Business Briefs

Bartlett Allstate agency owner earns prestigious designation

As a business leader and involved citizen in the Memphis area, Allstate exclusive agency owner Daniel Garcia has been designated an Allstate Premier Agency for 2017.

The Allstate Premier Agency designation is bestowed upon 26 percent of Allstate’s nearly 10,000 agency owners across the country. The designation is awarded to owners who have demonstrated excellence in delivering an accessible, knowledgeable and personal customer experience while achieving outstanding business results.

The agency is at 6490 Mem Arlington Road, Suite 110, in Bartlett and can be reached at (901) 381-4747.

Memphian elected 2018 president of Tennessee Realtors

Leon Dickson
Leon Dickson

MEMPHIS — Leon Dickson Sr. was recently installed as 2018 President for Tennessee Realtors at its fall convention.


Dickson (ABR, ABRM, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI) is the owner and principal broker of BenchMark at Southwind Realtors LLC in Memphis and has been a Realtor for 28 years.

His experience spans the national, state and local levels. For the National Association of Realtors, he has served as a Professional Standards Committee member, a director, and a member of the Risk Management Committee. In Tennessee, he was president-elect in 2017, secretary-treasurer in 2016 and a division vice president in 2013 and 2014. He also has served as a TREEF trustee, a director, a Budget & Finance Committee member and more. Locally, Dickson served as president of the Memphis Association of Realtors in 2011, among many other leadership roles.

His numerous distinctions include being named Realtor of the Year by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors in 2012 and named BenchMark Realtors’ 2005 Top Producer for real estate and mortgages.

He also is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) and the Certified Real Estate Specialists (CRES) chapter.

A native of Memphis, Dickson and his wife, Mary Joyce, are the parents of three children, Leon Jr., Morgan and his dog, Layla.

Dickson is deeply engaged with his community. His volunteer service includes working with Habitat for Humanity, Youth Village, Hopeworks, and Germanshire Elementary School. He serves as an elder, oversees several ministry areas and teaches Sunday School class at South Germantown Road Church of Christ.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland appointed him to serve on the Memphis Light Gas and Water (MLGW) Board of Commissioners in November 2016.

As another mark of distinction, Leon is the first African-American president in the nearly 100-year history of Tennessee Realtors.

BCBS honors Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss

MEMPHIS — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has recognized Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss with a Blue Distinction Center Plus designation in the area of bariatric surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that demonstrate more affordable care in addition to delivering quality specialty care, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes.

This facility has also been recognized as an Optum Health Center of Excellence for Bariatrics. Those who belong to the Optum bariatric Centers of Excellence (COEs) program perform more successful bariatric procedures and have better quality outcomes than many other facilities nearby. The Optum COEs also have fewer complications and readmissions and are able to boost lower mortality, reoperation rate for bariatric procedures and average cost per surgical procedure.

“This designation is a testament to our highly skilled and experienced surgeon and staff who are dedicated to improving the health of our community,” says Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis. “Our bariatrics team has seen dramatic changes in the health and lifestyles of thousands of patients. They work very hard to provide excellence in patient care, and this recognition is evidence of the high standard of care we deliver every day.”

To receive a Blue Distinction Center Plus for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, weight loss surgical procedures. A healthcare facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level.

Saint Francis-Memphis CEO recognized for diversity efforts

Dr. Audrey E. Gregory, CEO of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis recently received the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Diversity Champion Award. She is pictured, at right, with Joe Burchfield, senior vice president for government affairs and communications for the THA. Courtesy photo.
Dr. Audrey E. Gregory, CEO of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis recently received the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Diversity Champion Award. She is pictured, at right, with Joe Burchfield, senior vice president for government affairs and communications for the THA. Courtesy photo.

MEMPHIS — Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis, was the recipient of the Diversity Champion Award by the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) during their annual meeting in Nashville on Oct. 13. Gregory was recognized for her leadership in diversity in the community and throughout her career.

Her dedication to ensuring cultural diversity in healthcare is exemplified in her leadership of international recruiting efforts for Saint Francis Healthcare and Tenet Health. Her commitment to diversity is furthered by her leadership and advocacy for positive interactions and behaviors that are inclusive to all. In fact, diversity is central to the mission of the hospital and she works tirelessly to promote this mission inside and outside of the hospital, “To heal, support and comfort all.”

