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’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.
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
DrunkAubie takes a break from social distancing to react to the Tigers’ magical run in the 2020 SEC Tournament and NCAA Basketball Tournament which totally happened and was in no way made up for the sake of entertainment in a time of no sports. After recapping the totally real tournaments, DA discusses potential landing spots for Cam Newton.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 21: Interview with Wendy Garner
Stuck in quarantine? Why not get some encouragement in your down time? On River Time is an organization that helps children overcome traumatic family history through relationships and the fresh outdoors. Wendy Garner left her job in television media and publicity to live out her purpose last year. Listen as she shares some of the things she has seen take place in these children. Lives are being restored and hope is rising thanks to the great efforts of this group.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 20: Interview with Jason and Austin Riley
Austin Riley is one of the best race car drivers in the world, and he is the only one at his level with autism. Years ago, Austin was bullied, he felt he had no purpose, and he did not want to leave his room. Thankfully, his dad knew something different. Jason believed in his son, even when his circumstances were unfavorable, at best.
They turned their pain into purpose as they formed Racing with Autism and now Austin races all over the world. This incredible story is such an inspiration and it will speak to you if you are walking through a situation that seems like it has no possible ending that could be positive.
Keith Richards describes mindset starting Taziki’s — ‘I knew at that point there was no plan of failure’
(Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe/Twitter, YHN)
Keith Richards, founder of Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, appeared recently on Yellowhammer Podcast Network’s “Living Life on Purpose” to talk about the leap of faith it took to launch his business and many other topics, including a program created for special needs employees.
Richards described to podcast host Matt Wilson that the idea to start Taziki’s took form after a three-week trip to Greece with his wife, Amy.
At the time, Richards was working with Frank Stitt at Bottega in Birmingham, but he wanted to start his own restaurant.
So he borrowed $50,000 and relied on family to help him get the restaurant ready to open.
“I knew that at that point there was no plan of failure,” Richards told Wilson. “I could not fail. I could not stop what I was doing.”
One Friday night during only their third week in the business, that resolve got put to the test.
That was the night the dinner crowd swelled beyond what Richards expected, and he ran out of food. He recalled Amy, who worked for US Airways at the time, having to shut the restaurant down. As an apology to their customers, Amy handed out 50 signed menus that were good for a free dinner at a future date.
Richards said he got back 49 out of 50 menus, and now Taziki’s has 93 locations in 17 states.
He credits the trust he built with restaurant customers in Birmingham as essential to Taziki’s success.
“My relationship that I created with our guests at Bottega was very important,” said Richards. “The guests trusting me. Trusting me knowing while they were at Bottega they were going to get great pizza or great pasta. I was going to make sure that I saw through what Frank was serving, it was going to hit our guests in a positive way, and then I was going to make that connection. Honestly, I feel that is how we became successful.”
When Richards set out to open the second Taziki’s, Amy had become pregnant with twins. Apparently, a pattern had set in because Amy was pregnant with twins again when the third Taziki’s opened.
Even with the added responsibility at home, Richards knew he was working as he was called to do.
“A lot of its faith built,” he said. “Trust the Lord in giving us the right direction. And really being passionate about guest services.”
Another part of his business about which he is passionate is his employees.
Tazkik’s has an exceptional special needs hiring program that has grown to include 15 employees. It was born out of a chance encounter with a special needs teacher from Shelby County. Now it is one of the most valuable aspects of Taziki’s culture.
“For me, it wasn’t so much of just bringing in the student, it was almost how can I get back to that parent,” outlined Richards. “God has blessed us with four healthy children, I thought, you know what, if I could give Momma D or Daniel’s mom or Steven’s father just some time to reflect and play tennis or pray or meditate or shop without them, then I’ve kind of created two little opportunities for both. For them to be self-sufficient and work with us as our team, then the parents go do what they want to do. It gives them time away because when you look at the life expectancy now of a child with Down Syndrome, now they are living to 70 or 80 years old.”
Richards believes the program has even allowed him to look at his company in a different way.
