By Jacqueline Gray Miller
The death of a parent is among the most emotionally difficult and universal of human experiences. Lamentably, the recent passing of a parent is an invisible tie that binds business leaders L’Tryce M. Slade and Brian K. Rice. To honor their respective parents and build up Birmingham, Slade and Rice are making strategic moves and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is investing in their respective visions.
“I lost my best friend,” said L’Tryce Slade, Managing Director, of SLADE Land Use, Environmental, and Transportation Planning,
LLC (“Slade”). “Words cannot express what she meant to me, as well as my family. My mom, Debra Slade, was a legendary educator and AKA [sorority member] who loved her students, and her students loved her. Her legacy will continue to live through us.”
A legacy Slade is leveraging through her experience in development and construction projects. Born in Ahoskie, North Carolina and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Slade felt spiritually led to Birmingham and arrived in the “Magic City” in 2004.
“Metaphorically speaking, L’Tryce is a jewel in Birmingham’s crown. Her firm is a licensed general contractor in four states, AL, MS, TN, and GA, and certified as a Green Building Professional through the National Home Builders Association. Her environmental services created a natural partner for us at NWF,” said Simone Lightfoot, national director of urban initiatives and environmental justice for the National Wildlife Federation.
A philanthropist with a heart for the underserved, Slade is also a lead Inspector, asbestos inspector, and qualified credentialed inspector. Her company can assist with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) too.
A COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE
Developer Brian K. Rice is committed to commercial, community, and people development in underserved communities. Seeds planted by his late father, Charles Rice, Sr.
“Before smartphones and digital cameras, my dad was there with the shoulder mount video recorder and/or his handbag for his 10,000 plus pictures mostly from the 80s and early 90s when you had to go get the film developed. I’m thankful for the memories he captured for so many,” said Brian K. Rice, a professionally trained engineer developing his commercial buildings in the Ensley community of Birmingham. “I got to hear my dad’s voice again as I watched pageants, baseball games, football games, school presentations and so much more. I still mimic so many of his habits.”
Habits that include creating opportunities for students and returning citizens. Rice offers men and women from the community a chance to work by reclaiming bricks. “Each person gets stronger and earns an income while simultaneously revitalizing the neighborhood,” said Rice, who began his professional career in construction management as a mechanical engineer in Oak Ridge, TN.
Rice moved back to Birmingham in 2013 with a plan. A plan to create local modern office spaces mixed with regular workshops on entrepreneurship development, workforce development, and additional people development programs for both youth and adults in Ensley.
“Brian is also a natural fit to partner with the NWF. Specifically, his efforts and accomplishments with returning citizens and his natural acumen to develop and grow business to business relationships,” said Lightfoot. “The focus of the NWF includes outreach to returning citizens and neighborhood revitalization.” The National Wildlife Federation project in Birmingham has four key focuses. Water, infrastructure, climate-induced flooding, and public health.
Partners include Birmingham City Councilor John R. Hilliard, Build UP, the East Thomas Neighborhood Association, Ensley Reimagined, Pneuma Gallery, Slade Land Use, Environmental and Transportation Planning, LLC, and the Village Creek Human & Environmental Justice Society, Inc.
Many of the nation’s greatest environmental challenges and opportunities are found in urban centers. From increasing air and water quality, to updating housing and transportation infrastructure, the opportunities are endless to improve the environments where people live. The National Wildlife Federation is committed to addressing the priorities of urban communities. To learn more, visit www.nwf.org.
Simone Lightfoot serves as the national director of urban initiatives and environmental justice for the National Wildlife Federation. She oversees the organization’s Birmingham grant efforts and can be reached at (313) 585-1052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.