The List-May/June 2019
Brianna loves to help others realize the depth of their beauty, and as manager of Bella, a local boutique and spa, she is privileged to do this for a living. Through makeup applications, skincare consultations and spa services, she is able to carry out Bella’s motto to help her clients “treat yourself well.” Those that know Brianna will tell you that she has always had an eye for fashion and stays current on the latest trends. After high school, Brianna attended Colorado State University for apparel design but stayed in touch with her adventurous side by minoring in snowboarding… unofficially, of course. When the slopes got the best of her, she returned home and began her career as a makeup artist. Five years into her career, she gave birth to her pride and joy, her son, Tristan, who is now nine. As life happens to many of us, her family dynamic changed; and now, as a single mom, Brianna dedicates most of her time to Tristan and her career at Bella. Her hobbies include painting, sewing, crocheting, reading and making various arts and crafts, especially when her son helps her with a project or just sits with her while he perfects one of his own masterpieces. Brianna has recently become of a member of the Junior League and looks forward to giving back to the community. Overcoming self-doubt in a judgmental world took some time, but she knows her struggle is what helps her relate to others plagued with the same insecurities. Brianna’s mom always encouraged her to explore her artistic side, and her father taught her the importance of a strong work ethic. Both are qualities you will instantly see in her and are things that make them proud. While Brianna is more of a “big city girl,” she moved to Montgomery from D.C. as a child when her father went to work at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and this created within her a connection with our city she can’t deny.
Clint Hahn was always drawn to the restaurant industry. Whether he was washing dishes or managing teams, he has played all the roles of a restaurant owner. After graduating from the University of Texas- San Antonio, he changed directions and worked in finance for six years before moving back to Montgomery. It didn’t take him long to hear the call back into the restaurant world; and after working against his own and others’ doubts, he took the first step by opening Taste in 2017, a delicious restaurant with a tapas-and-wine-flight concept in Hampstead. Clint credits his wife, Ginger, who serves as co-owner and head chef, as having the biggest influence on the restaurant’s success. He shared, “She believed in the idea from the beginning and encouraged me to continue even when others told us it was a bad idea.” Meeting new people is one of his favorite things about owning Taste, and it didn’t take long for Clint to build solid customer relationships. While he may seem a little shy at first, this high school class clown is constantly making jokes and keeping the mood light with customers and restaurant staff. Clint is thankful for the staunch supporters who have embraced Taste from the beginning, especially the Hampstead community. Clint participates in as many community events as possible but admits that Alabama Shakespeare Festival is closest to his heart. Clint and Ginger have two children, Barrett and Emily, and while balancing a home life with the restaurant industry can be challenging, family comes first. Growing up in a military family and traveling to multiple countries spawned his love of traveling. When he isn’t holding down the fort at Taste, you will catch Clint traveling or attending as many sporting events as possible.
We all know the benefits of having a community advocate, and luckily, Old Cloverdale has one in Emily Brown. Not only does she make her neighborhood sound like the best place on Earth, she volunteers her time, moves people to action and creates events -- whether it’s to benefit a cause or simply to unite neighbors. Emily is an active member of the Montgomery Trees board, Capital City Master Gardeners Association, Old Cloverdale Community Garden and the Old Cloverdale Association. In an effort to bring neighborhood children together to get to know each other and make new friends before the summer, Emily founded the Old Cloverdale May Festival, now in its fifth year, and also helps with Uncorked for a Cause, a wine dinner hosted by Vintage Year that benefits the Arthritis Foundation. Emily’s friends describe her as loyal, humble and a killer chef. Her curiosity for life ranges from bats and wine to medicinal plants and bird watching. Her love for people, events and good food is one reason she loves her job as marketing director at Little Donkey.
She has worked hard to build strong relationships in the community, and while the restaurant continues to thrive, Little Donkey’s food truck has quickly become a favorite at local events and food truck takeovers. With all the positive changes taking place here, Emily is excited to see Montgomery’s heartbeat return and has never been prouder to call this city her home. An avid traveler, Emily also loves being just an afternoon drive away from the beach or mountains and loves the easy access to international flights. She credits the people of Montgomery for contributing to her success, but we all know that Emily’s teen daughter, Ariana, has always been her driving force to succeed. Emily also enjoys Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Capri Theatre, collecting vinyl records and spending time with her four-pound Chihuahua, Lemmy, usually somewhere in the tree-canopied Cloverdale/Garden District that she loves so much.
Greg Carter has had a creative spirit since his early years. A lover of fine art, he was the first artist for the Lanier High School newspaper and dreamed of one day working for Marvel or DC comic books. His creativity expanded when he developed an interest in cars and taught himself how to install car audio, suspension and body kits in his own driveway. Throughout college, Greg worked in banking at MAX Credit Union; but during his senior year, when his class schedule became too demanding, he accepted a part-time job he believed would be temporary at Tire and Wheel Pros as the import specialist. During the next five years, Greg kept working on his craft and brand, graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a degree in fine arts and graphic design, while establishing the brand and online presence of his business venture GO-AUTOWORKS through automotive forums. While he credits Tire and Wheels Pro for teaching him some of the ins and outs of running a business, he decided to return to banking during the day, while he grew his business at night.
