Owens Named MERI Executive Director

By Kate Simone

Jason K. Owens has been named executive director of the Medical Education & Research Institute. Owens previously served as education/research planning manager of the nonprofit medical teaching and training bioskills laboratory, and has led cross-functional initiatives specific to the MERI’s strategic education and research planning, mobile education development and operational management.


Hometown: Nashville

Experience: I have over 16 years of experience within the nonprofit bioskills industry. I believe strongly in the mission of the MERI, and I am focused on ensuring the highest-quality facility and support for medical education and research programs in all areas of medicine.

Favorite quote: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” – Carl Sagan

Favorite movie: “Apollo 13”

What’s playing on your stereo right now? Dave Matthews Band

Activities you enjoy outside of work: I am an active member of the local food community (Memphis in May BBQ competition, Memphis Best Burger competition, chili competition, etc.) and I enjoy cooking at home – it is how I relax after a long day.

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I had learned to play the guitar.

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? My wife. She has influenced me is so many ways. She is a wonderful wife, a great mother and a great leader.

What attracted you to MERI? I have always been interested in biology and science. Working at the MERI was an incredible opportunity to tap into and utilize my passion in this area. I realized early in my career that MERI plays a role in providing better patient care through research and education. When my father passed away at the young age of 43, it reinforced my drive to continue to be a part of something that improves lives.


What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I have to say that becoming a father is my greatest life accomplishment. Second to that, my 16-year journey at the MERI, from a young temporary employee to my new role as the executive director, and the experience I have gained in that process, is my greatest accomplishment.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Discover your passion and follow it.

William L. Gibbons Jr. has joined the Memphis office of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP as a member of the intellectual property protection and litigation service team. Gibbons concentrates his practice in litigation, counseling and solutions in the areas of intellectual property and complex commercial disputes.

Samuel Ward has been named general manager of the Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria. Ward previously served as a general manager, assistant general manager and assistant manager with a variety of hospitality brands in the Mid-South.

Daniel Wade has rejoined Obsidian Public Relations as an account manager. Wade started at Obsidian in 2007 as an intern and worked his way up to account executive before leaving in 2010 to become director of communications for Central Arkansas Christian Schools in Little Rock.

Minton Mayer has been elected to a one-year term as president of Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab. Other officers elected for one-year terms include: Gregg Landau, vice president/president elect; Scott Notowich, vice president; Dr. Lee Stein, treasurer; and Judy Royal, secretary. Dr. Gordon Gruen, Judy Moss and Dr. Audrey Zucker-Levin were elected to two-year terms as board members.

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library has been awarded Best in Show – Most Modern Architecture in Gale’s Libraries are Beautiful – Inside and Out photo contest for its image “Double Take.” The contest showcases libraries that make their communities a more beautiful place physically or metaphorically.