Futhey cuts own path with solo law practice

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 26, 2013

Malcolm Futhey III recently made a leap of faith by opening his own practice, the Futhey Law Firm PLC, in Midtown.

He said the idea of working for himself was something he always had in the back of his mind.

“Over the last couple of years, there’s something that comes over you to try to build something of your own, just have your own business,” he said. “And I think, with that, I just decided to try to cut my own path and try to make something.”

To prepare for the solo venture, Futhey researched and picked the brain of a large and varied group of people around town, a list of mentors he said is “too long to name.”

A decade of experience helped him prepare for the moment, pulling most recently from his work with Farris Bobango Branan PLC, where he focused on business litigation since 2009.

It’s an area of law he’ll continue in his own practice, while allowing that he’ll need to diversify and broaden his area by also focusing on personal injury, class action and entertainment law.

Getting his hands into a little bit of everything is something he enjoyed during his time as a clerk just out of law school for U.S. District Court Judge David R. Herndon in East St. Louis, Ill.

“I had to touch everything,” Futhey said. “It gave me a really broad practice and killed the monotony.”

Part of that diversification includes entertainment law, which he became interested in through his own experiences while growing up, as a guitar teacher and in helping friends who are still working as artists.

“I’ve represented some different rappers around town and I have a lot of friends who are making movies, so I help them out with their licensing and stuff,” Futhey said.

A musician himself as a teenager, Futhey never enjoyed getting up in front of audiences. Not so with court, however, as his business litigation practice has put him in front of many juries . . . (read more)


GiVE 365 grants $88,000 to 12 nonprofits

Spot new for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 23, 2013

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis made it easier for a dozen Memphis nonprofits to continue the good they do in the community when it announced the recipients of this year’s GiVE 365 grantees last week.

As they have for the past three years, members of the GiVE 365 initiative vote on where and how collected funds will be distributed. Member households pledge to donate $365 – or a dollar per day – and then have the opportunity to vote on the applicants. For this fourth year, the total amount to grant was $88,983, which includes matching gifts from Barbara and Pitt Hyde, and Sylvia Goldsmith Marks. Last year’s total was about $55,000.

Total applicants numbered 59 and were reviewed by members before being narrowed down to 17 finalists who formally presented their cases to members in August at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation. There are currently 320 members who ranked their top five contenders.

“Everything went more smoothly than it ever has,” said Ashley Harper, director of grants and initiatives for the Community Foundation. “The reviewers had so many diverse opinions that they were able to share respectfully with each other. … There were people from many different occupations and backgrounds, so it makes for a really rich, grant-making body.”

The winners ranged from large to small, and with a variety of ways to look at this year’s grant theme: Home is Where the Heart Is. The organizations were challenged to present how they would endeavor to make Memphis neighborhoods more vibrant, livable and secure. For longtime institution Southern College of Optometry and its Success in School Vision Initiative, the $10,000 will go to provide comprehensive eye exams to about 180 preschoolers, kindergartners and second- and fifth-graders at Nat Buring Orange Mound Learning Center and the Frayser Achievement Elementary School. Memphis Child Advocacy Center will put its $6,150 toward training 123 adults in South Memphis to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse . . . (read more)


Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods stays true to roots in new spot

Small Business Spotlight for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 23, 2013

For Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, cooler temperatures in the air mean one thing – hunting season.

With its new location at 964 June Road in East Memphis, owner Cliff Hunter and his team are ready to accommodate discerning outdoorsmen.

Founded in 1926, Tommy Bronson has been the go-to store for hunting, fishing and outdoor needs for 87 years. It opened at 47 N. Waldran primarily as a supplier of tennis equipment before moving to 1672 Union Ave. in 1971.

Hunter began working at the sporting goods store in 1989 and bought into the business in 1993, becoming the partner of Tommy’s son, Stewart Bronson. When the store moved east to Poplar Plaza in 1998, it was due in part by a push from Bronson.

Howard Schuster and the team at Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods has been serving the Mid-South’s outdoors community for 87 years. 

(Photo: Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

“Our business was growing exponentially on Union,” Bronson said. “We defied retail law with three parking spaces and 1,500 square feet.”

In 2006, Hunter bought Bronson out, yet the two are still close friends with Hunter seeking business advice over the years.

“I’m not blood Bronson, but I might as well be,” Hunter said. “I still spend Christmas Eve with them and we’re very close.”

With Poplar Plaza came the promise of more parking and a true retail space, and served them well for 14 years. Hunter said the shopping center’s management company, Finard Properties, “were phenomenal landlords; it was tough to leave but it was time.”

When the business began, it was a neighborhood concern drawing on customers from nearby Central Gardens and the professional offices of Downtown.

