The Escambia County Healthcare Authority (ECHA) recently accepted the recommendation of their executive committee to enter into a period of due diligence and contract negotiations with Mobile-based Infirmary Health as new incoming manager of Atmore Community Hospital.

“We are pleased with the process used to assure the continued provision of high quality inpatient and outpatient healthcare in the community,” Ruth Harrell, Chair of the ECHA Board said. “Now the hard work begins as we complete due diligence and negotiate the new contract. Be patient with us because we don’t have all the answers yet but will be working diligently to ensure the final contract represents the best interests of our staff, providers and the community.”

As the largest non-governmental, not-for-profit healthcare system in Alabama, Infirmary Health is comprised of three acute care hospitals, three post-acute care facilities, three diagnostic centers, and more than 22 medical clinics and other affiliates. Serving an 11-county area along the Gulf Coast, the facilities collectively treat more than 800,000 patients annually. Originally opened in 1910, Infirmary Health currently employs in excess of 4,900 in the area with 700 physicians on staff.

“We are pleased to have been selected to manage Atmore Community Hospital and are dedicated to providing superior healthcare to residents of the Atmore community. As a community-based health system, Infirmary Health has a 104-year history with a demonstrated record of exceptional quality and safety measures, high employee and physician engagement and commitment to the communities we serve,” Mark Nix, president and CEO of Infirmary Health said in a prepared statement.

“Atmore Community Hospital and Baptist Health Care have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship in the past,” Mark Faulkner, BHC president and CEO said. “All parties involved have the common goal of ensuring convenient access to quality patient care while maintaining the viability of their respective organizations. Baptist is proud to serve the Atmore community and supports the board’s decision that will best address the unprecedented challenges that health care providers across the country are experiencing.”

A dedicated email address – – has been established to receive questions and comments from staff, providers and the community. This inbox will be monitored by the ECHA Board as well as the incoming transition team.

MAAR selects Sue Winter as 2014 Realtor of the Year

Sue Winter, a Realtor with Roberts Brothers in Mobile for 37 years, was recently recognized as the 2014 Realtor of the Year by the Mobile Area Association of Realtors (MAAR).

“It is certainly an honor to have been recognized with this award by the MAAR. This came as a total surprise,” Winter said.

Winter previously served as 2013 president of MAAR and was presented with the honor during an August luncheon held by the group. As one who also evaluated area Realtors for this accolade in years prior, Winter holds the unique perspective of sitting on both sides of the table in regards to awareness of the high standards involved for the distinction.

“There are several categories of service which are reviewed. Sales accomplishments and/or number of real estate transactions handled during the year aren’t evaluated. The Realtor image section emphasizes adherence to real estate regulations, the NAR Code of Ethics and encouraging best practices among other agents. Civic activities are considered important with the nominee being expected to participate in community efforts, politics, service groups and charitable efforts. The selection process is a thoughtful one since the person chosen represents the real estate community as a whole,” she said. 

Winter said that her profession has been challenging but rewarding over the years.

“Our seasoned members will love telling you that on several occasions – when interest rates were at 18 percent or when lead-based paint requirements came out in the ‘70s for example – we just knew we would be out of business here in Mobile. At the time, the majority of our housing inventory was east of I-65 and built prior to 1970,” Winter said.

Winter also mentioned satisfaction at having family follow in her professional footsteps.

“Mobile has a number of companies with two or even three generations of realtors. Our son, Sam Winter, became one after graduating Auburn University in 2004. It’s my hope that MAAR will see more young people recognizing the satisfaction and economic rewards inherent in pursuing this career,” she said.

Winter said that one distinct advantage of the local market is that it boasts an unusually wide range of styles and price ranges of homes relative to other parts of the country. The area offers subdivisions, historic neighborhoods and waterfront (river, bay or beach) and architectural styles transition from downtown areas with brick federal and creole cottages, to midtown bungalows, to a variety found in Spring Hill and West Mobile suburbs.

“Our market is close-knit. We have great lenders, title insurance companies, appraisers, surveyors, professional inspectors and builders. Talents are pooled to promote local home ownership at its best,” Winter said.

Commercial Real Estate Moves

John Delchamps, with the Merrill P. Thomas Co., leased a 6,000-square-foot office/warehouse at 8043 Airway Commercial Park to Five Star Cheerleading Company.

Pratt Thomas with the Merrill P. Thomas Co., represented local investors in the purchase of a 6,000-square-foor office warehouse on Equity Drive in Daphne for $200,000. The building is occupied by Daphne Auction House. Sharon Wright of White-Spunner Realty worked for the seller.  

A local industrial supply company recently purchased a 7,500-square-foot building at 13370 Wintzell Ave. N. in Bayou LaBatre for $220,000. Bob Cooper of Prudential Cooper and Co., Inc. Commercial Division handled the transaction for both buyer and seller.

Azalea Manor on 751 Dauphin St. in LoDa recently opened Sept. 1. It was formerly known as Courtyard Manor and went through major renovations (new walls, floors and paint) for an undisclosed amount prior to launch. The interior is 7,500-square-feet with a 3,000-square-foot walled and gated courtyard. The property will be used for various events including weddings, receptions, corporate functions and Mardi Gras festivities. The new proprietors are Dawn McKean and David White.

Bay Wood Products Inc., a full service, locally-owned manufacturer of wooden pallets, rough-cut lumber, custom crates, biofuel and mulch marked 20 years in business last month with continued expansion. The company was recently in the news for starting a new division last July that recycles up to 60 tons of wood scraps a day, using an industrial grinder to make sawdust for the biofuel market and mulch for landscaping.

Follow Ron Sivak on Twitter @rcvak.