Bill Haslam was elected the 49th Governor of Tennessee with the largest margin of victory in any open Governor’s race in our state’s history. His administration’s three top priorities include: making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs by fostering a business-friendly environment for recruitment and expansion; continuing our state’s momentum in education reform with a focus on what’s best for Tennessee children in the classroom; and ensuring the state budget is managed conservatively and state government is run efficiently and effectively while delivering quality service to Tennesseans. Read more here...
William (Bill) F. Hagerty, IV is head of the state agency primarily responsible for jobs and economic growth in the state of Tennessee.
He is dedicated to making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. Hagerty is on leave from Hagerty Peterson, LLC, a merchant bank
and private equity firm he founded. He has also founded, funded and grown a number of successful business enterprises. As an executive, Hagerty has served as
CFO, COO, CEO and chairman of a variety of domestic and international firms. Read more here...
Mike Curb, founder and chairman, Curb Records
Mike Curb, California's former lieutenant governor and acting governor, is
one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment world and presides over his own independent record label, one of the largest in the nation,
that has launched the careers of numerous stars. During a distinguished career spanning more than 45 years, Curb has earned multi-faceted success
as a songwriter, producer and record company owner, covering a wide range of musical styles. As an individual, he has written more than 400 songs,
and received countless music industry awards, including the prestigious Overall Producer of the Year Award from Billboard magazine in 1972.
In addition to being Founder and Chairman of Curb Records, Mike Curb also serves as Chairman of the Mike Curb Family Foundation and Chairman of gospel
music powerhouse Word Entertainment, which was Billboard magazine's Overall Top Imprint in that genre for 2006. In 2007 Curb was honored as
Nashvillian of the Year and he recently received his star on Nashville's Music City Walk of Fame. Curb has also received his star on the historic Hollywood
Walk of Fame. Read more here…
Michelle Comerford, Managing Director, Austin Consulting
Comerford is responsible for managing and directing all operations of Austin Consulting, the site selection consulting group within The Austin Company, a premier
design-build firm. In addition, she manages and conducts site location studies for corporate clients and other consulting assignments. In her previous role, Comerford
was a Senior Location Consultant for Austin Consulting and has been responsible for the development and implementation of corporate location strategies for industrial
clients worldwide for nearly ten years. She has directed clients in evaluating supply chain logistics, location strategy, incentive programs, and community/site
selection alternatives. Comerford has also directed due diligence, property acquisition, and other aspects of project implementation.
Mark Williams, President and Founder, Strategic Development Group, Inc.
Mark Williams is the President and Founder of Strategic Development Group, Inc., a business-consulting firm that provides site location and negotiation services to
corporations seeking new and expanded locations. SDG specializes in Southeast U.S. facility locations in the automotive, chemical, steel, and bio-science industries.
SDG’s clients include major U.S. and multi-national corporations based in Europe and Asia including BMW, Bridgestone, ASMO, Tupperware, JTEKT/Koyo, DSM/Martek, and
British Petroleum (BP). Williams previously served as Chief Development Officer for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In this position, he directed South
Carolina’s domestic and global business recruitment activities, including the operation of the department’s international offices in Frankfurt, Germany and Tokyo, Japan.
Mike Mullis, President & CEO, J. M. Mullis, Inc.
J. Michael Mullis established the firm of J. M. Mullis, Inc. during the late 1970's to provide professional project location specialist services on an international
basis for various private client groups. Today, the firm typically does more than $1.5 billion annually in major new project establishments on a global basis in a
variety of industries including aerospace/aviation, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, food industry, renewable energy and data centers/services. In
addition to the firm’s location analysis work throughout the U.S., it also has affiliate representations in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia, where the firm
participates in major new business developments annually. Mullis began his economic development career during the late 1960's with the Tennessee Governor’s
Staff Division for Industrial Development.
Joe Borgstrom, Director of the Downtown & Community Services Division, Michigan State Housing Development Authority
The Downtown & Community Services Division includes the Michigan Main Street Center, providing technical assistance to communities who seek to revitalize their
downtown using the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Four-Point™ approach. The program currently assists 40 Michigan communities. Borgstrom is
one of the agency’s leads for the state’s MIplace Initiative and is an active member of the Michigan Sense of Place Council and the Michigan Economic Development
Corporation's Economic Gardening Task Force.
