Editor's note: as of press time, 3pm on July 9, only 4 candidates had officially qualified to run for mayor. They were: Butler Browder, Artur Davis, Ronald Davis and Shannon Ferrari.
In our second in a series of articles about the upcoming municipal election, we are speaking to mayoral candidates Ed Crowell, Victorrus Felder, and Shannon Ferrari. Qualifying officially began on Tuesday July 2 and ends next Tuesday July 16.
Brigadier General (USAF, ret.) Edward F. Crowell, until recently, was the president and chief executive officer for VT Kinetics, parent company for VT Miltope and VT MAK based in Cambridge, MA, and VT Miltope based in Montgomery, AL. His corporate career spans over 35 years and includes work with VT Miltope and Blount, Incorporated.
He retired from the USAF at Maxwell AFB in March 2009 where he had served as Commandant of the Air War College and Vice Commander of Air University while serving an extended tour of Active Duty. He is recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medals along with a host of others.
He is a proud citizen of Alabama and was appointed as a Trustee to the Troy University Board of Trustees. Likewise, he has served upon the Certificate of Need Review Board (CONRB) and the State of Alabama Ethics Commission where he recently served as Chairman. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Metro YMCA, AUM Advisory Board, Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) Board, recent past Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, Chairman of the Board of Central Alabama OIC, State of Alabama Certificate of Need Review Board, Jackson Hospital Board, Air University Foundation Board, Alabama World Affairs Council Member, Air Force Association Chapter 102 member, and past Chairman of the National Classification Management System (NCMS) chapter 33, a professional organization for Defense Security Professionals. He is currently serving as the River Region United Way Annual Campaign Chairman for this year 2018. He is a community leader and prefers to be on the giving end of the spectrum rather than on the receiving end.
Educational studies as follows: Alabama State University – BS, Business Administrations and Economics, Troy University – MBA, Management; Auburn University, MBA (OD) pursuit; Air Command & Staff College – MS, Strategy; Air War College – MS, Strategic Disciplines; NDU – National Security.
Crowell says he has the attitude that “We and Us” is more important than “I and Me.” Crowell says he has had that mentality even before entering the military but adds military honed in on it.
“In the military you get thrust into situations with people of all echelons. You have to excel. So you can’t just say ‘hey I didn’t achieve this mission because I was working with a person who spoke a different language, or I wasn’t able to work with this person or that person because we don’t get along.’ You have to get along with everybody. Furthermore, as leaders we had to communicate with the team, motivate the team and make certain the team knew how to achieve the mission. I am one of those leaders who leads from the front,” Crowell said.
Victorrus Felder was born and raised in Montgomery. He earned his high school diploma from George Washington Carver Sr. High School. He attended Miles College, and after college, he began a career as a correctional officer. Victorrus Felder and his fiancée, Juanita, are raising two daughters.
He currently works as a corrections officer which he says allowed him to understand the importance of improving public safety.
“Public safety is goal number one. Until we fix that we are going to be continuely hampered in our other attempts to improve the city. But locking people up is not the only tool available to us. Especially with younger people. We need to intervene before they get to the point of committing violent crime and that means investing in outreach programs and community centers to give these young people something positive to do and keep them off the streets,” Felder said.
Victorrus has invested in his community by becoming a volunteer coach at Bellingrath Middle School to help empower young people through teamwork and teaching the importance of having a physically active lifestyle to promote good health. Victorrus has also participated in several rallies throughout the city in support of progressing Montgomery forward.
“We set up security perimeters in the business district downtown to ensure that there aren’t fights and violent crimes. Why can’t we take that same approach and provide that kind of security in problem areas all over town?” Felder said.
Felder was named Alabama Department of Corrections Employee of the Year for the Central Region in 2014. He was also awarded two Officer of the Quarter at his facility. He served on the CERT Team for seven years, which required him and the team to quell violence in correctional facilities. Victorrus’ service record as a Correctional Officer inspired him to invest his time in Montgomery to help all communities in the city to feel safe and to focus on creating a platform that would modernize the city.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1974. Shannon Ferrarri’s parents built their first home in Highland Gardens in the early 70's, and then in 1983 the family moved to Lakeview Heights. Ferrari attended Highland Gardens Elementary, Flowers Elementary, Goodwyn Junior High, and finally graduated from Jefferson Davis High in 1992. She bought her home in Forest Hills over 17 years ago not far from where she grew up, and still lives here.
“I’m a Christian and single parent of three grown children ages 18, 22 and 25 who also attended MPS,” Ferrari said
Her career began in the early 90's as a high school student. She began working at the age of 17 for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) while still in high school as a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) student. And was acknowledged as being the youngest employee ever employed by the State of Alabama when they hired her on full-time after graduation. Soon thereafter, she worked for ACHE directly under the Executive Director, the Public Relations Manager and Governor Kay Ivey. At that time, Governor Ivey was the Governmental Relations Manager for ACHE.
“She was tough, but I learned a lot under her supervision and she was a mentor to me. Eventually running my own business to stay home with my boys while they were young. Throughout my life, I've worked two, sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. My former employers include: Aronov, Franklin Resources Group and South University,” Ferrari said.
Currently, Ferrari is an Ambassador with the Chamber of Commerce, supporting new business and economic development, attending 2-3 ribbon cuttings a week. Also, employed full-time for Flournoy Properties as an Assistant Property Manager, primarily in charge of the finances of the business and assisting the Property Manager in maintaining a local community consisting of 337 apartments. Many though are familiar with my City Watch Uncut groups that she started in 2013. The most popular, City Watch Uncut - Montgomery, that she created in January 2017 to bring more awareness to the crime in Montgomery that she says mainstream media was not reporting. Now the group has over 58,000 active members.
“My groups help keep families more informed of their surroundings and are responsible for helping members locate their stolen property and spread the word about missing family and pets. As Mayor of Montgomery, I will make it my priority to reduce and prevent the crime that has been ailing our community, while also being an advocate for education reform. It's also my passion to continue to support local businesses and welcome new business and growth to our beautiful city. To sustain our current economic growth though, we have to get our crime under control. If you remember how tough Mayor Emory Folmar was on crime and you want that sort of leadership back, then you'll want to vote for me,” Ferrari said.