Now in its fourth year, Fuse Project announced its third annual Dragon Boat Festival will be held June 11 at Mobile’s Battleship Memorial Park. The popular fundraiser formerly took place at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort.’
“Our organization’s Dragon Boat Festival has had two wonderful years at 5 Rivers, and we could not give a more glowing review of the staff and grounds. However, the move to The Battleship will allow us to continue to grow the festival and hopefully exceed our goal of 60 teams for 2016,” co-founder and board treasurer/secretary Brie Zarzour said.

“We are excited that Battleship Memorial Park has been selected as the site for the 2016 Dragon Boat Races,” Bill Tunnel, executive director of Battleship Memorial Park, said. “These events have raised thousands of dollars that benefit so many worthy nonprofit organizations in our community. We are looking forward to working with Fuse Project to help produce this innovative fundraising event.”   

Fuse Project also plans to refine its focus on the projects it supports by centering on after-school programs for kids of all ages in Mobile and Baldwin counties. According to co-founder and board chairman Grant Zarzour, the goal of this effort is to help ensure local kids have access to after-school programs that increase their overall quality of life and to foster a healthy family dynamic for working parents and their families.

Last year, Fuse Project successfully raised over $151,000 at its second annual Dragon Boat Festival. Funds benefited children in the Mobile County Public School System, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, Prichard Preparatory School, Soccer4Life and Fuse Camp at the Exploreum. 

Since its formation in 2012, Fuse Project has raised over $300,000 and supported numerous causes that promote health, fitness, education and social responsibility of children along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. During 2016, Fuse Project aims to grow beyond the annual Dragon Boat Festival through a number of opportunities that will engage young professionals with unique and creative fundraising events.

Airport Authority names new marketing director
After conducting a nationwide search and garnering input from nationally recognized air service development partners, the Mobile Airport Authority recently named Brian Belcher as its new director of marketing and air service development.

In his new position, which he assumed Nov. 30, Belcher is tasked with formulating and implementing an aggressive air service development, marketing and social media strategy to increase airline capacity and passenger growth at Mobile Regional Airport. Belcher’s 35-year career includes multiple successful air service development campaigns, innovative marketing and social media efforts.

Belcher held a similar position at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia, for the past 20 years. “I’m very excited and look forward to presenting Mobile’s story to our airline partners to increase capacity and help bring new and improved service to the region,” Belcher said.

“Brian has built solid relationships with airline planners nationally. This, along with his knowledge of marketing and air service development strategies, will enhance Mobile Regional’s chances of future airline and passenger growth,” Thomas Hughes, Mobile Airport Authority deputy director, said.

Belcher has presented before the American Association of Airport Executives, the Airport Council International North America and international events on topics such as air service development, crisis communications, social media and marketing. He also actively participates as a member of the ACI-NA Marketing and Communications Steering Group.

Currently Mobile Regional Airport is served by American, Delta and United Airlines, with nonstop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. Growing capacity, the number of cities served and airline partners is a high priority for the Airport Authority.

Hargrove Foundation introduces STEM program
The Hargrove Foundation has announced a creative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) after-school program for Mobile County students ranging in age from 11 to 15 called the Hargrove STEM Institute.

A ceremony to kick off this groundbreaking program was held recently at the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama. The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, Mobile Area Education Foundation and the University of South Alabama College of Engineering collaborated to develop and implement the Hargrove STEM Institute.

Its purpose is to engage students in the aforementioned areas of study, deepen their content knowledge in these disciplines and expose them to related careers. According to a news release, the program’s goals are uniquely aligned with the Hargrove Foundation.

“The Hargrove Foundation supports education initiatives in local communities where we can have an impact on lives by the giving of our resources and talents to bring greater opportunities for success and development,” Hargrove Foundation chairman Dennis Watson said. “We are proud to sponsor the Hargrove STEM Institute at the Boys & Girls Club.”

Participating students will get a firsthand look at how science, technology, engineering and math relate to future career opportunities by taking field trips to local businesses in related engineering fields, hearing guest speakers and touring college and university campuses.

Berthaume promoted at Roberts Brothers
Roberts Brothers Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced the appointment of Sara Berthaume as director of marketing. She will oversee all marketing functions for the company’s approximately 200 agents and staff in four offices.

“Sara has done a fantastic job enhancing the Roberts Brothers brand and servicing the listings of our sellers. Her promotion will be valuable to our agents as well as our customers,” Daniel Dennis, president of Roberts Brothers, said.

“I have enjoyed every minute with Roberts Brothers and I’m excited for the opportunity to do what I love,” Berthaume said. “I have built great friendships as a result and look forward to what the future holds.”

For three generations, Roberts Brothers has been one of the leading residential real estate companies in South Alabama. The company is celebrating its 70th year in business in 2016 and is owned by HomeServices of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, with more than 15,000 sales associates and nearly 300 offices across the U.S.