International Paper Sees Record Fluff Pulp Sales

Memphis-based International Paper Co. reported second-quarter net earnings of $80 million, or 19 cents per share, Thursday, July 27. That compares to $40 million in net earnings for the second quarter of 2016.

IP chairman and CEO Mark Sutton termed the results “solid” in a Thursday conference call with analysts and investors. He attributed the good numbers to record fluff pulp sales and healthy demand in the global company’s North American Industrial Packaging business.

The packaging, pulp and paper products corporation said box shipments in industrial packaging were strong in the U.S. Printing papers had lower sales volume in North America, but higher export sales volume in Brazil.

Consumer packaging posted an operating loss of $14 million after earning $33 million in the first quarter. IP attributed the loss to annual outage expenses and “reliability issues” at its Augusta, Georgia, mill.

– Bill Dries

MEM Hits 2 Million Enplanements in 2017

Memphis International Airport reached 2 million enplanements in fiscal year 2017, the first time it has reached that level since 2012.

Forrest Artz, CFO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, told the authority’s board Thursday, July 27, MEM totaled 2,035,413 enplanements in FY2017 compared to 1,968,861 in FY2016, a 3.3 percent increase. June 2017 enplanements (197,389) increased by more than 10,000 compared to June 2016, a 5.4 percent increase overall.

Also notable was the increase in available seats at MEM, Artz reported, with June featuring an average of 7,650 seats per day, an increase of more than 200 seats per day compared to May.

The increased passenger numbers and seats reflect a growing MEM market that has experienced flight additions such as Air Canada’s nonstop service to Toronto, summer seasonal flights by Southwest and Allegiant, as well as larger planes added by other carriers such as Frontier Airlines.

– Patrick Lantrip

Back to School Fair July 29 At Miss. Boulevard Church

Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church and local partners will offer services to families and children in preparation of the first day of school during a Back to School and Community Health Fair on Saturday, July 29.

The event, featuring health and dental screenings and immunizations, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd.

“It is shocking when you hear the number of children who lack the basic necessities for the first day of school,” said senior pastor J. Lawrence Turner. “We, as a community, must unite to fill this gap.”

Over the past 16 years, the health fair has been hosted in the Whitehaven area. However, with the event’s popularity, organizers decided to move it to a facility that can accommodate more people.

“We were searching for a permanent place to call home and The Boulevard shared our desire to support our local community,” event organizer Harold Collins said. “It seemed like a perfect fit.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will include medical screenings, on-site registration for Shelby County Schools, pre-K screenings, and immunizations needed to return to school this fall. And 1,000 backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies will be given away. For more, visit or call 901-729-6222.

– Don Wade

Kroger Delays Development Of Arlington Marketplace

The Kroger Co. has announced it is putting the proposed Kroger Marketplace location in Arlington on hold indefinitely.

“We are optimistic about the future of our new Arlington Marketplace store. However, at this time, the project has been delayed until further notice,” the company said in a statement.

The marketplace was to anchor the 24-acre Shops at Arlington Village, which broke ground last year at Milton Wilson Boulevard and Airline Road.

The Kroger Marketplace concept includes home fashion and decor, bed and bath, kitchen and small appliances, apparel and shoes, among other things.

The company apologized for the delay, citing a refocusing of capital expenditures to customer experience and technology initiatives.

– Patrick Lantrip

Haslam Taps Memphian As THDA Board Chair

Gov. Bill Haslam has named Memphis-area homebuilder Kim Grant Brown chair of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency board of directors.

Brown, who was appointed to the THDA board in December 2015, is the first woman to serve as its chair. She led her first board meeting Tuesday, July 25.

Brown is a third-generation homebuilder who manages her own construction company and has a partnership with her family’s real estate firm, Grant & Co. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, she served as the president of the West Tennessee Home Builders Association for 2014, the first woman and youngest person to do so.

“I have enjoyed my time on the THDA Board of Directors already, and I’m grateful to the governor for giving me this additional opportunity,” Brown said in a statement. “THDA’s work in helping families achieve their dreams follows my family’s traditions and business focus.”

THDA was created by the state Legislature in 1973 to provide loans, grants, tax credits and other financing opportunities to encourage the construction, repair and preservation of affordable housing and to help ensure the housing market meets the needs of every Tennessean, regardless of income, disability or age.

