META - the newly formed nonprofit Media, Entertainment & Technology Alliance -- will soon emerge from stealth mode, intent on creating better "business conditions" for constituent industries in Tennessee.
META President-designate Bob Zeglarski, an attorney who is founder of Nashville's Cutwater Law, confirmed that the META has applied to become a 501c6 trade association. META's placeholder website is here, with formal site launch not far off.
Zeglarski said META is likely to hire a lobbyist this fall, in preparation for seeking legislative and administration support for policies designed to advance media, entertainment and digital technology sectors in Tennessee. The group is also expected to register to operate a political action committee (PAC).
He added that the vision for META has been influenced by the stature of such groups as the Country Music Association (CMA), and inspired by other groups, particularly the Nashville Fashion Alliance.
Asked how the NFA figured-in, Zeglarski said, "We saw the great unity and strength that has been marshaled here by the fashion industry," which heightened META organizers' confidence that "there was no reason we couldn't be as strong and unified a force for media, entertainment and technology" as NFA is for its constituents.
Zeglarski said that while META is still roughing-out its agenda, a clear priority is obtaining state support for recurring incentive funds to help spur business growth and employment in the sector.
The nonprofit business was chartered with the state a year ago. META representatives have since met informally with some House and Senate members of the Tennessee General Assembly who are highly involved in legislation related to financial incentives for economic development and related purposes, said Zeglarski.
Zeglarksi said META plans to broaden and formalize its statewide legislative and grassroots outreach this fall, by which time it will have completed populating its board of directors and will have begun to onboard dozens of influential executives and companies that he said have expressed interest in membership and/or sponsorship of the group, its programs and its advocacy efforts.
Fellow META board member Julia "Julie" Carell Stadler told Venture Nashville today that she is looking forward to META's launch, particularly given the potential economic impact of new state incentives.
Stadler is both owner and CEO of Skyway Studios on Dickerson Pike and CEO and co-founder of Dance Network, which operates from Skyway facilities. Her 50:50 co-owner in Dance Network is David Medeiros, who is also COO of Skyway.
With other family of the late businessman and philanthropist Monroe Carell Jr., Stadler is also a co-owner of Carell Family LLC, a Nashville commercial real-estate firm.
Stadler said that, in keeping with the giveback philanthropy of her father -- who, among other things, was a chief benefactor of The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt -- she intends to help advance META's agenda.
She said that success would not only help Tennesseans create and produce industry content and other resources, but could also help ensure that more intellectual property rights remain in the hands of Tennesseans.
Stadler acquired control of the former NorthStar Studios about two years ago and said that most of its space is now occupied. Acquisition of the facility from Christian Broadcast Network was done through a company allied with Dance Network, according to media reports at the time.
About 150 people work for various tenants on the property, which includes studio and production facilities and infrastructure for global communications. Dance Network and Skyway, itself, have a total of about 24 employees, Stadler said.
Skyway sits on 16 acres, with the centerpiece being its 120,000 sq. ft. of large and small studio facilities and offices.
Stadler indicated she sees no near-term need to raise outside capital for her businesses, and acknowledged that ideas for projects and strategy steadily percolate up for consideration.
She offered the example of the notion of building a major sound studio on the property. She said several parties have suggested the project and there is no such facility extant in Nashville, but such an effort remains over the horizon.
Zeglarksi serves as in-house legal counsel for Stadler's businesses. He began his law career with a series of New York firms a decade before founding Cutwater, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Stadler confirmed that LBMC handles her corporate accounting, she banks with Pinnacle Financial and she relies upon Anderson Benson Insurance & Risk Management.
Stadler also said he selected LA/NY-based APA's public relations division for those services, while also relying on The Brand Hotel, founded by Kerry Graham in Nashville. VNC
. last edited 19 July 2017 0810