Chamber, YP name '14 NELA winners

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville on Thursday night unveiled the winners of their 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Awards. Without further ado, they are:


• Architecture, Engineering & Construction: Alan Hayes, senior associate at Thomas Miller & Partners — Hayes focuses on health care and medical office projects and served as the project architect, prime designer and construction administrator on the $51 million patient tower addition and burn center renovation at Doctors Hospital, a Georgia HCA facility. Hayes serves as board president of ACE Mentor Program of Greater Nashville, an organization that mentors high school students in architecture, construction and engineering, and is on the advisory board of the Academy of Science and Engineering at Stratford High School.

• Arts, Entertainment & Music: Jeff Syracuse, manager of licensing operations at Broadcast Music Inc. — Syracuse helps develop new e-commerce applications and provides user support. He has been an employee of BMI for more than 15 years, starting part-time before being hired full-time after graduating from Middle Tennessee State University. He also represents BMI as an active board member of The Blues Foundation.

• Business Services: Kevin Mahoney, budget director at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation — Mahoney is responsible for preparation and administration of a $387 million annual budget. Previously, he has served as an accountant for multiple state agencies as well as a financial analyst for Saint Thomas Health, where he developed a user-friendly crosswalk tool for Ascension Health’s planned conversion of more than 70 health systems nationwide.

• Community Service & Nonprofit: Eric Pittel, administrative manager at Vanderbilt University Medical Center — Pittel provides budgetary oversight of all Type I Diabetes TrailNet events and programs, including the Vanderbilt Affiliate Network. He was recognized for his exceptional performance with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Credo Award in 2013. In 2011, he was appointed director of Vanderbilt Diabetes Family Day Executive Committee to bring together patients, their families and inspiring guests to share insights gained from lives lived well with diabetes.

• Education: Jennifer Berry, academy coach at Stratford STEM Magnet High School — Berry serves as a liaison between faculty and business partners to support the Stratford STEM Magnet School’s learning community as an academy coach. Before coming to Stratford, Berry worked on education policy in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office on an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, highlighting her research on the impact of No Child Left Behind and teacher efficacy.

• Environment & Sustainability: Miranda Christy, attorney at Stites & Harbison — Christy handles a range of conservation transactions, including conservation easements and battlefield preservations. She provided legal counsel for the Land Trust for Tennessee and The Nature Conservancy to preserve some of the state’s most precious open spaces, including the largest land protection transaction in Tennessee since the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

• Financial Services: John Crosslin, managing audit principal at Crosslin & Associates — Crosslin is responsible for the overall health and growth of the audit department. During his tenure, he has contributed to growing the business by more than 325 percent and helped the firm triple in size. For the last five years, he has worked with an international aid organization to retain compliance with federal and donor requirements to ensure funding and direct aid is given to those who need it most.

• Government and Public Affairs: Emily Mitchell, senior community and economic development manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Nashville branch — Mitchell works with banks, nonprofits and government agencies to develop programs that promote asset building, affordable housing, small business, job creation and other community development initiatives. Mitchell has been instrumental in overseeing a two-year comprehensive project to develop national green building criteria for affordable housing development, which several states and cities have adopted.

• Hospitality & Tourism: Jeni Lind Brinkman, regional director for external affairs at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation — Brinkman is responsible for outreach to department stakeholders, including local and other government agencies, the regulated community, public interest groups and citizens. She works to promote and support the Tennessee state park system in the Upper Cumberland to increase visitation and partnerships. While serving on the board for the Wilson County Health Council, Brinkman spearheaded Move Across Wilson, a program to combat the obesity rate of Wilson County residents by promoting an increase in overall physical activity and healthier living.

• Human Resources: Jessika Leigh Poirier, partner, recruiter and business development at Vaco — Poirier assesses employer needs, recruits candidates to fill those needs and builds a client base to increase talent options. She was promoted to partner this year. Shortly before her three-year anniversary with the company, she was recognized for being the No. 2 producer nationwide in the staff division. She is on the board of YMCA Maryland Farms, is a member of the Junior League of Nashville and an alumna of Young Leaders Council.

• Legal Services: Mary Taylor Gallagher, member at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin — Gallagher is a trial lawyer in Gullett's litigation and labor and employment departments. In addition to general business litigation, Gallagher focuses her practice on defending employers in the railroad, transportation and health care industries. For her work in railroad law, she was appointed as the first female member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel Legislative Committee, where she also served as a teacher for their Trial College.

• Medical & Health Care Services: Dr. Carmen B. April, owner and podiatrist at The Foot and Ankle Healthcare Center — April specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of foot and ankle disorders. She started her medical practice at only 30 years old and grew the patient base to 800 new patients in her first 16 months in practice. She is a frequent speaker at health fairs across Nashville and a passionate educator within the community about basic health care for common foot and ankle problems. She created a philanthropic program, Knock Your Socks Off Back-to-School Sock Drive, which has provided more than 2,300 pairs of socks for Nashville children and youth in need.

• PR, Advertising & Marketing: Kearstin Patterson, director of communications and design at HCA Holdings — Patterson leads a team whose members are responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of internal and external communications for IT&S, HCA’s largest corporate division. In her previous role at BioMimetic Therapeutics, Patterson played an integral role in managing the communications, investor, analyst and investment bank relations activity for the company's initial public offering. She is the current president of the Steeplechase Iroquois Alliance and serves on the board and marketing committee for Safe Haven Family Shelter.

• Real Estate Services: Alexander Brandau IV, owner of Alexander Brandau Real Estate Partners at Keller Williams Realty — Brandau has been the owner and lead Realtor for his group since 2006; he has retained 75 percent of his clients compared to the national average of 6 percent. As a 13-year member of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors, Brandau has won the Gold Award of Excellence four times and has served as a chair for many committees. He is an alumnus of Young Leaders Council and a member of the Phoenix Club of Nashville and Nashville Sports Leagues.

• Technology: Jeff Ker, director of programs at ForceX Inc. — Ker provides program vision and strategic direction for program management across three Department of Defense programs valued at $11.2 million. In this position, Ker has increased the company’s scope of work and value of three contracts by $1 million in less than one year. He served two tours in Iraq as an air mission commander, where he led more than 150 combat missions and flew more than 300 combat hours, without losing any of his soldiers in combat.