Owner of Royal Studios
by Jon W. Sparks
The art of running an enterprise requires knowing when to change — and when to resist the temptation.
Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell has been cultivating that knowledge a good part of his life as part of the fabric of Royal Studios, a legendary hatchery that has, for 60 years, been drawing some of the world’s most accomplished hit-makers. His father, Willie Mitchell, took charge of the studio in 1970, and Boo, now 46, took over after Willie’s death in 2010.
Royal boasts of being one of the oldest perpetually operated recording studios in the world, and as the home of Hi Records in the early days, has spawned several million-sellers. Trumpeter Willie Mitchell came aboard as a session player in 1963 and made several hits while becoming increasingly involved in the studio’s operation. He eventually took over Royal and in the early 1970s would develop a singular expression and, aided by his collaboration with Al Green, give the world a distinctly Memphis sound.
Growing up in that atmosphere, Boo Mitchell performed and played plenty of music and, with his Pop at the control board, it was inevitable that he’d become increasingly interested in how the tunes were made. As a teenager, he was playing keyboards and writing songs. “That’s pretty much all I wanted to do,” he says. “And I loved the technology. My cousin and I used to say, ‘Oh, come on, Pop. We need this new, modern board and speakers,’ and Dad was always like, ‘Man, that stuff back there’ll do anything you want it to do.’ Eventually I go, ‘Man, he’s got more golden records than we do — he’s probably right.’ And he was.”
Sitting in his chair at the board, surrounded by studio equipment and furnishings that might well have been there in the 1970s — the studio has changed little since then — Boo says that vintage is now the future. “I had a meeting with a gentleman yesterday who wanted to redo his songs. He had stuff made in the late 1990s, early 2000s and it was dated. His synthesizers weren’t the old, old ones, they were more modern. I told him, “We’re gonna redo your stuff in a traditional way with real instruments and it’s gonna make it sound fresher than what you were doing back then — which was supposed to be futuristic.’”
The Education of Boo Mitchell
In 1993, the family opened Willie Mitchell’s, a Beale Street nightclub, where Boo worked and learned. The club closed in 1998 and Boo spent more time at Royal.
“For a couple of years I was doing odd things around the studio, a bit of engineering, getting into mastering, and eventually I started managing the studio in 2000,” he says.
His work was cut out for him.
We never had a logo and I think we were still renting a telephone from BellSouth,” Boo says. “So, I started getting more interested in the business of music around that time and just looking at things. I was like, ‘Pop, start looking at the bills and stuff,’ and ‘Pop, man, we’re still renting a telephone for $10 a month — we can buy a phone at Target.”
Boo wanted to streamline the operation, which was a commercial studio with a mom-and-pop feel and nothing even as basic as a logo and letterhead. “But my Dad was Willie Mitchell, you know, and he didn’t need a business card or a letterhead or any of those things.”
But business was picking up. They were doing some major sessions and Willie was producing records again, such as Al Green’s comeback records I Can’t Stop and Everything’s OK. “I was project coordinator for those two records,” Boo says, “so I started getting more into doing budgets and rounding up the musicians and making sure everybody got paid. That helped me look at the studio more as a business entity than just a great place to make music. It helped me dig into more of the business side of music. It was a good learning experience and good preparation skills for me.” That digging in helped him understand the workings of record sales, radio play, songwriting, and sync licensing. “It was a crash course for me,” he says.
“In 2004, out of necessity, I started getting back into the creative side doing engineering, producing more records, and engineering records with my Dad,” he says. With his management savvy, Boo was finding out when to resist the temptation to change but always striving to improve and stay current.
The State of the Music Industry
It’s still changing,” he says. “Man, I try to stay on top of technology in the industry.” For Boo, his membership in the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy is crucial to that. He’s been a member of the Grammy organization for more than 10 years and a board member for more than five years. “It’s one of the smartest things I’ve done as a musician, an engineer, and a producer. It represents the whole music industry, not just specialized groups. The Grammys is at the forefront of fighting for musician’s rights, fighting for songwriter’s rights, and keeping up with new technology and trying to make sure that people are given proper credit.”
