Movers & Shakers

By Updated: May 15, 2019 4:00 AM CT | Published: May 14, 2019 5:08 PM CT

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has named Donny D. Davidson Jr. the new Memphis District deputy district engineer for programs and project management.

In his new role, he is the senior civilian adviser to the Memphis District commander. He is responsible for the development and execution of the district's annual Civil Works Construction and Maintenance Program budget and helps lead the district in carrying out its responsibilities for flood damage reduction, navigation, environmental stewardship and emergency operations, among other things, along 610 miles of the Mississippi and White Rivers, encompassing a 25,000-square-mile area in six states.

<strong>Donny D. Davidson Jr.</strong>

Donny D. Davidson Jr.

Davidson assumed his new role in April, after serving 4 1/2 years as the Engineering and Construction Division chief. He has 22 years of service with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including service with the Memphis District, Nashville District, Far East District (Seoul, South Korea), New Orleans District, and overseas deployments to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Memphis and is a licensed professional engineer in Tennessee.

<strong>Kathy Buckman<br />Gibson</strong>

Kathy Buckman

Kathy Buckman Gibson was recognized as Woman of the Year by the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry’s (TAPPI) Women in Industry Division at its recent annual PaperCon conference. Buckman Gibson is an owner and director of Buckman. She has been involved with the pulp and paper industry for more than 25 years while working at Buckman in various capacities, including chief operating officer, general counsel and chairman of the board. Currently she is CEO and president of KBG Technologies LLC, a joint venture between herself and Buckman established in 2018. KBG Technologies is a certified woman-owned business providing chemistries and smart technologies to the pulp and paper industry and water treatment market.

AOC Aliancys recently promoted two sales and marketing leaders to key positions in the Americas.

  • Mike Diehl has been promoted to director of marketing, Americas, where he will lead marketing and technical service efforts. Since joining the company in 2002, Diehl has held several key positions, including plant manager and business manager.  
  • Brad Walker has been promoted to director of sales, Americas, where he will lead the sales function for the entire Americas region. Walker was previously regional sales manager for the Americas’ Central Region. He has 36 years of experience in the composites industry, with the first 23 years in composites manufacturing and distribution. He joined AOC Aliancys in 2006.    

AOC Aliancys, a global supplier of polyester and vinyl ester resins, gelcoats and specialty materials used for the composites industry, has headquarters in Collierville and in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Danielle Porter has joined LeMoyne-Owen College as executive director of human resources. Porter comes to LOC from an IT staffing company, where she served as employee services director. She has more than 20 years of human resources experience in various service-related industries, with eight years in the nonprofit sector.

She holds a Master of Arts in organizational management and a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. In addition to human resources experience, Porter was an associate professor at the University of Phoenix for more than 10 years, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses.

<strong>Eric Faught and Hayden Murry</strong>

Eric Faught and Hayden Murry

Paragon Bank has appointed Eric Faught and Hayden Murry as financial services associates. In that role, Faught and Murry deliver financial advice and match Paragon Bank products and services to customers’ needs and goals. As FSAs, they proactively monitor ongoing customer needs and market trends.

Faught has nearly 10 years of experience in the banking industry and previously served as a member of Paragon’s mortgage team. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Memphis. Murry is a recent graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics.

Matt Brandt has joined Oden, a Memphis-based business-to-business marketing communications agency, as director of digital technologies. In that role, he will lead digital technology strategy development and execution of digital initiatives for Oden, and also will be responsible for continuing to enhance Oden’s digital offerings and technology solutions for clients.

<strong>Matt Brandt</strong>

Matt Brandt

Brandt brings nearly 10 years of digital project management experience, most recently at Archer Malmo, where he served as group director of digital project management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Illinois University.

The Apex Institute, whose objective is to equip future generations with the capacity to develop innovative ideas and new approaches for addressing age-old problems of injustice, inequity and inequality, has announced the Civic Fellows Program spring class of 2019.

The inaugural group is comprised of eight undergraduate students from four Memphis-area colleges and universities who will develop creative ideas, encourage conversations, and cultivate original approaches for advancing equality in Memphis. They are: Brandon D. Golliday and Jada Watson of the University of Memphis; Gabrielle Morgan and Tyquavious Noland of LeMoyne-Owen College; Itzel Gomez, Tarus L. Dukes Jr. and William Foner of Christian Brothers University; and Nithila Ramesh of Rhodes College.

<strong>T.J. Searcy, Melissa Sweazy and Brian Manis</strong>

T.J. Searcy, Melissa Sweazy and Brian Manis

T.J. Searcy has joined Memphis video production company Running Pony as business development director. Searcy has an extensive background in sales and marketing, and has worked for companies including Gartner, FedEx and ServiceMaster.

Running Pony has also promoted two producer/directors to positions as co-creative directors. Melissa Sweazy has been with the company since 2015, and Brian Manis joined Running Pony in 2016. Together, Sweazy and Manis will oversee the company’s creative concepts and executions for video production.

Rhodes College presented annual awards at its commencement ceremony May 11. The 2019 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were presented to graduating seniors Alex McTaggart and Allison Young and Greater Memphis Chamber CEO Beverly Robertson. The awards are presented annually to two graduating seniors (one male and one female) and one non-student who have given selflessly to others and the college. Rhodes alumni Russell Wigginton and Daniel Hatzenbuehler each received the college’s Distinguished Service Medal.

Anna Baker-Olson was awarded the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize, the college’s highest academic honor. It is awarded to the graduating senior who has best demonstrated an exceptional combination of scholarship, creativity, and achievement and a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences.

<strong>Hershal Pomtree</strong>

Hershal Pomtree

Hershal E. Pomtree has joined Folk’s Folly, a family-owned and operated prime steakhouse founded in Memphis more than 40 years ago, as assistant manager. Managing restaurants and steakhouses across Memphis and Southaven since 2001, Pomtree brings 18 years of leadership experience to Folk’s Folly.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced the National Civil Rights Museum as one of 10 recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Over the past 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families and communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., on June 12.  

Send announcements for consideration to associate editor Kate Crawford at


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