The List - September/October 2016
Chase Brown has a lot of experience in the culinary world and has been part of the team at the Olive Room, Fisher’s at Orange Beach and Marina and now is the general manager at Vintage Year. Chase’s mother has always pushed him to do big things and be successful; but in his career, Johnny Fisher has taught Chase the eye for detail and great hospitality, and his influence helped Chase assist in opening Vintage Year and continue the vision for Montgomery’s hospitality scene. In Chase’s eyes, when dealing with obstacles and fears, it is always about how you bounce back and face adversity. He says, "It’s all about trying to be better than you were yesterday to us here at Vintage Year." Chase enjoys meeting new people within in his career, event planning and, of course, drinking the wine! Chase is thankful for the support that he receives daily from the community, and he is actively helping the Arthritis Foundation, Vintage Affair and the Montgomery County Bar Association with their fall events. He is putting on a big "Tailgate" event for the MCBA on November 10th at The Warehouse. When Chase is not managing Vintage Year, he is hanging with his dog, Brody, listening to live music, traveling, having fun on the water or tasting some delicious wine!
As an anchor and reporter for Alabama News Network, Ellis Eskew is probably a familiar face to most. She graduated from the Women’s College of Brenau University with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications/broadcast journalism. Ellis’s biggest contributors to her success are her parents who have believed in her every step of the way, her university who gave her the hands-on experience she needed, and God for opening the right doors at the right time. Even through the struggles she’s faced in her career, Ellis kept her head up because she felt like deep down she was called to be a reporter. She loves that with her job she can help make a difference, whether it’s telling news stories that have not been told, bringing smiles to kids’ faces when they get interviewed on TV, or volunteering and being part of something much bigger than her. "I am grateful for the people who tune in each day and trust us to report the news in an honest and fair way," Ellis says. When Ellis is not reporting the latest news, serving at Church of the Highlands, or volunteering on the board of Montgomery Habitat for Humanity, you will find her working out at Pure Barre Montgomery.
Abigail Lynn Houchin graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in human development and a minor in equine science. Shortly after, she received an instructor certification from the Professional Association of Therapeutic HorsemanshipInternational. Now, Abby is the volunteer coordinator and instructor at Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrians (MANE). She started college with a swimming scholarship, but ended up graduating as the reigning Virginia Quarter Horse Queen. Her family has been so supportive of her as they push each other in positive ways to reach the goals they have set for themselves. Abby loves that her job allows her to combine her two passions- working with the special needs community and working with horses everyday. She says, "I get to witness all sorts of life changing miracles spurred on by our horses." From Abby’s background you would think she had been in the equestrian world her whole life but actually she has had to play catch up to get to where she is now as a horsewoman in a short amount of time. Not only does she give back to the Montgomery community through MANE, she also volunteers with Dogs on Call, a program of Easter Seals of Montgomery. Besides owning two horses, she has a Great Pyrenees dog and a bunny.
Growing up wasnǯt easy for Heather Logan, but she made it possible through her perseverance and stubbornness. Before serving as the member relations director at the Capital City Club, Heather was the lead bartender and bar manager at Charles Anthonyǯs Restaurant ǮThe Pubǯ for seven years. She learned quickly that no matter what past youǯve lived, no matter what day you've had, no matter what future lies ahead, live every moment with a Dzserverǯs heartdz and put good out into the world. Heather does just that as her current job allows her to plan and integrate relevant issues into conversations of action and build relationships among Capital City Club's members that reach far beyond the Club and into the community. She says, "Through knowing the members on a personal level, I've gained a greater confidence, insight and focus for myself. I've been able to see where my interests can be applied to make positive changes in Montgomery." Heather is the secretary of the Cottage Hill Foundation and serves on the Montgomery Art Guild's AIRR at Cottage Hill Art House Committee. She lives with her husband William and rescue dog, Blondie. Montgomery, to Heather, is potential- a blank canvas just waiting for some expressive paint.
As the banquet manager at Central and 129 Coosa, Jeni Maurelli operates the visible features of a successful event from the desired set-up of the room, presentation of the food, logistics of the event, to ensuring amazing customer service. Jeni was born and raised in Montgomery and is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. Shereceived an associate's degree in business management from Troy University and a certificate of event planning from Auburn University Montgomery. When it comes to the biggest influence in her life, she gives credit to her mother, Leah. She says, "My mom always encouraged me, no matter what it is, to 'love what you do; love what you do then you'll never work a day in your life.'" Jeni loves that her career keeps her on her toes, nothing is repetitive, and something can change at any time. Growing up, Jeni remembers always wanting to get as far away from Montgomery as she could, but now she can't wait to get back "home" when away for too long. She loves the progression Montgomery is trying to make for the future. When not working, Jeni loves hiking and vegging out with her husband, Leonardo, and their dog, Kane.
