Leadership Hall of Fame announces 2022 inductees
Special to the Enquirer
The Morgan County Schools Foundation has announced the 2022 inductee class for the Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame: Doug Bachuss of Decatur, Lee Sentell of Montgomery and John Seymour of Decatur.
In an effort to promote a culture of leadership and character-building within the community and schools, the Foundation will hold its Seventh Annual Leadership Hall of Fame induction banquet and ceremonies March 3 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Decatur.
Bachuss is a member of Nowlin, Bachuss & Ray Law Firm practicing in the areas of commercial and residential real estate closings, real estate development, probate law, family law, estate planning, contract law and business organizations.
Bachuss assisted with the creation of CASA of North Alabama, an organization that investigates the situations of children in juvenile cases in Morgan and Limestone counties, and served as president of the board.
He serves on the advisory board for the Cook Museum of Natural Science and the board of The Circle Ranch, which provides homes for foster families who provide care to children who need a safe place to live.
He has served the community on several other boards and committees, including for Hospice of the Valley, Tennessee Valley Outreach Rescue Mission, Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama, American Cancer Society, Morgan-Lawrence County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Greater Morgan County Homebuilders Association, Decatur City Schools Board of Education and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.
He is a graduate of Leadership Morgan County and Leadership Alabama, and he is a current board member of Leadership Alabama.
Sentell began his career at the Decatur Daily in 1969. The Auburn University graduate covered local government, education, historical topics and the arts for eight years and spent the last four years at the newspaper as city editor.
He went on to be appointed as Decatur and Morgan County’s first director of the Decatur Tourism Bureau at its inception 40 years ago. Under Sentell’s leadership, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic was organized and continues to this day.
Sentell moved on to work for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, followed by a lengthy tenure as Huntsville Tourism director.
High school classmate and former governor Bob Riley appointed Sentell as director of the Alabama Tourism Department in 2003, a position to which he has been reappointed for five terms, making him the longest-serving state tourism director in the nation.
In 2019 the Alabama tourism agency and Luckie Advertising became the first U.S. state office to win a coveted International Travel and Tourism Award, presented at the World Travel Market in London.
Sentell’s leadership efforts continue to make a significant impact on Morgan County from the state tourism office, promoting the area’s attractions and events worldwide.
Sentell is the author of “The Best of Alabama” guidebook and the Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which promotes the regional tourism campaign he organized.
Seymour became president and CEO of the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce in 1991. Under his leadership, the Chamber has been recognized on numerous occasions, including an invitation from Secretary of Labor Elaine Choa to participate in The Summit of 21st Century Workforce and selection as a Community of Excellence, a pilot program for community development by The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Alabama Economic Development Partnership.
Seymour was invited to be in a National Think Tank of the Kettering Foundation for a published study on “Creating a Healthy Economy through Civic Involvement.”
He has been a presenting speaker at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives annual meetings and appeared with Dr. Stephen Covey as the convention opening program.
As president and CEO of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber, he helped create Youth Leadership Morgan County and The Leader in Me program, a cooperative effort with Franklin Covey.
He is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and Leadership Alabama. He has served as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama on the Board of Directors.
Seymour’s additional honors include the Second Annual Thompsonian Award, presented by the Business Council of Alabama in 2014; the Humanitarian Award, presented by the Decatur Minority Development Association in 2017; the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama’s prestigious Jamie Wallace Award, presented to the state’s outstanding executive; and the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, presented by the National Conference for Community and Justice.
After 30 years of service, Seymour retired from the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce in May 2021.
The Foundation will also recognize other award recipients during the celebration of leadership.
The 2022 Corporate Leader of the Year award will be presented to Nucor Steel of Decatur. The 2022 Community Leader of the Year award will be presented to CASA of North Alabama. A 2022 Student Leadership Scholarship will be awarded to a high school senior from one Morgan County Schools high school.
“We look forward to our seventh year of hosting this event for Morgan County,” said Kerrick Whisenant, vice president of the Foundation. “The idea was born out of the Foundation’s desire to promote leadership in a way that our entire community can see people being celebrated who have made a difference. We hope our students would aspire to follow these leaders’ examples and be leaders themselves.”
Inductees into the Hall of Fame are nominated by the committee based on their connection to Morgan County and the leadership qualities attributed to them. A nominee’s induction is confirmed by the Foundation board.