Axios Nashville

Picture of the Nashville skyline.

August 08, 2022

Good morning, Nashville. Welcome to a new week. Let's get it started together.

Today's newsletter is 923 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Nashville looks to draw more conventions

Exterior photo of the Music City Center in Nashville.
Music City Center. Photo: John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Nashville's top tourism executive says the city has a prime opportunity to propel its convention business when it hosts "the Super Bowl of meetings" later this month.

Driving the news: The annual meeting for the American Society of Association Executives will take place Aug. 20-23 at Music City Center.

  • As its name suggests, the ASAE is an association for associations. It provides guidance and resources for how to run an organization well.

Why it matters: For Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon, each attendee at this year's ASAE conference represents a future association conference Nashville could host.

State of play: Spyridon says conventions account for about 40% of the city's tourism business, with association meetings a critical piece of that percentage. The Mortgage Bankers Association meeting, which will be here in October, is an example of the kind of annual convention Nashville hopes it can recruit at ASAE.

  • The explosion of new downtown hotel developments has made recruiting association meetings even more important. Nashville currently has 38,296 hotel rooms, giving Spyridon's team enough supply to lure any association meeting.

What they're saying: While companies could scale back business travel during an economic downturn, associations tend to invest in annual conventions, Spyridon says.

  • "With a potential recession looming, that is typically the time when corporate meetings retract, but association meetings typically move forward," Spyridon says. "We hope it's the true redefining relaunch of meetings post-pandemic," Spyridon says.
  • The good news is that more associations are planning future meetings after a two-year hiatus, ASAE president and CEO Michelle Mason tells Axios.
  • "Our members really want to meet in person. There will not be a virtual component, because we're really focused on relationships."

By the numbers: A Nashville CVC spokesperson tells Axios that hosting the ASAE annual meeting in 2014 led to 41 association conventions, 201,205 hotel room bookings and $120.5 million in direct visitor spending.

2. πŸ… Celebrating tomatoes, one sandwich at a time

A BLT sandwich sliced in half on a plate.
A very good sandwich. Photo: Adam Tamburin/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Adam here! This time of year, I'm always on the hunt for two things: air conditioning and the perfect BLT sandwich.

  • I recently found both at the East Nashville restaurant Lou.

What's good: The purple tomato sandwich on Lou's brunch menu is the ultimate elevated take on a classic.

Between the bread: The sandwich was a festival of salt, acidity and gorgeous tomatoes that took my breath away.

  • They layered in preserved lemon aioli instead of generic mayonnaise. It perfectly echoed the tomato's tang.
  • A dollop of salsa fresca added a surprise kick at the end that truly set the sandwich apart.

What's next: It's the most wonderful time of the year for tomato lovers like me. The annual Tomato Art Fest takes place Friday and Saturday in East Nashville.

πŸ“¬ Tell us: Reply and share your favorite way to celebrate tomato season.

  • Is there a restaurant that gives tomatoes the spotlight they deserve? Or is there a local vendor who's always stocked up?
  • We'll incorporate your feedback into upcoming coverage.

3. MNPS faces teaching vacancies

Illustration of a teacher's chalkboard with "Now Hiring" written across it.
Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Metro Nashville Public Schools has 125 teaching vacancies to start the school year.

By the numbers: By comparison, there are 4,800 classroom teaching positions across the district.

  • This time last year, there were 98 vacancies.

Why it matters: Between pandemic protocols, hyper-charged political debates and below-average statewide education funding, it's been a stressful time to be a teacher in Tennessee.

  • A year ago, Mayor John Cooper pumped $50 million into the city budget to make Nashville teachers the highest paid in the state β€” his effort to stem the tide of mid-career teachers leaving the district.

Zoom out: Continuing the COVID-19 policy from the end of last school year, masks will be encouraged but not required this fall.

  • There are also no mandatory quarantines for close contacts of those who test positive. There will be a five-day isolation time for confirmed positive cases.

Also: Although the risk of exposure or outbreak is low, the district developed protocols for possible cases of monkeypox.

  • District spokesperson Sean Braisted tells Axios that after a confirmed case, school nurses will support contact tracing efforts to identify possible close contacts and provide information on monitoring symptoms. That includes details on testing, along with proper cleaning and disposal of cloth or linens the person may have touched.

4. The Setlist

Illustration of a neon sign in the shape of an arrow reading "THE SETLIST."
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🐘 It's official: After the Metro Council rebuffed the 2024 Republican National Convention, party leaders decided the event will take place in Milwaukee. (CNN)

βš–οΈ A panel of judges gave Gov. Bill Lee's school voucher program a green light Friday. The judges denied an effort to block the education savings accounts, which will put public funds toward private tuition for eligible students in two counties. (Tennessean)

πŸ—³ Nashville physician Jason Martin won the Democratic primary for governor and will face Lee in November's general election. (The Associated Press)

New jobs to check out

πŸ’Ό See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Director of Communications at TN SCORE.
  2. Global Technology Manager at PWC.
  3. Mgr, IT eCommerce Development at Tractor Supply Co.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. Readers take over Music Monday

Elizabeth Cook sings on stage.
Elizabeth Cook, whose song "Thick Georgia Woman" was recommended by Axios reader Buddy O. Photo: Wade Payne/Invision/AP

We asked, and you delivered. This week's Music Monday playlist on Spotify is a collection of songs recommended throughout the year by our readers.

  • Today's reader playlist is all over the map. It has cover songs, patriotic songs, love songs and favorite new releases.

A special thank you to readers Jeremy B. and Randy R. for consistently contributing their suggestions.

  • Also, thanks to music industry executive Norman Jacob, who admitted his bias when he asked us to include a song by his client, the ascending Americana band 49 Winchester.

πŸ‘ Please like our playlist on Spotify and keep the recommendations coming by replying with songs you'd like for us to include in the future.

🎢 One way to make our playlists even better is to invite more collaborators to the party. Tell your friends to subscribe so they can join us for the next Music Monday.

Our picks:

πŸŒ₯ Nate's song of the day is the perfect rock song "No Rain" by Blind Melon.

πŸ‘½ Adam's song of the day is BeyoncΓ©'s out-of-this-world "Alien Superstar."