VOL. 132 | NO. 236 | Wednesday, November 29, 2017
FedEx Agrees to Buy At Least 50 Cessna Planes
FedEx Corp. subsidiary FedEx Express has entered into a purchase agreement with Textron Aviation Inc. to buy 50 Cessna SkyCourier 408 planes, with an option to purchase up to 50 more. The purchase is part of FedEx’s strategy to modernize its fleet of feeder aircraft, which allow the Memphis-based shipping giant to provide fast, economical service to small and medium-sized markets.
Delivery of the first Cessna SkyCourier plane is expected in mid-2020, with subsequent deliveries on a schedule of one per month over a four-year period.
“This continues our very successful fleet modernization strategy, which improves our fuel efficiency, reliability and operating costs,” David L. Cunningham, president and CEO of FedEx Express, said in a statement. “We worked closely with Textron Aviation to develop the Cessna SkyCourier 408, which includes several key features that will help us grow our business in small and medium-sized markets, especially in the air freight segment.”
Some of those features include a twin-engine, high-wing turboprop; a digital cockpit; and a flat-floor cabin equipped to handle up to three containers totaling 6,000 pounds.
In addition, the SkyCourier has a larger cargo door than FedEx’s current feeder aircraft, which the company says will support container and pallet operations to help it provide faster service to air freight customers who ship to or from smaller markets.
Earlier this month, FedEx announced an agreement to buy 30 ATR 72-600F aircraft with the option to buy up to 20 more as a first step to modernizing the company’s feeder fleet.
“These aircraft purchases are part of our long-term feeder fleet strategy,” Greg Hall, executive vice president of air operations at FedEx Express said. “That strategy will not only improve our fuel efficiency and fleet reliability, but thanks to a collaborative training program we are planning, will create a reliable pipeline of well-qualified pilot applicants for FedEx Express pilot jobs, leveraging the experience they will gain in our feeder system.”
– Patrick Lantrip
FedEx Reportedly Looking To Move PGA Event
John Feinstein, author of “A Good Walk Spoiled” and the host of a PGA Tour radio show by the same name, was perhaps playing spoiler when he said on his radio show that FedEx wants to bring one of the four annual World Golf Championships to Memphis.
Crain’s Cleveland Business reported that the move could happen in 2019. Crain’s quoted Feinstein as saying sources told him FedEx is lobbying to move a World Golf Championship event to Memphis, possibly the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational event in Akron, Ohio, held annually in August. Bridgestone’s title sponsorship for that event reportedly ends in 2018.
The annual FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind is held each June, with the 2018 tournament slated for June 4-10.
“Anything around 2019 is extremely premature,” said FESJC tournament director Darrell Smith, adding, “It is well-documented there will be significant changes in the 2019 PGA schedule.”
When asked about pros and cons of June vs. August in Memphis, Smith said, “It doesn’t matter to me whenever we play. It’s having a regular event on the PGA calendar every year. Tee it up.”
If Memphis did get a WGC event, it could dramatically enhance the player field. Although it’s not one of golf’s four Grand Slam tournaments, WGC events fall in line behind them in prestige.
“Best of the best,” Smith said. “Many top 50 players.”
– Don Wade
Former Collierville Band Director Charged With Theft
The former band director of Collierville Middle School, Jason Seek, was arrested and charged with theft of property over $60,000 the day before Thanksgiving, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
The state office announced Seek’s arrest Tuesday, Nov. 28, as a result of the comptroller’s investigation. Comptroller Justin Wilson opened the investigation after Collierville Schools officials reported that bank records from Seek looked suspicious to them.
The report released Tuesday alleges Seek stole at least $133,064 from the band booster club over a five-year period that began in December 2011 by withdrawing cash, using the booster club’s debit card, writing checks and transferring money from the club’s account for his personal benefit. In addition, the report alleges he attempted to conceal the theft by creating false bank statements and a false financial report and by signing the name of a former band booster treasurer on checks.
Investigators noted most of the cash withdrawals coincided with trips to gambling establishments around the country.
Seek admitted to the theft, according to the report, and resigned his position at the school in April.
Wilson said the case demonstrates lax enforcement of financial standards, a common issue in such school-related organizations.
“Booster clubs are required by law to adopt procedures for safeguarding money, but many organizations have failed to do so,” Wilson said in a written statement. “For most of the five-year period, the former band director was the only person who handled the booster club’s money. When one person has total control, it invites the possibility of wrongdoing.”
– Bill Dries
ALCO to Renovate Two Affordable Housing Sites
Memphis-based affordable housing management company ALCO Management Inc. has announced two of its properties, Eastern Heights and Creekwood Apartments, will undergo an $8 million upgrade using funding from financial and governmental partnerships, since both locations are considered affordable housing properties.
The investment means each unit at the two properties will get $36,500 for interior and exterior renovations, including new central heat and air systems; LED light fixtures; new bathrooms; kitchen systems and appliances; and new siding, roofs and windows for the exterior.
“The renovation of these properties aligns perfectly with our dedication to building community,” ALCO CEO Frank Jemison said in a release. “We are excitedly anticipating the outcome for these properties.”
Additionally, more communal-oriented enhancements will include new community spaces, playgrounds, extra lighting and camera systems for increased security.
ALCO is partnering with GSB Contractors Inc. and Mitch Hall of MMH Hall Architects/Planners Inc. for the design and construction work, while First Tennessee Bank, First Tennessee Housing Corp. and Wells Fargo Bank are its financial partners.
On the governmental side, the Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of Memphis, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contributed to the project.
Renovations are expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2018.
– Patrick Lantrip
Kail, DeSaussure File In May County Primaries
Attorney Danny Kail has filed in the May 1 Republican primary for Shelby County clerk and incumbent Republican Criminal Court Clerk Richard DeSaussure has filed for re-election.
Kail and DeSaussure filed their qualifying petitions with the Shelby County Election Commission Monday, Nov. 27.
Kail is running for the seat currently held by Republican Wayne Mashburn, who is term-limited. Mashburn has pulled a petition to run for register of deeds. Incumbent Register Tom Leatherwood, who also is term-limited, is expected to run in the Republican primary for Circuit Court clerk, where incumbent Republican Jimmie Moore is retiring at the end of his current term.
DeSaussure’s office is not term-limited. He is running for a second four-year term. He previously served as chief administrative officer and chief staff attorney for the clerk’s office.
Two more contenders for one of the six open seats on the Shelby County Commission made it official Monday by pulling petitions for the District 5 seat: Geoff Diaz in the Republican primary and Michael Whaley in the Democratic primary.
The seat is currently held by commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer, who is term-limited.
Diaz, who ran for a different commission seat in 2014 as the Republican nominee, and Whaley, the Tennessee director of the nonprofit Leadership for Educational Equity, join Richard Morton and Shelandra Ford who pulled petitions for District 5 on the opening day of the filing period.
The deadline for candidates in the primaries to file with the election commission is Feb. 15 at noon.
– Bill Dries