“I am so honored to receive this award from the Tennessee Hospital Association.” said Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis. “I am grateful to be at a place where I can positively impact the lives of patients, families, caregivers and this community.”

The Diversity Champion Award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions in leadership and workplace diversity and inclusion, and demonstrated commitment to a diverse workforce.

Family skincare line finds new home in Cordova

CORDOVA — Loeb Properties Inc. recently announced announce the arrival of a new tenant to Trinity Creek Shopping Center at 7865 Trinity Road in Cordova. Essentially Divine Natural Skincare recently celebrated its grand open in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce. Loeb Properties was represented by Aaron Petree, CCIM.

Owner Carol Cook-Scobey began handcrafting soaps and lotions at the age of 10, guided by her mother’s and grandmother’s extensive handmade skincare experience. Focusing on the process of soap-making and plant botany, Cook-Scobey created allergen-free soaps and lotions for friends and family. After raising her children, Carol renewed her passion for all-natural skincare products.

During her volunteer work taking refreshments to her military husband’s soldiers during field training, she discovered some of the female soldiers lacked basic personal care products. Her partnership with the Fort Bliss Chaplin brought those products to those who needed them, and soon, Carol could not keep up with demand. It was an experience that prompted her to turn her third-generation botanical training into a skincare product line.

Essentially Divine Natural Skincare creates natural care products packed with plant oils and essential oils. Cook-Scobey’s dedication to quality in skincare and body care products extends to her soaps, lotions, face creams, body moisturizers, baby care products, men’s products and beyond. Launching to rave reviews, Essentially Divine is particularly popular with military families around the country. Ten percent of every Essentially Divine purchase benefits the Military Dependents Scholarship Fund and Wounded Warrior Fund.

The new store marks the company’s first brick-and-mortar location and celebrates Cook-Scobey’s return to her Cordova home.

Credit union system selects leadership for 2017-18

The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) recently empaneled new and continuing leadership during elections for the NASCUS Board and Credit Union Advisory Council.

Members of the NASCUS Credit Union Advisory Council are elected by credit union members of the Council, which are mostly state-chartered credit unions from across the nation. Jeff Dahlstrom, President of Southeast Financial Credit Union in Franklin, Tenn., was appointed to a one-year term.

The council advises the Regulator Board on issues of importance to credit unions.

2 agents join Weichert, Realtors – Benchmark

GERMANTOWN — Benchmark recently announced that Shane Churchwell and Rob Hyde have joined its Germantown office. They join a dedicated team of knowledgeable agents at Weichert, Realtors – Benchmark.

The office is at 9047 Poplar Avenue Suite 102 and is an independently owned and operated affiliate of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates Inc.

PizzaRev opens third Taproom in U.S.

MEMPHIS — PizzaRev Taproom, a build-your-own artisanal pizza concept featuring 18 self-pour beer and wine taps, recently held the grand opening of its second Memphis location. It is at 2825 N. Germantown Pkwy., near the Wolfchase Galleria. This fast-casual restaurant location is the third PizzaRev Taproom in the country and the second of three PizzaRev locations for the Memphis area.

The concept takes the classic pairing of pizza and beer up a notch. Aside from allowing guests to fully customize personal pizzas with more than 35 toppings for one price, this location features a revolutionary system allowing guests to pour their own adult beverages. The self-serve beer system features a wall of 18 taps of craft beer and wine for guests to enjoy. Upon ordering, those over 21 years old who wish to consume alcohol receive a bracelet used to activate the taps of their choosing. Patrons scan the bracelet at the tap, select how many ounces they want, and pour. The bracelet will track the ounces served and charge the customer’s credit or debit card accordingly.

PizzaRev Taproom is led by seasoned franchisees Robby Stewart, Luke Lester and Andres Bolivar of TennRev LLC. The group opened the first PizzaRev-Tennessee location in Jackson in June 2016. They also share ownership of Southern Restaurant Holdings LLC, one of the largest franchisees in the Steak ’n Shake system, that operates eight restaurants throughout Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. While the companies are independent entities, SRH manages the operations of TennRev.

