Photograph by Macabby1296 / Dreamstime
In 2014, Memphians savored home-made brews (perhaps for the last time) in the neglected Tennessee Brewery, pondered ways to cross the Mississippi using the old Harahan Bridge, and enjoyed plays in the brand-new Hattiloo Theatre, just one of the gems in the revamped and renewed Overton Square / Cooper-Young theatre and arts district. Meanwhile, schoolkids managed to figure out the newly merged city/county school system, Memphis International Airport struggled to fill its space (and new garage), and a disturbing number of police officers came down with the “Blue Flu.”
Every year, events like these make it a challenge for our staff to narrow the list of “movers, shakers, and other news-makers” down to 100 or so, but we think we’ve compiled a good selection of the “best and brightest” on these pages — politicians, entrepreneurs, business leaders, athletes, musicians, and more.
If some of these names or faces seem familiar to our longtime subscribers, there’s a good reason. Eight of the Memphians profiled on the following pages have been named to every “Who’s Who” list since we began compiling this section back in 1984: Jack Belz, Al Green, J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ira Lipman, Jackie Nichols, Fred Smith, and Pat Kerr Tigrett.
LAURA ADAMS Executive director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC), the not-for-profit organization responsible for management, maintenance, and programming of the park’s 3,200 acres and the six-and-a-half-mile-long Shelby Farms Greenline. Recent accomplishments include the Woodland Discovery Playground and development of a pedestrian bridge connecting the park to the Wolf River Greenway. Currently SFPC is implementing a $52 million improvement to the Heart of the Park, which will provide a diversity of new programs and amenities for visitors, as well as an eastward extension of the Shelby Farms Greenline. Adams serves on the executive committee of Memphis Greenprint initiative as well as the Spatial Efficiency Committee of the Mayors’ Metropolitan Business Planning Initiative. She is in the founding class of Leadership Tennessee.
JOHN AITKEN Was named superintendent of new Collierville municipal school system in late 2013, as highest-paid head of new suburban systems. The 56-year-old educator had previously served as superintendent of pre-merger version of Shelby County Schools from 2009 until asking for buyout of his contract in early 2013 when a move to make him superintendent of merged city-county system was blocked by city members of 23-member transitional board. Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Leadership & Safety during the 2008-09 school year. Native of West Helena, Arkansas; earned a math degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, and a master’s degree in education and administration supervision from the University of Memphis. A former math teacher at Collierville High School, he was principal for 11 years at Houston High School, where he won numerous awards.
DAVID ARCHER President and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis, directly overseeing the strategic, operational, and clinical activities for the 519-bed hospital. For the past seven years, has also held the title as CEO of Saint Francis Healthcare. During his tenure, the healthcare system has grown to include Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, the Ambulatory Surgery Center, the Heart & Vascular Center, and the physician practice entity, Saint Francis Medical Partners. Serves on the boards of Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Hospital Association, Mid-South e-Health Alliance, and the Hospital Wing, as well as serving on the executive steering committee of Healthy Shelby County.
WARD ARCHER Following his father, Ward Archer Sr., into the advertising business in 1977, Archer engineered the merger of Memphis’ two largest agencies in 1990 and created archer<malmo, now Tennessee’s largest advertising agency. He served as CEO until 2000 when he passed the ownership to the next generation and created Archer Records and Music+Arts Studio. Archer Records is home to Memphis recording artists Amy LaVere, John Kilzer, Lily Afshar, Rick & Roy, Motel Mirrors, and Tina Harris (Sweetbox) among others. Under the Music+Arts brand Archer recently expanded into independent film distribution, releasing the Mike McCarthy film Cigarette Girl, in 2014. Recent studio projects include mixing Lucero Live From Atlanta, recording music for Jeff Nichols’ film Mud, and his upcoming film, Midnight Special (2015). Kirk Whalum’s Grammy-winning It’s What I Do was mixed at Music+Arts. Other film and music projects include the short film Bookin’, A Fine Step, Losers Take All, Fresh Skweezed, The Poor & Hungry Remastered, Patrick Dodd’s Future Blues, MTV’s Savage County and $5 Cover. In 2014 Archer Records internationally released Amy LaVere’s latest album Runaway’s Diary as well Lily Afshar’s Bach On Fire. Archer also serves on the boards of the Indie Memphis film festival, Beale Street Caravan radio network, and The Mississippi River Corridor-TN. Holds a bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College.
MERI ARMOUR President and CEO, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Has been with hospital since 2007. Helped oversee Le Bonheur’s $100 million fundraising campaign, completion of a new $340 million hospital, and recruitment of some of the country’s most sought-after physicians and staff. Le Bonheur has been named one of the “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report multiple times. Armour received a 2014 Ruby R. Wharton Award and the 2008 Children’s Hospital Association Advocacy Award. Named Communicator of the Year by the Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2009. Named YWCA Woman of the Year (Cleveland, Ohio) in 2005, and was a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2008. Is also a registered nurse.
TONEY ARMSTRONG Appointed director of the Memphis Police Department in 2011. The Memphis native joined the police force in 1989 after serving in the U.S. Army. Came up through the ranks as an undercover officer, sergeant in the robbery bureau, and colonel over uniformed patrol. Has also overseen the homicide unit, felony assault unit, missing persons, and CrimeStoppers at MPD, which has some 2,300 employees. Attracted publicity as the homicide commander and ace interviewer on A&E’s The First 48. In 2014, dealt with public-relations “Blue Flu” crisis when more than 500 police officers called in sick to protest reductions in benefits. Announced in April that he intends to retire by 2017.
EKUNDAYO BANDELE Executive director, Hattiloo Theatre, which he founded in a converted shop front in 2006. Opened his new custom-built playhouse, modeled after Chicago’s inventive Lookingglass Theatre, with two black box performance spaces in Overton Square in June 2014. Started a free “Theater in the Park” initiative making live theater available to underserved communities. Named “Innovator in the Arts” by Blues City Cultural Center and MPACT Memphis. Named to “12 Who Made a Difference” by The Commercial Appeal. Graduate, Leadership Memphis. Board Member, Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change at the U of M. Author of eight plays and the novel Tales Go Round. In December 2013 Bandele’s play, If Scrooge Was A Brother, was produced by Chicago’s ETA Creative Arts. Bandele is currently developing a live-jazz venue called Dizzy Bird.
STEVE BARES President and executive director of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a broad-based public-private alliance focusing on the growth of biosciences in the Memphis region. Spearheading development of UT-Baptist Research Park, an urban revitalization project, recently completing its fourth phase, that is centralizing and magnifying the area’s biotech laboratory, research, education, and business interests. Co-founded the Bioworks subsidiary Innova, an early-stage venture fund for the state and region. Memphis Bioworks Foundation is leading the Greater Memphis Chamber’s EPIcenter entrepreneurship initiative. Previously held executive roles at International Paper and Hewlett Packard, including co-founding Sparcom Corp. Holds B.S., M.B.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Co-founder and chairman of Tennessee’s first charter school, the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, targeting inner-city children in grades 6-12.
JACK BELZ As chairman and CEO of Belz Enterprises, Belz heads one of the South’s largest real estate and development firms. A longtime booster, activist, and participant in downtown development, probably best known for bringing back The Peabody hotel. The driving force behind Peabody Place, a two-million-square-foot mixed-use development stretching for eight blocks. Has worked with the Memphis Housing Authority and Henry Turley Company to develop Uptown, including the demolition of the Hurt Village housing project and construction of approximately 1,000 new single-family and multifamily units near St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Also partnered in downtown projects such as Harbor Town and South Bluffs. Total property developed includes more than 25 million square feet and more than 30 shopping complexes. Received the Leadership Memphis Community Leadership 2000 Award, the 2003 Master Entrepreneur Award of the Society of Entrepreneurs and Junior Achievement of Memphis, the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center City Commission, and the Kether Shem Tov Award from the Orthodox Union, one of the highest honors bestowed on members of the worldwide Jewish community. Board memberships formerly included First Tennessee (now First Horizon), St. Jude, Assisi Foundation, and Yeshiva University.
CHARLES “CHUCK” BRADY President/CEO of the Memphis Zoo since 2003. Responsible for overseeing all renovations and expansions at the facility since the late 1980s. Zoo has been voted among country’s best for many years. Active in conservation efforts for various species and currently serves on the boards of the Giant Panda Conservation Foundation and the Jaguar Conservation Fund. Played a key role in negotiations with the Chinese government that brought a pair of giant pandas to the zoo in spring 2003. Holds Ph.D. from Ohio University. In recent months Brady sparked criticism for traffic issues near the zoo, especially allowing overflow parking on the adjacent greensward.
CRAIG BREWER Memphis’ most accomplished film director and screenwriter. Filmed the Oscar and Sundance award-winning movie Hustle & Flow, mostly in Memphis; followed by Black Snake Moan, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Received the Governor’s Award in 2005 from the Tennessee Film Commission for his contributions to the film industry. His remake of Footloose for Paramount Pictures was released in 2011 and was a box-office success. Has signed to write and direct The Gangster Princess of Beverly Hills, a true story about a Hollywood socialite who’s really in the drug trade, also for Paramount. Created $5 Cover, a 15-episode series for MTV centered upon Memphis’ rock-and-roll scene. Served as executive producer on the 2012 documentary/concert film Katy Perry: Part of Me. Inked a deal with Paramount to create, write, direct, and executive produce TV pilots for two dramas.
