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Who's Who

A quick guide to our city's movers, shakers, and other news-makers.




Remember when Time magazine called Memphis a "backwater river town"? We don't think they would describe our city that way anymore. Everywhere you look, the Bluff City is a boomtown. The suburbs stretch to the far edges of the county, thousands — yes, thousands — of brand-new apartments and condos are being erected downtown, our football and basketball teams are getting national attention, and dozens of talented Memphians have put Memphis in the national spotlight.

This year's Who's Who presents an overview of the best and the brightest — politicians, business leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, physicians, athletes, and more. Each year, it becomes harder and harder to pin down just who, exactly, deserves to make this select list, but we think the following pages will give a fairly good idea of the incredibly diverse group of talented people who have decided to call Memphis home.

This year, we've added a few new categories. In addition to the "Out-of-Towners" (former Memphians who are making a name in other places), we have added a special "Hall of Fame" as a special tribute to those 11 Memphians who have been elected to our "Who's Who" every year since we began it.

(For a list of former Memphians who have made a name for themselves in other places, see our list of Out-of-Towners. To see our salute to 11 Memphians who have made our Who’s Who list every year since it’s inception with our Who’s Who Hall of Fame)

David Archer

President and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital since 1997. Under his leadership, local hospital that employs nearly 2,000 medical staff has seen tremendous growth with the building of Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, the creation of the new Ambulatory Surgery Center, Cardiac Care Center, and the Surgical Weight Loss Center. Board chairman of the Mid-South e-Health Alliance, past chairman of the board of the Tennessee Hospital Association, and board member of the Memphis Regional Chamber, St. Peter Villa and the Church Health Center. Spent a year in Guatemala overseeing an orphanage and has worked with troubled youth in New York. Honored with the Humanitarian Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice. Received bachelor's degree from Purdue University and master's from Columbia University.

Leslie Ballin

Defense attorney, known for tackling high-profile — even notorious — criminal cases, including the murder trial of the Selmer, Tennessee, pastor's wife and several Tennessee Waltz defendants. Son of well-known defense attorney Marvin Ballin. Partner in the downtown law firm of Ballin, Ballin, and Fishman. Lifelong Memphian, earned his juris doctorate from the University of Texas. Member of the Memphis Bar Association, American Bar Association, the American Inns of Court, and other legal organizations.

Dr. Steve Bares

President and executive director of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a broad-based public-private partnership focusing on the growth of biomedical research and commercialization of life-science technologies. Specializes in growth business management, new product development, and technology commercialization. Spearheading the construction of the UT-Baptist Research Park, located on the former site of Baptist Hospital in the Memphis medical district, that will consist of 1.2 million square feet of laboratory, research, education, and business space. Previously held executive roles at International Paper, Sparcom, and Hewlett Packard Laser and Printer Group. Holds a Ph.D. and an M.B.A. Has authored nine patents. Founded the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, Tennessee's first charter school.

Ken Bennett

Executive director of the faith-based nonprofit STREETS Ministries, an urban youth development agency that Bennett launched in 1987. In 2006, spearheaded its expansion into a $4.2 million, 34,500-square-foot outreach and recreation center funded by grants, donations, and in-kind services. The center serves children and youth from nearby Cleaborn and Foote Homes housing projects. Grew up on outskirts of Orange Mound. Earned master's in counseling from University of Memphis. Worked at Presbyterian Day School as athletic director and in drug counseling at local hospitals before starting STREETS Ministries. Serves on boards of New Hope Christian Academy and Stax Charter school. Has been featured in The New York Times, Atlanta Constitution, ESPN, and in the book Street Saints — Renewing America's Cities.

Russell Bloodworth

Executive vice president of Boyle Investment Company, the largest developer of commercial and residential property in East Memphis and Shelby County. With J. Bayard Boyle Jr. and Henry Morgan, Bloodworth, 60, is a key player in the firm known for its immaculately groomed upscale developments. His specialties include strategic direction and making final selection of building and site material and solutions. Signature products include Schilling Farms, a planned community in Collierville. Bloodworth has also been closely involved with such Memphis and Shelby County landmarks as Ridgeway Center, The Regalia, Humphreys Center, Century Center, River Oaks, and Spring Creek.

Thomas Boggs

President, CEO, and co-owner of Huey's, among the most popular home-grown pubs in Memphis since opening 35 years ago. Originally a Midtown institution, known for quirks like toothpicks in the ceiling, Huey's successfully expanded to downtown, Cordova, Southaven, Winchester, Collierville, and East Memphis. Also a partner in Tsunami, the Half Shell, Folk's Folly, and Meditrina. Boggs has served on numerous boards promoting tourism, the hotel and restaurant industry, and the Memphis Zoological Society. President of Memphis in May International Festival, 2001-2002. Former drummer for the popular Sixties band the Box Tops. Age 62. University of Memphis graduate and recipient of the U of M's College of Arts and Sciences 2002 Outstanding Alumnus Award. In 2005, inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs, and in 2006, into the Memphis City Schools Hall of Fame.

Scott Bomar

Versatile musician, engineer, and producer was tapped to be the music supervisor and score composer for Craig Brewer's Hustle & Flow, a role he's reprising for Brewer's upcoming Black Snake Moan. Bandleader of the Bo-Keys, where he's introduced Stax session players such as drummer Willie Hall and guitarist Skip Pitts to a new generation of fans. Also member of longtime local surf-rock band Impala, which has landed songs in Hollywood films such as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Way of the Gun. Released career-spanning CD collection of Impala's work in 2006, entitled Night Full of Sirens.

Charles "Chuck" Brady

President/CEO of the Memphis Zoo since March 2003. Was formerly senior vice president and director of the zoo, which he joined in 1979. Responsible for overseeing all renovations and expansions at the facility since the late 1980s, including Cat Country, Primate Canyon, and the China exhibit. With extensive background in the zoo profession — including a stint with the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. — has been 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. Native of New York City. Age 55. Adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Memphis. Holds Ph.D. in zoology from Ohio University. Recently oversaw the construction of new Northwest Passage exhibit and an elephant exhibit expansion.

Craig Brewer

Writer and director of Oscar and Sundance award-winning movie Hustle & Flow, filmed in Memphis. Named among Fade In magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" in 2005. Brewer's Black Snake Moan, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, hits theaters September 15th. His next movie, Maggie Lynn, is slated to begin filming in Nashville and East Tennessee in 2007. The film is a departure from the gritty Memphis landscape Brewer showed audiences in the past. The title character is a frustrated young mother with dreams of country music fame. Age 34. First garnered national attention with The Poor & Hungry, which won the Best Digital Feature award at the 2000 Hollywood Film Festival. Received the Governor's Award in 2005 from the Tennessee Film Commission for his contributions to the area's film industry.

