Strategic Advisory Committee

Together We Prosper is a campaign to get the people of the Birmingham metro area talking about how we can work together better to help our entire community prosper and compete in a global economy. This project is based on a report commissioned by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and prepared by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. A strategic advisory committee helped guide the project. Its members, listed below, include people who live in different parts of Jefferson County and are diverse in terms of age, race, gender, and professional background. They share one thing in common: They love the Birmingham metro area!

Dr. Thomas Beavers serves as the fourth pastor of New Rising Star Church in the Eastlake community of Birmingham. Upon graduating from Kentucky State University (BS Biology 2004) and Beeson Divinity School of Samford University (MDIV May 2007 & DMIN December 2013), he succeeded his grandfather, Dr. Tommy Chappell, who served as New Rising Star’s third pastor for 35 years. As the servant leader of New Rising Star Church (also known as #TEAMSTAR), Dr. Beavers leads several innovative community efforts involving education, financial literacy, workforce development, housing and recreation.

In the area of education, New Rising Star offers an early childhood learning center, summer and spring break enrichment camps, and after-school programs. It will open a charter school in 2018. In addition, the church offers job resource fairs and partners with Work Faith Birmingham to provide job-readiness training for the unemployed and underemployed. New Rising Star also operates a credit union as an alternative to payday loans, and buys and restores homes to provide affordable housing alternatives in the community.

All New Rising Star efforts stem from Dr. Beavers’ continued vision to turn dilapidated communities into developed communities. In addition to New Rising Star Church’s community development efforts, they lead several ministry outreaches such as Operation East, which gives away free food, clothes and healthcare to residents of East Birmingham.

Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., is the Director of External Affairs in the President’s Office at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he works on strategic projects on a portfolio of issues in community engagment and economic development.

Recently, he spearheaded a city-wide partnership to secure $6 million to train disconnected youth for high-demand IT jobs. In 2014, Josh co-founded Bama Covered, a non-profit public health education initiative that trained and mobilized nearly 700 college students to engage in 100,000 conversations in the communities that surrounded their campuses. Due to its innovative approach in grassroots health education and student engagement, Bama Covered was featured in the New York Times, NPR, and NBC news among other national and local publications.

Previously, Josh served as a White House intern and was a Teach for America corps member in Alabama’s inaugural corps. He taught English and theater, and coached football and baseball in Perry County, Alabama, where in 2012, he was named the state’s “Golden Apple Teacher of the Year.”

A Rhodes Scholar, Josh earned his M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy and a D.Phil. in Politics at the University of Oxford where his dissertation explored the intersections of the political participation and healthcare access. While at Oxford, Carpenter was selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. He also holds a B.S. in business from UAB where he graduated, Magna Cum Laude. Josh teaches in the Collat School of Business and researches how job attainment alters notions of efficacy.

He currently resides in Birmingham with his wife, Nicole, where he serves on a number of advisory boards in the community.

Stewart Mott Dansby is an investor and civic leader. Born in Tuscaloosa and raised in Birmingham, he graduated from high school at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. He is a first-generation Birminghamian, his mother being from Flint, Michigan, and his father from Ozark, Alabama.

Stewart graduated from St. Andrews University in North Carolina with a B. A. in environmental studies with an emphasis in biology. He later received an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Stewart’s career has included working in the urban planning division of a Birmingham architectural firm, two years in Detroit with an investment counseling firm, and five years with the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he was manager of the Public Affairs Department.

He later co-founded a GIS consulting firm, American Cadastre, Inc., also known as “AmCad,” that advises clients on computerized mapping. In addition to the United States, AmCad did work in several countries including Russia, Armenia, Canada, Mexico and Kazahkstan. In 1999, the company was sold, and Stewart became the first executive director of the Vulcan Park Foundation. He later served as both president and chairman.

Stewart currently spends most of his time pursuing personal investments and nonprofit activities. He has recently been involved with fundraising campaigns for Red Mountain Park, Railroad Park and the Lyric Theatre. He is Immediate Past Chairman of the Society of International Business Fellows and has served as chairman of the Global Network Foundation, a supporting foundation to the organization.

Stewart serves on the boards of several institutions including the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Birmingham Landmarks, Inc., Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust, the Society of International Business Fellows and Friends of Linn Park. He is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham. In 1996, Stewart was named “Outstanding Civic Leader” by the Alabama Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now known as the Association of Fundraising Professionals).

Stewart has two children, Stewart Jr. and Susan.

