Explore UAB

by Nathan Anderson

Three alumni are winners of the Top 25 Excellence in Business award. The UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 program was created to identify, recognize and celebrate the success of the top 25 alumni-owned or alumni-managed businesses.

Tommy Pinkston, OD, was presented the award by Dr. Cathie Amos, president of UAB’s alumni association and the first female UABSO graduate as of 1974.

In 2012, Pinkston and Dr. Aimée McBride graduated from UABSO. After graduation, Dr. McBride moved to North Carolina to purchase Haywood Family Eye Care while Dr. Pinkston moved to Atlanta to pursue a residency.

“During optometry school, I knew I always wanted to own my own practice,” Pinkston said, “After my residency in Atlanta, GA, I wanted to make a change and begin pursuing my own private practice.”

Pinkston, class of 2012, was looking for his future business when McBride approached him. She offered to partner with Pinkston in Haywood Family Eye Care, a North Carolina practice. However, Pinkston was unsure about the opportunity.

“I was very skeptical, as I did not have a North Carolina license at the time,” Pinkston said. “However, after some planning, we decided it would be a good match.”

In 2016, Pinkston and McBride became business partners with the goal to build a unique private practice in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Haywood Family Eye Care has been open for over 60 years and was eventually bought by UAB School of Optometry graduate Leroy Roberson, OD. McBride had worked alongside Roberson since her graduation in 2012 and purchased the practice from him in 2014.

The clinic has undergone significant renovations and has seen considerable growth over the last decade. In 2021, the practice moved from a 2,000 sq foot 4 exam lane facility to a new standalone 5,000 sq foot 8 exam lane clinic.

“We attribute our growth to putting people first,” McBride said. “Eye care is a people business, and we are training to focus on patients.”

The practice focuses on people in many ways, including through community involvement and by providing quality patient care. Both optometrists agree that their optometry school experience prepared them for success by providing a strong clinical foundation that has earned them the respect of their patients.

“While our office may be located in a small Appalachian town, our goal is to operate a clinical private practice that rivals any office in the country in the way we care for patients,” Pinkston said. “We believe that people should not have to travel far to receive excellent care.”

Alumnus Jennifer Drake, OD, class of 2008, also received a 2023 Top 25 Excellence in Business award. She owns Drake Eye Care and Eyewear in Murfreesboro, TN.