And for us, that begins with understanding exactly where men are personally, professionally and, most importantly, spiritually. Founded in 2001 by Richard E. Simmons III, The Center was created to help men realize that we all carry around the same exact fears, and there is something we can do about it. And that something isn’t to work an extra 20 hours a week, invest in a hot stock or pursue fleeting pleasures of this world. It’s something so much more fulfilling than that — a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Center is a 501c3, non-profit organization funded by donations from individuals and businesses. We are grateful for their generous support of the spiritual development of men in our community.
The Center helps men navigate the complexities and challenges of this world by helping them to know and understand their purpose and their Creator. We believe that the only way we will ever be fulfilled is to know the person of Jesus Christ — to know His Word (the Bible) and to know how we can live it out in our daily lives. From discipleship studies to marriage counseling and teaching studies, we work alongside you to help you position Jesus Christ at The Center of your life. Right now, we meet weekly with more than 500 men to help them grow personally and spiritually to become the men that God created them to be.
In addition to being the founding director of The Center for Executive Leadership, Richard E. Simmons III is an accomplished author, speaker and mentor to hundreds of men. In 2001, Richard was at the height of his professional career. At the time, he was the CEO of Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton, a large property and casualty insurance firm, with a bright future ahead of him. But, he knew that God was urging him to do something bold – something that most people would consider risky and uncertain. God was calling him to leave his lucrative career behind and to step outside his comfort zone to start a ministry to men that would help them live out the Gospel in their daily lives. And in 20 short years, that ministry has grown into a powerful testimony of what God can do with men who are willing to step out in faith and follow Him.
His personal mission is to help men understand that our purpose in life isn’t our careers, our success, our families, or our reputation. It’s to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And when we do, all of those other things fall properly into context. His approach is structured and methodical, and his passion is transforming lives through gaining wisdom and applying truth to every area of life. Over the last 20 years, Richard has also written and published 12 books extensively on these subjects, ranging from topics such as wisdom and humility to truth and success.
But Richard is more than a founder and author. He’s also incredibly active in leading our teaching groups, and his sessions are always engaging and challenging for men who want to get more out of their lives. In addition, Richard leads discipleship groups and offers one-on-one coaching for a select group of men.
Richard also has a full calendar of speaking engagements to men's groups and corporate events across the country. For more information about Richard, visit his website at richardesimmons3.com and listen to his Reliable Truth podcast wherever you prefer to listen.
An ordained pastor with more than 30 years of experience in entrepreneurial ministry, Steve has been with The Center since 2009. The majority of his time at The Center is devoted to marital counseling. And no matter the stage of the relationship, from pre-engagement to decades long marriage, Steve’s Biblically centered proven principles can help any couple willing to work together to protect, revive, or repair their marriage. Steve also helps couples strengthen their family through parental counseling.
Beyond counseling, Steve devotes much of his time to leading men’s discipleship groups. Steve is a gifted teacher committed to training men to go deeper in the Scriptures in order to develop a more vibrant relationship with God. In addition, Steve does one-on-one mentoring with businessmen and pastors. Steve is a certified Prepare/Enrich and Career Direct consultant.
He has a BS in Business Management from Troy University, a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and a Doctorate of Theology in Biblical Counseling.
A gifted communicator and business man, Todd Liscomb has been with The Center since 2006. After a successful career in banking and finance that brought him to Alabama from Ohio, Todd has coached men and led Bible studies at The Center for 15 years.
Todd is an engaging teacher of the Bible, utilizing a deeply contextual approach to the text. He leads multiple studies a week that include men from 50 different churches across the Birmingham metro area. Group participation ranges between 8-12 men with ages ranging from 28-100. Rather than using commentaries or life application books, each of his studies focuses on a book of the Bible and is rooted in his years of theological training. Todd is also a passionate coach and mentor for men who are new to the faith and the understanding of the Bible. He works with them one-on-one to better understand the scriptures and how to apply it to their daily lives.
Todd is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, has a MBA from the University of Kentucky and has audited countless courses at Beeson Divinity School on teaching, coaching and discipling men.
George Shamblin is a pastor, teacher and published author who has been on staff with The Center since 2012. In addition to leading Bible studies, George is passionate about discipling men and helping them wrestle through what it means to be a Christian and a man in today’s world. At the heart of his ministry is a keen understanding of what it means to endure failure. By drawing understanding from his own personal experience, George helps men of all ages navigate the fear, shame, guilt and ultimately hope when they experience a season of failure at some point in their lives.
George also published his first book, The Relay, in 2020. In the book, Shamblin captures the comparative successes and failures of nine different people as they pass along their faith to the next generations. (georgeshamblin.com)
Shamblin received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and has a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary.
