Commission Members

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Deputy Speaker Steve K. McDaniel 
Parkers Crossroads, TN
Commission Chair
615-741-0750

The Honorable Steve K. McDaniel has been a member of the Tennessee General Assembly representing House District 72 since 1988. He was elected by his colleagues to serve in the Republican leadership, fulfilling two terms as Caucus Chairman, and three terms as House Minority Leader. He is currently Deputy Speaker.

McDaniel, with a long and distinguished career as a public servant, currently serves as City Manager for the City of Parkers Crossroads, where he resides with his wife, Phyllis. He is also a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation's largest legislative member organization and served as the organization's 2001 National Chairman.

McDaniel has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the UDC's Jefferson Davis Award; the SCV's Robert E. Lee Award for Heritage Preservation and its Distinguished Service Medal; the Dr. Frank Vandiver Award, presented by the Houston Civil War Roundtable in Houston, Texas, and the Civil War Preservation Trust's State Leadership Award in 2002.

A dedicated supporter of battlefield preservation efforts in Tennessee, McDaniel served four terms as President of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association. He was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen to the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which is planning the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.

McDaniel, a past president of the Henderson County Historical Society, served as the inaugural president of the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Association in 1993 and now holds the position of historian.

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Deborah DiPietro 
Knoxville, TN
Commission Vice Chair

Deborah S. DiPietro worked for many years as an environmental educator at the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana, Illinois. Following a move to Gainesville, Florida, she began working at the Florida Museum of Natural History, serving as a docent for four years and then as school programs coordinator for five years. In 2006, she and husband, Joe, moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.

DiPietro has always been a volunteer, working primarily as a tutor and mentor for at-risk children and teens. Currently she volunteers as a math tutor for adult learners in a GED program.

An active member of the Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild, DiPietro is also a member of the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Knoxville Zoo, Friends of the University of Tennessee Gardens, and Friends of Literacy.

DiPietro earned a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a masters in forestry with an emphasis on ecology education from the University of Illinois.

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Ambassador Victor H. Ashe
Knoxville, TN

The Honorable Victor Ashe was the 25th United States Ambassador to Poland. He was elected mayor of Knoxville, TN in 1988 and served until 2003, making him the city's longest serving mayor. He also served six years as a Tennessee state representative (1968 to 1974) and nine years as a state senator (1975 to 1984).

Ashe has been appointed by former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama to federal positions.

Among his accomplishments, Ashe authored Tennessee's Natural Areas Preservation Act and Tennessee's Presidential Primary Law.  As Knoxville's mayor he tripled the size of the city's park system and added 40 miles of greenways. He was formerly president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as well as president of the Tennessee Municipal League.

Ashe received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Yale University. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Ashe is married to the former Joan Plumlee and they have two children, Martha, 21 and J. Victor, 23.  He can be reached at (865)523-6573.

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Mary Ann Clark 
Jackson, TN

Mary Ann Clark has served as a leader and entrepreneur in the West Tennessee area. She has more than 40 years experience owning and independently operating a variety of businesses, contributing to local campaigns and actively supporting her community.

Clark began her career in Memphis, where she owned and operated Mr. Roberts Nob Hill, her first small business, but soon relocated to Jackson and began her lifelong career in real estate. She started as an affiliate with Hamilton Hills Realty. Afterwards, she joined partners with Coldwell Banker Stonehaven Realty, where she acted as owner and broker in acquisitions of commercial and residential real estate; concurrently, she founded J & M Construction Company, specializing in the design and construction of custom homes.

In 1985, Clark began a new adventure with a company she founded, Laundry Unlimited, LLC, a garment processing plant. She managed all aspects of sales and operations, including human resources, and financials.

Then, in 1998, she opened an Atlanta Bread Company franchise, where she was the sole proprietor and chief of operations.

Currently, Clark is an investor in the local economy through various real estate development projects.

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Charles W. Cook, Jr.
Nashville, TN

Charles W. Cook, Jr. became chairman of the Board of Nashville Bank and Trust Co. in January 2010. He has more than 50 years experience in the Nashville banking industry, serving in various executive offices for Nashville Bank and Trust Co., SunTrust Banks, Inc., Union Planters Bank of Middle Tennessee, and Third National Bank and its parent, Third National Corporation. Cook also served as Director of Finance for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County for two years.