Charlie Brock, Executive Entrepreneur, CO.LAB
For years, Charlie Brock has been an integral part of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial culture. In addition to his involvement at CO.LAB, he is one of the founding
partners of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, as well as a partner and member of the investment committee of the Tennessee Angel fund. Brock is also a managing
partner at Chattanooga-based FourBridges Capital Advisors. He started his own company, Foxmark Media, in 1998, which he later sold to an Australian media compa
Michael Burcham, President & CEO, The Entrepreneur Center
A serial entrepreneur who began his career at Hospital Corporation of America, Burcham has a passion for helping individuals organize and grow their businesses.
Michael served as president of ParadigmHealth from 2000-2007. Prior to joining ParadigmHealth, Michael was president of Theraphysics, a venture-backed, specialty
rehabilitation firm he founded in 1992. In addition to his work in the healthcare industry, Burcham teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Owen Graduate
School of Management at Vanderbilt University.
Bob Cantler, General Manager & Vice President, Morgan Inn Corporation
Bob Cantler is the general manager and vice president of Morgan Inn Corporation, the parent organization for General Morgan Inn and Morgan Square Development Group.
He is also founder of Internity Business Group, LLC, a hospitality and business development consulting group. Cantler received his bachelor’s degree from East
Tennessee State University.
John Clark, President & CEO, First State Bank and Community First Bancshares
John Clark has over 30 years of banking experience being employed with this corporation since 1976, serving in various offices and locations. Clark also serves as
a director of Community First Bancshares, Inc. and First State Bank. His responsibilities include overseeing the operation of Community First Bancshares and the
various First State companies, one being First State Bank. A Madison County native, Clark received his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin
and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is also a graduate of the Tennessee Young Bankers School and the School of Banking of
Allan Daisley, Director of Entrepreneurship & Sustainability, Memphis Bioworks Foundation
In this role, Daisley is focused on managing Bioworks’ entrepreneurship and incubation programs and supporting the growth of new businesses in the Memphis area.
He is the program director for the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator and one of the leaders of the Memphis Regional
Accelerator. Before joining the Bioworks team, he worked as an economic development consultant. Daisley managed a business incubator program focused on
leveraging entrepreneurship and technology as key drivers of sustainable development.
Doreen M. Edelman, Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Doreen Edelman has more than 20 years of experience counseling companies on import and export matters and global expansion. Edelman advises clients on their export,
import and compliance obligations related to defense articles, services and technologies and dual-use goods and technologies through the Bureau of Industry and
Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce, the Directorate of Defense Controls (DDTC) of the Department of State and the Office of Foreign Assets Control
(OFAC) of the Department of Treasury. She assists with internal audits, compliance programs and U.S. Government investigations, including criminal trials.
Deane C. Foote, CEcD, President & CEO, Foote Consulting Group, LLC
Deane C. Foote is president and CEO of Foote Consulting Group, LLC, a development related consulting company located in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. FCG provides real
estate, site selection, workforce and economic development services. Foote was formerly senior project manager of Real Estate and Economic Development for Jacobs,
formerly Carter & Burgess, where he directed site selection and economic development projects. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and a graduate of the
University of Oklahoma.
Loucas George, Movie and Television Producer
Loucas George is a renowned movie and television producer who has worked with every major television network on a number of successful TV shows including “The O.C.,”
“Early Edition,” “Commander In Chief,” “A Gifted Man” and “Life” just to name a few. George has worked around the world and across the country shooting shows in
Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and Nashville. He is currently in Nashville, Tenn. working on "Nashville," an ABC Network and Lionsgate television
production. Born and raised in New York, George started his career in the entertainment industry working at Panavision after graduating college.
Curt Hahn, CEO, Film House
Curt Hahn is a filmmaker and entrepreneur best known for his feature films “No Regrets” and “Deadline.” Hahn is a pioneer of intelligent independent filmmaking who
works outside the Hollywood studio system. In 1976, he moved to Nashville and founded Film House. Film House has grown over the years to become the largest film and
video production company in Tennessee and one of the largest producers of TV commercials in the U.S. As CEO, Hahn leads a team of over 50 that produces hundreds of
TV commercials and long form projects annually. He personally has directed thousands of commercials and longer films, featuring such performers as Candice Bergen,
Teri Garr, Janine Turner, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Isaac Hayes, Reba McEntire, Shaquille O'Neal and Shania Twain.