But business and demographics in Memphis changed over the years and Tommy Bronson has morphed into more of a regional business with customers coming from Jackson, Dyersburg and Nashville, Tenn. A third of the store’s gun sales come from DeSoto County customers, so Hunter wanted to be closer to the interstate but still within the loop.

The new property was the longtime home of Arthur’s Wine & Liquor, which made the move to a nearby Poplar-facing storefront in 2004. Matt Prince, senior vice president of brokerage & development with Loeb Properties Inc. and a longtime customer and friend, felt the space was perfect for Hunter’s shop . . . (read more)


Coffield finds home to contribute to Memphis

Memphis Standout profile for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 20, 2013

When Ashley Coffield accepted the position as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region last spring, it was a sort of homecoming for the Rhodes College graduate.

Only, she didn’t have to move at all.

Coffield had been working for Partnership for Prevention in Washington, via telecommuting, since 2001, but she says, “I wanted a job in Memphis, that was a big part of the decision. I wanted to work in my hometown. … I really wanted to contribute to Memphis.”

Originally from Hot Springs, Ark., Coffield came to Rhodes and was one of the first urban studies majors at the school. But it wasn’t her first experience with the city

“I had grown up coming to Memphis for special occasions and it seemed like a magical place to me,” she said. “I fell in love with Memphis while I was there.”

As a student with no insurance and very little income, she had been a patient of Planned Parenthood and was so impressed with the organization’s “compassionate and confidential” care that she became a volunteer health educator. It sparked an interest and set her on the path of a 20-year career in public health.

After graduating from Rhodes in 1992, she received a Master in Public Administration from Texas A&M University, and went to work in Washington. “I worked for organizations that were really looking broadly at disease prevention and health promotion policy and practices, so I was definitely the wonky policy person looking at legislative governmental policy as well as private policies that employers use to keep their populations healthy.”

Her expertise grew to include worksite wellness, clinical preventive services including their impact and cost effectiveness, and developing policies and practices for state health departments.

In 2001, she and husband Mac, an attorney with International Paper, were ready to start a family and chose to do so in Memphis. She left her job as CEO with Partnership for Prevention, but was soon contacted by the board asking her to continue to work for the organization, though not as a chief executive, and telecommute . . . (read more)


New York transplant Campbell takes over Health Law Institute

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 19, 2013

In her new office at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, a thousand miles from where she grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., Amy Campbell is getting used to all things Southern.

Most of them, anyway, making exceptions for “the humidity and the bugs,” she said. “Other than that, I’m fine.”

Campbell is a new associate professor for the law school and the director of the Health Law Institute, a facet of the college still in its nascent stages of development but with a distinct vision for the future.

The institute looks to become a regionally, if not nationally, recognized center for health law and policy. It will “focus on education and a strong health law curriculum that has traditional doctrinal courses, but also emphasizes practical skills and learning experiences with our rich health law community in the region,” Campbell said.

The health care community is rich within Memphis, as is the legal community, and Campbell hopes to tap into both, creating an interdisciplinary program that calls upon resources within The University of Memphis and other regional institutions such as The University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Health law is a growing field, and the implications cross all industries when one considers corporate human resources concerns such as employee benefits and policies that seem to be in daily flux. There is plenty to challenge any law student with the “traditional, transactional health care work – where you’re working with health systems or hospitals – and that, I think, is going to be an important area, and physician practices and the like,” she said, adding that “… because of the proliferation of health laws, if you will, there are certainly a lot of areas for litigation, too, or sort of the fraud and abuse side.”

An area of focus within health law that particularly interests Campbell – and that she sees as a burgeoning field within health law in general – is in looking at the health of not only individuals, but also of society as a whole . . . (read more)


Campbell Clinic holds true to founder’s vision

Small Business Spotlight in Emphasis: Health Care & Biotech for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 14, 2013

For more than a century, Campbell Clinic has provided the care for the bones and muscles of Memphis. The clinic’s doctors and other staff also have shared their knowledge of orthopedics and how to best provide such care to the world at large.

Dr. Willis C. Campbell founded his clinic in 1909 in what would become the heart of the city’s medical district. Much of that district now is populated by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where Campbell helped to organize the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Campbell would go on to begin the first orthopedic residency program and co-found The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), serving as that organization’s first president. His understanding of orthopedics ran deep and, in his quest to share his knowledge, he wrote the first textbook on the subject, “Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics.”

Campbell Clinic CEO George Hernandez, left, and chief of staff Dr. Frederick
M. Azar are helping guide the longtime orthopedic clinic into its next century.

(Photo: Memphis News/Andrew J. Breig)

It’s but one tradition Campbell Clinic has maintained into the 21st century.