Bruno Resende was born and raised in South Brazil where he began college before transferring to Auburn University Montgomery to play soccer. At AUM, Bruno received a bachelor’s degree in sports leadership before going to Faulkner University to get another bachelor’s degree in sports management and a master’s degree in physical education. Not only does he have three different degrees, he has also coached soccer at the college level, high school and club levels for the past 11 years. Bruno has also played professional soccer in the United States. One of the challenges Bruno faced was leaving his family and friends and trying to transition from a big metropolitan city. Another big challenge was choosing to start his own business 5 years ago instead of continuing to coach for educational institutes. Bruno loves the relational aspect of the soccer program. He says, "I have a heart to help players achieve their next personal level of technical performance and holistic development." Bruno’s church and family have been a huge part of his success in Montgomery, and he is involved in with local church camps and nonprofit events. Bruno lives with his wife, Brooke, and two children, daughter Susana Joy, and son Michael Bosco.
Chason Smitherman Sr., a storyteller and filmmaker, worked at almost every TV station in Montgomery at some point. Now, he loves being able to do something he really likes doing for a living - telling extraordinary stories of ordinary people, placesand things. But his passion started with music. Chason says, “I have a background in music production and always liked filming. I have over 100 tapes of footage from the last 15 years. I produced a universally released song in 2003 for a local hip-hop group. I thought music was my passion, but I think now its only apart of my passion. Picking the music for the content is a big part of the vibe of the piece.” A Montgomery local, Chason is proud of his hometown and loves living here. Trying to grow acreative business always has its challenges, but Chason is inspired by many things from the sounds of locusts singing on a hot Alabama day to classical music and the work of Martin Scorsese. His son, CJ, is his right hand man who comes on many shoots with him and is his go to actor.
Daryl Toney is the type of man we need to have more of around Montgomery. An expert in hospitality security management and risk management, he is currently the loss prevention manager at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. Daryl has worked for a private security firm, as well as a security contract manager with the US General Services Administration and US Departmentof Homeland Security. His parents are his biggest influences on his success, learning how to have a strong work ethic by his father and how to excel in the business world from his mother. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed connecting with other people. He says, "I like hearing people's 'story.' I also embrace the level of trust put on me in my current position." A fun perk about Daryl's profession is the notable people he has been introduced to like Tom Brokaw, Congressman John Lewis, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young and several Civil Rights Movement activists. He is also the Montgomery Chapter Chairperson of ASIS International, a worldwide security professional's organization. Daryl resides in Montgomery with his wife, Crystal, and daughter, Jasmine. He is also an avid patch collector of mainly law enforcement and NASA mission patches.
The artistic director of Cloverdale Playhouse, Sarah Walker Thornton, has always been a part of the arts. Sarah has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wright State University and master’s degree from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival/University of Alabama. After graduation, she moved to New York where she was a working actress and helped co-found BAMA Theatre Company. Sarah’s family and friends have been her biggest cheerleaders and believed in her even when she struggled to believe in herself. In her competitive and tough industry, Sarah has overcome a lot of adversity and hopes to be a source of belief and encouragement for others. Once you make it in the acting world, there are a lot more opportunities waiting for you. Sarah says, DzI love when all the stars align in rehearsal and actors start making discoveries that open all the doors.dz One door that has opened for Sarah is her new position at Cloverdale Playhouse where she hopes to make a difference and promote a positive change in the River Region. She is eager to give back to her hometown that supported her and her theatre company in New York. Her favorite thing about Montgomery is how it’s always changing, but still remains warm and welcoming.
D. Keith Worthington
D. Keith Worthington, operations manager at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University Montgomery, has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Winston-Salem State University and a master's degree in education. While working in Seoul, South Korea, Keith began teaching business management and finance courses for Central Texas College via their online division. He also spent almost a decade in secondary education as a lead teacher, internship coordinator, assistant administrator, curriculum specialist and technology coordinator. When asked whohas had the most impact on his success, Keith says, "There is a proverb that says, 'it takes a village to raise a child,' so credit goes to so many who were influential in my life." However, Keith's wife, Erica, has had the biggest influence on his success. The biggest obstacle Keith has overcome is maintaining the proper balance between careers and being an active father to two beautiful young ladies - his daughters, Chef Ashleigh and Cydney, a future marine biologist. What Keith loves about his job is that he's able to share with guests a seminal event in history, the 382-day Montgomery Bus Boycott and how a group of ordinary individuals staged such a historic event. Keith's volunteer time is spent educating youth and young adults on professional survival skills for post-secondary success. He loves Montgomery's prominence and Southern hospitality.