ACE 2014 Star Awards Announced

Shane Smith of Heflin receiving his award: "Very honored to receive this award today from the Alabama Communities of Excellence at Auburn, and to represent our wonderful city. — with Rudy Rooks and Tammy Perry."

Shane Smith of Heflin receiving his award: “Very honored to receive this award today from the Alabama Communities of Excellence at Auburn, and to represent our wonderful city. — with Rudy Rooks and Tammy Perry.”


Contact:   Ms. Sidney Hoover, (205) 567-3248

AUBURN, ALABAMA. The Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) presented the 2014 ACE Star Awards at the annual Alabama Community Leadership Network (ACLN) Conference Award Luncheon on October 7, 2014 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 2014 ACE Star Award recipients are:

  • Pat Hall, Outstanding ACE Local Coordinator (Leeds)
  • The Honorable Hollie Cost, Outstanding ACE Mayor (Montevallo)
  • Shane Smith, Outstanding ACE Volunteer (Heflin)
  • Diane Burnett, Outstanding ACE Team Captain (South Alabama Regional Planning Commission)
  • James “Bill” Curtis, Exceptional ACE Leadership (East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission)

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 by making community development programs and tools needed to insure long term success available through one organization.

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; Alabama Department of Commerce; Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs; Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education; Alabama Historical Commission; Alabama League of Municipalities; Alabama Municipal Electric Authority; Alabama Power Company; Auburn University Economic & Community Development Institute; Balch & Bingham; Economic Development Association of Alabama; Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood; PowerSouth Energy Cooperative; Regions Financial Corporation; Southeast Alabama Gas District; USDA Rural Development; the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development; and the University of West Alabama.

Twenty-six communities have previously been certified as Alabama Communities of Excellence and are located throughout Alabama. (Southeast Alabama): Eufaula, Evergreen, Headland, and Valley;   (Southwest Alabama): Atmore, Brewton, Demopolis, Foley, Gulf Shores, Jackson, Livingston, Monroeville, and Thomasville; (Central Alabama): Childersburg, Graysville, Millbrook, Leeds, and Montevallo; (North Alabama): Arab, Fayette, Guin, Guntersville, Haleyville, Hartselle, Heflin, and Jacksonville. Currently, six additional communities are working through the process of becoming certified as ACE communities: Alexander City, Elba, Fairhope, Helena, Rainsville and Saraland. For additional information about the Alabama Communities of Excellence Program, please visit

2014 ACE Star Award Recipients:

  • Pat Hall, (Leeds, Alabama), Outstanding ACE Local Coordinator; Leeds was designated an ACE community in 2013. Ms. Hall has devoted tireless hours of leading Leeds in her position as Local Coordinator and is very worthy of this award.
  • The Honorable Hollie Cost, (Montevallo, Alabama), Outstanding ACE Mayor; Montevallo was designated an ACE community in 2012. Mayor Cost has provided exceptional guidance and leadership for the citizens of Montevallo as they have excelled community-wide. Her efforts are certain to provide continued, long-term success for Montevallo and deserve recognition.
  • Shane Smith, (Heflin, Alabama), Outstanding ACE Volunteer; Heflin was designated an ACE community in 2007. Through his service in a wide variety of community positions, including City Clerk and Local Coordinator, Mr. Smith has proved that he is a passionate proponent for the residents of Heflin. He truly understands the concept of public service.
  • Diane Burnett, (South Alabama Regional Planning Commission), Outstanding ACE Team Captain; Ms. Burnett is a long-standing associate with ACE and has served as Team Captain and Co-Captain for multiple communities capably guiding them through the comprehensive certification process.
  • Mr. James “Bill” Curtis, (East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission), Exceptional ACE Leadership; Mr. Curtis is an invaluable resource for ACE, who has repeatedly proven his leadership abilities through his service on ACE’s Board of Directors. He has also served as a key liaison between the Alabama Association of Regional Councils and ACE.