Boo remembers his astonishment and confusion when he first got an MP3 from iTunes. “It was Jack White’s Seven Nation Army, and I downloaded it, 99 cents. Then I’m looking all over my phone — ‘Where’s the credits? Where did they cut it? Who mixed it?’ That’s a real problem for creators because a lot of times we get our next gig depending on what our last gig was, so there’s this whole movement to try to get credits embedded into the MP3s.” He’s hoping that the current president of the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy, Gebre Waddell, might be onto the answer. Waddell’s software company, Soundways, is doing innovative work in providing metadata in all the distribution pipelines so that credit goes where it’s due. The company also has developed sophisticated plug-ins for audio engineers.
Boo’s involvement with the Grammy organization’s efforts to keep up with technological advances is essential for him. “I’m connected with people all over the country that do what I do and are trying to make sure that there is a music business. Nobody wants to pay for music anymore, but we all have to live. There’s a lot to figure out, especially with streaming and all that. And the issues of rights where there’s a lot of money that American musicians don’t have access to because of our antiquated copyright laws.”
The Recording Academy, Boo says, is working to pass “Fair Play, Fair Pay” legislation, “because all over the world the musicians, and artists, and the background singers get paid for radio play. Over here in America, only the songwriters and the publisher get paid for radio play and because we don’t have that practice in America, there’s an excess of $200 million a year that is collected on behalf of American artists in places like Europe, Japan. But we don’t practice that and there’s no reciprocity, so the money stays in those countries.”
Evolving the Memphis Sound
It is somehow fitting that the historic 60-year-old studio with vintage equipment is also keeping on the edge of music.
“Memphis has so much rich history musically,” Boo says. “It’s like this big pie and Royal has a nice slice of it. We’ve kind of flown under the radar except for the inside people — the musicians and artists — that really know. But Royal was probably the second major recording studio opening after Sam Philips Recording Service and Sun Records. It was started with people who were working at Sun.”
Royal was bought in 1956 and officially opened in 1957 as the home of Hi Records. “It was known for its instrumentals and a lot of early rockabilly recordings were done here. When my Dad got here and started doing his R&B instrumentals, it gave the studio just a different breadth.”
From the get-go, Willie Mitchell brought a lot to the operation. His Willie Mitchell Combo was hugely popular, playing Beale Street clubs and parties (including one where Elvis Presley — a frequent club visitor — brought bride-to-be Priscilla). “The Beatles on their first North American tour rehearsed at Royal for a week,” Boo says, “because the Bill Black Combo was their opening act. That was in 1964, more Memphis music history that people don’t know much about. Royal has always survived.”
That included the riots after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. “They were burning businesses and people were tearing up neighborhoods. My dad had to go out of town and he got a bunch of winos in here, bought them a bunch of wine and was just like, ‘Man, watch my place.’ He didn’t bother to lock the door. When he got back from his gig, he didn’t know what he’d find. He opened the door and saw like 20 winos all laid out. ‘Hey, Willie! Yeah, we got you. Everything’s cool.’ Nothing was gone.”
That’s the story Boo tells when people insist that he needs to get the studio’s historic artifacts out and into a safe place. “I tell them it survived the riots of ’68 and I think it will be fine.” Boo keeps the spirit of surviving and independence. “My Dad was always trying to be different even with his band. Most of the music in the early ’50s, was big band, you know? He was trying to find a sound that was different, so he was like, ‘Well, I’m just gonna use two horns.’ He did the same thing here at Royal with redesigning the room. He wanted to be different and when he was working on something, wouldn’t even listen to the radio because he didn’t want to be influenced by somebody else’s music.”
Boo quotes Knox Phillips — son of legendary Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and a heralded producer, engineer, and Memphis music booster — as saying “Memphis represents the spirit of independent music.” Boo says, “I think my Dad and Royal are the epitome of that because he wanted all his stuff to be different and that’s why the studio looks the way it looks.”