Dave Gray serves as president and CEO of Daxko. He is responsible for leading the company’s strategic direction, growth, overall operations, and culture. Prior to joining Daxko, Dave held management positions at Calico Commerce, a Silicon Valley-based software company, and in Grant Thornton’s management consulting practice in Chicago.

Earlier in his career, Dave had the opportunity to conduct substantial consulting engagements for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, leading technology firms, and large government entities. This experience allowed him to witness the inner-workings of various corporate cultures and leadership approaches. He’s utilized those lessons — both good and bad — in executing his vision for building Daxko’s unique culture.

As the company has grown, it has received considerable attention for its approach. Three times, Daxko has been recognized by the Great Place to Work Institute as one of the 50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America. Additionally, Daxko has been featured in Fortune Small Business magazine,, Success magazine, and various local newspapers, magazines, and TV news stories. Daxko has also been recognized as the Alabama’s Small Technology Company of the Year by the AITA, Most Admired Tech Company by the Birmingham Business Journal, and Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States. It is a regular on the Fastest Growing Companies in Birmingham list.

In addition to his position at Daxko, Dave is on the board of directors of YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. He is a member and two-time past chairman of TechBirmingham, and an emeritus member of the Auburn University College of Business advisory council. He is also a frequent speaker at university and industry events on the topics of workplace culture, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in management information systems from Auburn University. He and his wife, Susan, along with their three children, live in Birmingham.

Jay Grinney served as president, chief executive officer, and director of HealthSouth Corporation between May 10, 2004, and December 31, 2016. HealthSouth is one of the nation’s largest providers of post-acute healthcare services, offering both facility-based and home-based post-acute services through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies, hospice agencies and outpatient rehabilitation clinics.

Prior to joining HealthSouth, Mr. Grinney was president of the eastern group at Hospital Corporation of America. Before joining HCA, Grinney served as a senior vice president at The Methodist Hospital System in Houston, at the time the primary teaching affiliate for the Baylor College of Medicine.

Mr. Grinney also serves as a director of Energen Corporation, where he is on the audit committee and chairman of the compensation committee; he also is a director of the privately held Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.

Mr. Grinney is involved with a number of community organizations, serving on the boards of directors of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham where he is chairman of the audit committee, and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. He previously served as a director on the boards of directors of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the United Way of Central Alabama.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College, Grinney earned both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Washington University.

Brian Hamilton is president and CEO of Trillion Communications Corp., a national Tier 1 supplier of Telco infrastructure products and services in the connectivity industry.

Prior to Trillion, Brian served in a variety of roles at AG Gaston Enterprises, including CEO of AG Gaston Engineering and Managing Director of AG Gaston Construction.

A product of the Birmingham City Schools System, Brian and his family reside in the Birmingham metropolitan area.

Gen. Charles Krulak served 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. His last position was as Commandant of the Marine Corps and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, Gen. Krulak joined MBNA America Bank as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MBNA Europe Bank, Ltd. After four years in this position, he returned to the United States and served as Vice Chairman, MBNA America Bank as head of Corporate Development, Mergers and Acquisitions. Gen. Krulak retired from MBNA in June 2005.

Gen. Krulak was introduced as the 13th President of Birmingham-Southern College on March 21, 2011, and retired June 30, 2015.

Gen. Krulak currently sits on the board of directors of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad Corporation. He sits on the board of the CEO Forum and serves a director with Aston Villa Football Club in the United Kingdom. Locally, he serves on the boards of Altamont School and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. He is an advisor to the Center for Naval Analysis and Human Rights First. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Susan Matlock is the former president and chief executive officer of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, Inc., a biotechnology and information technology incubation center. Ms. Matlock began her career as a banker, lending to small businesses and consumers. She has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the Financial Services Advocate of the Year for the State of Alabama.

She currently serves on the boards of directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama, Regions Financial Corporation and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Ms. Matlock has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Business Incubation Association. Innovation Depot was named 2011 “Technology Incubator of the Year” by NBIA, which has members from 66 nations. In addition, Ms. Matlock has been an active member of various civic, educational and leadership organizations in the community.

Randall Minor is a shareholder and member of the Public Finance and Real Estate practices at Maynard Cooper & Gale.

He focuses on the representation of governmental and nonprofit entities in connection with the issuance of taxable and tax-exempt bonds, notes, warrants and other debt instruments. He also represents lenders and borrowers in a variety of commercial real estate transactions and tax credit finance transactions, including low-income housing tax credits, new markets tax credits and historic tax credits.
Randall also has extensive experience representing developers and sponsors in a variety of land use and zoning matters.

