PARKS ARCHITECT ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL

Jeanne Gang’s star continues to rise. She’s the only architect to be listed in the recent Time magazine roster of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The magazine says that for Gang (pictured above), “… architecture is not just a wondrous object. It’s a catalyst for change.” She’s certainly done wondrous objects, including some of the most striking high-rises in Chicago. But she’s also acutely tuned in to creating works that address environmental needs, such as wood boathouses that help organically filter runoff in the Chicago River, and police stations that are blended with civic recreational centers to bond with the community.

In Memphis, Gang and her team developed the Memphis Riverfront Concept Plan, which imagined a waterfront connected with parks, markets, museums, and more. The Memphis River Parks Partnership is bringing that concept to fruition by connecting and improving the parks and spaces along the Mississippi River.

— By Jon W. Sparks

CURE FOR “BUBBLE BOY” DISEASE GAINS NATIONAL ATTENTION

Dr. Brian Sorrentino

For years, scientists had struggled to find an effective solution for the infamous “bubble boy” disease. Officially known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), it left kids with a lack of immune cells, making it next to impossible to fight off infectious diseases. SCID proved difficult to treat unless patients could receive a matching bone marrow transplant. With many children unable to find a viable donor, SCID proved fatal for 30 percent of its victims before they reached age 10.

However, a breakthrough at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital several years ago has been getting international attention. The work at the hospital was described in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

In 2017, Inside Memphis Business featured Dr. Brian Sorrentino (pictured) as an Innovation Award winner for his creative solution to fighting SCID. Over a ten-year period, he and other doctors at St. Jude perfected a safe form of gene therapy to treat SCID-X1, the most common strain of immunodeficiency.

Historically, gene therapy could lead to major complications, including contracting leukemia. Sorrentino and his colleagues found a way around that obstacle: the AIDS virus. With the AIDS genes removed, the shell of the virus was able to sneak the new gene into the host.

“Think about it for a second,” Sorrentino said at the time. “What is the AIDS virus good at? It’s good at infecting humans. We exploit that property, because getting genes is not easy.”

Sorrentino died of cancer last year, but his legacy continues to provide hope for many children who might not have a chance otherwise.

Read the Inside Memphis Business profile of Dr. Sorrentino here.

— By Samuel X. Cicci

Memphis Flyer Margarita Festival

WHAT’S GOING ON

– Memphis River Parks Partnership is launching daily kayak rentals, adding Explore Bike Share stations and opening a new premium paid parking lot on Mud Island. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards will be available at the Fourth Cup coffee kiosk in River Garden park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Kayakers can paddle less than 1,000 feet across the harbor to dock at Mud Island Park or can go north to explore the harbor that stretches for more than three miles. River Garden’s Fourth Cup, a coffee bar with additional cold beverages, snacks, homemade pastries, and other locally sourced items, will store and manage kayak check-out. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals are $20 per hour with tandem kayaks at $30 per hour. Each additional hour for all kayaks or SUPs is $10.

– Nike has given grants to 14 area nonprofits and schools as part of the Nike Community Impact Fund (NCIF). The endeavor is to get youngsters active and NCIF Memphis has given $180,000 to area nonprofits since the local program started in 2018. Central to NCIF is the involvement of employees at Nike’s North America Logistics Center and Community Store in Memphis. Grant awards are determined by a team of employees that volunteer time to work with Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAFA), Nike’s grant-making partner, to share local knowledge, then review and recommend the organizations to receive funding. This year’s awards that totaled $100,000 went to Bridges USAChurch HealthCollage Dance CollectiveCummings Elementary/Middle School, Dragonfly Capacity Development-Play Where You StayGirls Inc. of MemphisGirls on the Run Memphis, Green Dot Public Schools TennesseeMemphis Athletic MinistriesNew Ballet EnsembleProject Transformation TennesseeSpecial Olympics TennesseeYoung Actors Guild, and Youth Villages.

NEWS FROM OTHER SOURCES

– Commercial Appeal owner Gannett Co. is hoping to reject a hostile takeover by media company MNG Enterprises. Each company is fielding a slate of candidates for the Gannett board in hopes of prevailing. Read Toby Sells’ story in the Memphis Flyer here.

– Wayne Risher at the Daily Memphian takes a look at the changing casino marketplacein the Mid-South. Read his story here.

– The Commercial Appeal’s Desiree Stennett reports on IKEA’s declaration that it’s behind on its jobs and wages goals and wants to amend the tax incentive it was originally granted. Read her story here.

– Hilton is continuing to add people to its accounting and finance services operation locally. Read Corey Davis’ story in the Memphis Business Journal here.

UPCOMING

Got an event? Send your info to Samuel X. Cicci at [email protected]insidememphisbusiness.com

– Margarita Festival: Vote on the city’s best margarita makers. Ticket ($34) includes entry to the event and 15 margarita samples, plus food, cash bar, and entertainment. Proceeds benefit Volunteer Memphis. May 11, 3-6 p.m., Fourth Bluff Park. More info here.

– Wolf River Conservancy Grand Opening: The conservancy celebrates its grand opening with the unveiling of the Epping Way segment of the Wolf River Greenway. The Greenway will host the first Epping Way 5k alongside a ribbon-cutting ceremony and neighborhood festival. April 27 at 8 a.m. More information is here.

Memphis Magazine

THE HOT SHEET

Who’s getting promoted? Who’s closing big deals? Who’s getting awards? Inside Memphis Business magazine’s Hot Sheet has the latest on milestones in Memphis.

– Patrick H. Morris joined Adams and Reese as a litigator.

– Archer Malmo received a “Best in Show” award at the National Agri-Marketing Association’s ‘Best of NAMA’ awards show for its work with Cytozyme.

– UTHSC’s Colleen Jonsson, PhD, professor and Endowed Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology at the university, received over $21 million in funding to establish a Center of Excellence for Encephalitic Alphavirus Therapeutics program. The center’s goal will be to advance research and development for antiviral drug candidates to combat viruses spread by infected mosquitoes.

– Explore Bike Share expanded its team with the additions of Emily Cupples (membership marketing director) and Michael Sarna (development manager).

– LEO Events has been named as a finalist in the 2019 Ex Awards for its work on the Walmart Associates & Shareholders Meeting.

– Timothy M. Lupinacci (pictured right) officially assumed the role of chairman and CEO of Baker Donelson, succeeding Ben Adams (pictured left).

– Rhodes College named Matt Dean as director of athletics.

– Pet Business named Hollywood Feed as a “Top 25 Pet Retailer in North America.”

POWER PLAYER

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 Nick Gant, president and founder, Gant Systems. Actively managing clients in six states. Offering managed IT services, cloud, backup and disaster recovery solutions. Formed company in 2007 and has grown to perennially recognized high performing small business. Microsoft SMB Champion Partner. Previously helped build Business Continuity Program for First Tennessee Bank. Board member, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of West Tennessee, Clean Memphis. Former board member, Building Greater Communities, Inc. “Top 40 Under 40,” Memphis Business Journal.

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

QUOTABLE

“For me, architecture is about changing the way people are interconnected. That’s the most exciting part of architecture. I think of architecture as a system; how you set up various opportunities for people to relate to one another, and to be empowered.”

– Jeanne Gang in archdaily.com