And this is what shapes Boo’s vision of the studio and the music that comes out of it. “We’ve survived for so long because we haven’t conformed to any sort of traditional thing in any shape, form, or fashion. We could have replaced equipment, but why would anybody want to come to Royal if we’ve got the same stuff everybody else has got?”
It’s that idea of knowing when to change, and when to resist the temptation. “That’s how I run the business, just like he’s still alive — because he is. He lives in the music, he lives in the walls, you know what I mean? He lives in our hearts, so I’m always thinking, ‘I wonder what would Pop think about this?’”
Boo describes that as a baseline for him on how to improve the business and the music that comes out of it. “I still have my own ideas for what I think is going to make Royal better,” he says. “The beauty of that is I did a lot of that while he was alive, so I remember when I would present new ideas to him and how he felt about it. I learned and he let me evolve to where I understood that this place is already great, but that I could make more people aware of it.”
What does the future look like for Boo Mitchell and Royal Studios? “Man, I’d like for us to get back to our roots. My sister Oona and I started a label, Royal Records, so I’d like for everything to go full circle, to start producing amazing artists out of Memphis and get back to what that other thing Memphis was known for, and that’s amazing talent. We have some of the finest musicians and artists in the world. We just have to get them out there, get the world exposed to them. That’s a big part of what I want the future to be.”
If, in the process, Royal becomes an international destination for recording, then that’s fine with Boo. “To record at Royal is the most magical thing because we have the vibe. People come here and they get inspired. I’m inspired every time I walk through the building. There’s a magic here and there’s a gift here. I just want to share it with the world.”
by Jon W. Sparks
For 20 years, the best in Memphis have been getting schooled in how to be even better. In 1997, the first Leadership Development Intensive brought together some of Memphis’ most dynamic leaders with an eye to super-charge their effectiveness at work and in the community.
The high-level training program was conceived by Goals for Memphis, a nonprofit looking to make positive changes in Memphis. GFM would later become the Leadership Academy, then New Memphis Institute and now is known simply as New Memphis, which has been led by Nancy Coffee for the past 12 years.
The program came into being from a desire to provide top quality leadership training. GFM officials found that the North Carolina-based Center for Creative Leadership was the right partner to pull this effort off. For 20 years, it’s been a fruitful partnership. “There’s no other city in the country or the world that has this world-class leadership training developed and delivered to a local cohort of peer execs,” Coffee says.
The idea is that LDI is designed to work with executives at the top of their game. The session is a three-and-a-half-day residential experience held at the Madison Hotel. There are about two dozen participants in each session and what they get is essentially a detailed, personalized critique. Each provides a self-assessment with a thorough 360-degree inventory, interactions and case studies, and one-on-one feedback from expert coaches.
Participants find that they come out of the course with greater insight into themselves, the work they do, and a picture of how to take things to the next level.
by Andrea Wiley
Some days simply resist being productive.
Everyone gets pummeled by life’s challenges: There are mornings when it’s hard to get out of bed and afternoons where you can’t seem to get a thing done. But no matter what level of strife pulls at us, it’s still possible to bring creativity and value to the job we were hired to do. Practicing methods that cultivate productivity routinely may actually help us perform at a higher level during times when it seems the hardest to do so.
It takes discipline, of course. And a lot of it. But it can be done.
Start each day with a plan and decide how you are going to work around previously scheduled meetings to accomplish your goals for the day. “Set aside time for responding to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like,” says Peter Daisyme, co-founder of Palo-Alto based Hostt, on Inc.com. “Have a plan of attack at the start of the each day, and then do your best to stick to it.”
