Who's Who 2010
Our annual guide to the Memphis names (and faces) you need to know.
Kirk Whalum, President and CEO of Soulsville Foundation, and 2010 Who's Who pick
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Elvis may have left the building, but our city still has plenty of talented people who are keeping Memphis in the national spotlight.
This year's "Who's Who" represents the best and the brightest we have to offer — entrepreneurs, politicians, business leaders, sports stars, and of course musicians. Each year, it becomes even harder to whittle down the list to 100 or so movers-and-shakers, but we think the following pages will give a fairly good idea of the incredible range of people who have decided to call Memphis home.
In addition to the regular "Who's Who" that begins on page 40, and a selection of "Out-of-Towners" assembled on page 85, we begin with our "Hall of Fame" — those well-known Memphians who have been named to our "Who's Who" every year since the select list premiered in 1984.
HALL OF FAME
Nine Memphians named to every "Who's Who" since 1984.
As chairman and CEO of Belz Enterprises, Belz heads one of the South's largest real estate and development firms. A pioneer in the factory outlet mall concept, the firm is among the largest nationally in that arena. Belz is a longtime booster, activist, and participant in downtown development, probably best known for bringing back The Peabody hotel. The driving force behind Peabody Place, a two-million-square-foot mixed-use development stretching for eight blocks downtown and one of the largest single historic renovation projects in the U.S. The development includes The Peabody and Hampton Inn and Suites, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, AutoZone corporate headquarters, apartments, offices, shops, and restaurants. Belz has been working with the Memphis Housing Authority and Henry Turley Company to develop Uptown, which included demolition of the Hurt Village housing project and redevelopment of approximately 1,000 new single-family and multifamily units near St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Also partnered with Turley in Harbor Town, South Bluffs, and other downtown projects. Total property holdings include more than 25 million square feet of developed property and more than 30 shopping complexes. Among many other regional and national awards, Belz has received the Leadership Memphis Community Leadership 2000 Award, the 2003 Master Entrepreneur Award of the Society of Entrepreneurs and Junior Achievement of Memphis, the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center City Commission, and the Kether Shem Tov Award from the Orthodox Union, one of the highest honors bestowed upon members of the worldwide Jewish community.
Lured to Memphis from his native Arkansas by producer Willie Mitchell in the 1970s and racked up seven top-10 soul hits in a three-year stretch. Turned to gospel music after a religious conversion in 1973. Became an ordained preacher and founded the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Whitehaven, where he serves as pastor. Age 62. Multiple Grammy Award winner. Member of the Rock-and-Roll, Gospel, and Songwriters Halls of Fame. In 2003, had albums listed in Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time and released his first new album of secular music in decades: I Can't Stop, produced by Willie Mitchell. Performed at the White House in 2006. Last year, released a new album, Lay It Down, with sympathetic production from drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the hip-hop band The Roots, that pairs Green in duets with neo-soul stars John Legend and Corrine Bailey Rae.
Mayor of Memphis from 1992 until his resignation in 2009. Had already shocked Memphians by announcing himself a candidate for Congress in the 9th District Democratic primary, opposing incumbent Steve Cohen, whom he had supported previously. In well-heeded interview in Memphis Flyer had gone so far as call Cohen an "***hole." Herenton, 70, was slow to develop a campaign, however, and pulled out of a scheduled TV debate on grounds of "bias" on the part of scheduled panelists Norm Brewer and Otis Sanford. Early polls showed him trailing Cohen. Meanwhile, a Supreme Court decision against "honest services" prosecutions seemed to have taken the former mayor off the hook on possible conflict-of-interest issues the FBI had been investigating. Though his mayoral career had acquired tarnish from this and from allegations of cronyism, Herenton had won himself a seemingly secure place in Memphis history by becoming the first elected black mayor in 1991 and by winning five consecutive mayoral elections.
J.R. "PITT" HYDE
Founder of AutoZone, one of three Fortune 500 companies with its headquarters in Memphis. After a successful career in business and following his retirement in 1997, Hyde, 68, has become one of the leading philanthropists in the city. He and his wife, Barbara, are active in civic affairs and key supporters of education reform in both the district and at the state level. Hyde was instrumental in the founding of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Memphis Tomorrow, and the National Civil Rights Museum. Hyde is a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies and helped bring the NBA team to Memphis.
