‘Three New Faces to Know in 2017’ set as June 12 FrankTalks topic

Join Franklin Tomorrow on Monday, June 12, for our next monthly FrankTalks Lecture and learn about Williamson County’s “Three New Faces to Know in 2017.” The event is being held in the large ballroom at the Williamson County Enrichment Center. Coffee and networking will begin at 9 a.m. and the program will start at 9:30 a.m.

Participating on the panel will be Bari Watson Beasley, the new CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County; Valencia A. Breckenridge, the newly appointed CEO for GraceWorks; and Rob Wigton, the new Executive Vice President for the Williamson County Association of Realtors.

To RSVP for the event, follow this link.


Beasley previously worked as the chief officer of marketing and external relations for the General Council on Finance & Administration, a global agency of The United Methodist Church. Beasley brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and nonprofits and joined the Heritage Foundation this month.


Breckenridge is a native of Chicago, Illinois and came to Franklin only last November. She most recently served as the Major Gift Officer for Feed My Starving Children, a $40 million hunger-relief organization.


Completing the panel is Wigton, who has more than 22 years of experience in various parts of the real estate profession. He has served as the CEO of both a state and local association. He was most recently the CEO of the Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS® in Glen Carbon, Illinois.

We look forward to giving all three panelists a warm welcome as we learn more about them and the future they see for their organizations in Franklin.

TDOT’s Schroer avoids specifics, but drives home details of IMPROVE Act at FrankTalks May 8

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer spoke May 8 at Franklin Tomorrow’s FrankTalks. While unable to discuss specifics of his department’s three-year project plan since the Tennessee Legislature had not approved the 2017-18 fiscal year budget, Schroer did drill deep into the details of Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act and its ability to positively impact Tennessee and local roadway networks.

As former mayor of Franklin, Schroer remembers lobbying TDOT officials and the state’s governor for funding for the construction of Mack Hatcher Parkway’s northwest leg, which is reportedly on the three-year projects list. He said Franklin positioned itself to gain the road’s construction by funding more than $5 million in work to ensure it was “shovel ready.”

He also discussed the importance of widening the southeast legs of Mack Hatcher from Columbia Avenue to Highway 96 East and hinted at the design of a southwest leg which would complete the full loop of the road.

He shared the hour-long program with Diane Thorne, regional transportation director for The TMA Group, which is a regional leader in providing innovative, sustainable multi-modal transportation solutions for employers and communities, including the VanStar regional commuter vanpool program, the growing urban public Franklin Transit system, the Clean Air partnership, and Transportation Demand Management programs.

She said Tennessee’s roadway system is the best in the nation and while the framework of the transportation system is the roadway network, “It is not about how many cars you can move on the roadway system, but about how many people you can move on the roadway system.”

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore told the crowd funding has been secured for an I-65 corridor study to further investigate mass transit options, but he expressed the belief that even if a light-rail or bus-rapid transit system were in place to serve the region and corridor today, it would not be successful due to a lack of use by drivers who prefer their vehicles.

Schroer has become a Southeastern and national leader in transportation policy and also discussed the rise of autonomous vehicles, asserting his belief that whether citizens are ready for them or not, they are the wave and way of the future.

“My grandson, who is 4 years old, will never drive a car,” Schroer said, adding unless it were for recreational purposes, but instead would utilize an autonomous vehicle.

FrankTalks is held the second Monday of every month and Vanderbilt University’s Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations has partnered with Franklin Tomorrow to present the series.

To watch the entire video, follow the link below.

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer to talk roads, future of transportation at May 8 FrankTalks

Franklin Tomorrow’s 2017 FrankTalks Lecture Series will continue Monday, May 8, at City Hall in the Training Room. The event will kick off with coffee and networking at 9 a.m. and the program will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer will be our guest, along with representatives of The TMA Group, to discuss the IMPROVE Act and its impact on Williamson County. It is expected TDOT’s three-year project list will be updated and released before Schroer’s appearance on May 8. The Tennessee Legislature is also expected to vote on Gov. Bill Haslam’s budget prior to May 8, giving TDOT knowledge of how much funding will exist.

To RSVP, follow this link.

The IMPROVE Act allows for local option taxes, to be approved by referendum, to fund transit projects, which is part of the work of The TMA Group.

FrankTalks is free and the public is invited. Franklin Tomorrow partnered with Vanderbilt University’s Office of Neighborhood, Government and Community Relations to expand the frequency of FrankTalks in 2016 to a monthly program. It is held at various locations across the city, but always on the second Monday of the month.

Office of Community, Neighborhood, and Government Relations

‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ focus on entertainment draws a crowd

Franklin Tomorrow’s quarterly Breakfast With the Mayors, presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners, drew a crowd on Tuesday, April 25, to hear from some of the county’s experts on the development of the area as a entertainment center.

