2017 ACE Star Awards


ACE 2017 Star Awards Announced

Contact: Ms. Sidney Hoover, (205) 567-3248

CLANTON, ALABAMA. The Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) presented the 2017 ACE Star Awards at the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) Annual Community Reunion July 14th in Clanton, Alabama at the Alabama Power Company – Clanton Conference Center.  This was the third annual ACE Community Reunion, with highlights on digital presence; why cyber security matters; legal implications of social media and digital communications; broadband updates; encouraging words from ADECA’s new Director, Kenneth Boswell as well as various other current topics.  Our sponsors for the 2017 annual community reunion included Balch & Bingham, LLP; CDG Engineering and Information Transport Solutions, Inc.

The ACE Star Awards recognizes individuals who have performed above and beyond the call of duty and embody the principles of the ACE Program, a comprehensive development program designed to assist Alabama’s smaller communities in their efforts to plan, grow and prosper.

The 2017 ACE Star Award recipients include:

  • Ms. Tana Collins, Outstanding ACE Local Coordinator (Jasper)
  • The Honorable Robert Joslin, Outstanding ACE Mayor (Arab)
  • Reverend Willie Blue, Outstanding ACE Volunteer (Brewton)
  • Mr. Brandon Bias, Outstanding ACE Ambassador (Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc.)
  • Dr. Arturo Menefee, Exceptional ACE Leadership (Auburn University – Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

These “rising stars” bring outstanding leadership and a passion for small-town Alabama to all that they do. They are recognized for their commitment to making their communities better places and for their support of the ACE process.  ACE offers communities a “one stop shopping” experience by centralizing community development programs and tools in one organization.

ACE is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides technical assistance to select communities with populations ranging from 2,000 to 18,000 that helps to strengthen the communities’ long-term economic success. This year marks 15 years of ACE providing the resources and knowledge for small communities across the state to focus on the importance of planning, leadership development and broad-based community engagement.

Throughout the ACE process, ACE Partners work with each community to successfully achieve specific goals. The ACE Program would not be possible without the funding, hard work and participation of the ACE Partner organizations.  The ACE Partner organizations providing funding in 2017 include: Alabama Department of Commerce; Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs; Alabama League of Municipalities; Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority; Alabama Power Company; Alabama Small Business Development Center Network; Auburn University – Government and Economic Development Institute; Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc.; PowerSouth Energy Cooperative; Regions Bank; Southeast Gas; The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and The University of West Alabama.  ACE also is receiving grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Thirty-five communities have previously been certified as Alabama Communities of Excellence and are located throughout Alabama. These communities include: Alexander City, Arab, Atmore, Brewton, Childersburg, Demopolis, Elba, Eufaula, Evergreen, Fairhope, Fayette, Foley, Graysville, Guin, Gulf Shores, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hartselle, Headland, Heflin, Helena, Jackson, Jacksonville, Jasper, Leeds, Livingston, Millbrook, Monroeville, Montevallo, Oneonta, Rainsville, Saraland, Spanish Fort, Thomasville, and Valley.  Other communities currently in the process of working through the ACE program include: Abbeville, Bay Minette, Boaz, Center Point, Chelsea, Geneva, Hanceville, Red Bay, and Tallassee.

For additional information about the Alabama Communities of Excellence Program, please visit www.alabamacommunitiesofexcellence.org

2017 ACE Star Award Recipients:

Ms. Tana Collins, Outstanding ACE Local Coordinator (Jasper) – The City of Jasper was designated an ACE community in 2017. Ms. Collins started the ACE process when she was employed by the City of Jasper as their PIO. She pulled the group together despite them recently completing a parallel process with the Jasper Mainstreet Program.  Tana left the employ of the City about a year into the ACE application process. Despite no longer being paid by the City, Tana was determined that the City would complete the program to successfully attain the ACE Communities of Excellence. Tana’s new job as Director of Communications for Bevill State Community College meant that she was responsible for all communications for 5 campuses in 4 counties. She refused to let the ACE process wither on the vine and instead rallied the team to complete the process effectively, efficiently and in a slightly shorter time-frame than initially anticipated. Ms. Collins is most deserving of this award.

The Honorable Robert Joslin, Outstanding ACE Mayor (Arab) – The City of Arab was designated an ACE community in 2012. Mayor Joslin has been an exceptional asset for the City of Arab. When he took office in 2012, he immediately began to initiate programs designed to benefit and grow the community.  Because of his guidance and careful balance of expenditures, the City enjoys financial prosperity for the first time in their history. He is approachable, not only to the public, but to the employees as well.   Mayor Joslin is an excellent role model for the City of Arab.

Reverend Willie Blue, Outstanding ACE Volunteer (Brewton, AL) – The Reverend Willie Blue has been a stalwart supporter of a wide range of programs in the City of Brewton, including the John L. Fisher Community Center where he serves as a Board Member. Through his leadership in organizing support and volunteers, the Center has been renovated and is now used regularly for events from recreation for children and senior citizens to a summer feeding program and monthly STEM sessions for area children. He is a regular fixture at all city meetings and has been a valuable contributor in planning sessions. Reverend Blue is indeed an outstanding volunteer.

Mr. Brandon Bias, Outstanding ACE Ambassador (Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc.) Mr. Bias is currently serving as Vice President and Board member of the Alabama Communities of Excellence, and is also a Community and Regional Planner for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. in Mobile, AL. Bias currently serves as the Co-Captain for the City of Bay Minette, a community recently accepted in the 2017 ACE class. He is always ready to step in to provide assistance and offer support in all capacities. He brings a wealth of knowledge to his many projects, and his proven dedication and hard work have been exemplary to ACE in all areas. ACE is fortunate to have someone of his caliber to guide our organization.

Dr. Arturo Menefee, Exceptional ACE Leadership (Auburn University – Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

Dr. Menefee has diligently delivered valuable sources of information to ACE communities for many years. He has served as ACE President and Chairman of the Board, and guided many ACE communities through the leadership development component of the three-phase process and has consistently proven his leadership skills and talents through his service to ACE. Dr. Menefee is a State Specialist with Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University as well as being a Board Member of ACE.