By Janel Shoun on 10/18/2011
The Nashville region moved a step closer to new options for mass transit with the Oct. 12 graduation of 32 local government, nonprofit and private-sector leaders from the first Transit Citizen Leadership Academy, a joint venture of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee and the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University.
After the institute’s seven-session program exploring the historical and social impact of transportation , challenges facing Middle Tennessee’s transit system, analysis of success and failures and developing an individual leadership plan, among other topics, the inaugural class of leaders from 10 Middle Tennessee counties is now prepared to respond to regional mass transit needs and options more quickly and creatively. Participants were nominated by mayors and city managers throughout the region.
Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry recently visited with the inaugural class. He expressed his enthusiasm for their participation and delivered a graduation message to them.
“It's so exciting to have you educating – not only yourselves – but also preparing to be influencers in Middle Tennessee as we think about doing something that makes more sense,” said Lowry. “Lead us into a future that has us – as a community – able to move, being mobile and contributing to quality of life.”
Click here to see a list of the first graduating class of the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy.
|The first graduates of the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy.
Franklin’s Mayor Ken Moore, a member of the academy’s inaugural class, said the experience was highly informative and creates the beginnings of a cadre of informed local leaders across the 10-county area who are committed to finding new transportation choices for Middle Tennessee families, students, and employers.
“Each of us who participated in the Academy will be better informed now about the importance of transit options and funding to make our region an even better place to live and work,” Moore said. “The next academy group will be organized very soon, and I hope even more leaders from across our region take advantage of this.”
The academy is funded by a $10,000 grant to the Transit Alliance and the Andrews Institute in June from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. Sessions are presented on the Lipscomb campus and other locations in Middle Tennessee that highlight factors related to the development of a mass transit system for the region. The institute will enroll five groups of civic and government leaders into the academy in 2011 and 2012.
Ed Cole, executive director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, noted that the inaugural class included private, public and non-profit leaders representing economic and community development, real estate, construction, government, insurance, health care, banking, retail, sales and marketing, agriculture and utilities.
“Every single participant learned more about the challenges and opportunities of modern mass transit,” Cole said. “To be successful long-term, this needs to be a regional conversation, and the graduates departed with a new spirit of cooperation across city and county lines.”
He noted that the academy is already making an impact in government circles as it was discussed at the annual “Breakfast with the Mayors,” hosted by the Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Brentwood Mayor Paul Webb and Mayor Moore.
At the graduation, Andrews Institute executive director Linda Peek Schacht thanked Cole and the Transit Alliance for the opportunity to partner in creating this new venture and joined the class in acknowledging the Institute staff: Executive-in-Residence Lydia Lenker, director of the Institute’s citizen leadership academy program, leadership development expert Cathy Cate and program coordinator Leah Davis.
The new graduates of the leadership academy class include the following Middle Tennessee leaders (listed by county):
James Fenton – Cheatham County Director of Economic and Community Development
Jim Forkum – Former Member, Metro Council
Marshall Karr – Principal Broker, Karr Commercial; Greater Nashville Association of Realtors
Kristine LaLonde – Former Member, Metro Council
Betty Nixon – Retired Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations, and Former Member of the Metro Council
Alice Walker – The Wilson Group; and President, Greater Nashville Realtors Association
Mike Petty – Dickson Insurance Agency
Harvey Church – President, Maury County offices of First Farmers and Merchants Bank
Clint Camp – County Engineer, Montgomery County
Ed Davis – Retired Director of Administration, Montgomery County
Charlie Koon – Chief of Staff for Mayor of Clarksville
Erwin Brown – Robertson County Commissioner
Paula Mansfield – Vice President for Sales Development, First Tennessee Bank
Peter Demos – President and attorney for Demos’ Steak and Spaghetti House, and incoming Chair of Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce
Sherri Ferguson – Executive Director, Portland Chamber of Commerce
Clay Haynes - Real estate professional and developer, Haynes Realtors & Auction Co., Member of Cumberland Region Tomorrow Board
Christopher Rhodes – Engineering consultant, Kimley-Horn and Associates
Albert Strawther – Retired, Tennessee Highway Patrol
Lee Zoller – President, Green & Little; City of Gallatin Long Range Planning Committee
Jill Burgin – Brentwood City Commissioner
Debbie Henry – Executive Director, Transportation Management Association
Gil Hutchinson – Director, UnitedHealth Group
Dan Klatt – Franklin Tomorrow
Michael Matteson- Williamson County Planning Director
Ken Moore – Mayor of Franklin
Alex Noble – Noble Springs Dairy, and Tennessee Department of Transportation (retired)
Cindi Parmenter – President/Director, Brentwood Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce
Jack Bell – Jack Bell Builders
Jimmy Comer – Comerica Enterprises
Shannon Joyner – Mt. Juliet Assistant Public Works Director
Randy Robertson – Mt. Juliet City Manager
Sheila Varga – LP Building Products
About the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership
Founded in October 2010 to build on the legacy of Nashville leader Nelson Andrews, the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership engages emerging and current leaders in programs to create thriving communities. The institute promotes and showcases government, business and not-for-profit leaders working together for the common good. Its programs provide for the study and practice of this collaborative civic leadership model. In addition to our community programs, the Andrews Institute offers a master’s program in civic leadership, one of only two in the nation.
About the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is a non-profit organization created and supported by citizens, businesses and civic organizations across the 10 county region of Middle Tennessee. The Transit Alliance serves the public by promoting discussion and understanding of the growing need for expanded transportation options to support the economic growth and environmental well-being of Middle Tennessee.