John Calipari

Head men's basketball coach at University of Memphis. Has led Tigers to three NCAA tournament appearances and three trips to NIT semifinals in New York (where Memphis won the 2002 championship). Six-year record at U of M: 148-59. Led 2005-06 Tigers to most wins in school history (33); finished season ranked fourth nationally by AP; reached NCAA tournament's regional finals for fourth time in school history, first since 1992. Age 47. In 2006, Tigers won Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles, first such double for the program since 1985. After overtures from North Carolina State, chose to stay at Memphis, with a contract extension and raise. Team will be hurt by early departures of Shawne Williams (C-USA's 2006 Freshman of the Year) and sophomore Darius Washington.

Michael Ching

Artistic director of Opera Memphis since January 1992. Led the opera's move to its East Memphis headquaters, the award-winning Clark Opera Memphis Center, in May 2003. Ching's emphasis on education and outreach has resulted in many partnerships, including a songwriting and music video prgram with the Memphis City Schools and the Memphis Arts Council. Graduated summa cum laude from Duke University. Age 47. In 2006-07, season will conduct the opera's productions of Porgy and Bess, Il Trovatore, and Carmen with Kallen Esperian, as well as other projects, including the Dokota CK? premiere of his Lewis and Clark opera Corps of Discovery.

Carol Chumney

A controversial and outspoken member of the City Council since her election from a basically Midtown district in 2003, lawyer Chumney, 45, is gearing up for what everybody expects to be a mayoral run in 2007. Before joining the council, where she has been a consistent verbal opponent of both Mayor Herenton and her councilmates as a group, Chumney served 13 years as a member of the state House of Representatives, where she briefly held a position in the Democratic leadership. However, her go-it-alone politics, there as later on in the council, suited her best for the role of critic, though she did perform effectively as chair of a special Children's Services committee, doing watchdog duty against child-care abuses. A questioner of city government hierarchies as well as spending and policy matters, Chumney has picked up a populist following that transcends her original Democratic base.

Steve Cohen

State senator, District 30, since 1982, representing Midtown/Poplar Corridor/Southeast Memphis. Age 57. In 2006, launched campaign for Democratic nomination for Congress in 9th District, ten years after finishing second to Harold Ford Jr. in first effort. Has been major force in state legislature for general outspokenness and work on several key issues — including the arts, women's rights, civil liberties, and especially the state lottery, essentially bird-dogged into being by Cohen's 17 years of unstinting effort. Maintains collegiality and influence despite occasional clashes with other major politicians, like Governor Phil Bredesen. Though regarded as a leading liberal, the former police legal advisor maintains conservative positions on gun control and death penalty. Is both Vanderbilt graduate and well-known booster of University of Memphis Tigers.

Carol Coletta

Founder of Coletta & Company, Inc., a Memphis public-affairs consulting firm and host and producer of the nationally syndicated public radio show, Smart City. Leads CEOs for Cities in Chicago, a national network of mayors, foundation officials, corporate CEOs, and university presidents working to increase urban competitiveness. Has co-authored a number of trend-setting works including the Memphis Talent Magnet Report, Cultural Development in Creative Communities, and the six-city study on the Young and Restless. Has what she calls "dual citizenship" in Memphis and Chicago. Currently working on a major new study about how cities can discover and use their distinctiveness for economic advantage. A frequent speaker on urban issues in North America and was a 2004 Knight Fellow in Community Building.

Lorelei H. Corcoran

Since 1998, director of the Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology at the University of Memphis. On faculty there since 1990. Made international news in 2005 as a member of the U of M's expedition to Luxor, Egypt, where she and a team of other Egyptologists entered what was then thought to be the first sealed tomb discovered in the Valley of the Kings since Howard Carter unearthed Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. Examination of the chamber, some 30 feet below ground level, has shown that while it holds no mummy, it was likely a burial. The chamber contains seven coffins, including a gold infant-sized coffin, a set of ancient pillows, clay vessels, pottery pieces, jewelry containing flowers, and materials used in mummification 3,300 years ago. Corcoran is founder of U of M's master's program in Egyptian art and archaeology. Has been featured in The New York Times and lectured on funerary art of ancient Egypt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and British Museum. Received bachelor's from Tufts University and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Larry Cox

Since 1985, president of the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority operating Memphis International Airport, the world's number-one air-cargo airport and facilitator of $21 billion in economic activity in the Memphis region. Career milestones include initiating Memphis' first nonstop international passenger service to Europe, operated by Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines; expansion of the World Runway to increase international flights; and a $400 million terminal improvement and expansion project. Age 59. Inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. Past chairman of the 4,000-member American Association of Airport Executives and recipient of FAA's Airport Manager of the Year honor.

Margaret Craddock

Executive director of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), a 38-year-old, non-profit, social services agency. Since 1982, Craddock has worked for MIFA and organizations under its umbrella. Has degrees in urban anthropology and law from University of Memphis and received undergraduate degree from University of Alabama. MIFA's emphasis is on community building and social justice, working with individuals from the cradle to the grave, particularly from the Peabody/Vance neighborhood, one of the poorest in the nation. An advocate for seniors, MIFA is the only organization in the Mid-South delivering free meals to homebound seniors, providing companionship to the frail elderly at no charge, and training volunteers to watch over the rights of nursing home residents. Craddock has been instrumental in addressing needs of homeless families through the development of transitional housing and MIFA's Life Skills Institute, which provides education aimed at equipping clients to live independently. Oversees a $9.8 million budget, 208 employees, and more than 4,000 volunteers.

James M. Davis

Director and chief financial officer of the Stanford Financial Group, a global network of privately held, wholly owned financial service companies providing a wide range of coordinated wealth management and investment advisory services in 102 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Age 57. Instrumental in designating St. Jude as Stanford Global Charity of Choice, assuming title sponsorship of the former FedEx St. Jude Classic, underwriting the St. Jude International Outreach Program, and financing the film adaptation of author Jim Stovall¹s inspirational book The Ultimate Gift, scheduled to premiere in late 2006. Born in Baldwyn, Mississippi, served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

Peter Doherty

Former chairman of the immunology department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital from 1988 to early 2002. Still serves on St. Jude faculty. In 1996, awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovery of how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells. His work with collaborator Dr. Rolf Zinkernagel has had a major impact on the understanding of organ transplants and vaccine production. In 1998, was elected to the highly prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Queensland, Australia, and doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. An Australian stamp with his face and name was issued in January 2002 as part of the Australian Legends series. Returned to Australia in 2002, but maintains his St. Jude laboratory and his Memphis home. Published first book in 2006, The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize (on the nature of modern biomedical science).

Judith Drescher

Director of libraries for the Memphis Public Library & Information Center since 1985. Previously director of Champaign, Illinois, library system. Oversaw the construction of new $70 million, 335,000-square-foot Central Library that opened in November 2001, since renamed Benjamin Hooks Library. During its first six months, attendance at new library increased 110 percent, circulation of library materials increased 54 percent, and new library cards issued increased by 359 percent. Recently completed two 30,000-square-foot, $6 million library projects in Whitehaven and Cordova.

