People Who Make An Impact: Pam Lewis [Q&A]

Pam Lewis - Publicity PhotoWe are proud to lay claim to Pam Lewis–preservationist, philanthropist and music industry veteran–as a new board member of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. The President & CEO of PLA Media has led a long & fascinating career in both New York City and Nashville… and we know that her varied expertise in fields ranging from politics to non-profits will serve our organization well.

The Historic Register property owner has even written a book about her experiences with preservation–how neat is that? Aptly titled A Tennessee Yankee, Pam shares her life and the restoration journey when she rescued the Harrison House from development. You can purchase the book here.

So that you can get to know Pam better, we put together a quick Q&A that shows off her passion for the community and why she chose to spend time on our mission (to learn more about her very interesting life–and how she came to Franklin–read her fuller bio below her answers). Enjoy!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the rural mid Hudson valley north of NYC and south of Albany. It is called McIntosh country and is loaded with rolling hills and orchards. If you have never visited, put the area on your bucket list — it is spectacularly beautiful with the Catskill Mountains, Hudson River, estates, The Hudson River school of painters Frederick Church and Thomas Cole house museums, and in general  loaded with beautiful vistas, history, culture and charm. It’s also only two hours by train to the city which I love.

How long have you lived in Williamson County? What is your favorite part of this community?

I moved to Franklin in 1993. Franklin feels like home to me even more so than my home town. The people are so engaged in our town and care about the way it grows, its history and destiny. We have strong opinions- not allot of apathy, about the important things anyway. I feel a sense of community for the first time in my life.

How did you first become familiar with the Heritage Foundation?

It is impossible to own a historic home in Franklin and not become acquainted with the Heritage Foundation. As soon as I bought the Harrison House, the phone began to ring, notes were dropped at my back door and before I knew it I had met so many people and found myself on the Candlelight Tour!  The dance had begun, and oh what I an interesting and joyful dance it has been.

I said in my book “Tennessee Yankee”, my life changed forever and for the better when I decided to rescue that house from development and I mean it. I would never have met so many interesting people from all walks of life, never have run for office, become involved in so many historical causes–and really I feel most blessed and lucky.

Why did you choose to invest your resources with the Heritage Foundation?

I feel that there are so many facets of the Heritage Foundation that are important to our community. Our community would be a very different place (and I would argue less unique) without the consistent, tenacious dedication of the HF staff.  There have been so many projects, so many victories and a few disappointments to be sure.  What impresses me is how multifaceted HF  is as an organization: a valued clearing house for information, research and a historic resource, the many beloved family festivals, the spring Heritage Tour, Franklin Theater restoration and continuing events, land reclamation and various restoration projects, as an activist organization for preservation issues and so much more.

Do you have a favorite event that the Heritage Foundation produces?

I guess my favorite event from the Heritage Foundation is Dickens.  Though, I must admit I like any opportunity to slip into a hoop skirt and who doesn’t like to wax a bit English especially around the holidays.

What is your favorite historic landmark or project in Williamson County?

It would have to be the collaborative work on land reclamation- I think the first thing I was involved with was Roper’s Knob.

It’s your perfect Saturday. What would you do?

A cup of coffee, a  work out and zumba class and I can be happy just walking around my farm  gardening , swimming, riding, and  enjoying my critter family but, also  any Saturday when I am exploring some place new and traveling.  I am a homebody who also loves to travel and have a long list of places to visit and re-visit.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t complain, be grateful in all things, have a short memory and thick skin, seize the day.

To riff off our friends at StyleBlueprint, what are a few things you can’t live without (aside from faith, family and friends)?

Books; coffee and music in the morning; animals in my life; freedom; good health and piece of mind.

 

Pamela Lewis, a native of upstate New York, is a graduate of Wells College with a B.A. in Economics/Marketing and a minor in French and Communications. Lewis spent a year in Paris studying at COUP (Center of Overseas Undergraduate Program) affiliated with The Sorbonne University. In New York City, she did additional graduate course work at Fordham University, The New York School for Social Research and The Publicity Club of New York. From 1980 to 1984, Lewis was part of the original publicity/marketing team that launched MTV to the world and also worked with MTV’s sister cable channels Nickelodeon, The Movie Channel, and the Arts & Entertainment Network. In 1984 she left WASEC (Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company), a joint venture of Warner Communications and American Express, with the position as National Media Director.

