The Columns

Memphis Alumni in the News

— by on April 25th, 2012

Two Washington and Lee alumni in Memphis made the business news in that city recently.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Tom Baker, of the W&L School of Law Class of 1971, was lured out of retirement to become executive vice president for business development and strategy with the Memphis office of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), which provides services to real estate owners, investors and tenants.

Tom had retired two years ago as vice president and chief procurement officer with First Horizon National Corp. in Memphis. According to the Commercial Appeal, he had been in charge of “6 million square feet of building space First Horizon owned or leased in more than 40 states.”

Tom and his wife, Elizabeth Beach Baker, have three children and six grandchildren, and he told the Commercial Appeal that one of his goals of retirement was to have time to enjoy the grandchildren before they were “too cool” to spend time with him. But he based his decision to return to CBRE on his ability to set his own hours. “Technology,” he noted, “allows you to do things without being in the office.”

Back in March, the Memphis Business Journal featured the Fulmer Companies and its president, Arthur F. Fulmer Jr., of the Class of 1983. Arthur’s grandfather began the family business in 1919.

It began as a manufacturer and seller of automobile seat covers, and transitioned over time to a manufacturer of motocycle helmets and then other items associated with motorcyles, including gloves, jackets and windshields.

The MBJ story noted that Arthur got his start with the company making saddlebags. Fulmer has begun renovating its headquarters in downtown Memphis and, as the story explains, has taken the unusual step of creating 60 apartments in space previously used for warehousing and manufacturing.