Leaders you should know feature

We are excited to introduce a new feature in our weekly Monday Morning Report newsletter to showcase our highest-level members. Leaders You Should Know highlights community leaders who are making a notable impact in the Nashville region.

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Tell us about yourself?
I am a construction attorney at Stites & Harbison PLLC‘s Nashville office.  Originally from South Central Kentucky, I currently reside in East Nashville with my wife and three boys. When not practicing law or spending time with my family, I enjoy shows at the Ryman, great restaurants, keeping up with the University of Kentucky football team, and good bourbon whiskey.

Tell us about your business/industry.
While I am a practicing attorney, I consider myself a part of the construction industry.  My practice focuses on serving the construction industry in both litigation and transactional matters.  Typically, I am representing anyone who is involved in the construction process, including commercial owners, developers, architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers. In my practice, I also attempt to keep my clients away from disputes through careful contract review and preparation, business formations, claims analysis and preparation, claims avoidance, and alternative dispute resolution. I am of the opinion that with up-front preparation, disputes can become predictable and potentially avoidable, allowing my clients to do what they do best without my direct involvement and build buildings.

How did you get to your current position?
Over time, you meet people at different moments, and sometimes they may seem of little consequence.  However, I believe that almost all interactions are purposeful and add value, and I strive to create lasting relationships with everyone I encounter.  Ultimately, that is how I ended up at Stites & Harbison and that is also the reason I have been so blessed with so many wonderful construction clients over the years.

What value do you see in Chamber involvement?
The Chamber creates opportunities to meet people that have their hands in different parts of our city and region, whether that be a different physical geography or within a different industry. Candidly, I am not the best at “working a room,” but I find that the Chamber organizes events that allow for meaningful and direct interactions with others, and in turn, personal and business relationships are fostered.

What is your leadership style? How does that motivate yourself and your team?

As a leader, I believe that you must be a strong communicator. Communication is vital in all walks of life, and professionally, it is absolutely necessary. I believe in having open and ongoing conversations about what is going on in the moment, what is coming, and the expectations regarding how we meet those things as they present themselves. When people understand the how’s and why’s, feel a part of the process, and see you rowing in the boat with them, most will row that much harder with you.

What makes you proud to live and work in the Nashville area?
For me specifically, the local construction bar and Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel have been incredibly beneficial to my career. Knowing the people I am working with on a personal level allows us to understand one another and, more importantly, sort through issues in a collegial manner to the benefit of our clients. It has been a wonderful market to be a construction attorney in, both from the perspective of who I am working on the other side of and the pool of talented and sophisticated contractors who work within the area.

What is your perspective on growth in Nashville?
In my opinion, Nashville is a unique micro-economy and has a lot of backstops. When other places may stop growing, Nashville tends to only slow down without stopping. Not only are the business people here incredibly resilient, but they are also very creative. The collection of industry and individuals here makes Nashville a great place to live and do business.

What is the best advice you have received?
My late father always told me to “hang in there like a hair in a biscuit.” I am of the mind that sometimes things can be difficult, but it is imperative to push through and get to the other side of the struggle. I’ve found that most of the time, the things that have been the most complicated or created the most struggle have ended up bearing the most fruit.