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Hail to the chief: Tennessee ABC names new top dog


Hail to the chief: Tennessee ABC names new top dog

Jan 31, 2019

Russell F. Thomas

Drumroll please  . . . cue the trumpets for the fanfare . . .

Russell F. Thomas was named Director for the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission at today’s regular TABC meeting.  Director Thomas assumes the top leadership position following the resignation of Interim Director Zack Blair and former Director Clay Byrd. 

The Tullahoma native holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  He was an Alpha Tau Omega.

Thomas earned his J.D. from UT in 2003.  He practiced for four years as an Assistant District Attorney General in Nashville, where he “prosecuted hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases, including D.U.I. drug offenses, white-collar offenses and murder,” according to Justia.

He worked as a solo practitioner from 2007 until his appointment, where he specialized in criminal defense, DUI and general civil litigation.  He is a 2014 Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation.

Thomas’ wife, Mary Beth Thomas, serves as General Counsel to the Tennessee Secretary of State, where she has worked since 2013.  We suspect they are former buddies from UT Knoxville, from which Mary Beth Thomas holds a B.S. in Finance and a 2003 J.D.  Mary Beth Thomas is an alum of our firm, Waller, where she worked as a litigator. 

All this talking about the Tennessee ABC reminds us of Midland’s hit song, “Drinkin’ Problem”

“People say I got a drinkin’ problem

But I got no problem drinkin’ at all

They keep on talkin’

Drawing conclusions

They call it a problem,

I call it a solution.”

Drinking is our business and it ain’t no problem. 

We welcome Director Thomas and wish him well in his new position.

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