Baker Donelson adds 3 Nashville associates

Friday, April 29, 2022, Vol. 46, No. 17

Baker Donelson has added 16 new associates across the firm, including Katelyn R. Dwyer (labor & employment), Kareim S. Oliphant (corporate) and Kathryn White (corporate) in Nashville

Dwyer represents clients in a wide variety of employment litigation matters, including cases involving discrimination, retaliation, covenants not to compete, and wage and hour issues.

She holds an undergraduate degree in sport management at the University of Michigan, where she completed an internship with the Michigan men’s basketball team. While at the University of Tennessee College of Law, she interned in the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Oliphant advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings and general corporate matters.

He previously worked as a program specialist for the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, where he focused on developments in workforce development policy and legislation. He also served as a judicial extern for the Hon. W. Neal McBrayer of the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and holds a master of social work from Rutgers University, an MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University.

White’s corporate finance and securities work includes representation of companies in capital markets transactions and corporate governance matters, including initial public offerings, de-SPAC transactions, secondary offerings, high-yield debt offerings, exchange offers and tender offers.

She is a graduate of Lafayette College and the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Martin named partner at Thompson Burton

Margaret Martin has been named a partner in the public law practice at the Franklin-based law firm Thompson Burton. Martin joins Thompson Burton after launching Martin Airport Law, the state of Tennessee’s only legal practice dedicated to aviation law and a certified DBE/ACDBE law firm.

Previously, Martin was the chief development officer for the Metro Nashville Airport Authority, where she was responsible for the management of $170 million-plus in annual revenues and more than 2,500 contracts with airport tenants, operators, business partners and government agencies. She also served as an attorney with the Metro Law Department providing legal counsel for the Metro Planning Commission, the Metro Historic Commission and the Metro Health Department. Martin was also senior regulatory counsel for Asurion, the Nashville-based technology insurer.

Martin is a graduate of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and earned her J.D. from Tulane University.

Nashville School of Law hires communications director

Kristin Priesol Smart has joined Nashville School of Law as director of communications and engagement. As a part of the school’s senior management team, Smart will be responsible for the planning, development and implementation of marketing strategies, event planning, media relations, and internal and external communications.

Smart brings more than 20 years of media experience to NSL. She was previously the senior public relations specialist and local news director at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and before that was a news anchor and medical reporter at Nashville’s WTVF.

Smart is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a degree in Radio Television Film/Journalism.

Allen named to Forbes wealth advisers list


Wealth Strategies Partners founder Paul Allen, CFP, MS, has been named to Forbes magazine’s 2022 list of America’s Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. This marks the third time that he has received this recognition.

The annual list spotlights the nation’s top-performing advisers, evaluated based on a methodology developed by SHOOK Research, including personal interviews, industry experience and those leading the way in best practices and high-quality client experience.

The complete list of 2022 Best-in-State Advisors is available at

Richards named president of international organization

Bowman Richards, owner and president of Nashville-based secure shredding company Richards & Richards, has been named president of the International Secure Information Governance & Management Association.

The trade association enforces standards and ethical compliance for approximately 2,000 secure data destruction and information management service providers on six continents. Richards will serve as president for one year.

Richards served as president-elect in 2021. In 2020, he became chair of i-SIGMA’s Conflict Resolution Committee after serving as a member of the committee since 2018. He also was the international conference chair for the National Association for Information Destruction, now a part of i-SIGMA, in 2014 and served on the board of directors of Professional Records and Information Services Management International, also now a part of i-SIGMA, 2017-2020.

Richards has been a member of i-SIGMA or its predecessor organizations since 2008 and has earned the Certified Secure Destruction Specialist designation.

State health department names assistant commissioner

Jennifer Putnam has been appointed assistant commissioner of Health Licensure and Regulation for the Tennessee Department of Health and will oversee a staff of approximately 350 employees in Health Professional Boards, Health Care Facilities, the Office of Investigations and Emergency Medical Services.

Health Licensure and Regulation investigates complaints against health care professionals and works closely with the TDH Office of General Counsel to present cases before the various boards. The Office of Health Care Facilities licenses and regulates health care facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal standards of care and conditions of participation in the Medicaid and Medicare programs through facility surveys and incident investigations.

Putnam previously served 10 years as assistant general counsel and senior associate counsel for the Office of General Counsel and more than a year as deputy director in the Division of Health Licensure and Regulation with the TDH.

She holds a degree in public relations from Xavier University and is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law.

BELL Construction hires Bruining as project executive

Brentwood-based BELL Construction has hired Rick Bruining as project executive in the company’s justice division.

Bruining joins BELL with 35-plus years of construction industry experience, with the past 21 years devoted exclusively to the justice sector. Before joining BELL, Bruining served as senior project manager for Barton Malow Builders on the Wayne County Criminal Justice Center.

Bruining will be responsible for overseeing projects and clients across the local and regional justice market, as well as growing BELL’s portfolio of justice projects.

BBBSMT promotes Currie to chief impact officer

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee has promoted Bryan Currie to chief impact officer to oversee the strategic direction for programming in the Middle Tennessee agency.

Currie previously served as the vice president of capacity building initiatives since July 2021 and as the director of education and inclusion before that. Before joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, he served as a youth violence prevention strategist for the Metro Public Health Department, where he led a collective-impact coalition to address systemic issues that lead to youth violence.

Currie holds a degree in religion and communications from Union University, as well as a master’s in youth development and program management from Michigan State University.

Veterinary group taps leadership participants

Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) announced the 10 participants its 2022-23 Power of Ten Leadership Program class.

The program is designed for young veterinarians who have been in practice 10 years or less. Career development, wellness, communication, social media and cyberbullying are just a few of the topics covered in Power of Ten sessions.

Participants are:

Dr. Christine Garrett, Parker’s Paws Animal Hospital, Nashville

Dr. Madeline Hendrix, Brentwood Veterinary Clinic, Brentwood

Dr. Mary Hurley, Arlington Pet Hospital, Arlington

Dr. Hannah Lanter, Pet Vet, Franklin

Dr. Megan Noseda, Belle Meade Animal Hospital, Nashville

Dr. Allison Peeler, True Friend Mobile Veterinary Services, Franklin

Dr. Erica Nix Pounds, Banfield Pet Hospital, Hermitage

Dr. Sarah Spence, Animal House Veterinary Clinic, Nashville

Dr. Nicole Szafranski, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville

Dr. Paige Underwood, Brooks Road Animal Hospital, Memphis

Participants will graduate from the program in February 2023.

Veteran news executive joins FINN Partners

De Varenne

FINN Partners, a global public relations agency, has named veteran news executive and former Tennessean editor Maria De Varenne as senior partner, responsible for overseeing earned media strategy and content across print and digital channels for the company’s diverse clients throughout the Southeast.

During her 30-plus year career, De Varenne was executive editor of the Tennessean 2011-2021. Her professional and managerial experience includes strategic multi-media product startups, market expansions and innovative staff development.

Before joining the Tennessean, De Varenne held a number of leadership and editorial positions in newspapers across the country.