“We cherish them, we protect them, and we love them,” he said. “To me, that was another aha moment with Taziki’s. It’s so easy for us to give back.”
“How can you have a bad day?” is a question Richards often asks himself when he sees one of his special needs employees engaged in their daily routine at work.
“We want to make sure these kids flourish,” said Richards. “I don’t do it for the feeling. I do it because it gives them an opportunity, it gives them a meaning and a purpose.”
Another opportunity he developed to help them and his restaurants is called HOPE Project. HOPE stands for Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment.
Under HOPE Project, special needs students at several Shelby County schools grow herbs that are used in Taziki’s restaurants. What started as a project in a small bed in front of one school is now the recipient of grants and includes greenhouses and numerous sites.
Richards believes he is fulfilling an inherent responsibility by partnering on these types of projects.
“It’s up to us as business leaders to empower and to hire those [special needs] students,” he concluded.
Listen to the entire episode of Living Life on Purpose to hear Keith Richards provide some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and warn of the challenges they will face. He also describes the unique ways he fought burnout while he was getting his business going. He discusses plans and expectations for growth, how technology has made a difference in their business and find out why he says, “Taziki’s is my middle name.”
For more stories of how people have lived their lives with a purpose, listen and subscribe to Living Life on Purpose with Matt Wilson on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify and Google Play. Matt’s guests include Andy Andrews, UAB head football coach Bill Clark, Congressman Gary Palmer, Scott Dawson and many others.
DrunkAubie returns from an extended break (sorry) to talk Auburn basketball, including terrible shooting and Isaac Okoro’s return which hopefully saves the season. DA also discusses what’s going on with Madi P. in a really awkward episode of “The Bachelor.”
Living Life on Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 19: Interview with Taziki’s Keith Richards
Keith Richards founded Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe with one restaurant 22 years ago in Birmingham, AL. They now have 93 locations in 17 states with more to come. They started with hope and a dream. It took guts and a lot of faith. Now, they have a great American success story and they are giving back in so many ways.
From hiring special needs employees to using the herbs they grow locally, they are truly blessing others as they have been blessed. A very inspiring story that you don’t want to miss.
Episode 45: Name a more iconic duo than Auburn basketball and overtime
Your favorite couple reconvenes to react to Auburn’s overtime wins over LSU and Alabama, discuss the latest happenings in The Bachelor with Madi P and some other shenanigans going on in the college sports world.
Is the ‘Barn cheatin’ again? Can Arkansas football compete in the SEC West? Who would watch a sitcom about Paul Finebaum?!
Living Life On Purpose Episode 18: Interview with Julia Meyers
Human trafficking is a major issue in 2020 and it is modern-day slavery that is not addressed nearly enough. Julia Meyers is on a mission to help end this plague on society as chair of the Human Trafficking Committee at the Junior League of Birmingham.
What does trafficking look like? What are the signs? What can I do to help? Your kids are probably on the social media platforms where most of the victims are recruited. Are you aware? Learn more about this massive problem and ways to help in this episode.
This week, DrunkAubie reacts to beating Kentucky (yet again), beating Arkansas, Auburn’s signing class, Madi P. making a big move in The Bachelor and Boobee Whitlow’s “decision” to enter the transfer portal.
The guys discuss some of their favorite signees in the 2020 class and also unveil the first Bachelor power rankings. You will never guess who is number one.
Note: This was recorded before the LSU/Auburn game so if it turns out poorly then please ignore all positive remarks regarding Auburn basketball.
This week on the DrunkAubie podcast, the guys talk about Auburn basketball with Kentucky and College Gameday coming to town. The two also talk some Auburn football, Madi Prewett on The Bachelor and introduce a new game where they review movies they have totally seen and are not making up as they go on (please come back football season). Oh, and Super Bowl predictions!
Also, is “Lutzenkirchen” really Polish for “the podcast ever?”
Fact check: Oops, Anfernee’s kid’s name is Maverick and not Major (Sorry).
