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VOL. 132 | NO. 241 | Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Daily Digest

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FedEx Makes 2017 List Of Best Workplaces for Diversity

FedEx Corp. has recently been named to the 2017 Best Workplaces for Diversity list by global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work and Fortune.

The Memphis-based shipping giant was ranked 13th on the list, which factored in more than 50 elements, including professional development, behaviors linked to innovation, leadership confidence and consistent treatment among employees of different backgrounds.

“At FedEx, our team members are our greatest asset, and fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment in which we can all thrive has always been a priority for us,” Judy Edge, FedEx’s corporate vice president of human resources, said in a written statement. “We are honored to be named one of the 2017 best workplaces for diversity and are committed to embracing and celebrating the differences and unique talents of our team members across the globe.”

Rankings for the Best Workplaces for Diversity 2017 list were based on more than 440,000 employee surveys from organizations spanning a wide range of industries across the United States, and accounted for the share of women, people of color, baby boomers and LGBTQ individuals in the workplace, among other factors.

The full list of the 2017 Best Workplaces for Diversity can be found at greatplacetowork.com.

– Patrick Lantrip

Dixie Cafe Closing All Locations

Dixie Cafe has abruptly announced the closure of all 17 restaurants in the chain, including two in the Memphis area.

The Southern-style home-cooking restaurant company, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has restaurants at 2861 Bartlett Blvd. in Bartlett and 4699 Poplar Ave. in Memphis. Its restaurants extend across Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the company has been in business for 35 years.

The closures are effective Thursday, Dec. 7.

In a statement about the pending closures, Dixie Cafe CEO Allan Roberts cited a tough operating environment for restaurant companies like his, along with other factors, including declining sales.

– Andy Meek

Shelby County Commission Rejects Jail Food Contract

Shelby County commissioners on Monday, Dec. 4, voted down a $4.4 million five-year contract with Aramark Correctional Services LLC for food service at the Shelby County jail through the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The commission delayed a vote on the contract in November after the newly appointed chief diversity officer to the commission, former county commissioner Shep Wilbun, said Aramark had failed to meet goals for locally owned and minority-owned business participation in the contract.

Aramark’s attorney, John Farris, denies that is the case and said again Monday that Aramark made a “good faith effort.”

“We have complied with the county’s requirements,” he said. “We submitted a valid proposal.”

Commissioner Eddie Jones said what Aramark called locally owned and minority firms weren’t certified as such.

“How can you have a good faith effort if all of your people are not qualified?” he asked. “I cannot support this because I’m not going to vote to create a law and turn around and knowingly vote to violate the very law I created.”

The sheriff’s office and county administration have an agreement with Aramark to continue food service to the jail through the end of February.

Also on Monday, the commission approved third and final reading of an ordinance creating a Binghampton Redevelopment Trust Fund to hold the property tax revenues from a tax increment financing district in the area. The TIF district is set to run for 30 years and generate $26 million in city and county property tax increment over that period to finance blight elimination, including proposals for affordable housing.

The district will be overseen by the city-county Community Redevelopment Agency.

The commission also gave final approval Monday to a hike in air emission fees that businesses pay. The fee per ton of emissions goes from $48 to $53. And the annual major source permit fee for non-automobile emission goes from $1,000 to $1,500.

– Bill Dries

Brad Martin Retires From First Horizon Board

R. Brad Martin, chairman of RBM Venture Co., has retired from the board of directors of Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., the parent company of First Tennessee Bank.

Martin, a member of First Horizon’s board since 1994, is former CEO and chairman of the board of Saks Inc. He is a director at two other public companies, Chesapeake Energy Corp. and FedEx Corp.

“I have been privileged to serve in this capacity for over 20 years and have great admiration for the heritage, values, leadership and team of First Horizon and First Tennessee,” Martin said in a statement about his departure from the board. “I have no doubt that the future of First Horizon is a very bright one, and I will continue to be a significant investor and cheerleader for this wonderful enterprise.”

– Andy Meek

Memphis Football Asst. Coach Chosen for Leadership Forum

University of Memphis quarterbacks and tight ends coach Kenny Dillingham has been selected to the American Football Coaches Association’s 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute that will take place Jan. 7 at the 2018 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dillingham was selected from a pool of 138 applicants and will attend the one-day institute, which features a series of lectures focused on topics specifically tailored to emphasize leadership in the coaching profession, ethics, influential responsibilities, career progression and family balance.

“Kenny is one of the best young coaches I’ve ever been around,” Tigers head coach Mike Norvell said. “He has a terrific offense mind, is a wonderful teacher of the game and is a relentless recruiter. He has an incredible future in front of him. …”

Dillingham is completing his first season as a full-time assistant coach for the University of Memphis, but is in his second season as a member of the Tigers coaching staff after joining the program as a graduate assistant coach in 2016.

On the recruiting front, Dillingham helped Memphis sign two of the highest-ranked recruiting classes in school history, even while not being able to travel as a recruiter in 2016 as a graduate assistant. Even with the travel restrictions, Dillingham was named the second-best recruiter in the American Athletic Conference by 247sports.com.

Dillingham began his coaching career in Arizona as a coach in the Athletes in Training program from 2008 to 2010. He also worked for the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, as a football camp manager while also coaching in several capacities, from freshman coach to offensive coordinator, at Chapparal High School.

– Don Wade

US Service Sector Grows At Slower Rate in November

U.S. services companies expanded at a slower pace in November, an unsurprising downshift after having grown in October at the fastest rate in a dozen years.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday, Dec. 5, that its services index slipped last month to 57.4 from 60.1 in October.

Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

The services sector has reported growth for 95 consecutive months, a positive sign for the overall U.S. economy.

Anthony Nieves, chair of ISM’s non-manufacturing business committee survey, said that growth in recent months reflects an improved global economy and increasing consumer confidence.

Companies may see an additional boost from the corporate tax cuts being pushed by President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional majorities, said Katherine Judge, an economist at TD Bank. The Senate and House are beginning to reconcile the differences in their two tax bills for final passage.

“All told, this report confirms that the services side of the economy will continue to support strong growth,” Judge said.

Measures of business activity, new orders and employment fell last month, but they remained in positive territory.

Sixteen sectors reported growth last month, with only agriculture saying activity had declined.

More than 70 percent of U.S. jobs comes from the service sector, so the signs of continued expansion point to steady gains for the broader economy in the coming months.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 50 226 2,557
MORTGAGES 44 145 1,731
BUILDING PERMITS 204 569 5,701