The effects of a tumultuous 2020 were still evident in 2021. Now, the region’s business, political and civic leaders are helping bring their organizations into a new era. We hope this 13th edition of the In Charge list is not unlucky. Those on it embody what it means to be “in charge,” and it will be up to them to make sure the city and state continue their collective forward trajectory.

See the In Charge lists for other industries here.


Lewis Agnew — President, Chas. Hawkins Co.: Named co-leader of long-time firm in 2016, teaming with chairman Bill Hawkins. Received the 2016 NAIOP Developing Leader Award for Middle Tennessee.

Allen Arender — Director of Development, Holladay Properties: Has helped Indianapolis-based Holladay create Nashville market presence. Company bought Germantown-area property in late 2021. Remains focused on Donelson Plaza shopping center adaptive reuse project, to feature a public library and retail.

Steve Armistead — Partner, Armistead Arnold Pollard Real Estate Services: Co-founder (with Bill Barkley) of Armistead Barkley Inc., a company that helped jump-start development of The Gulch.

Jessica Averbuch — CEO and Owner, Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty: Started her residential real estate career in 2001. Involved with Nashville Chamber, Williamson Inc., Leadership Nashville, Nashville Downtown Rotary, Nashville Downtown Partnership, Jewish Federation of Nashville, Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee and Renewal House.

Shawn Bailes — President, FMBC Investments: Far-sighted developer who sold his 83 Freight apartment property derived from shipping containers in Wedgewood-Houston for about $11.2 million in 2020. Has undertaken work in 12South and West End Park, among other areas.

Luca Barber — Managing Director, Mill Creek: Oversees local operations of Boca Raton, Florida-based company. Previously served as VP of development and acquisitions in Nashville for Lincoln Property. Mill Creek is underway or planning multiple large-scale residential buildings within the city’s urbanized districts.

Doug Brandon — Managing Principal, Cushman & Wakefield: CRE industry veteran who oversees daily operations of entity that merged with DTZ in 2015. Previously worked at Smith Barney. Joined Cushman in 2006.

Ben Brewer — President, Elmington Capital Group: Teams with Cary Rosenblum (CEO) to lead company that is now focused on mixed-used Edgehill project. Company sold portion of that site to Raleigh-based SLI Capital in late 2020 for $9.1 million. ECG has undertaken  developments in Hillsboro Village and Edgehill, among other local spots.

Sean Buck — VP, Office Leader, JE Dunn: With local office of Kansas City-based builder since 2003. On his sixth title in 17 years. Elevated from group manager role in late 2019.

Jim Caden — Investor: Gentlemanly industry veteran who helped lead the reinvention of M Street in The Gulch. Part of investor group that sold a key Gulch parcel for $11.5 million in 2019.

Wood Caldwell — Principal, Southeast Venture: Arguably the most visible member of company with multiple heavy-hitters. Serves with Cam Sorenson in SEV’s development services division. Company sold Gulch site at Eighth and Division for $38 million in late 2021.

Bo Campbell — Partner, Real Estate Industry Co-Chair, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Has been involved in several first-time transactions or development deals in Tennessee, including the redevelopment of the former Nashville Convention Center site with the $400 million mixed-use Fifth + Broad project.

Tyler Cauble — Founding Principal and President, The Cauble: Focusing his development attention on Dickerson Pike corridor. Founded Parasol Management in 2018 for property management duties.

Rodney Chester — CEO, Gresham Smith: Has worked for firm for nearly 24 years. Joined company’s board of directors in 2015 and previously served as COO since 2018 before assuming new role in January. Succeeds Al Pramuk, who remains company chairman.

Neal Clayton — Owner, Engel & Völkers: Nashville native (a Hillsboro High School graduate) and veteran of the local residential real estate scene. Also owns Neal Clayton Realtors.

Hunter Connelly — CEO, Village Real Estate Services: Named to role in January 2019 and teams with Principal Broker Zach Goodyear. University of the South grad previously worked as co-founder with Aaron White at Evergreen Real Estate. Firm merged with Parks in early 2020 and kept its brand, with those two having combined resources with Pilkerton Realtors this past January.

David Creed — President, Creed Investment: Is now fully underway on 20-story mixed-use Moore Building in Midtown, a project with which Atlanta-based Portman is participating. Works closely with Stan Snipes, founder of Snipes Properties and a former XMi official. Owns downtown’s The Pilcher Building.

Dwane Crews — Owner and CEO, Synergy Realty Network: Former music industry official who is a licensed general contractor and Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast.

