ACE 2013 Star Awards Announced

For more information, contact:   Sidney Hoover, 205-567-3248

Auburn, Alabama. The Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) presented the 2013 ACE Star Awards at the annual Alabama Community Leadership Network (ACLN) Conference Award Luncheon on October 8, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.

The ACE Star Awards recognize those individuals who have performed above and beyond the call of duty and embody the principles of the ACE Program, which is a comprehensive development program designed to assist Alabama’s smaller communities in their efforts to plan, grow and prosper.

The 2013 ACE Star Award recipients are:

  • Toni McKelvey, Outstanding Local Coordinator (Monroeville)
  • Ray Nelson, Outstanding Mayor (Fayette)
  • Tammy Perry, Outstanding Volunteer (Heflin)
  • Linda Swann, Exceptional ACE Leadership (Alabama Department of Commerce)

These “rising stars” bring outstanding leadership and a passion for small-town Alabama to all that they do.  They are recognized for their commitment to making their communities better places and for their support of the ACE process.  ACE offers towns a “one stop shopping” experience—making community development programs and tools needed to insure long term success available through one organization.

The Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) is a nonprofit organization created in 2002 for the purpose of utilizing the collective expertise of its partner organizations.  Throughout the ACE process, ACE Partners work with each community to successfully achieve their goals. The ACE program would not be possible without the funding, hard work and participation of the ACE Partner organizations.

ACE Partner organizations include: Alabama Association of Regional Councils (AARC), Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM), Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA), Alabama Power Company, Alabama Department of Public Health, Auburn University Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI), Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA), Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Regions Financial Corporation, Southeast Alabama Gas District,Troy University, the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED), and the University of West Alabama.

Twenty-six communities have previously been certified as Alabama Communities of Excellence and are located throughout Alabama. In the southeast, Eufaula, Evergreen, Headland, and Valley are certified ACE Towns. In the southwest, Atmore, Brewton, Demopolis, Foley, Gulf Shores, Jackson, Livingston, Monroeville, and Thomasville have completed the process. In central Alabama, Childersburg, Graysville, Millbrook, Leeds, and Montevallo are part of the program. North Alabama boasts the following ACE Towns: Arab, Fayette, Guin, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hartselle, Heflin, and Jacksonville.

These select communities are joined by six new towns working through the process of becoming certified as ACE Communities: Alexander City, Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville, and Saraland.

To learn more about Alabama Communities of Excellence, please visit

More Information on the Award Recipients:

  • Toni McKelvey, Outstanding Local Coordinator  (Monroeville, Designated an ACE Town in 2005)
    • City Clerk since 1990, Ms. McKelvey received the 2012 Clerk of the Year Award from the Alabama Association of Municipal Clerks and is an active volunteer within her community.
  • Ray Nelson, Outstanding Mayor (Fayette, Designated an ACE Town in 2007)
    • Mayor Nelson has worked tirelessly to improve Fayette’s downtown, securing an historic post office for City Hall and turning this success into a larger downtown revitalization plan. Fayette also became a Certified Local Government (CLG) in 2010 under Mayor Nelson’s leadership.
  • Tammy Perry, Outstanding Volunteer (Heflin, Designated an ACE Town in 2007)
    • Ms. Perry has worked for Heflin’s Parks and Recreation Board for over 20 years and helped to establish the Lake Point Disc Golf Course in 2011. In 2013, working with the County Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Perry helped to coordinate the first annual Cleburne County Fair.
  • Linda Swann, Exceptional ACE Leadership (Alabama Department of Commerce)
    • A veteran economic developer, Ms. Swann is a Past-President of ACE, and serves as Assistant Secretary of Commerce with the Alabama Department of Commerce, where she oversees various planning activities, provides project support and delivery for business development, and manages the state’s Project Agreements and Certified Capital Companies program.