VOL. 131 | NO. 90 | Thursday, May 5, 2016
Kemmons Wilson Insurance Hires Experienced CEO
Dave Thomas has joined Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group as its CEO. Thomas will lead the Memphis-based property and casualty insurance group in day-to-day operations and long-term growth.
Thomas has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry on both the carrier and agency side, according to KWIG. Most recently, he was CEO of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., a nonprofit property insurer.
“We are thrilled Dave has decided to join us,” Spence Wilson, Jr., chairman of the insurance group’s board, said in a statement. “We are a 64-year-old company with deep roots in the Mid-South. We are very excited about KWIG’s future prospects and believe that Dave’s leadership and experience will be a great complement to our team as we plan to take KWIG beyond its local/regional leadership within the industry.”
– Madeline Faber
Exchange Club Family Center Names Executive Director
The Exchange Club Family Center, an area nonprofit agency dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse and domestic violence, has named Jennifer Balink as its new executive director.
Barbara King, the executive director of the Center for the past 23 years, announced her retirement at a board meeting last June.
In her role as executive director, Balink will oversee all aspects of the center, including leadership, strategy and operations, fund development, and public and community relations. Balink will begin working alongside King in June and officially begin her role as executive director on July 1.
“I am excited about returning to work that focuses specifically on direct support for children and families – to carry forward the mission and spirit of a great organization, while also looking at new ways for the center to do even more in our community,” Balink said. “It’s a great personal honor for me as well, because Barbara has been a friend and colleague for many years. I respect and admire her greatly, and I know I have some very big shoes to fill.”
Balink joins the Center with nearly 30 years of leadership, nonprofit, fundraising, public affairs and marketing experience, most recently serving as vice president of donor relations at Lifeblood. Prior to that, she was special projects adviser to then-Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and co-founder of Shelby County Books from Birth.
– Don Wade
Liberty Bowl Set for Dec. 30, To Be Televised by ESPN
The 58th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl, featuring teams from the SEC and the Big 12 Conference, will be played Dec. 30 at 11 a.m. and televised by ESPN.
Last year’s game between Arkansas and Kansas State attracted the largest ESPN audience for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in history with more than 7 million viewers. Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium was sold out with an attendance of 61,136.
Tickets for the game are on sale now. For information about the game, as well as activities scheduled in the week leading up to it, visit autozonelibertybowl.org.
– Don Wade
Autism Clinics Opening in Memphis Area
New clinics serving children with autism and autism-related disorders, as well as their families, are on the way to the Memphis area.
The first of several clinics from Team Autism Memphis will be at 2018 Exeter Road, beside Germantown Speech Language and Learning Clinic. Another is planned for East Memphis, and clinicians will also be traveling to area preschools and private schools.
The clinic will offer a family-based, comprehensive approach to each individual and case. Services will include occupational, speech and language therapy, augmented and alternative communication, feeding therapy, applied behavior analysis, counseling, and identification of resources for children such as schools, other counselors and physicians.
The clinic will generate clients through referrals from physicians, parents, schools and the general public. New clients must make an appointment and fill out the required forms, which may be found on the TAM website, teamautism.org.
– Andy Meek
Frayser Truck Stop, Hotel Developers Change Plans
Developers of a truck stop with a hotel on Hollywood at Interstate 40 in Frayser have dropped plans for the truck stop.
Representatives of the developers, Hospitality Builders of America, announced the change Tuesday, May 3, as the city council delayed a vote on the planned development on the site of the old Treasury department store.
The plan has drawn opposition from some homeowners in the residential areas north of the site.
The developers didn’t say what the new plan involves but, according to council member Berlin Boyd, the new project involves Shawn Massey of the Shopping Center Group.
The council delayed a vote Tuesday on the project until July
The council approved a hotel/motel waiver for developers of a hotel in the Dermon Building, a vacant office building at 22 N. B.B. King Blvd. at Court Avenue.
A tire store by Halle Properties at 7684 U.S. 64 also won approval, as did an employee parking lot at Prescott and Raines roads for Delta Wholesale Liquors Inc.
The council also approved on third and final reading an ordinance that allows some exceptions to a tourism tax or fee to those who stay at most hotels in the city. Hotels that charge less than $35 a night and have fewer than 45 rooms would be exempt from the fee. The council amended the fee guidelines to the $35, 45-room threshold after rejecting a proposal by council member Martavius Jones for $43 and 43 rooms.
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Kevin Kane warned against going above the 35-room limit, saying it could affect revenue projections. But ultimately he approved of the compromise proposed by Boyd.
– Bill Dries
As Big 12 Ponders Expansion, American on Guard for Losses
The Big 12 presidents will consider in the coming weeks whether the league should expand, leaving the American Athletic Conference on guard for the possibility of one or more defections.
“We always have plans for contingencies that might arise,” American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“It’s no secret that there could be more realignment. We discuss this a bit with our membership, but mainly to focus on the cohesion of the conference. We ask people to respect the membership. Because whatever happens, this is going to be a good, strong conference regardless.”
Big 12 athletic directors have been meeting in Phoenix this week. The 10-team conference continues to ponder whether adding two more members, splitting into divisions and playing a football championship game will help the league increase revenue and its chances to place a team in the College Football Playoff.
The Big 12 did not have either of its co-champions (Baylor and TCU) in the first playoff in 2014, but league champ Oklahoma reached the national semifinals last season.
At the meetings in Phoenix, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said a research firm presented data to the conference that showed switching to a 12-team, two division format, with eight conference games and a title game, would give the league about a 4 percent better chance to put a team in the playoff.
Ultimately, the decision will be made at the presidential level of each school, with plenty of input from athletic directors and Bowlsby.
The next Big 12 meetings start May 31 in Dallas and will include the university presidents and chancellors.
– The Associated Press