Who's Who 2010
Our annual guide to the Memphis names (and faces) you need to know.
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SUSAN M. SCHADT
President and CEO of ArtsMemphis since 2002. Native Memphian whose priorities include increasing funding to arts groups and broadening arts education and outreach in the community. Her most significant accomplishment is the historic Memphis for the Arts endowment campaign, which raised $27.6 million. Schadt spearheaded the successful rebranding of ArtsMemphis (formerly the Arts Council) in 2007, which increased the organization's presence as the premier fund-raiser for the arts in Memphis. In the same year, Schadt and her team launched an ongoing Audience Development Initiative in partnership with the Assisi Foundation for some 40 nonprofit cultural organizations, culminating in the creation of a community-wide interactive arts calendar. In 2005 partnered with Ducks Unlimited to launch the historic and ongoing Conservation Through Art initiative, raising over $2 million thus far to support wildlife conservation, local arts groups, and free community events. In 2008, Schadt was executive editor of First Shooting Light, a photographic journal published by ArtsMemphis that was highly acclaimed by Barron's, MarketWatch, Garden & Gun, and many other publications. Currently serves on the Riverfront Development Corporation board of directors and completed a six-year board position on the Americans for the Arts Leadership Council for United Arts Funds. In 2006, attended the Harvard Business School Executive Education program on Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.
Senior Vice President, FedEx Solutions, and currently in his second term as Chairman of the Greater Memphis Chamber. Built from scratch FedEx Solutions — often called the "secret weapon" of the company. The native of Biberach, Germany, has been in Memphis 11 years and was named in the 2010 MBQ Power Players and the BusinessTN "Power 100." In his capacity with the chamber, Schmitt leads Memphis Fast Forward, the largest economic development initiative in Memphis' history. He's a frequent speaker at CEO-level conferences around the world. In June 2010, Schmitt received the Mid-South Minority Business Council's "Community Spirit" award. He's also a member of the executive board of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.
President of the board of directors for Greater Memphis Greenline, devoted to developing an integrated multi-use trail system in Memphis and Shelby County. First phase of development — to include a trail for cyclists and pedestrians that leads from East Memphis to Shelby Farms — is expected to be open by fall 2010. Founding board member of Greening Greater Memphis. Associate professor of biochemistry at UT Health Science Center (1974-85), where he was president of Sigma Xi, the Society for Scientific Research. Became financial advisor in 1986. Helped form CommonSense, Inc., which spearheaded the local recycling movement.
Appointed director of The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in 2007. Started museum career in 1988 at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1998, became curator of American art at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, Florida. During his tenure at the Dixon, has launched cultural collaborations with Ballet Memphis, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Playhouse on the Square. On board of UrbanArt Commission and on selection committee for Rhodes College downtown mural project. Instituted pay-what-you-can Tuesdays at the Dixon, a host of family-oriented education programs, and initiated restoration of Dixon's Woodland Garden. An exhibition, based on his book Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era, opened in July 2009.
President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 2001. Company consists of six adult hospitals and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, 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, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, University of Memphis Board of Visitors, and Foundation for Evangelism. 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 in 2005. Received the 2007 Meritorious Service Award from the Tennessee Hospital Association.
Commissioner of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission. Holds bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee and a master's in broadcasting and film from the University of Memphis. Under her leadership, MovieMaker magazine selected Memphis as one of the "Top 10 Best American Cities to Live, Work, and Make Movies." Co-founder of the Berlin-Memphis and Shelby County Alliance. Also co-founder of the Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission Production Training Program.
JOHN SMARRELLI JR.
President of Christian Brothers University. Named to position in 2009. Received bachelor's degree in biology from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York; Ph.D. from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Postdoctoral work in the Department of Biology, University of Virginia. Received National Academic Advising Association Pacesetter Award in 2006 and Loyola University Outstanding Teacher Award in 1996. Board member of Greater Memphis Chamber, Leadership Memphis, and the Salvation Army. Is a member of numerous local, regional, and national university associations.
Civil rights pioneer who served as executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP from 1962 until her retirement in 1995. Refused admission to then-Memphis State University because of her race and later led successful charge to open the school to black enrollment. In 2010, received honorary doctor of letters degree from U of M. Received bachelor's degree from Spelman College and master's from Middlebury College. 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 200 awards and has served 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 NAACP's National Board of Directors. Is subject of 2007 authorized biography, Maxine Smith's Unwilling Pupils: Lessons Learned in Memphis's Civil Rights Classroom.