Julius Johnson, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Julius Johnson was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam and sworn in as Tennessee’s 36th Commissioner of Agriculture in January 2011. As commissioner, he directs the work
of more than 800 full- and part-time employees with responsibilities ranging from farm and agribusiness development, food safety and pesticide regulation to animal
and plant health protection and forest and water resources management. Prior to his appointment, Johnson served as Chief Administrative Officer of the Tennessee
Farm Bureau Federation, serving 37 years in various positions with one of the leading farm and rural advocacy organizations in the nation.
Dan J. Marcum, Executive Director, Southern Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Centers
Dan J. Marcum leads the Entrepreneurial Support Team for NEST-TN. He is a seasoned executive and brings more than four decades of direct entrepreneurial experience
to the support team. Marcum currently manages the Tullahoma Business Incubator where, for the past 10 years, he has been advising and nurturing successful
entrepreneurs, young and old, and not so successful want-to-be entrepreneurs. Prior to managing the business incubator, Marcum was president and general manager
of Micro Craft Inc. where he managed the day-to-day operations of the company.
Ray Mays is a true entrepreneur that resides in Crossville, Tenn. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1986 and left the Marines in
1998 with the rank of Major after several tours in the first Gulf War. Mays joined Crossville Eye Center in 1998. In 1999, he formed Eye Centers of TN, and today,
Eye Centers of TN has seven offices with more than 120 employees. Mays currently serves as a member, manager or shareholder for 15 LLC’s, three corporations and
one non-profit corporation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the UC Success Now, the Upper Cumberland Accelerator.
Mark Mamantov, Founding Member, Bass, Berry & Sims
Mark Mamantov is a founding member of the firm's Knoxville office and serves as the administrator of that office. His practice is primarily transactional, with a
special emphasis on tax-exempt finance. Mamantov is listed in Best Lawyers®. Business Tennessee magazine has named him one of the best lawyers in the state of
Tennessee every year since 2004, and recognized him as one of Tennessee’s 101 leaders in commercial real estate since 2007.
Alan Raymond, Economic Investments Manager, TVA
As economic investments manager, Raymond is responsible for designing and managing economic incentive programs for existing and new customers. Previously, Raymond
served as senior advisor to John Bradley, senior vice president of TVA Economic Development, and in international trade development and industrial recruitment
for the state of Mississippi. Raymond earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in foreign languages from Mississippi State University.
Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Rogers responsibilities include directing engagements with industrial partners, forging new ORNL entrepreneurial support efforts and leading a number of strategic
initiatives such as the Carbon Fiber Composites Cluster and development of the Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park. Prior to joining ORNL, Rogers was the founding
president and CEO of Technology 2020, a national award-winning public-private partnership focused on building a robust regional entrepreneurial support system.
Brandon Talbert, Location Consultant, Austin Consulting
As a location consultant for Austin Consulting, Talbert is responsible for performing site location studies for industrial clients. Specific areas of expertise
include food processing plants, industrial manufacturing, warehouses and distribution centers. Brandon is also experienced in site evaluation for “shovel ready”
certification as Austin performs this service for state, regional and local economic development organizations across the country. Most recently, he played a key
role in the development and launch of the Select Tennessee statewide industrial site certification program.
Lynn Youngs, Executive Director, Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, University of Tennessee in Knoxville
Lynn Youngs is an entrepreneur with experience across multiple industries, including retail, manufacturing, transportation, financial services, healthcare and
education. He has held positions of CFO in a technology start-up, vice president in a $1.2B public retail chain and COO in a $50M transportation company.
Youngs has extensive experience in government contracting from the corporate side, serving seven years in various management roles, including CFO, of a
subcontractor to multiple prime contractors on several programs with the DoD. Lynn’s specialty – and passion – involves fostering new business development.
Lacy Upchurch, President, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
Cumberland County beef cattle farmer Lacy Upchurch is President of the nation's largest state Farm Bureau. Upchurch has served on the TFBF board since December
of 1995, representing the Upper Cumberland area of the state. A graduate of the University of Tennessee receiving his BS and Master’s degrees in animal
science, Upchurch began his agricultural career with the UT Extension Service, working as an extension agent in Madison and Cumberland Counties.
Kathy La Plante, Main Street Program Officer, National Trust Main Street Center
La Plante joined the NTMSC staff as a Program Officer in May of 2007, and has worked in the Main Street field since 1989. Prior to joining the NTMSC she
served as the Director of the New Hampshire Main Street Center, from 1996 to 2007. She was responsible for initiating the New Hampshire statewide, nonprofit
Main Street Program, and providing comprehensive downtown revitalization technical assistance to 23 designated communities.
