The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce will next week host Bizaroo, a half-day conference for business owners to hear from experts on business startups, entrepreneurship, financing, social media and other topics. Keynote speaker at the event will be Dave Delaney of FutureForth. Also among those on the schedule to talk are Bongo Java's Bob Bernstein, Mignon Francois of The Cupcake Collection, Avenue Bank Chairman and CEO Ron Samuels and Dan’s Gourmet Mac & Cheese founder Dan Stephenson.
Check out more info here.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday put a ribbon on a record-setting fiscal year for its Partnership 2020 economic development effort. Companies relocating or expanding here pledged to invest $2.5 billion in the 12 months ended June 30. On the jobs front, the new positions announced by relocating companies in the past year trailed the number only from 2005 to 2008.
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.
With the recent news that Janet Miller will leave her post as chief economic officer at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to serve as CEO and managing partner of the Nashville office of Colliers International, the Post gauged the impressions of several local folks who have worked with Miller directly and/or indirectly over the years. Speaking here about Miller's impact are: Tom Hooper, vice president with the Nashville office of Jones Lang LaSalle; Tom Jurkovich, vice president for corporate affairs at Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. and a former director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development; Paul Ney, a shareholder with Waddey & Patterson and also a former Metro ECD director; Richard Wallace, an independent real estate broker and owner of Richard Wallace & Co.; and James Weaver, a member with law firm Waller.
Post: Has the corporate relocation pipeline dried and, as such, did Miller want a new challenge?
Ney: Janet is leaving at the top of her game, and I doubt she’d be leaving if she foresaw a decline in Nashville’s economic development opportunities and growth. She stuck it out through the lean times a few years ago.
Weaver: The pipeline has never been more full or robust, at least from our standpoint at this firm and within its ECD practice. We are seeing lots of projects from headquarters deals to smaller projects. Janet has said that 21 years is just a long time. I don’t think one can assume anything about the status of Nashville as a hotbed of ECD activity by Janet’s leaving. Bert [Mathews of Colliers] and his partners offered her a huge opportunity and she took it. It’s not anti-Nashville or anti-Middle Tennessee. Its pro-Colliers and pro-Bert and his partners. That’s all. Period.
Hooper: At JLL, we are seeing high levels of corporate relocation activity.
Post: What does it means for the chamber given Courtney Ross, Miller’s replacement, has worked at the entity since 2008?
Jurkovich: [Miller’s] departure from the chamber, while good for Colliers, is bound to be cause for concern in business recruitment circles throughout the city. Let’s see how — and whether — the chamber and others step up to insure that we maintain the high-quality performance that characterized the Janet Miller era.
Weaver: It’s more a question of what does it mean for Partnership 2020 as opposed to the chamber. Janet has been the face of ECD — and Partnership 2010, and now 2020 — in this region for a number of years. While the mayors and the directors of ECD for the government entities are critical and vitally important to the process, it was Janet (and her staff) who was the grease that made the whole thing run. She was personally universally trusted by mayors and legislative bodies, by the P2020 chairs, by the CEOs who in the end, of course, fund P2020, as well as by the target companies. She was the consummate honest broker. Janet has had great relationships with governors and state ECD commissioners of both parties. In short, Janet Miller will be damn hard to replace.
Courtney Ross is great, has lots of experience and deep Tennessee roots. She has been at Janet’s side ever since she got here. She is a hard worker and her experience in Austin will likely prove very important to her success in this new role. No one who knows Courtney well is worried one bit about P2020’s record of success coming to an end anytime soon. It’s not so much about filling Janet’s shoes as it is just picking up the ball and continuing to run toward the goal line. Trust is earned, however, and not bequeathed via a press release. I predict that Courtney will earn the trust of everyone involved with economic development in this region in short order and be very successful in this vitally important role.
Post: Will Colliers benefit from this more so than the chamber will be harmed?
Jurkovich: Janet Miller has been a key piece of Nashville’s successful economic development efforts for more than a decade. She’s very good at what she does, has great relationships with business relocation brokers around the country, is well respected and well liked. While it’s always been a city-wide collaborative effort, her skills, experience and institutional knowledge have made up the glue that has kept our ECD campaigns consistently successful despite changes in administrations, both at the state and local level.
Weaver: Janet has been described as a winner. Winners don’t tolerate losing well at all. Colliers knows what they are getting and will, I predict, use Janet in a number of different ways to help their company grow in this region. P2020 will continue to prosper under Courtney’s able leadership. She has great current chairs, and a literal who’s who of past chairs who believe in the concept and mission of the partnership.
Ney: I don’t know enough about the Colliers office to say how much this move strengthens them, but I trust that it does because I know Janet’s abilities and I am certain that Nate [Greene] and Bert [Mathews] and the others in that office know what’s best for their business. In short, I believe this move is going to work out very well for all parties, including Nashville and our region. The chamber economic development team that Janet built is exceptionally strong and extremely capable. That’s true of Courtney and all the members of that team.
Wallace: It is an excellent move for both Janet Miller and Colliers. Colliers is certainly one of the great leaders in commercial real estate in Nashville and she will bring a lot to the table. I don’t know Janet personally but she must be a very aggressive and talented person with a great vision to want to take on this wonderful new opportunity and challenge. Colliers and Janet Miller made the right move at the right time.
Hooper: It is a win-win for Colliers and the chamber.
The Entrepreneur Center and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce this week hosted the annual NEXT Awards dinner to celebrate the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Among the winners are well-known companies such as Qualifacts and Parallon, as well as fresher faces such as Virsys12. Check out the full list here.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce have agreed to let members of the latter take part in the regional state government advocacy structure set up by the former. The deal builds on a similar partnership with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce that was launched last year.
Robertson County Chamber members will have access to Middle Tennessee Business Voice, an online legislative issues tracking tool run by the Nashville chamber. Robertson businesses also will be able to take part in an annual policy survey that helps shape the Nashville chamber’s legislative agenda.
“Robertson County Chamber members will now be able to stay informed of business-related legislative issues and will have a quick and easy way to communicate with elected officials about policy decisions that could impact their bottom line,” said Robertson County Chamber President and Chief Economic Development Officer Margot Fosnes. “We are excited to be joining the Nashville Area Chamber and Rutherford County Chamber in expanding the region’s business advocacy efforts.”
Combined, the three chambers will represent 4,175 companies on Capitol Hill.
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