Four years later, he could no longer stifle his passion and left his job in the financial world to pursue his dream. Greg officially opened GO-AUTOWORKS full time, where he designs, builds, sells and installs a complete line of turbo kits, along with other aftermarket performance parts. After hearing from others in this industry, we learned that Greg is one of the best in his trade whose work is ordered from all over the world. Greg credits his success to parents who instilled the importance of a strong work ethic and money management at an early age, which helped him pay his way through college and fund his business ventures. Greg and his wife, Tenesha, have two children, Greyson (7) and Hayden (3), and they are what keeps him motivated. Greg gives back to the community by assisting in coaching Upward Soccer and speaking to youth about business and entrepreneurship whenever opportunities arise. When not amping up the performance of a car, Greg enjoys local events and eateries with his family. Stay tuned, because this one plans to go back to the drawing board with his art skills very soon!
Through her jobs as a teacher and owner of a social media marketing business, Imah Usen is constantly striving to help others reach their full potential. She can brighten any room with her gorgeous smile and bubbly personality, and it’s no surprise that wherever she goes, she makes friends. Growing up in a home with both parents from Nigeria, she learned the importance of hard work. Her dad taught her to be the best at whatever she did and to always finish anything she started. After high school, Imah received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Troy University and a Master of Education in biology education from Alabama State University. She currently teaches physical science at Lee High School and feels honored to have the opportunity to change lives and mold young minds through teaching. She also serves as an advisor with the school’s mentoring group, B.E.S.T, where they facilitate campus visits and workshops in order to further educate young girls in preparation for college.
Imah credits her teachers for instilling solid values and accountability for the quality of her work. When she isn’t teaching, she is busy helping others launch and grow their businesses as a social media marketer. A self-taught, first-generation entrepreneur, Imah knows it takes the right mix of tools, networking and know-how to succeed in today's competitive environment. She is described by her friends as someone who always puts others first and was born to inspire, whether she is making suggestions for implementing new business strategies or offering encouragement when they are down. She is often seen speaking at events sharing social media trends and tips with other business owners and young professionals, where she always captivates the room with her larger-than-life, fearless personality. Imah’s hobbies include working out, cooking and traveling, and she loves our beautiful city!
Jason Mann grew up loving and playing the game of baseball. After graduating high school, he went on to play at Central Alabama Community College, where he received his associate’s degree in sciences before being drafted by the Texas Rangers Organization, where he played professional baseball for six years. Jason received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Troy University and later received his master’s in business administration from Louisiana State University- Shreveport. After his baseball career, Jason returned to the River Region, where he went to work as a tax associate; but when the economy took a downturn, he was a casualty to corporate layoffs. While being unemployed was one of the most difficult times in his life, it led him into the education arena, which felt natural as he grew up in an education-centric family. Jason’s mom was a teacher for 30 years, his brother is an assistant principal and his wife, Jessica, is a special education coordinator.
As Jason began to learn more about the financial side of education, he shifted his focus on learning as much about education finance as he could. He worked as a staff accountant at the Alabama State Department of Education before being hired as chief school finance officer for the Elmore County Board of Education, where he leads the school system into good financial standing. Jason credits Dr. Craig Pouncey for his guidance along the way. Jason praises the staff he works with for their confidence and knowledge, allowing him to concentrate on areas of expansion that make the ECBOE more financially stable. While he is a proud alum of Stanhope Elmore High School, he wants all Elmore County schools to be leaders in state test scores, as well as state champions on the athletic fields. His favorite thing about Montgomery is its minor league baseball team, but being an active guy, this die-hard Alabama fan also loves to golf, fish, hunt and even do yardwork. When he has time for a getaway, Jason and his wife love to take their four-year-old daughter, Carlie, to Alabama’s beaches.
It was in high school drafting class that John Stephens developed a passion for building and construction, which inspired him to further pursue an education on how a building actually gets put together. John attended Auburn University and was accepted into the Building Science program, which has consistently been one of the foremost construction management programs in the nation. John’s love for construction projects transcended into volunteer work, where he donated his time to ARM, Alabama Rural Ministries, a nonprofit that helps repair the homes of people in rural Lee County. Through his internship with Johnson Kreise Construction, John gained experience working with several contractors at the university and has been a part of many other building projects, from a new tiny home to the Montgomery campus for Church of the Highlands. John graduated in the summer of 2017 and immediately went to work as an estimator for Caddell Construction. His biggest struggle was building confidence in his position, as any mistakes made during the bidding process could be a liability to Caddell, business owners (or should I say clients) and their projects.