– Daily News staff

SCO Opens FocalPoint Telemedicine Clinic

Southern College of Optometry has opened FocalPoint, the first facility of its kind in the United States to offer completely paperless telemedicine via a service called EyecareLive.

FocalPoint’s 8,000-square-foot clinic has four doctors and offers several technological advances for eye health along with exclusive eyewear lines. The clinic also provides clinical instruction space for the college’s students.

“FocalPoint brings to life the vision for a hybrid clinic delivering ‘Care Anywhere,’” said Dr. Moshe Mendelson, co-founder and chief medical officer of EyecareLive, in a statement. “The paperless facility allows patients to digitally check in, manage their records and follow up with doctors on the telemedicine platform.”

Along with increasing patient access, FocalPoint is one of 12 locations in the U.S. to offer customizable eyewear through Hoya’s Yuniku system, which uses 3-D scanning and 3-D printing to create eyewear tha fits facial characteristics.

The new clinic shares space with Church Health Eye Care, allowing for integrated care to serve patients across varying demographics and socio-economic profiles, according to SCO.

“Having several health care disciplines under one roof allows Southern College of Optometry to better integrate patient care and education,” said Dr. James Venable, vice president of clinical programs at SCO. “The concept of interprofessional health care education is spreading, and SCO is at the forefront of this movement.”

– Daily News staff

Big River Crossing to Hold Half-Marathon, 5K

Big River Crossing will mark its first anniversary this fall with the Big River Crossing Half Marathon and 5K, benefiting the Peer Power Foundation.

Set for Oct. 21, the half-marathon will be the first to allow participants to cross the Arkansas-Tennessee state line via the Big River Crossing, a pedestrian bridge above the Mississippi River. Half-marathon runners also will traverse the Big River Trail’s Loop, a 7-mile, paved path through the Arkansas floodplains that is scheduled to open to the public by the end of the summer.

In addition to the half-marathon, the race day will feature a 5K through Downtown Memphis, though the 5K runners will not cross the bridge. Both races will start at Tom Lee Park, with the 5K at 8 a.m. and the half-marathon at 8:30 a.m.

The race will benefit Peer Power Foundation, a Memphis-based nonprofit that recruits and trains high-performing high school and college students to tutor and mentor their peers.

At roughly a mile long, Big River Crossing is the country’s longest active bike-pedestrian rail bridge and the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River. Visit for more details about the race.

– Don Wade

UrbanArt Commission Will See Tighter City Guidelines

Memphis City Council chairman Berlin Boyd put his move to abolish the UrbanArt Commission on hold Tuesday, July 25, in favor of tighter oversight of the UAC’s public art program, which totals 1 percent of city expenditures on capital projects.

Boyd held up the city’s annual funding of the commission and talked of moving the public art program to the city’s Parks and Neighborhoods Division instead. But Parks and Neighborhoods Director Maria Munoz Blanco outlined two plans: The city could transfer the program to her department, or it could implement tighter controls and more accountability measures, including the use of more local artists.

Boyd said he was willing to see how the city oversight of UAC developed and worked. Councilman Worth Morgan said he would move to restore $650,000 in city funding to the commission once the new rules are in place.

In other matters Tuesday, council members approved plans for a used car lot at 2514 Mount Moriah Road, the site of the old Platinum Plus strip club. The council also delayed to the first meeting in August a vote on a convenience store with gas pumps on South Parkway at Interstate 240. And it set an Aug. 8 public hearing and vote on the KNM Development Group LLC hotel proposed for 404 Beale St.

Council members also approved $565,000 in capital funding for the city’s build-out of its space in the Universal Life Insurance Building, located at Danny Thomas Boulevard and Martin Luther King Avenue. The renovated building with Egyptian-style architectural flourishes is to be a location of the city’s minority business development offices.

And the council approved on third and final reading an ordinance that reduces the fee for having a boot removed from cars illegally parked on private lots from $125 to $50. It also sets a time limit on boot companies to come and remove the boot once a car owner finds the device on his or her vehicle.

– Bill Dries

L’École Culinaire-Memphis Taps New Campus Director

L’École Culinaire-Memphis, which offers training in culinary skills, has chosen Ken Hause to be its new campus director.

Hause brings more than 13 years of experience in higher education leadership, with more than a decade in culinary education as president of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Las Vegas, and as campus director for the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado.

In a statement about his appointment, Hause said many of L’Ecole’s students have gone on to achieve acclaim in regional and national restaurant properties, and added, “I am passionate about continuing to provide our students with a world-class culinary education.”