If your to-do list is a mash-up of mindless tasks that require nothing more than a little time, alongside major projects that require a lot of dedicated, focused time, then separate and approach them in different ways. A “short” list of tasks can eat up a whole morning. And the longer they are put off, the longer that short list gets, which becomes overwhelming. Set aside 30 minutes to tackle those annoying things that you have been procrastinating. But before you start checking things off your list, ask yourself if this is something that truly requires your time. Can this be delegated to someone else? Can it wait? Is it even necessary to be done at all? Decide, and then get it out of the way so you can get focused.
The best locations for your next corporate function
compiled by Samuel X. Cicci
Horseshoe Casino and Hotel
Meetings, weddings, and special events. 840-1,060 sq. ft., 30-70 guests. 855-633-8238; email@example.com.
1021 Casino Center Dr, Robinsonville, MS
Gold Strike Casino Resort
Meetings and special events. 350-18,250 sq. ft., 15-1,170 guests. 662-357-1373; Kjordan@goldstrike.com.
1010 Casino Center Dr., Casino Center, MS
Meetings and large corporate events. 1,200-12,800 sq. ft., 30-600 guests. 870-400-4855.
1550 Ingram Blvd, West Memphis, AR
Meetings and corporate events. 3,300 available sq. ft., 24-300 guests. 855-633-8238; firstname.lastname@example.org.
1107 Casino Center Dr, Robinsonville, MS
Churches and Temples
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Corporate events and meetings. Parish office: (901) 725-2700. 1695 Central Avenue
Corporate events and meetings. Small conference rooms and large auditoriums for up to 1,500 guests. 901-937-2797; email@example.com. 1376 E. Massey Rd.
Christian Brothers University
Meetings and events. Classroom, banquet rooms, and auditorium space for 25-500 guests. 901-321-3525; firstname.lastname@example.org. 650 E. Pkwy S.
Meetings, lectures, and special events. Scheduling and College Events Office: 901-843-3888. 2000 N Parkway.
University of Memphis
Conferences and events. 210,000 available sq. ft., up to 1,000 guests. Conference and event services: 901-678-5000; email@example.com. 365 Innovation Dr.
Corporate events. Up to 9,000 available sq. ft., 250-300 guests. Val Bledsoe: 901-490-9460; firstname.lastname@example.org. 1325 Lamar Ave.
Anthony’s Classic Hall
Corporate events. Multiple rooms for 130-150 guests. Office: 901-388-6468; email@example.com. 2828 Stage Center Drive, Bartlett, TN
The Atrium at Overton Square
Corporate events and meetings. Space for 150 seated guests, up to 250 standing. Catering kitchen available. 901-213-4514; firstname.lastname@example.org. 2105 Madison Ave.
Corporate, formal, and non-profit events. 2,500-36,000 sq. ft., 350-1,000 guests. 901-779-1500;
email@example.com. 149 Monroe Ave.
Corporate events. Indoor and outdoor spaces for up to 350 guests. 901-377-4099; firstname.lastname@example.org. 3712 Broadway Rd., Bartlett, TN
Corporate events. Up to 20,000 sq. ft., 200-800 guests. 901-552-4732; email@example.com. 40 S. Main St.
Corporate events and conferences. 10,000 available sq. ft., 30-1,000 guests. 901-753-3333; firstname.lastname@example.org. 901 Cordova Station Ave.
FedEx Event Center
Corporate Events. From 272-7,700 sq. ft., 20-800 guests. 901-222-7275; email@example.com. 6903 Great View Dr. N.
Fogelman Executive Conference Center & Hotel
Corporate events and conferences. Up to 35,000 available sq. ft., 24-1,000 guests. 901-678-5410; firstname.lastname@example.org. 330 Innovation Dr. (Conference Center); 3700 Central Ave (Hotel).
The Great Hall & Conference Center
Corporate events and conferences. Up to 8,675 sq. ft. available. 60-800 guests. 901-757-7373; email@example.com. 1900 S. Germantown Rd.
La Place Ballroom
Corporate and special events. Up to 5,500 sq. ft. available. 10-300 guests. Catering available. Tarmeckla Douglas: 901-340-0144; firstname.lastname@example.org. 4970 Raleigh Lagrange Rd.
