Governing Board

Board President

Charles Knight

Board President

Charles Knight has dedicated himself to the improvement of Birmingham area communities, schools, and the education of the area’s young people. He has worked with numerous educational, community, professional and civic organizations over the years supporting youth leadership development, family services, neighborhood crime awareness and school/church safety. In his years of experience working in the private sector and in government, Charles is known as a respected security professional and business leader. He is the founder of ARGUS Protective Services, Inc. and ARGUS Security Solutions, LLC.  Over his career, he acquired an extensive background in business and government operations, global industrial and corporate security development, risk management, public safety and government affairs. Today, his firm provides customized security, risk management, systems integration, and consulting services to public and private companies, schools/churches, non-profits and wealthy families. Charles is a veteran of the United States Air Force and 117th Alabama Air National Guard and holds degrees in Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice/Business and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Traymayne Russell

Vice President

Tramayne Russell

Vice President

Tramayne Russell is an industry leader in professional sports sales and corporate relations. He has more than 15 years in the industry across several major sports. He is an expert in high profile customer management and corporate partnership acquisition. Currently, he is the director of ticket sales for the Nashville Soccer Club.

RJ Smith


R.J. Smith


Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) R. J. Smith has over 29 years of service in multiple branches of the military. He is currently an International First Officer for United Parcel Service (UPS) Airlines flying the Boeing 757 and 767 aircrafts. R. J. has over 7500 total flying hours with over 130 combat missions in multiple operations and is qualified in rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.

R. J. volunteers with The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy and is a past volunteer with Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham. It is R. J.’s belief that success comes when preparation meets opportunity.

Courtney French

Courtney French

G. Courtney French is a top-rated attorney selected to Super Lawyers (2014 – 2020). He is a founding partner of the law firm of Petway, French & Ford, LLP, in Birmingham, Alabama. He has devoted his entire legal practice to representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries and wrongful death. 

Courtney completed legal studies at Samford University Cumberland School of Law and graduated with the class of 1998. He passed the bar in 1998.

Tierra Wright

Tierra Wright

Tierra Wright is a career educator with experience in both K-12 education and higher education. She currently serves as the adult education director at Jefferson State Community College.

Merrick Sims

Merrick Sims

Merrick is a career educator and STEM professional. Merrick brings experience and expertise as both a math coach and engineer. As a Birmingham native, he also is deeply committed to improving educational options for all students in the city of Birmingham.

Jeff Walker

Coming soon…

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is an Alabama-based entrepreneur specializing in investing in businesses and real estate development. Smith has successfully launched, nurtured, and ultimately sold businesses throughout his career.

Smith’s business holdings have varied from franchise ownership, retail telecommunications, and financial services to real estate development and management.

Smith is the owner and operator of Smith Development and Management, specializing in multi-family and single-family housing, retail projects, and land management. He owns property located in and around downtown Calera, Alabama, where he is currently working with the city to completely revamp the downtown to attract hotels, restaurants, retailers, and a cultural district.

Smith is a board member for Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School, a new aviation-focused public charter school.

Scott Underwood

Bio coming soon…

Luis Pineda

Dr. Pineda has served in medical community for over 28 years in Birmingham, Alabama as a Hematologist and Oncologist.

Born in Guatemala he came to the United States to complete his medical training.  He attended the University of Nebraska and the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB).  He is multi-disciplined in Internal Medicine, Hematology, Oncology, and Psychiatry.  He also holds a Master of Science in Health Administration and is an Executive Chef from the Culinary Institute of Virginia College.

In 2000, after years of seeing his patient’s nutritional needs fail due to chemotherapy and radiation, he decided to enroll in culinary school to combine his knowledge of medicine with the art of cooking.  His motivation was his patients and to provide an alternative option of nutrition through re-stimulating their affected taste buds.

Cooking with Cancer, INC. is a non-profit organization founded in 2005.  Our mission is “helping those afflicted with cancer to enjoy a better quality of life through good food.”   

Phaye Wilson

Phaye is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, where she and her husband of 23 years have raised four sons, including an Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School Champion. After serving nearly seven years as the director of communication and marketing for a local private school, while specializing in development and promoting venture philanthropy, she currently serves as the Senior Development Specialist for Railroad Park Foundation.