Steve Ehrhart

Executive director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic, one of the oldest annual postseason games in college football. Contest features teams representing Conference USA and the Southeastern Conference. The 2006 game will be played December 29th. Ehrhart, 59, is president of Sports Consultants Inc, a subsidiary of Dunavant Enterprises. Former president of the Colorado Rockies major-league baseball team and former president and general manager of the Memphis Showboats of the USFL professional football league.

Nathan L. Essex

Became president of Southwest Tennessee Community College, the state's largest community college, after coordinating the consolidation of Shelby State Community College and State Technical Institute at Memphis in 2000. Graduate of Alabama A&M University. Also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Previous experience includes serving as area head at the University of Alabama and dean of the college of education at the University of Memphis, where he instituted major reforms that received national recognition. Named the U of M's 1996 Distinguished Administrator of the Year and 2002 Educator on the Move. Recently named College President of the Year by Alpha Beta Gamma international honor society, and the U of M Society's Educator of the Year. Priorities at Southwest include providing better access to students and meeting business and community needs.

Dr. William E. Evans

Director and chief executive officer of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Also holds position of St. Jude Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. For 30 years, Evans' groundbreaking research has focused on the pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents in children. Received bachelor's and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee and spent a sabbatical year at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Evans has received three consecutive MERIT Awards from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and was elected to the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine in 2002.

John Faraci

Chairman and chief executive officer of International Paper since 2003. Under his leadership, IP committed to the relocation of their global headquarters to Memphis in 2005. Previously held position of executive vice president and chief financial officer. Serves on boards of the American Forest & Paper Association, Grand Teton National Park Foundation, National Park Foundation, and National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. Graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he also sits on the board of trustees.

Kaywin Feldman

As director of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Feldman manages a collection of more than 8,000 works and a staff of 60 employees. Under her tenure, Brooks has doubled its membership and increased annual attendance by 40 percent, while increasing earned revenue by more than 70 percent. Originally trained in classical archeology, Feldman received master's degrees in both art history and museum studies from the Courtauld Institute in London and worked at the British Museum for three years. Returned to the U.S. to take a position as curator with California's Fresno Metropolitan Museum, and was promoted to director one year later. Director of Brooks since 1999, Feldman's energetic vision has made the museum a vibrant part of the Mid-South community. Recipient of the 2005 Briggs Service Award for outstanding leadership.

George Flinn

A Shelby County commissioner now, but a duck out of water in his maiden race in 2002 — for county mayor, no less, against political natural AC Wharton. After voters nixed the heavy-handed attack style recommended by his high-priced out-of-state consultants, a more amiable Flinn tried again in 2002, for the City Council. Not yet, said the voters. Appointed to the commission in 2005, he settled in as chairman of the housing and economic development committee, and by 2006, Flinn was entrenched enough to escape opponents in his re-election race. Simultaneously, he maintained the radiology practice which made him wealthy through ultrasound patents and continued to run his Flinn Broadcasting chain of radio and TV stations. Not yet 60, he's a good bet to go again for mayor sometime in the future.

Mike Fratello

Seventh head coach in Memphis Grizzlies history. Succeeded Hubie Brown, who abruptly retired in November 2004, and led Grizzlies to record of 40-26 (after 5-11 start). In 2005-06, Grizzlies finished 49-33, only to be swept in first round of playoffs for third straight year. Age 59. Before joining Grizzlies, served as TV analyst for Turner Sports. Previously coached Atlanta Hawks (1980-90) and Cleveland Cavaliers (1993-99). Overall record: 661-524. Fratello-coached teams have lost last eight playoff series. NBA Coach of the Year in 1986.

Harold Ford Jr.

Congressman for the 9th District since 1996, when he succeeded his father, longtime U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. At 36, became de facto Democratic nominee for open U.S. Senate seat in 2006 when his only party rival dropped out and was regarded as viable contender against eventual Republican nominee. Assets include speaking skills, good looks, unexpected money-raising ability, and unprecedented, virtually non-stop attention from national media. His conspicuous break with liberal policies and friendly relations with Repubican colleagues antagonized some Democrats but may have won votes overall, especially in Middle and East Tennessee, where his task was to transcend potentially negative aura of family members — especially uncle John Ford, a former state senator charged in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz extortion sting.

Pau Gasol

First NBA All-Star in Memphis Grizzlies franchise history; his 12 rebounds led all players in 2006 contest. In five years with Grizzlies has pulled down more rebounds (3,173) and scored second-most points (7,002) in team history. A native of Barcelona, Spain, generally considered one of the greatest European players in NBA history. Age 26. Scored franchise-record 44 points against Seattle on March 28, 2006. The 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year. Played for Spain in 2002 Olympics. Member of Grizzlies' All-Star Reading Team.

Bill Gibbons

District attorney general for Shelby County since 1996. Former member of the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission and candidate for city mayor. Still active in Republican Party politics and may have ambitions for statewide office but seems focused on law-enforcement career for the time being. Faced Democratic opposition for re-election in 2006 but numbered several influential Democrats as supporters, a fact which caused an open split in the opposition party. Highly attentive to public relations, especially on gun crime, plea bargaining, and public-integrity issues. Announced indictments against various local racketeering rings and for election fraud in a disputed state senate election. Age 56.

J. Kenneth Glass

Chairman, president, and CEO of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corporation since 2003. Heads company that makes regular appearances on best employers listings from Fortune and Working Mother magazines and the AARP. In 2004, was recognized as one of the nation's top five bankers by U.S. Banker magazine and received the Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry Award from the Tennessee Society for CPAs. Received the L. Palmer Brown Hope Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. Serves on the boards of the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System, FedEx Corporation, GTx, Inc., and the Financial Services Roundtable. Chairman of Memphis Tomorrow.

Larry A. Godwin

Appointed director of Memphis Police Services in 2004. Prior to that, served as deputy chief in charge of special operations and of the downtown precinct, which includes the entertainment district. As director, has pushed for efficient policing through the "Blue CRUSH" methodology, which focuses on guns, gangs, and drugs in his "Take Back the Streets" mission. Native of Borger, Texas; raised in Memphis. Vietnam veteran. During his early years in law enforcement in the mid-1970s, was an undercover narcotics officer on the Highland Street Strip and in topless clubs. Considers among his accomplishments as director: returning all commissioned officers to a blue shirt uniform to foster team concept; establishing the Hispanic Action Team to address crime and quality of life within the Hispanic community; and creating a Street Crime Task Force to address street crime from the ground level. Served as president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police for 2005-2006 and as chairman of the Tennessee Public Safety Coalition.

