RSVP Montgomery

The List – July/August 2019

Carlton Avery

Carlton Avery loves cultivating meaningful relationships. A friend and connector of people, Carlton’s helpful, serving spirit is evident in and out of the office. Carlton is “homegrown” and proud to be a product of the Montgomery Public Schools system. After attending the University of Alabama and Troy University, he began his legal career working for many local, prestigious firms. While working in the Mass Torts section at Beasley, Allen, Methvin & Portis, Carlton’s efforts were noted in the Jere Beasley report. Later commissioned by Julian McPhillips of McPhillips Shinbaum, P.C., Carlton was mentioned on several occasions in McPhillips’ autobiography, Civil Rights in My Bones, when talking about their joint work on groundbreaking Civil Rights cases. Currently, Carlton works with the Vance Law Firm where he works with the firm’s Public Relations & External Affairs. Carlton credits his family, city leaders and other mentors for his work ethic and experiences that kept him on the cutting edge of his profession. Carlton is a member of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and the Montgomery County Democratic Party Executive Committee. In an effort to encourage his fellow brothers, Carlton has served as a mentor for the “That’s My Child” Gents to Gentlemen program and serves on the board for Renascence, a program that restores men recently released on parole by helping them reintegrate in the community. Carlton’s daughter, Cayden Avery, is an honor student and his main driving force when it comes to being a positive role model. His passion to advocate for our citizens pushed him to run for City Council District One. Although it’s his first time running, his leadership and character tell us he is just what our city needs. Carlton enjoys visiting our dynamic museums, rehabbing properties, fishing, reading and dining at one of our city’s many delectable eateries.

Daniel Davenport

Daniel Davenport, a Montgomery native, has been a leader in the work force since his first job at the age of 15. He currently serves as the safety, health and environmental manager for US Foods’ South Region, where he enjoys providing tools, resources, training and support to keep the employees in his 13 divisions and 8 states safe. This passion for employee safety and health started in his role as vice president of operations at To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. Before that, he managed two UPS Stores after some time working in retail management at Glacier National Park in Montana. He credits his father for his drive to work hard at what he does, “I contribute the framework of my success to my father, Don, for teaching me the value of hard work at a young age to establish a sedulous work ethic.” Daniel has always liked Montgomery but admits living in Cloverdale-Idlewild has given him a deeper appreciation of the beauty and history of the city. Daniel and his wife Emily have two dogs, Winston (2) and Stella (13), and they just welcomed their first child, Palmer, who has stolen their hearts. They love attending concerts in the park, spending time at Lake Martin and are active members of First Baptist Church. He volunteers and serves on the board of directors for Friendship Mission, Inc. and enjoys playing piano and guitar, traveling, and coin collecting.

Hunter King

Hunter King began his coaching career at Armory Athletics at the age of 18 while attending Auburn University Montgomery. Armory Athletics is a division of Parks and Recreation with the City of Montgomery and is a leading gymnastics facility of the River Region. Hunter has held various coaching positions throughout the years, training 3 to 18-year-old gymnasts in both recreational and competitive team gymnastics. He is currently on his eighth season at Armory Athletics and third season as the head Men’s gymnastics coach. Hunter credits his former mentor, Erik Lewis, as a key influence in helping him further his experience and knowledge, while gaining a broader understanding of the sport. Hunter has shared, “When I first began coaching, I had no real prior knowledge of the sport or how it all worked.” Through years of diligent work, he was able to expand his experience and receive vital hands-on training. He was taught how the body works when performing all gymnastics skills, rules of the sport and how to manage and maintain a high-level program, which is what he strives for daily. This Montgomery native has qualified six gymnasts to Junior Olympic National Championships over the past two years and has assisted in coaching two gymnasts currently competing on Men’s NCAA Gymnastics Teams. He was named Alabama Men’s Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2019, has served as coordinator of Alabama State Team Elite since 2017 and was recently selected as chairman of Alabama Men’s State. He is most rewarded by seeing the successes of the gymnasts he trains and admits there is no better feeling than seeing a gymnast master a skill for which they’ve trained long hours. As for hobbies, most of his time is spent in the gym or traveling to competitions, but when he is not working, he enjoys being outdoors on our local lakes and rivers.

