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- Regional Issues
1:35pm: Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Peer Regions Panel
Moderator: Toks Omishakin, Tennessee Chief of Environment and Planning
In October of 2011, Toks Omishakin was appointed Assistant Commissioner and Chief of the Bureau of Environment and Planning at the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). In this position, he guides TDOT’s continued success in establishing transportation planning, policy, and performance and the necessary communication that is required with other governmental agencies, organizations, the general public and legislative bodies. He is responsible for the bureau’s administrative and project budget that exceeds $250 million annually. He leads the activities of the divisions of Environment, Long-Range Planning, Project Planning and Multimodal Transportation Resources.
Moderator: Shari Meghreblian, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Bureau of the Environment Deputy Commissioner
Shari Meghreblian joined TDEC as Deputy Commissioner on May 2, 2011 to oversee the department’s environmental regulatory programs for the protection of Tennessee’s air, land and water. Meghreblian is TDEC’s representative on Governor Haslam’s Top to Bottom Review Committee and the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Fast Track Infrastructure Development Program. Meghreblian has more than twenty years of combined experience in private sector manufacturing and environmental management systems. She came to TDEC from General Motors’ plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, where she served as the environmental operations manager since 2005. A Kentucky native with roots in family farming, Meghreblian has been active in environmental and business advocacy across Tennessee for more than two decades, holding membership in numerous organizations such the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Air and Waste Management Association; Tennessee Environmental Council; The Nature Conservancy; and the Harpeth River Watershed Association.
Rusty Bloodworth, Founding Member, ULI Memphis District Council
Rusty Bloodwordth of Memphis, TN is a distinguished leader in both the business and planning communities of Southwest Tennessee. In addition to his work as a founder and chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Memphis District Council, Bloodworth has been directly involved in the development of $200 million of office facilities (twenty-three major office facilities exceeding 2 million square feet) from pre-zoning through occupancy. He has directed the planning, zoning and development of six major multiple use projects in excess of 2,000 acres, including Ridgeway Center, the Regalia, Humphreys Center, Schilling Farms, Century Center and River Oaks. Bloodworth serves on Shelby County Mayor Wharton’s Sustainability Commission. He also has served as a Trustee for Memphis University School, Presbyterian Day School and the Hutchison School. He was Chairman of “Paint the Town Red” for City Beautiful and served on the Poplar Corridor Task force in the mid 80’s. He is a Director of Financial Federal Savings and Loan.
Joe Barker, Executive Director, Southwest Tennessee Development District
Joe Barker is the Executive Director of the Southwest Tennessee Development District in Jackson, Tennessee. SWTDD is a regional planning and economic development organization that serves eight counties. He has a diverse background in public service in both state and local government. Barker has served as Mayor of Savannah, Tennessee and Mayor of Hardin County, Tennessee. While serving in local government, Savannah was recognized as the most improved city in the state. Barker serves on numerous state and national economic development boards and is a frequent speaker on rural economic development strategies and initiatives.
Beth Jones, Southeast Tennessee Development District Chattanooga
Beth Jones serves as Executive Director of the Southeast Industrial Development Association (SEIDA) and the Southeast Tennessee Development District (“District”). These organizations share a staff to cost effectively plan and implement programs resulting in the economic and community development of the southeast region of the Tennessee RiverValleyBasin in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Ms. Jones oversees the overall organization which has an average annual budget of $20MM and a staff of 90 – 100 employees. Ms. Jones has been with SEIDA and the District for 18 years starting as a regional planner and project administrator. She was promoted to Economic Development Director in June of 2004; and prior to being selected as Executive Director in July of 2006, served as Deputy Director of Planning and Economic Development. During her tenure in Economic Development, Ms. Jones has had the pleasure to work on small and large industrial locations and expansions including Volkswagen, Denso Manufacturing, Thyssen Krupp Waupaca, Hubbard Farms, Valmont, Seymour Tubing and Toyo Seat to name a few. Furthermore, she had had the privilege of collaborating on several regional initiatives such as the Corridor K Coalition, the Tri-State Work Force Alliance and THRIVE 2055.
Tom Beehan, Oak Ridge Mayor and PlanET Board of Mayors Chair
Mayor Tom Beehan has served on the Oak Ridge City Council since 2001. He served as Mayor Pro Tem for his first six years and became mayor in 2007. He has continued to service as mayor since and was re-elected in 2012.Mayor Beehan currently serves as Chair of the Energy Communities Alliance, a non-profit association of local governments and community groups that are host or adjacent to Department of Energy (DOE) defense environmental cleanup sites and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) national laboratories. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership, and Aid to Distressed Families of Anderson County (ADFAC), a community-based United Way agency working to address the diverse needs of low-income families in East Tennessee. He is also a member of the East Tennessee Economic Council.