Annabelle Malins, Consul General, United Kingdom
Malins took up her appointment as Her Majesty’s Consul General in Sept. 2009. She leads a staff working throughout the Southeast on a wide range of issues, including
support for British nationals, public diplomacy on the UK government’s policy priorities, scientific co-operation, and trans-Atlantic trade and investment.
Malins’ previous position was as the Consul for Science and Innovation at the British Consulate-General in San Francisco. She joined the UK’s diplomatic service
Stephen Brereton, Consul General, Canada
Brereton has been the Canadian Consul General in Atlanta since Sept. 2009. He is a career diplomat with a distinguished background in international trade policy.
Brereton joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1979 following graduation from Queen’s University with an Honours BA in Economics. His foreign service career has
included assignments as the Trade Policy Counsellor at the Canadian Mission to the European Union based in Brussels and diplomatic responsibilities at the
Canadian Embassies in Tokyo, Japan and Havana, Cuba. Most recently he served as Consul General at the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, New York.
Susan Whitaker, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
Whitaker was appointed in January 2011 to Gov. Bill Haslam's cabinet as Commissioner of Tourist Development. She is responsible for marketing Tennessee's
tourism industry domestically and internationally. Whitaker oversees the development and implementation of statewide tourism’s comprehensive marketing, publicity
and promotions campaigns, all designed to stimulate growth of tourism in Tennessee.
J. Thomas Trent, Jr., Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP
Trent’s experience covers all areas of real estate transactions, including industrial development and economic incentives, leasing, corporate, joint
venture, partnership and limited liability company law, and tax-exempt finance. He represents clients regionally and nationally, including major
manufacturing companies, corporate users of commercial real estate, institutional investors, developers and lenders, and a number of foreign corporations.
Trent’s 30 years of experience is primarily in the area of commercial real estate, finance, construction, and economic development.
Jim Murphy, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP
Murphy focuses his practice on representing public and private sector clients in complex matters involving zoning, condemnation, economic incentives,
elections, telecommunications, municipal law, environmental law and commercial real estate. He has handled land use matters on a wide variety of subjects
from rezoning, special exceptions/conditional uses and variance requests to challenges to the validity of zoning regulations to defending zoning enforcement cases.
Joseph Gibbs, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP
Gibb’s practice is focused on federal, state and local taxation, including planning and controversy resolution. He represents a number of Fortune 500 companies with
respect to their Tennessee tax matters and also represents clients in federal tax controversy resolution, including administrative appeals and representation
before the U.S. Tax Court. A substantial part of Gibbs’ practice includes advising clients with respect to economic and tax incentives available to businesses
for expanding their facilities in Tennessee or relocating facilities to Tennessee.
Rhedona Rose, Executive Vice President, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
As Executive Vice President and Legislative Lobbyist for the Tennessee Farm Bureau, Rose works primarily in policy development, legislative and congressional activities.
This includes up-to-date information on the various agriculturally related issues at both the state and national level. Rose has been with the organization for 26
years and holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from Tennessee Tech and a master’s degree in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University.
Josh and Kathy Gunn, Gourmet Pasture Beef
Josh and Kathy Gunn own and operate Gourmet Pasture Beef, a thriving and still growing grass-fed beef business they run on the same 1,200 acre Robertson County
farm that’s been in the Gunn family for more than a 100 years. They deliver steaks, roasts and ground beef directly to homes in Middle Tennessee. The Gunns also
sell their products at farmers markets, participate with a local CSA and deliver to several well-known restaurants in the Nashville area.
Denis Barbet, Consul General of France
Denis Barbet holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a master degree in political science from the Université de Paris I as well as a diploma in Literary Arabic and Oriental
Arabic from the Langues’O (Paris III). He fulfilled his alternative military service in cultural cooperation in Syria from 1984 to 1986 before being admitted into
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the end of 1986. At the French Ministry of foreign affairs he held many positions including First Advisor at the Embassy of France
in Ankara, Turkey (1989-1991); Second Advisor at the Embassy of France in Beyrouth, Libanon (1991-1995); First Advisor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of
France in Bangkok, Thailand; First Advisor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of France in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Consul General of France in Naples and
Director of the Institut Français Napoli.
