In the late spring of 1996, a small group of interested parties gathered in the first meeting to discuss the possibility of a Nashville Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI). With the wonderful support of the East Tennessee Chapter, nationally recognized for their programs and participation, a Request for Charter was drafted and submitted with 25 signatures. At the October 1996 International Symposium, PMI issued their 96th Charter to Nashville, Tennessee.
Renee Mepyans was elected as the first President. Bob Woolf designed a logo which features the Parthenon, Athens of the South, representing one of Nashville’s most famous architectural landmarks.
Due to the generous financial support of BellSouth and efforts by members, the first meetings were held at BellSouth 4:00 p.m. each month. George Campbell gave our first official program presentation. The Chapter attendance averaged a mere 15-25 persons per meeting. In the fall of 1997, the Nashville City Club was the site chosen for Chapter breakfast meetings but attendance remained similar. Also during 1997 came the emergence of the Chapter newsletter thanks to the efforts of a few committed board members.
In January, 2003, Faye Smith, PMP, was elected to serve as President of the PMI Nashville Chapter. One of the focus areas for the chapter was on increasing community awareness of the PMI Nashville Chapter and of project management as a discipline. Efforts were increased in the areas of Education, Marketing, and Publicity. Additionally, the Nashville Academic Outreach Program for High Schools Students was launched in the fall of that year to introduce project management knowledge, and project management as a career choice for students. The chapter participated in the 2003 Williamson County World of Possibilities Career Fair, and received honorable recognition for its involvement in that event. With the launching of the Academic Outreach program, the Nashville PMI Academic Outreach committee worked through 2004, developing a project management program for and curriculum for high school students, and delivered this pilot program to students in the classroom setting in the spring and fall of 2004. The concepts, materials, and experiences of the PMI Nashville Chapter Academic Outreach Program for High School Students are now being used to develop a similar program on the national level through the National PMI Education Foundation.” The PMI Nashville Chapter also received an achievement award for Sustained Membership in 2004.
In January of 1998, Bob Woolf was elected President and another move was made to the Maxwell House Hotel in the Metro Center for lunch meetings. The Chapter participation grew significantly, averaging 25-50 at each meeting. In the spring of 1998, a program featuring Mayor Phil Bredesen drew 65 in attendance. The luncheon format was proven to be far more successful and continues to this day. Through the generosity of NORTEL, all Chapter Board meetings were held at their offices monthly and continue to this day The first training class for preparation of members to sit for the highly respected Project Management Professional (PMP) exam was conducted. By the year-end, the Chapter enjoyed a 115% increase in membership with 110 members. The Chapter’s crowning moment was in October, 1998 as it received the prestigious Chapter of the Year Award (chapters 1-3 years) in Long Beach, California at the PMI International Symposium.
In 1999 and 2000, Hardy Seaborn was elected to serve as President. Chapter meetings were moved to the Wyndham Garden Hotel. During 1999, the chapter received the chapter achievement awards for membership growth for the region and sustained superior performance. The Nashville Chapter gave assistance to the formation of a chapter in Memphis also in 1999. As of December 2001, the Nashville Chapter membership reported 269 members. Attendance at Chapter meetings has steadily grown to about 100 attending. Outgrowing the Wyndham Hotel, the luncheon meetings were moved to Holiday Inn Express on West End Avenue.
In 2001, Marsha Dollarhide served as President. The PMI Nashville Chapter received three awards — Chapter of the Year Award (for chapters in existence for 1-4 years), the Award of Excellence in Education and the Sustained Superior Performance Award — during the PMI Leadership Meeting held 10/31-11/03, 2001 at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN. These awards were for efforts completed by the Chapter during 2000.
In 2002, Wesley Lankford served as President. The focus in 2002 was on enhancing project management educational seminars and events. Sponsorship was piloted with Athena. Attendance at lunch meetings began to range from 100-125 members and guests during this period pushing the capacity of the Holiday Inn facilities.
In 2004, Melinda Hagan was elected to serve as President. Planning for the chapter’s first annual Symposium started in May with one of the first meetings at the former Pargo’s restaurant in Maryland Farms.
Ed Asci was President for 2005 and 2006, with the 1st and 2nd annual Symposiums taking place at the Willis Conference Center. The success of these first Symposiums served to establish them as annual events which have been recognized nationally. More than 350 people combined attended the Symposiums. Luncheon attendance continued to grow, reaching peaks of 135 members.
In 2007, Lee Malone began his term as President. The 3rd annual Symposium took place for the first time at the Nashville Convention Center, and included the monthly luncheon. Annual awards were now announced at the luncheon (instead of at the Holiday celebration each December). The inability to accommodate the luncheon registration (a good problem to have) required a search for new facilities.
For 2008, Laura Klepper was elected President. The chapter leadership structure changed to include a new layer, recognizing the need for additional leaders. The board’s Directors became Vice Presidents, and the additional layer was designed to include directors reporting to the respective VPs. The former Vice President position was changed to reflect the past practice of promoting that position to the next President. PMI Global added a requirement for an annual scorecard from all chapters to capture metrics across the entire organization. To cover that need, an additional position was added to the board (VP of Metrics) to replace the former VP of Publicity. Recognizing that the membership was spread out across Nashville area, the chapter opened up the luncheons to other locations besides the Vanderbilt Holiday Inn. The Millennium Maxwell House and the Cool Springs Marriott allowed some chapter members in those areas to attend for the first time. The 4th annual Symposium was held at NCC for the second consecutive year, with almost 350 in attendance at the annual luncheon alone.
In 2009 and 2010, Charles Lebo served as President. The volunteer structure continued to expand, as additional positions were added to promote chapter leadership development opportunities (over 20 directors added in the first three months alone of 2010 alone, a testimony to the dedication of the executive board). Along with the volunteer growth, the foundation was laid for an Operations team, comprised of the directors and led by the VP of Administration and the President Elect.
The 5th annual Symposium took place at the end of April 2009, under the guidance of Jennifer Schenck, and was a great success in spite of the economy. In July 2009, Rusty Thompson moved the chapter website to a new vendor and overhauled it to make use of new technologies, with unlimited future potential. To meet PMI Global’s requirement for an annual scorecard from the chapter, surveys for each event and the annual chapter survey were aligned with similar questions, and the first annual scorecard was submitted and approved by PMI Global in September 2009. The chapter closed out the year in the black, even with a volunteer appreciation night at a Predators game in December.
2011 has been a banner year under the leadership of the current president Chip Nuttall. Membership surpassed 1000 early in the year. A renewed emphasis on the monthly luncheons resulted in new locations, speakers, and time slots. Justin Graham, VP of Programs, lead his team to create a great series of luncheons with high attendance and satisfaction ratings.
In 2011, the LIG’s and SIG’s turned into Communities of Practice. PMI Nashville concentrated on IT, Business Intelligence, Retail, PMO, and Healthcare Communities of Practice lead by Angie Bates and a great team of volunteers. Christia Victor, VP of Professional Development, also expanded our services to the membership by not only coordinating PMP related events, but also in jump-starting the Mentoring Program as well as expanding our Study Group offerings.
Late in 2011, the Chapter Website was revamped for a more modern and professional look. The new website promotes more social features with refreshing takes on some of the most popular pages of the site. 2012 will hold some exciting things for Phase 2 of the website project.