Pinnacle workplace ranked high for women and in general

NASHVILLE — Pinnacle Financial Partners has placed No. 6 in Fortune magazine’s list of the nation’s Best Workplaces for Women. The honor comes from Fortune and Great Place to Work, which previously named Pinnacle the No. 7 Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance and one of the country’s best workplaces of any industry.

Female associates at Pinnacle outnumber their male counterparts by more than two to one at 1,547, including nearly 200 managers, supervisors or executives. The No. 6 ranking is based on survey results looking at how women rated the organization in more than 50 areas, including respect, fairness, management and camaraderie. The goal was to consider whether women have as positive an experience as the men of the company. That takes into account an index of factors where women often lag their peers, like access to meaningful work, fair pay and plans for a future with their organizations.

Among all companies on the list, 95 percent of women surveyed describe the organizations as a friendly place where they are proud to tell others they work. They are also five times more likely to plan a long-term future with their employers when they say they’re treated as full members of the team.

This year, the company also was named one of the nation’s Best Banks to Work For, having earned the No. 6 spot on the annual list compiled by American Banker magazine and Best Companies Group. This is the firm’s fifth appearance on the list.

As the 50th largest bank in the country by assets, Pinnacle is the largest of the top 25 banks on the list.

“It’s impossible to separate the associate’s experience from the client’s,” said Terry Turner, Pinnacle’s president and CEO. “Turning our offices into a caring, nurturing places where people love to come to work every day is not only the right thing to do – it’s good business. Looking at this list, it’s clear that we are unique in that we’re able to deliver on our promises at scale as we grow.”

Best Companies Group manages the overall registration and survey process, as well as analyzing the data and determining final ranking. To learn more about the process and Best Banks to Work For program, visit

New main office opens for Pinnacle Financial Partners

Pinnacle Shady Grove
Pinnacle Shady Grove

MEMPHIS — Pinnacle Financial Partners’ continued its growth in the Memphis market with the recent opening of its new main office in the Ridgeway Center at 949 South Shady Grove Road.

This location — which houses a full banking office and drive-thru, as well as nearly 100 financial advisors, market leaders, and support staff — replaces the previous main office on Quail Hollow Road.

This opening kicks off a coming period of office growth for Pinnacle in Memphis. In addition to Shady Grove, the firm plans to open two new loan production offices, a new mortgage office and a full-service banking office in disparate areas of the city, giving it significant presence from east to west and north to south.

“Shady Grove is much more convenient for clients,” said Kirk Bailey, Pinnacle’s Memphis chairman. “Our new loan offices and the Midtown retail location are in areas we haven’t been able to reach yet. This is about building better connections with the communities we serve. We want to be part of the fabric of Memphis and the surrounding communities.”

The firm’s new office in Shady Grove spreads out over nearly 35,000 square feet, a significant increase over the former main office and with additional room to grow. It was designed by Hastings Architecture in Nashville and built by Memphis contractors Linkous Construction Co. Boyle Investment Company developed and owns the building. It includes a Learning Center with video conferencing technology for client, associate and community events and is also filled with dozens of pieces of colorful, modern artwork locally sourced from Memphis artists.

Moving forward, construction is underway on two loan production offices, one in Whitehaven on Elvis Presley Boulevard and another in Raleigh on Whitten Road. Pinnacle’s mortgage team is part of a project that recently broke ground on Getwell Road, and planning is underway for the Midtown office on Union Avenue.

EXIT Realty broker earns Bronze Award for closes

COLLIERVILLE — EXIT Realty Corp. International has honored Tamara Harrald, an associate broker with EXIT Realty Blues City, with the Bronze Award. She received the award in recognition of closing 25+ real estate transaction sides during the production year of July 1, 2016, through June 30 ,2017.

“EXIT Realty sets the bar high in everything we do, and especially in the criteria we’ve established for winning awards. It takes hard work, skill and determination to achieve the upper echelons of any profession. Tamara is an exceptional real estate professional and among the top in our industry,” said Tami Bonnell, CEO of EXIT Realty Corp. International.

Self-printing feature enabled for some professional licenses

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Division of Regulatory Boards has announced the launch of a pilot program allowing license holders in certain categories to print extra copies of their licenses at no additional charge.

