The List - March/April 2016
Aubrey Blackwell has always been told that he is too young. In 2007, he was the youngest Division 1 pitching coach in the country. In 2013, after coaching football for three years, he was appointed offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Saint James School here in Montgomery. People were skeptical of his abilities, but he proved them all wrong. He felt the same doubts as he took on the role of head football coach at Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School. Through all the conflicts, Aubrey says he knows his Lord and Savior put him in these positions for a reason. He is grateful to work with young people and be a Christian influence in their lives. He thanks his hometown of Montgomery and is constantly comforted by his church family at Heritage Baptist. Aubrey has a wife and two kids whom he loves to spend time with, and he is dedicated to his students both at Montgomery Catholic and Heritage Baptist. He says “I feel blessed beyond measure with the calling and gifts with which God has blessed me.”
Zack Camerio graduated from Auburn Montgomery in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He is currently employed with the Alabama Supreme Court and State Law Library. Zack looks forward to moving into a new field as he goes into business with his dad working as a financial advisor. Zack believes his parents have molded him into the person he is today. He says, “Dad has inspired my new career path and also introduced me to the world of community service through the Montgomery Lions Club, which I consider a second family. My dad has been a member for nearly 30 years, so I feel like I've grown up with the organization.” Zack serves the community with the Montgomery Lions Club through philanthropic fundraisers such as the Charity Deer Hunt, Cycling for Sight, and the Chili Cook-Off. Zack is engaged to Mallory Mashburn, and they will wed later this year. He enjoys cycling as his favorite hobby and is looking forward to participating in cycling events in the future.
As an alumnus of Alabama State University, Derricius Chambers has established quite a name for himself in Montgomery. After working as a behavioral specialist and training over 900 students in the area of modeling, makeup and photography, Derricius has become a wild success. Not only is he a published makeup artist and wardrobe stylist, he also works as the coordinator/director of Alabama State University’s Elite Models and as the creative director of Montgomery Hot Spots. On top of all this, he is the wardrobe stylist for Shustring Magazine! In regards to what has most impacted his success, Derricius says, “Alabama State University had the biggest influence on me; it gave me a chance to be able to mold kids, teens and young adults to becoming a better person and being a platform to help them become successful in their career and lives.” He also says that overcoming fear and self-doubt enabled him to realize the gravity of his talent and the ability to use it with confidence. He thanks the community for their abundance of support and stays involved in Montgomery by working as a health educator at Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama.
As the son of an Army officer, Grant Cofer was always on the move. In his junior year of high school, his family found themselves in Stafford, Virginia, where they stayed until Grant’s graduation. Grant went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee in 2007 and from Harvard Law School in 2010. Later that year, Grant accepted a position with Beasley Allen, where he has thoroughly enjoyed working for several years. He says the firm constantly provides him with opportunities for personal and professional growth. Grant largely thanks his parents for his success. Their stable and unwavering foundation during his upbringing has given Grant a great deal of respect and admiration for both of them. After they settled down in Huntsville, it was an easy decision for Grant to move to Montgomery and be close to his family. Grant loves the small-town feel yet big-city resources of Montgomery, but he mostly loves that the city led him to his wife, Candace. In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting, working on cars and spending time with his daughter, Madi.
Bethany Garth graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She quickly took a job in Auburn with the local pregnancy resource center where she was the publicity/events coordinator. She loved the meaningful work she was a part of and enjoyed opportunities to reach out to both clients and donors in her position. In 2011, she put her career on hold to travel the world by bicycle for two years with her husband. The young couple rode 22,900 miles through 41 countries and loved their adventures. Upon their return, they settled in Montgomery where her husband took a job nearby and she found work with Sav-A-Life. She is now the advancement director at the pregnancy resource center, and she loves working in a ministry where she sees so many lives being touched. Bethany says her faith and her husband have had the biggest impact on her success, always challenging her to strive toward excellence in her personal and professional life. Bethany and her husband, Dave, are now parents, having had their first child in December of 2014. She feels blessed by the city of Montgomery and how quickly she and her husband have been able to make a home here.
Katie Grantham graduated from Auburn University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in apparel merchandising. She has worked in retail and customer service for six years, but more recently has become a success in the tuxedo industry. Since November 2014, Katie has worked with Jim Massey and she now holds the title of senior store manager/digital media specialist at Jim Massey Formals. It can often be difficult for Katie to be in a high position at such a young age. She says that her age can change the way she is viewed in the workplace, but this motivates her to prove herself every day. Katie never dreamed of working in menswear, but now that she does, she could not see herself doing anything else. She is thankful for her friends, family and the community for the overwhelming support she’s been given during her time in Montgomery. Katie loves the history of the town and looks forward to exploring Montgomery even more.
Jessica Griffin keeps herself busy to say the least. Not only is she the sous chef, manager, bookkeeper and event coordinator for A Catered Affair, she is also a manager for Pike Road Butcher Block. She loves her work, especially when she has the opportunity to be creative with food displays. Jessica also thoroughly enjoys developing unique recipes and working with her mother, owner of A Catered Affair. The most rewarding part of her job, she says, is making someone’s special day even more amazing than expected. Cooking for people has truly become her passion. A 2005 graduate of Troy University, Jessica has experienced so much already--from working as a weapons mechanic in the Alabama Air National Guard, to deployment in Iraq and now to assisting businesses in their growth and success in Montgomery. Through all of her life changes, she has felt overwhelming support from her family and community. Along with cooking, Jessica enjoys hunting with her dad, working on her jeep and visiting her brother.
David Peden spent eight years happily working for Starbucks Coffee Company. His time there taught him a great deal about how the needs of a business balance the needs of its customers. He uses that mentality as he moves forward in his current career as operations manager at Colonial Commercial Realty. David takes great joy in showing the company’s beautiful properties, meeting people from all over the world, and listening to their stories and hopes for their future homes. David received his Bachelor of Arts in music from Huntingdon College and his MBA from Auburn Montgomery. David says his education at Huntingdon, Montgomery’s hope for a fair and fulfilling future for all its citizens, and the courteous manner and hard work of the city’s ancestors have made him a more open-hearted, compassionate and cultured person. He stays involved with his business, his church, and his wife and two sons. David’s favorite thing about Montgomery is exploring the beautiful neighborhoods found all over the city.
Suretha Barlow Oates, a native of Montgomery, is a full-time employee with the State of Alabama Personnel Department. She also shares a partnership in Posh Shoetique, a locally based online shoe store, with her sister-in-law, Nakesha Vane Oates. Suretha is a graduate of Troy University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Following her time at Troy, she served six years in the Air National Guard as a Security Forces member at 187 Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field. She considers her children the most influential part of her success. She says, “I have always wanted to build a solid foundation for them, show them good work ethics and make them aware that nothing is given, but earned: hard work pays off.” She thoroughly enjoys her work with Posh Shoetique because it allows her to gain business knowledge, network with other businesses and most importantly, help women find the “perfect shoe.” She loves helping women feel confident. Suretha volunteers with the Joy to Life Foundation, is an active member of the Narrow Lane Road Church of Christ and assists with a local dance team. Suretha and her husband of seven years, Harry, have three children. Their family adores Montgomery and its historic area and especially appreciates the constant growth of downtown buildings and restaurants.