The panel discusses entertainment in Williamson County during the April 25, 2017, Breakfast With the Mayors.

Panelists Brandt Wood, co-founder of the Pilgrimage Music Festival; Ellie Westman Chin, president & CEO of the Williamson County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; and Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, talked about the evolution, the impact and the variety of the entertainment scene in Williamson County.

According to a story by Carole Robinson in the Williamson Herald, with only days left until she officially retires from the Heritage Foundation, Pearce took the opportunity to remind or inform those present about the impact historic preservation projects have had on what Franklin is today and the growth of entertainment opportunities.

So many newcomers think Franklin has always looked the way it looks now, Pearce said.

“The journey actually started 50-years ago when the Heritage Foundation started with historic preservation,” she said as pictures of Franklin in the 1970s and Franklin today flashed on the big screen.

For Chin, the goal is to bring visitors into the county and have them spend their disposable income and then return to their homes.

“What we try to do is bring ‘em in, have they stay a while and send them home,” Chin said.

For Wood, as Pilgrimage Music Festival heads for its third year and first potential sell-out, he was thankful for the support of leaders as well as the community in general.

“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for supporting the idea in year zero,” said Wood. “It’s more than a festival; it’s intended to create an experience.”

Entertainment in Williamson County is more than music and festivals, said County Mayor Rogers Anderson. The Franklin Rodeo May 18-20, the Williamson County Fair, Aug. 4-12, and a variety of amateur sporting events are just a few examples of the variety of entertainment possibilities.

To watch the entire meeting, click on the link below.


April 10 FrankTalks focuses on political divisiveness, seeking understanding

The Williamson Herald
Kerri Bartlett, Managing Editor

According to a few seemingly odd studies cited by Vanderbilt University political science professor Marc Hetherington, liberals like cats more, while conservatives prefer dogs, he said at the recent FrankTalks series, “Political Trust and The Origins of Deep Divisions in Our Country.”

A liberal is more likely to order a veggie burger, or curry chicken with biryani rice, where as a conservative prefers a hamburger and whose favorite meal is most likely meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans, Hetherington said, according to

Liberals also watch less sports.

According to Hetherington, these seemingly trivial preferences seem to be linked to one’s worldview, and one’s worldview seems to dramatically affect one’s political views and how one votes at the polls.

Because worldviews are so personal and intertwined with every aspect of one’s life, Hetherington says this is the reason political differences are becoming so difficult to resolve.

Hetherington says America is divided within it’s political system, and people are having difficult time understanding each other.

To read the rest of Bartlett’s story, follow this link.

To view Hetherington’s Powerpoint presentation, click on

‘Can’t Stop the Feeling: Williamson County’s Entertainment Scene” focus of April 25 Breakfast With the Mayors

The 2017 Breakfast with The Mayors Series continues on April 25th at Rolling Hills Community Church.

Starting at 7 a.m. with breakfast from Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant and MJ Roasting of Nolensville, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson will focus on the topic, “Can’t Stop the Feeling: Williamson County’s Entertainment Scene.”

Forming the panel will be Brandt Wood, co-founder of the Pilgrimage Music Festival; Ellie Westman Chin, president & CEO of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County.

To RSVP, follow this link.

Coffee will be served by MJ Roasting of Nolensville at 7 a.m., when the networking portion of this event will begin. Additionally, we will have breakfast catered by Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. The program will start at 7:45 a.m.

Thanks to our generous partners, Breakfast with the Mayors is free to attend. Our 2017 supporters include Pinnacle Financial Partners, Williamson County Association of Realtors, Williamson Medical Center, Tennessee Equine Hospital, Rolling Hills Community Church, Patterson, Hardee, & Ballentine, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, and MJ Roasting. We would also like to thank our April Sponsor, Andrews Transportation Group, for their support as well.

Nominations open for 11th annual Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards July 26

The call for nominations for the 11th annual Franklin Tomorrow Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards has gone out, according to Franklin Tomorrow Board President Tim Murphy.

The awards will be presented July 26 during an event open to the public at the Franklin Theatre, preceded by a reception at FirstBank. Among the partners for the event is Williamson Medical Center.

Nominations must be returned by end of business May 19, 2017.

In 2007, Franklin Tomorrow established the Exemplary Community Volunteer Awards to honor the decades of service and tremendous impact of Anne T. Rutherford, a founding member of Franklin Tomorrow and an active volunteer for many community organizations. The award recognizes the collective effort of an individual’s work and the impact on the agencies themselves and the community at large. One award is given annually.

The Volunteer Spirit and the Youth Initiative Awards were created to allow more people to be honored for selflessly supporting local non-profit organizations or agencies. The Ned Lea Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2011 to posthumously honor an exemplary volunteer. While not presented annually, nominations are accepted each year. Other awards may be created by the Board of Franklin Tomorrow to recognize significant achievement.

