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."
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 29: Interview with Martin Briggs
Now is the time for people to take a stand for what they believe in. As a business owner, someone can choose the path of profitability over purpose.
Martin Briggs believes you can do both and serve your clients and customers with courage and conviction. He has started the ULECx Market that brings the body of Christ together and serves the business community to answer the call that we are facing today.
Martin is a serial entrepreneur and owns several businesses that allow him to model the love of God in all that he does daily.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 28: Interview with George Shamblin
(Gary Shamblin/Facebook, YHN)
Life is a journey for all of us. What we do on that journey is ultimately going to lead us more towards our purpose, or away from it.
George Shamblin is a teacher, pastor and author of the book “The Relay.” In this episode, George tells us a little bit about his journey and how he came to write the book, and how his book can help people grow in their faith.
George is full of energy and joy, and you will be inspired to hear what he has to say.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 27: Interview with Greg Davis
Greg Davis lives life on purpose through leadership at First Priority.
With a lot of uncertainty in the school systems, I am thankful that Greg is helping raise up young leaders that will pray in school and bring God into the midst of a hectic time.
Many people believe that prayer is no longer allowed in school but Greg’s story proves otherwise. You can never stop people from praying, and I am very thankful for that. Hear what he has to say about the subject and be encouraged.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 25: Interview with Carol Bevil
Everyone needs hope, especially now. The best and only way to truly find it is through God’s word.
Carol Bevil found that out on her own journey. She decided to write a book based on the scriptures that have given her strength and hope over her life. A trainer, coach, author, and mom, Carol has found peace in God’s word, and now she is sharing it with others. You will be strengthened by her story.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 24: Interview with Shae Bynes
Shae Bynes left a great job with IBM to follow God’s voice. She is the founder of Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur, and she seeks God’s guidance for everything she does. She has grown an organization that empowers people to do the same thing in their lives.
If you need encouragement to step out of your comfort zone and follow a dream or vision God has placed in your heart, this message is for you.
You will be inspired and challenged to step out in faith after you hear Shae’s story and the things she has accomplished so far on her journey.
As we continue to be without sports, hopefully for not much longer, the guys talk about their favorite Auburn nicknames from “Smoke” to the “Round Mound of Rebound.” They also discuss some of the recent happenings in recruiting, Auburn transfer news and Jared Harper’s new team.
Please note: As usual, this episode was recorded right before something newsworthy happened in the Auburn realm, so Cam Newton to the Patriots will be addressed in the next one.
Living Life on Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 23: Advancing Sight Network
Helping the blind eyes see. In this episode, Teresa Ham, CAO at Advancing Sight Network, talks about the mission and vision behind the organization and how they have been able to help so many people. They are restoring vision for people around the world.
We take sight for granted. So many people can not see at all. The Advancing Sight Network is helping people see again, or for the first time. This is a great group of people doing amazing things.
There is plenty of good to see in this world, and these folks are apart of helping the blind see it.
Season 2 Episode 1: We’re back and better than ever
After a coronavirus-related shutdown, Drunk Aubie returns to talk what’s happening in the Auburn sports world, including players returning to campus and some testing positive for the virus, Pat Dye and recruiting.
The guys also discuss the best and worst parts of the quarantine and a lot of other randomness.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 22: Interview with Jenny Waltman
Grace Klein communities has served over 100,000 people since March of this year as the economy shut down due to COVID 19. This amazing organization is a true testament to following God’s call on your life. They started the community during an economic downturn, and now they are in a position to be a blessing in another economic downturn.
Jenny Waltman is the founder, and she has a servant’s heart. Her love for God and people shines through in every conversation. Listen to find out more about her testimony and how they are helping those in need here in Birmingham.
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?