Middle Tennessee State University is tapping the expertise and insights of 10 business leaders in the region who have been named to the advisory committee for the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning.
“The advisory committee members include community stakeholders who invest their time and resources to make Middle Tennessee a better place to live,” said current chairholder Murat Arik, who serves as director of the Business and Economic Research Center at MTSU.
“With the tremendous and continued growth in our region, this committee provides a forum for the discussion of regional and urban issues and for the development of solutions to promote effective economic development.”
The committee, which held its first meeting in early September on the MTSU campus, is chaired by Paul Martin Jr., chief managing member of Clarity Resources LLC.
Other members include:
• Fulya Baysal-Gurel, interim associate dean of research at Tennessee State University.
• Patrick Cammack, senior vice president for economic development at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.
• Kendrick Curtis, assistant executive director of the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association.
• Ryan Egly, president and CEO of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
• Brad Gibson, chief cooperative business officer for Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp.
• Cliff Lippard, executive director of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
• Lori Odom, senior vice president for economic development and international business for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
• Michael Skipper, executive director of the Greater Nashville Regional Council.
• Michelle Steele, associate dean and director of leadership and public service at Lipscomb University.
“We are very impressed with the background and experience of the advisory committee members,” Jones College of Business Dean David Urban said. “Their commitment to the betterment of our region is most commendable. We look forward to collaborating with them.”
Established in 1997, the Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning seeks to promote applied research and service focused on regional and urban planning, provide a forum to generate discussion and solutions, and support the on-campus development of curriculum materials and faculty more conversant with the issues of the region.
Arik, an associate professor of management, was appointed chair in September 2021 after the MTSU Board of Trustees approved Urban’s recommendation.
Arik’s joint role as BERC director and Jones chairholder allows him to further develop initiatives relevant to the planning needs in the Midstate region while encouraging a dialogue on topics with area policymakers, opinion leaders and the community.
The chair position focuses on research and service to the Nashville and Clarksville metropolitan statistical areas, but Arik said he wants to serve as a resource for the broader community in Middle Tennessee counties.
The last chairholder was well-known Nashville architect Earl Swensson. The position had been vacant since 2008 until Arik’s appointment.
For more information about the chair and advisory committee, visit www.mtsu.edu/urp or email Arik at Murat.Arik@mtsu.edu.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)