RUBY BRIGHT Executive director and chief administrative officer of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, which promotes leadership among women and helps women and children reach their potential. Spent 27 years in the nonprofit sector, including 13 years leading WFGM. Has led the organization in raising $14.3 million, which includes $6.6 million for 395 local programs and $7.7 million for the Memphis HOPE project, a public-private partnership that supports mixed-income housing and urban revitalization. Garnered national funding from W.K. Kellogg, Walmart, and Ford Foundations. Board chair of the International Women’s Funding Network from 2008 to 2010. Awarded the “Changing the Face of Philanthropy Award” in 2011 by the Women’s Funding Network. Presented the Henry Logan Starks Award from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2013, and has received numerous honors from the Memphis Urban League, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the Mid-South, Leadership Memphis, and MPACT Memphis.
SCOTT BROCKMAN President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority since August 2013. Previously served the airport as chief operating officer and has been with the organization since 2003. Responsible for running Memphis International Airport and overseeing short- and long-term planning, including enticing new airlines, growing established tenants, and helping make rates competitive. Replaced a retiring Larry Cox in the role. The airport has been in flux for a few years, culminating in the de-hubbing by Delta in 2013. Southwest Airlines, however, began service in late 2013, and Frontier Airlines started in spring 2014. Has held management positions with several other airports, including those in Tucson, Des Moines, and Sarasota-Bradenton. Received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Airport Executives.
DAVE BROWN Chief meteorologist for NBC affiliate WMC-TV Channel 5 since May 1977. Prior to that, worked for WHBQ Radio and TV for 13 years and began his career at local radio stations while still in high school in Trenton, Tennessee. Celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting in 2012. Served as co-host of the popular Memphis Wrestling program and its predecessor, Championship Wrestling, for 35 years on WHBQ-TV and WMC-TV. Certified broadcast meteorologist by the American Meteorological Society and holds the National Weather Association’s Seal of Approval. Member of MADD; in 1997 his daughter, granddaughter, and his unborn grandson were killed by a drunk driver. Since then, Brown has delivered messages against drunk driving in more than 275 speeches to civic clubs, churches, schools, and community events in four states.
PHIL CANNON Tournament director since 1999 of the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament. Managed deal that saw FedEx return as title-sponsor for event in 2011. Oversaw redesign of Southwind’s TPC course in 2005; also involved in development of FedEx Cup points system to determine year-end PGA Tour champion. Total purse at 2014 event was $5.8 million. Has been part of tournament staff for more than 40 years. Received 2003 Charles Thornton Distinguished Alumni Award from University of Memphis. Chairman of Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce, 1999.
NED CANTY General director of Opera Memphis since January 2011. Has directed shows for Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, as well as productions in China, Israel, Italy, and Canada. As festival director of the New York Television Festival until 2010, helped grow it into one of the premier events in the media industry. Has taught or lectured at Columbia University, Amherst College, Juilliard, and The Curtis Institute. In 2012 launched “30 Days of Opera Presented by Evolve Bank & Trust,” a monthlong festival of free performances throughout Memphis. In 2013 launched the Memphis Midtown Opera Festival to focus on rarely produced and original works, including the world premiere, Ghosts of Crosstown, performed inside the Sears Building with audience-held flashlights as the only light source. Member of the Opera America Strategy Committee and board member of the Central Gardens Association.
MEI-ANN CHEN Regarded as one of America’s most exciting young conductors. Has been music director of the Memphis Symphony since 2010 and of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011. In 2012, received the League of American Orchestras’ Helen M. Thompson Award for her achievements, which include significant increases in single-ticket sales, subscription sales, and corporate sponsorships. Also serves as music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, only the second person to hold that position. Born in Taiwan. Holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. First student in the New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees, simultaneously, in both violin and conducting, and first woman to win the Malko competition. Worldwide engagements as a guest conductor have included all the principal Danish orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Graz Symphony, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the National Taiwan Symphony, the Sao Paulo Symphony, and the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland. In 2013 Chen conducted the Chicago Sinfonietta and Harlem Quartet on Delights & Dances, the Sinfonietta’s first CD in over a decade.
STEVE COHEN Sought fifth term in U.S. House of Representatives from Memphis’ 9th Congressional District in 2014. Was first elected in 2006 to the open seat after 20 years as an influential member of the state Senate, where he midwifed the Tennessee state lottery into being and was the body’s most prominent progressive. Has maintained a working relationship with the Republican House leadership and members of the predominantly GOP Tennessee delegation after a voter shift toward Republicans in the 2010 election cycle. Successively drubbed primary opponents Nikki Tinker, Willie Herenton, and Tomeka Hart in 2008, 2010, and 2012, respectively, and handily defeated Republican George Flinn, also in 2012. Announcing his intention to seek several more terms, Cohen faced a Democratic primary challenge in 2014 from Memphis lawyer Ricky Wilkins. Graduate of Vanderbilt and the University of Memphis law school. Recently introduced bill to crack down on predatory lending and announced $3.4 million in funding for St. Jude.
JERRY COLLINS Reappointed by Mayor A C Wharton and unanimously confirmed by the Memphis City Council in March to serve another five-year term as president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, a position he has held since 2007. Under his leadership, MLGW has twice earned the American Public Power Association’s RP3 award for providing customers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. Native Memphian and former director of public works for the City of Memphis. Awarded Herff College of Engineering Outstanding Alumnus and the Herff Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering by the University of Memphis. Elected to the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association Hall of Fame in 2002. Former vice president of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association, president of the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Pollution Control Association, and board member for the International Water Environment Federation.
MIKE CONLEY Point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. Originally drafted with the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA draft, has played in more games (511) than any player in franchise history. Also tops team’s career chart for assists (2,861) and steals (807). Has led Grizzlies to playoffs four straight seasons, including the 2013 Western Conference finals. Honored after 2013-14 season with NBA’s Joe Dumars Trophy for sportsmanship, which includes $10,000 donation to Conley’s charity of choice, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During one college season at Ohio State, led Buckeyes to championship game, where they lost to Florida. A consummate professional both on and off the court.
REGINALD COOPWOOD President and CEO of the Regional One Health hospital system, which includes the Regional Medical Center (formerly The MED). Has earned numerous awards for his work in healthcare; among them, MBQ: Inside Memphis Business’ CEO of the Year, 2014; the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Diversity Champion Award; and the Memphis Business Journal’s Health Care Hero in Administrative Excellence in 2011. Practiced as a general surgeon from 1990 to 2005, and had previously served as chief medical officer at Nashville General Hospital and as CEO of Metropolitan Nashville Hospital Authority. Serves on boards of March of Dimes, QSource, New Memphis Institute, and Mid-South eHealth Alliance. Chairman, Tennessee Hospital Association. Member, UTHSC Chancellor’s Advisory Board.
LEWIS DONELSON The godfather of the modern Tennessee Republican Party and the founder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz, the state’s largest and arguably most influential law firm. Was original member of the Memphis City Council and took a leading role in attempting to resolve the 1968 sanitation strike before it culminated in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Assisted in the expansion of First Tennessee Bank. As a lawyer, he won parity in state funding for Tennessee’s rural schools. As chairman of The Med’s board, he shored up that ailing institution. Reorganized the Shelby County Republican Party and made it a political force in the mid-twentieth century, recruited the state’s chief GOP office-holders of the last century — among them Lamar Alexander, who served both as governor and senator, Governor Winfield Dunn, and Senator Howard Baker, his law partner. Served as Governor Lamar Alexander’s Commissioner of Finance and Administration. At 96, remains active. An acknowledged political moderate, he has differed with the current leaders of the state Republican Party on a state income tax, which he favors, and several other matters. A widower, he still teaches Sunday School at Idlewild Presbyterian Church.
JAMES DOWNING Chief executive officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Succeeded Dr. William Evans in July 2014. Finalist in 2013 for TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. Research has focused on genetic basis of cancer and using information gained to improve treatment for children with cancer. Oversees Pediatric Cancer Genome Project and ensuing clinical genomics project. PCGP has impacted battle against brain tumors, childhood leukemia, and Lou Gehrig’s Disease, among others. Native of Detroit with medical degree from University of Michigan. Joined St. Jude in 1986.
JIM DUNCAN Executive director of Memphis Botanic Garden since 2004. Credited with restoring MBG’s financial standing by turning around the Live at the Garden concert series; increasing earned income with rental revenue and special events; expanding membership by 450 percent; and raising attendance to record levels. During his tenure, MBG has added the acclaimed My Big Backyard Children’s Garden, a new horticulture center, the South’s largest herb garden, the Nature Photography Garden, and most recently a permanent stage and new event building. MBG is one of 14 nationally certified Hosta Trails and the only Center of Excellence for Urban Forestry in Tennessee. Duncan is a former high-school coach in Memphis City Schools who later spent 26 years in corporate healthcare; served as Eastern U.S. director for Mead Johnson and as division president for Smith & Nephew, Inc. A native of Itta Bena, Mississippi.
STEVE EHRHART Executive director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic, one of the oldest annual postseason games in college football, dating back to its founding in Philadelphia in 1959 (moved to Memphis in 1965). Game has been televised nationally on ABC or ESPN every year since 1990. Impact of game estimated at between $23 million and $25 million. Game will be played on Monday, December 29, 2014, between teams from SEC and Big 12. Former president of the Colorado Rockies major-league baseball team and former general manager of the Memphis Showboats of the USFL football league.