He is an active and founding member of the Birmingham satellite chapter of the Urban Land Institute.

Prior to Maynard Cooper, Randall worked as an attorney in New York. Before starting his work as an attorney, Randall completed a clerkship for Judge U.W. Clemon of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Randall received his J.D. from Yale Law School. He holds a B.S. from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Sanjay Singh is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. In addition, he is passionate about mentoring the next generation of leaders within the community.

Sanjay holds a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems and Strategic Management from the University of Georgia. For 20 years, Sanjay was a faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, teaching and supervising theses for master’s and doctoral students in the Schools of Business, Engineering, Computer Science, and Healthcare Administration. In addition, he has visited, lectured, and studied at more than 200 companies in over 75 countries in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Sanjay is a member of the President’s Campaign Executive Committee, which is dedicated to raising $1 billion for UAB. Additionally, Sanjay is the immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and is on the boards of the Birmingham Business Alliance, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Alys Stephen Center, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Museum of Art, and Founders Investment Bank. He started the Indian Cultural Society at The Birmingham Museum of Art, dedicated to promoting Indian art and culture in Alabama.

Andrea L. Taylor is President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a Smithsonian affiliate focused on the history and impact of the Civil Rights Movement on American society. In 2017, BCRI is celebrating its 25th anniversary year, and Taylor and her team are currently focused on strategy and plans to promote excellence, impact and sustainability.

Prior to moving to Alabama in 2015, Taylor had an extensive civic and professional career in education, media and philanthropy. A Massachusetts native and New Yorker for nearly 30 years, Taylor was formerly director of North America Community Affairs for Microsoft Corporation.

Currently, she’s a trustee of her alma mater, Boston University, as well as for the Birmingham Business Alliance, The History Makers, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, REV Birmingham and WNYC, the nation’s largest public broadcast system. She has three children and five grandchildren.

Lora Terry joined the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in 2011 and was named Vice President, Philanthropic Services in 2017. In this role, she works to align the philanthropic interests of donors with needs in the Greater Birmingham region. Lora and her team work tirelessly to build community assets so that Birmingham will continue to be a thriving place to work and live in the decades to come. A Birmingham native and graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, she worked previously at the YWCA Central Alabama.

Lora is a member of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, where she has served in various leadership roles, including as President and Chair. She is a member of the Ballet Guild of Birmingham and was a participant in the Alabama Leadership Initiative, a member of Leadership UAB and a member of Children’s of Alabama’s Committee for the Future. She serves on the board of the Civic Club Foundation and is passionate about furthering Birmingham’s legacy as a community committed to civic involvement and philanthropic leadership.

Tripp Watson is the founder of The Watson Firm. He is an entrepreneur attorney, serving as an advocate and counselor to risk-takers and providing them with both business consulting and legal services.

From a family of entrepreneurs, Watson went to law and business schools with the explicit purpose of opening a firm dedicated to advising aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. Unlike many business attorneys, Watson is also a business owner who personally knows the stresses and demands of running a small business and who can advise on both the legal and management issues entrepreneurs face.

Dr. Michael W. Wesley Sr. is currently the pastor of the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in the West End community where he has given 30 years of service. He has a great love for people and for learning.

He is a native of Birmingham, where he was educated in the public school system. He graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education. He received a Master’s Degree in Music Education; a Class A certification in School Principalship and the Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, Dr. Wesley received a Bible Diploma and Bible Certification from Birmingham Baptist Bible College. He completed the Beeson Institute for Advanced Church Leadership Program from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Dr. Wesley earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Dr. Wesley retired in 2003 after a 26-year career as an educator in the Birmingham City Schools. He served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal of three different schools (Powderly Elementary; Arrington Middle and was the first African-American principal of Woodlawn High School). He served on the Central Office staff as Extended Day Principal and Coordinator of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

Dr. Wesley is regularly sought after to speak in both schools and churches. He has had the privilege of speaking across the nation and in several foreign countries. His spiritual gifts of teaching and preaching are well-documented. He is a member of many organizations. His civic and professional associations are too numerous to mention.

He is married to the former Venita Burkes, and is the father of two sons, Rev. Michael Wesley Jr. and James Edward, one grandson and two granddaughters.

Dr. Wesley is the author of three books, “When God Changes A Church,” “Everybody Deserves A Good Funeral,” and “Reaching the Un-Churched: Pathway to Church Growth.”

Download PDF

Together we can enhance cooperation and prosperity.

Measuring What Matters in Birmingham
Download PDF