Lameka Johnson

After serving 15 years in the United States Air Force, Lameka Johnson loves being able to continue to serve our military through her current job as education specialist and base training manager for Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. She graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in sociology and Master of Science in counseling adult education. She loves that her work allows her to help people, and it gives her great joy to know she has positively influenced others. Lameka is a two-time cancer survivor, which helped her realize that life is short and to not take anything for granted. She has a new perspective on life and feels blessed to have this time with her family and friends. Her faith has most influenced her success. Lameka shared, “I give all credit to God. I would not be the person I am without my faith and God’s grace and mercy over my life.” She is actively involved in the community serving as coordinator of the Breast Cancer Awareness Support Group, Veterans Affairs Homeless Program education liaison and advocates on behalf of sexual assault victims. She also volunteers in the media ministry at her church and participates in both Joy to Life and Relay for Life cancer fundraising events. Lameka is married to Kelvin Johnson and they have a daughter, Brittney. This incredible wife, mother and friend loves fiercely, enjoys reading and writing and has recently started gardening. During football season, you will find her rooting for the University of Alabama and the Dallas Cowboys, her two favorite teams.

Lindsey Raye Stephenson-Cook

Upon graduating from Auburn in August of 2016, Lindsey Stephenson Cook entered the workforce ready to make an impact. She started her career as an outside sales associate with United Rentals and was promoted to division safety trainer in August of 2018. Since she was hired to work in a male-dominated industry right out of college at 22 years old, Lindsey worried that she would not be taken seriously. She challenged herself to learn each position and shadowed mechanics in the shop to gain all the knowledge she could about the equipment. Lindsey credits her boss, Joseph Nuzum, for encouraging her and pushing her to be her very best in both the work field and her personal life. Her role with United Rentals allows her to meet new people every day. As division safety trainer, she has certified nearly 1,000 individuals and is truly passionate about training and helping others. She participates in many charity events sponsored by United Rentals including Women in Construction, which is close to her heart. She helps with Girls Can Camp in surrounding areas, which teaches young girls various skills they could use in the future if they were to choose a career in construction. Her friends and co-workers describe her as hard working, selfless and say she never meets a stranger. Lindsey is married to her high school best friend, Yates Cook. They have one “fur baby” named Cabela, and she is fortunate to have two nephews that she sees almost daily. She and her husband also own a tree nursery called Green Growers Nursery located right outside of Pike Road. They started with around 25-30 trees five years ago and now have roughly 6,000. Lindsey shared, “We love growing this business together. Check it out if you need any trees, shrubs or ornamental grasses for your landscape!”

Liberty S. Duke

Immunization is considered one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, which is one of the reasons Liberty Duke is so passionate about her job as president of HNH Immunizations, Inc. Liberty has grown the school-located vaccination program, which originated in Alabama in 2011, into one of the largest, mass-vaccination programs in over 14 states providing influenza and other required vaccinations to over 700,000 students at both public and private schools. Being able to provide vaccinations to children regardless of insurance, race, location or socioeconomics, potentially saving lives and certainly improving the quality of the lives of others is the most rewarding part of her job. While her family was unable to provide means for Liberty to attend college, she overcame that obstacle and proved her abilities with hard work. She quotes one of her mentors for inspiring her with these words, “You can choose to succeed because of, or in spite of.” Prior to working with HNH Immunizations, Liberty served as executive director of the Keystone Foundation, worked in human resources for KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc., and even founded her own lobbying and project management company, ERIS Inc., which provides support for state, local, national and international projects. Liberty is quick to credit her fiercely loyal, hard-working “tribe” for her success. From center directors who focused solely on what was best for children or business partners who believe in doing the right thing over the logical choice, she wouldn’t be here without them. Liberty has two children, Joseph and Justice, and her hobbies include gardening, traveling and cooking, but she jokingly shares, “Don’t assume I can cook Asian just because I was born in the Phillippines. Now, if you want Southern food like chicken and dumplings or crackling cornbread… that I can do!”