Roy Dale — CEO, Dale & Associates: Offers 30-plus years of experience in planning, zoning, development and construction management. Teams with trusted deputy Michael Garrigan to lead company involved in multiple local projects.

Mark Deutschmann — Chairman Emeritus, Village Real Estate Services: Sold majority interest in Village, which he started in 1996, in 2019. Oversees Core Development, known for Werthan Mills Lofts and its multiple projects in Wedgewood-Houston, with Andrew Beaird.

Sheila Dial-Barton — Principal, EOA Architects: Oversees design firm long led by Gary Everton. University of Tennessee grad has been with company since 1997.

Glynn Dowdle — Principal, Dowdle Construction Group: Has worked within industry since 1988. Teams with Allen Buchanan and Chase Manning to oversee company.

Tim Downey — CEO, Southern Land: Leads company known for its mixed-use Vertis Green Hills, which won the NAIOP multi-family development of the year award in early 2020. SLC in 2014 sold its Elliston 23 for a then-record $287,000 per unit.

Ryan Doyle — GM, oneC1TY: Now in ninth year of leading development of mixed-use oneC1TY, which saw the $80.6 million sale of apartment building The Shay in 2019. In February 2021 completed hotel building housing a Marriott Element.

John Eakin — Chairman, Eakin Partners: Long-standing industry pro oversees with Barry Smith company that has developed mixed-use mid-rises Roundabout Plaza, SunTrust Plaza, 1201 Demonbreun and the 2020-completed Peabody Plaza in Rolling Mill Hill.

John Eldridge III — President, E3 Construction: Continues focus on Clifton Avenue and surrounding streets of McKissack Park (which he calls City Heights). Known for his friendship and work with fellow real estate investor Max Khazanov.

Tarek El Gammal — Executive Managing Director, Newmark: Former JLL and SEV official who holds M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago.

Pat Emery — CEO, Hall Emery: Founder of Spectrum, Emery teamed with Fred Hall to create company in late 2017. Company paid about $11 million in 2019 for Music Row site on which it continues work on 17th & Grand office building. Sold 18th & Chet office building in August 2021 for $78.5 million. One of the local industry’s elder statesmen.

Gina Emmanuel — Principal, Centric Architecture: Teams with Jim Thompson, Justin Lowe and David Plummer to guide forward-thinking design firm. Board member of NAIOP, Catholic Charities of Tennessee and the Metro Housing Trust Fund Commission.

Meg Epstein — Founder, CA South Development: Working on multiple projects, including those in Edgehill, Pie Town and North Capitol. Paid $1,325,000 in 2021 for a Wedgewood-Houston building to which her company has moved. Now tackling some industrial development. Has 10 projects under development and manages private equity real estate fund.

David Frazier — CEO and Owner, Hardaway Construction: Acquired venerable company in 2018 after serving as president and operations manager.

Bill Freeman — Co-Founder, Freeman Webb Companies: Oversees 41-year-old company with about 450 employees and nearly 15,000 apartment units and 1 million square feet of commercial property under management in four states. Owns Post parent company FW Publishing. Freeman Webb completed nearly $250 million in transactions in 2021.

Rick French — Principal, French King Fine Properties: Teams with Tim King to oversee long-standing local residential real estate company. Co-founder in 1985 of the no-longer-operational but still remembered French Christianson Patterson and Associates.

Steve Fridrich — President and Managing Partner, Fridrich and Clark Realty: Launched real estate career in 1979 while a Vanderbilt student and became a full partner in 1982 of company founded by his father. Has closed more than $231 million in residential sales collectively during past five years.

Gary Gaston — Executive Director, Nashville Civic Design Center: Principal contributor to “The Plan of Nashville.” A TEDx Nashville Fellow who oversees nonprofit now 22 years in operation and playing a lead role in rebuild of bomb-damaged Second Avenue.

Hunter Gee — Principal, Smith Gee Studio: Teams with fellow principals Fleming Smith, Dallas Caudle and Greg Tidwell at architecture firm focused on boutique projects throughout multiple urban districts in the city.

Tony Giarratana — Principal, Giarratana: Skyscraper advocate who has developed downtown sites on which rise five towers of 200 feet or taller, including the 550-foot-tall 505. Company underway with skyscrapers at 900 Church St. and 801 Church St. and is planning 750-footer on portion of downtown YMCA site. Considered by many the city’s most well-known developer due to the high-profile nature of his company’s projects.