Micah Greenstein

As senior rabbi of Temple Israel, Tennessee's largest synagogue, Rabbi Greenstein was named by Memphis magazine as "20 for 2000" up-and-comers who will lead and inspire into the next century. Current president of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis, past president of the Memphis Ministers' Association, member of the executive committee of the National Civil Rights Museum, and faculty member at Memphis Theological Seminary. A Memphian since 1991, has served on the boards of the United Way of the Mid-South, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the advisory councils to MLGW, the Junior League, and the Race Relations and Diversity Institute of Memphis. Before entering rabbinical school, was named a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a master's degree in public administration. He was the first rabbi to preach at the Calvary Lenten series and was selected to be the principal speaker for Tennessee State Day at Washington's National Cathedral in April 2005.

Rinaldo "Ronnie" Grisanti

Master chef. Owner of eponymous Italian restaurant and member of family that has been a part of city's dining establishment for more than a century. Opened first restaurant in 1978; moved to current location at 2855 Poplar Avenue in 1989. Age 66. Grandson of family patriarch, Rinaldo; family arrived in Memphis from Italy in 1903. Sons Judd and Alex are chefs at Ronnie Grisanti's, which has been named best Italian restaurant in Memphis readers poll for 11 straight years. Named UNICO's 1998 Italian-American Man of the Year. Has served on boards of Orpheum and Liberty Bowl and is a member of the Christian Brothers Hall of Fame.

Pat Halloran

President of Memphis Development Foundation, which has restored and operates The Orpheum Theatre. Two-time Tony Award recipient for Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) and Spamalot (2005). Also president of the Independent Presenter Network, a consortium of Broadway theater executives and producers controlling more than 70 theater markets in North America and Japan. Named Outstanding Theatre Executive in 1999 by the League of American Theatres and Producers. Served on the Memphis City Council 1975-79. Founded Big Brothers of Memphis in 1972. Halloran, 63, is the author of The Orpheum!: Where Broadway Meets Beale.

Michael Heidingsfield

President and CEO of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. In 2005, served in Iraq for 14 months as contingent commander of U.S. State Department's civilian police advisory mission, helping to create Iraqi police force. Survived five attempts on his life. Former police chief of Scottsdale, Arizona. Previously served as the senior deputy chief of police in Arlington, Texas. Before working in law enforcement, was an active duty Air Force officer in the Strategic Air Command. In 2004, retired as a full colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve assigned to the Security Forces Directorate, Headquarters United States Air Force at the Pentagon. Heidingsfield, 55, holds a bachelor's degree from Florida State University and a master's from Texas Christian University. Consultant, published author, and speaker on the subjects of criminal justice, ethics, and leadership. Mobilized on 9/11 and served in Air Force Crisis Action Center in Pentagon. Provided security expertise for defense department on detention of terrorists at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Jim Holt

Since 1998, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival, one of the nation's leading civic festivals and Memphis' largest public event. During his seven-year tenure, the festival has attained financial stability and achieved asset development in excess of $2 million. Has steered the growth of the festival's two major public events, the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. In 2004, the International Festival and Events Association recognized MIM with the Gold Pinnacle Award for having the top education and volunteer programs among festivals worldwide. Age 46. Prior to joining MIM, Holt spent 17 years in the entertainment industry promoting and managing concerts and events. Serves on the board of the Riverfront Development Corporation, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, and board of governors for the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Art and Sciences.

Benjamin Hooks

Local and national civil rights pioneer. Pastor of Greater Middle Baptist Church and president of the National Civil Rights Museum. Native Memphian Hooks, now 81, was the grandson of Julia Hooks, famous as "the Angel of Beale Street" for her work with Juvenile Court. Became a Criminal Court judge in 1965 and was the first black judge of a court of record in the South since Reconstruction. Served on the Federal Communications Commission (1972-1977) and as head of the national NAACP (1977-1992). In 2004, wrote a well-received book about his life, The March of Civil Rights: The Benjamin Hooks Story. Has struggled through health problems in recent years and has seen nephew Michael Hooks and grand-nephew Michael Hooks Jr. indicted in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, but stood triumphantly on the balcony of the National Civil Rights Museum as the host of President Bush and the Japanese prime minister during their June 2006 visit to Memphis. Recently honored by having Central Library renamed the Benjamin Hooks Library.

Barbara Hyde

President of the J.R. Hyde III Family Foundation and a director of the J.R. Hyde Sr. Foundation, both dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Memphis area. With her husband, Pitt Hyde (see"Hall of Fame" section), was one of the leaders of the NBA pursuit and the NBA Now movement. An investor in the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the few female franchise owners in the country. Age 44. As co-founder of Ed-Pac, known for her advocacy and involvement in public education reform, and recently led the effort to bring innovative KIPP Academy to Memphis. Born in California and raised in Atlanta. Other philanthropic pursuits include New Leaders for New Schools, Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Leadership Academy, Riverfront Development Corporation, and St. Mary's Episcopal School.

Carol Johnson

Superintendent of the Memphis City Schools since 2003. With 118,000 students it's the largest school system in the state. Named Communicator of the Year in 2005 by the Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Academic reform efforts under her leadership have resulted in the school district making "Adequate Yearly Progress" for the first time since stricter state accountability standards were implemented in the 2002-03 school year. During her tenure, the percentage of city schools that meet No Child Left Behind standards has increased by 58 percent in just two years. Other accomplishments include the restructuring and realigning of administrative departments and positions with alternate funding sources; the successful bids for two highly praised national programs, New Leaders for New Schools and the New Teacher Project; and the renewal of the district's focus on literacy with her MCS Reads Initiative. Grew up in Brownsville, Tennessee, as one of nine children, and earned a doctorate from Fisk University.

Fred Jones

President of Summitt Management Corporation, an entertainment and consulting firm. Owner and limited partner of NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Age 58. Founder and producer of annual Southern Heritage Classic, a weekend of events climaxed by the football matchup between historically black colleges Jackson State and Tennessee State. Played in September at the Liberty Bowl, the Classic has averaged more than 50,000 in attendance since first held in 1990. Began career as promoter working for Stax Records during 1960s and '70s. Former tour manager for Isaac Hayes. Recipient of the 2004 Kate Gooch Award for service to the community. A 1971 graduate of University of Memphis.

James Kamm

As director of The Dixon Gallery and Gardens since 1998, committed to positioning the Dixon at the center of the Memphis community and as a cultural resource for the entire Mid-South through world-class exhibitions and innovative fine-art and horticultural programs and events. Previously associate director at Wolfsonian Museum and Research Center in Miami Beach, Florida, and Genoa, Italy. Also held positions at Minnesota Museum of Art and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. Age 54. Holds master of arts degrees from University of Cincinnati and Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts at Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy. Member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and is a Master Gardener.

Kevin Kane

The face and voice of Memphis tourism. President and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, supervising a staff of 32 and a budget of approximately $7 million. Got his start in the tourism business as group director of worldwide sales for Holiday Inns when the company was still headquartered in Memphis. Memphis native, University of Memphis graduate, and tireless booster of professional and amateur sporting events, music, and local amenities. Age 49.

