Board of Directors
Marianne McLeod - Chairman and Chief Volunteer Officer. Marianne founded Jubilee CityFest, a regional music and arts festival whose mission was to enhance quaity of life and community development in the River Region. Marianne served as the oranization's Executive Director for 20 years where she led a small staff, worked with a board comprised of top community leaders and hundreds of volunteers to fund, organize and stage the annual event. Prior to her tenure at Jubilee CityFest, she was Vice President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for 10 years. She has served on various nonprofit boards and is a graduate of Auburn University.
Chris Dubberly - Vice Chairman. Chris is Senior Vice President – Wealth Management at UBS. He is a 28-year veteran of the securities industry who became a Senior Portfolio Manager in 2005. Outside of wealth management, Chris serves his community by working with The Salvation Army, Rotary International, Jackson Hospital, and is presently the Chairman of The Shepherd Staff Ministry, which trains foster parents of children in transition. He is also an active member of Christchurch, where he has served on the Vestry and the Building Committee. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently a candidate for the Certified Portfolio Manager designation from Columbia University.
Frances McGowin, MA - Board Secretary, Founder and Executive Director. Since1997 Frances has worked with the Alabama Department of Youth Services, Tutwiler and Kilby prisons, the Alabama Dept. of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to develop therapeutic and educational programs for at-risk, disadvantaged and incarcerated youth, Foster Care children and incarcerated adults. She served as program director for Dogs on Call and K-9s 4 Kids Service Dogs for Easter Seals prior to spinning off the Service Dog program into the independent Service Dogs Alabama. She is an avid animal lover, trains dogs and horses and is an artist and writer. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling.
J. Tyler Fondren - Past Chairman. Ty is Regional Director of External & Legislative Affairs for AT&T Alabama where he has been for more than 25 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Auburn University-Montgomery where he has been honored as distinguished graduate and one of the university's top 40 graduates over its first 40 years. A senior strategic communications professional with extensive experience in the areas of government relations, media relations, strategic relationship and issues management, he has served as chair or president of numerous Montgomery-based nonprofit boards. He currently chairs the Troy University Montgomery advisory board. Ty was the first chairman of the board and chief volunteer officer of Service Dogs Alabama. He is married to Tina and they have one son, Joshua.
Gladys Deese - Member-at-Large. Gladys is a native of New Brockton, Alabama. She is a 32-year veteran of the Alabama Department of Corrections where she was served in the Advanced Training Division, was Commandant of the Basic Training Academy, Training Director and Warden of Tutwiler Prison for Women. Gladys served as the President of the Alabama State Correctional Association, President of the Alabama Council on Crime and Delinquency, and a member of Governor James task force. She received her bachelor and master degrees from Troy University.
Joe Hubbard - Member-at-Large. A native of Montgomery, Joe graduated cum laude from Huntingdon College and attended Cumberland School of Law. Joe is a senior partner at Brooks, Hubbard, James and Mills and also serves as an adjunct professor at the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. He is the great-grandson of long-time Alabama Senator Lister Hill and the grandson of John C. Godbold, former Chief Judge of the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits. Joe has served in the Alabama Legislature and in 2014 was the Democratic nominee for Alabama Attorney General. Joe lives in Montgomery with his wife Ashley and their three children, Hill, Hattie, and Hannah.
Alan Hackel, PhD - Member-at-Large. Alan grew up in Delaware, Ohio and studied at Case Western Reserve University (BA and MA) and completed studies for the Ph.D. at Ohio State University. He served as Dean of Continuing Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and later at Auburn University Montgomery. He has been actively involved with the River Region United Way and served as the chair of its Community Council. He is a member of the Montgomery Kiwanis Club and after retiring from AUM, started his own consulting firm. He is married to Joan and they have two daughters, Margo and Julie. Joan and Alan have trained therapy dogs and service dog recipients to work with their dogs.
Bill Watters - Member-at-Large. Originally from Montgomery and now residing in Wetumpka, Bill retired from the Montgomery Fire Department in 2003 where he served in both the Fire Suppression and Fire Prevention/Code Enforcement Divisions. Bill is the Technical Trainer for the Community Hazard Mitigation Division of Versik Analytics and a member of the National Fire Protection Association where he is a member of the Public Emergency Service Communication and the Wildland and Rural Fire Protection committees. Bill has served as a member of the Advocacy Leadership Board for the American Diabetes Association. He is married to Kelly and they have two sons, Will and Matt. Matt has type 1 diabetes and his Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) Piper was provided by SDA.
Brant Crawley - Member-at-Large. Brant is president of Crawley & Associates Strategic Development in Montgomery, Alabama with an affiliate office in Washington, DC. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and graduate degree from George Washington University.
Guice Slawson, Sr. - Member-at-Large. Guice is President and CEO of Southeast Wood Treating, Inc. He has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Education Improvement (K-12) and the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and as Director in 2003. Slawson attended the University of Alabama 1955-1959. He is a member of the Trinity Presbyterian Church and is married with three children and ten grandchildren.
Laura Harmon – Member at Large. Laura lives in Montgomery and is married to Barrie Harmon. Laura serves as a member and past board chair of the Jackson Hospital Foundation, is a current board member of the Central Alabama Community Foundation, and co-founded Dogs on Call, a River Region Therapy Dog program. She has served as a Trustee on the Board of Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Laura and Barrie were recently awarded the 2016 Tocqueville Society Award for their philanthropic leadership. Laura graduated from Weslyan College.
Angela James – Member at Large. Angela resides in Greenville, Alabama along with her husband, former gubernatorial candidate, Tim James. They have two daughters, Fleming and Sarah, and a son, Tim Jr., and a 13 year old lab, Silas. She serves on the Board of the Butler County Children's Advocacy Center, attends First Presbyterian Church, and serves on the Sasanqua Garden Club Board as project chair. Angela will help with outreach and fundraising for SDA in new areas of the state. Angela is a graduate of Auburn University.
Dr. Cade Armstrong – Member at Large. Cade Armstrong is a Veterinarian and Co-Owner of Montgomery Veterinary Associates. He attended the University of Georgia and graduated from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. He has been active in numerous Montgomery Community organizations including the Montgomery Humane Society, Tuskegee University Board of Trustees, and the YMCA soccer board. Dr. Armstrong is the exclusive veterinarian for Service Dogs Alabama, donating thousands of dollars in services each year. Cade is married to Aynsley and has four children, Mary Weldon, Greer, Martha, Harris, plus five dogs. He lives in Montgomery and is an active member of the First United Methodist Church.
Carol Lee – Member at Large. A graduate of the University of Alabama and a business owner for over 12 years, Carol is president of Allegiance Staffing which covers East Alabama and West Georgia areas. Carol is an active member of United Way Red Hat Society and all Chambers of Commerce where her seven offices are located. Currently, Carol is president of the Alabama Staffing Association, a board member of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, past board member of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, and a lifetime alumnus of Pillar of Leadership Lake Martin. Carol and her family are members of Duncan Memorial Methodist Church of Alexander City.
Margaret Lowder – Member at Large. Graduate of Auburn University and an owner of Lowder Realty. Margaret Lowder is active in the community and has served on various boards and committees over the years and is now on the Endowment Committee of the Family Sunshine Center and is a Board Member & past president of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. She is a lifelong supporter of The Montgomery Humane Society. Margaret is also an author of children’s books about her dog’s (Amos) daily adventures. Margaret Lowder lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and is married to Jimmy Lowder; they have three children and six grandchildren.