Who's Who August 2007

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




(For a list of eleven Memphians named to every "Who's Who" since 1984, see our Who’s Who Hall of Fame. For a salute to those Memphians who no longer call Memphis home, but have made a name for themselves far and wide, see our list of Who’s Who Out-of-Towners.)

David Archer

CEO of Saint Francis Healthcare. In this newly created role, he remains president and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis and also has responsibility for St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett, as well as the hospital's surgery center, five sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, the nursing home, and the senior health-care center. Earned a bachelor's degree in management from Purdue, a master's in business administration from Columbia, and a master's in public health from Columbia. Sits on the boards of the Mid-South e-Health Alliance, the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Church Health Center, and St. Peter Villa. Recently appointed to the citywide Blue Ribbon Committee, which is charged to craft a strategic plan for The Med.

Leslie Ballin

Defense attorney, known for tackling high-profile — even notorious — criminal cases. In 2007, with lead counsel Steve Farese, defended Mary Winkler, the Selmer, Tennessee, woman who killed her preacher husband, Ballin and Farese, who made the rounds of national news-talk shows, convinced a jury to find Winkler guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. Partner in the downtown law firm of Ballin, Ballin, and Fishman. Lifelong Memphian, earned his juris doctorate from the University of Texas. Member of American College of Trial Lawyers and National Association of Trial Lawyers.

Dr. Steve Bares

President and executive director of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a broad-based public-private alliance focusing on the growth of biomedical research and commercialization of life-science technologies. Specializes in developing the infrastructure, workforce, and entrepreneurism necessary for a thriving bioscience economy. Spearheading the construction of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which 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. Co-founded the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, Tennessee's first charter school.

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, 62, is a key player in the firm known for its immaculately groomed upscale developments. Providing strategic and urban design direction, Bloodworth supports numerous local and national Smart Growth initiatives. Recent developments include Schilling Farms and Spring Creek Ranch in Collierville. Bloodworth has also been closely involved with such Memphis and Shelby County landmarks as Ridgeway Center, The Regalia, Humphreys Center, Century Center, and River Oaks.

Thomas Boggs

President, CEO, and co-owner of Huey's, among the most popular home-grown pubs in Memphis since opening 37 years ago. Originally a Midtown institution, known for quirks like toothpicks in the ceiling, successfully expanded to downtown, Midtown, Cordova, Southaven, Winchester, Collierville, and East Memphis. Also a partner in Tsunami, the Half Shell, and Folk's Folly Prime Steak House. Boggs has served on numerous boards promoting tourism, the hotel and restaurant industry, and the Memphis Zoological Society. President of the Memphis Restaurant Association, 1986-1993. Former drummer for the Sixties band the Box Tops. Age 63. University of Memphis graduate and recipient of the U of M's College of Arts and Sciences 2002 Outstanding Alumnus Award. Received the Jefferson Award for his community involvement in 2002. Founder of the University of Memphis Huey's Corporation Scholarship. In 2005, inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs, and in 2006, into the Memphis City Schools Hall of Fame. In 2007 received the Memphis Restaurant Association's Civic and Community Leadership Award.

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 reprised for Brewer's upcoming Black Snake Moan. As bandleader of the Bo-Keys, 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. Currently branching out on a film-music career outside of Brewer's shadow as the score composer for Tennessee, an indie film from the producer of Monster's Ball. Recently moved his recording studio to the South Main Arts District.

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. Recently oversaw construction of the $23 million Northwest Passage exhibit and is heading up plans for the new Teton Trek and Zambezi River Hippo Camp exhibits. 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 — Ya Ya and Le Le — to the zoo in spring 2003. Although Ya Ya's much-heralded pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in June 2007, Brady and other zoo officials will continue the breeding program in hopes of producing a panda cub. Native of New York City. Holds Ph.D. in zoology from Ohio University.

Dave Brown

Weather director and chief weathercaster for the Pinpoint 5 Weather Team at Action News 5. In 2007 celebrated 30 years at WMC-TV 5. A native Mid-Southerner and a graduate of the University of Memphis, he holds seals of approval from the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. Has served as president of the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society twice. Ten years ago, a drunk driver killed his daughter and grandchildren. Since then, Brown has delivered hundreds of speeches about the dangers of drunk driving to civic clubs, schools, churches, and community events.