Jimmy Granbery — CEO, H.G. Hill Realty: Has overseen urban infill projects in 12South, Five Points, Green Hills, Hillsboro Village and Sylvan Heights. Now focused on Germantown site for mixed-use building and completion of re-building at Five Points site damaged by March 2020 tornado. Part of city’s old-school development community who garners props for using progressive design and planning concepts and local companies.

Joseph Griffin — CEO, Ragan-Smith Associates: After more than three decades at firm, was promoted to top job in 2020.

Chad Grout — Founder and Principal Broker, Urban Grout Commercial Real Estate: Oversees Brentwood-based boutique company with trusted deputy John Toomey. Paid $13.75 million for 12.3-acre property located near Trevecca Nazarene University and is eyeing redevelopment.

Roberto Gutierrez — Managing Partner, Jackson Builders: Oversees acquisitions, financing and investor relations for boutique development business that has completed more than 150 infill homes in Nashville’s urban core. Focuses work on Buchanan Arts District and Bordeaux. Current pipeline amounts to $75 million across 30 project through Q4 2024. At 30, one of city’s youngest developers.

Kristy Hairston — Managing Director of Nashville Sales‌, Compass Green Hills: Former president of Greater Nashville Realtors and member of CABLE and Nashville Rotary.

Whitfield Hamilton — Regional Partner, Panattoni Development: Teams with brother Hayne on development of Music Row-area sites, including office buildings on 16th Avenue (home to SESAC) and on Music Circle South. Company continues work (started in 2020) on Row office building at ex-site of Bobby’s Idle Hour.

Kim Hartley Hawkins — Co-Founding Principal, Hawkins Partners: Teams with husband Gary Hawkins to lead influential land planning and landscape architecture firm. Company, which is contributing to massive Nashville Yards project, lost its Five Points office to March 2020 tornado and is part of the rebuild with owner Hill Realty.

William Hastings — Principal, Hastings Architecture Associates: Teams with David Bailey and David Powell to drive firm that designed Asurion building in North Gulch for Highwoods and MCC Roundabout-area tower 805 Lea for New Orleans developer Key. Company continues to land clients seeking high-rise designs.

Michael Hayes — President and CEO, C.B. Ragland: Classy industry official whose company completed in SoBro in 2021 the Hyatt Centric hotel at ex-Listening Room site. Completed with Hines the mixed-use 222 2nd in SoBro and is now focused on Hyatt Caption project in Gulch.

Jonathan Harris — Founder and CEO, Scout Realty: Leader of residential real estate company also founded Homes for Homes, a nonprofit that provides safe housing to people in need.

Jeff Haynes — Founder, Boyle Nashville: Oversees firm that worked with Northwestern Mutual and Northwood Ravin to develop Capitol View sites in North Gulch. Teams with Thomas McDaniel, Boyle’s director of office properties. Company captured NAIOP developer of the year award in early 2020.

Ray Hensler — Principal, Hensler Development Group: Known for $80 million, 23-story Gulch luxury condo tower Twelve Twelve. His mid-2000s-finished Adelicia in Midtown still garners positive attention. Eyeing mid-2022 start on Rolling Mill Hill residential tower.

Bob Higgins — President and CEO, Barge Design Solutions: Has served in current roles since 2009. Joined Barge in 1996 as an intern following graduation from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

Kelly Knight Hodges — Chief Development Officer, Market Vice President, Gresham Smith: During her roughly 21 years at Gresham Smith, has worked with Jackson National, the State of Tennessee, Ramsey Solutions and Schneider Electric.

Ginger Holmes — Co-Principal Broker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Woodmont Realty: Teams with Co-Principal Broker Nancy Malone and Principals Tonya Hamilton and Tisa Musgrove to own and operate robust residential brokerage.

Jason Holwerda — Partner, Brokerage Services, Foundry Commercial: Coordinated the 2018 purchase of brokerage business of OakPoint Real Estate’s Nashville office. With that deal, industry veteran Rick Helton joined Foundry, giving company a noteworthy combo.

Tom Hooper — Managing Director, JLL: Teams with Co-Managing Director Bo Tyler to oversee national power’s Nashville office. Oversaw in 2019 the Nashville office’s addition of property management and retail brokerage services.

Bill Hostettler — Principal Broker, HND Realty: Chief Manager, Craighead Development: Frank-talking and quick-witted industry veteran (about 41 years in the business) focused on developing reasonably priced condos and townhomes.

