The List - May/June 2018
Working hard is a value that Amanda Scott Freeman, CPA, CGMA, does not taking lightly. As the CFO and vice president of operations at the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, she is able to work with many intelligent, thoughtful and strategic leaders across the country. She is also able to speak to students of all ages about financial literacy and loves teaching othersthat understanding your finances can give you great freedom, rather than being a prisoner to debt. Her success in the accounting world has not been without some setbacks. She says, “I had to get over the concept of failure. The most successful people, with the best stories, encounter significant moments of what the world would call failure. You can’t really do something new andgreat without missing the mark sometimes.” Amanda is an active member of First United Methodist Church and serves with the Alabama Council of Association Executives, which connects many associations in our state. She is married to Adam Freeman, and they have two children, Caroline and Charlie. She appreciates the small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities that Montgomery has to offer, and loves to visit the zoo with her children.
After an impressive 14 years in the hospitality industry, Amber Bonds still enjoys her job. She graduated with an associate’s degree in culinary arts and now serves as a sous chef at Vintage Year/Vintage Cafe. Her favorite part about her job is simply the people- ranging from customers and chefs, to family and friends. Amber knew what she wanted from the start and fearlessly went for her dreams. She says, “You look to do something, and then you go after it and make it happen. It takes a lot of hard work and many long, physical hours of manual labor to conquer the position of sous chef.” Montgomery’s small businesses and organizations have been the biggest support to Amber’s success. She enjoys the artistic side of her job, but her favorite aspect is being able to serve others and share her passion with the world. When Amber is outside of the kitchen, she enjoys working out, Spartan races, traveling, volunteering and hiking.
After attaining his MBA from Troy University and a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, Antonio Fortson has worked in the banking industry for nine years. He is currently an officer and premier banker for Wells Fargo and loves building relationships with clients while ensuring their financial needs are met. He credits his relationship with God to having the biggest influence on his success and his ability to build meaningful relationships throughout the River Region and overcome his fears. He says, “The biggest fear I had to overcome was the fear of being average. At Auburn, our senior class had a quote: ‘leave a mark.’ I took that as whatever I put my time and effort towards should be positively impacted and be better than before I was there.” Antonio is married to Brittney Fortson and has two daughters, Destini and Liberty. He is very involved in Montgomery’s community and enjoys volunteering with the Montgomery Auburn Club, Alpha PhiAlpha Fraternity and for local autism events. His favorite part about Montgomery is the rich history and embracement of various cultures throughout the years. When Antonio is not working full time or giving back to the community, he can be found playing with his two dogs, traveling and cheering on Auburn’s football team.
Although he does it quietly and without recognition, Billy Lynam is always helping others. As the owner of Auto Save Tire & Automotive in Prattville, Montgomery and Wetumpka, Prattville Automotive Group and Wetumpka Automotive Group, Billy has a servant’s heart and knows you’ll never grow if you don’t take some chances. His motto is always do the right thing for the right reasons, and he’s been known to waive the cost of a repair or donate an oil change or set of tires to those in need. He credits his success to his loyal customers, his great team of employees for working hard and his family and friends who have encouraged, prayed for and believed in him Serving customers is what he loves most about his job. He says, “We try to make their experience a positive one and rise above the reputation that repair shops can have. I love when a customer calls to tell me their vehicle is driving great, we’ve solved their problem and they enjoy driving their vehicles again.” Billy is married to Erin, and they have three sons: Jeff, Mike and Haynes. They have a bulldog named Coleslaw and a lab named Bella. He is a member of Indian Grave Baptist Church in Billingsley and loves Auburn University, the Red Sox and riding his Harley Davidson.
Curtis Black, principal at Goodwyn Middle School, is grateful for the opportunity to influence and build up those in the community. As the leader of the Goodwyn “Warriors” he encourages an atmosphere of teamwork, positivity and open communication amongst staff, students, parents and stakeholders in the community. Mr. Black believes in being a very visible principal and admits the best part of his job is engaging with students during the teaching and learning processes throughout the day. He strives to build a rapport with every student and every student gets to know him. He holds a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Auburn University Montgomery and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Alabama State University. He worked as an elementary teacher and high school assistant principal before serving in his current role. He is involved in various local mentoring programs and education affiliations throughout the River Region. His parents have encouraged him along the way, and he says, “My greatest influences are my parents, Lawrence and Carolyn Black. They have made the biggest impact on my personal and careersuccesses.” I value their work ethic, willingness to help others and fairness toward others.” As a native of Beatrice, Alabama, Mr. Black appreciates the values and lessons learned in a small town such as faith, friendship, collaboration, determination and brotherhood. Curtis has one daughter, Ja’Mayia Black. He loves hunting, spending time with family, networking and engaging in continuous professional learning.