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 17: Interview with Jason Black
Jason Black is a second-generation McDonald’s owner-operator. He and his family have 17 restaurants combined. The industry itself is challenging as hiring and equipping people in vital roles can be tough to do. Black tries to balance serving people and profitable growth at the same time. He runs his business with purpose, even in the midst of corporate America.
Inside, he shares some of the struggles he has faced and how he deals with them. How does he do it? Find out in the latest episode.
Episode 42: Auburn basketball back on track, Bachelor talk
Not much is happening in the Auburn world, but DrunkAubie discusses (almost) everything that’s going on in the Auburn sports world, including Kevin Steele, Auburn basketball ending its two-game skid, a new kicker commit and The Bachelor with Auburn’s Madi Prewett doing her thing.
Do girls actually have pillow fights at slumber parties?
Scott Dawson talks Kanye’s faith, nation’s challenges – ‘Leadership begins at the feet of Jesus’
(Scott Dawson/Contributed, YHN)
Scott Dawson believes servant leadership is essential to spreading the gospel and healing society, and he highlighted famed musician Kanye West’s spiritual growth as one example of where that leadership can make a difference.
Dawson, founder and CEO of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, spoke on these topics and many others when he sat down recently with Matt Wilson on his “Living Life on Purpose” podcast.
As a former candidate for governor in Alabama, confronting the issues facing society and the nation is familiar ground for him.
When asked by Wilson what he viewed as the greatest challenge facing the country, Dawson was unequivocal in his response.
“Pride,” he stated.
He remarked that pride includes both arrogance and false humility.
“I sense that with all of us, including me,” Dawson said. “I’m speaking to you going, ‘this is my struggle’ because if we could understand how powerful the principle is to humble yourself before the Lord, things can happen.”
He cited Proverbs 16:18, which says, “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
“That’s the reason why I say it’s the greatest problem of our country because when we are so proud that we are not listening to anyone else’s counsel, we’re bent on doing it our own way, then we’re up to be left to our own destruction,” said Dawson. “And that’s what needs to take place in the country.”
He believes it will take Christ-centered leadership to overcome these problems.
“Leadership begins at the feet of Jesus,” he stated. “We have got to be servant leaders. We have got to exemplify that in our own lives. People say there’s one life in the church, one life outside the church. There needs to be just one life. Jesus is not what I do, He is who I am. Do I still have those struggles? Yes. But every day, I’m in a relationship with Him. I’m being molded into his image. John the Baptist said, ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ That happens in that life transformation that we’re walking through. I’m not acting like I used to act. And, hopefully, in five years I’m not acting then like I’m acting now because I’m growing in that relationship.”
Having established his ministry in 1987, Dawson described his calling as an evangelist as “an exciting adventure” as he continues seeking ways to answer the question of “how can I present the gospel in unique situations?”
One of those unique situations is with 21-time Grammy Award winner Kanye West.
West, whose album Jesus is King was released late last year, is set to participate in Dawson’s Strength to Standconference. The event is taking place in Pigeon Ford, Tennessee, on January 18 through 20.
“Kanye has had this conversion experience and most people are talking about, ‘Well, is it genuine, is it genuine?’” Dawson explained. “I’m reminded that those are the same questions they had about Saul. Saul turned out to be the greatest missionary we’ve ever seen. Now, most people know him as Paul, but in the New Testament he was Saul of Tarsus.”
Dawson sees the spiritual walk for someone like West as a leadership opportunity for other believers.
“Even people that are cynics toward Kanye, they cannot get over the fact that his entire countenance has changed,” he said. “Something has taken place in his life. So us as leaders, let’s exemplify it. Let’s be quick to meet people where they are. Scripture does say very pointedly, ‘Without vision, the people perish.’ We’ve got to have some leaders around here that can see further down the road than past the end of their nose and say, ‘This is where we need to go.’ People don’t mind following a leader if they trust him or her and they believe that he or she has vision for the future.”
West’s growth as a Christian is something to which Dawson has paid close attention.