Sorrell Watkins

Sorrell Watkins is a U.S. Army veteran and Team Relations specialist at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. He graduated from Sidney Lanier High School and earned a Bachelor of Science in applied science and technology from Thomas Edison State University, graduating with honors as Magna Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.8. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999 as an air traffic controller and served in various duty stations and served in two combat deployments: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). After 20 years of service, he retired from active duty in March of this year. Sorrell credits his mother for instilling in him a hard work ethic and integrity. He shared, “My mom raised me to treat everyone with respect and to always remain humble no matter how blessed you are.” His favorite thing about Montgomery is Southern hospitality, and he loves seeing unity and peace in the city. Sorrell diligently spearheads events around Montgomery that are fun and family oriented. He is most known for producing a local event in a format similar to the Apollo called Showtime at the Davis. This exciting event allows kids and adults the opportunity to display their talent in front of an audience who chooses the winner. He is also a passionate advocate for the West End Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery. Each year, he sponsors a Fun Day which includes a cookout, games, prizes, dance contest, bounce houses and a speaker from the police department and other leaders who emphasize the importance of being a productive citizen. In addition to his work, Sorrell enjoys playing basketball, boxing and mentoring at-risk kids.

Tenesha Carter

Tenesha Carter is the owner and creator of Aqualime Skincare, a handcrafted skin and body care line focusing on its products being all-natural, botanical and essential-oil based. She graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in merchandising and a minor in marketing. Working in management and sales for retailers like Banana Republic and Southern Homes and Gardens gave her experience, but it was after becoming a mother that she grew into her entrepreneurial role. Tenesha’s oldest son suffered from a mild case of eczema, and out of a need to help him naturally, she began making creams and soaks, thus the beginning of Aqualime. Her kids continue to inspire her success, along with her mother’s encouragement to “shoot for the stars,” and she praises her husband for being her backbone and giving her a nudge when needed. Tenesha shared, “I love connecting with people and being able to create and share products with them that they can feel good about using. Every product is handmade with care using organic, plant-based ingredients.” Her products can be found locally at select shops and boutiques or can be sourced on her website Tenesha loves how the Montgomery community embraces local makers and artisans. She is married to Greg Carter, and they are parents to two young children, Greyson, 7, and Hayden, 4. She enjoys antiquing and going to estate sales and once had a booth at Eastbrook Flea Market and Antique Mall selling vintage treasures and home décor items. When she’s not whipping up products, you can catch her hunting for vintage treasures at local estate sales or spending time with her family and friends.

Time Essary

After several years working for various chefs in some of the top restaurants in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Tim Essary returned to Montgomery and liked what he saw. The growth potential and economic development taking place in our city, especially the hospitality industry, was something he wanted to be a part of. In 2016, Tim and his sister, Tara, founded Sycamore Restaurant Group and opened the doors to their first restaurant, Cahawba House. Inspired by secret family recipes derived from the South, Cahawba House features Southern cuisine that everybody loves. Building solid relationships with staunch supporters and customers has allowed them to branch out into numerous catering endeavors including the recent purchase of two downtown locations for future restaurants and hospitality ventures. Along with his family, Tim is quick to credit his team for the restaurant’s success. He shared, “I was told early in my career to surround myself with people who are smarter than me. The idea isn't about being the "boss" or the "best," it’s about leading and leading those who continue to inspire you.” Tim recently teamed up with KultureCity to provide sensory-inclusive spaces in local restaurants and public spaces to help people living with Autism, PTSD or other sensory needs. Tim is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association and recently co-founded the Montgomery Hospitality Management Alliance to help connect local restaurant managers and owners with each other. Tim lives in Capital Heights with his partner, Justin, and their German shorthair pointers, Ellie and Ruby. When he isn’t expressing creativity with recipes or new menu items, Tim enjoys hunting, fishing, traveling, spending time with his dogs at his family’s cabin in Mississippi, and exploring new restaurants and food cultures, of course.

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RSVP Montgomery