Has Moved Him Up
Two Spots Since '07
By DOUGLAS WATSON
Scott Niswonger, the Greeneville business leader and philanthropist, has been ranked 25th by Business TN, a Nashville magazine, in its annual listing of those it considers "the 100 most powerful people in Tennessee."
It is a move up for Niswonger. He was listed 44th in 2004, 27th in 2005, 32nd in 2006, and 27th in 2007 before being listed as the 25th most powerful person in the state this year.
Niswonger is a co-founder and the principal owner of Landair, a locally-based trucking company, was the founder of Forward Air, another Greeneville-based trucking company, and launched the Niswonger Foundation that works to improve education in this region.
Business TN notes in the article in its April edition "how unchanging the power structure is in Tennessee, as nearly half the names on the list have appeared all five years."
Business TN says it talked "to dozens of top insiders across the state, considering hundreds of names from all spheres of life in Tennessee in selecting this annual list.
"The recipients are the 100 Tennesseans," the magazine concluded, who are "currently doing the best job of influencing state policy, running Tennessee's important institutions or just flat-out getting things done for the Volunteer State."
'Most Powerful' Ranking
Following are the top 20 persons in Business TN's ranking:
1- Gov. Phil Bredesen;
2- J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, of Memphis, chairman and CEO of Hyde Family Foundations
3- Fred Smith, of Memphis, founder, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corporation;
4- Martha Ingram, of Nashville, chairman of Ingram Industries;
5- Dr. John Petersen, chief operating officer of the University of Tennessee's system;
6- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.;
7- Vickie Gregg, of Chattanooga, president and CEO of BlueCross, Blue Shield of Tennessee;
8- William Herenton, mayor of Memphis;
9- James "Big Jim" Haslam, of East Tennessee, chairman of the Pilot Corporation, the state's second largest company;
10- Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, a Democrat;
11- Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, of Blountville;
12- Gerald Nicely, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation;
13- Brian Ferguson, president of Eastman Chemical, with headquarters in Kingsport;
14- Dolly Parton, entertainer and entrepreneur;
15- Jack O. Bovender, chairman and CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA);
16- Tommy Frist, co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America;
17- Jim Clayton, founder of Clayton Homes;
18 - Jim Ayers, a Nashville philanthopist;
19 - Dave Ramsey, radio and TV show host and best-selling author;
20- Mike Curb, founder and chairman of Curb Records.
Northeast Tennesseans included in Business TN's "Power 100" list include
* Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr., president of East Tennessee State University, ranked 38th;
* Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of Mountain State Health Alliance; ranked 57th;
* Dr. Richard Salluzzo, CEO of Wellmont Health System, ranked, 69th.
* Jack Fishman, of Morristown, president, CEO and publisher of Lakeway Publishers, ranked 81st.
Other East Tennesseans Listed
Among other East Tenneseans listed by Business TN are:
* Jimmy Haslam, CEO of the Pilot Corporation, ranked 23rd;
* Bill Haslam, mayor of Knoxville, ranked 26th;
* Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee women's basketball coach, ranked 32nd;
* Susan Richardson Williams, public relations executive with SRW Associates and wife of widely-known Greeneville native Dick Williams, ranked 89th; and
* Mike Hamilton, University of Tennessee athletic director, ranked 93rd.
The April edition of Business TN says of Niswonger: "Founded truckload/cargo company Landair (and later, spin-off Forward Air) with $2,000. Company is now a major player in supply chain management.
"Niswonger Foundation pours money into Greeneville and Greene County, providing resources and expertise that local public schools need to become successful.
"Consistently funding Tusculum College (including a world-class sports complex) and Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Another NPAC was built in Van Wert, Ohio. (Niswonger's birthplace).
"Working toward downtown redevelopment through Rediscover Greeneville project.
"A graduate of Purdue University's aviation technology program, he has donated $4.6 million to the renovation and additon to the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building" located there.