Christoph Sander, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany
A native of Düsseldorf, Germany, Christoph Sander was named Consul General in Atlanta in August of this year. Most recently he was Deputy Head of Mission and Head
of Economic Section for the German Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. After earning a law degree from the University of Hanover, Sander has held a number of positions
with German embassies around the world including those in Islamabad, Pakistan; Budapest, Hungary; and New Delhi, India.
Randy Vardeman – Vice President of Production Operations
Randy Vardeman has worked in the poultry industry in North America and also in Asia where he was managing director for Sui Ping, which provided the entry for the Cobb
breed in China. He joined Cobb in 2001, becoming director of technical services for Asia and general manager for the region in 2006.
Joe R. Gaines, Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriciulture
Joe R. Gaines received his Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Masters degree in Public Administration from a joint
program of University of Tennessee & Middle Tennessee State University. He is a graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute. In 1996, Mr. Gaines was
appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture. He has overseen the creation of a comprehensive marketing and development
program for Tennessee agriculture. He served as Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Agriculture and Forestry from 1995-1996.
Diana Threadgill, President/ED, Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee
Diana Threadgill serves as the President/ED of the Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee, a non-profit organization based in Memphis. Their mission, and hers, is
to identify, conserve and interpret the region’s natural, cultural and scenic resources to improve the quality of life and prosperity in West Tennessee. After obtaining
a Bachelor Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of Memphis, Threadgill began her diverse career as an Art Director for CineVideoTech, Inc., a major motion picture
supply house based in Miami. Previous roles have included coordinating the first Tennessee Film, Tape and Music Commission for Gov. Lamar Alexander, helping create
the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, and working as Vice President of Skyline Displays Mid-South.
Mona K. Herring, Vice President, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce
Mona Herring began her career with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in 1987 and was promoted to Tourism Director in 1995. She received a Bachelor of Science
degree in Business Administration from Missouri Southern State University. She earned industry designations as a CTTP (Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional) from
the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable and as a TMP (Travel Marketing Professional) from the Southeast Tourism Society.
Guillermo Mazier, Manager of Strategic Accounts, Atlas Advertising
Guillermo Mazier is the Strategic Accounts Manager for Atlas Advertising, a niche economic development marketing and technology agency that serves more than 90
different economic development clients in 43+ states and 6 countries. Atlas Advertising delivers branding, website development, mapping, research, and creative
services professionally, by a staff experienced in economic development. With a strong background in international business and development, Guillermo has developed
tactical marketing programs, corporate communication strategies and messaging across multiple campaign engagements in various parts of North America and throughout
the continental US.
Opher Aviran, Consul General, Israel
Aviran was appointed in August 2010 to serve as the Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern U.S. After joining Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983, he has since served as the Second Secretary; Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Rangoon, Burma; Cultural & Scientific Affairs Attache at the Embassy of Israel in The Hague, The Netherlands; and Counselor, Deputy Chief of Mission, at the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, Australia. In February, 2012 the Georgia General Assembly honored Consul General Aviran for his tireless efforts in strengthening the bond between Israel and the Southeast in the fields of economics, academics, culture and politics.
Dave Santucci, Vice President of Marketing, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau
Santucci is responsible for marketing Chattanooga as a leisure and meeting destination and driving tourism in Hamilton County. Prior to his role at the CCVB, he was a marketing consultant for the CCVB for two years. Santucci’s work resulted in national media coverage from CNN, The Weather Channel, USA Today, Associated Press and more. Consulting for the CCVB, Santucci promoted RiverRocks, Head of the Hooch, Southern Brewer’s Festival and several other key Chattanooga events.
Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan
Kato was named Consul-General of Japan in Nashville in Sept. 2012, coming from a previous post as Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul-General in the Republic of the Philippines. Since entering the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982, Kato has held a number of posts around the world including Minister and Head of Chancery, Embassy of Japan; Director, International Cooperation Dept. National Institute for Research Advancement; and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan.
J. Gray Sasser, Counsel, Frost Brown Todd LLC
Gray Sasser serves as counsel at Frost Brown Todd's Nashville office in the Business Combinations & Securities Group. His focus is in International Services, advising foreign companies growing the regional economy through direct investment in the U.S., while assisting American enterprises expand their global footprint. As former Senior Vice President for Congressional Affairs of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Sasser brings significant international and federal government experience offering strategic advice on navigating federal export and trade issues. Sasser currently teaches a course on Asia’s emerging economies as an adjunct at Belmont University.