KELLY ENGLISH A native of southern Louisiana, English opened Restaurant Iris in Overton Square in 2008, which has since garnered multiple awards including Best Restaurant, Best Chef, and Best Service four years in a row voted on by Memphis magazine readers. His second Memphis restaurant, The Second Line, opened in fall 2013. Magnolia House, a fine dining experience at Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi opened this spring. A past James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef, English graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and studied in both Spain and France. Culinary education also came under direction of award-winning chef John Besh of New Orleans. In 2012, won the Memphis leg of Cochon 555 — a prestigious event that celebrates heritage breed pigs — thus earning the chance to compete in Aspen against nationally known chefs.
NATHAN L. ESSEX Became president of Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC) in 2000 after coordinating the merger of Shelby State Community College and State Technical Institute at Memphis. STCC is one of the largest community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Previous experience includes dean of the college of education at the University of Memphis. Named Distinguished Administrator of the Year at U of M, College President of the Year by Alpha Beta Gamma international honor society, and the University of Memphis Society’s Educator of the Year. Received Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keepers of the Dream Award and the Educational Freedom Award. Recipient of the Community Hero Award. President of the Community College Council and Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association.
JOHN FARACI Chairman and CEO of International Paper. The Fortune 500 company, a global leader in the paper and packaging industry, has more than 2,000 employees in Memphis and 70,000 employees in 24 countries. IP relocated its headquarters here more than 25 years ago and is in the midst of constructing a $56.1 million new office building on its East Memphis campus. The company reported net sales of $28 billion in 2012. Faraci is set to retire March 1, 2015. Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum and a board member of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, United Technologies Corporation, PPG Industries, Inc., and the Moscow School of Management. Is a trustee for the American Enterprise Institute and Denison University.
SHEA FLINN Second-term city councilman after 2007 victory in tight multi-candidate race for Super District 9, Position 2 seat, and reelection in 2011. Flynn, a Democrat, in recent years has formed half of a city/county governmental team of sorts with father George Flinn. An attorney (whose legal briefcase was inherited from the late U.S. Senate legend Richard Russell of Georgia, a great uncle), Rhodes College graduate Flinn served a highly activist interim term in the state Senate. On the council has frequently been a powerful mediating force, seeker of a “middle way,” and a broker of solutions to gridlocked issues. With Jim Strickland, sponsored unsuccessful 2013 referendum for city pre-K program. Supported concept of pension reform and the serious retrenchment of employee benefits in the 2014-15 city budget.
JUSTIN FUENTE In December 2011 named 23rd head football coach in University of Memphis history. Took over program that had won only five games in three years and led team to 4-8 record in 2012. Tigers slipped to 3-9 in 2013, program’s first in American Athletic Conference. Assistant coach at TCU from 2007 to 2011 where he served as co-offensive coordinator. Helped groom Horned Frog quarterback Andy Dalton into rookie starter with NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Assistant coach for six years at Illinois State. Played quarterback for Oklahoma (1996-97) and Murray State (1998-99), where he was named Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.
LESTER GINGOLD Founder and publisher of Best Times, a news magazine for readers 50+ years. Began his media career in 1941 as business manager of his college newspaper at Birmingham-Southern College. Served as a combat engineer during World War II and then began a 34-year career as general merchandise manager for all Sears stores in the Memphis region. Returned to media as advertising director for The Commercial Appeal. At age 75 became publisher and co-owner of Active Times, which he sold several years later to the Newhouse Group. When that company closed the paper, Gingold bought it back, changed the name to Best Times, and formed a new partnership with The Daily News. At age 92, active in civic causes, including Memphis College of Art, Memphis Better Business Bureau, Memphis Goodwill, Memphis Cotton Carnival, Les Passees Rehab, Omicron Delta Kappa Alumni at Rhodes College, Sales and Marketing Executives of Memphis, and Memphis Advertising Federation. Honors include serving as delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, listed as a Memphis Legend by the Salvation Army, and named a Power Player by MBQ.
LOUIS GRAHAM Just completed his first year as editor of The Commercial Appeal after 34 years as a reporter and editor in the organization. Graham spent much of the last year assembling a four-member investigative team — almost unheard of in an era of staff reductions — and refocusing the newspaper on its historic watchdog role. Under his direction, the 173-year-old ink-on-paper CA now offers all locally produced content to web and mobile subscribers first. Indiana born; graduate of Indiana University, married to a fellow Hoosier with grown (and Memphis-born) son and daughter.
AL GREEN Lured to Memphis from his native Forrest City, Arkansas, by producer Willie Mitchell in the 1970s and racked up seven top-10 soul hits in a three-year stretch, since selling more than 20 million records. Turned to gospel music after a religious conversion in 1973. Became an ordained preacher and founded the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Whitehaven, where he serves as pastor. Multiple Grammy Award winner. Member of the Rock-and-Roll, Gospel, and Songwriters Halls of Fame. In 2003, had albums listed in Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time and released his first new album of secular music in decades: I Can’t Stop, produced by Willie Mitchell. His 2008 album, Lay It Down, was first to reach the top ten since early 1970s. In 2009, recorded “People Get Ready” with Heather Headley on the album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration and in 2010 performed “Let’s Stay Together” with Jools Holland. Rolling Stone has twice named him one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” (ranked 66th).
MICAH GREENSTEIN Senior rabbi of Temple Israel, Tennessee’s oldest and largest synagogue. A two-time president of the Memphis Ministers Association and executive committee member of the National Civil Rights Museum. Greenstein served as president of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis and teaches future area ministers at Memphis Theological Seminary. A Memphian since 1991, Greenstein has served on the boards of United Way, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and St. Mary’s Episcopal School. Before entering rabbinical school, was a Cornell National Scholar and named a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration. In 2012 he was awarded the Memphis Theological Seminary’s President’s Humanitarian Award. In 2012 and 2013, he was named one of America’s top 50 Rabbis by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. He was Memphis magazine’s 2013 Memphian of the Year.
JOSE GUTIERREZ After 30 years as a chef here, widely acclaimed as the dean of Memphis dining. Chef, River Oaks Restaurant. Former owner and chef of Encore Restaurant and Bar. Chef de cuisine (for 23 years) of Chez Philippe in The Peabody, where he brought the restaurant national acclaim for his unique “Nouvelle Southern” cuisine. Began career in America at only 22 as head chef at the Restaurant de France in Houston’s Meridian Hotel. Became a master chef at age 36. Educated at Professional Culinary School in Manosque, France. Trained under chefs Roger Petit, Francis Trocelie, and Paul Bocuse. Named Master Chef of the Year, 2011 and 1996, Maitre Cuisinier de France. Received Great American Chef Award, 1999, and Chef of the Century, 1998, The American Academy of Hospitality and Sciences. Named to Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 1990.
DICK HACKETT Director of the Children’s Museum of Memphis since 2006, Hackett was the youngest mayor of an American city when he was elected chief executive of Memphis in a 1982 special election while serving as Shelby County Clerk. Was reelected mayor twice and served until his defeat by Willie Herenton, who became the city’s first elected black mayor in historic election of 1991. Known as fiscal conservative, Hackett was also considered a racial moderate and was an innovator of such programs as the WONDERS series of major cultural exhibits. Was also instrumental in bringing about the Children’s Museum, his current venue, by overseeing the award of a 25-year, $1-a-year lease of the old National Guard Armory at Central and Hollywood. Later served as senior vice president of ALSAC, the fund-raising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Graduate of University of Memphis.
President and CEO of Memphis Development Foundation, which operates the Orpheum Theatre. During his tenure the Orpheum has undergone two major renovations for a total expansion of $20 million. Holds degrees from the University of Nebraska and the University of Miami. Served on the Memphis City Council and helped found the Memphis Chapter of Big Brothers. Former president of Independent Presenters Network, a consortium of over 100 theaters across North America and Japan. Winner of three Tony Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Recipient of the 2011 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Leadership, the 2012 Communicator of the Year Award by the Public Relations Society of America, and the Legend Award from the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau for his work at the Orpheum and the community. Author of The Orpheum: Where Broadway Meets Beale, a history of the Orpheum Circuit and the Orpheum in Memphis. Construction is underway for 39,000-square-foot Orpheum Centre for Performing Arts and Education.
JAMES HARVEY Chairman of Shelby County Commission during 2013-14 term, Harvey is nominally one of seven Democrats on 13-member commission but has often made common cause with Republican minority. Well-known for a tendency to change his mind on key issues and reverse course. Term-limited on the commission, he has made no secret of his ambition to run for mayor of Memphis in 2015. Currently a vice president with Tri-State Bank, has owned several businesses and was employed by the Bank of America to review loans and foreclosures in the wake of the bursting of the housing bubble and the subsequent economic recession of 2007-08. Well-known as “Gridiron Show” entertainer during heyday of that local satiric review in ’90s.
BRYCE HAUGSDAHL President, United Way of the Mid-South. Haugsdahl has been with United Way for more than 40 years, and is leading the organization to implement a plan to align partner organizations and other community sectors to address issues in education, income, and health throughout the Mid-South. Serves on United Way Worldwide Corporate Engagement Council and National Presidents’ Roundtable, and is past chairman, United Ways of Tennessee and Kiwanis Club of Memphis. Completed the Human Services Executive Management Program, Harvard University.
SALLY JONES HEINZ Since February 2011, executive director of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), the volunteer-supported agency that provides housing, financial assistance, food, and other services to some 50,000 people in this area annually; also provides programs for vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. Heinz was previously MIFA’s vice president of development. Originally from Memphis and a graduate of Rhodes College. Also has a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Texas. Previously worked as executive director of Memphis Heritage, marketing director at Robert F. Sharpe and Co., and director of development at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art until starting at MIFA in 2007.