John Calipari

Head men's basketball coach at the University of Memphis. Has led Tigers to NCAA tournament's Elite Eight each of last two seasons, with identical records of 33-4 (most single-season wins in program's history). Tigers won both Conference USA's regular-season and tournament championships each of the last two years, finishing each season with top-five national ranking. With addition of prize recruit Derrick Rose, Tigers among few teams vying for number-one ranking in 2007-08. Age 48. Seven-year record at U of M: 181-62 (second-most wins in program history). Program has seen eight players graduate over last three seasons, a dramatic increase over previous two decades. Founded NetWorks, a program to help find employment opportunities for former Tiger players.

Phil Cannon

Tournament director since December 1999 of Stanford St. Jude Classic. Formerly the FedEx St. Jude Classic, the SSJC in 2007 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the PGA Tour playing in Memphis. Has overseen redesign of Southwind's TPC course, while involved with development of FedEx Cup points system to determine year-end PGA champion (similar to NASCAR's Nextel Cup). Total purse at 2007 SSJC was $6 million. Age 54. Including days as volunteer, 2007 tournament was his 40th in Memphis. Received the Charles Thornton Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 from the University of Memphis. Also involved with media relations for U of M football and Memphis Motorsports Park.

Dave Chase

President and general manager of the Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate of the 2006 world champion St. Louis Cardinals. Franchise is celebrating 10th season in Memphis, Chase having been at the helm for the last five. Spearheaded movement that brought in-augural Civil Rights Game to Memphis in 2007, a nationally televised exhibition game between the Cardinals and Cleveland Indians that, through partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum, paid tribute to minorities in the national pastime. Began career in baseball in 1978 as assistant general manager of Double-A team in Savannah, Georgia. Former publisher of Baseball America.

Michael Ching

Artistic director of Opera Memphis since January 1992. Led the opera's move to its East Memphis headquarters, the Clark Opera Memphis Center, which recently won its second award from the American Institute of Architects. Ching's emphasis on education and outreach has resulted in many partner-ships, including a songwriting and music video program with the Memphis City Schools and the Memphis Arts Council. Graduated summa cum laude from Duke University. Age 48. In 2007-08, will conduct the opera's productions of Turandot, La Cenerentola, and Macbeth, which is being done in partnership with Hattiloo Theatre with support from the Memphis Arts Council Enhancement Fund. Next summer, Ching's opera Buoso's Ghost will be performed at the Lake George Opera Festival in New York.

Sidney Chism

First-term member of Shelby County Commission, former interim state senator, and longtime power broker in Memphis/Shelby County poli-tics. Businessman and former Teamster official, served a term as chairman of the local Democratic Party, and is influential as head of Get-Out-the-Vote efforts and for behind-the-scenes influence. Courted by candidates for office at election time. Long considered the active political arm of Mayor Willie Herenton. Served on boards of the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board, United American Bank, Leadership Memphis, Black United Fund of Memphis, and the Junior Golf Association.   

Carol Chumney

A controversial and outspoken member of the Memphis City Council since her election from a basically Midtown district in 2003, lawyer Chumney, 46, generated shock waves by turning up as the leader in early mayoral polls in spring 2007, leading incumbent Mayor Willie Herenton and others. Before joining the council, where she has been a consistent verbal opponent of both 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 picked up grass-roots support for her long-shot mayoral bid.

Steve Cohen

After his election to Congress in 2006 from the 9th District (succeeding Harold Ford Jr., who lost a U.S. Senate race and became head of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council), the long-time state senator from Midtown (and father of the hugely successful state lottery) quickly made an impact on D.C. and the Beltway media. The 58-year-old Cohen, a loser to Ford for the seat in 1996, made the most of his second chance, turning up frequently on YouTube and on national news broadcasts for the vigor of his statements on the House floor and in committee. Member of Transportation and Judiciary committees, attracted wide attention for his resolution to put Congress on record as formally apologizing for the era of slavery. Joint appearance in Memphis with Judiciary chairman John Conyers also boosted his stock with predominantly African-American district, but apparently will have repeat opposition from 2006 runner-up Nikki Tinker. Is both Vanderbilt graduate and well-known booster of University of Memphis Tigers.

Carol Coletta

Founder of Coletta & Company, Inc., now known as Smart City Consulting, 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 eight-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.