3:30pm: “Great Leaders Creating Great Communities” Panel
Moderator: Ken Moore, Mayor of Franklin
Dr. Ken Moore, Mayor of Franklin is the 31st Mayor and second physician to head the City of Franklin. Ken practiced orthopedic surgery for more than twenty-eight years and gained recognition on a state and national level as a leader. In May 2012 he was elected to serve as the Chair of the Middle Tennessee Mayor’s Caucus that covers a 10-county area with a population of 1.67 million people, comprising of 27 percent of Tennessee’s population. In the same month, Mayor Moore was given the Leadership in Regional Thinking and Action Award at the Power of Ten Summit.
Jo Ann Graves, Mayor of Gallatin
Jo Ann Graves, mayor of the city of Gallatin, TN, is a longtime CRT partner and a leading regional actor in comprehensive planning. Under Graves, the city of Gallatin embarked on an effort to prepare a comprehensive revision to the City of Gallatin General Development and Transportation Plan utilizing best planning practices and smart growth principals. The revolutionary Gallatin on the Move 2020 General Development and Transportation Plan was the result of those outstanding efforts.
Rick Bernhardt, Nashville/Davidson County Planning Director
Nashville Planning Director Rick Bernhardt is a seasoned leader in planning and the Middle Tennessee region’s future. Most recently, Bernhardt has worked to guide and shape the development of the Nashville 2040 General Plan. “Rick has extensive experience at all levels of planning and has our city’s best interest at heart when it comes to land use,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Updating the Nashville General Plan is critical to providing a strategic path for our city and identifying ways for our community to grow and prosper while preserving the natural and cultural features that make Nashville special.”
Howard Bradley, Mayor of Robertson County
Robertson County Mayor Bradley was re-elected to a third term in 2010. He represents the county on the Regional Transportation Authority, Greater Nashville Regional Council, Mid Cumberland Human Resource Agency and the Workforce Essentials Board of Directors. In his time as mayor, Bradley was a key figure in the drafting and updating of the groundbreaking Realizing Robertson Growth and Development Plan, which included public visioning sessions and updated strategies to protect open space and guide the county’s future.
Jonathan Garner, Robertson County Commissioner
Commissioner Jonathan Garner, of Robertson County’s tenth district, is another outstanding regional leader in comprehensive planning and growth management. Along with Mayor Bradley, Garner was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Realizing Robertson Growth and Development Plan and the Realizing Robertson’s Future project.
4:15pm: Middle Tennessee Leaders Panel
Charles Bone, Founder and Chairman, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
Charles W. Bone is the founder and chairman of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC. He serves as a classic “Trusted Advisor” to clients seeking advice on corporate and litigation issues, especially for “big deals” or “bet the company” matters. His experience covers many industries and many areas of law, including business formation, mergers and acquisitions, capital creation, joint ventures, financial institutions, media law and government relations.
Charles serves in leadership roles for many civic and charitable organizations. He is on the board of directors of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and recently, at the invitation of Mayor Karl Dean and the Middle Tennessee Mayor’s Caucus, coordinated the formation of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. The Alliance is composed of public and private sector volunteers whose mission is to develop a plan for funding public transit in Middle Tennessee. In August 2009, Governor Bredesen appointed Charles to a six year term on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. He is also a member of Nashville’s Agenda and an alumnus of Leadership Nashville.
Ed Cole, Executive Director, Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
Ed has just been appointed as the first Executive Director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. Most recently, Ed was the first Chief of Environment and Planning, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) from 2003 to 2007. Prior to his TDOT role, Ed was the first Executive Director of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a 10-county regional visioning organization across Middle Tennessee. Before becoming head of Cumberland Region Tomorrow, Ed served nearly 20 years in local and state government, including Deputy Commissioner and acting Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Ed has taught government and planning at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, George Peabody College in Nashville, and the University of Sydney in Australia.
Ed has a BA from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon; an MA from the University of Florida and an MS in Planning from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also a graduate of Leadership Middle Tennessee.
Ed’s son, Erik, is on the Metro Council in Nashville and his daughter in law, Jen, has just been appointed Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. Ed’s wife, Pat, is scholarship director for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. They delight in their grandchildren, Owen and Alice.
4:30pm: Regional Call To Action
Karl Dean, Mayor of Nashville
Karl Dean is the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. He was elected on Sept. 11, 2007 and was re-elected on Aug. 4, 2011 to serve a second term. During his time in office, Dean has led Nashville through two big challenges – a deep national recession and a 1,000-year flood – and has still made progress on his priorities of education, public safety and economic development. He also works diligently on efforts to sustain and improve Nashville’s high quality of life. Mayor Dean’s priorities are improving schools, making neighborhoods safer and bringing more and better jobs to Nashville. He also works to sustain and improve Nashville’s high quality of life through numerous initiatives that promote health, sustainability and volunteerism.
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