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Memphis Community Mourns Loss of ALSAC’s David McKee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital said David L. McKee, longtime chief operating officer at ALSAC, St. Jude’s fundraising arm, died in a car accident in the Memphis area Friday, August 17.

McKee over the past 35 years served in a variety of leadership roles at ALSAC, including CEO, chief operation officer and senior executive vice president.

During a February 2011 interview, McKee told me about his very first day on the job in December 1977, when he arrived at his regional office in Atlanta to find the building engulfed in flames, sparked by a fire at a neighboring deli. He called his wife and told her he hoped he’d made the right decision. St. Jude at that time did not have the brand reputation it has today, but McKee believed strongly in founder Danny Thomas’ life-saving mission of treating children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

McKee was instrumental in the creation of a number of fundraising programs and initiatives, including the St. Jude Country Cares radio program. During our interview last year, McKee commented on the Country Cares radio-thon, saying, “We made an attempt at it and the first year it failed. But it made me just all the more determined, and $400 million dollars later I was right. And it made me wonder what would’ve ever happened if I didn’t stick to it, believed in it and made it happen.”

McKee, who helped lead the his organization to record growth and its current status as the second largest health care charity, was named recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by Fundraising Success magazine.

In a statement Saturday, ALSAC CEO Rick Shadyac said, “David McKee was so much more than one of the world’s great philanthropic leaders. He was a dear friend and mentor to me and many others who worked with him during his 35 year career at ALSAC. He also was a passionate advocate for the patients of St. Jude and for children everywhere who have benefitted from our work. We have lost one of the icons of our organization and his family is in our hearts and prayers.”

My work frequently takes me down the street to St. Jude to cover events, where it was always a pleasure to see Mr. McKee’s smiling face as he spoke with children and their families. There’s no doubt he was a phenomenal fundraiser, gifted with great business sense. But McKee was also a warm, kind, accessible human being, one who will be missed by so many.

In an e-mail Saturday, Angela Richmond, director of Public Relations for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said the entire staff is “so heartbroken by the news.”

ALSAC/St. Jude said details about funeral arrangements will be made public once they are finalized.

Colliers Produces Quarterly Market Videos

Quarterly market reports are common among commercial real estate firms in town, but Colliers International Memphis is the first in the marketplace to put out a snapshot video.

Colliers has prepared short video updates for the office and industrial sectors, highlighting notable leasing and sales activity, as well as insight into absorption, vacancy and rental rate figures. Click on the pictures below to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forbes: Three Memphis Colleges Among Top 20 Pct. Nationwide

Forbes’ list of public and private colleges and universities ranked three Memphis higher education institutions among “America’s Best Colleges in the Nation” from the students’ perspectives: Christian Brothers University, University of Memphis and Rhodes College.

The Forbes ranking is geared toward undergraduates and the evaluation process when selecting a college. Forbes list of 650 undergraduate schools – the top 20 percent of all undergraduate institutions – focuses on quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt.

This year, five criteria were used in compiling the rankings:

  1. post graduate success, which evaluates alumni pay and prominence
  2. student satisfaction, including professor evaluations and freshman-to-sophomore year retention rates
  3. debt, which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates
  4. four-year graduation rate
  5. competitive awards, rewarding schools whose students win scholarships and fellowships

Other Tennessee universities to make the list included Vanderbilt University; Sewanee – University of the South; Fisk University; Union University; Maryville College; Carson-Newman College; The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Middle Tennessee State University; and Belmont University.

Pair of warehouse expansions get tax freeze benefits

The local Economic Development Growth Engine board approved two tax freeze benefits this week to facilitate some warehouse expansions:

The EDGE board approved a 3-year tax freeze for Stoughton, Mass.-based Franklin Sports, which is investing $550,000 here, adding 40 jobs and pursuing a 100,000-squrae-foot expansion of its local operations at 5510 Getwell Rd. Franklin wants to expand the company to capitalize on the departure of a competitor from the market, and the addition of 40 new employees will take its local workforce to a total of 167.

Meanwhile, Franklin, Mass.-based Barrett Distribution got a 5-year tax freeze to help the third-party logistics provider expand its existing facility while adding 35 new jobs and investing $4.9 million.

Barrett is planning a 254,940-square-foot expansion of its Memphis operations at 4836 Hickory Hill. Adding the 35 jobs will increase Barrett’s local workforce to 61.

How did their Olympic dollars fare?

Here’s a link to a commentary from Andy Dolich, the former president of business operations for the Memphis Grizzlies.

It’s an analysis of advertising surrounding the just-ended Olympics in London. An excerpt:

“I wasn’t in London, but like many millions of others, I watched hours of NBC coverage both live and tape-delayed. When all the Ad-Olympics competitors had reached the finish line, I thought that Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Chobani, and AT&T distinguished themselves with gold medal performances … At times this Olympics seemed to blur the lines of perception versus reality when it came to what advertisers were doing to keep up with events — in real-time, turnaround-time, and world-record times set by the athletes.”

Dansette

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