Imagine MLGW switching power providers in an arrangement that would benefit the city to the tune of $487 million annually, but with one immediate catch: action has to be taken now. If you’re a skeptical sort, that notion will raise red flags and the suspicion that it’s too good to be true. That would be a savvy reaction but it would be equally smart to follow up with questions about the details of such a deal.

And here they are: The Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in northern Alabama was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, but TVA decided to not use it. It went up for sale and two years ago it was bought by Nuclear Development LLC (ND). The company commissioned a study that determined Memphis would be a remarkably good market and would benefit enormously if the city would change energy providers from TVA to the new company.

There are complicated hoops to jump through to get there, but the initial requirements are easily met and — this is important — require no commitment on the part of MLGW or the city. All it would take to get the discussion going is for MLGW to sign a non-binding letter of intent to show its continuing interest. And although there’s no obligation to go through with a deal, MLGW refuses to issue such a letter.

If the letter is not forthcoming by mid-November, it’s almost certain the deal will go away — end of story. Were it to be signed, then ND and MLGW could begin talks on the particulars but, again, without the utility being committed to making a deal. Any doubts or questions MLGW may have can be addressed during discussions, but why MLGW doesn’t even want to sit down and talk is a bit of a mystery, although it has been cozy with TVA for a very long time. But the city’s utility is obliged to its Memphis ratepayers, not TVA.

Here are some technical points that were determined in a study by ICF consultants that was commissioned by ND:

– The power can be moved from Bellefonte to Memphis multiple ways, and the ability to get power to Memphis is not an issue.

– Bellefonte can serve the majority of MLGW’s power needs at an attractive price.

– MLGW can easily access the adjacent MISO power grid (across the river) and get access to power sources that will supply all other needs MLGW has, plus back up Bellefonte if it is not available, at prices that are lower than TVA rates.

The rate as proposed by ND would result in a saving of $487 million — money that can be used to reduce utility bills, fund a number of projects, or generally improve life in the City of Good Abode. It certainly can be applied to needed repairs in the city’s utility infrastructure.

In light of the fact that MLGW this week asked the City Council for permission to raise rates (4.6 percent electric increase, 4.8 percent gas increase, 17 percent increase in water), why wouldn’t it also choose to continue discussions on a plan that could be a game changer?


– The ballooning trade deficit with China cost 69,300 jobs in Tennessee alone—and 3.4 million American jobs nationally—between 2001 and 2017, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. This number ranks Tennessee as 16th in the nation for jobs lost because of trade issues with China. Massive job losses caused by trade with China since 2001 overwhelmingly have impacted the manufacturing sector, EPI finds. The growing deficit almost entirely explains why manufacturing employment has not fully recovered along with the rest of the economy since the Great Recession. Read more here.

– Big River Crossing, the country’s longest active bike-pedestrian rail bridge, had its two-year anniversary last Monday. Since its grand opening in 2016, Big River Crossing has welcomed nearly 460,000 visitors from across the world and received regional, national and international recognition for its architecture and state-of-the-art Mighty Lights LED display by Signify, formerly Philips Lighting. Mighty Lights will be officially revealed this Saturday at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the RiverArtsFest.

– LendingTree analyzed census data to find the best places for baby boomer entrepreneurs and found that Memphis ranks No. 10 in the country. It says 20.3 percent of new businesses founded in Memphis were by boomers. Nashville ranks No. 5 and we’re all better than the worst cities for boomer entrepreneurs: New Orleans, Miami, and Orlando. You can read the full study here

– It’s all exhausting: A survey by Accountemps finds 31 percent of workers age 18 to 34 have gotten into a heated debate because of political differences. Another survey by the same specialized staffing company says 74 percent of professionals say they work while tired.


– John Semien of the Tri-State Defender interviews Beverly Robertson, who this week was named interim president and chief executive officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber. Read it here.

– Wayne Risher at the Daily Memphian writes about a $500,000 gift to the University of Memphis from a FedEx Express scholarship grant to support a new commercial aviation degree program. Read it here.

– FedEx is looking to fill 400 permanent part-time positions for FedEx Express this weekend. Meagan Nichols writes about it in the Memphis Business Journal here.


Inside Memphis Business magazine has long been running the Hot Sheet feature of promotions and achievements in local business. We’re now running it in our weekly Tip Sheet email blast to keep the info more current.

– Chad Epps, MD, executive director of healthcare simulation for the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation at UTHSC, has been selected as the first representative from Tennessee to be selected as a Fellow of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy.

– Tim Roberts, Agricenter director of education and University of Tennessee Extension Agent, was the recipient of the Urban and Community Forestry Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

– Jamie Little joined Stites & Harbison, PLLC, as an attorney.

– Memphis-based Ring Container Technologies expanded with the opening of a new plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

– Southland Gaming & Racing expanded its team with two additions: Brad Meier (senior director of finance) and Johnekia Catron (community outreach manager). The company also promoted Jason Guidry to senior director of operations.

– Melanie Blakely, previously CEO at the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, joined Marx-Bensdorf as an affiliate broker.

– The Seam partnered with Tech901 to provide better career opportunities for I.T. students in the agriculture field. Students had the opportunity to visit a cotton supply chain facility and meet members of the staff to discuss advancements in agricultural technology, the role of blockchain in the cotton industry, and future employment and mentorship opportunities.


Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s April issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.

This week’s Power Player is Jim Isaacs, president and CEO, Legacy Wealth Management. Certified Financial Planner. B.A., Ithaca College; M.B.A., Finance, Seton Hall University. Member Board of Trustees, Christian Brothers University, Vistage International, Economic Club of Memphis. Five Star Wealth Manager, 2009-2015, Memphis magazine.

For the complete list of Inside Memphis Business Power Players, go here.


Every year, Inside Memphis Business magazine honors four CEOs who have proven to be exemplary in their fields, leading their companies to success on local, regional, national, and international stages.

Nominations for the 2019 CEO of the Year awards are open. Memphis is graced with tremendously talented, inspiring executives in charge of their companies and organizations, and we want to hear from you about the best in the business. Email your nomination to [email protected]com and include the CEO’s resume and a description of why he or she should get the award: vision, achievements, business philosophy, employee relations, management style, special qualities.

We give out four awards in categories according to the number of employees in the companies: 1-50, 50-200, 200-1,000, and 1,000 and up, so include that information as well. The deadline for CEO of the Year is November 16, 2018. When the nominations are in, an impartial panel will consider the nominees and pick one for each category. Each will be notified and interviewed for the February/March 2019 issue of IMB — and each will appear on the cover of the magazine. A breakfast in late January will honor the four CEOs.