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."
LISTEN: Artist Steve Skipper talks being saved from gang life, turning his life to Jesus
(Steve Skipper/Contributed, YHN)
Steve Skipper has never been trained professionally in art, yet he is one of the best Super Realism artists in America. God has gifted Steve with ability, and he has been given supernatural guidance in how to paint the way he does.
Steve was a member of a notorious street gang in Birmingham when he was radically saved by the Lord. He was on a path to nowhere and he knew it. However, God sent someone to save him from that life, and he chose to say yes to Jesus.
In “Colors of Character,” a recent movie based on Steve’s life, he shares his testimony in full. Steve has overcome racial struggles, gang violence and a lack of professional guidance to become one of the best in his industry.
This is an amazing story of God’s grace and redemption, as well as the power of an authentic relationship with Him. Listen to the story to learn more.
LISTEN: Alabama Pastor discusses faith in the midst of constant opposition
(The Gathering Place Church/Contributed, YHN)
Matt Scott is the pastor of The Gathering Place Church in Moody. In a season of shaking and uncertain rules and regulations for churches, Matt has chosen to stand boldly in his faith.
Matt left a high-paying sales career to pursue ministry full time. He understands that his purpose in life is to lead others into a relationship with Jesus, and he does that through sharing the full extent of the gospel without any sugar-coating.
In this episode, we discuss the challenges he has faced in this season and how he continues to stand firm in his faith in the midst of constant opposition.
If you need more courage and boldness to walk out your faith, you won’t want to miss this.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 34: Interview with Bert Danner
(Bert Danner/Facebook, YHN)
Bert Danner grew up in the projects in the deep South. He faced extreme adversity from a young age and was determined to find a way out. He joined the U.S. Navy in order to pursue his dream of becoming an officer.
Bert became a Naval pilot and had his career all planned out. That’s when he found out he was not in control of his plans. Relieved of duty due to budget cuts, Bert was left to find a new career path. It was a dark period in his life and almost lead to his demise.
Thankfully, Bert pressed forward and knew that God had more for him to do. In his new book, “Conquer,” Bert describes the difficulties he faced growing up and how he overcame them, and he offers practical applications for anyone else to do the same.
If you need to be inspired, listen to this great story of perseverance.
Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 30: Interview with Chace Hatcher
We all face trials in life, but some are worse than others. Chace Hatcher had a choice at an early age: become a victim of his circumstances, or become a victor in life.
Chace endured an abusive dad who ultimately killed himself, a mom who was an alcoholic and also abusive, and a suicide attempt of his own. He had many demons to wrestle, and it was not until he met his now-wife and developed a strong relationship with God, that his life started to take a turn for the better.
A successful entrepreneur who has formed and sold several companies, Chace has a great story of triumph over adversity.
New business formation is on the rise in America, and if you are one of those thinking about starting your own company, know that you will have to overcome obstacles to be successful. Chace is a great example of the grace of God and the power of perseverance. Find out more in this episode.
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.