Summer 2011
Summer 2011
International Flavor
Trojan Territory
Chapter News

Julian Cope (1964) is the economic developer for the Bullock County Development Authority and directs activities for the agency. He has a variety of experience working with the public, serving as a high school principal and school superintendent. Cope is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, and he holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Alabama.

William Thigpen Sr. (1964) has been named assistant administrator of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Thigpen, a former state representative, and his wife, Betty, have three children and seven grandchildren.

Max Davis (1968) is chief executive officer of the South Alabama Electric Cooperative and has 43 years experience in the electric utility business. He is a director/trustee with Alabama Rural Electric Cooperative in Montgomery and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in Andalusia. Davis also served on the board of directors with National Rural Electric Cooperative in Arlington, Va., and he is a member of the Pike County Economic Development Board.

Jane Nall (1969) has been named Spanish Fort High School’s Teacher of the Year. She teaches marine biology and has taught for more than 30 years.

Gary B. Spillers (1970), president of Southeastern Investor Services, LLC, has written a book, “Go West Young Man...But Don’t Come Back: Mostly True Tales from a Southern Boy’s Travels.” The book chronicles Spillers’ travels through the western United States in 1976. Copies of the book can be reserved at or by calling 478-295-0311.

Gail Cooper (1972), CEO of Boyd Brothers Transportation, has been in the trucking industry with Boyd Brothers for over 36 years. Prior to her appointment as CEO, she was the president, corporate secretary and accounting manager. Cooper serves on the board of the Alabama Trucking Association.

Ronnie Owens (1973) was recently inducted into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame. A starter for the TROY football team his senior year, Owens helped to lead the team to the Gulf South Conference championship. He won the Kilpatrick Award given to the senior football player with the highest academic average.  Owens retired in 2000 after a 26-year career in education, which saw him serve as a teacher, coach and principal. He also worked for seven years as a basketball official in the Shoals area.

Richard Jones (1974) was recently elected to represent the Andalusia Utilities Board on the PowerSouth Board of Trustees. He is vice president of the Andalusia Distributing Co. and has served as a member of the Andalusia Water Board for 19 years and as chairman of the Andalusia Utilities Board for the past four years. Jones and his wife, Nancy, have two sons.

Timothy M. Rainey (1977) is pastor of Indian Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville. He has served the congregation since 1996. Before entering the ministry, Rainey was an award-winning journalist for the Huntsville Times and was named TROY’s Journalism Alumnus of the Year in 1997. Rainey and his wife, Gloria, have two adult children.

Robert S. Powell (1979) has been named has been named regional vice president in commercial banking at TD Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has 32 years of banking experience. Powell  and his wife, Debbie, reside in Boca Raton, Fla. He also serves as a professional football official with the United Football League.

Charlotte Wood (1979) has been named to the staff of U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Wood, a Montgomery resident, serves as constituent services representative in Rep. Roby’s Montgomery District Office. She was previously employed with the Social Security Administration and served for eight years on the staff of former Congressman Terry Everett.

Bill Smyser (1981) has joined CB&S Bank as vice president and commercial lender in the Downtown Huntsville Branch. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking of the South and has more than 30 years of experience in financial management.

Elijah Rollins (1989) was recently named city president of the Marion office of West Alabama Bank. He serves on the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, the Perry County Economic Development Board, the Executive Council of the Friends of the Perry County Library, the Marion Academy Board of Directors and the Perry County Child Advocacy Board. Rollins and his wife, Martha, have three daughters, Brittany, Cordellia and Mya.

W. Paul Bowers (1990), chief executive officer of Georgia Power, has been named as one of nine new directors of Buckhead Coalition, an influential nonprofit civic association, much like a chamber of commerce for the northern quadrant of the city of Atlanta. Its membership is limited to 100 CEOs of major area firms, by invitation. It is in its 23rd year, with the mission to “nurture the quality of life and help coordinate an orderly growth” in the 28 square miles with a population of 76,000.

Tracey Wall (1990) has been named 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year at Spanish Fort Middle School where he has served as supervisor for the school’s special education department since 2007. Prior to joining the Spanish Fort faculty, Wall taught in Jefferson Parish, La., and at Fairhope Middle School before spending four years working at the county level as a special education liaison. He and his wife, Robin, make their home in Daphne with their children, Alaina and Clint.

Tom Tate (1992) is entering his sixth term as sheriff of Monroe County. He also serves as project director of the 35th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, which serves Monroe and Conecuh counties. Tate joined the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in 1974. Prior to joining the force, he served for 18 years with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole.

