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Daily Briefs

By Published: February 28, 2019 12:58 PM CT
  • Methodist-Germantown to get MRI/RT Linear Accelerator for cancer treatment
  • First Horizon achieves SBA's Preferred Lender Program status
  • Agricenter named Germantown Chamber's Non-Profit of the Year for 2018
  • Canada-based Richardson International buys Conagra Memphis  plant for $15M
  • Agricenter International reveals new logo
  • Mike Conley to receive NBA Cares Award 
  • St. Jude to receive $6.5 million Cancer Support Center grant 
  • Lee announces mental health, suicide prevention efforts
  • Tech901 receives First Tennessee Foundation grant 

Methodist-Germantown to get MRI/RT Linear Accelerator for cancer treatment

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare received approval Wednesday, Feb. 27, to add precision MRI-guided radiation therapy treatment to its Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital.

A Certificate of Need was approved by the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency that allows Methodist to use an MRI/RT Linear Accelerator, a piece of advanced equipment that will be added to Methodist-Germantown’s megavoltage radiation therapy services.

“We’re incredibly excited to receive this approval as we continue our work to create a comprehensive cancer program focused on providing expert cancer care across all of the communities we serve,” Methodist Le Bonheur President and CEO Michael Ugwueke said in a release. “Adding a linear accelerator to our Germantown hospital will enable us to bring advanced treatment options out East and continue to elevate care in Germantown and surrounding areas just as we have done for more than 20 years.”

Linear accelerators are a type of external beam radiation therapy that delivers a beam of high energy X-rays directly to the location of a tumor or other tissue being irradiated. The technology images soft tissue, not just the bone and air that conventional technology captures, to improve treatment accuracy and reduce the amount of radiation to which a patient is exposed, according to the release.

The approval is a milestone as Methodist works to create the new Methodist Cancer Institute in partnership with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. There are only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. now.

Methodist Le Bonheur provided care through nearly 2.2 million patient encounters in 2018, the company said in the release.

-Daily Memphian Staff

First Horizon achieves SBA’s Preferred Lender Program status

Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. has received Preferred Lender Program (PLP) status by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for lending through its subsidiaries, Capital Bank and First Tennessee Bank.

“We are excited about growing to meet the needs of small business owners, who drive our nation’s economy,” Adrienne Sipe, First Horizon’s director of government guaranteed lending, said in a release. “One of our goals is to be easy to do business with and our experienced staff and specialized technology help small business owners navigate the process as easily and efficiently as possible.”

PLP status allows the company to streamline the loan process, expedite funding for small business and U.S. Department of Agriculture lending through its banks and offer more products and services to businesses across the Southeast.

First Horizon’s specialty loan team is led by Sipe and includes Tom Owens as sales manager, Meredith Hardegree as underwriting manager and Cookie Parks as loan process and documentation manager. Kevin Collins is operations manager and Makayla Riggs has been hired as the customer experience specialist.

-Daily Memphian Staff

Agricenter named Germantown Chamber's Non-Profit of the Year for 2018

Agricenter International has been named the Germantown Chamber's Non-Profit of the Year for 2018.

The award is judged by a third party based on an overview of the business planning process, execution strategies, results experienced and vision for the future, according to a release.

Agricenter helps educate 10,000 students each year using a STEM curriculum, where students learn about seeds and fruit, production crops like corn and soybeans, forestry, energy and solar, pollution and recycling, and the water cycle. In addition to education, Agricenter also runs agriculture field trials and does research for companies on how their crops would grow in the Mid-South.

-Natalie Martin

Canada-based Richardson International buys Conagra Memphis plant for $15M

Canada-based Richardson International, a worldwide handler and merchandiser of grains and oilseeds, has bought Conagra Brands’ Memphis cooking oil plant for $15 million, according to a deed registered Feb. 26.

The transaction, which was finalized on Feb. 25, includes the sale of the 280,000-square-foot Memphis plant located on 1351 Williams Ave., as well as all assets exclusively related to the Wesson brand, a brand of vegetable oil manufactured in Memphis and sold by Conagra Foods, according to a release.

“This is a very exciting time for Richardson as we add strategic assets to strengthen and grow our food and ingredients business,” Curt Vossen, Richardson president and CEO, said in a release. “Not only are we effectively increasing our profile in North America, we are also enhancing our ability to meet the needs of a global marketplace with quality products.”

Vossen said Richardson is committed to the Memphis plant, the employees, the local community and “a continued U.S. presence for marketing, manufacturing, and distribution of Wesson products.”

The Conagra Memphis plant is supported by a network of over 120 employees, and will complement Richardson’s existing Food and Ingredients division.

-Natalie Martin

Agricenter International reveals new logo

Agricenter International revealed its new logo Wednesday in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The logo will be used officially starting March 1 at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. 

Leading up to its 40th anniversary, Agricenter completed a draft of a 20-year vision of its campus, which includes developing an Innovation District, an Ag Experience Station and a new Farmer’s Market. The final plan will be revealed later this year.

