The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

11 months ago

Hargrove Engineers + Constructors Commits $1.5 Million to USA’s Hancock Whitney Stadium


Hargrove Engineers + Constructors has committed $1.5 million to the University of South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium. As a result of their investment, the club level at the stadium will be named The Hargrove Club.

Hargrove has previously supported the University with philanthropic gifts to the College of EngineeringSchool of Computing, Jaguar Athletic Fund and the MacQueen Alumni Center, as well as USA Health’s Mitchell Cancer InstituteChildren’s & Women’s Hospital and University Hospital.


“We take pride in teaming with our clients and communities to build great projects with positive impacts – especially when it enhances the development of the future workforce,” said Jeb Shell, Hargrove’s chief financial officer and a graduate of South Alabama. “We are proud to play a part in this exciting stadium project and to help the Jaguars get on campus.”

University of South Alabama President Dr. Tony Waldrop recognized Hargrove and its leadership for making this significant investment.

“Hargrove has a long history of supporting the University and the local community,” Waldrop said. “We are honored to have such a well-respected company recognize the importance of our new stadium and the impact it will have on Mobile.”

Dennis Watson, project director at Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, acknowledged the importance of partnering with the University. “Our mission is to team with our clients to drive mutual and sustained success. This mission extends to the communities where we live, work and play. We are proud to be able to support the continued growth and success of the University of South Alabama.”

USA Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann emphasized the impact that Hargrove’s gift will have on the football program and South’s student-athletes. “Support from Hargrove provides opportunities for our student-athletes to thrive both on and off the field,” Erdmann said. “Having a state-of-the-art football stadium on campus will give a competitive advantage to our football team and all of our student-athletes.”

The Hargrove Club will have 5,000 square feet of indoor space and 800 outdoor seats. The 25,000-seat Hancock Whitney Stadium is located on the west side of campus, adjacent to the Jaguar Training Center, Football Fieldhouse and football practice fields. The stadium will feature a state-of-the-art video board and sound system, an end-zone terrace and concert stage, 18-seat suites and bench-back seating options. The site will include hospitality areas for tailgating, events and recreational vehicle parking.

Fundraising for the stadium continues, and additional sponsorship and donor opportunities are available. To support Hancock Whitney Stadium, contact Erdmann at or 251-460-7121, or Jacob Ludwikowski at or 251-461-1553, or visit

(Courtesy of University of South Alabama)

1 year ago

In a storm’s wake, a service focus emerged


Like many children, Eugenie Sellier’s mom warned her to eat the food on her plate because there were kids in the world who were starving. And like most kids, she knew that meant she better finish her dinner.

Growing up in Pass Christian, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Sellier realized there were people who went without enough food. But the issue did not affect her directly, so it was not a real concern. Until her senior year of high school in 2005.


“When Hurricane Katrina hit, it completely changed my perspective,” said Sellier. In the weeks following the storm, she and her family received critical help from first responders, including Salvation Army volunteers who delivered hot meals every day. “Seeing how everyone was willing to help out during a disaster made me want to go into a public service career.”

Sellier’s path to public service proved an uneven road. She entered the University of South Alabama in 2006 to study physical therapy before switching majors two more times. When one of her roommates suggested she take a communications class, Sellier agreed. “I got hooked on print journalism, and loved it.”

After graduating in 2011 with a double major in journalism and French in the College of Arts and Sciences, Sellier continued her college job working in retail until a friend, a fellow South alumna, mentioned an opening for a child nutrition coordinator at the Bay Area Food Bank, now called Feeding the Gulf Coast.

Without any experience in child nutrition and limited scope of the organization’s programs, Sellier was skeptical about interviewing for the position. However, after being offered the job, she readily accepted and hit the ground running.

During her first year as child nutrition coordinator, Sellier spent much of her time traveling to rural communities in Alabama, learning as much as she could about the needs of hungry children in those areas. The experience became a pivotal moment in her career. “Growing up, you never think about the kid next door or the kid you go to school with being hungry,” said Sellier. “It was a turning point for me as to what’s going on in our local communities.”

At the end of that year, Sellier entered South’s master of public administration program to further her career in public service. Although she admits it was difficult at times to juggle working full-time and attending classes at night, Sellier believes she benefitted from the process.

“It was very helpful to be working and going through the program simultaneously,” Sellier said. “A lot of the skills I learned I could relate directly to work. I was able to bring up questions from my job in class for real-time solutions.”

One professor in particular made a significant impression on Sellier. On the first day of her class, Sellier was terrified of Dr. Jaclyn Bunch, assistant professor of political science. “Because of that, I didn’t forget anything she taught me,” laughed Sellier. Bunch went on to sponsor the Public Administration Club, a student organization Sellier co-founded. Their relationship eventually transformed into one of mentorship, and Bunch continues to communicate regularly with Sellier to follow her career progression.

“Eugenie made a tremendous impact on the classroom experience,” said Bunch. “She is a consummate professional, an enthusiastic scholar and an impactful leader. Our program is honored to count her among our alumni.”

After receiving her MPA in December 2016, Sellier was promoted to Alabama child nutrition manager at Feeding the Gulf Coast.  Two years later, she became the director of child nutrition programs, overseeing the operation and administration of four child hunger relief programs serving more than 20,000 children at 250 feeding locations in the Gulf Coast region.

Sellier credits the education she received at South for learning the skills necessary to thrive in her current position, specifically what she learned in her MPA program. “From human resources, to budgeting, to interpreting data, what I learned in the program allowed me to move ahead in my career more quickly,” said Sellier.

She doesn’t try to predict where her career will ultimately lead, but Sellier knows she is finally on the right trajectory. “I never thought I would be where I am today five years ago,” Sellier said. “I enjoy mentoring the younger staff, and I would like to continue managing and leading programs in public service.”

Wherever her career path leads, it’s a good bet that Sellier will continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

(Courtesy of University of South Alabama)