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 60. 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 39-year-old, nonprofit, 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. 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, 189 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 58. 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 Stovall's inspirational book The Ultimate Gift. Born in Baldwyn, Mississippi, served in the U.S. Navy, and graduated from Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

Tim Discenza

Assistant U.S. Attorney who supervised the investigation, indictments, and trials resulting from Operation Tennessee Waltz and the FBI undercover operation of public corruption in state and local government. Investigation led to the indictment of five members of the Tennessee General Assembly, one Shelby County com-missioner, the chief administrative officer of the Shelby County Commission, and two Hamilton County officials. Thus far, all trials led by Discenza have resulted in guilty verdicts of former State Senator John Ford, former State Senator Roscoe Dixon, and former Shelby County CAO Calvin Williams. Discenza graduated from the University of Illinois and then-Memphis State University law school. Appointed in 1977 as Assistant U.S. Attorney under U.S. Attorney Mike Cody. Served 1982-1998 as supervisory attorney in charge of the Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Now, in addition to public corruption, handles identity theft and major fraud cases.

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. Estimates impact of game — and weeklong events leading up to it — at between $17 million and $20 million. The 2007 game will be played December 29th. Age 60. Former president of the Colorado Rockies major-league baseball team and former general manager of the Memphis Showboats of the USFL professional football league. Has distinct interest in discussion of new football stadium for University of Memphis, as new arena would likely impact Liberty Bowl as well.

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 dean of the college of education at the University of Memphis. 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. Has written six textbooks and numerous publications in national journals. Serves on seven boards representing various organizations in the community. 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 the St. Jude endowed chair at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine. 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, Memphis, and spent a sabbatical year at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Evans has received three consecutive National Institutes of Health MERIT Awards from the National Cancer Institute and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

Steve Farese Sr.

Defense attorney who accepted, pro bono, the scandalous case of Mary Winkler, charged with killing her preacher husband. With co-counsel Leslie Ballin in 2007 convinced a jury to convict her of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. Has garnered both kudos and death threats for his courtroom savvy in various high-profile trials. Maintains with his siblings the family law practice now known as Farese, Farese & Farese started by their parents in Ashland, Mississippi, in 1938. Lectures nationally on criminal defense techniques. Has represented CEOs, FBI agents, sports figures, and everyday people on offenses ranging from drug smuggling to capital murder. Received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. Listed in Woodward & White Best Lawyers in America since 1995. Inducted in 2007 as a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America.

Kaywin Feldman

As director of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art since 1999, 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. Recipient of the 2005 Briggs Service Award for outstanding leadership.

Steve Gaines

Since August 2005, pastor of the nearly 30,000-member Bellevue Baptist Church, one of the largest Southern Baptist congregations in the country. Took a post held for 32 years by the late Adrian Rogers. Most recently served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Alabama. Has held positions with the Southern Baptist Convention, including president of the SBC Pastors' Conference in 2005. Age 49. Faced controversy in early 2007 when a former Bellevue minister was accused of sexual abuse of a child. Received both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Publications include Morning Manna, a collection of devotional readings, and When God Comes to Church, released in January 2007. Is considered an up-and-comer among Southern Baptists.

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. But ran into controversy in Mickey Wright murder case when the confessed killer of the long-missing Code Enforcement officer got a relatively light second-degree murder sentence. Age 57.

Larry A. Godwin

Director of Memphis Police Services since 2004. Has pushed for efficient policing through the "Blue C.R.U.S.H." methodology, which focuses on guns, gangs, and drugs. Native of Borger, Texas; raised in Memphis. Vietnam veteran. Established the Hispanic Action Team to address crime and quality of life within the Hispanic community. Created the felony assault unit, the criminal apprehension team. Alumnus of the Leadership Academy and Leadership Memphis. Served as vice-president and president on the board of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, and as chairman of the Tennessee Public Safety Coalition. Founding Member of Operation Safe Community. Currently seeking legislation in the State House for tougher sentencing guidelines for violent crimes, and developing the Memphis Police Department's Real Time Crime Center.

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.

Rinaldo "Ronnie" Grisanti

Master chef. Owner of namesake 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 67. Grandson of family patriarch, Rinaldo; family arrived in Memphis from Italy in 1903. 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 The 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, 64, is the author of The Orpheum!: Where Broadway Meets Beale.

Isaac Hayes

Songwriter, musician, producer, and actor. His soundtrack to 2000's movie Shaft debuted at No. 22 on Billboard charts. Born in Covington, Tennessee. Moved to Memphis at age 5. Found his way to fame at Stax Recording Studio in 1964. Age 62. Inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame in March 2002. Winner of three Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar. Was the voice of Chef in Comedy Central's South Park. Founded the Isaac Hayes Foundation in 1999 to promote literacy and music education for children. In summer 2000, opened a school in Ghana (through his Isaac Hayes Foundation) designed to link children in Africa with those in American inner cities via the Internet. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2005. Set to make a comeback this year with a new album as one of the signature artists on the relaunched Stax label.