– Andy Meek

Tigers’ Men’s Tennis Earns Academic Honor

The University of Memphis men’s tennis team has earned its 13th Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team honor for having a team GPA of 3.2 or higher. Memphis also had four players honored as ITA Scholar-Athletes for posting a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the past academic year.

This is a second ITA Scholar-Athlete honor for Shakeel Manji, Chris Patzanovsky and Felix Rauch and is the first academic honor from the ITA for rising senior Andrew Watson.

Manji is a rising senior at Memphis who teamed with Turner Voges for a doubles title at the Louisville Fall Invitational last year and was last named an ITA Scholar-Athlete in 2015 as a freshman.

Patzanovsky and Felix are both rising juniors at Memphis. Patzanovsky presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research hosted by the University of Memphis last spring. His project was titled “Conceptual Improvement in Understanding Physics: Integrating Computer Simulation Package PhET.” The physics major also was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete as a freshman.

Rauch played six singles and three doubles for a majority of a spring season that saw Memphis go 15-9 and qualify for the NCAA tournament for a fifth time in six seasons. Like Patzanovsky, Rauch was an ITA Scholar-Athlete as a freshman.

Watson, who played one doubles and two singles for Memphis for a majority of the season, finishing the year ranked 104 in the country in singles and 68 in the country in doubles with teammate Kai Lemke. Watson was 19-9 in singles as a junior and was 9-9 at one doubles with Lemke, including seven matches against nationally ranked opponents.

– Don Wade

TruGreen Hires New CFO As It Looks to Drive Growth

Memphis-based TruGreen has named a new chief financial officer as current CFO David Martin transitions into the new role of vice president of sourcing and accounting.

Brian Hamm comes to the lawn care and outdoor services company from Energizer Holdings, where he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He has held financial positions at a number of global corporations, including PepsiAmericas and Price Waterhouse.

As TruGreen’s CFO, Hamm will be responsible for ensuring the company’s finances enable it to continue to drive growth.

“Brian brings a strong background to our finance team from his experience at several global companies where he was instrumental in providing the financial strategy and leadership to help the organizations get to the next level of growth,” said TruGreen president and CEO David Alexander in a statement. “With Brian, I’m confident we’ll be well positioned to meet our goals of consistent profitable growth moving forward.”

TruGreen had been a ServiceMaster brand until it was spun off into a separate business in January 2014. It merged with Scotts LawnService in April 2016, creating the largest lawn care company in North America.

Headquartered in East Memphis, TruGreen has around 260 branches in the U.S. and Canada, along with about 35 franchise locations, and services more than 2.3 million residential and commercial customers across the United States with lawn, tree and shrub care.

– Daily News staff

Mueller Posts Stable Second-Quarter Earnings

Memphis-based Mueller Industries Inc. posted net income of $27.6 million for the second quarter of 2017, or 48 cents per diluted share. The figure released Tuesday, July 25, compares to net income of $27.8 million for the second quarter of 2016.

Mueller, which manufactures copper and copper alloy tubing and fittings as well as similar goods made of aluminum, steel and plastic, reported net sales rose 13 percent to $614.3 million for the quarter compared to $544.1 million a year ago, which it attributed to higher prices and higher unit volumes.

Its operating highlights for the quarter including acquiring the PexCor and HeatLink companies in May and exiting a joint venture in a China tube mill in June following what the company has described as years of “mediocre performance and increasingly challenging business conditions.”

Mueller executives said they intend to reallocate cash and other resources from the China venture to new mills in Utah and Bahrain and other undertakings.

The company is considered a bellwether of the housing market because its products are used in construction.

“Business conditions in the markets we serve are on track with our expectations for 2017,” said Mueller CEO Greg Christopher in a statement. “Construction activity in the U.S. continues to provide steady demand for many of our products and improvement in industrial demand after several years of softness is encouraging.”

– Bill Dries

Collierville Design Firm Relocates to Memphis

The Kitbash Brand Design team has moved from Collierville to the Broad Avenue Arts District.

Founded by Jeff Rodgers in 2013, Kitbash is a creative agency that had been located at the Collierville Town Square. After months of searching, Rodgers and his team of creatives found a 2,400-square-foot space at the corner of Bingham Street and Broad Avenue.

Rodgers said the move will present the firm with more opportunities to help businesses grow.

