The LIST May/June 2013
“My career is about bringing good, creative food to people of the community,” explains Wesley True. Well, that’s exactly what Wesley does. He is the executive chef and owner of True, a restaurant that specializes in farm-inspired seasonal cuisine. From the Alabama beef burger to the Gulf grouper, it’s easy to tell that Wesley really cares about his work. After attending the University of Mississippi, Wesley decided to pursue his passion and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He went on to work as a sous chef at the restaurants of Gordon Ramsey (The London) and Bobby Flay (Mesa Grill). In 2007 Wesley moved back to his hometown of Mobile, Ala. to open the True Restaurant. He is currently the executive chef and owner of True Midtown Kitchen in Mobile, Ala. and the recently opened True Montgomery. Wesley says one of his new hobbies is his new Whole Animal program. He takes local animals and utilizes every aspect of the animal. Chef Wesley loves buying local. He believes it helps the economy around him, which in turn helps him. He feels lucky to be a part of the growth in Montgomery. He and his wife, Bobbi Heirtoff, have three cats: Big Cat, Little Cat, and Captain Ron. When he’s not busy preparing food, Wesley enjoys flying airplanes as well as building and playing guitars.
Katie Lee Lowder
“I love meeting new people daily, developing relationships with my clients, and being able to have a hand in supporting an individual’s health,” says Katie Lowder. She is the owner of Pure Barre Studio in Montgomery, which offers a total body workout set to specifically selected music utilizing the ballet barre. Katie explains that after she took her first Pure Barre class two years ago, she just knew she had to bring the amazing techniques to Montgomery. After graduating from Auburn University in communications and business administration marketing, Katie pursued a career in marketing. She initially worked for companies such as the American Red Cross and Piggly Wiggly in South Carolina. However, her passion for health and fitness eventually led her back to school to become a nurse. She is currently a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Baptist East Medical Center. Katie says that her supportive husband deserves a lot of praise for her success. He has always been there for her through even the most stressful times. The two of them recently welcomed their son, Jack, into the world. Katie says that their favorite thing about Montgomery is the community. She believes the people of Montgomery are the best around, and she is happy to offer services to help them be healthy. When not working, or exercising, Katie enjoys spending time with her family and snow skiing.
Edwin Tyler Sexton
Tyler Sexton says the best part of his job is the balance of freedom and teamwork that it affords. “I work for a company that doesn’t micro-manage every move, but when needed, everyone will pitch in to get important tasks done,” explains Tyler. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in financial management from the University of Alabama in 2006, Tyler began work with W.R. Taylor & Company, LLC. He is currently a financial analyst with the Investment Banking Division. His responsibilities include resetting the interest rates for tax-exempt bonds, structuring and registering bonds, and trading bonds. Those responsibilities grow each year. He credits Belle Kasson and Robbins Taylor for taking a chance on him at a young age, fresh out of school. Tyler believes that the hands-on experience in investment banking has proven invaluable to him. He tries to stay involved in the community as well. After moving back to Montgomery, Tyler coached the Saint James Middle School basketball team. He feels that he was able to impact them positively, and now he tries to help out at the Cloverdale Playhouse whenever possible. His wife, Tara, is an intern with the state legislature, a full-time student at Troy University Montgomery, and a paralegal. They have three dogs, two cats, and they enjoy watching Crimson Tide Athletics and Biscuits baseball. Tyler is also a craft beer enthusiast.
Maranda Brown, PhD
“I love the impact that my job has on the lives of people who are ultimately hurting and in need of someone to listen, believe in them, and assist them to attaining their goals,” explains Maranda Brown. As the Director of the Office of Prevention with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Maranda focuses on the prevention and reduction of substance abuse in Alabama. While in high school, Maranda joined the Alabama Air National Guard in order to finance the higher education she would pursue. She received both her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Troy University. Maranda went on to obtain a PhD in counselor education from Auburn University. In addition to her job with ADMH, she is also adjunct faculty with Troy University Montgomery, contributing faculty with Walden University, and Director, Equal Opportunity with the Alabama Air National Guard (187th Fighter Wing). She gives her parents the credit for teaching her such hard work ethic. With limited education, they built a small business to support the family. Their examples coupled with Maranda’s consistent faith in God are the reasons she is successful today. Somehow, Maranda still finds time to get involved in her community. She is an active member of the Junior League, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Alabama Counseling Association. She has a son, Kenneth Lamar Brown, III, and her favorite thing about Montgomery is the promise it offers through the new development downtown.
Rodrigo Posada is the graphic designer and owner of Hot Pot Creative Studio. He loves the fact that in his career, most projects are born out of nothing. They start as a concept, grow over time and eventually the finished product is out there for everyone to see – whether it be in a magazine, on a billboard, or on the web. “I love the fact that design is a career in permanent evolution and that we have a big roll in how everything looks, everywhere, always,” explains Rodrigo. He holds a bachelors degree in advertising from The Arts Institute in Medellín/Colombia. After graduating, he began his career as an art director at Ultra in Medellin. A year later, Rodrigo moved to Codiscos, the largest records company in Colombia. Four years later he moved to the United States. Rodrigo says he went through a tough time when he first moved here. However, over time his English got better, he worked hard, and he landed a job at the largest newspaper in South Carolina as graphic designer. In 2009, he started Hot Pot Creative Studio. Rodrigo is married to Cecilia Castro, and he has two sons, Santiago and Lucas. He loves cars and motorcycles, and he has since he was two years old. While he loves speed, he and his wife consider themselves foodies – they really enjoy sitting down for a good meal.
