probably run into Alice Barganier McCollum, especially if you’re a frequent customer at Mellow Mushroom, the popular pizza eatery where Alice is the owner and operator of both locations. In 2002, after working at Regions as a financial recruiter in Atlanta, Alice moved back to Montgomery to open Bruster’s Ice Cream, which she has since sold to local business owners. As a Montgomery native and graduate of Saint James School, Alice believes in the potential of our growing city and is contributing to the renovation of the downtown area by opening a third Mellow Mushroom location. She attributes her knowledge of business not only to her life experience and education at the University of Georgia and Oxford University in England, but also to her father, Jim Barganier, who has owned and operated a local architecture firm for nearly 50 years. She is also highly influenced by her mother, Jane Barganier, who is “a true treasure to have as a mother and role model.” Though owning a business isn’t always easy, Alice keeps a positive attitude. “All the obstacles that are associated with opening a business are at times insurmountable, but you keep going because you believe in what you are doing and in the betterment of yourself and what your business will bring to your community,” she says. When Alice isn’t busy tending to her businesses and serving as a board member for local YMCAs and the Alabama Dance Theatre, she enjoys spending time with her two sons, Ware and Lawton.


Ronald Simmons

When asked who has had the biggest influence on his success, Ronald Simmons was quick to respond, “Jesus Christ, my parents and Southside Church of Christ.” Ron currently serves as vice president of business development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “I enjoy providing help and guidance that leads to sustainable growth in local businesses, as well as improvement in the quality of life for the citizens in the River Region,” he says. He attended Alabama State University and graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a Bachelor of Science. Serving in the U.S. Army Reserves for 9 years until 1996, Ron held the title of quartermaster officer. Partnered with the City-County Public Library and Dreamland BBQ, in July 2012, Simmons and his 7-year-old daughter started an organization called D.A.D.S. (Dads and Daughters Society). Members of D.A.D.S. meet every second Saturday at the Juliette Hampton Morgan Library to read, laugh and “just have fun.” While being involved in the community through numerous organizations, Ron says he is “encouraged and excited to work for our business community every day!” He currently serves on the board for the Brantwood Children’s Home and the Sickle Cell Foundation. Additionally, he is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery’s Class XXVIII. While Ron might seem like he is all business, he enjoys many hobbies in his spare time. Last year, Ron participated as a swimmer in the Capital of Dreams Triathlon and also recruited the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Tournament, which will be held in Montgomery in 2016. He and his wife, Annette Simmons, have three children – Ronald Simmons II, Austin, and Erin.


Eugene Tinker

Eugene Tinker, Jr. Eugene Tinker, Jr. was no stranger to the word “no” before being able to get his business, Certified Technical Experts, up and running. With determination, faith and a strong work ethic, Eugene was able to overcome the negativity thrown his way and build his information technology and medical consulting firm. “There were many days I wanted to give up because I thought I would never be able to accomplish my dream of being a business owner,” he says. After earning two associate degrees from Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa and, later, a degree in business administration from Faulkner University, Eugene decided to settle down in Montgomery and start his professional career. He credits his mom and an influential professor from Shelton State for instilling in him a passion for life and his work in IT. Because of his inspirational mother, Eugene developed a passion for mentoring and helping young people in the Montgomery community. One of the ways he does this is through CTE’s internship program, which allows students from different colleges and some area high schools to explore the IT career field and get hands-on experience. When Eugene isn’t working, he enjoys traveling, horseback riding and being with his son, Aiden Tinker.


Jeh Vinson

Upon graduating from Auburn University, Jeh Vinson put his degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Business to use in various establishments in Auburn before moving back to Montgomery. Jeh is currently a realtor at Partners Realty. Influenced by his parents’ hard work, dedication and kindness, he says that although real estate is a competitive market, with perseverance and patience he is reaching his goals. “I truly enjoy helping people. The process of finding someone a home that they love, and the fact that my role is to facilitate this process, is very enjoyable and rewarding in all aspects,” he explains. Jeh feels that the community has been very receptive and supportive of him, and the support from family, friends and his girlfriend of five years has been critical to the progress of his career. “Montgomery is my home, and this wonderful city has provided me with so many opportunities and lifelong relationships,” Jeh says. As Montgomery continues to grow with excitement and progress, he feels it’s so satisfying to contribute to its growth. For many years following Jeh’s return to Montgomery, he designed and built custom furniture and creative expressions with salvaged materials. Jeh enjoys cooking with friends and family, as well as traveling to and exploring new places of all variety.



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