Former Pike Countians earn prestigous Birmingham award

Published 8:39 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

Two former Pike County residents were named to the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2011 Top 40 under 40.

Melanie Gibson Geary and Mike Thompson were chosen for from more than 300 nominees from the Birmingham metro area.

Geary, 37, led the largest merger in BB&T’s history, from an operational perspective, with the former Colonial Bank.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As BB&T’s North Alabama senior vice president and regional branch operations manager, Geary successfully merged two different operating platforms.

When Thompson, 38, joined Lehr Middlebrooks & Vreeland PC 10 years ago, he quickly earned a reputation for his solid business acumen and initiative. While maintaining a fulltime practice, Thompson took over the management of the firm in 2008 and has become a managing shareholder.

Geary, who has bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s of accounting both from the University of Alabama, said she was humbled and honored by the recognition.

“What makes this recognition so special is that it came from my peers,” she said.

“For my supervisors, direct bosses and former bosses to recognize me is humbling. Just to be nominated is an honor because it means that your peers feel that you have done something worthy of recognition and what you do, you do right.”

Thompson has a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree from Samford University.

He agreed with Geary that to be recognized as one of top 40 young business professionals under the age of 40 in the Birmingham area was both an honor and humbling.

“The recognition is an honor but extremely humbling,” Thompson said. “In reflecting on the honor, I know that to be successful you have to be surrounded by successful people. I am surrounded by fantastic people in my profession, in my family and in my community.”

For two Pike Countians to be honored in the same year was exciting for Thompson and Geary.

“And, it says a lot about the educational opportunities in Pike County,” Geary said. “It shows that we both had strong educational foundations and strong family and community support.”

Thompson said that even though Pike County is a rather rural area, the educational opportunities there are sufficient for anyone to follow their dreams no matter what they are.

But, both he and Geary have found that big city life suites them to a tee.

“I’ll always call Springhill home but I’ve lived in Nashville and Houston so Birmingham is just the right size for me and my family,” he said.

“There’s a sense of community here and it’s more like Pike County that you might think.”

Geary said Birmingham is the perfect size.

“It’s big enough to offer fine arts, gardens, restaurants and a little retail therapy but small enough for the ‘family friendly’ community feel.”

Thompson is the son of Ruth Thompson of Springhill and the late Bill Thompson. Geary is the daughter of Mack and Mary Gibson of Troy.