JAMES L. HOLT Since 1998, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival, one of the nation’s leading civic festivals and Memphis’ largest annual public event. During his 14-year tenure, the organization has attained financial stability and developed assets in excess of $3 million. Under his management, MIM has been the recipient of 90 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association, including an award from the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Previously spent 17 years promoting and managing concerts and events. A Certified Festivals and Events Executive, Holt serves on the board of the International Festivals & Events Association. Before joining MIM, spent two decades in the entertainment promotion and management business in Memphis and Nashville.
DORSEY HOPSON Superintendent since 2013 of newly reorganized Shelby County Schools, the nation’s 14th largest school district. Graduate of University of Memphis and Georgia State University College of Law, served as counsel to several Georgia school systems before being tapped by then Memphis City Schools system to become MCS general counsel in 2008. Won $57 million judgment, still pending and unpaid, against City of Memphis for underfunding that year. During MCS-SCS merger process of 2011-13 worked with former SCS counsel Valerie Speakman, became interim superintendent of new SCS before gaining permanent appointment by SCS board. Has presided over difficult process of city-county school merger, followed rapidly by de-merger as six Shelby County suburbs initiated their own school systems. Process involved closing of 10 schools and hundreds of teacher layoffs. In 2014 saw extension of original three-year superintendent’s contract to 2018.
BARBARA HYDE President of the J.R. Hyde III Family Foundation and of the J.R. Hyde Sr. Family Foundation, both dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Memphis area. Known for her advocacy and involvement in public education reform, she has led numerous efforts to bring innovative education initiatives to Memphis, most notably KIPP Academy, Teach for America, and New Leaders. Born in California and raised in Atlanta. As a founding member of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, is leading the master planning efforts to transform Shelby Farms into a world-class park for the twenty-first century. Board member of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Ballet Memphis.
J.R. “PITT” HYDE As president of Malone and Hyde in 1968 and CEO in 1972, he was the youngest CEO listed on the New York Stock Exchange for a decade. Founded AutoZone in 1979, one of three Fortune 500 companies with its headquarters in Memphis. After a successful career in business and following his retirement in 1997, Hyde has become one of the leading philanthropists in the city. He and his wife, Barbara, are active in civic affairs and key supporters of education reform in both the district and at the state level. Hyde was instrumental in the founding of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Memphis Tomorrow, and the National Civil Rights Museum. Also part of the civic team that helped bring the NBA Grizzlies to Memphis.
ERIK JAMBOR Executive director of Indie Memphis since 2008, the first full-time director of the organization. During his six years at the helm, the Indie Memphis Film Festival has considerably increased its presence both in Memphis and the national filmmaking scene, which includes year-round events. Indie Memphis was named a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2012 and was listed as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” in 2009 and one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for the second consecutive time in 2014 by MovieMaker magazine. Jambor has run community-focused regional film festivals since 1999, when he co-founded the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham. The 2014 Indie Memphis is set for October 30th-November 2nd, and it will expand into the new Hattiloo Theatre.
DAVE JOERGER Head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Promoted to the top job in 2013 after six years as an assistant under Marc Iavaroni and Lionel Hollins. Led Grizzlies to record of 50-32 in 2013-14 season, qualifying team for a fourth straight appearance in the NBA playoffs (where they lost to Oklahoma City in the opening round). Coached several years in minor-league basketball, winning three championships in the CBA and twice earning the league’s Coach of the Year honor. Raised concerns when he interviewed with Minnesota Timberwolves in May before committing to a future in Memphis. Signed a contract extension in late May.
ONIE JOHNS Founder of Caritas Village, an organization in Binghampton that seeks to strike accord between races and classes and is a community asset for neighborhood children. Caritas Village includes a restaurant, cultural and arts activities, theater, free health clinic, after-school programs, tutoring, and ESL programs. Received the 2011 Legends Award from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Johns has joined forces with other likeminded organizations, including Binghampton Development Corp., Service Over Self, BRIDGES, and Jacob’s Ladder, and numerous churches to foster harmony and prosperity in the community.
FRED JONES President of Summitt Management Corporation, an entertainment consulting firm. Founder of the annual Southern Heritage Classic, a weekend of events climaxed by the football matchup between Jackson State University and Tennessee State University. Played annually the second Saturday in September at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the game has averaged more than 50,000 in attendance since first held in 1990. 2014 game will be 25th in series. Teams have committed to event through 2019 season. Recipient of the 2010 Authur S. Holmon Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Memphis.
RON JONES Became the 12th president of Memphis College of Art in May 2011. Previously dean of the College of the Arts of the University of South Florida for 12 years. Holds bachelor’s degree from West Virginia’s Concord University, master’s from Arizona State, and Ph.D. in Aesthetics Education from University of Maryland. Has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and was elected to the National Council for Policy Study in Art, a group of 50 leading art education scholars. Served as president of the Florida Higher Education Network and president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans as well as being nationally elected to the Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts. Locally sits on the board of the Overton Park Conservancy and the Levitt Shell Board.
KEVIN KANE As president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau is the face and voice of Memphis tourism, tasked with competing with Nashville and other cities with larger and more modern facilities. The Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate was appointed to the CVB during former Mayor Willie Herenton’s first administration, and has since expanded publicity of the Bluff City worldwide, from advertisements in London taxis to satellite operations in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Named Communicator of the Year in 2008 by the Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Chairman, Destination Marketing Association International and Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum. Board Member, U.S. Travel Association, Blues Foundation, Riverfront Development Corporation, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Christian Brothers High School, Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association, and Greater Memphis Chamber.
CAMERON KITCHIN Director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art since 2008. During his tenure, the Brooks has advanced its reach into local neighborhoods and communities while growing audiences and forging new partnerships with arts and social service organizations. The Brooks is nationally recognized for its encyclopedic collection, exhibitions, and educational innovations. Kitchin previously served as executive director of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and directed special projects for the American Association of Museums. A graduate of Harvard University, the College of William and Mary, and the Getty Museum Leadership Institute.
DIANE KNIGHT Director, VA Medical Center in Memphis. Responsible for Memphis VAMC main campus and nine community-based outpatient clinics. Graduate, VA Healthcare Leadership Institute. Member, Senior Executive Service, Department of Veterans Affairs. Appointed to position by Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2013. The Memphis VAMC offers inpatient and outpatient services and serves as the regional Spinal Cord Injury Center for more than 197,000 veterans in a 53-county area. A recent Congressional investigation into Veterans Affairs hospitals across the nation revealed problems at the Memphis hospital that are being examined.
AMY LAVERE Eclectic singer, songwriter, bass player, and actress. Moved to Memphis in 1999 as one-half of country-rockabilly duo The Gabe & Amy Show. Went solo in 2006 with debut album The World Is Not My Home on local label Archer Records. Followed that up with critically acclaimed Anchors & Anvils, recorded with legendary producer Jim Dickinson. Also released EP, Died of Love, and LP, Stranger Me. Latest projects include collaboration with John Paul Keith on 2013 album Motel Mirrors, and the autobiographical Runaway’s Diary, released in 2014. Has appeared on Conan O’Brien and performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Film career includes appearing as rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and key roles in Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer’s Black Snake Moan and MTV series $5 Cover.
JERRY LAWLER Professional wrestling legend, currently retired but visible as television commentator for WWE. Nicknamed “The King,” dominated Saturdays in Memphis throughout the Seventies and into the World Wrestling Federation’s heyday of the 1980s. Started career as villain, but ascended to Continental Wrestling Association championship in 1979. Famously feuded with comedian Andy Kaufman in early Eighties, sending the actor to the hospital after a match in Memphis in 1982. Suffered a heart attack while on the air for an episode of Raw in September 2012. Ran for mayor of Memphis in 1999. Cousin of fellow wrestler, The Honky Tonk Man.
PATRICK LAWLER Since 1986, CEO of Youth Villages, one of the nation’s largest private providers of services to children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families. Serves more than 22,000 children and families at more than 60 facilities in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Produces an overall 80 percent rate of children living successfully at home even two years after completing their Youth Villages program. In 2006, Lawler was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report. In 2009, Harvard Business School began using Youth Villages as part of a course in effective nonprofit organizations, and the White House cited Youth Villages as an example of “effective, innovative nonprofits.” In 2010 and 2011, Youth Villages was named one of the “Top 50 Nonprofits to Work F or” by The Nonprofit Times. Lawler was featured in the 2012 book Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time. Profiled in 2013 book With Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give, Youth Villages is cited as a prime example of nonprofits that are achieving results. Holds a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Memphis.
JERRY LEE LEWIS Also known as “The Killer,” Lewis is a native of Ferriday, Louisiana. Came to Memphis in the 1950s to record for Sun Studios. Shot to fame with blockbuster hits “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Was the first inductee into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. His pioneering contribution to the genre was recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2008 was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Named to Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” in 2004, and in 2005 received Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys. Resides in Nesbit, Mississippi, in a ranch house with a piano-shaped pool. Ventures out for a yearly appearance at the Beale Street Music Festival. In 2009, was the opening act of the 25th Anniversary Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame Concert in Madison Square Garden. In 2013, opened the Jerry Lee Lewis Café & Honky Tonk on Beale Street.
IRA LIPMAN Founder and chairman of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world’s largest security services companies, which operates in 400 cities worldwide with 17,000 employees and annual revenues of $500 million. Guardsmark celebrated its 51st anniversary on July 1, 2014. Lipman is the 1996 recipient of the American Business Ethics Award. In 1997, founding chairman of Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Recipient of 2002 Stanley C. Pace Award for Leadership in Ethics, from the Ethics Resource Center. The 2002 recipient of Corporate Citizenship Award, presented by the Committee for Economic Development. Age 73, author of How to Be Safe, the fifth edition of How to Protect Yourself From Crime, published by Reader’s Digest. First chairman of the ethics committee of the board of governors of United Way of America. Honorary life chairman and former national chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Executive committee member and trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international human rights organization. Chairman emeritus of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and 2004 recipient of the Wharton School Dean’s Medal. Board member of Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance.