In its fourth year, the Civic Group Award will honor representatives of civic, membership, congregation or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a cause, while the Corporate Team Award will recognize companies that see the value of giving back to their community through successful volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.

Finally, the Corporate Volunteer Award will recognize an individual who as part of a company-sponsored volunteer program or event has made a significant contribution to one or more organizations.

A $500 grant to the winner’s non-profit of choice accompanies the Anne T. Rutherford Award, while a $250 grant accompanies the other awards.

For more information or questions, please contact Executive Director Mindy Tate or Operations Administrator Carmen Stanek at (615) 794-0998.

To download the packet, click the image below.

2017 Volunteer Awards nomination packet

Get Fit Franklin / Healthier Tennessee ‘Walk With Mayor’ a success

Franklin Tomorrow’s Get Fit Franklin held a “Walk With the Mayor” on Wednesday, March 29, as part of its partnership with Healthier Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam and Franklin Mayor Ken Moore proclaimed the week of March 27-31 as “Healthier Tennessee Week” in the state and city.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and his wife Linda lead the walkers leaving Franklin City Hall on March 29, 2017, for “Walk With the Mayor.”

Led by Mayor Ken Moore and his wife Linda, the one-mile walk drew a huge crowd of more than 70 people. Starting at Franklin City Hall, the group walked down Third Avenue North to Hillsboro Road, turning south on Hillsboro to end the walk at the Juice Bar Franklin and Pedego Electric Bikes of Franklin, near the intersection of Hillsboro and Bridge Street.

Franklin was chosen as a pilot city for Haslam’s Healthier Tennessee initiative in conjunction with Franklin Tomorrow’s Get Fit Franklin project and the organization is heading the charge to help Franklin residents participate in a healthy lifestyle.

Now that it is officially spring (and summer is just around the corner), Franklin citizens are encouraged to continue practicing healthy habits. Utilizing Healthier Tennessee’s Streaks for Small Starts app is a great way to motivate yourself!

Small Starts are simple, daily actions that can add up to big streaks of success. The app has great social features too! Find friends, challenge them, and play our way to a healthier you. Join the Franklin community app by following this link and share your progress on social media using the #getfitfranklin.

Don’t forget to follow Franklin Tomorrow and Get Fit Franklin on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed of events and projects happening in our community. Let’s #getfitfranklin together!

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (center) is joined by Holly Bogle of Franklin Synergy Bank, Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director Mindy Tate, Franklin Synergy Bank Chairman Richard Herrington, and Franklin resident Jack Elder and his grandson Hudson for the “Walk With the Mayor.”

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore thanked those who joined in the Get Fit Franklin / Healthier Tennessee “Walk With the Mayor” on March 29, 2017.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore welcomes Amy Saffell, executive director of ABLE Youth, to the Get Fit Franklin / Healthier Tennessee “Walk With the Mayor.”


Here are some news stories regarding the “Walk With the Mayor.”

‘Walk With Mayor’ set March 29 for Healthier Tennessee Week

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore is encouraging the community to focus on fitness March 27-31 and will proclaim it “Healthier Tennessee Week” in Franklin.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (center) accepts a plaque and certificate designating Franklin as one of three Middle Tennessee Healthier Tennessee pilot communities from Gov. Bill Haslam and state Rep. Charles Sargent in June 2016

To mark the occasion, Mayor Moore will lead a “Walk With the Mayor” on Wednesday, March 29, at 11:30 a.m. through downtown Franklin, ending at the I Love Juice Bar, 232 Fifth Ave. N., and Pedego Electric Bikes, right next door at 234 Fifth Ave. N.

Let us know you are coming by RSVPing at

The loop will be on sidewalks in downtown and be about one mile in length and should take 30-40 minutes since we will walk as a group.

In 2016, Franklin was named a Healthier Tennessee pilot community in conjunction with Franklin Tomorrow’s Get Fit Franklin project.

To learn more about Healthier Tennessee, visit for small starts to living a healthier lifestyle.

WATCH: March 13 FrankTalks on Franklin citizens’ survey results

Tennessean Staff Writer Jordan Buie filed this story, “Franklin citizen survey shows changing trends, demographics,” from the March 13, 2017, Franklin Tomorrow FrankTalks, presented in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations.

You can watch the presentation by Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey and Budget & Analytics Manager Michael Walters Young by clicking the image below.

FrankTalks is held the second Monday of the month at various locations across the City to discuss topics and issues current to the quality of life in the City.

The next FrankTalks will be Monday, April 10, at 1 p.m. at Westhaven Residents Center, 401 Cheltenham Ave., with Marc Hetherington, a Vanderbilt University political science professor. His topic will be, “Fixed or Fluid World View: The Polarizing Worldview That Divides our Nation.”