RCA records relocated Lewis from New York City to Nashville to help shape the careers of top country stars such as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, The Judds, and Alabama. In 1987, she formed award-winning Doyle/Lewis Management with partner Bob Doyle, while continuing to operate PLA Media. The first client Lewis agreed to represent was an unknown Oklahoma crooner named Garth Brooks, who she worked with until 1994. Lewis also managed Trisha Yearwood’s early career, landing her a record deal at MCA Records. Under Lewis’ guidance, Yearwood released her debut self-titled album in 1991, becoming the first female country musician to sell one million records off her first single “She’s In Love With The Boy.” The album went on to be certified double platinum, and Yearwood went on to win the Academy of Country Music award for Top Female Vocalist later that year.

In 2003, Lewis made her first foray into the world of politics running for office of alderman-at-large in Franklin, Tennessee. She won a four-year term and was the only female on the board for two years and vice mayor for a year. Lewis is a graduate of University of Tennessee’s Institute of Public Service Local Government Leadership Program (third level). She has also served on or chaired multiple committees as well as being elected to the Planning and Historic Zoning Commission. She is a graduate of Belmont University’s College of Business Administration’s Scarlett Leadership Institute Mini Executive MBA program.

Lewis’ charitable board work has included: The Tennessee State Museum, Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte’s You Have The Power, BRIDGES Domestic Violence Center, Sister Cities of Franklin, Battlefield Preservation Commission, GAP, mayor appointed Moderately Priced Housing Task Force, Franklin’s Historic Battlefield Commission, ARC Board and the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

Her other community outreach efforts include historic preservation and green space causes, women and children’s advocacy, educational scholarships, fair housing and environmental and animal rights protection. Her foundation has given away thousands of dollars to numerous charities over the last ten years.


Foundation Adds Abby Williams To Team

Abby WilliamsAs our festivals and events in downtown Franklin street continue to grow, so does the Heritage Foundation: last month, we added Abby Williams to the team — a new staff member who will work closely with the festival director on the annual events, as well as help manage our various social media channels and website.

A Franklin resident who’s lived in the community for nearly 10 years, Abby interned with the Heritage Foundation back in 2012. She graduated from MTSU in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Communication, with focuses in advertising and leadership management. Post college, Abby continued to work with the Foundation as an active volunteer.

Thanks to her unique experience with our organization, Abby has been able to jump straight into the fray — and is loving it.

“I’ve never felt more honored to work for such an amazing nonprofit organization,” Abby says. “The community of Franklin is truly a remarkable place and we are excited to take our street festivals to the next level of excitement in the upcoming year!”

To congratulation Abby on her new position, email Abby at awilliams@historicfranklin.com or call her at 615.591.8500 ext. 17.


2015 Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards

Each May, the Heritage Foundation hosts an annual meeting and preservation awards ceremony to recap the past year’s projects and celebrate outstanding historic preservation work in Williamson County.

The 48th Annual Preservation Awards ceremony will be held on May 19, 2015 at the Franklin Theatre, and will commemorate nearly half a century of preservation work. The reception will kick off at 5:30 with light bites and beverages, with a program following soon after.

The annual event, which falls during National Historic Preservation Month, will recognize property owners whose visions have helped the Foundation protect and preserve historic structures. They include both residential and commercial rehabilitations, as well as new construction projects that complement the historic character of the community.

Plus, new board members for both the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and the Downtown Franklin Association will be recognized. For more information on the event, call the Foundation office at 615-591-8500.

 


Cindy Townsend Holding Silent Auction for Foundation Through Franklin Store

Town’s End General Store in downtown Franklin announced the closing of its store this week–but when one door shuts, another one opens!

Cynthia Townsend, owner of the shop, also revealed that she will open her franchise-owned business, Jamba Juice, in its location come Spring 2015. Though Town’s End General Store is closing, it is now offering discounts on items throughout the store–including display and antique items.

The sale will continue through the first week in February, and conclude with a silent auction coinciding with Franklin Art Scene on Friday, Feb. 6. The silent auction will end on Friday, Feb. 8. The proceeds from the event will benefit the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and Williamson County CASA.

