Vulcan Staff Members
Darlene Negrotto – President & CEOx103dnegrotto@visitvulcan.com
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A native of New Orleans, Negrotto’s choice of a career in the hospitality and tourism industry was inspired by that city’s abundance of great restaurants and wealth of interesting places. Following graduate studies in Organizational Psychology at Louisiana State University, she held management positions at prominent institutions in the southeast, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Pontchartrain Hotel and NorthRiver Yacht Club.
She later served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Business Center of Alabama, Inc., a subsidiary of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and came to Birmingham to operate The Harbert Center, the landmark downtown event facility.
Negrotto has served as President and CEO of Vulcan Park and Museum since March 2004. Through her position, she enjoys having the opportunity to instill in our youth an understanding and sense of pride in their hometown, create excitement about the many positive aspects of our region in both visitors and residents and create mutually beneficial partnerships with other cultural institutions and service agencies. She was named the BBJ’s 2010 Non Profit CEO of the Year and 2011 Best in Minority Business Award for Non Profit Leadership.
Among her civic and professional activities, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Homewood Chamber of Commerce and The Women’s Network, is an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, the Women’s Forum and CAHABA. Other activities have included leadership roles with Executive Women International, International Facility Management Association and Kentuck Festival of the Arts. She is married to Birmingham native E. Foster Smith and loves to travel and cook.
Joe Saling – Director of Visitor Experiencex104jsaling@visitvulcan.com
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Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Joe Saling brings to Vulcan Park and Museum an extensive background in hospitality and tourism at some of the most well-known destinations in the southeast. He learned the industry’s best practices for guest service and facility management from his early professional years at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee and Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. He has a passion for creating a beautiful environment for the visitor’s arrival experience, setting a tone of anticipation and excitement. Joe also spent a number of years in sales and marketing for the Sheraton Birmingham and Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. Most recently, he led the initial marketing and community relations for the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook, Birmingham, Alabama.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Murray State University.
Joe is active at Prince of Peace Catholic Church having served on the Parish Council and Service Pillar Board. He has also been a volunteer with Big Brother and Big Sister program and with the Nashville and Birmingham Red Cross.
In his spare time, Joe enjoys anything outdoors, trail running, cycling, gardening and day trips with his family.
Mark Akerman – Director of Educationx108makerman@visitvulcan.com
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Originally from Madison, Florida, Mark Akerman brings extensive experience as a historian, educator, administrator and museum professional. The son of a leading historian in Florida, Mark developed a passion for history at a young age when his father was teaching and writing books about early Florida. Mark attended the University of Florida where he studied under some of the prominent historians of the time and developed a love of Civil War and Sothern Political History. He received two bachelor degrees in Applied History and in Teaching History from Appalachian State University and later received a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision, from Florida A&M University. Other certifications and distinctions include completion of the Administrative Leadership Program at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mark received the 2005 Carlton Tebeau Book Award for the best book on Florida history for his book, Jacob Summerlin by the Florida Historical Society.
Mark’s professional career began in museums, at the Center for Appalachian Studies in Boone, North Carolina where, amongst his many duties, he assisted in accessioning the Senatorial papers of the Hon. James T. Broyhill. It was at this time he began writing for a Civil War magazine and became an avid Civil War living historian. He later established a reputation as an effective and well-respected school administrator, serving as principal at parochial schools in Florida, North Carolina and, most recently, Birmingham. A passionate educator and leader, he is adept at developing programs that speak to the learning styles of today’s youth, building consensus among individuals with diverse opinions, and incorporating sound financial practices. He has always felt that his role as an educator was to assist in developing good citizens through leadership opportunities.
Mark enjoys spending time with his family, has a passion for genealogy, writing, and the Florida Gators.
Morgan Berney – Director of Marketing & PRx107mberney@visitvulcan.com
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Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Morgan Berney brings a wealth of professional experience to Vulcan Park and Museum. She comes to us from her position as Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile. For six years prior to St. Paul’s, she worked as the Marketing Manager and Convention Services Coordinator for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Alabama. After completing a rigorous three-year educational program, Morgan received her Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification from the Southeast Tourism Society which is recognized throughout 13 southeastern states from Texas to West Virginia.
Morgan has been very active in professional and service organizations in the communities in which she has lived, including the Ronald McDonald House “Little Black Dress” publicity committee, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Junior Executive Board, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival “ArmChair Auction” committee, EMERGE Montgomery Executive Council, the board of the Montgomery chapter of PRCA, and the Auburn University Montgomery Hospitality and Tourism Expo planning committee.
In her spare time, Morgan enjoys running, traveling, spending time with her friends, family and her active Springer Spaniel, Nellie.