Licensed Tennessee business professionals can now save money and time by printing as many extra licenses as needed through TDCI’s Comprehensive Online Regulatory & Enforcement System (CORE). Through CORE, licensees are already able to check the status of their license, upload the documents required to be licensed, and pay online for the license with no additional processing fees. The self-printing feature is the latest feature added to CORE.

“From time to time, our licensees may need an extra copy of their paperwork for professional purposes,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner for Regulatory Boards Carter Lawrence. “This pilot project creates greater efficiency by replacing the outdated method requiring licensees to contact their respective board, pay for a copy of their license, and wait for an extra copy to be delivered by mail. We’re excited to offer a new feature to help empower Tennessee business professionals.”

The self-printing license feature is initially being offered to all licensees of the Division’s State Board of Accountancy and the Board of Funeral Directors, Embalmers & Burial Services. Other boards will be added in the near future, with a proposed project completion date of 2018.

Area dermatologist opens location in Arlington

ARLINGTON – Mid-South dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel has opened her third area location in Arlington. Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates now has an office at 5349 Airline Road.

The practice also has locations in Germantown and Olive Branch, Miss.

Pediatrics East adds fifth location to its offices

ARLINGTON — Pediatrics East has expanded its practice to a fifth location. The office at 11870 Cranston Drive, Suite 104, in Arlington opened on Nov. 6.

The practice offers expert pediatric care for newborns to adulthood, delivered by Pediatrics East’s board certified pediatricians. The office is open for appointments 9 a.m.-5 p. weekdays with Early Bird Clinic starting at 8 a.m.

Dr. Robert Higginbotham, president of Pediatrics East, said, “Arlington has demonstrated steady growth over the past several years and much of that growth is happening among young families. We are excited for the opportunity to expand our practice to serve the town of Arlington and the surrounding area.”

Pediatrics East: Pediatrics East is a group of 17 Pediatricians and one Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with offices currently in Bartlett, Collierville, Cordova and Germantown.

Lakeland insurance agent named to ’40 Under 40′

Elizabeth Rook
Elizabeth Rook

LAKELAND — Elizabeth Rook, owner and principal agent of Elizabeth Rook Insurance LLC has been announced as one of the men and women recognized as the Top 40 Under 40 by The Memphis Business Journal. The MBJ describes these 40 professionals as “the best and brightest men and women under the age of 40 in the Memphis and Mid-South area.”

Rook said, “I am honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award from The Memphis Business Journal. I couldn’t do what I love without the constant support of my family and team.”

Those awarded the 40 Under 40 title have made significant contributions to the community in all business, professional, civic, and personal categories.

Her agency is a local, family-owned business that offers home, auto, business, and life insurance. The team includes Ron Rook, Sheila Elrod, Caitlin Schuh, Robin Whitaker and Cody Markham.

Rook was also finalist in 2014 for Executive of the Year by The Memphis Business Journal. She currently sits on the Board for Insurors of Memphis and is also a vice president. She is involved with many philanthropies within her community; Rook is a Wish Grantor at Make-A-Wish Mid-South, a Best Buddies Sponsor, and a proud partner of the Memphis Tiger Athletics.

First Tennessee adds business client resources

MEMPHIS — First Tennessee Bank is adding a new set of resources to more comprehensively serve its business owner clients by partnering with Red Rock Advisors, a firm specializing in business transition planning.

Red Rock Advisors helps business owners “navigate the complex questions that must be answered to effectively enhance the value in their businesses today with an eye toward securing a sound and positive transition or exit down the road.”

Shoe Carnival gives workers Thanksgiving off

Shoe Carnival, a leading retailer of moderately priced footwear and accessories, has announced it will provide Thanksgiving Day off for all store associates and corporate employees to spend time with their family and friends.

“It is with great pleasure that we show our gratitude and appreciation to all Shoe Carnival employees with Thanksgiving Day off for them to spend time with family and friends,” said Cliff Sifford, President and CEO.

Shoe Carnival customers anxious to get a head-start on holiday shopping will have access to Shoe Carnival’s Black Friday deals early by shopping online at All stores will be open at 6 a.m. local time Black Friday for its sales and Doorbuster Deals. The first 100 customers in line on Black Friday will receive $10 to spend on anything in the store.