Al Kapone

An early '90s pioneer of the Memphis hardcore rap style. Helped establish a sound that local followers such as Three 6 Mafia would take to the bank. Before phrases such as "Dirty South" and "crunk" ever entered the cultural lexicon, Kapone was one of the artists setting the stage for the Southern rap explosion. Generally an underground figure since 1995's Da Resurrection (recorded for famed New York rap label Priority) failed to cross over, Kapone was reborn as the musical catalyst for Craig Brewer's Sundance-winning Memphis film Hustle & Flow. Wrote two songs — "Hustle and Flow (It Ain't Over)" and "Whoop That Trick" — that are performed in the film by on-screen protagonist DJay (actor Terrence Howard) and provided another — "Get Crunk, Get Buck" — to the film's soundtrack. Recently went on tour with Kid Rock.

Jim Kyle

Beginning his political career in the 1970s as a young Democratic activist, Kyle, now 56, is his party's leader in a state Senate he has belonged to for almost a quarter century, representing a mainly working-class area in the northern suburbs of Memphis. After holding such influential posts as Democratic caucus chair and chairman of the Senate rules committee, Kyle truly came into his own with the election in 2002 of Governor Phil Bredesen, who made the Memphian his liaison in the Senate. After his formal election as Democratic leader in January 2005, Kyle was faced with continuing Republican gains that eventually made the GOP the Senate's majority party. Accordingly, Kyle has involved himself in campaigns across the state to stanch the flow of party influence. Married to Sara Kyle, a member of the Tennessee Regulatory authority, and considered a possible future candidate for statewide political office.

Sara L. Lewis

Current president, Memphis Board of Education. First elected to an at-large position on the board in 1991. Has been a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, Title I project director, elementary school principal, and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Retired from Memphis City Schools in 1990. Received master's degree in education from University of Memphis. Recipient of numerous awards, including the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Tennessee Education Association, and the First Police Chief in Hurt Village Award, for help in reclaiming homes and families from drug lords. Passionate, sometimes abrasive, Lewis believes "so goes public schools, so goes America."

David Loebel

Music director and conductor, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, since 1999. Age 56. Has led the orchestra into a period of major artistic and organizational growth, including its move into the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. Served as associate principal conductor of the St. Louis Symphony before coming to Memphis and has guest-conducted orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony. A native of Cleveland, majored in communications at Northwestern, but discovered his niche after taking a conducting class "on a lark." Recipient of the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award and recognized by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) four times during his MSO tenure for his "adventuresome programming of contemporary music." Only the third conductor in MSO's 54-year history.

Mark Luttrell

Sheriff of Shelby County since 2002, was candidate for re-election as 2006 political campaign got under way. Supporters credit him with substantial cost reductions and with improvements that released Shelby County jail from federal judicial oversight because of previously substandard conditions. Was basically drafted by leading Republicans to run in 2002 because of long background, following in the profession also pursued by his father, as corrections administratior at federal and county levels. Luttrell, 59, is highest-ranking local GOP official but has enjoyed crossover support from Democrats that firmed up after his decision in early 2006 to back off from controversial proposals to privatize the corrections system. Is considered potential future mayoral candidate.

Brad Martin

Chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated. Previously chairman and CEO of Proffitt's, Inc., until 1998, when that company purchased Saks Fifth Avenue, the upscale New York-based retail chain. Still makes Memphis home. Prior to his retail career, was elected in 1971 to the Tennessee General Assembly — the youngest person to be elected to this position — and served five terms as a state representative. Active in Republican Party fund-raisers. Joint-owner in International Pocket Records (IPR). Martin, 54, holds a bachelor's degree from University of Memphis, M.B.A. from Vanderbilt.

John Moore

President and chief executive officer of the Memphis Regional Chamber since September 2005. Was formerly vice president for state and local affairs at Northwest Airlines for 14 years and has also served as regional vice president for sales and administration. In 2000, oversaw the largest expansion in Northwest's history at the Memphis hub. Has held titles on numerous boards, including the vice chairman of the Memphis Zoological Society, president of the 2004 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, past chairman of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, and has served on the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art board of trustees and the the University of Memphis board of visitors. Awarded Kate Gooch Leadership Award by the Leadership Institute of Memphis in 2001 and the Spirit of Memphis Award by the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2005. Holds undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, with a double major in marketing and finance.

Dr. Scott Morris

Since 1987, founder and executive director of the Church Health Center, which provides quality, affordable healthcare for working, uninsured people and their families. The Center has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the country, caring for 45,000 patients of record without relying on government funding. Age 52. Master of divinity degree from Yale University, M.D. from Emory University, board-certified family practitioner, and ordained United Methodist minister.

Jeffrey Nesin

Became tenth president of Memphis College of Art in 1991. Under his direction, MCA has seen unprecedented growth in undergraduate and graduate enrollment, faculty appointments, national and international visibility, and campus expansion. Born in New York City, received bachelor's degree from Hobart College and graduate degrees from SUNY-Buffalo. Held faculty and administrative positions with the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. As a longtime supporter of creative cooperation among colleges, he helped found the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. Board member of the Memphis UrbanArt Commission, and also member of the joint advisory board of the Qatar Foundation, overseeing the establishment of a design college.

Dr. William Novick

Founder, medical director, and CEO of the International Children's Heart Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the care of children with congenital heart defects in destitute countries. Since founding the organization in 1994, has taken surgical teams to 20 countries and operated on more than 2,400 children, including 77 who were brought to Memphis for treatment. 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. In 2002, awarded the Red Star of Croatia Medal of the Order of Katarine Zrinske by Croatian President Stipe Mesic. In 2004, awarded the Franskaya Skorina medal by Elexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus. Organized first International Cardiac Outreach Conference held in Memphis in October 2005. 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 on children of Belarus. Age 52. Professor of surgery and the Paul Nemir Endowed Professor of International Child Health at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. Alabama native, received cardiac training from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. William F. Owen Jr.

Chancellor of University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Previously served as chief scientist for Baxter Healthcare Corporation's renal division, where he honed his business skills to complement his medical training. Often published in the areas of dialysis and transplantation, his academic career spans a quarter century with Harvard Medical School and Duke University's School of Medicine. Received medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. At center of controversy in spring 2006 involving almost $30,000 of home improvements made to chancellor's residence. Agreed in early June to reimburse university for expenses at state-owned residence.

Deanie Parker

President of the Soulsville Foundation, the newly created fund-raising arm of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy. Former vice president of communications and marketing at the Regional Medical Center of Memphis. Before that, was assistant director of Memphis in May for almost a decade. Graduate of the University of Memphis and awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by LeMoyne-Owen College. Serves on the boards of the Rock 'N' Soul Museum, Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission, and Play It Again Memphis. Recipient of the U of M's 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award and Diversity Memphis' 2006 First Annual Humanitarian Award.

