Pedro Mandoki Industry Mentor of the Year Award

Dr. Andi Kent

Dr. Andrea M. Kent is dean and professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Kent has served as dean for 2 years, and has been a member of the faculty in the college for 13 years. Dr. Kent enjoys leading the college in a direction that embraces diversity, while preparing graduates for success in the global society. She views working with external partners as integral to the development of students, faculty, and programs in the forward motion of the College. As a former public school educator, she embraces the critical importance of connecting teacher education, to pre K-12 education, to graduating high school students who are ready for college and the workforce. A native Mobilian, Dr. Kent has a keen interest in the educational system in the USA community. Dr. Kent earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design and Development and her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from USA and earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Mobile. During her tenure at USA, she served as Director of Field Services, the College’s State Teacher Certification Officer, Associate Dean, and Interim Director of Graduate Studies. Her research interests include mentoring and induction of preserve and inservice teachers, literacy development in all content areas, teacher leadership, and meaningful technology integration.

Herb Malone

Herbert J. Malone, Jr.
President/CEO
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

For nearly three decades, Herb Malone has been a guiding force in the tourism industry along the Alabama Gulf Coast. He served as president/CEO of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce from 1988 to 1993 and in this role, worked to recruit both businesses and guests to the area. As the need for a destination marketing organization developed, Herb played a key role in the establishment of the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), which is now known as Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. He has led this organization as president/CEO since 1993.

The tourism and hospitality industry honored his work in 2000 by inducting him into the Alabama Hospitality Hall of Fame. Then in 2001, he was named the Alabama’s Tourism Promoter of the Year and four years later in 2005, Herb was honored as the Alabama’s Tourism Executive of the Year.

Herb currently serves on the board of directors of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, the Battleship USS Alabama Commission and the Erie Hall Meyer Charitable Foundation.  He has previously served as chairman of the Alabama Hospitality Association, Alabama Association of CVB’s, and the Gulf Shores Airport Authority. 

Prior to his career in destination management, Herb was a private business owner and served two terms on the council for the City of Gulf Shores.

Herb graduated from Livingston University, where he was a member of the 1971 NAIA National Champion football team. He also holds an Institute of Organizational Management Certificate from Southern Methodist University.

A native of South Alabama, Herb and his family have lived in the Gulf Shores area since 1978.

Rebecca Smith, M.S., SPHR SHRM-SCP

Rebecca Smith, M.S., SPHR SHRM-SCP
Director of Talent Management
The Mirage Hotel and Casino

Rebecca is the Director of Talent Management at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for workforce planning, leadership development, talent and culture. Rebecca has worked for MGM Resorts International for 13 years and in human resources for over 20 years. Her experience includes labor & employee relations, employee engagement, learning and development and compensation.  She is a graduate of Capella University and holds senior certifications in Human Resources from both the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resources Management. Rebecca is a proud Veteran of the United States Air Force.