Farzin Ferdowsi's banking history runs deep in Middle Tennessee. In addition to his current role as a founder and chair of Sonata Bank's board of directors, he was an organizer and served as chair of the board of directors at Reliant Bank (now United Community Bank) for 13 years. Ferdowsi served in similar roles at Premier Bank of Brentwood (now BancorpSouth) and Brentwood National Bank. He founded Brentwood, Tennessee-based Management Resources Company (MRCO) in 1971 and serves as chief executive officer. The company has more than 2,000 employees serving numerous businesses including 90 Taco Bell restaurants in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia. Ferdowsi's commitment to community service includes participating on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. He currently serves as a board member for the Taco Bell Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee, and The Community Foundation. He is former board member of Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville Alliance for Public Education, Goodwill Industries, TSU Foundation, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and Trustees for Leadership Nashville. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville. A native of Iran, Farzin immigrated to the United States in 1965 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from Kansas State University.
President and Chief Lending Officer, Sonata Bank
Wendall Bontrager serves as Sonata Bank's chief lending officer. With three decades of banking experience, he specializes in developing high-performance teams, developing and implementing organic growth initiatives, and has led organizations ranging from a de novo bank to a multi-state bank with $4 billion in assets. His extensive experience includes strategic revenue initiatives for privately held businesses in the payment technology industry, managing turnarounds and restructuring, and merger integrations, leading seven acquisitions in two years. Bontrager most recently served as president and board member of Wichita, Kansas-based Equity Bank.
Dave Brewer recently retired from Elgin, Illinois-based The Middleby Corporation, where he served as executive vice president and COO, corporate officer for the manufacturer of commercial and residential kitchen equipment and industrial food processing and bakery systems. He led a team of 20 brand presidents and group presidents, overseeing 115 brands operating in more than 50 countries. Brewer and the executive team at Middleby are recognized for delivering exceptional shareholder value for more than 14 years, demonstrated by a growth from 400 million to over 3.2 billion in sales with improved EBITA each year on each dollar of income. Brewer's 30 years of experience with global brands in purchasing, supply chain management, manufacturing operations, sales and marketing, included positions in YUM Brand Restaurant Corp, American Financial Corporation and Chiquita Brands International Corporation.
Thomas M. Cook
Thomas (Tom) Cook is co-founder and CEO of Pacific Bells, LLC and CEO of World Wide Wings, LLC. These companies currently operate 240 Taco Bell Restaurants and 67 Buffalo Wild Wings. Cook has been a Taco Bell Franchisee since 1989 and a Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee since 2007. Prior to Pacific Bells, he worked as a Taco Bell executive in various positions including operations and research and development. In addition to his restaurant holdings, Cook is a European Wax Center franchisee and area developer, owner of By Design Pizza, a partner in Von Ebert's Brewery of Portland. He has served twice on The Taco Bell Franchise Advisory Board and has served four years as board president. Cook also was founding chairman of the board and president of the Unified Foodservice Purchasing Cooperative (now RSCS) and the Taco Bell National Purchasing Cooperative. Additional board positions include the Taco Bell Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland, Lines For Life, Elevate Oregon, and the Portland Trail Blazers. He attended Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, and Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. Cook was also a commissioned officer in the Ohio Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve as a Combat Engineer.
Chief Executive Officer, Sonata Bank
A Nashville veteran banker with three decades of experience, Dan Dellinger serves as Sonata Bank president and chief executive officer. In addition to Sonata, Dellinger was instrumental in the formation of Premier Bank of Brentwood (now BancorpSouth) and the 2005 formation of Reliant Bank (now United Community Bank), helping to lead the bank through its emerging growth years to becoming one of largest community banks in Tennessee. During his 15-year tenure at Reliant, Dellinger served as chief financial officer and on the board of directors prior to the bank going public in 2015. As CFO, he led Reliant's financial management strategies, merger and acquisition initiatives and investor relations. Dellinger's community and banking industry involvement includes being an active supporter of the Middle Tennessee Boy Scouts of America and serving as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants. He has served in leadership roles with Tennessee Bankers Association and as an instructor with The Southeastern School of Banking.
Trey Harwell is a partner at Neal & Harwell, PLC. His principal areas of practice are complex civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense and crisis management. In addition to conducting independent investigations on behalf of individual and corporate clients throughout the United States, Harwell has defended major and complex civil cases for diverse clients. Harwell's blend of strategy and legal expertise results in a comprehensive understanding of how to mitigate, to the highest degree possible, any client damages. In addition to serving on the board of Sonata, Harwell is vice chair, board of commissioners for Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.
Since 1990, James (Jim) Kelley has served as member of Neal & Harwell, PLC. where he manages legal matters on behalf of corporate and individual clients throughout the United States. His practice focuses on bankruptcy and reorganization, creditors' rights, bankruptcy litigation and taxation. Kelly is a fellow for the American College of Bankruptcy and is recognized by Best Lawyers(c) for his work in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law.
Kenneth (Kenny) Kline is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of creating, growing and monetizing digital assets using proprietary growth tactics and performance marketing. In 2014, Kline founded JAKK Media where he serves as managing director. Prior to JAKK, he was research director for Centre for India-based Micro Finance where he conducted research on the socio-economic impact of micro financing in rural India. Kline also held a position as quantitative analyst with Bank of America from 2008 to 2011 where he created proprietary algorithms to improve the bank's capital allocation and risk mitigation.
Dr. Turner Nashe, Jr.
Dr. Turner Nashe is a Nashville, Tennessee-based entrepreneur, inventor, innovator and leader in building technology that facilitates delivery of data and educational content to security sensitive industries including correctional facilities, hospitals and school administrators. Nashe has been tapped by Fortune 500 companies, technology start-up firms and government entities to advise, develop and implement innovative solutions to address emerging industry trends. He was named Nashville Business Journal's Innovator of the Year in 2014, and was a 2015 TedX-Nashville Speaker. Nashe currently maintains leadership roles in several companies he founded and serves as an advisor and investor for a software investment group that provides code and software support to over 20 start-ups. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Previous board roles include Building Entrepreneurs for Success in Tennessee (BEST), 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, and the Scout Reach Program with Boy Scouts of America. He received his doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University and his bachelor's degree in Psychology from John Carroll University.
Martin (Marty) is owner of Silmar Company, a 25-year-old private land development and management company After receiving his MBA from Tulane University, Silverman began developing, constructing, leasing and managing properties throughout the Middle Tennessee area. He has also used his skills to create multiple restaurant concepts that continue to this day. Trying to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, Silverman co-founded a cutting-edge non-profit start-up that is aimed at bettering the lives of these unfortunate people.
Afshin is the CEO of Paysafe, US Acquiring. Previously, he served as president of Priority Payment Systems, and was previously the president and CEO of Cynergy Data before the company's combination with Priority. Before joining Cynergy Data, Yazdian was executive vice president and general counsel at iPayment, Inc. from its founding in 2001, where he was a key member of the Company's management team, involved with various aspects of the Company's operations and overall strategy. Afshin received a BBA from Emory University and a JD from The University of Miami. Afshin is active in the middle-Tennessee community, serving on various non-profit boards, including the Nashville Jewish Federation, and coaches his son's various soccer and basketball teams.