The firm’s clients have included Triumph Bank, International Paper and Espero Pharmaceuticals, among others. Rodgers and his team can handle tasks such as business naming; photography; videography; packaging; apparel; social media; and logo, print and website design.

– Andy Meek

Cardinals Fantasy Camp To Be Held Sept. 14-17

The St. Louis Cardinals have scheduled a Fantasy Camp for Sept. 14-17 at AutoZone Park in Memphis. The four-day camp will give fans an opportunity to play alongside former Cardinal players such as Rick Ankiel, Jason Isringhausen and Bo Hart, be drafted and managed by Cardinals alumni Danny Cox and Tom Lawless and interact with Cardinal legends Whitey Herzog and Willie McGee.

Throughout the four-day camp, 44 campers will receive instruction and play four games under the management of a former Cardinals player. All four team rosters, managed by John Costello, Cox, Lawless and Gene Roof, will be determined by a draft, with the former Cardinals/team managers selecting their players.

Two former Cardinals will also be drafted onto each roster and will play alongside the rest of the team. Former Cardinals scheduled to play alongside campers include Ankiel, Scott Cooper, Mike Crudale, Ed Easley, Bernard Gilkey, Hart, Kyle McClellan, Jason Simontacchi and Brad Thompson.

All campers will receive two authentic, customized Memphis Redbirds jerseys and use a personalized locker in the visitors’ locker room at AutoZone Park during the round-robin tournament. At the end of the weekend, one team will be crowned Cardinals Fantasy Camp Champions and receive fantasy camp championship rings.

Camp registration includes a three-night stay at the DoubleTree Hotel Memphis Downtown, along with a private reception and Cardinals alumni autograph sessions on Sept. 14 and a dinner banquet featuring Herzog and a live auction on Sept. 15. Dave LaPoint will serve as fantasy camp commissioner, leading the camp along with Scott Terry.

A portion of the net proceeds from Cardinals Fantasy Camps benefit the Cardinals Kids Cancer Center at Mercy. For more information and camp registration, fans can visit or email Campers must be 27 or older.

– Don Wade

Tenn. Accounting Firms Merge, Memphis Will be HQ

Memphis-based certified public accounting firm Brundige Payne & Co. PC is set to merge with Chattanooga-based Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, effective Aug. 1. The combined company, to be called HHM Memphis, will move to a centrally located headquarters at Memphis’ Kirby Centre, 1755 Kirby Parkway, in October.

Brundige Payne & Co. partners and employees are continuing in their current roles, and client service will be seamless as the transition to HHM Memphis is completed.

According to the companies, the combination of resources will provide a greater depth of expertise and wider array of services while continuing both firms’ traditions of quality work and customer service.

HHM Memphis will offer traditional and customized services to help move businesses forward with strategic planning and wealth retention. HHM’s affiliate companies – HHM Wealth Advisors and Southside Creative Group – will offer the Memphis area additional services of wealth management, retirement planning, branding, marketing, public relations and graphic design.

“We knew HHM would allow us to provide a broader range of services and deepen our capabilities to give our clients results-driven solutions,” Brundige Payne & Co. managing partner Bob Payne said in a written statement. “We look forward to serving more industries with our same exceptional personalized service for which we’ve become recognized.”

HHM managing partner Donnie Hutcherson said his company is pleased to partner with Brundige Payne.

“The partners there have established a legacy in Memphis, and we look forward to working with their clients to continue the level of service to which they are accustomed,” Hutcherson said.

– Daily News staff

John Madison Exum Towers Wraps Up $10M Renovation

John Madison Exum Towers, Memphis’ sixth-largest independent senior living facility, has completed a $10 million overhaul of Towers I and II, located at 3155 Sharpe Ave., and will unveil the renovations to the public Friday, July 28, at 10 a.m.

The renovations provide modern touches to the 240-unit high-rise facility, which was built in 1980, with the goal of meeting the needs of the aging baby boomer population.

The renovation project began in late 2015 through the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church’s partnership with Bluegreen Preservation & Development Co.; Charles E. Carpenter; Self + Tucker Architects; Patton & Taylor Construction; TESCO Properties; the Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of the city of Memphis; and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

– Patrick Lantrip

Radial Adding 3,000 Seasonal Workers

Omni-channel commerce technology and operations company Radial is adding 3,000 seasonal workers at its Memphis fulfillment center.

Radial is looking to beef up its fulfillment capabilities in advance of the holiday shopping season, the busiest time of the year in retail and ecommerce.