Founder and principal teaching artist of New Ballet Ensemble and School. Returned to Memphis in 1997 after career as a professional dancer with the Minnesota Dance Theatre and as a teacher in Los Angeles. New Ballet Ensemble trains dancers to a professional standard, regardless of ability to pay. Spearheaded a campaign to raise funds for a facility in Midtown. Has worked in partnership with Bridges USA, Girls Inc., Memphis Athletic Ministries, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Rhodes College, Opera Memphis, Memphis College of Art, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Delta Arts, and local schools. Citydance, an annual NBE summer program in its seventh year, brings inner-city children into the studio for free training. This year's graduates earned almost $200,000 in scholarships to BFA programs at NYU, Fordham, University of Arizona, and other schools. Serves on the board of the Levitt Shell, the Cooper-Young Business Association, and the City of Memphis Youth Guidance Commission.
ED STANTON III
Recommended by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for the vacant position of U.S. Attorney of Tennessee's Western District and named to that position by President Obama in 2010. Stanton had been serving as senior counsel for Federal Express, where he was employed from 2002 to 2010. Age 38. Previously, was attorney at two local firms and served as an assistant city attorney for Memphis. Worked as member of Clinton-Gore advance team in 1996 election. Was a Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress in the 9th District in 2006. Son of longtime Shelby County administrator Ed Stanton Jr. A 1994 graduate of the University of Memphis, and 1997 graduate of the university's Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
BISHOP TERRY STEIB
Installed as the fourth (and current) Bishop of Memphis on May 5, 1993. Currently the Consultant for the African American Catholics Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and serves on the boards of The Catholic Extension Society, Catholic University of America, and Catholic Relief Services. Spearheaded Jubilee program that renovated and reopened several local Catholic Schools, with a mission to educate and invigorate the underprivileged, regardless of religious affiliation. A native of Vacherie, Louisiana, received theological degree from Divine Word Seminary in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. In 1984, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and Titular Bishop.
Handily elected to city council from mid-city District 5 in 2007 after losing first bid in 2003, Strickland has evolved into council's most persistent voice for greater budgetary discipline. The frequently interviewed 46-year-old Strickland — called "Showtime" by his colleagues — has earned considerable support among moderates and conservatives alike as a likely future mayoral candidate. An advocate of enlarging recruitment area for city's first responders, led the effort to save Overton Park golf course and oversaw recommendations for legislative changes as member of the Metro Charter Commission. Graduate of the University of Memphis, where he was student body president, is former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party and the law partner of David Kustoff, the former local Republican chairman and U.S. Attorney.
Memphis actor who took the local theater world for a ride with his creation of Sister Myotis, a God-fearing proper Southern lady devoted to saving all 8,000 members of her fictitious mega church (and anyone within earshot.) Swift — in over-the-top-drag — quickly garnered a cult-like following locally, and in July 2010 Myotis and the cast of Bible Camp took their show to New York's Abingdon Theater for what was slated to be a 22-show run, but nightly sold-out shows called for an extended run. When not spreading the word, Swift, a graduate of the University of Memphis, works at a local nonprofit.
President and CEO of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines since 1997. Company provides regional airline services for Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways, collectively operating over 1,280 daily flights and transporting more than 13 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 2003 Regional Airline Strategist of the Year Award. Active in civic and industry affairs such as the Transportation Industry Council, Memphis Tomorrow, Memphis Music Foundation, and the Memphis Regional Chamber.
President of Rhodes College. Established a strategic vision for the liberal arts college focusing on excellence both in the classroom and beyond the campus through student research, service, internship, and study-abroad opportunities. Facilitated new college curriculum, the move from scholarships toward fellowships, a nationally recognized student work program, and a new campus master plan centered around the Paul Barret Jr. Library, for which he secured a $35.5 million gift, the largest in the school's history. Chaired the American Council on Education, the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship program. Served on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Commission, which made recommendations to Congress to dramatically increase the number of American undergraduates studying abroad. Named one of America's most effective college presidents. Received the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College.