“His pastor, a young man from southern California, he’ll tell you,” he noted. “Kanye to his own admission, he’s a better husband, he’s a better father, he’s a better son because of what Christ has done in, and what he’s doing through, his life.”
And it has left quite an impression on Dawson.
“Jesus says ‘I have come that you have life and that you have it more abundantly’ and what I see coming out of Kanye right now is pure life,” he concluded.
Listen to the entire episode of Living Life on Purpose to hear Scott Dawson explain how he became an evangelist, how he handles life’s pressures, who he works to compare himself to in his ministry and much more.
For more stories of how people have lived their lives with a purpose, listen and subscribe to Living Life on Purpose with Matt Wilson on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify and Google Play. Matt’s guests include Andy Andrews, UAB head football coach Bill Clark, Congressman Gary Palmer and many others.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 16: Interview with Scott Dawson
What is the greatest issue we are facing as a society, and how do we deal with it? Scott Dawson, founder of the SDEA, shares his thoughts on this and much more in this episode. He also shares information about the upcoming Strength to Stand event he will be hosting with Kanye West this week as we talk about his radical conversion and what it means to the world and believers. Listen to find out more!
Episode 40: Our New Year resolutions, Auburn on ‘The Bachelor’
New year, same DrunkAubie. The guys return to recap the Minnesota game, finish their bet on their Auburn predictions, talk Auburn basketball and introduce talking about “The Bachelor” since there’s an Auburn connection in Madison Prewett. DA also gives their New Year resolutions and asks for your resolutions.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 15: Interview with Dennis Daughety
Living a life of purpose doesn’t often make sense. In fact, more often than not, doing the most impactful thing is also the most difficult. Dennis Daughety, a franchise junkie, has chosen the path of an entrepreneur and allows the Holy Spirit to be his guide. He is a successful business owner but it’s how he has found the success that is intriguing. Listen to his story to find out how he got to this point, through the failure and trials, and how God has led the way.
After taking a week off, DrunkAubie returns to talk about Auburn basketball, kicks and giggles from the championship football weekend and recruiting.
– Should the Dr. Pepper halftime scholarship competition ban the chest pass?
– Georgia SEC Championship shirts leaving the stadium as LSU dominated the SEC Championship Game.
– Is this a news podcast now without football?
– How were Alabama and Auburn both ranked No. 9 in the AP Poll after they recently played?
– America is cheering for Auburn aka “Team Bloomin’ Onion” in the Outback Bowl.
Episode 7: Interview with Alabama Democratic Party Chair Chris England
Dale Jackson is joined the new chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa). England describes how growing up as the son of two public servants in Alabama led him to where he is today, from leaving the state to attend Howard University to winning the contentious inner-party struggle within the Alabama Democratic Party.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 14: Interview with Andy Mason
Andy Mason sold everything he had and moved his entire family from New Zealand to Redding, California, having never been to the United States. He did this based on a word from the Lord and found his complete faith and trust in His word to be true. He went without income for three years before he started to see breakthrough.
Andy is the founder of Heaven in Business and he walks us through his journey of faith and obedience, along with some of the amazing things that are taking place in his organization. You don’t have to compromise who God has called you to be in order to be successful in life or business. Listen to this powerful story to see what walking out a promise looks like.
Episode 37: Iron Bowl champions — The second coming
DrunkAubie takes a second to recap the Iron Bowl which saw the Auburn Tigers take down the other school in the state that plays football. DA also breaks down how Gus Malzahn outsmarted Nick Saban, tells fans to quit getting stuck in bushes and laughs at the Egg Bowl fiasco.
In this edition, the guys answer reader questions, make a bowl game bet, discuss storming the field and laugh at Nick Saban.
Episode 36: Thanksgiving with DrunkAubie, SEC coaches
A special episode including a Thanksgiving dinner with SEC coaches. DrunkAubie shares what he is thankful for and recaps the Samford game. The guys also predict the Iron Bowl and discuss their favorite Iron Bowl memories.