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.

City & State extends hours

One of Broad Avenue’s newest retailers is going to be staying open longer.

City & State, the general merchandise store at 2625 Broad Ave., is extending its hours. Its new hours of operation:

Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Memphis company awarded $1 million health-related grant

Memphis-based Translational Sciences Inc. has been awarded a $1 million federal grant via the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research awards.

The grant is intended to be used for the company to study “Novel Methods for Dissolving Blood Clots.” Translational Sciences will attempt to treat dangerous blood clots while still in the body by dissolving them through molecular engineering.

The project’s goals include reducing death, disability, and cost of service.

Indie Memphis executive director steps down

After seven years of service, Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor is stepping down.

Indie Memphis board president Ryan Watt announced Jambor’s resignation in an email to members, saying that the organization thanks Jambor for his service “building an excellent slate of programming and growth. Our organization is fully committed to continuing our first-class festival and year-round events. Erik will always part of the Indie Memphis family.”

Watt went on to say the organization is beginning the search for a new executive director, with the volunteer board running events in the meantime.

“I will be at our upcoming events, and I look forward to speaking with each of you,” Watt concluded. “I can confirm we will be having our festival this year and some exciting announcements are coming soon.”

Dansette

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