ROBERT LIPSCOMB Director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Division and executive director of Memphis Housing Authority. A multi-faceted local leader for decades, Lipscomb has also served as the city’s chief financial officer and as a point man for the long-running development efforts of Bass Pro Shops, Mid-South Fairgrounds, Overton Square, Beale Street, Soulsville USA, and Elvis Presley Boulevard. Since taking on his role with the Memphis Housing Authority, Lipscomb has spearheaded an endeavor to eliminate major public housing units in Memphis and replace them with mixed-use, mixed-income developments throughout the city, including University Place and Legends Park.
DEBBIE LITCH Executive producer of Theatre Memphis since 2004. During her tenure, season and single ticket sales have increased 50 percent. In 2011, Theatre Memphis received a national award from the American Association of Community Theatres, recognizing a member that successfully executed new directions, expanded community services, and furthered organizational and business development. Past positions include director of development for Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Memphis Symphony Orchestra and interim executive producer and marketing director for the symphony. Has served on boards of the Memphis Orchestral Society, Theatre Memphis, and the MIFA Development Board.
JASON LITTLE In June 2014 the former executive vice president and COO of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation replaced Stephen Reynolds to become the fifth president and CEO in the 101-year history of Baptist, which has grown to include 14 hospitals and physician practices in the Mid-South. Little is a deacon at Germantown Baptist Church and a board member for Church Health Center, The Hospital Wing, American Heart Association, and the Greater Memphis Chamber. He serves as chair of the New Memphis Institute Board of Trustees and the UT-Knoxville Alumni Board, where he was elected student body president as an undergraduate before earning an M.B.A. and M.H.A. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Recipient of the Early Career Healthcare Executive Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives.
BOB LOEB President of Loeb Properties, best known for its redevelopment of the Overton Square entertainment district in Midtown four decades after its celebrated heyday in the 1970s. Recently new and forthcoming tenants to Overton Square include Hattiloo Theatre, Babalu, Belly Acres, Zebra Lounge, and Lafayette’s. Loeb Properties is also involved in redevelopment of Broad Avenue. Loeb graduated from SMU and works closely with his brother Louis since they went into the family business after finishing college. Their father previously ran the family business while their uncle, Henry Loeb, was twice mayor of Memphis. Since 1887, four generations of the Loeb family have run the business that once included barbecue and chicken restaurants and a laundry and dry cleaner. Chairman of the board of trustees at Memphis University School.
MARK LUTTRELL Mayor of Shelby County since his election in 2010, Luttrell had previously served two terms as sheriff. Though elected as a Republican, he has frequently stated that county elective positions should be nonpartisan. An expert in incarceration and a cost-cutting sheriff, he attempted to pursue savings through consolidation of overlapping services as mayor. Launched, in partnership with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, an ambitious industrial recruitment program and E.D.G.E. Board to oversee activities. Played influential role in 2012 as member of Transition Planning Commission on city/county school merger. Opposed county sales tax referendum that year but proposed increase in budget and county sales tax in 2013, presented balanced budget without tax increase in 2014. Regarded as titular head of GOP county ticket as candidate for reelection in 2014 against Democratic nominee Deidre Malone. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, received bachelor’s from Union University and master’s from the University of Memphis. Corrections career began as vocational training director at Shelby County Penal Farm.
SAMUEL H. “HARDY” MAYS JR. Judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, since 2002. Has won plaudits for even-keeled, unbiased handling of several thorny cases, notably the tangle of consolidated school cases in 2011-14 related to school merger and creation of new suburban school systems. Was able to keep events on schedule by mandating and overseeing frequent conferences of disputing parties. A graduate of White Station High School, Amherst College, and Yale Law School. In private practice in Tennessee until 1995 when he joined administration of Governor Don Sundquist, serving in several positions, including chief of staff.
KEITH McDONALD Mayor of Bartlett, candidate in 2014 for fourth term as only full-time suburban chief executive, emerged as de facto leader of the movement among suburban Shelby County mayors to establish independent municipal school systems after the 2010 surrender of the Memphis City Schools charter forced city-county school merger. Commitment to school issue demonstrated by his gifting the new Bartlett system with a sword-in-stone statue bearing his name and the legend “Education, a Sword Worth Dying On.” Had, ironically, served as a member of the Transition Planning Commission established by the Tennessee General Assembly to plan the now dissolved merger. Owner and founder of McDonald Insurance and Financial Services, McDonald retired from the business at end of 2013, passing control to his son.
LAUREN BOGGS McHUGH President and co-owner of Huey’s eight locations and partner in Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House, Half Shell, and Tsunami. Holds bachelor’s in business and marketing and master’s in management from the University of Memphis. Oldest daughter of the late Thomas Boggs, she continues his tradition of keeping Huey’s among the most popular home-grown pubs in Memphis; the restaurant is a consistent winner in Memphis Flyer and Memphis magazine restaurant polls. Grew up helping her dad at the restaurant and waited tables through college. After a five-year stint for National Bank of Commerce in the Bank Card and Commercial Lending Divisions, she returned to Huey’s. Board member, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and Paragon National Bank. Member, Kiwanis Club of Memphis. Graduate, Leadership Memphis, Class of 2007. Co-chair, Feed the Need.
MARGOT McNEELEY Founder and executive director of Project Green Fork (PGF), an organization that changes Memphis one forkful at a time, helping restaurants operate more sustainably. Since 2008, PGF has certified 58 local restaurants for environmentally friendly practices regarding their recycling, waste management, pollution prevention, and reduction of carbon footprint. Since there wasn’t a blueprint for such an endeavor, McNeeley worked with local chefs to make sure restaurant certifications were attainable, affordable, and enticing to the industry. Cited in a 2013 story about Memphis in National Geographic’s “Best of the World Trips.” McNeeley was honored by the inaugural class of the MBQ Innovation Awards in 2013.
CHARLES McVEAN Co-founder along with Bill Sehnert of Peer Power, an educational program empowering students to teach other students. McVean is an East High School graduate, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who saw a need in the community for better-performing public school students. His program features top students in underperforming high schools who are given paid positions as tutors. McVean is chairman and CEO of McVean Trading & Investments, an agricultural research and investment management firm. McVean and Peer Power were honored by the inaugural class of the MBQ Innovation Awards in 2013.
ESTELLA MAYHUE-GREER President and CEO of the Mid-South Food Bank, which fights hunger in a 31-county service area. Has worked for the organization since 1996 as agency relations director, director of programs, and vice president and chief operating officer. Among her accomplishments: initiating childhood hunger programs including the Kids Cafe and food for Kids BackPack programs, the Mobile Pantry program to increase food distribution to rural counties, streamlining warehouse and distribution operations, and launching the Feeding Seniors initiative. In 2012, Shelby County government transferred the USDA commodity distribution program to Mid-South Food Bank. Mayhue-Greer previously taught at Christian Brothers University and the University of Memphis and formed her own public relations agency. Graduate of Leadership Memphis Executive Class 2012 and current member of the U.T. College of Medicine Advisory Board.
PAUL MORRIS President of the Downtown Memphis Commission, a public-private partnership devoted to improving the downtown area. Named the project director for the Main Street to Main Street plan that will link Memphis and West Memphis for bicyclists and pedestrians via the Harahan Bridge. Other major projects in the works include the riverfront development and Victorian Village. Holds engineering and law degrees from Vanderbilt. Served on A C Wharton’s mayoral transition team in 2009, and a former attorney with Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston. Board member and past president of Memphis Area Legal Services.
DR. SCOTT MORRIS Founder and CEO of the Church Health Center, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable healthcare for uninsured working people and their families. Master of divinity degree from Yale University, M.D. from Emory University. Board-certified family practitioner and ordained United Methodist minister. Thanks to financial support from foundations, churches, corporations, and individuals, and the volunteer help of doctors, nurses, dentists, and others, the Center has grown to become the largest faith-based healthcare organization of its type in the country. Currently, the Center logs more than 46,000 patient visits to its medical clinic and more than 117,000 member visits to its wellness center per year without relying on government funding. Author of several books, including God, Health, and Happiness. Is currently leading the Center’s efforts to move to Crosstown in 2016. In the coming year he will co-lead the Center along with its president, Antony Sheehan, a nurse by training and a leader in developing services within England’s Department of Health.
JACKIE NICHOLS Founder and executive producer of Playhouse on the Square, Memphis’ only resident professional theatre company, now in its 45th season, The Circuit Playhouse, and POTS@TheWorks. Has created numerous programs to benefit the community, including “Pay What You Can Night” and ArtsAccess. Started an after-school acting program for children and has had more than 33,000 students annually emerge from his numerous outreach programs. Past recipient of the Memphis Rotary Club’s Outstanding Community Service Award, the State of Tennessee’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Theatre, the Gordon Holl Outstanding Arts Administrator Award, and the Public Relations Society of America's Memphis Chapter Communicator of the Year Award. Instrumental in the redevelopment of Overton Square as a Theatre Arts District.
