The Society of Entrepreneurs is pleased to announce the selection of four (4) new members to the organization; the new members are: Craig Brewer, Movie Producer/Director; Edith Kelly-Green, KGR Group; Chris Woods, Chris Woods Construction Co.; Kent Wunderlich, Financial Federal Bank. Please see below for more details on these outstanding new members.
Please mark your calendar now for the 28th Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet which will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis.
Craig Brewer is a multi-disciplinary artist hailed from the Southern state of Tennessee with a knack for storytelling. His passion for filmmaking stems from his ability to captivate his audience and connect culturally relevant plots on screen. As a young prodigy, the streets of Memphis, Tennessee served as his film school. His guerrilla style approach and relentless work ethic led to his first feature film, THE POOR & HUNGRY. At the time, Craig was the manager of Barnes & Noble and began writing the screenplay for the film at the local P&H Café. Shot in the late 90s, The POOR & HUNGRY was a prime example of Memphis community. With a small, run-and-gun skeleton crew mixed with free rein leadership, Craig and his team made magic. Local musicians provided the soundtrack, and much of the cast and crew were volunteers.
The “digiflik” was able to capture and compliment the gritty day-to-day grind of those living in his hometown. This raw yet soulful drama won Best Digital Feature at The 2000 Hollywood Film Festival and was acquired by the Independent Film Channel soon afterwards.
Brewer’s second feature film, HUSTLE & FLOW, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson was produced by the late John Singleton and Stephanie Allain. The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for Best Feature. Most importantly, HUSTLE & FLOW is based on Craig’s experience making THE POOR & HUNGRY. It was his idea of showing viewers that, “the only way you’re going to succeed is if you fail.” The spirit of HUSTLE & FLOW worked in tandem with Craig’s dream of directing American cinema. The film secured a record-breaking acquisition deal by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. It garnered an Academy Award nomination for lead actor, Terrence Howard, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song: Three 6 Mafia’s It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.
Brewer’s third film, BLACK SNAKE MOAN, starred Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake. Driven by a classic and contemporary Blues soundtrack, BLACK SNAKE MOAN is a Southern gothic tale featuring the Brewer hallmarks of sex, sin and redemption. Craig’s aim was to increase cultural buzz and palpable suspense. The film later premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was released in theatres by Paramount Pictures.
A few years later, Craig directed a remake of the 1984 film, FOOTLOOSE, which was released on October 14, 2011. The film introduced upcoming artists, Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough. In 2012, Brewer produced Paramount Pictures’ concert documentary KATY PERRY: PART OF ME, and ten years after the release of HUSTLE & FLOW, Brewer re-teamed with Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson on their hit TV series, EMPIRE. Over the span of 10 episodes, Craig was able to share his musical palette with the cast and crew. In fact, similar to HUSTLE & FLOW, EMPIRE was his chance to reconnect his passion for music with his love of filmmaking.
In June 2018, Craig began directing a Netflix feature, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, starring Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes. The film is based on the life of Rudy Ray Moore, a 70s comedian who finances an action film based on a character from his stand-up material. DOLEMITE IS MY NAME was listed as the top film from TIME and the NATION BOARD OF REVIEW. It was nominated for four CRITIC’S CHOICE AWARDS and two GOLDEN GLOBES, including BEST FEATURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY) and a best actor nomination for EDDIE MURPHY.
Craig is currently editing Paramount Pictures’ COMING 2 AMERICA, starring screen veterans Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones. The film is scheduled to release in December 2020.
Through it all he has maintained his home in Memphis. He has been the driving force behind lndieMemphis and has mentored young film makers in Memphis at every turn. He never seeks personal acclaim. He works behind the scenes, but he is always promoting Memphis.
The KGR Group
Prior to founding the KGR Group, Edith Kelly-Green worked for almost 30 years at FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, where she served in many roles including Vice President and Chief Sourcing Officer. She also served as Vice President-Internal Audit of FedEx Corporation reporting directly to the Chairman and Founder, Frederick W. Smith. She was the first black woman to receive officer status. During her tenure, she received three Five Star Awards, the highest performance award at FedEx.
After retiring from Fedex, Kelly-Green started The KGR Group in 2005 with her son, James Kelly and daughter, Jayna Kelly, MD. KGR’s primary investments are Lenny’s Grill & Subs (LGS) franchises and Wimpy’s Burger and Fries restaurants (WBF) located in the Greater Memphis Area. Edith made a loan to The KGR Group to acquire the first Lenny’s store in Oxford, MS, guaranteed an additional loan and then immediately invested her own money to purchase three more franchises. The KGR Group expanded from one location in 2005 to 13 Lenny’s Grill & Subs stores in Memphis, Nashville and northern Mississippi. Economic conditions, geographical dispersion, basic market drivers and other competing opportunities, resulted in the five the LGS locations that are still in The KGR Group’s portfolio. A new concept, Wimpy’s Burgers and Fries was added (one location purchased and two new locations subsequently opened) and Runway 901 was added to support the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority in the Delta dehubbing transition. The KGR Group still has the largest number of LGS locations in the approximately 90 unit LGS system. EKG has served several terms on the LGS national Advisory Board (one of five franchisees elected by the LGS franchisee community). Organically and through acquisitions, revenues have increased over tenfold annually. Additionally, LGS has provided first jobs or launch pads for hundreds of Memphians, many of whom have gone on to improve their status by attending college or trade schools. One of The KGR Group’s goals has always been to provide opportunities for its team members to become self-sufficient, tax paying, productive citizens.