Silent auction items will include merchandise left after the store’s sale, items Cindy has saved for the auction, antique pieces from Cindy’s own collection, and more!

“We are glad to have the opportunity to give back to our community through local charitable involvement,” Cindy says.

Jamba Juice Company is a leading restaurant retailer of all-natural, specialty beverage and food offerings–which include whole fruit smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, breakfast wraps, wellness bowls, sandwiches, flatbreads, kids’ meals and a variety of baked goods and snacks.

“Community involvement is extremely important to the Jamba brand, and we want to continue to have an impact in the area by promoting a health, active lifestyle through better options–as well as programs that support schools, youth sports and local causes.”

Town’s End General Store is located at 504 West Main Street, two doors down from Sweet CeCe’s.

To learn more about Jamba Juice, go to www.facebook.com/JambaJuiceNashville.


A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. Raises Money For Heritage Foundation

A. Marshall Foods - Donation

A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. raised thousands of dollars for the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County through events hosted by two of its downtown Franklin restaurants in 2014, the restaurant group revealed earlier this month.

Owner Andy Marshall and his team presented a check worth $7,370.00 to Heritage Foundation staff and volunteers this past Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Puckett’s Boat House at 94 E. Main Street.

In December, friends and customers of Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant were invited to celebrate 10 years in Franklin, with a special night of throwback menu items, live music performances—and a roast of Marshall. The lively evening packed the house, and ticket proceeds–plus several several additional gifts–were garnered for the Heritage Foundation’s work in restoring the Old, Old Jail (soon to be known as the “Big House for Historic Preservation”).

In addition, the Foundation received proceeds from the Puckett’s Boat House “Puckett’s Dollar For Your Thoughts” 2014 initiative that generated dollars from money pinned to the restaurant’s low ceiling. Over the past year, the Southern seafood eatery provided each table with buckets of tape and markers, and encourage customers to stick dollar bills—with their own custom messages—to the building’s structure in the name of the Foundation.

A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. is a Franklin-based company with seven family-owned restaurant and hospitality businesses within Middle Tennessee, including Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant and Puckett’s Boat House in downtown Franklin.

Andy Marshall is a Heritage Foundation board member, and wife Jan Marshall is a executive committee member of the Downtown Franklin Association.


Volunteers Who Make An Impact: Bob Rudman

Hundreds of dedicated volunteers help the Heritage Foundation make the impact it does. This is part of a “Volunteers Who Make An Impact” series, to thank those individuals who dedicate their time to the organization’s mission.

books“Bob Rudman is one of my ‘go to’ people,” says Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. And that might mean anything.

Bob can be seen tending bar and pouring wine at Heritage Foundation events, delivering Heritage Foundation books to area merchants who retail the books, setting up book signings for local authors, and even dressing as the Easter Bunny and greeting children at the Franklin Theatre’s Easter movie event. It’s a good thing that he spent his career thinking outside the box and making unlikely connections, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s never met a stranger.

Bob’s involvement with the Heritage Foundation began shortly after he and his wife, Missy, moved from New England to Franklin in 2004.

Bob’s first volunteer stint was at a street festival and it wasn’t long until it evolved into a three-year, full-time commitment. While demolition was underway at the Franklin Theatre between 2008 and 2010, the insurance premium was considerably less if the building was occupied, so Bob and his friend Denny Kohan showed up every day to give the building “occupied” status. Not only did their presence save the Foundation thousands of dollars in insurance premiums, they were also available to open and lock up the building for various contractors and deliveries, saving the staff valuable time and resources.

As folks realized a Heritage Foundation volunteer was at the building every day, people began to drop by to reminisce and share stories, which gave Bob the idea of selling artifacts from the building as souvenirs. Together Bob and Denny sold the seats, light fixtures, tables, fire extinguishers, and anything else that would have been discarded, netting thousands of dollars for the Heritage Foundation and saving tons of trash from the landfill. Bob’s ingenuity not only had a significant financial impact on the theatre, it also contributed to the building’s “green” rating.

“I can count on Bob to do whatever we need him to do,” Mary says. “He is the consummate goodwill ambassador — one of those people whose creativity, energy and good humor change the temperature of the room when he walks in, and in the best way possible. His Northern social graces exude Southern hospitality, and we are privileged to count him a friend of the Heritage Foundation.”

To learn how to volunteer, go here.