Working with a great team of people and seeing the projects come together are just a few of the perks of his job. He credits his mother and stepfather for teaching him to chase knowledge and to invest in the people in his life. John volunteers with many causes, but the youth at St. James Church, where he leads small groups and serves with the youth band, are closest to his heart. John recently married his lifetime best friend, Charley, and together they have four fur babies. We call them the Chip and Joanna Gaines of Montgomery, as they love finding old homes with potential and giving them complete makeovers. If John ever has a spare minute, you will find him playing guitar and singing at his house, church or around town… even several RSVP events!
Empathizing with people from all walks of life doesn’t come easy for most people, but Katie Carter was born with a gift that touches many -- in her career and her personal life. After growing up in Montgomery, Katie graduated from Auburn University’s School of Nursing in 2009 and worked as a critical care registered nurse for six years. She then attended graduate school at UAB to obtain her master’s degree in nursing as a family nurse practitioner. Katie graduated in August 2015, became board certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in September and found her dream job in October. Hearing Katie describe the positive work environment and family atmosphere at Montgomery Women’s Health Associates is enough to make any woman choose this group as her medical provider. Katie is committed to providing her patients with a positive, loving experience, whether they are navigating through a new health diagnosis, overcoming various physical and emotional issues, or celebrating new life.
She humbly admits that getting to this place in her career would not have been possible without the support of her family and friends or the many physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses who took the time to train and invest in her. Katie is married to her sweetheart, Brian Carter, and they are preparing their fur babies, Lucy and Millie, for the arrival of their first baby. Things are about to get pretty pink in September! Katie serves several nonprofits in the area, as well as internationally, by organizing medical supplies and donations that eventually make their way to countries like Malawi and Moldova. AGAPE is also an organization that Katie and Brian proudly support. Katie has a fantastic sense of humor, loves Auburn football and is an avid pickle-ball player. If she isn’t in Montgomery on the weekends, you will find her at the lake with Brian and the pups.
Korie Lowry knew at an early age that she loved working with children, but she didn’t realize teaching would have such a strong calling on her life. A lover of art and design, Korie studied graphic design at the University of Tennesse at Chattnooga and Auburn University Montgomery, but it wasn’t until she became a mother that she realized the depth of her passion for teaching. Korie met her husband, Christian, in 2002; and while traveling all over the country through his military career, they had two sons, Carson and Max. She tells us being a mother is one of the most rewarding things she has ever experienced. Korie volunteered at the boys’ school every chance she got, even serving as president of the preschool board. Getting back into the workforce after years of being a stay-at-home mom was a leap of faith but working as a K-3 teacher at St. James Church Preschool has been so fulfilling.
Korie constantly researches new ways to create learning opportunities for her students. She shared, “As their teacher, I get to be their advocate and celebrate their successes with them, and I always try to mirror God’s love. She is thankful for the opportunity to live in many wonderful places, but Montgomery is where her heart is. Korie and Christian host several fundraisers for different area nonprofits, including Clef Works, which brings awareness to the art education in our schools. They recently hosted Barrel of Blues at their home in Cottage Hill, a benefit for Child Protect, an organization close to her heart. She loves the new energy and hopefulness she sees in our city and feels blessed to be a part of the movement. Korie loves art and spending time with her family. This girly-girl recently completed her first backpacking trip, spending days in the woods with her family and loved it! As the only girl in her family, it comes with the territory.
For years, Terrance Crawford has been empowering others to become the best version of themselves by embracing healthy habits and lifestyles. Terrance worked as a trainer and fitness instructor while earning a Bachelor of Science in business management from Auburn University at Montgomery. After graduating in 2011, he continued training at local parks, apartment complexes and gyms, and his clientele continued to grow. In 2017, he made a leap of faith and opened Shock Performance Training. Getting to this point didn’t come without discouragement. He experienced the struggles of finding places to train because several gyms prohibited outside trainers and the feast or famine income when clients weren’t consistent; however, Terrance pushed through and credits his family for instilling a determined and positive attitude in him. He thanks his mentors, Aaron Franks, Mike McCoy and Kevin Brown, for having the biggest impact on his success. “These guys have guided me and taught me so much about strength and conditioning, performance, and training in general. I couldn’t have done it without their support,” he shared.
The most rewarding part for Terrance is helping people reach the goals they sometimes don't believe they can reach. While body transformations are great, Terrance tells us the best feeling is when people share results of drastically improved health, increased energy levels, improved confidence and even passing a PT test. Terrance appreciates the support the community has given him and, in return, volunteers his time at community events, such as assisting fundraising boot camps that support breast cancer awareness with 8MORE. Terrance and his wife Brittany are active members of Northview Christian Church, also known as Safe Harbor. Outside the gym, this die-hard Alabama fan and sports fanatic can be found in front of his grill, creating different recipes and dry rubs. With his sense of humor, outgoing personality and love for helping others, Terrance is someone we all need in our lives.