UA’s HES Presents Jack Davis Alumni Awards

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences presented the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Awards during recent homecoming activities on campus.

This year’s honorees include Chad Barker, Heather Dill, Meredith Franks, Sheena Gregg, Jennifer Hairston, Lana Koenning, Matthew Maxwell, Laura McKoy, Grant Trick, Melanie Tucker, and Taylor Williams.

The awards are presented annually to outstanding CHES alumni for their professional accomplishments. The awards have been given out since 1986. The College has awarded the recognition to more than 200 alumni.

Chad Barker

Chad Barker:

Barker, of Columbus, Mississippi, is a partner and the regional vice president of operations for Drayer Physical Therapy Institute and owner of Partner Core Fitness. Since 2002, Barker’s clinical practice has focused on occupational medicine, rehabilitation and spine care. He has experience throughout his field, including management, supervisory and clinical experience. A frequent presenter nationally and internationally, Barker holds several professional memberships. Barker received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama while studying sports medicine and athletic training and his Master’s of Business Administration from Mississippi State University.

Heather Dill

Heather Dill:

Dill, of Northport, Alabama, is the director of sales and marketing for the Embassy Suites in downtown Tuscaloosa, where she is responsible for developing and implementing marketing techniques, developing and maintaining relationships in the industry and communication with investors. In her career, Dill has worked with several hotels such as Marriott International, the Wynfrey Hotel, the Sheraton, Hampton Inn and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Within the community, she is the publicity fundraising chair for the Junior League of Tuscaloosa and is a member of multiple professional associations. Dill received her bachelor’s degree in restaurant, hospitality & meetings management from The University of Alabama.

Meredith Franks

Meredith Franks:

Franks, of New York, is senior product manager of women’s woven and product manager of women’s collection/Fashion Show for Joe Fresh. At Joe Fresh, Franks manages the overall product development process across departments, travels overseas on new vendor sourcing trips and works directly with the design team to ensure deadlines. She has close to 10 years of industry experience, specializing in production, product management and development. Franks earned her bachelor’s degree specializing in apparel and textiles, with a concentration in fashion retail, from The University of Alabama.

Sheena Gregg

Sheena Gregg:

Gregg, of Tuscaloosa, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and assistant director of the department of health promotion & wellness at The University of Alabama. She spent the early years of her career working in hospitals across rural Alabama. Gregg has received multiple awards, including the Miriam J. Gaines Leadership Award by the Alabama Obesity Task Force. Frequently quoted in the mainstream media on topics such as weight management and eating disorders, Gregg has been a spokesperson for the statewide Scale Back Alabama Program. Named one of the 10 Agents of Change in the nutrition industry in 2015, Gregg received both her Bachelor and Master of Science, specializing in nutrition and hospitality management, from The University of Alabama.

Jennifer Hairston

Jennifer Hairston:

Hairston, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the vice president of operations at Barnett & Company, a firm providing investment management and financial and estate planning consultations to its clients. She engages clients in development of financial plans, goals and risk tolerance. Immediately prior, she was the chief operations officer and financial planner for Campbell Asset Management, LLC in Chattanooga. Since January 2011, she has worked as an Adjunct Instructor at The University of Alabama, where she teaches financial planning techniques and develops case studies. Hairston received her bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration and master’s in both economics and family financial planning and counseling, all from The University of Alabama.

Lana Koenning

Lana Koenning:

Koenning, of Atlanta, Georgia, is the manager of suite member services for the Atlanta Falcons Football Club, where she is responsible for scheduling, managing and budgeting for all of the suites in the new Mercedes-Benz stadium. Immediately prior, Koenning was account manager, Luxury Services, for the NBA Charlotte Hornets Sports and Entertainment. She has received numerous honors and awards throughout her career and has been a member of UA’s sports management alumni society for over five years. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree, specializing in consumer sciences and sports business management, respectively, from The University of Alabama.

Matthew Maxwell

Matthew Maxwell

Maxwell, of Sharpsburg, Georgia, is the manager of clinical program development for Cancer Treatment Centers of America— Medicine & Science, where he is responsible, in conjunction with the chief medical officer, for the development, implementation and managing of clinical strategy and of clinical programs and initiatives. He holds multiple professional memberships and certificates. Maxwell received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, his master’s in business administration from Texas A&M Commerce and his master’s in interactive technology from The University of Alabama. He expects to complete his doctorate in business administration at California Southern University in 2020.

Laura McKoy

Laura McKoy:

McKoy, of Dallas, Texas, is the creative director and vice president of interior design for Omni Hotels & Resorts, where she oversees, manages and directs all aspects of interior design for Omni. In her career, she has worked on hotels all around the world, executed interior design concepts, managed outside purchasing agents, has traveled to present renovation ideas with the owner and developed an internet based design help desk. She is a member of UA’s College  of Human Environmental Science Leadership Board. McKoy received her bachelor’s degree in interior design from The University of Alabama.

Grant Trick

Grant Trick:

Trick, of Birmingham, Alabama, is the owner of Design Industry Workroom in Birmingham, where he designs and produces custom upholstered furniture and other soft furnishings for designers and architects across the southeast. Recognized for his attention to detail, Trick has worked across the country for companies such as Tiffany and Co., Nautica, and Levi’s Dockers, all located in New York, and Trickey Studio in San Francisco. At Tiffany, he designed and fabricated custom props for both New York flagship and international stores. Trick received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama— specializing in apparel design with a minor in Spanish.

Melanie Tucker

Melanie Tucker:

Tucker, of Tuscaloosa, is an associate professor in the UA School of Medicine’s department of family medicine. In her career, Tucker has held faculty positions in multiple departments and is involved in various family and rural medicine areas within the College of Community Health Sciences. She has conducted research on topics ranging from “Health and Health Behaviors of UA Students” to “Implementation of a Culinary Medicine Course.” Frequently published, she has presented nationally and internationally. Tucker received her bachelor’s degree from Athens State University, her master’s from The University of Alabama and her doctorate in health education and promotion from The University of Alabama and The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams:

Williams, of Memphis, Tennessee, is clinical director at the Memphis Mental Health Institute and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine. Frequently published, Williams has received multiple awards, including as a four-time recipient of the University of Tennessee’s Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching Psychiatry Clerkship. Board certified in psychiatry, she received her medical doctorate from The University of Alabama School of Medicine, her Bachelor of Science, with a concentration in molecular biology, and her Bachelor of Human Environmental Science, with a concentration in human development and family studies, from The University of Alabama.


Chris Bryant, UA media relations, 205/348-8323,