|Mayor Gary Fuller joins the Opelika Chamber of Commerce in welcoming the city's newest leaders - the 2017 Class of 20 under 40|
Class of 2016 – 2017
Ali Rauch currently serves as the Director of Marketing for Chicken Salad Chick, who was just named as the fastest growing privately held company in the state of Alabama, and 37th in America according to Inc. 5000. She joined the Chicken Salad Chick team in December of 2012 and has been a key member of the leadership team that has grown Chicken Salad Chick from 3 locations to 57 in the past 4 years
Ali earned her Associate’s Degree in Communication from Lake Land College, where she also served as Student Body President and met her future husband Todd. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Summa Cum Laude, from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois before moving South to Auburn where she worked at Auburn University before jumping into the private sector with UDA Technologies, CDI Electronics, and eventually Chicken Salad Chick.
Ali had been a proud community member of Opelika since July 2009, is an avid Auburn Tigers& Green Bay Packers fan and enjoys spending her free time with Todd and their dog-son, Forrest.
Carterde Shazo is the Office Coordinator at First Team Construction Co., Inc. in Auburn where she has worked for 7 years. A native of Birmingham, and graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts- Russell Mathematics and Science Center, she moved to Auburn to earn her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and has now been a resident of the Opelika/Auburn area for 16 years. Carter is a member of Mensa and is the Assistant Scholarship Chair for her local group. She is also involved with the Auburn Area Community Theatre. She is excited about Opelika's bright future and thrilled to be a part of the 2016 "20 under 40" class.
Chelsea O’Dell serves as the administrative assistant/ paralegal for Hilyer & Associates, CPA’s. Additionally, she facilitates travel arrangements and hotel accommodations for Jeff Hilyer’s Sunbelt Conference officiating crew. Originally from Winfield, Alabama, Chelsea graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in law and politics and a marketing minor. Chelsea and her husband Case have been married since 2014 and have been residents of Lee County for the last two years. They currently worship at University Church of Christ in Auburn. The O’Dell’s recently became homeowners in Opelika’s Historic District where they live with their English Bulldog, Ellie.
Corneillus Richardson is the Operations Manager at Lee County Youth Development Center (Intensive Residential Treatment Facility). A Native of Auburn, AL, He graduated from Loachapoka High School in 1999. After high school he was a Student- Athlete at both Lawson State Community College where he earned an Associate Degree in 2001 and Bachelor Degree from Jacksonville State University in 2004. He played International/Professional basketball in 7 different countries from 2004 until 2010. He’s also a Graduate of The Leadership Lee County Class of 2014/2015. He moved to Opelika in 2015, with his wife Chetara, and son Micah.
Jake Harris has been the pawn manager at ColorVision Rent to Own & Pawn since 2012.Originally from Helena, AL he moved to Auburn to attend college. He graduated in 2007 with a BA in Sociology. Jake recently completed the Dale Carnegie course. He is married to Grace Harris, who is a teacher in Opelika. They have a 4-year-old daughter named Braelin. He and his family are members of Cornerstone Church in Auburn. With all the improvements and growth, Jake is proud to call Opelika his home where he can raise his family. He is honored to be selected for this year's 20 Under 40 class.
Jeremy Gray was elevating his grind long before the motto sparked the minds of many. He officially launched the EYG brand in 2015, where he introduced the world to an entity that would elevate lives forever through a mind, body, and soul experience. He’s also known as Mr. EYG where he’s hands on with the day-to-day operations to ensure that every experience elevates the customers to another level mentally, physically, and spiritually. He is the elevator and his sole purpose is to elevate you from the inside-out through a combination of live events, physical training, and apparel. Jeremy does a lot great things through his non-profit organization as well; his latest project is The Curtis House which will provide resources to the Jeter community in which he grew up as a kid, in order to create productive people like himself. A native of Opelika, AL; Jeremy was a three sport star athlete in high school that excelled on and off the field. He graduated from NC State with a BS in Sport Management, where he was also a two-year starter for Wolfpack’s football program. Jeremy went on to play 4 years of professional football as well.
Jeri Ann Faircloth
Jeri Ann Faircloth is the Foundation and Volunteer Coordinator at East Alabama Medical Center. A native of Americus, Georgia,Jeri-Ann graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University with her bachelor's and master’s in Business Administration. She has lived in Opelika since January 2015 with her husband, Garrett and dog, Lady. Their family grew in November 2016 with the birth of their son, Wells. Jeri-Ann loves the hometown feeling that Opelika provides for her family.
