FedEx Committing Support to Nepal earthquake relief efforts

FedEx has announced it’s committing about $1 million to support relief efforts in the wake of the Nepal earthquake.

The company’s contribution will be in the form of a mix of cash, transportation support and a chartered flight to deliver medical aid and supplies. FedEx says it’s mobilizing its disaster relief program through the company’s existing relationships with Direct Relief, Heart to Heart International, Water Missions International, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

FedEx’s specific contributions will include:

  • Providing a $250,00 cash donation to the American Red Cross and a $50,000 donation to The Salvation Army
  • Sponsoring Heart to Heart International’s mobile medical clinic, “which contains tents, vital medicines, medical supplies, portable medical equipment, communication equipment, non-perishable food and water purification systems.”
  • Transporting on behalf of Direct Relief large volumes of IV solutions, medicines, surgical supplies, and other medical essentials requested and approved by Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population.
  • And transporting 12 large Living Water Treatment Systems, 31 potable water chlorinators and 12 large water tanks on behalf of Water Missions International. “Combined,” says FedEx, “these systems will provide fresh water for up to 370,000 people per day.”

Details of Live at the Garden’s new lineup

The Memphis Botanic Garden has announced the lineup for this year’s Live at the Garden concert series.

The series gets started June 26 with Aretha Franklin, followed on July 17 by Rob Thomas, then on August 15 is ZZ Top, with Martina McBride on Sept. 4, and finally on Sept. 18 Daryl Hall & John Oates.

The series, now in its 15th year, is held on the grounds of the Memphis Botanic Garden and can seat 6,600. The series title sponsor is Duncan-Williams, Inc. Presenting Sponsors are Fed Ex, TruGreen, Infiniti of Memphis, Regions Bank, Hollywood Casino, Ashley HomeStore, Nolan’s Audio/Video, Classic Party Rentals and Nationwide Insurance.

Porcellino’s + City & State = something new

City & State, the new retailer that opened recently on Broad Avenue which also has a coffee and food component, added something new this week.

The retailer’s coffee bar/food side has added a few items from the guys behind Porcellino’s in East Memphis. Via the City & State Facebook page:

“We are super stoked to announce we have teamed up with Chefs Andrew and Michael of Porcellino’s and will now be carrying new breakfast and even a couple lunch options. Food doesn’t get better than theirs!”


From Big Star drummer to Ardent CEO

As the drummer for Big Star, Jody Stephens helped hold things together, keeping time with his sticks. Now, it appears he’s serving a similar role at Ardent, the Memphis studio where Big Star – and many other artists local and national – recorded their tunes.

Ardent confirmed that Stephens, whose previous title was studio manager, is the studio’s new CEO. Continued leadership at Ardent preserves the longevity of the Memphis music landmark that lost its founder John Fry in December at age 69.

In January, Ardent posted on its Facebook page:

“Thanks to all those that have inquired as to the future of our Ardent family here at 2000 Madison. We will continue the mission put forth by our great founder and leader John Fry and run the business as it has been run under his guidance for the last 48 years. John’s advisory role at Ardent has been the best example for us for many years and the owners and administration here at Ardent know that it was John’s wish that we soldier on in this mission, with him at the helm in spirit, always.”

This Wednesday, a celebration of Fry and late Ardent engineer John Hampton is happening at the Levitt Shell. The free show, “Press/Play: A Celebration of John Fry and John Hampton,” starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, Stephens and guests performing Big Star songs as well as performances by the Gin Blossoms and Tora Tora.

IBM takes a big leap into health care via artificial intelligence

IBM is teaming up with a handful of companies including Medtronic – the spinal division of which is based in Memphis – to bring its Watson artificial intelligence system to the health industry.

Here’s why, per IBM: “With the increasing prevalence of personal fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors that collect real-time information, the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime (the equivalent of more than 300 million books).”

The difficulty is in connecting those disparate pools of information with more traditional information sources like doctor-generated medical records, clinic research and individual genomes. To get a sense of what IBM wants to use Watson to do, by working with companies like Medtronic (plus Apple and others) IBM plans to leverage insights from its new Watson Health Cloud around the delivery of personal care management solutions for people with diabetes.

“The solutions will receive and analyze patient information and data from various Medtronic devices including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, and use this information to provide dynamic, personalized diabetes management strategies to patients and their providers,” IBM says.

Indeed, the future of medicine involves data, and lots of it – analyzing it, making sense of it and using to create some intended outcome, more so than has ever been done before.