Board of Directors

TCOG Board Members

Executive Committee

Lucian Pera. Lucian Pera is president of TCOG’s Board of Directors. Pera is a partner with Adams and Reese LLP in Memphis. He focuses his law practice on  commercial litigation, media law, and legal ethics work.

Douglas R. Pierce. Doug Pierce is past-president of TCOG’s Board of Directors and serves on its executive committee. Pierce is an attorney with King & Ballow in Nashville. His law practice includes litigation, employee law and First Amendment law. He represents the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters on TCOG’s board.

Adam Yeomans. Adams Yeomans is vice president of TCOG’s Board of Directors and serves on its executive committee. Based in Nashville, Yeomans is an executive with The Associated Press, serving as the news organization’s regional director of the South, overseeing operations for several southern states.

Marian Ott. Marian Ott is treasurer of TCOG’s Board of Directors and serves on its executive committee. Ott is president of the League of Women Voters – Tennessee and is active in many charitable activities in Middle Tennessee. The League of Women Voters is an organizational member of TCOG.

Board members Dorothy Bowles (left) and Rick Hollow (right) with TCOG executive director Deborah Fisher at the Greene County Courthouse.

Board members Dorothy Bowles (left) and Rick Hollow (right) with TCOG executive director Deborah Fisher at the Greene County Courthouse.

Dr. Dorothy Bowles. Dr. Dorothy Bowles is secretary on TCOG’s Board of Directors. She is professor emerita of University of Tennessee-Knoxville where she taught journalism for 22 years. She has helped TCOG in key roles since its founding, including its statistical research into open government practices.

Other Board members

Whit Adamson. Whit Adamson is president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, which is an organizational member of TCOG.

Victor Ashe. Now retired, Victor Ashe was a state representative in the General Assembly from 1968-1975, then was elected as state senator, serving until 1984. He was Knoxville’s longest serving mayor, elected four times for 16 years spanning 1988 to 2003. Before retiring, Ashe was Ambassador to Poland from 2004-2009. He continues to reside in Knoxville and be actively involved in his community and the state. He is a member of the American Rivers Board, National Trust for Historic Preservation Board and Tennessee Clean Water Network Board. He joined TCOG’s Board of Directors in 2016.

Braden Boucek. As litigation director for the Beacon Center of Tennessee based in Nashville, Braden Boucek manages in-house legal matters and litigation for Beacon, whose goal is to promote freedom and opportunity in Tennessee. Prior to joining Beacon Center, Boucek was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Nashville and Memphis for more than nine years, handling cases involving organized crime, drugs, gang-related violence and firearms. A native of Nashville, he started his career with the Criminal Justice Division of the Attorney General’s Office, then was assistant district attorney in Franklin. He joined TCOG’s Board of Directors in 2016, representing The Beacon Center of Tennessee, which is an organizational member.

Anita Bugg. Anita Bugg is vice president of programming for WPLN Nashville Public Radio. She’s been with Nashville Public Radio since 1995, serving as Morning Edition host, assignment editor and then news director for fifteen years. She represents Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters on TCOG’s board, which is an organizational member.

Maria De Varenne. Maria DeVarenne is executive editor of The Tennessean in Nashville.  She joined The Tennessean in 2011. She previously was the editor and vice president/news of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.  DeVarenne is a graduate of Leadership Nashville,  a member of The Nashville Chamber’s Business Conditions Council, a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville, a member of Nashville CABLE and a board member of Nashville Unites.

Alison Gerber. Alison Gerber is editor and director of content for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. She joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2003 and has served as assistant metro editor, metro editor and managing editor. She has been editor of the newspaper since 2011. Prior to joining the Times Free Press, Gerber was a reporter in Florida. She covered city hall, crime and education at the Naples Daily News and the Fort Myers News-Press.