The Meeting Center of Collierville
Meetings and conferences. Small conference rooms for 5-15 people. 901-861-6304; email@example.com. 340 Poplar View Ln. E. #1
Corporate events and fundraisers. Up to 13,000 sq. ft. available. 100-1,500 guests. 901-312-6058; firstname.lastname@example.org. 1555 Madison Ave.
Corporate events. Full theater setup for 500-1,100 guests. 901-525-8981; email@example.com. 330 Beale St.
Noah’s Event Venue
Corporate events. Conference and event rooms for 16-300 people. 901-606-4240. 3243 Players Club Circle.
Premiere Palace Ballroom
Corporate events. 2,500 sq. ft. ballroom for up to 300 guests. 901-725-5625; firstname.lastname@example.org. 629 Monroe Ave.
Corporate events. Large, versatile warehouse space for between 50-750 guests. 901-654-6737; email@example.com
Small corporate events. Tables and private rooms available on a limited basis. 901-523-0020; firstname.lastname@example.org. 303 S. Main St.
Conferences and meetings. Up to 10,000 available sq. ft., 6-600 guests. 901-767-8776; email@example.com. 5100 Poplar Ave. #3300.
Woodland Hills Event Center
Corporate events. Multiple room options, with 50-1,000 guests. 901-754-2000. 10000 Woodland Hills. Dr., Cordova.
Corporate events. Variety of room options for 30-200 guests. 901-526-1469; firstname.lastname@example.org. 680 Adams Ave.
Big Cypress Lodge
Corporate events, conferences, and meetings. Variety of room and outdoor options for 10-800 guests. 901-620-4652; email@example.com. 1 Bass Pro Dr.
Crowne Plaza Downtown
Corporate events and meetings. 8,600 available sq. ft., up to 257 guests. 901-525-1800; firstname.lastname@example.org. 300 N. Second St.
Crowne Plaza East Memphis
Corporate events and meetings. 528-8,448 sq. ft., 12-1400 guests. 901-362-6200; email@example.com. 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Doubletree Hilton (Sanderlin)
Corporate events and meetings. 336-3,368 sq. ft., 8-300 guests. 901-767-6666; 5069 Sanderlin Ave.
Meetings. Conference room available for corporate meetings. Up to 50 guests. 901-522-7050. 22 N. 3rd St.
Embassy Suites Memphis
Corporate events and meetings. Up to 3,000 sq. ft., 16-250 guests. 901-684-1777. 1022 S. Shady Grove Rd.
Guest House at Graceland
Corporate events and conferences. 403-10,681 sq. ft., 16-1,345 guests. 1-800-238-2000; GHAGsales@guesthousegraceland.com. 3600 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Hilton (Ridge Lake Blvd.)
Corporate events and meetings. Up to 36,000 available sq. ft. for up to 1,600 guests. 901-684-6664. 939 Ridge Lake Blvd.
Holiday Inn (Downtown)
Corporate events and meetings. 425-3,456 sq. ft., 35-500 guests. 901-525-5491. 160 Union Ave.
Holiday Inn (University of Memphis)
Corporate events and conferences. 528-10,150 sq. ft., 15-1,500 guests. 901-678-5423; firstname.lastname@example.org. 3700 Central Ave.
Holiday Inn Express (Medical Center Midtown)
Small meetings. Meeting rooms available for small groups as available. 901-276-1175; email@example.com. 1180 Union Ave.
Hyatt Place Memphis (Primacy Pkwy.)
Meetings. Up to 1,170 sq. ft., 20-75 guests. 901-214-9993; firstname.lastname@example.org. 1220 Primacy Pkwy.
Corporate events and meetings. 405-1,665 sq. ft., 14-200 guests. 901-333-1258; email@example.com. 79 Madison Ave.
Marriott Memphis East
Corporate events and meetings. 420-3,807 sq. ft., 12-400 guests. 901-682-0080. 5795 Poplar Ave.