Agricenter’s mission statement has also been updated to, “To advance knowledge and understanding of agriculture,” according to a release.

“Agricenter has made a tremendous economic impact on the region in its 40 years of existence," Agricenter International president, John Butler, said in a release. “We are the leader in agricultural field crop research and last year partnered with over 65 companies in research. We will be celebrating the anniversary all year long with a variety of events such as the Feast on the Farm Gala on June 22.”

-Natalie Martin

Mike Conley to receive NBA Cares Award 

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley will be presented with the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award in an on-court ceremony before the Grizzlies’ home game against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, Feb. 27.

Conley is being honored with the award by Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading health care providers, and the NBA in recognition of his continued work to improve the lives of Memphis youth through mentorship and community outreach.

The award recognizes an NBA player each month who “best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities,” according to a release.

Some of Conely’s work in Memphis includes being an active board member of the Grizzlies Foundation, and regularly providing guidance to empower young men of color at Grizzlies Prep, an organization he has donated more than $200,000 to.

He also provided monetary and emotional support to the family and friends of Kameren Johnson, a Memphis 9-year-old who lost his life in a bus crash last December. He hosted Kameren’s family and his Orange Mound football teammates and coaches at the Grizzlies’ Dec. 26 game, where he gifted customized, game-worn sneakers to Kameren’s mother.  

“For professional athletes, I think we have a responsibility to utilize our platforms to stand for something bigger than our individual selves and to be the voice and support for those who don’t have one,” Conley said in a release. “I feel young men and women of color need to be provided with equal opportunities no matter what their socioeconomic status may be. Through Grizzlies Prep, I am helping to close the opportunity gap for young men of color in the city of Memphis.”

NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to Conley. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 to Grizzlies Prep on Conley’s behalf. 

 -Natalie Martin

St. Jude to receive $6.5 million Cancer Support Center grant 

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis announced Tuesday St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will be receiving a Cancer Support Center grant of $6,533,713 from the National Cancer Institute.

Cohen said the grant will allow St. Jude to continue to lead as an “outstanding institution and employer in Memphis,” and said he is “pleased” the grant will permit St. Jude to continue its important work.

“St. Jude is the premier hospital specializing in the fight against childhood cancers,” he said. 

-Natalie Martin

Gov. Lee announces steps to increase mental health treatment, expand suicide prevention efforts

Gov. Bill Lee Tuesday announced three initiatives aimed at increasing access to mental health treatment and expanding suicide prevention efforts.

“The mental health of our citizens is foundational to all other goals we seek to accomplish in education, job growth and public safety,” Lee said in a release. “By prioritizing our mental health safety net and suicide prevention, we are caring for more Tennesseans and building healthier communities.”

The first initiative is a proposed $11.2 million in new funding to expand access to services for those with serious mental illness. It would cover an additional 7,000 uninsured Tennesseans through the state’s Behavioral Health Safety Net program.

A second initiative proposes $3 million for the Creating Homes Initiative, a program which has since 2000 created more than 20,000 housing opportunities for those with mental illnesses.

A final initiative proposes $1.1 million to expand the state’s partnership with the Tennessee Prevention Network. They would work together to establish a new regional outreach model and increase the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services' efforts to focus on intervention.

-Daily Memphian Staff

Tech901 receives First Tennessee Foundation grant

Tech901, a computer training school at Crosstown Concourse that provides its students with essential IT and soft-skill training, announced Tuesday it has received a $10,000 grant from the First Tennessee Foundation.

The grant will support Tech901’s planned information technology job training expansion in 2019 to meet local workforce shortages while offering its adult students rewarding career opportunities, according to a release.

In addition to the grant, First Tennessee Bank provided laptop computers, servers and networking equipment to expand Tech901’s teaching data center lab.

“Rapid changes in technology pressure all organizations to build their workforce to meet customers’ demands,” Bruce A. Livesay, Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer at First Horizon National Corporation, said in a release. “We are beginning to see alternative certification programs, like Tech901, fill the workforce gaps while helping unemployed or underemployed Memphians improve their lives.”

Tech901 delivered 350 affordable student-courses in 2018. The First Tennessee Foundation grant will provide critical support toward planned 2019 capacity of over 500 trainings.

“With First Tennessee Foundation’s support, we are able to offer more students certification preparation with applicable work skills for a growing job base of IT infrastructure jobs,” Robert Montague, Executive Director at Tech901, said in a release. “The instruction and in-class experience are invaluable to Tech901’s graduates and their ability to provide immediate value to address the pressing workforce needs, and to earn on average nearly a doubling in pay from their previous employment.”

Tech901’s courses are offered with fees of only $100 or $250 providing equitable opportunities to all who qualify independent of resources thanks to First Tennessee Foundation’s and other organizational backing for the students.

-Natalie Martin

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