Cook is an alumnus of Yale University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial administration. He graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University and attended the Harvard University Business School, where he took courses on managing corporate planning and control.

Active in community affairs throughout his career, Cook currently serves as chairman of Nashville Public Television Corp., president of the Tennessee Historical Society and finance chairman for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Finance Committee. He is also the former chairman of the United Way Campaign for Middle Tennessee, Salvation Army Nashville Advisory Board, St. Luke's Community House, The PENCIL Foundation, Centennial Medical Center, and president of the Nashville Exchange Club. He was a Commissioner of the Metro Social Services Commission for 15 years.

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Nancy DeFriece
Bristol, TN

Nancy De Friece is the president of Landmark Realty, Inc., a company she founded as sole proprietor in 1977. She also serves as a managing partner of Sikorski-De Friece Properties.

As a successful businesswoman and longtime patron of the arts, De Friece has lent her expertise to several nonprofit organizations. A former chairman of the Tennessee Arts Commission, she has also served on the boards of the Bristol School of Ballet and the Appalachian Girl Scout Council. She was a charter member of the Hands On! Regional Museum and served on the museum's Business Council.

She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of "The Birthplace of Country Music" and as a vice president of the Barter Theatre Foundation Board of Trustees in Abingdon, Virginia.

As well as being active in many other community organizations, De Friece has received numerous honors, including the "Arts in Tennessee Award" presented by International Storytelling Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center's Citizen's Hall of Fame.

De Friece attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She was recognized in 2000 as an Honorary Alumni of East Tennessee State University in Bristol, Tennessee and served on the King College Board of Trustees in Bristol, Virginia from 1994 to 2002.

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Speaker Beth Harwell
Nashville, TN

State Representative Beth Harwell represents the 56th District, which includes a part of Davidson County. Beth currently serves as the Speaker of the House, a position to which she was elected by her House colleagues. Directly prior to this, she served as House Commerce Committee Chairwoman and as House Republican Caucus Whip. 

Beth has been a strong advocate for tougher sexual abuse laws, victims’ rights, welfare reform, children’s issues, and most notably, education. She has sponsored and passed legislation clarifying and toughening the penalties against stalkers, requiring more time behind bars for rapists, strengthening Tennessee’s laws for rape of a child, and building crime prevention cooperation among the states. 

Beth has impacted Tennessee’s education system in numerous ways, always maintaining a legislative focus on innovative education policy. In 2009, her passion for education reform resulted in the passage of landmark charter school legislation, enabling thousands of Tennessee children statewide to benefit from attending a charter school. In addition, she pushed passage of legislation to direct additional funds for improvement of training for day care workers. 

Beth sponsored the “Families First” legislation that enacted Tennessee’s current welfare reform program and the “Children’s Act for Clean Indoor Air” to keep children safe from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. 

A friend of small business, Beth was twice awarded the coveted Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). 

In addition to her legislative accomplishments, Beth served as chair of the state Republican Party from 2001 to 2004. During that time she was instrumental in the Republicans taking control of the State Senate for the first time in 105 years. While serving as Chair she also contributed immensely to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and served as a Bush Pioneer.

Beth has also been an active member of her community as a member of the Tennessee State Museum Foundation Board, the Montgomery Bell Academy Board, the Executive Committee of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, the Saint Thomas Health Mission and Advocacy Committee, the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee, the PearlPoint Cancer Support Board of Directors, and is an alumni of Leadership Nashville. Beth serves as the 2nd Vice President of the National Speaker’s Conference and is a Co-Chair of the Republican State Legislative Committee’s ‘Right Women, Right Now’ effort.

Speaker Harwell has won numerous awards, including the Harold Bradley Legislative Leadership Award, the American Cancer Society Legislative Leadership Award, the 2013 Conservation Legislator Award, Champion for Children Award, and the Junior League 2012 Legislator of the Year Award.

Harwell received her Bachelor of Arts degree from David Lipscomb University, an M.S. degree from George Peabody College, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt. She has been an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Belmont University. She and her husband, Sam, have three children – Allie, Sam, and Tucker.