John Corbin is the Co-Owner of Red Clay Brewing Company, a brewery that currently distributes state wide as well as portions of Georgia and a newly established catering company Long Pine Hospitality that recently took over Southern Union's Opelika campus cafeteria. Born in Opelika, John grew up in Daphne Alabama and spent summers and holidays in Opelika. After graduating Auburn University and building his career in hospitality throughout the Southeast, he knew he eventually wanted to set up roots here in Opelika. John, along with his wife Mandy and his 3 year old daughter Emma "officially" moved to Opelika 2 years ago, though they traveled back and forth from Atlanta weekly to get the brewery up and running. John is glad to finally call Opelika home again.
John Mark Davis
John Mark Davis is a Wine and Craft Beer Sales Representative for Pinnacle Imports, a wholesaler that is based out of Birmingham. He is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School in 1997. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2004 from Auburn University. After graduation, he moved to Atlanta to work as a Service Captain at The Buckhead Club. After a few months in this position he was promoted to Food and Beverage Director. He then moved to Memphis, TN and held the same position at The Crescent Club for several years. In late 2008, he moved back to Alabama to open Springhouse on Lake Martin as the General Manager. In 2010, he moved back to Auburn. He now lives in Opelika with his wife, Merideth Davis and their two dogs. John Mark is an avid outdoorsman who likes to hunt and fish. He also enjoys cooking and live music.
Jonathan is the new Director of Marketing and Proposals for Sage Services, LLC. Sage is a construction services firm that specializes in federal government clients and contracts. Sage's clients and work span across the U.S.from coast to coast. Jonathan graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Auburn University in 2001. Previous employers include Initial Outfitters, Auburn University, Super Signs, and HeartStrings Enterprises.
In the summer of 2009 Jonathan moved to Opelika and quickly came to think of the city as his home. In 2015, he and his wife Sarah celebrated their engagement at Cafe' 123 and were married later that year at the historic train station and depot in downtown Opelika. Jonathan is also a 2014 graduate of the Leadership Lee County program and has served on the board of Rebuilding Lee County since 2006. He and Sarah are members of Cornerstone Church. Jonathan and Sarah are expecting their first child, a little baby girl in October of this year. Jonathan has been heard to say "How hard can it be?" In his free time, he enjoys volunteering with live music events, grilling, and shooting sports.
Kenan Roland is an audit coordinator for East Alabama Medical Center, and has worked there since 2012. Originally from Fernandina Beach, FL, Kenan graduated from Auburn University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration. In 2012, she earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of South Florida. She has a two year old Schnauzer/Poodle mix named Gryffin. Kenan is a member of Church of the Highlands and has called Opelika home for the past four years.
Kerry McGinnis is co-owner and head brewer at Red Clay Brewing Company. The Opelika native was born here, and grew up playing in the woods that used to exist in the area now occupied by Tiger Town. Kerry graduated from Opelika High School in 1999, and left for the US Navy where he served as a Gas Turbine Systems Technician. Near the end of his four years in the Navy the Army began to recruit him and in 2003 he joined the US Army as an Aircraft and Power Plant Repair Technician.
In 2008 Kerry returned home to Opelika and enrolled in Southern Union State Community College and transferred to Auburn University to begin working on his degree in Biological Systems Engineering. He will complete this degree after one more semester.
Kerry is married to Lucinda McGinnis with their first child due Oct 26th. Lucinda is a teacher at Beulah High School and they have been married for almost 6 years now. Kerry is very happy to see downtown Opelika coming back to life and even more thrilled to be playing a part in it,he hopes to never leave this great town.
Kris Bailey is a personal banker and business advocate with Wells Fargo Bank. He has been with Fargo Bank since 2013, and transferred to their 6th street Opelika location in early 2015. Prior to working for Wells Fargo Bank, Kris was in healthcare consulting in Birmingham, Alabama. Originally from Opelika, Kris is a 2003 graduate of Opelika High School. He received dual Bachelor degrees in Health Services Administration and Finance in 2008. In his spare time, Kris likes to cook and spend time at his family’s farm where he manages a four acre heirloom vegetable garden.
