The effects of a turbulent year in 2020 were still clearly felt in 2021. Now, the region’s business, political and civil society leaders are helping to lead their organizations into a new era. We hope this 13th edition of the in-charge list brings no misfortune. Those who sit on it embody what it means to “call the shots,” and it is up to them to ensure that the city and state continue on their shared forward course.
Check out the lists of leaders for other industries here.
Mike Apperson — President and CEO, Resource Label Group: Oversees the label printing business, which regularly acquires niche competitors and now employs 1,450 people. Backs private equity firms First Atlantic and TPG Growth. The company acquired Dallas and Seattle-based companies in late 2020.
Greg Bafalis — CEO, Aries Clean Technologies: Named a Leader in 2016. Has more than 30 years of leadership in clean technology and energy. Previous work includes stints with Fortune 500 companies and founding a PE-backed renewable energy company in Houston. The Company raised a total of $46.4 million in new and additional equity from two companies in early 2018.
tone bright — CEO, Megasite Authority of West Tennessee: The former head of Brasfield & Gorrie was appointed commissioner of traffic by Gov. Bill Lee. Now is responsible for leading one of the largest manufacturing projects in Tennessee history: Ford’s Electric Vehicle and Associated Battery Plant.
Mark Chaffin — President and CEO, Mitsubishi Motors North America: The operations veteran was promoted to the top job at the company’s North American subsidiary this year.
Steve Cook — Executive Managing Director and Co-Founder of LFM Capital: Oversees a private equity investment firm with a partial focus on manufacturing companies. Former Director at TVV Capital and COO of MFG.com. Former Navy Lieutenant who flew combat missions in support of Desert Shield.
James Curleigh — CEO and President, Gibson Brands: The former Levi’s executive has driven a blend of heritage and innovation for the brand. The company acquired the Mesa/Boogie amp brand in 2021, also launching Gibson Records that year.
Reagan Farr— President and CEO, Silicon Ranch: Stepped down from COO in mid-2019 to take over Matt Kisber. Former State Treasury Commissioner during Phil Bredesen’s tenure who helped grow Silicon Ranch to over 140 solar farms in 14 states. The company announced in November 2021 that it will build, operate and own its first solar farm in Canada.
Philippe Fauchet— Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering: The experienced academic also serves as a VU Professor of Engineering. A silicon photonics expert who holds numerous patents and once founded a successful startup. Helped land a $20 million engineering school gift from VU Chairman Bruce Evans in 2019.
Paolo Ferrari — President and CEO, Bridgestone Americas: succeeded Gordon Knapp in January 2020 after leading the tire giant’s European operations since 2016. Former luxury retail executive who moved to the automotive industry in 2012 to lead Pirelli North America.
TJ Higgins — Global Chief Sustainability Officer Bridgestone Corp.: Joined Bridgestone Americas in 2014 as President of the Consumer Integrated Tire Group. Has worked with Pfizer, Merck and Vlasic Foods.
Jeff Hollingshead — GM, Smyrna Ready Mix: Leads concrete company that has acquired seven competitors in four states.
ted clover — Senior Vice President, Schneider Electric: Vanderbilt graduate who joined what was then Square D in 1985. Was promoted to Senior VP in 2009 and switched roles in 2019 to support companies with large Internet customers.
Steve March — Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, Nissan North America: Appointed last March, succeeding Heath Holtz as head of Nissan’s manufacturing operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With the car manufacturer for more than 30 years.
Darin Matson — President and CEO of Rogers Group Inc.: Replaced the departing Jerry Geraghty in 2016 and has been with the company since 2004. Rogers supplies crushed stone, sand and gravel for the road construction industry.
Jeremie Papin — Senior Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.: Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance at Nissan since 2018, who took charge of the automaker’s North American unit in 2019. Assumed the current role in April 2021.
Ikdeep Singh — Regional President, Mars Petcare, North America: Oversees strategy and execution for the company, which employs approximately 4,000 people and has 22 facilities nationwide. The company announced in early 2021 that it would invest $145 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Parent company Mars Inc. plans to acquire NomNom for approximately $400 million.
Brad Southern — CEO, Louisiana-Pacific: In July 2017, replaced Curt Stevens as the fifth CEO in the company’s history. Joined LP in 1999 and managed both siding and OSB units before rising to COO. Has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forest resources from the University of Georgia.
Sam Strang — President, Alley-Cassetty: Graduate of Vanderbilt, 2011 named leader in brick, concrete block and mortar company founded in 1879. In late 2018 he bought assets from local peer LoJac, growing the regional plant network to 14.
Dean Wegner — Founder and CEO, Authentically American: Company founded in 2017 with the goal of creating apparel manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Jason Whitaker — CEO, Shoals Technologies Group: Joined the solar energy equipment manufacturer as CTO in 2009 and was appointed CEO in early 2020. The company went public in early 2021 in a late-breaking IPO that was valued at more than $4 billion.
Uzi Yemin — Chairman, President and CEO, Delek US Holdings: Has run an energy conglomerate since mid-2004 and has overseen numerous pipeline and logistics asset acquisitions. Began in 2021 with calls for major governance and strategy changes from CVR Energy, a company controlled by Carl Icahn, which owned 15 percent of Delek at the time.
Michael Young — Plant Manager, GM Spring Hill: Third generation General Motors employee who took over in Maury County in 2019. Has worked at six GM locations for the auto giant for over 27 years, whose local operations employ approximately 3,700 people. GM executives said in October 2020 that they will invest $2 billion to add an electric vehicle production line to the plant.