Allen Huggins — Owner, WH Properties: Nashville native earned his real estate license in 2003 and started residential-focused brokerage in 2017.

Janet Jones — Managing Broker, President and Owner, Worth Properties: Offers 35 years of experience in the residential real estate sector, with focus on Davidson and Williamson counties.

Michael Kenner — Owner, MiKeN Development: Focused on the city’s once mainly working class west side. Known for mixed-use The Phoenix and residential project Treaty Oaks, both in The Nations. Remains focused on work in Charlotte Park.

Stephen Kulinski — Managing Director, CBRE: Assumed current role in 2015 after 31-year career as an architect, most recently with Gresham Smith. Has served as president of local NAIOP chapter. Commands respect for his connections, insider info.

Ken Larish — CEO, The Mainland Companies: Teaming with Chicago’s Speedwagon to reinvent a segment of Chestnut Hill with mixed-used urban node called the New Heights District.

Paul Lawson — Business Manager, Turner Construction: Teams with John Gromos, vice president and GM, to lead local office of NYC-based Turner. Company has built, among others, Bridgestone Arena, Hill Center Brentwood, Tennessee State Museum and vertical addition to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Larry Lipman — Broker and Owner, RE/MAX Homes And Estates, Lipman Group: Ageless and energetic residential real estate pro who seemingly has undertaken as many transactions as anybody else in town.

Derek Lisle — Co-Partner, Cottingham Capital Partners: Partners with Michael Young and Matt Laitinen at locally based company focused on Salemtown and Germantown projects.

Rob Lowe — Executive Managing Director and Partner, Stream Realty Partners: Former Cushman & Wakefield senior managing director is one of city’s most respected and versatile commercial real estate pros. Teaming with New York entity to overhaul The Arcade. Known for work with Elliott Kyle and McClain Towery.

Bert Mathews — President, The Mathews Company: Drives development, acquisitions, financing and institutional/investor relations for The Mathews Company. University of North Carolina grad is also a partner with Nashville office of Colliers International. Teaming with Seattle’s Eagle Rock Ventures on WeHo and SoBro micro-housing projects.

Mark McDonald — Senior Partner, M Cubed Developments: Teaming with Mark McGinley to undertake projects in 12South, Buena Vista, Five Points and Music Row. Veteran Nashville-based investor and developer is a partner with Oldacre McDonald, which is developing Century Farms in Antioch.

Bruce McNeilage — CEO and Co-Founder, Kinloch Partners and Harpeth Development: Has garnered attention the past few years for his work in South Inglewood (Solo East), Williamson County (Fairview Station) and in the Crooked Creek and the Derryberry Estates subdivisions on the Maury County side of Spring Hill.

Janet Miller — CEO and Market Leader, Colliers Nashville: Former Nashville Area Chamber ECD leader who moved to Colliers in July 2014. Firm was sold to Colliers International Group Inc. for an undisclosed sum in late 2020.

Lee Molette — Founder, Molette Investment Services: Plans to start this year on seven-story condominium building Contralto at Midtown intersection of 15th Avenue North and Church Street.

Russ Oldham — Managing Director, Walker Dunlop: Teams with Brett Kingman and Robbie O’Bryan to focus on multifamily work. Trio had led local CBRE office’s investment properties multifamily group.

Rebecca Ozols — Owner, Bell Construction: Former vice president of growth operations who joined Bell in 2018. Was tapped as owner, along with Sam Hand, in late 2021.

Marie Parks — President, Parks Realty: Partners with husband and company chairman Bob Parks to oversee residential real estate company that includes Village and that in early January completed merger with Pilkerton Realtors.

Dane Peachee — President, Compass Real Estate Advisors: Assumed greater role with CREA after the 2020 retirement of Tim Stowell, company founder and managing member. Has been with firm since 2003.

Brian Reames — Senior VP and Regional Manager, Highwoods Properties: Oversees company that developed SoBro site on which sits 30-story Bridgestone Americas Tower.

Todd Robinson — President, ESa: Veteran health care building designer who joined ESa in 1981 and in 2018 was named to The College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects. Works in tandem with Chairman Dick Miller, who has been with firm (founded by the late Earl Swensson) since 1967.

Ben Rooke — Regional Vice President, Brasfield & Gorrie: Auburn grad started career at Brasfield & Gorrie in March 2000. Based in Franklin and has held role since July 2018.

