As is our annual tradition, the Post team presents In Charge, a compendium of Middle Tennessee’s top business, political and civic leaders. The 450-plus women and men on our list — our fifth annual — make a positive impact not just on their individual sectors, but on the city in general. These folks are the best of the best — and always “in charge.”
1. T.B. Boyd III — President and CEO, R.H. Boyd Publishing: Heads family’s 115-year-old religious publishing company and chairs Citizens Savings Bank & Trust, the oldest continuously operating black-owned bank in America. Inducted into the Nashville Entrepreneur Center Hall of Fame last year. Company employs hundreds of people and generates millions of books and printed materials annually.
2. Steve Buchanan — Senior Vice President of Media and Entertainment, Ryman Hospitality Properties: Manages the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM and Gaylord Program Services, Inc. Joined what was then Gaylord Entertainment Properties in 1985 as marketing manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Executive producer of NashvilleTV show.
3. Yuri Cunza — Co-Founder and Editor,La Noticia: A powerful voice for Nashville’s growing Latino community. Peru native who moved to Nashville in 1996. His Spanish-language newspaper features original content written by and for Latinos. Board member with Belcourt Theatre and Nashville Film Festival. Teams with co-founder Loraine Segovia-Paz.
4. Chris Ferrell — CEO, SouthComm: Former Metro councilman at-large who founded SouthComm, publisher of Nashville Post, Nashville Scene, and publications in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, Tampa and Washington D.C.
5. Rex Hammock — Founder and CEO, Hammock Inc.: Operates eponymous content and custom media company, as well as Wiki SmallBusiness.com. A trailblazer in blogging (he was the first person to blog a meeting with a president, in 2000) and social media (his Twitter handle is @R).
6. Dan Hammond — Chairman, President and CEO, American Hometown Media: Savvy media entrepreneur who spun out AHM, the holding company for food site Just A Pinch Recipe Club, from hometown newspaper venture American Hometown Publishing. In its first 20 months, Just A Pinch recruited about 320,000 members.
7. John Ingram — Chairman, Ingram Industries/Ingram Content Group: Named chairman of Ingram Industries in 2008 after having served as vice chairman since 1999. ICG was busy in late 2013, naming three directors and announcing Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had selected its MyiLibrary e-content platform for the distribution of e-books to libraries worldwide. ICG includes Ingram Book Company.
8. Rosetta Miller-Perry — Publisher, Tennessee Tribune: Founded Perry & Perry & Associates in 1990 and, the following year, created The Tennessee TRIBUNE,one of the most influential African-American publications in Tennessee (with weekly readership of more than 150,000). Remains a key voice in the local African-American business community.
9. Thom Rainer — President & CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources: Company bought 17-store Berean Christian last summer for undisclosed sum and now has 180 stores in 28 states. Former dean at the Billy Graham School. LifeWay, the Southern Baptist Convention’s publishing arm, generates more than $400 million in annual sales.
10. Mark Schoenwald — President and CEO, Thomas Nelson: Guided company through the 2012 sale to News Corp. subsidiary Harper Collins. Has made moves to reach out to Hispanic market as well as audio publishing segment. Hands-on leader has targeted growing digital revenues to 40 percent of company’s $200 million publishing business by 2015.
11. Bud Walters — President, The Cromwell Group: Boldly rebranded 102.5 to sports talk to compete with ratings-giant 104.5. Lured Nashville staples George Plaster and Willy Daunic for drive-time. Also owns rock radio station The Buzz and Christian station The Light.
12. Phil Williams — Investigative Reporter, WTVF: Bulldog broadcast journalist who boasts three duPont-Columbia University Awards and two George Foster Peabody Awards — both considered to be broadcasting’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. Started what has become a storied journalism career as a newspaper reporter.