Corporate events, meetings, and conferences. 300-16,000 sq. ft. Up to 2,100 guests. 901-529-4000. 149 Union Ave.
River Inn - River Hall
Corporate events and meetings. Banquet hall and terrace options for up to 120 guests. 901-260-3333 ext. 2105; firstname.lastname@example.org. 50 Harbor Town Sq.
Sheraton Memphis (Downtown)
Corporate events and meetings. 276-4,600 sq. ft., 10-414 guests. 901-527-7300. 250 N. Main St.
Small meetings. 800 sq. ft. available for small business meetings. 901-682-1722. 1070 Ridge Lake Blvd.
Westin Memphis Beale Street
Corporate events and meetings. 320-3,030 sq. ft. 8-300 guests. 901-334-5900. 170 Lt. George W. Lee Ave.
Corporate events and trade shows. Variety of small and large venues, ranging from 4,800-86,000 sq. ft. 901-757-7777; email@example.com. 7777 Walnut Grove Rd.
Beale Street Landing
Large corporate events. Large outdoor space, with capacity for anywhere from 250-5,000+ guests. 901-312-9190. 251 Riverside Dr.
Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
Large corporate events and conferences. Large theater-capacity events with 2,100 seats. 901-576-1203; firstname.lastname@example.org. 255 N. Main St.
Large corporate events and meetings. Large stadium with variety of venue options for 30-1,000 guests. 901-205-1522; email@example.com. 191 Beale St.
Large corporate events and conferences. Multiple venue options, from 468-17,010 sq. ft., 30-1,888 guests. 662-280-9120. 4560 Venture Dr., Southaven, MS.
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Large corporate events. Large venue space with seating capacity for over 62,000 guests. 901-729-4344; firstname.lastname@example.org. 335 S. Hollywood St.
Memphis Cook Convention Center
Large corporate events, meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Large hall with over 125,000 available sq. ft. 901-576-1200. 255 N. Main St.
Corporate events and meetings. Indoor and outdoor venues available for up to 350 guests. 901-722-0257; email@example.com. 200 Union Ave.
Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center
Corporate events and small meetings. Smaller room option or auditorium for 75-350 guests. 901-385-6440. 3663 Appling Rd., Bartlett, TN.
Blues Hall of Fame
Corporate events. Entry level and ground level spaces for 100-300 guests. 901-527-2583 ext. 13. 421 S. Main St.
Corporate events and meetings. Meeting and reception options for 20-400 guests. 901-544-6222; firstname.lastname@example.org. 1934 Poplar Ave.
Corporate events. 3,200 sq. ft. for up to 150 guests. 901-531-7826; email@example.com. 65 Union Ave.
Dixon Gallery and Gardens
Corporate events and meetings. Pavilion and auditorium options for 100-250 guests. 901-761-5250 ext. 101. firstname.lastname@example.org. 4339 Park Ave.
Halloran Center for the Performing Arts
Corporate events and meetings. 1,011-3,500 sq. ft., 40-361 guests. 901-529-4276; email@example.com. 225 S. Main St.
Memphis Botanic Garden
Corporate events. Variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for 2-600 guests. 901-636-4106; firstname.lastname@example.org. 750 Cherry Rd.
Corporate events. Indoor and outdoor spaces for over 300 guests. 901-333-6571. 2000 Prentiss Pl.
Corporate events. Indoor and outdoor venues for 10-300 guests. 901-259-3800. 6129 Woodstock Cuba Rd., Millington, TN.
The Orpheum Theater
Corporate events. Small rooms and main auditorium available, for 70-2,300 guests. 901-529-4234; email@example.com. 203 S. Main St.
National Civil Rights Museum
Corporate events and meetings. Conference rooms and auditorium for up to 350 guests. 901-521-9699 ext.2439; firstname.lastname@example.org. 450 Mulberry St.