Melissa Todd is the Financial Aid Coordinator for Southern Union State Community College.The primary focus of her position is to provide valuable information to potential and/or current students about the endless opportunities of federal and state financial aid assistance through the form of grants, loans and scholarships. It gives her great pleasure to visit local schools, churches, and civic organizations to provide information needed to ensure a seamless transition to post-secondary education. She is a member of the Alabama Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Southern Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators. She also serves on various committees within the institution.
Originally from Lineville, AL; Melissa moved to the great City of Opelika in 2009. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from Faulkner University (2008)and a Master Degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University (2012).Melissa currently serves as the Youth Director at her church and conducts various community service projects such as annual food and clothing drives,youth retreats and community outreach. She is excited to learn more about Opelika through the “20 under 40” class of 2016. Melissa, along with her husband Micheal, and their 2 year old daughter Mackenzie are blessed to call the City of Opelika home.
Meredith Turner is the Office Manager for Allen Orthodontics. Meredith actively works with the Opelika City Schools and community on orthodontic health awareness. She is a graduate of Columbus State University with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. She has been involved in management since completing college. She is a lifelong resident of Opelika and graduated from Opelika High School in 2000. Meredith and her husband Randy, along with their three children are active members of First Baptist Church of Opelika. Meredith loves the small town feel of Opelika and raising her children in this great community.
Rebekah Martin moved to Opelika in August 2014 to work at the Opelika Observer, first as a staff reporter and assistant editor. She now works as the associate editor, being responsible for editing content for publication and layout and page design of the weekly newspaper. Originally from Talladega, Ala., Rebekah graduated from Faulkner University in Montgomery with a bachelor's degree in English and journalism in 2011. The daughter of a preacher and a teacher, Rebekah is an active member of the Tenth Street church of Christ where she teaches a 3rd-4th grade Bible class.
Tiffany Chandler is the Site Coordinator for Huntingdon College on the Southern Union State Community College Campus in Opelika. She oversees all logistics for Huntingdon’s Evening Bachelor’s program with recruiting, admissions, advising, financial aid, and student accounts. She enjoys helping the community grow and having the opportunity to help individuals to continue their education. Tiffany is active in both the Auburn & Opelika Chambers as well as a member of the East Alabama Society of Human Resource Management.
Tiffany received her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Sports and Fitness Management from Troy University, where she also serves as the Head Cheerleading Coach. She became a professional athlete in 2011 under the International Federation of Body Building.
She is an Opelika Native who graduated from Opelika High School in 2004. She is married to Opelika native Jonathan Chandler who works for Opelika City Schools and is a Varsity Football Coach for the Bulldogs. The Chandler’s have one daughter, Stallings and attend Church of the Highlands-Opelika.
Todd Rauch is a retired United States Army Military Police Officer and small business owner of Combat Cornhole. While serving in the Army, Todd was named Soldier of the Year for the 18th Military Police Brigade in Giessen, Germany. During his subsequent deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I, Todd was awarded the Purple Heart after surviving a mortar attack and saving the lives his fellow soldiers on August 21, 2003. Todd suffered extreme trauma and wounds to his right leg and right arm & shoulder.
Following his return to the States, he retired from the Army and began his college career. He earned his Associate Degree in Psychology from Lake Land College in Mattoon IL, where he served as the Student Representative to the Board of Trustees.He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Auburn University in 2010,and has since worked with U.S. Army’s Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM) as an Intelligence Specialist before moving back to Auburn and forming his small business, Combat Cornhole, where he specializes in handmade custom cornhole sets.
Dedicated to a life of service and giving back to his country, Todd plans to run for Alabama State Congress in 2018 to give Veterans a voice while putting service above self-interest. He currently volunteers his time serving on the Lee-Russell County Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Advisory Council. Todd is married to Ali Rauch and they have owned a home in Opelika since 2009, where they currently reside with their furry son, Forrest.
Tyler Chaffee is a Project Manager with the City of Opelika’s Economic Development Department. He helps new and expanding industries locate in Opelika bringing new jobs and capital investment to the city. In addition, he completed the Auburn University Intensive Economic Development Training Course in 2015, and also serves as a member of the Opelika Main Street Board.
Originally from South Carolina, Tyler enrolled at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL to pursue an opportunity to play collegiate tennis and obtain a degree. He graduated in 2015 with a degree in Graphic Design and upon graduation, moved to Opelika to work in his current position with the city.