Bishop G.E. Patterson

Elected in November 2000 to lead the Memphis-based Church Of God In Christ denomination. COGIC has 5.5 million members nationwide and hosts a convocation downtown each year that is the city's largest convention. Ordained in 1957, Patterson founded and has been pastor of the 13,000-member Temple of Deliverance church; also organized seven additional churches across the country. Founder and president of Bountiful Blessing Ministries, which is viewed nationwide on cable networks, and editor of Bountiful Blessings magazine. Also oversees a gospel radio station and a record label. Currently, COGIC is in land-lease negotiations to complete a $50 million redevelopment project at the former Chisca Hotel, which once served as its office headquarters.

Chris Peck

Editor of The Commercial Appeal, the largest newspaper in the Mid-South. In 2006, he and new publisher, Joe Pepe, introduced a new era of community-focused journalism at the daily by publishing five "zoned" editions to emphasize local news and advertising to targeted areas of their readership. Came to Memphis in 2003 after serving one year as the first Belo Distinguished Chair of Journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In 2001, retired as editor of the Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, cited by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the 25 best newspapers in the U.S. Past president of the Associated Press Managing Editors and currently on the board of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Has lectured at the Poynter Center for Media Studies and is currently working on a project to develop a new economic and staffing model for news-gathering organizations through a group called Journalism That Matters. Has served twice as a nominating juror for the Pulitzer Prize. Age 56. Graduate of Stanford University, with additional studies at Northwestern. Got his start in journalism at age 11 by working as a janitor at his family's newspaper in Wyoming.

Arnold Perl

Attorney and partner of the Memphis office of Ford & Harrison, LLP, a national labor and employment law firm. A founder of Young & Perl, PLC, a Memphis-based law firm that ended its 30-year practice in 2006. Named in Best Lawyers in America each year it has been published and included in International Who's Who of Management Labor & Employment Lawyers. Chairman emeritus of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. Named chairman of the Memphis Regional Chamber's Regional Logistics Council for 2006-2007. Has served as chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority for nine years and a member of its board for 24 years. Other public service includes chairman emeritus of Commissioners Committee, Airport Council International; chairman of New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority (FedExForum); secretary and counsel for Memphis Regional Chamber; and trustee emeritus of the University of Tennessee. Inducted into the Airport Minority Advisory Council's Hall of Fame in 2006. Recipient of the 2006 Diversity Memphis Humanitarian Award. Selected as the 2005 Communicator of the Year by the Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and was a recipient of the Memphis Regional Chamber's first Community Quality of Life Award in 2004.

Jim Phillips

President, CEO, and board chairman of Luminetx Corporation, company that patented the technology and introduced the Vein Viewer, which uses a built-in camera and infrared light to locate a patient's veins. The device was named one of Time magazine's best inventions of 2004. Formerly held position as the CEO in Residence and special advisor to the Private Equity Groups at Morgan Keegan & Company. Founding chairman and CEO of the FedEx Institute of Technology. Founding chairman and CEO of iPix Corporation, a company that Forbes magazine called "the Kodak of the Internet." Served as corporate vice president and general manager of Motorola. Named the Tennessee Businessman of the Year, as well as one of Information Week's Innovators of the Year in 2004. Holds patents in PDA, cell phone, and data modem design. Received B.B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Memphis.

David Pickler

Chairman of the seven-member Shelby County Board of Education. Keeps a high profile with frequent media appearances and outspoken opposition to consolidation proposals coming from Memphis mayor Willie Herenton. Attorney, certified financial planner, and graduate of Arkansas State University and University of Memphis Law School. The 48-year-old Republican is considered a good bet to run for another elected office at some point. Considered legislative race in 2006 but thought better of it. As champion of Shelby County schools, Pickler advocates creation of separate city and county school districts rather than a consolidated system or the current arrangement under which the county funds construction for both systems under a rate forumula favoring the city schools.

Stephen Pike

Director of museums for the Pink Palace Family of Museums, which includes Memphis Pink Palace Museum, Lichterman Nature Center, Magevney House, Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village, and Coon Creek Science Center. Oversees public-private partnership between City of Memphis and Memphis Museums, Inc. (city provides about half of operating costs). City budget cuts have caused temporary closings/changes in hours of several facilities (Magevney House and Mallory-Neely House closed until 2007). Expects to unveil new master plan for museum system in fall 2006. Former executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Previously assistant director, Smithsonian National Associates Program in Washington, D.C. Age 58. Graduated from Marian College in Indianapolis; awarded a doctoral fellowship in English at Temple University. Member of board of directors, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

David Porter

Record producer, songwriter, music publisher, and Grammy winner. First staff writer for Stax Records, later joined with Isaac Hayes to form one of the most successful writing/producing teams of their era, with such hits as "Soul Man," "I Thank You," and "Hold on, I'm Coming." Owns production and publishing companies, media production office, and artist development complex — all divisions of David Porter Enterprises — and is a joint-owner in International Pocket Records (IPR). Memphis native, age 64. Serves on various boards, including Youth Villages and the Soulsville Foundation. In 2004, was given Outstanding Achievement Award at AXA Liberty Bowl President's Gala. In 2005, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Dorothy Gunther Pugh

Founder and artistic director of Ballet Memphis, which celebrates its 20th season in 2006-07 as the city's only resident professional ballet company, with dancers from across the U.S. and around the world. Cum laude 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 and Paris, and recently lauded as an example of innovation by the Ford Foundation Monograph and the Stanford Social Innovation Review for its Memphis Project series, based on Memphis' historical, cultural, and musical heritage. Pugh has been honored as a Woman of Achievement and an Outstanding Arts Administrator by the Tennessee Art Commission. The Ballet Memphis School, professional and junior company, and pilates program make a significant impact on the health of Memphians, serving more than 76,000 people annually.

Shirley Raines

President of the University of Memphis since July 2001, the eleventh in the school's history and the first woman to hold that title. Current chair of the board of directors for the Memphis Regional Chamber; also the first woman to hold this position. A native of West Tennessee who came to Memphis from the University of Kentucky, where she was vice chancellor for academic services and dean of the college of education. Regarded as an expert in teacher education, having written or co-written 14 books and numerous journal articles. Past president of the Association for Childhood Education International, and served on the selection committee for National Teacher of the Year. Her strengths in development, fund-raising, and government affairs have led to interdisciplinary research and building of corporate partnerships, as reflected in the FedEx Technology Institute, a world-class research facility on the U of M campus.

