Ala Trade

United Way of Marshall County Honors AlaTrade’s Campaign Contributions


Sixteen thousand people living in Marshall County, Alabama, are considered to be below the national poverty line, according to the most recent data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that more than sixteen percent of the community’s population struggles to meet basic needs and live a comfortable life. “From putting food on tables to enabling children to pursue education and offering essential assistance to individuals,” for many people, United Way of Marshall County is the compassionate support that nurtures the foundation for a better, safer, and more hopeful life.

United Way of Marshall County is a long-standing community pillar, first serving as multiple forces and gradually consolidating the United Way organizations of Arab, Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville into one entity that officially became “United Way of Marshall County” in 1993. The unified effort and collaborations between neighboring communities has allowed significant transformation over the last 3 decades now, as United Way of Marshall County has officially celebrated “30 Years of Impact.”

United Way is consistently running campaigns to raise the funds that fuel the charitable work they do for individuals and families in the community. The 2023-2024 Campaign theme was “United in Purpose,” exemplifying the spirit of togetherness within the organization and society as a whole, all coming together to make real changes and lasting impacts in health, education, financial stability of neighbors, and so much more.

United Way of Marshall County Within the AlaTrade Walls

Campaigns for United Way in the workplace are designed to foster an easy way for employees of a company to donate to United Way and understand the big picture that they can each play a small role in. At AlaTrade Albertville and AlaTrade Boaz, the brevity of United Way of Marshall County was not difficult to convey; many people within the plants either closely know someone touched by the non-profit, or they themselves have benefitted from United Way of Marshall County. With history and such personal, tangible evidence of the relief brought about by the organization, AlaTrade employee-owners are typically happy to contribute to United Way Campaigns.

Many AlaTrade employee-owners pledge a sum of money to United Way of Marshall County each week, opting to have the money taken from their pay directly (payroll deduction). It varies, but usually employee-owners pledge a dollar a week. A dollar, to many, sounds inconsequential, but putting it into perspective, each employee that gives a single dollar per week is donating fifty-two dollars for the year, multiplied by a significant number of employees that contribute… and some employees graciously pledge more than a dollar per week. Like pebbles filling a bucket over time, every amount contributed grows into a powerful contribution for the greater good.

AlaTrade’s Award-Winning Charity

In the Progress Rail Auditorium on March 5, 2024, many people who add to United Way of Marshall County’s collective power gathered for the 2023-2024 Campaign Celebration and Annual Meeting Luncheon. With a full-to-the-brim turnout, the United Way of Marshall County executive Carrie Thomas extended warm welcomes, followed by the invocation, community report, Campaign report, presentation of the Live United Award, some special remarks from Campaign volunteers, and then Cade Smith, 2023-2024 Campaign Chair, stepped to the podium to acknowledge and reward significant contributors from the year’s campaign.

Many businesses/companies such as Mitchell Grocery Corp., Syncro, Citizens Bank and Trust, MDA Professional Group, P.C., and more were honored for their overall charitable contributions at various tiers. Unity awards were dispersed for both agency and company participation, but eventually, Cade Smith announced the following:

For the second year in a row this company has earned the top spot with both employee pledges, as well as overall giving, with a total pledge of $86,459 dollars, and 487 donors. This company still increased its giving over last year by $1,000. This year’s Best Overall Employee Giving Campaign and Best Overall Campaign is presented to AlaTrade.

Several AlaTrade team members were in attendance for the awards, including CEO John Pittard, new AlaTrade President, Josh Whitley, Albertville’s Plant Manager, Jeremy Eighmy, and Susan Swords, the Human Resources Manager. Among the other AlaTrade employee-owners in attendance was Kelly Little, a long-term member of the AlaTrade HR team, who serves as the Campaign Ambassador for AlaTrade. Little was predominantly in charge of facilitation, boosting morale with things like raffles for an extra vacation day in exchange for campaign pledges. Kelly Little was the one stepping up to the podium and accepting recognition for her hard work and the generosity of AlaTrade’s employee-owners to be able to accrue $86,459 in pledges, topping an already massive dollar amount from the previous year.

Wendell R. Glassco Spirit of Giving Award

During his life, Mr. Wendell R. Glassco, founder of Paragon, was heavily involved with the United Way of Marshall County. He was a large contributor, and left a legacy, his children and grandchildren going on to do work with the organization in their patriarch’s footsteps. Having come to the podium to give the award, Lendell Glassco, son of Wendell R. Glassco, remarked, “[My father] taught us as a family the importance of serving and giving back financially to our community from God’s blessings on our family-owned businesses, and we strive to continue that legacy, now into the third generation.”

After Wendell R. Glassco’s death in 2019, United Way of Marshall County renamed one of their campaign awards in his memory, to recognize his incredible spirit of giving, and the many years of support for the organization. According to Wendell R. Glassco’s son, the award is about more than a monetary value of raised funds, it’s about taking time to recognize companies that have been leaders and exercise “the true spirit of giving to United Way and our community, not only through their financial gifts, but through their actions.”

Lendell Glassco further commended Kelly Little and the people at AlaTrade for running the campaigns without the use of a United Way loaned executive, juggling production schedules to conduct campaign meetings, and even meeting in small groups that accommodate the plant’s language diversity. AlaTrade has many English-speaking employee-owners, but also a large population of employee-owners whose first language is either Spanish or Haitian. AlaTrade runs the campaign like a well-oiled machine.

Totally Committed to Community, AlaTrade is proud to receive an award for “exemplifying outstanding employee and corporate leadership giving in our community.”

Closing Remarks

For their third-and-final award of the Luncheon, John Pittard, AlaTrade CEO, joined Kelly Little at the podium to accept recognition. Humbled and appreciative, Pittard had this to say to the room of people making massive strides with United Way of Marshall County:

We are a 100% employee-owned company, and that kind of gives us an advantage, I think because of the camaraderie that comes with that, and we’re trying to build on that for all kinds of things. All you people here today, you make success stories in our community year-round, and it’s just not today, it’s just not through this. I tell my kids, when they think they’ve got something bad, just look around, because somebody’s got something worse than you do, and you can reach out and you can help, and you people do that everyday.

Hand-in-hand, United in Purpose, each person in the community of Marshall County can make a difference with even the smallest contributions. Pennies add up to assist with health, education, food, and other critical needs within the community. Dollars add up to change lives. All help is meaningful, and AlaTrade is proud to be associated with such a meaningful organization.

May we continue to surpass our pledge benchmark each year!