Frank Gibson. Frank Gibson is the founding director of TCOG and served as its first executive director from 2003 to 2011. He then became public policy director for Tennessee Press Association. Gibson is a longtime journalist, working as a reporter and editor at The Tennessean. He was political editor for more than 12 years.  Born and raised in Tennessee, Gibson graduated from University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he was editor-in-chief of the student-run campus newspaper, The Daily Beacon. He has been an active member of Society of Professional Journalists his entire career, serving as its national president in 1990. He retired from TPA in 2017.

Robb Harvey. Robb Harvey is a partner with Waller Law in Nashville. His practice focuses on complex intellectual property, entertainment, media, commercial and franchise litigation involving substantial damages claims.

Rick Hollow. Rick Hollow, with Hollow & Hollow, in Nashville serves as counsel for the Tennessee Press Association and has represented the Knoxville News Sentinel in media cases. Hollow has represented TCOG in cases involving open meetings and records.

Gregg K. Jones. Gregg Jones headed family-owned Jones Media, Inc., which managed The Greeneville Sun, The Daily Times in Maryville and other community newspapers and media-related entities, until JMI sold in 2016 to Adams Publishing Group. Jones continued as publisher of The Greeneville Sun and president of Adams Publishing Group/East and Executive Vice President of Adams Publishing Group nationwide until his retirement. Jones and members of his family have been active in the Tennessee Press Association for several years.

Jack McElroy. Jack McElroy is former executive editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel, a role he has served in since November 2001. He is a founding board member of TCOG and a past president of the Tennessee Press Association.

Mark Russell. Mark Russell has been executive editor of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis since June 2017. Previously, he was managing editor and head of head of opinion/engagement for the USA Today Network- Tennessee. He started his career as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, covering a range of business topics as well as local government. Prior to coming to Tennessee, he was executive editor at the Orlando Sentinel. He also has served four years as a Pulitzer Prize juror, including serving on the prestigious Public Service panel.

Otis Sanford. Otis Sanford holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, and is the author of the critically acclaimed new book, “From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics.” Sanford also serves as the political analyst and commentator for WATN-TV Local 24 News and is a panelist for Local 24 This Week, a weekly public affairs program. Plus, he writes a weekly Viewpoint column for The Commercial Appeal. Before joining the U of M in 2011, Sanford was editorial page editor and director of the editorial board for The Commercial Appeal, and formerly served as the paper’s managing editor, the first African-American to hold those positions.

Helen Burns Sharp. Helen Burns Sharp, born and raised in Chattanooga, is a public interest advocate who founded ATM, Accountability for Taxpayer Money. After earning degrees from the University of Tennessee and University of Texas, she became a principal planner in the Tennessee State Planning Office for 16 years. She worked in Oregon for 18 years as the city of Albany’s community development director. She is also on the board of Chattanooga’s Downtown Owners Collective and Unity Group of Chattanooga.

John Stern. John Stern is chairman emeritus of Nashville Neighborhood Alliance, Inc.  He is also a founding board member of Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

Hedy Weinberg. Hedy Weinberg is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee and she also serves as their lobbyist. An affiliate of the National ACLU, ACLU-TN’s mission is to protect and advance civil liberties and civil rights through a range of strategies including advocacy, litigation, lobbying, and public education.

Dick Williams. Dick Williams is state chair for Common Cause in Tennessee. He has served as a volunteer lobbyist for the group since 1975. He was an environmental and grants analyst for Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency in Nashville from 1979 to 2007.

John Williams. John Williams is an attorney with Tune Entrekin White. Williams has a diverse law practice  involving government relations and regulatory work, as well as litigation in state and federal courts. He represents clients on issues that involve compliance with local, state and federal environmental laws and rules. He served in 2016-17 as the chair of the Communication Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, and has previously served as chair of the Media Law Committee of the Nashville Bar Association. He writes frequent articles for the Nashville Bar Journal and the Tennessee Bar Journal and has twice won the Justice Joseph W. Henry award presented annually by the TBA for Best Article in the Tennessee Bar Journal in the previous year. He represented the Nashville City Paper in a successful “functional equivalent” case involving whether records of TSSAA were subject to the Tennessee Public Records Act.