Matt Zeigler’s (1992) book, “Sports Shooter: A Photographer’s Story,” recently won a Best Books 2010 award for General Photography in’s annual awards contest.

Dr. Cara Halgren (1994) has been named associate vice president/dean of students at the University of North Dakota (UND).  She joined the university in 2006 as associate dean of student life and director of judicial affairs and crisis programs. Prior to joining UND, Halgren served as director of the Office of Campus Life and other positions at the University of St. Thomas. She earned a doctorate from the University of St. Thomas in 2006.

Michele O’Donnell (1994) joined MMC, Inc., a human resources consulting firm, in January 2007 and currently leads the company’s elite team of human resources consultants. O’Donnell has been involved in the human resources industry for more than 14 years. She holds a baccalaureate degree in business administration from Auburn University and a master’s degree in human resource management from TROY.

Ronda Walker (1994) has been named to the staff of U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Walker serves as a field representative. She previously worked for U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.

Chad E. Stewart (1995) was recently named counsel in the Consumer Fraud Section of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. Stewart has successfully litigated on the state and federal levels in trail and appellate practice for more than 10 years. Stewart, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from TROY and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law in 1999, finishing in the top 10 of his graduating class. He and his wife, Becky, have three children – Cate, Ann Presley and Bo.

Jay Thomas (1996) was recently named editor of The Opp News. Thomas has served as editor of publications in Greenville and Cordele, Ga. He previously served as a city editor for The Montgomery Advertiser and bureau chief for Neighbor Newspapers in metro Atlanta. For the past year, Thomas has served as a professor at Miller-Motte Community College in Clarksville, Tenn.

Candace Cassady (1997, 2006) is a nurse practitioner at Evergreen Medical Center’s Rural Health Clinic in Conecuh County. Prior to joining Evergreen Medical Center, Cassady served as a nurse practitioner at South Central Medical Center in Andalusia.

Julia Nelson (1998) is running for mayor of Manning, S.C., in a special election to fill the vacancy created when former mayor Kevin Johnson was elected to the state legislature. She serves as executive director of the Sumter County, S.C., First Steps program, a position she has held since 2003. Nelson currently serves as a trustee on the Clarendon School District 2 board and as a member of the Santee-Lynches Regional Aging Advisory Board. The election will take place in July.

Capt. Latecia McGrady (2000, 2001, 2004) was recently appointed as commander of the Army’s 503rd Maintenance Company at Fort Bragg, N.C. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the University’s Army ROTC program. Capt. McGrady’s services have included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. She and her husband, Eric Pugh, have a son, Nicholas.

Chris Lewis (2001) has joined the new car sales team of Serra Toyota in Birmingham. He also serves as a basketball coach at Putnam Middle School.

Jack Pelfrey (2002) is executive
director of the Eufaula/Barbour County Chamber of Commerce. A native of Barbour County, he moved back to his hometown of Clio after a 20-year corporate career, hanging out his shingle as an independent management consultant. He served a term as mayor of Clio and serves on numerous boards of directors.

Quan Manh Ha (2003) received the Doctor of Philosophy in English at Texas Tech University during commencement ceremonies in May and has joined the faculty at the University of Montana.

Aaron Smith (2004) was recently named Flowers Hospital’s Non-Clinical Manager of the Year. Smith, who began his career at Flowers in 2000 as a chief engineer, serves as director of plant operations.

Former Trojan tennis player Rolando Vargas (2004, 2009) recently earned NAIA National Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year honors after leading the Auburn University Montgomery women’s tennis team to the NAIA national championship. Vargas, who has just completed his first year as coach of the men’s and women’s tennis programs
at AUM, led the Lady Senators to a  27-5 record, including wins in their final 13 matches.

Jared Waldrop (2007) has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president/operations associate at Troy Bank & Trust. He has been employed with TB&T for six years and in May was married to the former Stacy Williams.

Samantha Milligan (2008, 2011) has been named Rookie Teacher of the Year for the Phenix City Public School System. Milligan, a native of Eufaula, teaches fifth grade at Phenix City Elementary School. While she has been employed by the system for three years, the 2010-2011 academic year was her first in the classroom.

Kendyle Lofton (2009, 2011) is membership director for the Monroeville Area YMCA.

Casey Strickland (2009) was recently honored as Coffee County Outstanding Employee of the Year by the Coffee and Geneva Area Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Strickland, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a writer for the Daleville Sun-Courier newspaper, covering Dale County and Fort Rucker.

Maj. Timothy Richardson (2010) has had his book, “How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict,” published by the Cambridge University Press. Maj. Richardson is a career Air Force intelligence officer studying irregular warfare at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from TROY.

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