Spring Hill-based, locally owned coffee house and wholesaler Carpe Diem Coffee and Tea Co. recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary in Mobile.

“Carpe Diem was started in 1995 by Tommie Sue and Van Rusling,” current owner Alan Tolson said. “Van passed away in 2005 and Tommie Sue remarried over the ensuing eight years. She basically offered me first right of refusal to buy the business back in 2013, for which I am very grateful. For me, it was a natural decision. At that point I had been employed here over 14 years, knew the customer base, was already involved with the flow of operations and the work was something I loved doing.”

A native Mobilian, Tolson is also a University of South Alabama alum, graduating in the early 2000s from the Mitchell College of Business with a bachelor’s in management.

Although the ownership transition was virtually seamless for customers, Tolson has rolled out a few new product offerings under his watch over the past two years. One of the more popular is a nitrogen-infused cold brew “Nitro” coffee served under a high-pressure tap that creates a rich and creamy texture without sacrificing flavor. A broader variety of offerings on the breakfast and lunch menus will be introduced in early 2016.

On the roasted coffee wholesale side, Tolson said Cream and Sugar Café in Mobile, Latte Da Coffee House in Fairhope and Lighthouse Bakery in Dauphin Island now serve Carpe Diem products. Locally owned Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream in Midtown has also worked with the coffee shop to create a signature ice cream blend for coffeehouse patrons.

Future business growth plans include the possibility of adding additional locales in Midtown or Baldwin County over the next several years. “I’m not in a hurry to expand, but obviously if a good real estate opportunity avails itself in the right area, it would definitely make sense to do so,” Tolson said.

Anniversary events such as a block party in September to raise money for The Village of Spring Hill’s ongoing neighborhood sidewalk expansions and the 14th annual two-mile holiday fun run in December to raise money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Alabama were both well received.

For those interested in purchasing commemorative memorabilia to support this iconic small business, call 251-304-0448 or visit Carpe Diem’s website.

Austal USA awarded multimillion-dollar shipbuilding contract
Austal USA was recently awarded a contract for $51,684,797 to augment its 10-ship $3.5 billion Littoral Combat Ship contract with the U.S. Navy. This contract modification is expected to increase to nearly $200 million ($198,385,545) over three years if options are exercised. This work includes design services for upgrades to the LCS and preliminary design for the U.S. Navy’s future frigate.

“We’re excited about this contract as it reflects the Navy’s confidence in our ability to support these warships and the program as a whole,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. “This work lays a solid foundation for our growing support business and will continue to grow as these ships deliver and enter the fleet.”

Austal’s LCS and frigate design services consist of special studies supporting engineering design and trade-offs, core class studies that support program management efforts including configuration control, and maintenance of the class design for ships under construction.

Class services include ongoing technical support for design modifications and maintenance of the LCS configuration and baseline design for delivered ships as well as future flight upgrades. These upgrades include preliminary design efforts for the LCS transition to the frigate.

Work will begin immediately and be performed at Austal’s state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility in Mobile, according to a news release.

Austal is a global contractor and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships. For more than 25 years it has been a leader in the design and maintenance of ships for governments, navies and ferry operators around the world. More than 250 vessels have been delivered in that time.

Premier Medical Group celebrates centennial anniversary
Premier Medical Group, a locally founded multispecialty eye, ear, nose and throat medical practice, celebrated its centennial anniversary by planting willow oak trees in the newly renovated Herndon Park (Sage Park) and receiving a proclamation from Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

“As this year approached, our doctors and staff decided to make 2015 a year of celebrations and giving back to the community,” Gaye Butler, marketing director of Premier Medical, said. “We have served this community for 100 years, and we wanted to do something that would help to ‘plant our roots’ for another 100 years.”

In 1915, at the age of 29, Dr. William Perdue walked into the office of the Medical Society of Mobile with $10 in hand and filled out an application for membership. For him, it was probably just another form to complete, but it became the foundation of one of the oldest clinics of its kind in the country, known today as Premier Medical Group. The current practice has 34 doctors and more than 300 employees in five locations and numerous satellite offices serving Southwest Alabama as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

A century later, Premier Medical continues to be a leader in regional patient care. Premier offers a complete line of specialty services and employs an extensive staff of board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists and otolaryngologists. The hospital group’s goal is to continue the tradition begun by Dr. Perdue of leading their fields in education and research.

“As Premier Medical celebrates its 100-year anniversary, we are reminded about how fortunate we are to be in this position. We are committed to continuing our heritage by working every day to become a better practice and we hope to be able to provide excellent and compassionate care to our patients for another 100 years,” James Hartman, CEO of Premier Medical, said.

Premier Medical Group is one of the largest multi-specialty eye, ear, nose and throat groups in the U.S. In addition to the aforementioned programs, Premier Medical offers allergy testing and treatment, contact lenses, facial skin care, hearing aids and testing, laser vision correction and optical services