Jake Faber, who left one burgeoning career for an entirely different industry, knows you have to take risks to find your place. After growing up in Philadelphia, Jake graduated from Virginia Tech with a business degree and worked in advertising in Los Angeles, primarily for the Wall Street Journal, before choosing to change careers and become an engineer. He says, “I decided I wanted to have a career where I could have a more tangible, positive impact.” He worked his way through Florida State University’s engineering school and has been an environmental engineer with TTL, Inc. ever since. He is a member of the Montgomery chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and loves that his new career presents unique challenges with every project. Jake credits his older sister, Sara, for providing him with a great example of how to work hard and his older brother, Ben, for inspiration in keeping a sense of humor while doing so. Aside from his impressive professional resume, Jake is an avid musician. In his words, “I’m an accomplished drummer of over 20 years and a decidedly subpar guitarist of many less.” An artist himself, he’s a regular at local art events. On any given weekend, you can likely find Jake relaxing with friends at his favorite Montgomery establishment, KRU on Mt. Meigs.
Any Montgomery radio listener might recognize the keen voice of Mr. Kory R. Ward as he has been a radio personality for Alabama State University's FM 90.7 WVAS-HD for over 20 years. Having a love for civil rights and history, Kory has worked for many museums across the River Region.Currently, he is performing as a facilitator for The Legacy Museum, National Memorial for Peace and Justice.He previously worked as a docent for the Rosa Parks Museum-Montgomery; an operations coordinator for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial Center; a publications assistant for Alabama Tourism and is owner and host of KWARDRadio.Despite such a prolific career, Kory considers his most significant accomplishment to be his education. He says, “Finishing my degree was important to me, because not having it kept me from reaching levels in my career for which I am striving to achieve. Realizing how education was a necessity for my future and career advancement, and hearing my mother, Ms. Faye Ward, say "education first," I decided to take the time and steps necessary to make things happen.” Kory graduated with an Associate and Bachelor of Science Degree in general management from Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut.His passion for history, specifically the civil rights movement, has allowed him to become an involved member of Montgomery’s community. Kory enjoys educating youth about their culture and networking with people from diverse backgrounds. In his free time, he can be found spending time with his spouse, Dwight, and dog Jazz, experiencing the local art culture, and volunteering whenever, and wherever he can.
Krishula Edwards has an enthusiasm about life that is contagious to all who meet her. Holding two master’s degrees, one in public administration and one in counseling and psychology with an addiction certification, Krishula is the first in her immediate family to go to college. She uses her accomplishments to be a great role model to her younger family members and credits much of her success to her late father, who’s encouragement and unconditional love drives her daily. Krishula has overcome many obstacles in her life but uses her past as a stepping stone to become stronger, wiser and more empathetic toward others. his empathy allows her to encourage her clients at work as a sexual assault counselor at The Family Sunshine Center. She says, “Every day my clients challenge me in many ways. The work is extremely rewarding. The best feeling comes when a client returns and tells me how helpful I was to them and shares their progress from their perspective.” Krishula volunteers with the Junior League of Montgomery and Hope Inspired Ministries. She serves as the membership chair of the Alabama Mental Health Counseling Association, the Scholarship Committee chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s Beta Nu Omega chapter and as a Camp Sunshine counselor for Girl Scouts of South Alabama. She enjoys traveling and dancing and is the proud pet parent of Kash, a 5-year-old toy yorkie.
Many people wake up restful each morning thanks to Mike Waites and his business Medlogic, Inc., a sleep management company. Mike has been in the sleep and respiratory business for 20 years, and his company, which diagnoses and treats sleep apnea, has withstood many changes. He says his wife, Kelly, has had the biggest influence on his life by always reminding him to put God first in everything, especially after the changes to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance and Medicare cuts caused many medical offices to shut down. He persevered and forged his own path by forward thinking, trusting and believing it could be done against the odds. Mike has created a web-based work flow technology platform that treats the entire picture of sleep apnea. He loves operating a business in this community and says, “We have the support of so many excellent sleep physicians and primary care doctors. I think it makes a huge difference being locally owned as opposed to a huge national corporation.” Mike and Kelly have two daughters, Chloe and Alcy, and they love spending their free time out on the boat at Lake Martin.
Stephanie Peavy, vice president of Treasury Management for Valley National Bank, is a Huntingdon College graduate and has been in the financial industry for over 20 years. As a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) she is able to help business owners by providing them with cash management tools that help them run their companies more efficiently. She is successful, in part, thanks her many mentors she’s had along her financial career path. She says, “Several women in the industry have recognized my potential along the way and have encouraged and promoted me. My husband has also been a huge part of my success in motivating me, encouraging me and challenging me to believe in myself and my potential.” She currently serves as secretary of the board of the Montgomery Kiwanis Club and has recently earned her Group Fitness Instructor Certification. She loves to play tennis, but her true passion is mission work in Haiti, where she is able to minister to the needs of orphans and others in the Haitian villages through Children’s Hope ministry. She’s been a part of four mission teams to Jacmel, Haiti, and will be leading a team with her husband this June. She is married to Ken Peavy, and they have three children – Hannah Dozier, Braxton Dozier and Sarah Ruth Peavy.