Williamson chambers names Largen CEO
Matt Largen , the director of the Williamson County Office of Economic Development since 2008, has been named the first president and chief executive officer of the unified Williamson County Chamber of Commerce, board Chairman Brad Dunn announced today.
Largen will assume his post by Feb. 1 to allow adequate time for a smooth transition at the OED, Dunn, senior vice president with Pinnacle Financial Partners, said in a release.
Former Franklin mayor and telecommunications businessman Jerry Sharber will continue to serve as the chamber’s interim general manager until Largen comes on board, Dunn said.
During Largen's tenure with the Williamson County Office of Economic Development, more than 8,000 jobs have been created in the Williamson County. Companies including Verizon Wireless, Jackson National Life Insurance, Mars Petcare and Tractor Supply have either relocated to or expanded within the county.
Largen authored a five-year strategic plan that identified business sectors for recruitment and made education a priority issue, targeting the development of more depth and talent in the information technology workforce to meet job demand. He also has established the OED as a regional presence by participating as a board member on the Nashville Technology Council and as chair-elect of the Tennessee Economic Partnership, among other activities.
In August, the Brentwood Cool Springs Chamber, the Cool Springs Chamber and the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber approved unification under the banner of the new Williamson County Chamber. The staff members of the three former chambers are being integrated, and efforts are underway to establish a new office for the unified organization, which has some 1,500 business and individual members.
“The potential of the new Chamber of Commerce in the healthiest, wealthiest, fastest growing, most well-educated county in Tennessee is limitless,” Largen said. “I cannot wait to engage and collaborate with the business community — especially the small business community — to help make the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce a highly valued path to engagement for small to large businesses in Williamson County.”
Largen earned a Master of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Henderson State University (Arkansas) Honors College.
NFIB names Waters to manage four states
The National Federation of Independent Business has named Sarah Waters  its member support manager for Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.
Waters, who will be based in Nashville, will work closely the NFIB directors in the four states to help NFIB members engage in the legislative and political processes.
“We’re pleased that Sarah has joined our team,” Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee, said in a release. “Sarah has a lot of experience and a lot of energy, and that's important when it comes to helping the voice of small business be heard.”
Prior to joining NFIB, Waters was political programs manager and legislative affairs administrative coordinator for the Credit Union National Association in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was the senior manager of advocacy for Psoriasis Cure Now and staff assistant to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida's 13th District. Waters also was a regional field manager for North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Bill Graham.
NextGxDx adds four
NextGxDx, a Nashville–based health information provider, has added four leadership team employees to advance the company’s most recent testing platform, an online service that allows physicians to order and compare myriad genetic tests.
Julia Polk  is now NextGxDx’s acting chief financial officer; Dr. Jud Schneider  its scientific director; Jay Buford  its senior vice president of business development; and Dan Kauke  its marketing director.
“With the recent debut of the NextGxDx, our business has really accelerated,” said Dr. Mark Harris, chief executive officer of NextGxDx. “It’s an exciting time for our company, and we are pleased to have such experienced business and scientific leaders join the team.”
Brief biographical information for each new hire follows:
• Polk is a former investment banker, venture capitalist, angel investor and serial entrepreneur. She’s spent more than 25 years building companies in health care, technology, and other service-related businesses. Most recently, Polk joined the founders of Change Healthcare Corp. to develop much of the company’s infrastructure in finance, operations and sales, and raised two rounds of institutional equity capital totaling $15 million. She participates as a mentor in the Jumpstart Foundry tech accelerator and in the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Also, she is an advisor at FLO Thinkery.
• Schneider has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and biomedical research. He is the current co-chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee for Life Science Tennessee and has previously served on its board. Schneider earned his Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology and was awarded a fellowship in molecular endocrinology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University, where he has founded programs designed to facilitate the commercialization of laboratory-developed technology.
• Buford brings more than 30 years of experience to NextGxDx. He spent 18 years with a provider of kidney dialysis, where he was involved in the development, sales and implementation of some of the earliest laboratory management software for dialysis patient management. Most recently, Buford led the efforts of a Chicago-based technology company’s consumer products division to support a successful sale to private equity.
• Kauke has more than 10 years of health care experience in areas ranging from pharmaceutical clinical trial management to diagnostic laboratory operations. Kauke is focused on simplifying and improving the genetic test ordering process for physicians, genetic counselors and their patients. Prior to joining NextGxDx, Kauke served as marketing manager for an academic genetic testing laboratory, directing marketing and business development operations, including leading an organization-wide rebranding effort and overseeing sales and client relations.
Humanities Tennessee names executive director
The board of directors of Humanities Tennessee Board of Directors has named Tim Henderson as executive director following President Robert Cheatham’s retirement at the end of the year.
Currently Humanities Tennessee’s director of operations, Henderson has been with the nonprofit since 1998, serving as the director of digital programs before taking on his current role.
"After conducting a thorough national search, the board of Humanities Tennessee is confident that Tennessee native and longtime Humanities Tennessee employee Tim Henderson is the ideal candidate to lead the organization,” Neil Hemphill, HT board chairman, said in a release. “Tim's experience, knowledge and commitment to the humanities are exemplary, and his familiarity with the organization's outstanding staff and programs will ensure the continuity of Humanities Tennessee's great work across the state."
Henderson earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Union University and master's degrees in English and information science from Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee, respectively.