Senator Douglas Henry
Nashville, Tennessee

The Honorable Douglas Selph Henry, is a State Senator for the 21st Senatorial District of Tennessee, which comprises the western and southern parts of Nashville and Davidson County. He keeps a private law office in Nashville. He was formerly assistant vice president and Counsel, Insurance for the National Life and Accident Insurance Company.

Henry attended school in Nashville and Chattanooga, later graduating from Vanderbilt University. He holds the B.A. and LL.B. degrees from Vanderbilt and the designation of CLU from the American College of Life Underwriters in Philadelphia. He is a member of the Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations and of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel.

He was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 79th General Assembly. Since two and one-half years of service in the Army in World War II, he has been a member of the American Legion. He also belongs to the Kiwanis Club, other organizations and the YMCA which he has served in different capacities. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Historical Society and the Tennessee State Museum Foundation Board.

He was chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference for 1987-88. He currently serves on the Executive Committees of the Southern Legislative Conference and of the Council of State Governments.

Henry has been a member of 87th through 106th General Assemblies. His committee assignments in the 106th General Assembly include: vice-chairman, Committee on Finance, Ways and Means; chairman, Joint Select Committee on Business Taxes; member of the General Welfare Health and Human Resources Committee; Fiscal Review Committee; Council on Pensions and Insurance and TACIR.

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Deanie Parker
Memphis, TN

As Soulsville’s first President and CEO, Ms. Parker led the nonprofit organization founded to build and manage the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy in an area dubbed Soulsville USA.  Deanie then established the Soulsville Foundation and served as its President to fund the Museum and Academy operations. Much of her professional career development happened while she was Director of Publicity, Artists and Community Relations for Stax Records and working with such internationally famous performers as Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Richard Pryor, The Dramatics, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King and others.

Prior to joining Soulsville Ms. Parker was the Vice-President of Communications and Marketing at Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED).  For nearly a decade (87-95) she served as the Assistant Director of Memphis in May and returned briefly as the Interim Director for the 1996 Festival edition saluting Brazil.

Ms. Parker is a graduate of the University of Memphis (Masters of Public Administration) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by LeMoyne-Owen College in 2001.  She received the University of Memphis University College Alumni Achievement Award in 2003, in 2004 was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission, was given the 2004 Women of Achievement award for Initiative, and in 2006 received a University of Memphis 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award and also a Diversity Memphis Humanitarian of the Year Award.  In 2009, she was awarded two Emmy’s for the “I Am A Man” documentary for which she was executive producer and title song composer. 2011 Legends Award Honoree for Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.

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Representative Charles Michael Sargent, Jr.
Franklin, TN

 The Honorable Charles Michael Sargent represents District 61 in the House of Representatives in the 107th General Assembly, a position he has held since the 100th General Assembly.  He currently serves as the Chairman of House Finance, Ways & Means, as well as a member of Commerce, Insurance and Pensions, Ad Hoc Rules, and Business Tax Committees.  He was honored as the Outstanding Representative of 2001 by The County Officials Association of Tennessee and was named Honored Legislator of the Year by the Tennessee Development District Association for 2002 and 2003.  Sargent was the Republican Caucus Chairman of the 103rd and 104th General Assemblies, and served as Republican Whip during the previous four years.

Sargent is an active member of Williamson County Chamber of Commerce, the Williamson County Republican Party, and the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce.  He is a Williamson Medical Foundation Board Member, and a court-appointed special advocate board member.  He was Williamson County Commissioner from 1990-1996, and was part of the Williamson County Planning Commission from 1989-1997.  He is also the co-founder and past president of Grassland Athletic Association.

A graduate of Pace University in New York, Sargent served in the United States Navy from 1965-1967 in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He relocated to Nashville in 1970 and moved to Franklin in 1977.  A manager of John Hancock Insurance from 1967-1975, Sargent has been a State Farm Insurance agent for the past 36 years.

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Dr. Jan Simek
Knoxville, TN

Dr. Jan Simek became interim president of the University of Tennessee on July 1, 2009, after having served as acting president since March 2009. He is to be interim president for a period of up to two years.

In his current role, Simek serves as the chief executive officer of a statewide university system which includes the flagship campus in Knoxville, campuses in Chattanooga and Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis, the Space Institute in Tullahoma, and statewide institutes of agriculture and public service. As president, Simek serves as chairman of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors and as a member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.

