VOL. 126 | NO. 214 | Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Martin to Keynote Dunavant Awards
By Bill Dries
A business leader with roots in the city’s political and nonprofit communities will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards.
The Feb. 22 awards are presented by the Rotary Club of Memphis East and sponsored by The Daily News and the University of Memphis. The awards have recognized two public officials – one elected and one non-elected – since 2003.
The luncheon is at 11:45 a.m. at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave.
The keynote speaker is former Saks Inc. CEO Brad Martin, who was recently elected to the board of FedEx Corp. Martin is also a co-founder of The Martin Institute, a family-founded nonprofit working in education reform from the campus of Presbyterian Day School.
The institute is working with public and private school system educators in the region to examine best practices across traditional school system boundaries. The institute’s work comes against a backdrop of the still-forming consolidation of the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools systems.
Martin is also a former state representative.
Meanwhile, the awards committee is taking nominations from the public through Jan. 15 for the two awards.
Nomination forms can be found at www.rotaryclubofmemphiseast.org.
The awards were founded in honor of the late probate court clerk Bobby Dunavant who retired in 1994 after 21 years as clerk and died in 2003.
The awards were started not only to honor Dunavant’s record of integrity but as a reaction to corruption investigations at the time that involved several local elected officials.
The winners are selected by a committee that includes members of the Dunavant family and the Rotary Club. They judge the nominees based of their honesty, lack of pretentiousness, attentiveness, mentoring abilities and accessibility.
In Dunavant’s case, he kept his desk behind the counter in the probate court clerk’s office instead of taking one of the large offices in the courthouse. He also waited on attorneys and others at the counter as they filed papers with the courts.
The 2011 honorees were Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich. Weirich was appointed late last year to the position of the county’s chief prosecutor by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam after Haslam tapped her predecessor, Bill Gibbons, to be state commissioner of safety and homeland security.
Haslam was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.