At the age of 13, Kyana Goodyear already knew what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to be a dancer. Leaving the world of formal education to others, she began training at Atlanta Ballet School. By the age of 17, she was dancing professionally. Kyana went on to dance for the North Atlanta Dance Theater. Today, she is the principal dancer and school director at Montgomery Ballet. Kyana loves both performing and teaching. “I am extremely passionate about my role as a teacher, as it allows me to share the gift of dance, and to sow seeds of joy into my students’ hearts,” she exclaims. Her first ballet teacher, Bernadette Campbell, helped her realize that she was born to dance. Kyana says that she owes everything to her mother and the sacrifices she made to see that Kyana received the proper training. At a young age she had to make difficult decisions regarding her education and social activities. Her faith in God has always given her the strength to face such situations boldly. She and her husband Charlie attend Evangel Church. They enjoy Montgomery for its size and the lack of traffic compared to the Atlanta area she grew up around. They don’t have kids yet, but they do have an American bulldog, Erma Jean.
Dr. Kale Kirkland
Growing up in Montgomery, Dr. Kale Kirkland was able to establish strong relationships with many people in the community. “Montgomery has provided me with many opportunities, and I hope I am now giving back to the community in a valuable way through the work I am doing as a psychologist,” says Kale. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Auburn University, and then went on to receive his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi. There’s no doubt Kale is spending a lot of time with the people of Montgomery — his titles include: Licensed Psychologist at Kirkland and King, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists, PC; Faculty – Baptist Montgomery Family Medicine Residency Program; Faculty – UAB Medicine Health Center Montgomery; Licensed Psychologist – Baptist Medical Center-South; Faculty – University of Phoenix. Kale’s parents always encouraged and emphasized the importance of an education. That support structure, along with the help of his wife, Courtney, helped him achieve his goals. Today, his partner is the same psychologist he grew up with – his father. Now members of Saint James United Methodist Church, Kale, Courtney, and son Case have called Montgomery home since August of 2011. When he has spare time, he enjoys running, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends.
Barbara Agricola McCormick
As an attorney with Jemison & Mendelsohn, Barbara McCormick represents plaintiffs in various cases from wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury to serious domestic relations. Helping people through some of the worst times in their lives is a hard job, but very rewarding. She treats her clients’ problems as her own. This allows her to be the best advocate she can for them. “I went to law school so that I could help people, and I feel lucky to go into work every day where I do just that,” explains Barbara. She graduated from UAB in only 3 years with a degree in political science and a double minor in criminal justice and philosophy & law. Barbara went on to attend law school at the University of Alabama, where she received numerous awards for her trial advocacy skills. Her parents raised her to be strong and independent and always chase after her goals. After two federal clerkships, Barbara was ready to find her place in the courtroom. She is quick to point out that the support of her husband, Jody McCormick, is a big reason she is where she is today. He is the love of her life. She also has two Great Danes, Shelby and Bruno. Barbara does volunteer work through the Junior League, and she loves watching Montgomery grow and expand.
Ashley Smith Conway
To Ashley Smith Conway, there’s nothing better than the proud look on a client’s face after a make-over. “It really makes me happy to know that I help clients feel good about themselves,” explains Ashley. Since June of 2009, Ashley has been working as a hair stylist at Doug’s 2 Salon and Spa. She specializes in hair coloring, and she loves doing it. She apprenticed under master stylist Ty Eiland, and studied coloring at the Aveda Institute in Birmingham. At Birmingham Fashion Week, Ashley styled Anthony Ryan Auld’s hair, the winner of this season’s Project Runway. At 26, Ashley was six years into a career in retail management, but she decided it was time to start all over. That was one of the most intimidating, yet ultimately rewarding decisions she ever made. She believes that her love of everything about hair and her willingness to work hard are the reasons she is where she is today. If a client wants to come late, she stays. Her clients are extremely important to her. Ashley and her husband Ryan have two sons, Brady and Owen. They also have two dogs, Bizzy and Phoebe. Ashley says that the best thing about Montgomery is the city’s amazingly creative and talented people. When she isn’t working or spending time with family, she enjoys expressing her creativity through painting.
Ashley Brandle is the Director of Marketing and Client Relations for Jerry Kyser Builder. The best part about Ashley’s job is the connections she makes when representing Jerry Kyser Builder, Inc. in the community. She loves working for a strong family-owned company that is known throughout the River Region as a company serious about giving back to the community. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Alabama State University. She is currently pursuing her MBA at Georgia State University with plans to graduate in fall 2013. Ashley has been in the PR industry for over five years, holding titles such as Member Relations Director and Private Events Director. In addition to her parents, Ashley credits both her previous manager and mentor Chuck Anderson and professors at Alabama State University for always believing in her larger than life dreams and encouraging her to pursue them. Mr. Anderson instilled confidence that she could do anything she wanted and her professors pushed her to never settle for mediocrity. Ashley is a graduate of the EMERGE Torchbearers Leadership Class, a member of the Alabama Council of Association Executives, Leading Edge Institute Community Board and is most proud of serving on the Montgomery Public School’s Hospitality and Tourism Career Academy Board. She loves living in Montgomery and watching the city grow. Ashley is also a seamstress. She makes all of her outfits for major occasions, from fifth grade picture day to her senior prom dress.