Steven Reynolds

Since 1994, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, employer of more than 3,000 workers in the Memphis region. Currently serves on the board of directors for The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, University of Memphis, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, University of Tennessee Development Council, Memphis Tomorrow, and is the national secretary for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Has served as the chairman of the board of the Memphis chapter of the American Heart Association, Memphis Better Business Bureau, and the Memphis Regional Chamber. Received B.S. from Arkansas State and a master of health administration degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Jason Rittenberry

Vice president and general manager of Memphis International Motorsports Corporation, which owns and operates Memphis Motorsports Park (MMP). Age 31. The 400-acre complex north of Memphis features three tracks, including a 3/4-mile paved oval that hosts NASCAR twice each year in July and October. MMP offers more than 200 race days each year, with an estimated annual attendance of over 550,000. Honored by Memphis Business Journal in 2000 with "Top 40 Under 40" award. Native of Clarksville, Tennessee. Graduate of University of Memphis. Serves on Memphis Regional Chamber board of advisors and Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors. Deacon at Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett.

Beverly Robertson

Executive director of the National Civil Rights Museum since 1997 and a principal at Trust Marketing and Communications Consortium since 1992. In 2001, the museum was recognized by USA Today as one of the top-ten national treasures. Formerly served as marketing communications director for Holiday Inn Worldwide, beginning her 19-year career there as a reservations agent. A graduate of the University of Memphis. Participated in executive development training program at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Has been featured in Essence, The New York Times, Ebony, Black Enterprise, Dollars & Sense and Redbook. Currently serves as a member of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience. The Museum has been in the national spotlight in 2006, with visits from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Gayle Rose

CEO and owner of EVS Corporation, a local data-storage service provider. Also founder and chair of Rose Family Foundations private charity. Perhaps best known locally for helping to bring the NBA Grizzlies to Memphis. Has consistently worked to improve the quality of life in Memphis — especially for women and children living in poverty — through business and economic development, sports, politics, and numerous advocacy projects. Graduate of Harvard University, where she was named a Littauer Fellow for academic achievement and leadership potential. Previously served as president and CEO of the Chopra Companies, spearheading publishing, television, and telecommunications ventures of famed author/physician Dr. Deepak Chopra. Currently serves on the MHA/Hope VI Executive Committee and is raising $6.8 million for support of the people living in the former Lamar Terrace and Dixie Homes. Was cofounder and chair of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis. In 2005, named one of Tennessee's 100 Most Powerful People by Business Tennessee magazine and received the Economic Excellence and Equity Award presented by Tennessee's First Lady, Andrea Conte.

Mike Rose

Business executive, sports booster, and namesake of the Mike Rose Soccer Fields in Collierville. Rose, 64, began his career in the hotel industry. He was CEO of Holiday Inns, chairman and CEO of Promus Companies, and chairman of Harrah's at various times in the 1980s and 1990s. He was chairman of Gaylord Entertainment until 2005, when he became chairman of the board's executive committee. In addition to the soccer complex, Rose is a benefactor of the University of Memphis and St. George's private school.

Joe Royer

President and co-owner of Outdoors, Inc., an outdoor specialty retail company. Advocacy of outdoor recreation has brought world-class recognition to local sports scene. Creator and director of the Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, a 25-year-old event that draws paddlers from around the world, and the Outdoors, Inc. Cyclocross Championships. Board member of the Tennessee Environmental Council and Mississippi River Trail and a trustee of the Wolf River Conservancy. President of the Mid-South Velo Bicycle Club. Past president of the Tennessee Sierra Club, the Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club, and the Bluff City Canoe Club. Recipient of the Memphis Business Journal's Small Business of the Year Award in May 2006.

Anthony Sanfilippo

Since 1997, president of the central division of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., overseeing properties in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Indiana. In 2005, oversaw the recovery of the four Harrah's properties damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast. Graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. Sanfilippo is the recipient of Harrah's highest senior management recognition, the Corporate Excellence Award. Serves on the Memphis Regional Chamber board of directors, Mid-South Public Communications Foundation board of trustees, Mississippi Economic Council board of advisors, Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development executive committee, and will chair the 25th Annual Food Bank Gala of the Mid-South.

Jeff Sanford

President of the Center City Commission since 1998, an organization that promotes the redevelopment and economic growth of downtown. Working with local government and the private sector, Sanford has led the CCC through a period of unprecedented growth with development currently valued at more than $3 billion. Former member of the Memphis City Council, past president of Memphis in May and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Presently chairman of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra board, and chair-elect of the International Downtown Association, an organization of downtown revitalization professionals.

Susan H. Sanford

Since 1991, executive director of the Memphis Food Bank, which supplies healthy food to more than 300 charitable agencies that feed needy people at no charge. In 2005, the Food Bank network provided emergency food boxes to 155,000 with on-site feeding programs serving almost 5 million meals. Also operates three Kids Cafes, that serve nutritious after-school meals to more than 500 children each week. Prior to joining the Food Bank, Sanford held leadership roles with the Memphis Arts Council and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Has served in key positions on the boards of the Memphis Rotary Club and the United Way of the Mid-South. Board member of the local Federal Emergency Management Agency and founding member of the Safety Net Collaborative. Holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Susan M. Schadt

President of the Greater Memphis Arts Council since January 2002. Native Memphian, whose priorities include increasing the amount of funds raised for the arts and broadening the Arts Council's education and outreach into the community. The Arts Council's most significant accomplishment under her tenure is the recent completion of the historic Memphis for the Arts campaign, which surpassed its goal and raised $27.6 million to secure the future of the arts in this community. Joined forces with Ducks Unlimited to bring the Federal Duck Stamp Contest (the only art competition of its kind sponsored by the U.S. government) to Memphis last year and again this fall. Serves on the Americans for the Arts' Leadership Council for United Arts Funds, and attended the Harvard Business School Executive Education program on Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management last summer.

Gary Shorb

President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 2001. Company consists of six hospitals and Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, employing more than 10,000 in the Memphis region. Prior to joining Methodist in 1990 as executive vice president, served as president of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The Med). Currently sits on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and the University of Memphis. Served as the 2005 board chairman of the Memphis Regional Chamber. Received the Corporate Leadership Award from Memphis' Corporate Volunteer Council in 2004 and the Alexis de Tocqueville Leadership Award from the United Way of the Mid-South in 2005.

Linn Sitler

Marking her 20th year as commissioner of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission. Brought Memphis into the national spotlight again last year with client films Hustle & Flow, Forty Shades of Blue, and Walk the Line. This year, helped bring Fox Television and MTV to town for film projects, as well as Craig Brewer's latest project, Black Snake Moan. Succeeded in a three-year battle to pass state movie incentive legislation, ensuring projects continue to film locally. An Emmy-nominated TV producer, writer, and reporter with national credits. As co-host of WHBQ-TV Channel 13's PM Magazine in the early 1980s, was part of the first Memphis TV crew to film overseas. A weekly guest reviewer on Fox 13's Good Morning Memphis and newscasts. Holds bachelor's degree from UT-Knoxville, master's from University of Memphis.