The company said its seasonal workers will have access to competitive hourly wages, overtime and holiday pay, flexible work schedules, employee discounts, and a referral bonus program, in addition to longer-term opportunities.

Visit for more information on the local seasonal job openings.

– Patrick Lantrip

‘Fed Up’ Campaign Warns Of Tougher Gun Penalties

The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and the city of Memphis have launched a marketing campaign to warn would-be offenders about tougher state penalties and possible federal prosecution for violent criminals in possession of a gun.

The “Fed Up” campaign raises awareness a new state law, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and passed this spring, that increases the penalty for a convicted felon with a firearm if the prior conviction is for a violent crime or drug trafficking. The law was a focal point of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s lobbying efforts as part of his long-term crime reduction strategy.

“We’re fed up. The citizens of Memphis are fed up with the type of senseless violent crime that claims lives and puts everyone’s quality of life at risk,” Strickland said in a statement. “This campaign will put violent criminals on notice – you’ll get a minimum of eight years in state prison for just having a gun, and when possible we’ll seek justice through our federal courts.”

With the new law in place, District Attorney General Amy Weirich and acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Lawrence J. Laurenzi have reaffirmed their commitment to prosecute violent criminals in possession of a gun at the federal level.

– Daily News staff

U of M Professor Chairs International Conferences

University of Memphis professor Xiangen Hu recently served as the local arrangement chair for the 18th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) and as conference chair for the 10th International Educational Data Mining Conference, both in Wuhan, China.

Hu is a professor in the University of Memphis’ departments of psychology, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering; the U of M’s Institute for Intelligent Systems; and at Central China Normal University.

According to the U of M, the artificial-intelligence conference provided opportunities for the cross-fertilization of approaches, techniques and ideas from the many fields that comprise AIED, including computer science, cognitive and learning sciences, education, game design, psychology, sociology and linguistics, as well as many domain-specific areas.

The EDM conference is the leading international forum for high-quality research that leverages educational data, learning analytics and machine learning to answer research questions that shed light on the learning processes.

– Don Wade

Violent Crime Up Locally Almost 10 Percent

Major violent crime in Memphis and countywide was up almost 10 percent for the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016, the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission reported July 21.

Major violent crime as a general category was up 9.9 percent for Memphis and 9.3 percent countywide even as the rate of murders – one of four specific categories that make up the general category – dropped 12.2 percent citywide and 14.9 percent countywide from a year ago.

The increase in violent crime was driven instead by a 14.5 percent increase in aggravated assaults in the city compared to the first half of 2016. Aggravated assaults rose 13.4 percent countywide year over year.

Major property crime citywide was up 10.6 percent from a year ago at this time, 9.4 percent countywide. The increase there was driven by a 37.2 percent increase in motor vehicle theft citywide, 34.6 percent countywide.

“None of us involved in meeting this challenge find the current situation acceptable,” said commission president Bill Gibbons, who is also executive director of the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute. “We must stay focused on continuing to implement steps that can have a positive impact on the level of crime and have a healthy sense of urgency about it.”

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said his officers will “continue to work diligently to implement and evaluate our crime fighting strategies.”

Rallings added that the spike in car thefts is the result of more motorists leaving their cars running while they run errands. “That invites theft,” he said in a written statement.

– Bill Dries

Christian Brothers Named College of Distinction

Christian Brothers University (CBU) named as one of the nation’s Colleges of Distinction by the online organization of the same name.

The annual process of selecting the nation’s Colleges of Distinction requires that institutions adhere to four distinctions — engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes. The process includes a review of each institution’s freshman experience, as well as its general education program, strategic plan, alumni success, satisfaction measures and more.

This year, CBU also earned the exceptional honor of being among only 27 colleges or universities in the nation to receive recognition in all four of Colleges of Distinction’s academic categories – business, engineering, education and nursing.

– Don Wade

UTHSC Researcher Wins Grant to Fight Strep Throat

Dr. James Dale, the Gene H. Stollerman Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has won a $3.9 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The funding will be used to develop a safe, broadly effective, and affordable vaccine to prevent strep throat and its complications.

Dale, together with a University of Tennessee lab in Knoxville and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is developing a new approach to design and develop the vaccine.

Dale and his team are using the new funding to develop a universal vaccine that could have a major impact on the health of millions of people worldwide.

– Andy Meek