Most of Simek's academic career has been spent at UT Knoxville, where he has served in various academic and administrative posts with the campus during a 25-year period. He previously served as interim chancellor of UT Knoxville and prior to that was chief of staff to former Chancellor Loren Crabtree from 2005 to 2008.

Simek is an archaeologist who came to UT in 1984 as an assistant professor of anthropology. He is now a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and has served as head of the Anthropology Department, the interim director of the School of Art and interim dean of the College of Architecture and Design.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Simek earned a master's and doctorate from the State University of New York in Binghamton. He has carried out archaeological research in France, Italy, Croatia, California, and Tennessee and received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the French Ministry of Culture. He has held visiting faculty appointments at the University of Washington, the University of Bordeaux, France, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

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Thomas S. Smith 
Nashville, TN

Thomas Smith is the Chairman of the Board of Smith/Hallemann Partners, a real estate investment management company based in Nashville. The firm is the managing partner of multiple commercial real estate partnerships with holdings primarily in commercial office buildings comprising nearly two million square feet in three states. Prior to the formation of Smith/Hallemann Smith, Smith served as a member of the Board of Directors of Highwoods Properties. He is an avid vintage automobile enthusiast and participant in vintage automobile rallies and other vintage auto events throughout the world. Smith, an Elder at Nashville's First Presbyterian Church, is a former board member of the Martha O’Bryan Center and Franklin Road Academy in Nashville

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Spike Tickle
Bristol, TN

Bristol, Tennessee native Spike Tickle is Managing Director, Three Horse Investments, LLC and Director, Strongwell Corporation.  Following a 10-year career with Shell Chemical Company, Tickle returned to his family-owned business, Strongwell, with multiple assignments in sales, IT and manufacturing.

Tickle earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1987 and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998.

Tickle serves as the Operating Board Chairman of The Bristol Train Station, and is a long-standing member of the Wellmont Health System Investment Committee and Wellmont Foundation Finance Board, as well as a past Vestry member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. He is the founder of the Spike Tickle STEM Fellowships, and is also a current member of the Board of Advisors of the University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering. He previously served on the university’s Campus Transformation Committee.

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Lois Riggins-Ezzell
Executive Director, Tennessee State Museum
Ex-Officio

Since 1981, Lois Riggins-Ezzell has served as executive director of the Tennessee State Museum and its oversight properties, which include the Military Branch in the War Memorial Building, and the historic Tennessee State Capitol. She manages the museum's $3.9 million general operating budget and serves as an ex-officio member of the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission, the institution's governing authority.

A Nashville native, Riggins-Ezzell received her undergraduate degree at Belmont College and pursued graduate work at Western Kentucky State University. During her extensive career, she has been an educator, historic site interpreter, curator, and public administrator and was one of five national grant recipients of a one-year sabbatical in museum studies at George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institute.

A graduate of the 1988 class of Leadership Nashville, she has served as an ex-officio member of the Capitol Restoration Committee; as a commission member of Homecoming 86; as one of five key note speakers selected from the national membership of the American Association of Museums to present to the International Council of Museums Education Committee (ICOM/EDCOM) meeting in Washington, D.C.; and as a member of the commissioning committee of the U.S.S. TENNESSEE (Trident Nuclear Submarine). She has participated on numerous boards and committees of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and was selected as one of only 14 museum administrators in the nation to serve on the AAM Museum Review Assessment Committee and the National Education Committee of the American Association for State and Local History. She was a member of the host committee for a visit of the United Nations to Tennessee, and was a Lears Magazine "Woman for Lears." She is a member of the American Association for State and Local History, the Southeastern Museum Conference, the InterMuseum Council of Nashville, and a board member of the Documentary Channel (DOC).

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Sharon Dennis 
Executive Assistant

Sharon Dennis is the executive assistant to the museum's executive director and serves as the staff liaison to the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission. She is the founder of Music Row's Dennis Management and 1002 Productions, as well as a former faculty member at IBI Global, an entrepreneurial educational forum. She is also a former Parish Administrator, and a professional touring musician.

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tn4me

Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120

FREE ADMISSION

Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org

 





tn4me

Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120

FREE ADMISSION

Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org