Jim 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 nine-year tenure, the organization has attained financial stability and developed assets in excess of $2.5 million. Under his management, MIM has been the recipient of 43 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association including multiple Gold Pinnacle Awards. Age 48. Previously spent 17 years promoting and managing concerts and events. A Certified Festival and Event Executive, Holt serves on the board of directors for the Riverfront Development Corporation, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, International Festival and Events Association, and board of governors for the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts 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; graduated from LeMoyne-Owen College. 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 and as head of the national NAACP. 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 and grand-nephew indicted in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, but stood triumphantly on the balcony of the National Civil Rights Museum as the host of President George W. Bush and the Japanese prime minister during their June 2006 visit to Memphis. Recently honored by having Central Library renamed the Benjamin Hooks Library. Age 82.

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 45. 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, Teach for America, Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Leadership Academy, Riverfront Development Corporation, and St. Mary's Episcopal School.

Marc Iavaroni

Head coach of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Ninth coach in franchise history, fifth since 2001 arrival in Memphis (including 2006-07 interim coach Tony Barone). Age 50. Most recently an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns (since 2002), where he became a popular candidate for his first head-coaching job. Known for attention to detail, particularly with defensive schemes (though the Suns led the NBA in scoring each of the last three seasons). Played collegiately at the University of Virginia and was a rookie starter on the 1982-83 NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers.

Richard Janikowski

Directs the Center for Community Criminology and Research at the University of Memphis. Architect of Operation Blue C.R.U.S.H., the Memphis Police Department's model of data-driven crime fighting. Received the U of M's 2007 Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award, and the Arts & Sciences W. Russell Smith Award for Teaching Excellence. Co-authored Legality and Illegality, and is completing a book on constitutional criminal procedure, focusing on collaborations among local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies to reduce violent and gang crime. He was principal investigator for the Memphis Sexual Assault Research project, a part of the United States Department of Justice's Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI), and is currently the principal investigator for the Memphis Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.

Fred Jones

President of Summitt Management Corporation, an entertainment consulting firm. Owner and limited partner of NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Age 59. Founder of the annual Southern Heritage Classic, a weekend of events climaxed by the football matchup between historically black colleges Tennessee State and Jackson State. Played in September at the Liberty Bowl, the Classic has averaged more than 50,000 in attendance since first held in 1990. Began entertainment career as a tour manager for Isaac Hayes. Recipient of the 2002 Memphis City Schools Alumni Hall of Fame. A 1971 graduate of the University of Memphis.

Kevin Kane

The face and voice of Memphis tourism. As president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, directs an $8 million budget, offices in Memphis, Washington, D.C., and London, and three visitor centers in Shelby County. Dedicated to promoting Memphis' international reputation in the travel industry. Developed "50 Years of Rock 'N' Roll" and currently "50 Years of Soul" into worldwide campaigns. Co-founder of the Bridges Kick Off Classic and a key player in keeping the Blues Foundation in Memphis. Memphis native, University of Memphis graduate, and tireless booster of Memphis sports, music, and entertainment. Age 50.

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" — performed in the film by on-screen protagonist DJay (actor Terrence Howard) and provided another — "Get Crunk, Get Buck" — to the film's soundtrack. After wowing local crowds fronting local R&B revivalists the Bo-Keys, currently putting together his own live band, the Untouchables.

Jim Kyle

Beginning his political career in the 1970s as a young Democratic activist, Kyle, now 57, 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. Named Senate Democratic leader in 2005, Kyle has focused on reversing trends that made Republicans a Senate majority; Democrat Rosalind Kurita of Clarksville incurred Kyle's public wrath when she voted in 2007 to make Republican Ron Ramsey the Senate speaker. Considered a possible future candidate for statewide political office, Kyle is married to Sara Kyle, a member of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

Amy LaVere

Eclectic singer, songwriter, and bass player moved to Memphis from Nashville a decade ago as one half of the 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 it up this year with the critically acclaimed Anchors & Anvils, recorded with legendary local producer Jim Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch Studio. Also enjoying a burgeoning film career, appearing as rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson in the filmed-in-Memphis Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and garnering a speaking role in Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan.

Jerry Lawler

Known in the world of wrestling as "The King." Characterized by his energetic performances, pre-fight hype, and unique style in the ring. Best known for his infamous "feud" with Andy Kaufman, in which he slapped Kaufman on Late Night With David Letterman, fueling the entertainment aspects of televised wrestling. Signature move is "The Pile-Driver." In 1999, Lawler ran for the position of mayor in Memphis, finishing third. Now 58, Lawler resides in Memphis and actively participates in the city's wrestling organization, Memphis Championship Wrestling. On March 31, 2007, he was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment's Hall of Fame.