MARK NORRIS Majority leader of the Republican-dominated state Senate. Was the primary author in 2011 of the controversial Norris-Todd bill (co-sponsored with state Rep. Curry Todd), which established guidelines for merger of Memphis City Schools with Shelby County Schools in August 2013, including the lifting at that time of a ban on new special school districts. Crafted add-on legislation in 2012 to enable immediate referenda for such districts in Shelby County suburbs and repeated process with amended bill in 2013 when 2012 measure was found unconstitutional. Seemingly content to work in the shadows of Senate Speaker/Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Norris, re-elected in 2013 to a third term as chair of Tennessee Advisory Commission on Inter-governmental Relations, is known to have gubernatorial ambitions of his own. A lawyer and farmer living in Collierville, Norris became chairman of the National Council of State Governments in 2014 and was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
DR. WILLIAM NOVICK Founder and medical director of the International Children’s Heart Foundation, dedicated to improving the care of children with congenital heart defects in destitute countries since 1993. Has taken surgical teams to 35 countries and operated on more than 6,400 children. In 1998, performed the first open-heart surgery in Bosnia, and in 1999, was operating in Belgrade when NATO bombing began during the Kosovo conflict. Has been awarded four presidential medals since 2002 and was awarded the Frederique Constant Passion Award in 2007. Featured in the 2003 Oscar-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart, and invited to speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations about the effects of the Chernobyl radiation disaster. First American heart surgeon to operate in Iraq after 2003 and in Libya following the revolution. Endowed Professor of Surgery and International Child Health at the University of Tennessee-Memphis. Received cardiac training from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
JOSH PASTNER Head men’s basketball coach at University of Memphis. At age 37, still among youngest coaches in NCAA Division I. Led Tigers to record of 24-10 in fifth year at the helm (now 130-44 overall). Tigers beat archrival Louisville twice during first season in American Athletic Conference, but again lost second game in NCAA tournament (to Virginia). Served one season as assistant to John Calipari after cutting teeth over six years under Hall of Famer Lute Olson at Arizona. Signed contract extension in May 2013 that will pay him $2.65 million at least through 2017-18 season.
RICHARD PHILLIPS President of the Southern College of Optometry (SCO) since 2007. Previously served as regional executive director of Tennessee operations for TLC Laser Eye Centers, and also as TLC’s regional clinical director for the southeast U.S. Before that, he was engaged in private practice, forming Tennessee’s first optometry/ophthalmology partnership at the John Wilson Eye Clinic in 1981. Phillips graduated from Milligan College in 1974 and SCO in 1978. Past president of Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians (where he still serves on the board of directors), Tennessee Academy of Optometry, and SECO International. Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Fellow of the National Academy of Practice (multidisciplinary) and on the executive committee of the Memphis Medical Center, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, and the board of directors for the Tennessee Independent College & University Association. Recently elected to the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and the Schools Commission on Colleges. 2014 Finalist for CEO of the Year, MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.
STEPHEN PIKE Director of museums for the Memphis Pink Palace Family of Museums, which includes Memphis Pink Palace Museum, Crew Training International IMAX Theater, Sharpe Planetarium, Lichterman Nature Center, Magevney House, Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village, and Coon Creek Science Center. New strategic plan will bring full-dome video to planetarium and a science center focused on health, nutrition, and wellness to Memphis area. Former executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Previously assistant director of the Smithsonian National Associates Program in Washington, D.C. Awarded a doctoral fellowship in English at Temple University.
ANNE PITTS Executive director, Levitt Shell at Overton Park, which presents popular free concerts in an open-air amphitheater. Pitts worked in arts for more than 10 years, serving in a variety of positions including manager, director, associate director, and lawyer. Former board member, Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy and Music Maker Relief Foundation. Former chair, Intellectual Property Section, Mississippi Bar. Co-compiler of the Oxford American’s annual Southern Music Issue for four years, including the 10th anniversary double issue.
DAVID PORTER An original architect of Memphis soul music and Stax Records’ first salaried songwriter in 1963 at just 22 years old, Porter’s songs, including “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming,” have sold more than 300 million units worldwide. A native Memphian and active community leader, Porter has served on many local boards and commissions, including the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Youth Villages, and the Stax Museum Foundation. Opened Consortium MMT (Memphis Music Town) on the second floor of the Greater Memphis Chamber in 2012, a national music mentorship nonprofit allowing industry veterans to develop young talent in Memphis. Inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame along with fellow Memphian, songwriting partner, and lifelong friend Isaac Hayes in 2005.
DOROTHY GUNTHER PUGH Founder and artistic director of Ballet Memphis, which enters its 28th season. Graduate of Vanderbilt University. Under her leadership, Ballet Memphis has achieved national prominence, cited by the Ford Foundation as an “exemplary arts institution” and “national treasure.” Company has performed to glowing reviews in New York, Paris, and at the Kennedy Center. Lauded by the Ford Foundation Monograph and the Stanford Social Innovation Review for the Memphis Project series. Honored as an Outstanding Arts Administrator by the Tennessee Arts Commission, recipient of the Women of Achievement Award for Initiative, and recipient of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore initiatives for redefining mid-size ballet companies in the nation. Fellow in National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, one of only 100 arts leaders from around the world chosen due to their innovative leadership and capacity for long-term success. The combined programs of Ballet Memphis serve 80,000 people annually.
BILL RHODES Chairman, president, and CEO of AutoZone, Inc. Oversees the nation’s leading retailer and a leading distributor of auto parts and accessories, a Fortune 500 company with more than 5,000 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil and net sales of $9.1 billion in 2013. Civic engagements include board member of Memphis Tomorrow and Dollar General Corporation. Past chairman of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, treasurer of the National Civil Rights Museum, vice president of Youth Programs, Inc., the governing body of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and vice chairman of the golf tournament. Minority owner in the Memphis Grizzlies. Formerly manager of Ernst & Young. Holds MBA from University of Memphis. Named 2013 CEO of the Year by MBQ: Inside Memphis Business, sister publication to Memphis magazine.
TODD RICHARDSON Co-founder of Crosstown Arts and co-director of the Crosstown Development Project. An assistant professor at the University of Memphis, he is a specialist in the European Renaissance. His most recent book, Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Art Discourse in the Sixteenth-Century Netherlands, was published by Ashgate in 2011. Since 2010, has led the development team transforming the historic, 1.5-million-square-foot Sears Crosstown Distribution Center into a vertical urban village anchored by organizations in healthcare, education, and the arts, as well as a diverse range of residential. Holds a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from the University of Mississippi, M.A. in religious studies from Memphis Theological Seminary, M.A. in art and religion from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in art history from Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands. A former J. William Fulbright Scholar and a two-year Samual H. Kress Fellow. The Crosstown Project received an Innovation Award in 2013 from the MBQ: Inside Memphis Business magazine.
GAYLE ROSE Founder and CEO of EVS Corporation, a cloud backup and disaster recovery company headquartered in Memphis. Chairman of the Rose Family Foundations private charity. Chair of the board of the Memphis Symphony, and helped raise funds to keep MSO in operation for the foreseeable future. In 2012, received the CEO of the Year Award by MBQ: Inside Memphis Business. In 2008, named Humanitarian of the Year by Diversity Memphis. Internationally recognized in 2007 with the Changing Face of Philanthropy Award from the Women’s Funding Network. In 2005, named one of Tennessee’s 100 Most Powerful People by Business Tennessee magazine. Most well-known for landing the NBA Memphis Grizzlies basketball team. Co-founder of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Recently founded Team Max, a grass-roots, virtual volunteer organization that honors the memory of her late son. Earned degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and Harvard University.
DAVID RUDD Named in May 2014 the 12th president of the University of Memphis. Succeeded Shirley Raines, who served from 2001 to 2013. (Brad Martin served a year as interim president.) Spent a year as U of M provost, spearheading effort to increase student recruitment, retention, and degree completion. Former dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Utah (2009-2013). Chair of the Department of Psychology at Baylor (2004-05). Has testified seven times before U.S. Congress on issues related to veterans and suicide. Bachelor’s degree from Princeton; master’s and Ph.D. in psychology from University of Texas.
JACK SAMMONS President of hair-care products manufacturer Ampro Industries and chairman of the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority since 2013, succeeding longtime chairman Arnold Perl. Known for his political savvy, straight talk, and salesmanship skills, the former longtime Memphis City Council member and interim city CAO faced an acid test right away with a series of service cuts by several airlines, including Delta, which, during his first year at the helm, ceased to consider Memphis a hub. Sammons faced the task of filling in the voids, which he did as best as he could with new Southwest and Frontier flights, meanwhile overseeing a new long-range plan including a down-sizing of over-built terminal space.
SUSAN M. SCHADT President and CEO of ArtsMemphis since 2002. Priorities include increasing arts support and strategic funding of arts outreach and engagement. Most significant accomplishment is the Memphis for the Arts endowment campaign, which raised $27.2 million. In 2005 ArtsMemphis partnered with Ducks Unlimited to launch the Conservation Through Art initiative, raising nearly $4 million to date to support the arts and wildlife conservation. As founder of Wild Abundance Publishing, served as executive editor of three collectible volumes: First Shooting Light, Wild Abundance, and A Million Wings. The 2011 recipient of Americans for the Arts’ Michael Newton Award for United Arts Fund leadership and the 2011 recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (Memphis chapter) Outstanding Executive Leader. Named International Executive of the Year by the 2013 Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival.
STEVE J. SCHWAB Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and CEO of the statewide system. Responsible for all six of U.T.’s doctoral-degree-granting health science colleges and four major, regional clinic Health Science locations in Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga. UTHSC employs more than 6,000 statewide, and its faculty comprise one of the largest practice groups in the region. Serves on board of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, U.T. Medical Center in Knoxville, and the board of governors of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Specializing as a nephrologist, Schwab is internationally recognized in the field of acute and chronic renal failure and dialytic therapy with more than 150 publications and five books. Industry honors include the Distinguished Service Award from the National Kidney Foundation of America and the Clinician-Scientist Award from the American Heart Association.