LEIGH ANNE AND SEAN TUOHY
Portrayed by Sandra Bullock in the 2009 feature film, The Blind Side, Tuohy is an interior decorator and graduate of the University of Mississippi. She attended Briarcrest Christian School and later Ole Miss, where she met her future husband, Sean, a sports commentator and restaurateur. He played college basketball at the University of Mississippi in the early 1980s, and is best known for being the all-time assists leader in the SEC. Both reside in Memphis and own more than 80 fast-food franchises including Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Long John Silver's. Also the adoptive parents of former Ole Miss player and Baltimore Raven's first-round draft selection and starting offensive tackle Michael Oher. In addition to Michael, they have a daughter, Collins, and son Sean Tuohy Jr. Leigh Anne gave the 2010 commencement address at CBU and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the university for her commitment to the less fortunate and ongoing quest to recruit others to make a difference.
Downtown real estate developer and driving force behind Fair Ground, a plan to redevelop the old Mid-South Fairgrounds in the heart of the city as a sportsplex. With Jack Belz, Turley, 69, developed the upscale Harbor Town residential and commercial center on Mud Island, the low-income and middle-income Uptown residential development north of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and South Bluffs, where he lives. Turley is a board member of Contemporary Media, the parent company of Memphis and the Memphis Flyer. A native of Memphis and graduate of the University of Tennessee, Turley is known for his plainspoken good humor, creativity, and unfailing belief in downtown and the restoration of public spaces in older neighborhoods. He is also an active political supporter of candidates as varied as Democrat U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker.
JOHNNIE B. WATSON
President of LeMoyne-Owen College since 2006. Has a bachelor's degree from Le-Moyne-Owen and master's from Indiana University. Former superintendent of Memphis City Schools. Former president of Future Teachers of America and Alpha Pi Alpha. Received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from LeMoyne-Owen College in 2001 for his contributions to education over four decades. Former chair of department of education and distinguished associate professor at Rhodes College. Board member, Bethany Homes, Literacy Mid-South, United Way of the Mid-South. Life member, NAACP, Memphis Chapter.
JUNE WADDELL WEST
In 2002 appointed executive director of Memphis Heritage, Inc., the area's largest historic preservation organization. Is currently leading efforts to save the historic buildings of Overton Square and the former Union Avenue Methodist Church at Union and Cooper. In 2009 she focused the agency's efforts to save the facade of the Cumberland Presbyterian Archives Building in Midtown after working out a compromise with Chick-fil-A. A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, West spent more than 20 years in the field of gerontology, serving as head of Alzheimer's Day Services and as an official with American Senior Development Company.
World-renowned jazz saxophonist. Named president and CEO of Soulsville Foundation in April 2010. Toured with Whitney Houston for several years, then returned to Memphis to become the Stax Music Academy first artist-in-residence. Attended Texas Southern University, where he composed his first music. In 1998, recorded first gospel album, The Gospel According To Jazz: Chapter I. That same year he made For You, which soared to the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. In 2010, released The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter III. Has worked with the likes of Babyface, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Al Green, and Luther Vandross. Has eight Grammy nominations and two Stellar Awards for Best Gospel Instrumental Album.
A C WHARTON
Elected mayor of Memphis in 2009 special election following resignation of Willie Herenton, winning two-thirds of the vote against a lengthy list of other aspirants. The amiable and popular 66-year-old had served previously as public defender and as Shelby County mayor from 2002 until his 2009 victory and subsequent migration to City Hall. As city mayor, showed a penchant for the kind of reassuring middle-of-the-road policies he had pursued at the helm of county government. That included regular "town hall" meetings, and in mid-2010 Wharton sponsored the first "virtual" town hall, held in four locations dispersed around the city. While still county mayor had begun a campaign to bring about city/county consolidation and appointed the Metro Charter Commission to prepare a late 2010 referendum on the subject. Significant early moves as Memphis mayor included settlement of city's lawsuit with entrepreneur John Elkington over Beale Street assets and shake-ups in such scandal-prone city departments as General Services.
Memphis rapper. Has worked with Cool & Dre, Shawty Redd, and DJ Toomp, among others. Rap style mixes the real subject matter of 8Ball & MJG with the energy and intensity of Three 6 Mafia. Signed a million-dollar deal with Polo Grounds Music/J Records. Has a string of hugely successful mixtapes and street albums — from 2000's From Da Dope Game 2 Da Rap Game to 2009's CM2. Has sold more than 300,000 copies of his Cocaine Muzik mixtape series. His major label studio album debut, Live from the Kitchen, was released in July 2010.