David Loebel

Music director and conductor, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, since 1999. Age 57. 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 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."

Mark Luttrell

Sheriff of Shelby County since 2002, Republican Luttrell won reelection in 2006 with help from Democratic crossover voters. 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 administrator at federal and county levels. Luttrell, 59, is highest-ranking local GOP official and is considered potential future mayoral candidate. Embroiled in efforts throughout 2007 to maintain electability of sheriff's office against initiative to amend county charter and appoint all local countywide officials.

Brother Vincent Malham

Became president of Christian Brothers University in 2005. Under his leadership, CBU has completed renovation of the University Theatre, added new academic programs, invested $1 million in residence-hall improvements, and begun construction on the $12 million life sciences complex. Member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Honored by the Sovereign Order of Malta with the Croix Pro Piis Meritis by St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, with an honorary doctorate, and by CBU with the Bishop Dozier Award for Peace and Justice. In June 2007, awarded the Holy Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal by the Vatican. Native of Brinkley, Arkansas, Malkham has been a Christian Brother since 1955. An alumnus of CBU, also holds a B.A. in English from St. Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota, a master's in choral conducting from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in music education from Laval University in Quebec.

Deidre Malone

Second-term member of Shelby County Commission and likely candidate for county mayor in 2010. Came to the fore of commission in 2007 as chair-man of the budget committee and chief proponent of controversial move to create a second Juvenile Court judgeship. As president and CEO of the Carter Malone Group, a public relations and marketing firm, assisted Mayor Willie Herenton in preparing his dramatic election-year "blackmail plot" press conference. Former television news producer and vice president of marketing development for ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Served on boards of the Memphis Housing Authority, Memphis in May International Festival, Ronald McDonald House, and as chair of the Shelby County 911 Emergency Management System. 1999 graduate of Leadership Memphis and president of the Leadership Memphis Alumni Association.

John Moore

President and CEO of the Memphis Regional Chamber since 2005. Under his leadership, the Chamber has assisted in doubling the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Memphis. In 2006, the Chamber relocated 31 companies to Memphis, including Nucor Steel and the world headquarters of ServiceMaster. Generated more than $1 billion in capital investment and helped create more than 3,500 new jobs. Represents the Memphis business community nationally by participating on the Committee of 100 for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and in the innovative program CEO for Cities. Earned a business degree from the University of Missouri in St. Louis with a double major in marketing and finance.

Dr. Scott Morris

Founder and executive director of the Church Health Center, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable health care for working, un-insured people and their families. Thanks to a broad base of financial support from the faith community, and the volunteer help of doctors, nurses, dentists, and others, the Center has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the country. Currently, it cares for 50,000 patients without relying on government funding. Age 53. Master of divinity degree from Yale University, medical degree from Emory University, board-certified family practitioner, and ordained United Methodist minister.

Jeffrey Nesin

Originally from New York City, became tenth president of Memphis College of Art in 1991. Under his direction, MCA has seen unprecedented growth in enrollment, regional and national visibility, faculty appointments, quadrupling of the endowment, and doubling of the campus size, including an award-winning graduate center and Metz Hall, a model art student residence. An advocate of creative cooperation in higher education, helped found the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, works with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Association, and is immediate past chair of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. Board member of Memphis UrbanArt Commission, and also member of the joint advisory board of the Qatar Foundation, overseeing the establishment of a design college.

Mark Norris

Republican majority leader of Tennessee state Senate rep-resenting outer Shelby County and portions of adjoining counties. Collierville resident, elected senator in 2000 after serving two terms on Shelby County Commission, where he raised concerns about long-term county debt. In Senate has served as chairman of Transportation Committee and as leader of successful initiative to permit partial property tax freeze for seniors. Also led effort to change funding formula for Shelby County schools, and, in 2005, was recognized as the Tennessee School Board Association's Legislator of the Year. Ran for Congress in 2002 and is considered possible future candidate for statewide office, possibly in gubernatorial race.

Dr. William Novick

Founder and medical director 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 22 countries and operated on more than 2,800 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 three presidential medals since 2002. Featured in the 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. Age 53. Professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. Received cardiac training from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Deanie Parker

In 2007, coordinated inter-national fund-raising efforts in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Stax Records, an event that drew worldwide attention. Former president of the Soulsville Foundation, fund-raising arm of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy. Previously 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 Music Foundation, and Tennessee Arts Commission. Recipient of the U of M's 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award and Diversity Memphis' 2006 First Annual Humanitarian Award.