RICHARD SHADYAC JR. CEO of ALSAC, the fund-raising organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, since 2009. Son of Richard Shadyac Sr., who joined the ALSAC board of directors in 1963 and served as CEO from 1992 to 2005. Joined ALSAC board in 2000. Upon being named CEO, moved to Memphis from Washington, D.C., where he’d worked for 27 years as a partner at a law firm. Volunteer efforts include support of Greater Memphis Chamber and Memphis Bioworks Foundation. Earned a bachelor’s in political science from Marquette and a law degree from Loyola University in Chicago. Has led new initiatives for ALSAC in the areas of digital media, multicultural marketing, and sports marketing.
KEVIN SHARP Has been the Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens since 2007. During his tenure, the Dixon’s diverse exhibitions, education programs, workshops, and special events have produced significant increases in attendance and membership. Works from the Dixon’s permanent collection have been seen throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, strengthening the Memphis brand. Dixon has pay-what-you-wish Tuesdays, free Saturday mornings, quarterly Family Days, and a deep commitment to neighborhood and community.
GARY SHORB President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since October 2001. Joined Methodist in 1990 as executive vice president. Before his tenure with Methodist, served as president of The Regional Medical Center at Memphis for four years. Serves on boards of National Civil Rights Museum and Memphis Bioworks Foundation; former chairman, Memphis Tomorrow. Under his leadership, Methodist was named the best hospital in Memphis by U.S. News & World Report, ranking #49 in nephrology and high-performing in eight additional medical specialties, including cardiology and heart surgery. In 2012 was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs. In November 2004, Shorb received the Corporate Leadership Award from Volunteer Memphis’ Corporate Volunteer Council, and in 2005 the Alexis de Tocqueville leadership award from United Way of the Mid-South. Received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Clemson University and a master of business administration from the University of Memphis.
JAY SIELEMAN President & CEO, the Blues Foundation, the world’s blues music organization, with 4,000 members and 200 affiliates. Annually produces International Blues Challenge and Blues Music Awards. He led successful capital campaign to build the Blues Hall of Fame on South Main, opening May 2015. The Blues Foundation received the 2011 Governor’s Arts Award. With a J.D. from the University of Iowa, Sieleman was assistant general counsel for the Panama Canal Commission from 1986 to 2000 and a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands from 1983 to 1985.
JOHN SMARRELLI JR. President of Christian Brothers University since 2009 and its first permanent lay president. Received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Postdoctoral work in biochemistry from the University of Virginia. Received National Academic Advising Association Pacesetter Award in 2006 and Loyola University Outstanding Teacher Award in 1996, along with authoring numerous articles published in scientific journals and textbooks. Has served on numerous boards, including the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
FRED SMITH Chairman, founder, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, the world’s largest express transportation company and a vital economic engine in the Memphis region. The $45 billion global transportation company, which celebrated 40 years in 2013, is the region’s largest employer, with a local workforce of 32,000. More than 300,000 employees handle more than 10 million shipments each business day. Smith is a leading business voice in efforts to revolutionize energy policy and lessen reliance on imported foreign oil. Co-chair of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a trustee for the U.S. Council for International Business, and a member of the Business Roundtable. Named to the Aviation Hall of Fame, and winner of the Circle of Honor Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. FedEx is regularly included in surveys for the World’s Most Admired Companies and the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
KATIE SMYTHE Founder, CEO, and artistic director of the New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBE). A native Memphian, she returned to the city in 1997 after a 17-year career as a professional dancer in Minneapolis, performing with Loyce Houlton’s Minnesota Dance Theater, as an actor in New York and Los Angeles, and as a performing and teaching artist. Identified the need for a community dance program with a high standard of ballet training for children, with a focus on those who have little access. Founded the nonprofit school that is now New Ballet and graduated the first students into a professional company. NBE garnered national praise when nine dancers stole the show at the Kennedy Center during the National Symphony Orchestra’s “New Moves: symphony + dance” mini-festival in May 2014. Saving the best for last, Smythe’s “Harlem” suite showcased Memphis jookin’, which The Washington Post called “simply dazzling, eliciting an audience response that dwarfed all that had gone before.”
EDWARD STANTON III U.S. Attorney for Western District of Tennessee, appointed in 2010 by President Obama. Son of veteran political figure Ed Stanton Jr., now General Sessions Clerk. Stanton III was a national advance team member for Clinton/Gore ’96 in Washington, D.C., from July 1996 to November 1996. Worked as a corporate attorney for FedEx and in the office of Charles Carpenter, a political strategist for former Mayor Willie Herenton. Was a candidate for Congress in the 9th Congressional District Democratic primary in 2006. One of first acts as U.S. Attorney was formation of new civil rights unit. Active on that front and in prosecution of firearms offenses, human trafficking, and prescription drug abuse. Grew up in Memphis and received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Memphis.
JIM STRICKLAND Elected to city council from mid-city District 5 in 2007, Strickland has evolved into council’s most persistent voice for greater budgetary discipline. Was budget chairman in 2012 and 2013 and was elected chairman of the full council in December 2013. Known to be mulling over mayoral race in 2015 or beyond. Has consistently prodded council colleagues and Mayor A C Wharton for more governmental economies, though, with colleague Shea Flinn, was co-sponsor in 2013 of unsuccessful referendum calling for half-cent sales-tax to pay for pre-K programs while simultaneously reducing property tax rate. Graduate of the University of Memphis, where he was student body president. Former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party and the law partner of David Kustoff, the former local Republican chairman and U.S. Attorney.
PAT KERR TIGRETT Fashion designer, patron of Memphis music, philanthropist. Chairman and CEO of Pat Kerr, Inc., a couture design firm, specializing in Baby, Ballgowns, and Bridal. Founder of the Blues Ball, the Jingle Bell Ball, and the Nutcracker Ball benefiting Memphis music, children, and the arts. Her designs have been featured in retail windows of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Henri Bendel, and in books and magazines, including Martha Stewart Weddings, The Tiffany Wedding Book, and The Plaza Hotel Wedding Book. Lived in London for 20 years developing an extensive private royal collection including gowns from Princess Diana, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Queen Victoria, and King George III. Items from her private collection are currently showcased in Kensington Palace, London, until July 2015. Former and current board memberships include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis in May, University of Memphis, Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum, among others. Chairman/CEO of Celebrations, an upscale lifestyle events company and Memphis Charitable Foundation.
PHIL TRENARY President and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, since June 2014. Ran Pinnacle Airlines for 13 years as president and CEO, building it from $75 million annually to a $1 billion regional carrier. Resigned from the position in 2011, prior to the airline’s subsequent relocation to Minnesota. Replaced John Moore leading the chamber. In recent years, acted as interim president for the local business incubator Emerge Memphis, advised the University of Memphis administration, and was a paid consultant for the chamber’s Chairman’s Circle. Founded Texas-based Lone Star Airlines in 1984.
WILLIAM TROUTT President of Rhodes College since 1999. Established a strategic vision focusing on excellence in the classroom and beyond through student research, internships, study-abroad, service, and greater connections with the Memphis community. Under his leadership, Rhodes was named the “Most Service-Oriented College in America” by Newsweek. Facilitated a new college curriculum, the move from scholarships toward fellowships, a nationally recognized student work program, and a new college governance structure, which is serving as a national model. Secured a $35.5 million gift, the largest in the school’s history, to build the Paul Barret Jr. Library. Chaired the American Council on Education, the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship program. Named one of America’s most effective college presidents. Received the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
HENRY TURLEY Downtown real estate developer and spearhead of residential renaissance on banks of Mississippi. With Jack Belz, Turley developed the upscale Harbor Town residential and commercial community on Mud Island, the low- and moderate-income Uptown residential development north of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and South Bluffs, where he lives. Native of Memphis and graduate of the University of Tennessee. Leading revitalization in Jackson, Tennessee, with Healthy Community, which helped city earn first place in the 2013 U.S. Conference of Mayors City Livability Awards. An active political supporter of candidates as varied as Democrat U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker.
CRAIG UNGER General manager of the Memphis Redbirds since April 2014. Has overseen Triple-A franchise’s first season since parent club (St. Louis Cardinals) purchased the team. Responsible for day-to-day operations of AutoZone Park and will oversee planned upgrades, scheduled to take place before 2015 season opens. Spent five years working for Cardinals in St. Louis, where he helped return team’s radio broadcasts to historic KMOX. Served as field producer for the 2009 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium and coordinated team’s 2011 World Series victory parade. A 1998 graduate of Webster University.
JOHNNIE B. WATSON President of LeMoyne-Owen College since 2006. Has a bachelor’s degree from LeMoyne-Owen and master’s from Indiana University. Former superintendent of Memphis City Schools. Former president of Future Teachers of America and Alpha Pi Alpha. Received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from LeMoyne-Owen College in 2001 for his contributions to education over four decades. Former chair of department of education and distinguished associate professor at Rhodes College. Board member, Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
AMY WEIRICH A 20-year-plus veteran of the D.A.’s office, Weirich was appointed Shelby County District Attorney General in January 2011 by Governor Bill Haslam to succeed former boss Bill Gibbons, now state safety and homeland security commissioner. Was formerly chief prosecutor of the Gang and Narcotics Prosecution Unit and division leader for the Special Prosecution Unit. Graduate of University of Tennessee at Martin and University of Memphis Law School. Recipient of the Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Award and Frances Loring Award. Handily won re-election in 2012 against Democratic opponent Carol Chumney. Was renominated as Republican candidate for full eight-year term in 2014, running against former TV judge, Joe Brown.