National Ornamental Metal Museum
Corporate events. 4,200 sq. ft. terrace. 300-500 guests. 901-774-6380; email@example.com. 374 Metal Museum Dr.
Corporate events.1,450-5,400 sq. ft. lobby and hall spaces. 901-202-4536; firstname.lastname@example.org. 6745 Wolf River Pkwy.
Playhouse on the Square
Corporate events and meetings. Auditorium and meeting facilities for 12-347 guests. 901-937-6473; email@example.com. 66 S. Cooper St.
Rock n Soul Museum
Corporate events and conferences. 850-8,500 sq. ft., 60-400 guests. 901-205-2526; firstname.lastname@example.org. 191 Beale St.
Corporate events. Museum space available for 10-450 guests. 901-942-7685; email@example.com. 926 E. McLemore Ave.
West Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau
Corporate events and meetings. Meeting rooms available for up to 500 guests. 870-732-7598. 231 E. Broadway Blvd., West Memphis, AR.
Corporate events and meetings. 540-1,500 sq. ft., 12-200 guests. 901-684-1010 ext. 224. 6075 Poplar Ave., Suite 909.
Corporate events and meetings. Conference and hall space for between 12-300 guests. 901-729-8031; firstname.lastname@example.org. 800 E. Pkwy. S.
Ridgeway Country Club
Corporate events. Indoor and outdoor spaces for between 200-350 guests. 901-853-2247 ext. 106; email@example.com. 9800 Poplar Ave.
Corporate events and meetings. Membership not required for events. 456-4,320 sq. ft. 20-600 guests. 901-765-4456; firstname.lastname@example.org. 5111 Sanderlin Ave.
Corporate events and meetings. Membership not required for events. 580-1,952 sq. ft. 30-130 guests. 901-259-1835; email@example.com. 3325 Club at Southwind.
University Club of Memphis
Corporate events and meetings. Variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for 12-450 guests. 901-772-3716; firstname.lastname@example.org. 1346 Central Ave.
Corporate events. Outdoor team building experiences for businesses. 901-338-7093; email@example.com. 4330 Mecklinburg, Bolivar, TN.
B.B. King’s Blues Club
Corporate events. Club available for rent, with room for 25-400 guests. 901-202-9114. 143 Beale St.
Corporate events. Private dining rooms for 12-42 guests. 901-683-9291. 6065 Poplar Ave.
Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House
Corporate events. Private dining and event rooms for 12-100 guests. 901-762-8200. 551 S. Mendenhall.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Corporate events. Private rooms available for 25-65. 901-761-6200. 6245 Poplar Ave.
The Grove Grill
Corporate events. Private rooms available for up to 100 guests. 901-818-9951. 4550 Poplar Ave.
Corporate events. Indoor bar and outdoor private and semi-private areas available. 901-614-4589; firstname.lastname@example.org. 7 W. Carolina Ave.
New UTHSC facility embraces orphan drugs
by Samuel X. Cicci
If the demand for a certain drug isn’t there, what business incentive do companies have to manufacture it? That unfortunate reality creates orphan drugs, pharmaceuticals that remain undeveloped due to a lack of commercial viability. Many people with rare diseases might go without treatment due to this phenomenon.
Take away profitability as a primary factor, however, and you end up with the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery.
The center is at 208 S. Dudley, the renovated Holliday’s Fashion Building that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center purchased seven years ago. Construction on the $16 million facility began in September 2015, and the project is expected to be finished later this year.
The Center houses three 800-square-foot PODS that act as sterile environments in which the drugs are produced. They will allow the facility to attain the Good Manufacturing Practices designation, which indicates that the premises meet the pharmaceutical industry standards. Initially, the center will produce small-batch drugs in either injectable or semi-solid dosage forms for pre-clinical, phase one, and phase two trials.
“Hundreds if not thousands of drugs are in the pipeline for phase one and phase two trials,” says Dr. Kennard Brown, executive vice chancellor and COO of UTHSC. “So part of this facility’s objective is to support drug discovery research and enhance the expediency with which drugs can reach the market.”