Chris Peck

Since 2003, 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. 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 57. Graduate of Stanford University. 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. Chairman emeritus of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Memphis Regional Chamber's Regional Logistics Council for 2006-2007. Has served as chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority for ten years and a member of its board for 25 years. Other public service includes chairman emeritus of Commissioners Committee, Airport Council International; chairman of New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority; secretary and counsel for Memphis Regional Chamber. Inducted into the Airport Minority Advisory Council's Hall of Fame in 2006. Recipient of the 2006 Diversity Memphis Humanitarian Award. In 2007, recognized by Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun for his efforts to strengthen Tennessee's business ties to Japan, co-founding the Japan-Tennessee Society, and organizing the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. Co-author with Tom Schmitt of FedEx of the management book Simple Solutions: Harness the Power of Passion and Simplicity To Get Results.

Stephen Pike

Director of the Pink Palace Family of Museums, which includes Memphis Pink Palace Museum, Sharpe Planetarium, Lichterman Nature Center, Magevney House, Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village, and Coon Creek Science Center. Expects to reopen Mallory-Neely and Magevney historic houses as well as Sharpe Planetarium this year. New strategic plan will bring full-dome video to planetarium and a science and technology center focused on health, fitness, and nutrition to Memphis area. Former executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Previously assistant director, Smithsonian National Associates Program in Washington, D.C. Age 59. Graduated from Marian College in Indianapolis; awarded a doctoral fellowship in English at Temple University.

Dan Poag

CEO of Poag & McEwen Life-style Centers, the largest life-style-center developer in the country. Starting in German-town with Saddle Creek in 1987, the company has taken its concept to Kansas City, Chicago, and Denver, with future sites planned in Houston and Boise. Before forming the company in 1984, Poag partnered in the development of Kroger- and Kmart-anchored shopping centers throughout the Southeast. Member of Leadership Memphis and the Memphis Rotary Club, and serves on the boards of the Memphis Symphony and Opera Memphis.

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 65. 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 this year as the city's only resident professional ballet company, with dancers from across the U.S. and around the world. 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. Honored as a Woman of Achievement and an Outstanding Arts Administrator by the Tennessee Art Commission. This year, Pugh received a $60,000 planning grant from the Mellon Foundation to study how other ballet companies across the country can avoid operational challenges that are forcing many to fold. Ballet Memphis trains more than 600 students each year.

Shirley Raines

President of the University of Memphis since July 2001, the eleventh in the school's history and the first woman to hold the position. Member of Memphis Tomorrow and the NCAA Board of Directors. Past chair of the board of directors of the Memphis Regional Chamber, and the first woman to hold that title. West Tennessee native returned to Memphis from the University of Kentucky, where she was vice chancellor for academic services and dean of the college of education. 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. 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 8,000 workers in the Memphis area alone. 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 University 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 Inter-national Motorsports Corp-oration, which owns and operates Memphis Motorsports Park. Age 32. The 400-acre complex north of Memphis features three tracks, including a 3/4-mile paved oval that hosts NASCAR twice each year in June 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.

Beverly Robertson

President of the National Civil Rights Museum since 1997 and a principal at Trust Marketing and Communications Consortium since 1992. In 2007 the museum was featured in National Geographic's Young Explorer magazine, and recognized in Budget Travel as one of the top 15 "Places Every Kid in America Should Visit Before Turning 15." Formerly served as marketing communications director for Holiday Inn Worldwide, beginning her 19-year career there as a reservations agent. University of Memphis graduate; studied executive development training program at University of Pennsylvania. Has been featured in Essence, The New York Times, Ebony, Black Enterprise, Dollars & Sense, and Redbook. The museum was 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 principal owner of EVS Corporation, a leading data-storage service provider. Founder and chair of Rose Family Foundations private charity. Consistently works to improve the quality of life in Memphis — especially for women and children living in poverty — through business and economic development, sports, politics, and advocacy projects. Graduate of Harvard University; named a Littauer Fellow for academic achievement and leadership potential. Previously president and CEO of the Chopra Companies, spearheading publishing, television, and telecommunications ventures of author/physician Dr. Deepak Chopra. 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. In 2007, was awarded the "Changing the Face of Philanthropy Award," a prestigious international honor given to only two women each year by the Inter-national Women's Funding Network.

