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VOL. 131 | NO. 94 | Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dave Thomas Named CEO Of Kemmons Wilson Insurance

By Kate Simone

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Dave Thomas has joined Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group as chief executive officer. In this role, he’s responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations and also is tasked with growing the Memphis-based property and casualty insurance company. Thomas has 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, most recently serving as CEO of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.


Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Experience: I am a veteran of 40 years in the insurance industry in a variety of C-level disciplines: CEO, COO, CFO and chief marketing officer.

Family: I am married to my best friend, Susan, and together we have five children and eight grandchildren.

Favorite quote: “Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

Favorite movie: “The Blind Side”

The sports team(s) you root for: Indianapolis Colts, Purdue Boilermakers and Chicago Cubs

What’s playing on your stereo right now? Fox News

Activities you enjoy outside of work: Spending time with family, reading, music and golf

What talent do you wish you had? I have often dreamed of being a concert-worthy musician; however, I have settled for being a mediocre Elvis impersonator.

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? Luke Yeransian, founder and former CEO of FirstComp Insurance, because he showed me that with the proper dream, attitude and relentless energy, anything was possible.

What attracted you to Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group? The family owners of KWIG are tremendous people to work with, and the opportunity to transform this organization into a best-in-class, market leader is limitless.

What are your goals as CEO? My goals are many, but all spring from my desire to lead a high-performing team of associates to places they never thought possible – specifically, to build an organization that is worthy to bear the name of Kemmons Wilson.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishments are not just mine, but also those of the people I’ve been honored to lead throughout my career. Looking back, I suppose that together we have been successful in building three startups or early-stage organizations into highly successful, rapidly growing market leaders.

What do you most enjoy about your work? The thing that stokes my internal fire is working with great folks, and coaching and mentoring them to be the best they can be.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? My best advice to young people is to dream big, follow that dream and never stop believing that dreams can come true with the right levels of hard work and enthusiastic attitude.


Cindy Cranford has joined the Germantown Community Theatre staff as development coordinator. Cranford holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance from the University of Memphis and has more than 10 years of experience in sales.

Randy Hudgings has been elected to the Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon Inc. 2016 board of directors. Hudgings has 25 years of field and design office experience in civil and structural engineering and has worked on design/construction projects for government, private and commercial clients.


Cody Fletcher has joined Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South as director of special events and marketing. Prior to his role at JA, Fletcher served in a number of educational and leadership roles, including serving as operations manager for River City Motors Inc. 

Rhodes College has honored two faculty members for outstanding teaching and research. Scott Newstok, an associate professor in the department of English, received the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching. Carole Blankenship, an associate professor in the department of music, received the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Research and/or Creative Activity.

Carol Ross-Spang has joined the advisory board of WGU Tennessee. Ross-Spang is senior vice president of human resources for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a position she has held since 2001. 

Shoemaker Financial has announced financial advisers in their Germantown office that earned Million Dollar Round Table recognition for work done in 2015: Frank Allen, David Rochester, Landon Mills, Jim Whitehead, Bill Regenold, Patsy Jones, Teri Hirt and Jamie Cochran. In addition to earning MDRT, Allen and Rochester earned Court of Table, and Rochester also was named a Qualifying Life Member of MDRT.

For the ninth year in a row, Memphis University School Latin students finished in first place overall at the 2016 Tennessee Junior Classical League State Convention. In addition, seniors Dylan Echlin and Patrick Murphy took home Academic Best of Show awards.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597