Edith Kelly-Green serves the business and civic community CURRENTLY by participating on the following boards: Director-Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ) since 2018 Member Audit Committee, Vice Chairman-Governance Committee; Director-BULAB Holdings, Inc. -Compensation and Governance Committees, Chairman-Audit Committee; Director-Methodist LeBohneur Health Systems Board since 2018-Member Finance and Compensation Committees, Chairman Audit, Compliance and Technology Committee, and Director-Hattiloo Theatre, Inc.
Kelly-Green is Founding Member – The Circle of Friends in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Founding Board Member and Treasurer-Women’s Foundation of Memphis, Founding Member –Philanthropic Black Women of Memphis: nine African American philanthropists who “pool” their money for impact grants to the Memphis community, Founding Board Chairman-Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy and many more.
Edith Kelly-Green is a 25-year breast cancer survivor who believes that to whom much is given, much is expected. She tries daily to fulfill that expectation.
Chris Woods Construction Co.
Founded in 1985, with a dream and all of his personal assets, Chris Woods started Chris Woods Construction Co. Inc., a full-service commercial general contractor and construction management firm, providing consulting, design-build, pre-construction and other services.
As a 2017 recipient of the MBJ PaceSetter awards, Chris Woods Construction has seen rapid growth. In the past year, the company has added six new employees ( up from 30) and converted 1,000 square feet of warehouse space into four new employee offices. Though the company has been actively seeking to broaden its client base, president and CEO Chris L. Woods said the biggest accomplishment of the past year was seeing $40 million of the company’s volume come from repeat clients. Woods attributes the company’s success to hard-working employees who put the clients’ interests first.
And what makes the business attractive to hard-working employees “The positive and friendly working environment combined with an incredible team camaraderie,” Woods said. “In addition to our dedication to having satisfied clients, we are committed to our employees and providing the very best working conditions possible.”
According to a Chris Woods Construction employee: “In 32 years, CWC has grown to annual revenues of 70 million dollars a year, this is a result of Chris working as a sacrificial leader to his company. His greatest leadership quality is that he is willing to put others before himself. He is not afraid to ask for a lot of effort from his employees, but he will never ask anyone to give more than he is willing to give or has given himself. He is also the first one to ask everyone what he can do to help. More than leading, he truly enjoys being part of the team that gets things done.”
Since the company’s creation in 1985, they have always realized the importance of serving the community. In December of every year, Chris Woods Construction contributes to many of the local churches for their Christmas programs for the disadvantaged. First Baptist Broad, Faith Baptist, St Mary’s Soup Kitchen, Fullview Baptist Church, Riverside Baptist Church, First United Methodist, to name a few, have been recipients of the company’s donations. In 2017, they established the Chris Woods Scholarship Fund at St Francis of Assisi Catholic School in memory of Chris Woods’ Grandson. The same year we constructed Chris Woods Learning Center at St Francis.
For the last few years, Chris Woods Construction has been a sponsor for Meritan’s Bike Tour. Approximately 3 years ago the company assisted the University of Memphis in establishing a fund for a new Construction Management program which they support on an annual basis. Chris Woods Construction strives for charitable contributions to amount to 10% of net income.
Financial Federal Bank
Wunderlich obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia with a BS in Commerce. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) Law School where he was a member of the Law Review. He joined Baker Donelson and became a partner in the commercial real estate section of the law firm. After leaving Baker, he joined what is now Financial Federal Bank, a Memphis based community bank formed in 1985. Wunderlich is now the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel for Financial Federal Bank. Wunderlich joined the bank in 1987 upon acquiring stock from some of the original shareholders. The business has been consistently profitable with current assets of $650,000,000. Financial Federal Bank is one of the very few Memphis banks that did not take TARP money from the government during the financial crisis of 2008. Starting with only $2 million in paid-in-capital, the Bank now has a book equity of approximately $80 million. The Bank enjoys one of the highest return-on-assets in the industry and is known for its quality customer service and customized banking solutions. Borrowers and depositors view Kent and the bank as great partners, known especially for their customer service and ease of use.
Wunderlich has been a Board member of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy since 2012. He has been the Treasurer, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee. He is a current Board member and a member of the Development Committee. He served on the Memphis University School Board of Trustees for more than 20 years, including 9 years as Chairman. He has lent his talents to boards of charitable organizations in the greater Memphis community including the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis, Neighborhood Housing Opportunities Inc., and the Nature Conservancy of Tennessee.
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