Since 1909, Campbell Clinic has grown to four locations, 50 doctors, more than 450 employees, with 40 residents and five fellows. Nearly 150,000 patients per year visit the clinic for a range of subspecialties including pediatric orthopedics, trauma, spine, total joint replacement and orthopedic oncology, among others.

“I think it actually goes back to the vision or the culture that Dr. Campbell first developed for the clinic and we have never wavered from that, nor do I ever see us wavering from that,” CEO George Hernandez said of the clinic’s growth and place within the medical landscape. “A lot of it really is, when a resident joins or is in a training program, at Campbell Clinic, he or she sees that the focus on education, the focus on research, the focus on training the next generation of orthopedic surgeons, even the focus on training the world in orthopedic surgery by virtue of our publication and our book, ‘Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics,’ that is part and parcel to what we are.”

Through services such as physical therapy, onsite X-ray and MRI imaging and surgery, Campbell is seeing to the health needs of the baby boomers as the effects of age and wear takes its toll on joints and bones.

People are living longer and are increasingly more active, and they see the benefit of a more active lifestyle. As a result, Hernandez said, “the number of knee and hip replacements in particular are slated to, I think, quadruple or more in the next decade or so.”

Campbell Clinic has served as consultant to local orthopedic implant manufacturers such as Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical, contributing to the research and development of new designs, technology and sizes of such products. As far as nonsurgical options and opportunities to connect with new patients, the clinic encourages preventative health and being proactive before beginning a workout regimen . . . (read more)


Sci-fi moment sparked career ambition for Bell

Profile for Emphasis: Health Care & Biotech for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 14, 2013

For many children coming of age in the 1970s and 1980s, a viewing of the “Star Wars” trilogy led to afternoons of battling make-believe Stormtroopers with homemade light sabers in a backyard re-imagined as the Death Star.

For Charleson Bell, though, the films prompted a dream that would culminate in the chase for a Ph.D. and a way to make the world healthier and safer.

The 28-year-old Bell’s startup, BioNanovations Corp., is on the cutting edge of biotechnology with a product that he has said will cut the wait time for a diagnosis of staph infection from days to minutes.

Though the technology is proprietary and still under development, Bell said by phone from San Francisco where he was seeking investment capital that, “because we use nanotechnology, we are able to deploy it in a handheld device. That’s the whole idea, that now we have this handheld device that’s fully integrated that can run these rapid staph tests and other tests that we develop.”

One in three people carry staphylococcus aureus, the most common form of staphylococcus to cause the infection.

“Most of the staph comes from contact with other humans and it’s the No. 1 cause of serious infections today – skin infections, blood infections, surgical wound infections,” said Dr. Michael Gelfand, professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “So it’s very, very common, very important, very expensive. It kills a lot of people, and is often resistant to the usual antibiotics requiring difficult to use antibiotics, and very expensive ones.”

When Bell began looking into what sort of medical problems might most benefit from a rapid test, staph immediately became the leading candidate due to its aggressive nature and the research at hand.

“Staph is a highly studied organism, so we were able to get better footing with our science because there was a wealth of literature,” Bell said.

The entrepreneur grew up moving from place to place along the eastern seaboard with a U.S. Marine father, though he claims as home Pawleys Island, S.C., just south of Myrtle Beach, and home to his mother’s family. Bell attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, S.C. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in the same area. He has a technology license agreement with the university . . . (read more)


Shifflett finds success as Domino’s franchisee

Memphis Standout profile for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 13, 2013

When he was a teenager, as happens with teens throughout the country, Jason Shifflett went looking for a job.

That first part-time job for the Harding Academy student was at a Domino’s Pizza, the first national pizza company to roll out dough in Olive Branch, where he lived.

“One day when my mother was getting her hair cut, I went to the Domino’s Pizza store and peeked in and saw that there were a lot of people that were younger that were working in the store, and I decided to apply.”

Too young to drive at the time, he began by answering phones and making pizzas, “doing everything inside the store that you could,” he said. “Really just fell in love with the business.”

Right out of high school in 1994, Shifflett moved from Olive Branch to Oxford, Miss., for college at the University of Mississippi and a course set for pre-med with intentions of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. He stayed on with his boss, Diane Barrentine, a franchisee who also owned a store in the college town, as well as in Southaven and Senatobia.

“It was a natural fit that I could put myself through school working at Domino’s while studying to go to med school at some point.”

Barrentine would eventually need a manager in her Senatobia location, an hour from school. To make it more challenging, the store was underperforming at the time, unable to turn a profit, which is what a manager’s bonus is tied to. To make it worth his while, Shifflett approached Barrentine with an offer.