Mary Roskilly — Principal, Tuck-Hinton Architects: Partners with Co-Principal Chuck Miller to oversee one of city’s most established architecture companies. Has been with Wedgewood-Houston firm since 1994. Studied architecture at the University of Cincinnati.

Floyd Schecter — President, SmartSpace: Boutique company focuses on management and maintenance of commercial buildings.

Mike Shmerling — Chairman and CEO, Clearbrook Holdings: Opened Pearl Street Apartments with Tony Giarratana in 2017, with the two friends also having partnered to develop Midtown site with 1818 Church. Veteran real estate investor works closely with Henry Menge, managing director and principal broker with Clearbrook (formerly known as XMi Holdings) sister operation FifthGen.

Barry Smith — Co-Founder and President, Eakin Partners: Combines with John Eakin to form experienced commercial real estate pair. Former executive VP and principal of now-defunct Grubb & Ellis/Centennial Inc. Company developed Rolling Mill Hill site with Eakin Plaza, which opened in 2020.

Warren Smith III — Principal and Managing Director, Avison Young: Ex-Cushman & Wakefield | Cornerstone CEO leads local office of Canadian-based heavyweight. Former partner and president of Mid-South Financial Corp. and ex-president and CEO of Q10 | Vista Mortgage Group.

Andrew Steffens — Managing Director, Wood Partners: Helped launch Nashville office of Atlanta-based company in January 2019. Wood has quickly become one of Nashville’s most active apartment developers, with four projects offering a collective 1,129 units having started since mid-2020. Previously spent five years at Alliance Residential Company as development director, overseeing Broadstone Germantown, Broadstone 8South and Broadstone Gulch.

Jim Terrell — Managing Partner, Pilkerton Realtors: Leads company that in January merged with Parks Realty and Village. Has served in current role since 2002 and a licensed broker since 1986.

Lizabeth Theiss — Business Development Director, DPR Construction: Joined company in mid-2019 after having served in a similar role with Crain Construction, which she joined in 2004. Skilled at marketing, media relations, customer relations and business development.

George Tomlin — President and CEO, GBT Realty: Steers Brentwood-based company developing sites (or planning to) in The Gulch, River North, Green Hills and the West End corridor with mixed-use large-scale buildings.

McClain Towery — President, Towery Development: Has experience with projects located in or near 12South, Edgehill Village, The Nations and East Nashville. Often works with Elliott Kyle, Rob Lowe or Jamie Pfeffer.

Tom Trent — Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings:  A member of both the firm’s economic development practice group and real estate teams. Offers about 41 years of experience in real estate and economic development law. Vanderbilt grad. Represents manufacturing companies, corporate users of commercial real estate, institutional investors, developers and lenders.

Jay Turner — Managing Director, MarketStreet Enterprises: Teams with Joe Barker and Dirk Melton to lead company focused on The Gulch. MarketStreet sold a Division Street property in late 2021 for $22 million, a figure that flirted at the time with Nashville’s per-acre record related to land deals.

James Weaver — Partner, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Power broker who can move urban development projects through Metro Planning and fundraise for Democratic political candidates. Represents Chicago-based Monroe Investments related to River North land deals.

Stuart White — President and CEO, Realtracs: Started company more than 20 years ago, growing it into the largest MLS in Tennessee.

Tom White — Partner, Tune Entrekin & White: Ageless attorney who commands admiration. Teams with colleague Shawn Henry for an effective combo related to land-use legal work. Co-founded firm in 1978.

Christie Wilson — President and CEO, The Wilson Group Real Estate Services: Ranks among local residential real estate sector’s most community-spirited members, having been active with Greater Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, The Women’s President Organization, The Nashville Wine Auction and The Fulcrum Society of the YWCA.

D.J. Wootson — Principal, Titus Young Real Estate: Known for North Nashville work. His 1821 Jefferson mixed-use building offers 18 apartments and retail. Sold for $2.5 million, two-and-a-half times the price he paid in 2015, a TSU-area apartment property in late 2020.

Manuel Zeitlin — Owner, Manuel Zeitlin Architects: Oversees boutique design firm whose 21st century aesthetic (seen at, for example, Chelsea and the TAR Building) elicits a range of opinions. Announced in late 2019 firm is employee-owned by 11 other partners, retaining 60 percent ownership.

Lee Zoller — Principal, Division Street Development: Commercial real estate industry veteran founded company in mid-2017. DSD is focused on boutique projects and is aligned with Gulch office of Toronto-based Avison Young. Plans to break ground on West End Avenue residential project this year.