Getting drugs to market has always been difficult for smaller ventures for a variety of reasons. As a result, many patients don’t realize the benefits of drug research, as ideas may be trapped in the conceptual stage indefinitely if developers don’t have connections or funding. The Plough Center’s mission is intended to allow for an easier transition from the research pipeline to consumers. Orphan drugs will be the main focus going forward, making UTHSC poised to be at the forefront of drug discoveries.
This won’t be the first iteration of the Plough Center. The new facilities will expand upon the original location in the Van Vleet Building on UTHSC’s campus. Formerly known as Parental Medication Laboratories, it has more than 50 years of drug manufacturing experience. While the old lab was capable of small-volume pharmaceuticals, the new facility will offer production capabilities on a much larger scale.
With the advent of a large manufacturing base, however, comes the need for safe products. There can be serious repercussions when standards slip. “In 2011, a compounding company in Massachusetts made a steroid,” says Harry Kochat, manager of the Plough Center. “They were making and selling it, but their quality went down. They made something which got contaminated, and they sold it. Sixty-four people died, of which 40 were from Memphis and Nashville.”
by Daniel Allen, JD., CFP
The investment management industry is facing one of its greatest challenges in years.
Demographics are shifting while technology advances, simultaneously increasing demand for financial services and shrinking the ranks of qualified financial professionals. According to Ernst & Young, the average age of a financial advisor is now 50 years old, and it continues to rise every year.
In fact, only 22 percent of financial advisors are younger than 40, with only 5 percent younger than 30. As a result, the industry could face a shortage of up to 200,000 advisors by 2022.
CNBC reports that over the next several decades, Americans will transfer an estimated $30 trillion in assets to the next generations. So why is the financial advisory business facing a shortage of young, qualified professionals? In my opinion, we have an identity issue.
Wealth management is how we help individuals, families, and business owners make smart decisions with their money. However, I believe our industry does a poor job of explaining what we actually do on a daily basis. When most individuals hear the terms “financial advisor” or “wealth manager,” they envision someone at a computer all day analyzing companies, poring through spreadsheets, or designing investment portfolios.
While we do spend a considerable amount of time on these tasks, that is not the whole story. In addition to asset management, we are engaged in what’s happening in our community and in the world. Also, good advisors must be good students who enjoy learning and solving problems. Most importantly, advisors must be great listeners, understand people and their pressure points, and be passionate about finding solutions to better their clients’ lives.
MLGW CEO Jerry Collins reflects on a decade in the power structure
by Jon W. Sparks
As Plato said, “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” This month’s Exit Interview is with one of those men who knows a few things about power: Jerry Collins is stepping down in December as president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water after a decade of managing the utility. Before that, the registered professional engineer was director of public works in Memphis and by the time he retires, he’ll have put in 38 years with the city. If anyone can tell you about aquifer science, natural gas, power lines, or sewer access points, it’s Collins.
“I do have some institutional knowledge,” he says, modestly. “And I know where all the bodies are buried,” he adds, dryly.
He speaks with clarity befitting an engineer and when he finds exactly the right words, he sticks with them. Ten years ago, he told the Memphis Flyer, “We have to make sure that MLGW is not the subject of headlines and TV news pieces. We’re preaching that we want to be dull and boring. If we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, there’s no reason that MLGW should be in the limelight.”
In a recent interview with Inside Memphis Business, he said, “MLGW had been in the headlines a lot during that period of time before I got here, and one of my mottoes is it’s good to be dull and boring, and a low profile is the best profile.”
Inevitably, there were headlines during his tenure in the aftermath of storms, with the expansion of smart meters, with rate hikes. He has gotten some criticism from some elected officials, but his stewardship, steadiness, and political acumen are reflected in his desire to, as he says, “endeavor to give the people the service they deserve at the lowest possible price.”
The latest articles from the print version of Inside Memphis Business — plus excerpts from our weeklyTip Sheet.
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