“I said, ‘Let’s make a deal: You pay me a fair salary … but give me 100 percent of the profits for the first year.’”

Faced with the prospects of selling or closing the store, she accepted. He managed to turn the store around while still a full-time biology student at Ole Miss, and brought in $1,800 profit in the first four weeks, a trend which continued . . . (read more)


Tooth fairy charging arm, leg too

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

Sept. 12, 2013

Tooth fairy charging arm, leg too

My youngest lost another tooth. A particularly tenacious tooth, it clung to her upper gum like a barnacle refusing to be scraped from the bow of a ship. With another growing in behind it, it had taken on the angle and proportions of a tusk, and everyone who saw it longed to grab hold and yank. Teachers, friends, family, strangers — we all wanted to be the one to pull that eyetooth Excalibur from her head.

How odd is it that our children’s ages and milestones are measured by the parts that fall from their body? Umbilical cord stump, first haircut, lost teeth.

Genevieve finally lost that tooth last week when, she said, “I bit Joshua’s leg, and it came out!” Thanks to her brother’s bony shin, we no longer have to pretend we’re not a little freaked out by the looks of this saber-toothed sibling.

The Associated Press recently ran a story on the economics of today’s tooth fairy, reporting that “kids this year are getting an average of $3.70 per lost tooth.” A quick glance at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website tells me that the federal minimum wage in the 1980s was $3.35 per hour. This was when I got my first part-time job making just about that amount. In those days, I would have rather pulled a tooth and taken the next 59 minutes off work for the same money.

Like a family member who visits and refuses to leave, Genevieve’s tooth was special and stubborn. And though it was special, I still wish that this new 21st century tooth fairy had consulted with me before making the outrageous pillow payout of 5 dollars.

Back when I was a kid and lost a tooth, I got a quarter. That’s right, I’m one of those fathers. We got a quarter, and we were happy about it because I was looking at an interest rate of 9 percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage in 1977, and the cost of a gallon of gas pushed up over 50 cents for the first time ever. Now, I didn’t own a house, of course. Nor was I responsible for the Ford Pinto sitting in the driveway. I was 7. But I did want to see “Star Wars” in the theater again and again, and a movie ticket would run me more than eight quarters. That was almost half my teeth.

Many of those teeth were pulled and all of my orthodontia needs were handled by Dr. Sadler. In my memory, Sadler was short on mercy, yet long on attractive hygienists. I was a confused 13-year-old.

I remember him as a cowboy dentist, rough and familiar with pain, and I can still feel the sole of his dusty boot against my forehead when the time came for extraction. He would have had Genevieve’s tooth out in seconds. In his arsenal were a pair of rusty pliers, a rasp, needles, a ball peen hammer and an ice pick. On the walls, if memory serves, were displayed the bleached-white jaws of former patients.

His office, at the corner of Poplar Avenue and Perkins Extended, is no longer there. That space is now filled by a Chili’s restaurant, where an order of loaded potato skins will set you back 28 teeth from 1977, or 1½ at the current rate.

Permanent link for The Commercial Appeal


Taste of Australia

Spot news feature for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 12, 2013

Wine Market owner heads Down Under for symposium 

Wine Market proprietor Scott Smith with a few of his favorite Australian varieties. He’s spending time in Australia learning about the wines from Down Under to be able to help customers with selections.

(Photo: Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

When asked where good wine is made, even the teetotaler will come up with an answer of France, Italy or California.

But not many, even with years of sniffing corks, tend to think of Australia.

The winegrowers of that country aim to change that, informing the world at large on their long history and fruitful bounty with a four-day symposium to be held in Adelaide, South Australia, beginning Sept. 15.

And local wine retailer Scott Smith, owner of the Wine Market at 4734 Spottswood Ave. in East Memphis (winemarketmemphis.com), aims to bring that knowledge back to Memphis to increase the love for, and sale of, wines from Down Under.

Smith entered a contest sponsored by “The Tasting Panel,” a trade magazine geared toward the beverage industry. He wrote a letter to those putting on the conference, called Savour Australia, explaining how his attendance would help in the dissemination of information to his customers and the United States as a whole.

Touted as Australia’s first global wine forum, it’s designed “to bring wine professionals in from all over the globe and make presentations to them and have conversations with them, to sort of begin to understand the difficulties that Australian wines are having selling in the global marketplace right now,” Smith said.

While China remains a bright spot, he added, the U.S. and Europe have not been as big of consumers as the Australians would like to see. Therefore, the growers have recently begun pooling their resources to get the word out and market themselves collectively to the world.

Having worked for Star Distributors before opening McEwen’s on Monroe with its heralded wine list, Mac Edwards has long celebrated the country’s vintners . . . (read more)