Jay’s work at The Center started because of something he recognized in his counseling practice. In countless sessions with men battling their own personal demons, Jay noticed a common thread: that many of these men were without mentors and male leaders in their lives. That’s why his mission at The Center is to help shepherd and coach men before they get into destructive life situations. In addition to coaching and mentoring, Jay also leads Bible studies focused on key issues like family healing, addiction, recovery and discipleship.
Not only has he been with The Center since 2007, Jay is also a licensed professional counselor who has worked for more than 30 years to help people understand, address and cope with issues in their life. Alongside his work at The Center, Jay maintains a clinical counseling practice in Birmingham, which he’s had for 30 years.
Jay has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Counseling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Paul Barber is highly regarded as a successful leader, mentor, and coach. When he was just 5 years old, he lost his father. Growing up with that void in his life had a profound impact on him and the way he approached every relationship. That’s why his coaching method is based on a simple question: what do I wish an older man had taught me when I was 35 about being a good husband and father?
Paul is also trained to disciple men through The Battle For Men’s Heart (BMH) – a powerful program that gives men the courage to be vulnerable and real, while challenging them to live with a whole heart. He serves as a facilitator for BMH in their year-long discipleship process. He is also a graduate of The Allender Center’s Lay Counseling Program in Seattle.
In concert with his work at The Center, Paul is the former President of Valent Group, a risk consulting company based in Birmingham. Paul led Valent through a major restructuring from 2017 until 2021 and continues to serve as their Market Relations Advisor.
Since 2009, Jimbo’s work has focused primarily on mentoring and discipling incarcerated men. After helping lead a prison ministry with a local church for several years, Jimbo saw a continual need for discipleship within the prison walls. He was instrumental in helping create a prison-edition version of Richard Simmons’ book, The True Measure of a Man, that focuses on helping men, despite their circumstances, know their true identity in Christ in order to understand their God-given purpose and calling for their lives.
Jimbo equips adult men, especially those in troubled communities, to effectively mentor young men in order to keep them from going to prison. He has a business degree from The University of Alabama.
What’s your plan for becoming a great father? This was the question that haunted Brian Pitts almost 10 years ago when he was a campus pastor at Samford University and was in the early stages of raising two boys. That question – and years of study, hard work and certification – led him to create Man Year: a powerful fatherhood coaching plan that blends together the best of coaching, life planning and strategic visioning. (themanyear.com)
Beyond Man Year, Brian is both a certified life coach and has developed a successful fatherhood coaching practice, where he uses much of the learning from Man Year to help men be the fathers God created them to be. He also brings into practice his unique learnings from StratOps, a framework for strategically achieving your objectives.
Before beginning his work at The Center, Brian was a campus pastor for 16 years. He has a BA from Samford University and a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School.
After 14 years of working in the world of banking, finance and wealth management, John felt like he was being called to do more with his life. And since 2014, he’s been discipling and coaching men toward a life that has greater meaning and significance through their relationship with Christ. Over his time here, John has carved out a unique niche that focuses on men who are typically in the middle stages of life and career in their 30s and early 40s. His coaching practice focuses on equipping and shepherding men through the life struggles that we all face in that stage of life.
While the core of his efforts are both small group Bible studies and one-on-one coaching, John’s approach has the style of a counselor who listens first and helps his clients sort out the mission and calling of their lives.
Through The Center, John is also the chaplain for a large manufacturer in the Birmingham area. John has a BA from Auburn University and an MBA from Samford University.
Cartwright is a rising star at The Center who is a young and successful coach and mentor. For his first few years after college, Cartwright pursued a career in health and fitness, ultimately working toward becoming a football coach. But in 2011, he felt called to do something different and began seeking a career that would combine his love of coaching and business with an opportunity to share his faith. That’s where his ministry began.
Today in his work with The Center, Cartwright’s efforts primarily focus on young men in the earlier stages of their career, from post college to mid 30s. In addition to leading Bible studies, Cartwright offers one-on-one coaching and mentoring to help men articulate their personal and spiritual objectives in their life and career. He also has developed an 8-week course for young men to help them build a foundation that transitions them from life post college to building a purpose-oriented career. (menareforged.com)
Phil is working with men in transition, especially those that are moving toward retirement or in retirement. We all struggle with what is the next step, what is God’s will, and how can I still contribute significantly to God's Kingdom?
We hope to answer those questions as we meet together in small groups, 1 on 1, mentor others and be mentored by men one step ahead of us. We have identified five areas that we are concentrating on: identity, service, mentoring, caregiving, and finances. We want our questions answered, but we also want to pass on our wisdom to the next generation. As long as God gives us breath, He has a purpose for us.
Don’t believe the lie that our best years are behind us. It has been documented that our best years to make an impact is in our 60’s and the second best is in the range of 70 to 80.
Phil has been in full-time Christian work for 48 years-10 years with college students with Cru, and the last 38 years working with men and women in the marketplace.
Phil received his BBA in accounting at the University of Georgia, and has a Master’s Degree in Divinity and Religious Education. He and his wife, Anne, have two children and four grandchildren.