Mike Rose

In 2007, named chairman of First Horizon National Corp., the state's largest bank holding company. Formerly CEO of Holiday Inns, chairman and CEO of the Promus Companies, chairman of Harrah's, and chairman of Gaylord Entertainment in Nashville. Sports booster, and namesake of the Mike Rose Soccer Fields in Collierville. Age 65. In addition to the soccer complex, Rose is a benefactor of the University of Memphis and St. George's Independent Schools.

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 chairman of the Memphis City Council, past president of Memphis in May and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Immediate past chairman of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra board, and currently chairman of the International Downtown Association, an organization of downtown revitalization professionals.

Susan H. Sanford

Since 1991, executive director of the Memphis Food Bank, which in its 25-year history has distributed more than 195 million pounds of food and grocery items to needy people in 31 Mid-South counties. Also operates four Kids Cafes, which serve after-school meals to more than 500 children each week; recently launched Food for Kids backpack programs, which provide nutritious foods to children for the weekend. Previously held leadership roles with Memphis Arts Council and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Has been the only female chairman of the board of United Way of the Mid-South. Board member of the local Federal Emergency Management Agency, founding member of the Safety Net Collaborative, and was vice chairman of the board of America's Second Harvest — The Nation's Food Bank Network. Earned bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Susan M. Schadt

President and CEO of the Greater Memphis Arts Council since 2002. Native Memphian, whose priorities include increased funding to arts groups and broadening arts education and outreach. Most significant accomplishment is the historic Memphis for the Arts campaign, which raised $27.6 million. Partnered with Ducks Unlimited in "Conservation through Art," which raised almost a million dollars in 2006. Last year launched a community-wide free publication promoting the arts and an ongoing audience development initiative in partnership with the Assisi Foundation for some 40 nonprofit cultural organizations. 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.

Jimmy Sexton

Sports agent whose company, Athletic Resource Management, represents more than 80 professional athletes and coaches in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. His clients include high-profile coaches in the South-eastern Conference, such as Phillip Fulmer, Tommy Tuberville, Houston Nutt, and the former LSU and Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban, who recently signed a $32 million multiyear contract with Alabama, making him the highest paid coach in college football. Other clients are basketball players Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, NFL quarterback Philip Rivers, and baseball pitcher Matt Cain. While at the University of Tennessee, was friends with Reggie White; the late NFL defensive lineman became one of Sexton's first clients and his four-year $17.1 million contract set a record at the time for the highest guaranteed contract for an NFL defensive player.

Harry Shaw

President of United Way of the Mid-South since 1988, active with the United Way organization for 38 years. In 2006, the United Way distributed over $37 million in funds and other goods to charitable programs in the local community. Co-founder and first chairman of the board for the Grant Center, founded the "Operation Feed" campaign for the Memphis Food Bank, first board chairman for United Housing, Inc., which has helped more than 1,000 low-income people buy a home, and a founding member of the Planned Giving Council of Greater Memphis. Past chairman of the United Ways of Tennessee state organization; a member of United Way of America's "50 Largest Markets Committee," and past chairman of the national United Way President's Roundtable. Has served on United Way of America's National Professional Advisory Council.

Gary Shorb

President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 2001. Company consists of six adult 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. Currently sits on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow (current chairman), National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Bio-works 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. Former lieutenant commander in U.S. Navy.

Linn Sitler

Beginning her 21st year in 2008 as Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Com-missioner. Ranked as one of the top five senior film commissioners in the world, according to the Association of Film Commissioners Inter-national. Feature film client Kar Wai Wong's My Blueberry Nights was selected to the opening slot of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Television client MTV's Adventures in Hollyhood, starring Three 6 Mafia, opened the new year to controversy back home. In 2007, moved Memphis to number-seven slot on Moviemaker Magazine's "Top 10 Best American Cities to Live, Work and Make Movies." Was Memphis' first PM Magazine female co-host/producer. Continues at Fox 13 with weekly movie reviews. Earned bachelor's from University of Tennessee, master's in broadcasting and film from University of Memphis.

Maxine Smith

Civil rights pioneer who served as executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP from 1962 until her retirement in 1995. Was refused admission to then-Memphis State University because of her race and later led successful charge to open the school to black enrollment. Received bachelor's degree from Spelman College and master's from Middlebury College. Taught French at the university level. While heading the local NAACP, she coordinated the sit-in movement that helped open all private and public facilities to blacks, and served on the coordinating committee of the 1968 sanitation strike and 1969 school boycotts. Led charge for a black superintendent for Memphis City Schools and served six four-year terms on the Memphis Board of Education. Has received more than 160 awards and serves on numerous boards, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Partners in Public Education, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the National Board of Directors NAACP. Is subject of 2007 authorized biography by Sherry L. Hoppe and Bruce W. Speck titled Maxine Smith's Unwilling Pupils: Lessons Learned in Memphis' Civil Rights Classroom.