Ashley Thompson – Director of Developmentx106athompson@visitvulcan.com
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Originally from Hendersonville, North Carolina, Ashley comes to us from the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation where she served as a member of the board of directors and as Executive Director for the past seven years. In that role, she strategically employed a variety of initiatives to significantly increase income from fundraising events, successfully solicited new grant funding, and cultivated relationships leading to increased contributions. Ashley previously worked with HealthSouth in marketing and in training, at First American Home Care in business development, and at Parisian as a merchandise coordinator.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Speech Communication from Clemson University.
Ashley has been very active in service organizations including Leadership Vestavia Hills, the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, Vestavia Hills schools PTOs, Friends of Byrd Park, and is an active member of Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church.
In her spare time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, entertaining, traveling, gardening and watching Vestavia Hills Lacrosse and Clemson Tiger football.
Lindsay Elliott – Museum Specialistx112lelliott@visitvulcan.com
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Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Lindsay attended the University of Montevallo and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in History. She then completed a Mastor of Arts in American History and a Certification in Museum Studies at the University of West Georgia. She worked as a Museum Technician at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta for over two and a half years, working to complete a 100% inventory of the museum collection.
Since April 2011, she has served as Educational Program Coordinator scheduling tours and outreach programs, coordinating and recruiting volunteers, training docents, assisting with the creation of exhibits as well as organizing and preserving our collection. She enjoys the opportunity to teach kids about history in a way that they can relate to and hopes to influence them to develop a fascination for the subject. After four years of Latin in high school, she is excited to be hanging out with one of her old mythological friends again.
Lindsay is a member of the Alabama Museum Association, the Southeastern Museum Conference and the Southeastern Registrars Association. She enjoys reading history (especially when it concerns pirates), playing sports, taking her dachshund, Abby, for walks and being around her friends and her husband Scott.
Clarence Stallworth – Operations & Events Venue Managerx110cstallworth@visitvulcan.com
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Clarence Stallworth was born in Pensacola, Florida but grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana so considers himself a “Hoosier-Gator.” He is currently attending Virginia College and will graduate in December with an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies. He plans to re-enroll in January in order to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Prior to joining VPM, he worked as a Call-Center Supervisor for Verizon Wireless. He spent five years with Academy Sports beginning as a Sales Associate and, after completing their Management Training Program in 2008, was promoted to the Operations Manager position for the Hoover Store. He has also worked for a number of practice management software companies such as Vital Works, Cerner and Computer Sciences Corporation primarily in the roles of Software Support and Implementations Specialist. He recently began working with MedSym Solutions as a Software Support & Training Specialist.
Clarence has served as Vulcan Park and Museum’s Weekend Operations Manager since April 2011. His primary responsibility is to ensure that VPM’s weekend staff has everything they need to provide guests with a safe, clean, and pleasant visit. His favorite aspect of the position is interacting with the staff and guests, especially out of town visitors. It gives him a chance to act as an ambassador for the city and educate people about our state and the history of the region.
Outside of work, he enjoys reading and following the political process at all levels; City, County, State and Federal. He is a devoted father of six and has lived in 10 different states; Florida, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, and finally Alabama.
Lisa Hudson – Assistant Venue Managerx110lhudson@visitvulcan.com
Kevin Whitaker – Visitor Services Supervisorx115kwhitaker@visitvulcan.com
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Although born in Tokyo, Japan, Kevin Whitaker calls himself a lifelong Birmingham resident. Kevin is a graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies in 1989 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He worked in the Division of Student Affairs at UAB for 18 years.
Kevin worked for Regions Financial Corporation for four years before joining Vulcan Park and Museum in October 2013 as Visitor Services Supervisor. In that role, Kevin leads the Visitor Services team in providing a quality guest experience for all who visit Vulcan.
Kevin retired in 2011 after 30 years as a volunteer youth minister, but remains very active in his church. He loves to play Monopoly and other traditional board games, and pulls for the Auburn Tigers.
Victoria Berry – Marketing Coordinatorx113vberry@visitvulcan.com
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Born in Birmingham but raised in Biloxi, Mississippi, Victoria Berry returns to the Magic City to work as Marketing Coordinator for Vulcan Park and Museum. Victoria received her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Mississippi with a minor in Business Administration. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys DIY projects, cooking, and exploring the city of Birmingham. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
Victoria Rutledge – Development Specialistx111vrutledge@visitvulcan.com
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Victoria received her BA with honors in Political Science, with a minor in English, from the Honors College at the University of Alabama, and was elected to membership in the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Victoria recently received her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Alabama, simultaneously completing The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nonprofit Management Certification courses. Despite a rigorous college schedule, Victoria was an intern with Congressman Bacchus, dedicated a great deal of time to a number of volunteer efforts, and held leadership positions in several of student organizations, including serving as Vice President of the Graduate Student Association. She currently serves on the Junior Board for Red Mountain Park, and is a member of the Junior League of Birmingham.