The Baldwin County Association of Realtors (BCAR) was recently selected as a finalist for the 2019 Inman Innovator Awards in the Most Innovative MLS, Association or Industry Organization category.
Inman Innovator finalists are highlighted every year as being among the real estate industry’s most forward-thinking and groundbreaking members as indicated by their progress and accomplishments.
BCAR was selected based on a major milestone it reached last year, when it reportedly became the very first realtor association in the nation to offer group health, dental and vision insurance plans to its 2,300-plus member organization.
“Being able to offer health, dental and vision insurance to our membership is one of the most defining accomplishments of my career,” Sheila Dodson, CEO of BCAR, said.
Realtors, by the nature of their work, are typically classified in the industry as self-employed independent contractors (not employees), even when working under the umbrella of large residential or commercial firms. What this has always meant is that the challenge of obtaining basic health coverage for themselves and their families has fallen squarely on their collective shoulders.
This challenge was supposed to be addressed nationwide when the Health Insurance Marketplace was ushered in under the Obama administration in 2010. In the Yellowhammer State, however, some reported their individual and family heathcare plan costs went up after the statute was signed into law nearly a decade ago.
“Knowing that independent contractors are not able to provide for their families or themselves in this vital way has always been a difficult problem for the industry. It is great to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer premium coverage for our members, affiliates and their staffs,” Dodson said.
To be named a finalist in the Inman Innovator Awards requires a company or person who consistently tries new things, adopts new technology, creates a new culture or approach to real estate or has achieved an unmatched level of success. Over 60 finalists are then grouped into six categories.
“It is a tremendous honor for Baldwin Realtors to be included as a finalist for the Inman Innovator Award,” Troy Wilson, the 2018 president of BCAR, said. “We are sincerely humbled to be nominated among so many other prestigious associations from around the country.
“Our leadership team is very proud to have been able to provide an affordable group healthcare option to our members. Without this plan, many within our association would have no affordable alternative for healthcare. It’s very gratifying to know we have been an instrumental part of an initiative that provides such a positive impact to so many.”
The 2019 Inman Innovator Award winners will be announced at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas on July 25. For more information about the event and/or to see the full list of finalists, visit the Inman website at inman.com.
Business moves, transactions
Tim Herrington with Herrington Realty recently reported that some 2 acres of property, situated adjacent (and due south) of the Buc-ee’s travel center located at 20403 County Rd. 68 near the intersection of Interstate 10 and the Foley Beach Express in Loxley, was purchased by the Lake Jackson, Texas-based chain for $475,000.
The site will eventually serve as overflow parking for visitors to the property, which boasts a 50,000-square-foot convenience store and 124 fueling stations. The attraction was reportedly the first of some 35 stores to open outside the confines of Texas, as previously reported in Lagniappe.
Per a news release, a $12 million grant has been awarded to the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) that will help bring the nationally recognized, earn-and-learn Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program to Bishop State Community College.
Reportedly, the new program will help expand training in advanced manufacturing for the local community college’s cohort of students, and will facilitate the college in preparations to build an 80,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing center on its main campus, located at 351 N. Broad St. in Mobile, tentatively scheduled for sometime in mid-2020.
Andrew Dickman with Stirling Properties reported that local franchisee Jack Marshall Foods Inc., which manages and operates Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises across four Southeast states, has recently purchased a 54,450-square-foot land parcel located at 4106 N. College Ave., adjacent to a Hampton Inn, for $300,000 in Jackson, Ala. The company plans to construct a new, 2,380-square-foot restaurant with drive-thru, to be completed by Fall 2019. Dickman managed both sides of the transaction on the deal.
Dothan-based Southeast Shredding was recently acquired by Pensacola-headquartered Gilmore Services, according to a news release. “This local purchase will enable the expansion of service offerings to current and new customers in Southeastern Alabama,” John Price, former owner of Southeast Shredding, said. Services include document destruction, hard-drive destruction, document scanning, secure document storage, offsite document management and HIPAA-compliant moving.
UA hires George for GulfQuest Office
The University of Alabama (UA) has announced the hiring of Dana George as the new operations and business engagement manager for its office at GulfQuest. A Mobile native, she has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry working in such areas as business engagement, operations, research and sales.
“We are excited Dana has joined our team as the point of contact and UA research leader at GulfQuest,” Dr. Russell J. Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development, said. “She is well positioned to help UA strengthen ties with Mobile and South Alabama.”
Opened earlier this year, UA’s office at GulfQuest was established as a centrally located physical space to expand research capacity in the area. It serves as a Lower Alabama hub for research and programmatic initiatives for the region.
UA has an ongoing presence in the area, including an established program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Other UA efforts in the area have involved adolescent health and transportation, among others, as well as partnerships with the University of South Alabama.
“There is a tremendous amount of potential in partnerships between the university and the community around the Mobile Bay area,” George said. “Likewise, there is a lot of expertise at the university that can be used to take full advantage of the opportunities for the region and expand economic development.”
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