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 2005's Most Known Unknowns. Last 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. This year, parlayed their new fame into the MTV reality series Adventures in Hollyhood. Followed up Most Known Unknowns this year with Last 2 Walk.

Phil Trenary

President and CEO of Memphis-based Pinnacle Air-lines since 1997. Company provides regional airline service for Continental, Delta, North-west, United, and USAirways, collectively, operating over 1,000 daily non-stops and transporting more than 10 million customers annually. Directed the development of Pinnacle Airlines into one of the nation's fastest growing carriers. Named Regional Airline Executive of the Year in 2000. In 2002, Pinnacle was named Regional Airline of the Year by Professional Pilot magazine. In 2004, Aviation Week named Pinnacle one of the Top Performing Small Airlines in the World, and Aviation Business Magazine awarded Trenary the 2004 Regional Airline Strategist of the Year Award. Resides in Memphis and is active in civic and industry affairs such as the Federal Reserve Bank, Transportation Industry Council, Memphis Music Foundation, and the Memphis Regional Chamber.

William E. Troutt

President of Rhodes College since 1999. Has established a strategic vision for the liberal arts college focused on student access and student learning both in the classroom and through student research, work, service, internship, and study-abroad opportunities. During his tenure, the college has renovated several buildings, constructed a new residence hall, and built the nationally recognized Paul Barret Jr. Library. Most recently he established the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes. Has chaired the American Council on Education and the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education. A native of Bolivar, Tennessee, 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 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, the Paperworks Apartments, and the Lofts of South Bluffs Condominiums. With partners Jack Belz of Belz Enterprises and the Memphis Housing Authority, Turley, 66, is revitalizing North Mem-phis neighborhoods in a project called Uptown. Recipient of a 2007 Humanitarian Award from Diversity Memphis.

Johnnie Turner

Executive director, Memphis Branch NAACP, the second 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, Leadership Memphis Alumni Association, and the Health, Educational, Housing, and Facilities Board of Shelby County as Vice Chairman. Holds bachelor's degree from LeMoyne-Owen College and master's degree from University of Memphis.

Martha B. Wagley

Senior pastor of First United Methodist Church since 2002. On October 6, 2006, a fire destroyed the 114-year-old down-town sanctuary and badly dam-aged the adjacent educational building.. Since then, the congregation has been worshiping on the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and continues their mission to rebuild. Native Memphian; earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Memphis. Received her master of divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary where she graduated summa cum laude. President of Memphis Ministerial Association for 2005-2006. Selected as one of the "50 Women Who Make A Difference" by Memphis Women Magazine in 2006.

Bobby Webb

Superintendent of the 48,000-student Shelby County school system. Oversees 50 schools and a $310 million budget for the fourth-largest school district in Tennessee, which includes all public schools in Shelby County outside of Memphis. Holds a B.S. in music education and a 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 on annual report card and is growing by about 1,000 students a year.

Tommy West

Head football coach at University of Memphis. Survived miserable year in 2006, with emergency bypass surgery in February and a 2-10 season in the fall. Six-year record at U of M: 34-38. Age 53. Led Tigers to bowl games in three consecutive seasons (2003-05), winning two. Under West, 16 Tigers have earned first-team All-Conference USA honors. Program also featured most 3.0 student-athletes ever (32) in spring 2006 semester. Played football and baseball at University of Tennessee. Has hired six new assistant coaches for 2007 season.

Kirk Whalum

World-renowned jazz saxophonist. Returned to his hometown this year as the Stax Music Academy artist-in-residence. Age 49. Attended Texas Southern University, where he composed his first music. He opened a show for pianist Bob James in 1984, and was invited to play on James' next album, which led to a record contract with Columbia Records. In 1998, recorded his first gospel album, Gospel According To Jazz, Chapter One, influenced by the spiritual depth of the music of his childhood. That same year he made For You, an album of covers, which soared to the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Most recent album, Kirk Whalum Plays the Babyface Songbook, was released in October 2005. Has received seven Grammy nominations, and one Stellar Award for Best Gospel Instrumental Album.

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. Just as easily reelected in 2006, Wharton was hot-boxed as a potential candidate for city mayor against his longtime friend Willie Herenton in the 2007 city election. As county mayor, has waged continuing campaigns 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 63.

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 85. 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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