A C WHARTON Mayor of Memphis since victory in 2009 special election following the resignation of Willie Herenton, winning two-thirds of the vote against a lengthy list of other aspirants. Was resoundingly reelected in 2011. Under pressure from state comptroller’s office, lobbied hard for significant budget and tax rate increases for fiscal 2013-14 and got city council to agree to new layoffs and service reductions. In 2014 presided over budget cuts reducing employee benefits and launched effort to convert city pension system to 401(k)-style model. In partnership with county mayor Mark Luttrell, pursuing ambitious industrial recruitment program and has established joint E.D.G.E. board as oversight body.
KIRK WHALUM World-renowned jazz saxophonist. Named president and CEO of the Soulsville Foundation in April 2010. Became chief creative officer in 2012 to focus more on the young people of Stax Music Academy and the Soulsville Charter School. In 1998, recorded first gospel album, The Gospel According To Jazz: Chapter I. Most recent album is 2012’s Romance Language, inspired by John Coltrane. Has toured with Whitney Houston and worked with Babyface, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Al Green, and Luther Vandross. Has 12 Grammy nominations and won his first in 2011 for Best Gospel Song. Won two Stellar Awards for Best Gospel Instrumental Album. Graduate of Memphis Theological Seminary.
DUNCAN WILLIAMS President of Duncan-Williams Inc., where he has guided the company’s growth into a full-service broker-dealer. The investment-banking firm employs more than 220 employees nationally and is a major sponsor of the arts and nonprofits in Memphis, including the Indie Memphis Film Festival, Live at the Garden concert series, Germantown Performing Arts Center, and the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation. Member of the National Adjudicatory Council for FINRA. Member of the capital campaign committee of Shelby Farms Park and a member of the St. Jude professional advisory council. Minority owner in the Memphis Grizzlies. Named Communicator of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America Memphis chapter.
KEVIN WOODS Member, Shelby County Schools board and board president. Director of Career Development with New Horizons Computer Center, two-time winner of Center’s President’s Club award. Holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both from the University of Memphis. Elected to SCS Board in 2012, but Chancellor Kenny Armstrong upheld a challenge from opponent Kenneth Whalum seeking a new vote on grounds that some voters received the wrong district ballots. Appeal from Woods, who was meanwhile elected by his colleagues to head the board, has not yet been adjudicated. Graduate of New Memphis Institute and Leadership Memphis Executive Class (2014).
Out of Towners
KATHY BATES Winner of 1991 Best Actress Oscar for her role as deranged fan in Stephen King’s Misery. Began acting career at White Station High School. Made film debut in 1971’s Taking Off. Received Oscar nominations for Primary Colors and About Schmidt. Emmy nomination for HBO series Six Feet Under. Also known for her roles in Fried Green Tomatoes, Titanic, and Revolutionary Road. In 2009 played Michael Oher’s tutor in the Oscar-winning blockbuster The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock as Memphis mom LeAnne Tuohy. In 2011-12 starred in NBC’s legal series Harry’s Law. Won an Emmy for her memorable guest performance as the ghost of Charlie Sheen’s character in a 2012 episode of Two and a Half Men. Recently co-starred in the television series, American Horror Story: Coven, garnering three Best Supporting Actress award nominations for her role as Delphine LaLaurie.
CARY FOWLER Former executive director and current senior advisor of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, in Norway, which seeks to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. Has played key role in the creation of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault near the Arctic Circle, heading the international committee and developing every aspect of its scientific and operational plan. Vault is designed to store 4.5 million seed samples for centuries. Career spans 40 years in international environment and biodiversity studies. In the 1990s he helped produce the U.N.’s first-ever global assessment of the world’s plant genetic resources and served as special assistant to the Secretary General of the World Food Summit. Grew up in Memphis, attended Southwestern (now Rhodes College), and earned Ph.D. from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Has been profiled by CBS’s 60 Minutes and The New Yorker, has spoken at the TED Global Conference, and is the author of several books and articles on plant genetic resources, including Shattering: Food, Politics and the Loss of Genetic Diversity (1990). Was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in 1985 and received the 2010 Heinz Award for his “vision and efforts in the preservation of the world’s food supply.” In 2012, he was awarded the “Wind Beneath My Wings” award jointly with his wife, Amy P. Goldman, at Bette Midler’s annual “Hulaween” party. Spoke at 2013 Rhodes College commencement ceremony.
MORGAN FREEMAN One of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actors. Born in Memphis and raised in Clarksville, Mississippi. Made his acting debut at age 8 in a school play. First major role was as chauffeur Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy. Has appeared in almost 50 major films since, earning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Million Dollar Baby (2004). Distinctive voice has made him a popular choice for narration, including Academy Award-winning 2005 documentary March of the Penguins. Owner of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksville. Recent films include Transcendence, Last Vegas, Now You See Me, and Invictus, the latter earning him an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela. Latest project London Has Fallen, a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, is in pre-production and set for a 2015 release.
GINNIFER GOODWIN Born in Memphis, graduated from Lausanne Collegiate School in 1996 and received B.F.A. in acting from Boston University. Trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. Moved to New York and landed small roles on Law & Order and Ed before moving to Los Angeles. Turned heads in 2005 in Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts. Portrayed Johnny Cash’s first wife in Walk the Line, filmed in Memphis. Starred in all five seasons of the critically acclaimed HBO series Big Love. In 2009, filmed He’s Just Not That Into You, earning a nomination for a “Breakout Movie Actress” People’s Choice Award. Portrayed Jacqueline Kennedy in the National Geographic Channel-produced TV movie, Killing Kennedy, alongside Rob Lowe. Plays Snow White in the ABC series Once Upon a Time, earning a People’s Choice Award nomination for “Favorite Dramatic TV Actress” in 2013 and 2014.
PAUL TUDOR JONES Founder of Tudor Investment Corporation, a private asset management firm and hedge fund headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Born in Memphis and attended Memphis University School before earning an economics degree from the University of Virginia. One of earliest major successes was predicting Black Monday in 1987. In 1988, founded Robin Hood Foundation, a charitable organization focused on poverty reduction in New York and backed mainly by hedge fund operators. Firm is involved in active trading, investing and research in assets across fixed income, currencies, equities and commodities asset classes, and other areas in the global markets for an international clientele. Listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 40 highest-earning hedge fund managers in February 2013. As of March 2014, Forbes estimated Jones to have a net worth of $4.3 billion and ranked him as the 108th richest American and 345th richest in the world.
DAN SCHNEIDER Television producer, writer, and actor. The New York Times has referred to Schneider as “a kind of Aaron Sorkin of tween sitcoms” and “the Norman Lear of children’s television.” Born in Memphis and was senior class president at White Station High School. Landed a role in the John Cusack film Better Off Dead in 1985. Appeared as a gifted high school student in the hit ABC TV comedy Head of the Class from 1986 to 1991. Was co-host of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 1988, during which he formed relationships that would lead to a career in running TV shows for the network. Broke onto the scene by writing and producing the hit series All That. Created the smash Nickelodeon kids shows iCarly, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, Victorious, and The Amanda Show, launching the careers of stars such as Amanda Bynes, Kenan Thompson, Drake Bell, and Miranda Cosgrove. Series Sam & Cat premiered June 2013, cancelled in late 2014. Creator and director of new show on Nickelodeon, Henry Danger, and accompanying movie. Won 2014 Kid’s Choice Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Acclaimed singer and songwriter, topping music charts first as a member of ’N SYNC, currently as a solo artist. Born in Millington. In the early 1990s was cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club. His album Justified was a multiplatinum solo debut, and the follow-up, Future Sex/Love Sounds, won two Grammys and was nominated for Album of the Year. Appeared in the film The Social Network as Napster founder Sean Parker, for which he was nominated along with the ensemble cast for a Screen Actors Guild Award. Other film credits include Runner Runner, Inside Llewyn Davis, Bad Teacher, Black Snake Moan, and Trouble with the Curve, alongside Clint Eastwood. Married to actress Jessica Biel, and the two are minority owners of the Memphis Grizzlies. Owns a clothing line, a restaurant in New York City, a record label, a line of tequila, and Mirimichi, the eco-friendly golf course in Millington. Third album, The 20/20 Experience, debuted at number one on the charts in March 2013 and won 2014 “Favorite Album” People’s Choice Award. Contributes to numerous charities through the Justin Timberlake Foundation.
ANDREW VANWYNGARDEN White Station High School graduate became one of pop music’s breakout stars in 2008 as singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the Brooklyn-based rock duo MGMT. Formed the band at Wesleyan University with classmate Ben Goldwasser. After landing a multi-album deal with Sony/Columbia, the duo released its debut album, Oracular Spectacular, in 2008, scoring international hits with the singles “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel,” and “Kids.” Rolling Stone ranked Oracular Spectacular 18th on the top 100 albums of the 2000s. In 2010, MGMT received two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Kids.” Congratulations, the band’s second album, was released in April 2010 and reached number one on iTunes in its first week on the charts. In November 2011, MGMT performed a unique, artistic/performance/musical piece at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to celebrate the opening of a Maurizio Cattelan exhibit. The band covered “Future Games” for a 2012 Fleetwood Mac tribute album. MGMT’s self-titled third album was released in September 2013.