JERRY LEE LEWIS
Native of Ferriday, Louisiana. Came to Memphis in the 1950s to record for Sun Studios. Shot to fame with blockbuster hits "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire." First inductee into Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. In 2005, received Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys. Will turn 75 on September 29th. Resides in Nesbit, Mississippi, in a ranch house with a piano-shaped pool. Ventures out for a yearly appearance at the Beale Street Music Festival. Performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on the Fourth of July 2008.
IRA A. LIPMAN
Founder and chairman of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world's largest security services companies, which operates in 400 cities worldwide with 19,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $543 million. The 1996 recipient of American Business Ethics Award. In 1997, founding chairman of Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Recipient of 2002 Stanley C. Pace Award for Leadership in Ethics, from the Ethics Resource Center. The 2002 recipient of Corporate Citizenship Award, presented by the Committee for Economic Development. Age 69. Author of How to Protect Yourself From Crime, in its fourth edition, published by Reader's Digest. First chairman of the ethics committee of the board of governors of United Way of America. Honorary life chairman and former national chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Executive committee member and trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international human-rights organization. Chairman emeritus of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and 2004 recipient of the Wharton School Dean's Medal. Member of Business Executives for National Security and board member of Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance.
Founder and executive producer of Playhouse on the Square, Memphis' only resident professional theatre company, now in its 40th season, and Circuit Playhouse. Also created Pay What You Can Night at Playhouse and Circuit, and the new TheatreWorks near Overton Square, a performance space for alternative theatre and dance. Age 63. Helped develop Arts Memphis (formerly the Arts Council) Arts Access Program, which provides food stamp recipients with free tickets to arts events. Started an after-school acting program for children and has had 33,000 students emerge from his numerous outreach programs. Past recipient of the Memphis Rotary Club's Outstanding Community Service Award, the State of Tennessee's Distinguished Achievement Award in Theatre, and the Gordon Holl Outstanding Arts Administrator Award. Playhouse recently opened its new $15 million Theatre and Arts Complex at the corner of Cooper and Union and completed renovations on its old facility, which has become the new Circuit Playhouse at 51 South Cooper.
Chairman, founder, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, the world's largest express transportation company, and a vital economic engine in the Memphis region. Smith, 66, is a leading business voice in efforts to revolutionize energy policy with legislation to support production of electric vehicles in the U.S. and lessen reliance on imported foreign oil. Smith is a board member for the Council on Foreign Relations, co-chair of the Energy Security Leadership Council, named to the Aviation Hall of Fame, and winner of the Circle of Honor Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He and wife, Diane, recently contributed $10 million to support construction of the Teton Trek exhibit at the Memphis Zoo. FedEx reported net income of $419 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010, compared to a net loss of $876 million in the same quarter last year. FedEx has approximately 30,000 employees in the Memphis area, and is regularly included in surveys for the World's Most Admired Companies and the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
PAT KERR TIGRETT
Chairman and CEO of Pat Kerr, Inc., a couture design firm, specializing in bridal couture and baby couture. Her designs have been featured in prominent retail windows (Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Henri Bendel) as well as in numerous books and magazines, including Martha Stewart Weddings, the Tiffany Wedding Book, and The Plaza Hotel Wedding Book. Lived in London for 20 years developing an extensive private royal collection containing gowns from Princess Diana, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Queen Victoria, and King George III. Widow of international financier, John Tigrett; mother of Kerr Tigrett. Spearheaded such civic celebrations as the lighting of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, the groundbreaking "Big Dig" party for The Pyramid, and the inaugural Northwest/KLM flight to Amsterdam. Founder of The Blues Ball, The Jingle Bell Ball, and The Nutcracker Ball benefiting Memphis music, children, and the arts. Serves on (current and past) boards of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission, the University of Memphis, Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum, Memphis Film and Tape Commission, Leadership Memphis, Memphis Orchestral Society, The Orpheum Theatre (Memphis Development Foundation), and NARAS. Chairman/CEO of Celebrations! upscale lifestyle events company. Neiman Marcus started her as a designer 30 years ago, and she will celebrate this milestone anniversary presenting her collection and lecturing in numerous cities throughout the United States in 2010.