Campus News

UT Martin WestStar Leadership Program Class of 2015 annnounced


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin WestStar Leadership Program’s class of 2015 has been announced and includes 29 residents from 17 West Tennessee counties. The following individuals are participating in the program:

• Nicky Burgess, master agronomy adviser with Winfield Solutions, Crockett County;
• Joey Conner, owner/principal broker of Conner Real Estate, L.L.C., Haywood County;
• Hope Cooper, marketing director for Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs, Gibson County;
• Ordis Copeland, business development consultant for the State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Shelby County;
• Lisa Cothran, vice president of membership development for the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Madison County;
• Jim Crone, West Tennessee development manager for The Trane Company, Shelby County;
• Bernie Grappe, executive director of marketing for West Tennessee Healthcare, Madison County;
• Mark Heaston, CARE officer for the city of Covington fire department, Tipton County;
• Eddie Herndon, president and CEO of the United Way of West Tennessee, Madison County;
• Wendy Hopper, master instructor at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jackson and adjunct faculty at Jackson State Community College, Henderson County;
• Jerry James, director of business development and associate of A2H, Inc., Shelby County;
• Katie Keathley, membership director for the Obion County Chamber of Commerce, Obion County;
• Sara Kilgore, executive director of the Benton County/Camden Chamber of Commerce, Benton County;
• Shawn Kimble, superintendent of Lauderdale County schools, Lauderdale County;
• Kyle Lusby, staff pharmacist at Evans Drug Company in Fulton, Ky., Weakley County;
• James Luvene, pastor of Hughlett, Lighthouse and Ross United Methodist Church in Dyersburg; Dyer County
• Clinton Neal, director of Haywood County Solid Waste Development, Haywood County;
• Kirk Newcom, sales manager for WBBJ-TV, Madison County;
• Kim Patterson, materials/purchasing manager for Nobel Automotive of Tennessee, Henry County;
• Dr. Lisa Piercey, vice president of physician services for West Tennessee Healthcare, Gibson County;
• Chris Ramey, director of advancement for Jackson Christian School, Madison County;
• Blake Reynolds, general manager for F&M Consulting, Inc., Hardin County;
• John Smith, mayor of Selmer, McNairy County;
• Nathan Smothers, partner at Huntingdon Insurance Agency and S&S Insurance, Carroll County;
• Jason Sullivan, assistant athletic director for development at UT Martin, Weakley County;
• Judy Watters, mayor of Rossville, Fayette County;
• Tony White, deputy mayor of Madison County, Madison County;
• John Young, vice president for Security Bank, Dyer County;
• Steve Young, vice president for Strategic Growth Initiatives and broker for Keller Williams Realty, Shelby County.

The WestStar Leadership Program, created in 1989, is the state’s oldest and largest regional leadership program. Boasting 710 graduates, WestStar continues to serve West Tennessee by offering leadership development and education for selected participants. The 2015 class is the 26th in program history.

For more information about WestStar, contact Virginia Grimes, program coordinator, at 731-881-7298 or by email at



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