Dr. Bruce W. Steinhauer

Since 1998, president/CEO of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The Med), a 300-bed acute-care facility that provides services to patients in the tri-state area, serves as the region's only safety-net hospital for the uninsured, and includes five Centers of Excellence, including those for Level 1 traumas, burns, wounds, high-risk obstetrics, and newborns. Seeks to increase the number of patients seen in obstetrics and neonatal fields and to maintain financial stability as the number of uninsured patients increase. Completed his undergraduate degree at Amherst College and received his doctorate of medicine from Harvard Medical School. Served as an army physician in Korea and the U.S. prior to beginning his professional career at Henry Ford Hospital in 1965. Ultimately was named board chairman of the the Henry Ford Medical Group. Left Ford in 1992 to become CEO at Lahey Clinic in Boston, where he facilitated the development of an extensive ambulatory primary care network. Serves on Governor Bredesen's e-Health Initiative.

Wendi Thomas

The first African-American metro columnist for The Commercial Appeal. Age 34. Hired in 2003, Thomas raised eyebrows when she accepted a job in March 2006 at the Baltimore Sun, only to return to her post at the CA less than a month later, citing homesickness. Focuses columns on often-divisive issues of race, politics, and education, generating hundreds of letters to the editor and even a few death threats. Graduate of White Station High School and Butler University. Cut teeth as journalist at The Indianapolis Star, The Tennessean, and The Charlotte Observer. Won first-place award in commentary, 2004 Best of Scripps-Howard competition. Member of National Association of Black Journalists.

Three 6 Mafia

Longtime local rap group revolving around the duo of Jordan "Juicy J" Houston and Paul "DJ Paul" Beauregard. Started selling homemade mix tapes and now have debuted in the Billboard Top 10 with three consecutive albums, including last year's Most Known Unknowns. This year, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp," their contribution to Craig Brewer's Sundance-winning film Hustle & Flow. Followed Isaac Hayes, who won the same award in 1973 for "Theme From Shaft." Became the first rap act to perform on the Oscar telecast with their controversial performance. Topped critics lists with their smash single "Stay Fly" and gained heavy rotation with the video for their follow-up hit "Poppin' My Collar." Parted ways with longtime collaborator Crunchy Black, reducing the group to a duo. Have recently produced a track for Paris Hilton, recorded scenes for an upcoming Jackass movie, and have been in production for their own MTV reality series.

William E. Troutt

President of Rhodes College since 1999. Has established a strategic vision for Rhodes as a liberal arts college focused on student access and student learning both in the classroom and through significant student research, work, service, internship, and study-abroad opportunities. Through his leadership, he has connected students to Memphis with partnerships to support student learning at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, FedEx, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Stax Music Academy, the Rhodes Learning Corridor, the Rhodes Hollywood Springdale Partnership, and Teach for America — Memphis. A national education leader, has chaired the American Council on Education and the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education. A native of Bolivar, Tennessee, Troutt was named one of the nation's most effective college presidents by the Exxon Foundation and received the college's largest gift of $35.5 million to build the newly opened Paul Barret Jr. Library.

Henry Turley Jr.

Downtown developer and guiding spirit of the revival of downtown Memphis since the Seventies through renovations and new developments. Graduate of the University of Tennessee. Projects include Harbor Town, South Bluffs, the Shrine Building, the Cotton Exchange, and the Paperworks Apartments. With partners Jack Belz of Belz Enterprises and the Memphis Housing Authority, Turley, 65, is revitalizing North Memphis neighborhoods in a project called Uptown.

Johnnie R. Turner

Executive director, Memphis Branch NAACP, the largest NAACP branch in the nation. Former teacher and administrator in the Memphis City Schools. Chief goal is to implement the NAACP's five-year strategic plan that works to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons, and to fulfill the organization's mission to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. Serves on the boards of the Public Building Authority and the Health, Educational, Housing, and Facilities Board of Shelby County. Bachelor's degree from LeMoyne-Owen College, where she serves on the board of the National Alumni Association. Master's degree from University of Memphis.

Bobby Webb

Superintendent of the 45,000-student Shelby County school system. Oversees 49 schools and a $282 million budget for the fourth-largest school district in Tennessee, which includes all public schools in Shelby County outside of Memphis. Webb is a native of Lauderdale County. Holds a B.S. in music education and an M.S. in educational administration and supervision, both from the University of Tennessee in Martin. Also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis. Began his career in 1974 as a teacher of instrumental music. Only school superintendent in Tennessee twice to be named Superintendent of the Year. District consistently earns A's and B's on annual report card and is growing by about 1,000 students a year.

Jerry West

Since 2002, president of basketball operations for Memphis Grizzlies. NBA legend — immortalized by his silhouette on NBA logo — who was named one of the top 50 players in league history in 1996. NBA Executive of the Year in 2004, having overseen construction of team that earned first playoff berth in franchise history (Griz have made playoffs last three seasons). Age 68. Played 14 years (1960-74) with Los Angeles Lakers. Member of 1971-72 NBA champion Laker team that won a record 33 consecutive games. Uniform number (44) has been retired by Lakers. As collegiate player, led West Virginia to NCAA finals in 1959. Co-captain for gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 1960. Inducted into basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.

Tommy West

Head football coach at University of Memphis. Has led Tigers to bowl games each of the last three seasons, winning Motor City Bowl to cap off 2005 campaign. Three consecutive winning seasons are first at U of M since 1992-94. Five-year record at Memphis: 32-28 (fourth-most wins in school history). Age 52. Underwent emergency bypass surgery in February 2006; expected to be on sideline for season opener at Ole Miss. Former head coach at Clemson. Played football and baseball at University of Tennessee. Signed contract extension in April that pays him $925,000 per year through 2010.

AC Wharton

Long considered an ideal political candidate because of his genial manner, air of competence, and friendships across racial and political boundaries, the longtime Shelby County public defender and ex-chairman of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission was an easy winner for Shelby County mayor in 2002. The essentially non-ideological Wharton, a nominal Democrat, was opposed for re-election in 2006 by maverick Republican John Willingham, an outgoing county commissioner who charged the incumbent with too-close ties to the county's commercial establishment. Wharton has waged continuing campaigns, however, against both uncontrolled urban sprawl and for changes in the county's revenue structure that would shift some of the tax burden from homeowners to developers. Like his city counterpart Herenton, Wharton as mayor has had to contend with unprecedented budget crunches, resulting in continued reductions in county programs and agencies. Age 62.

Ernest Withers

Photographer and Memphis native who has recorded the history of baseball, music, civil rights, and ordinary life in Memphis and the South for more than 60 years. Age 84. After graduating from Manassas High School and serving in the Army and on the Memphis police force (where he was one of our city's first African-American officers), Withers photographed such landmark events as the Emmitt Till murder case, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, and school desegregation in the South. His black-and-white photographs have achieved recognition from critics and exhibitions around the country and internationally. His most recent collection of photographs, on Negro League baseball, was published in 2004.

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