Morgan County Export – Lance Williams – Nashville, TN
So what happens when US 460 or KY Route 7 deliver folks away from West Liberty?
In this series, Matt Jarrells works to track down those who rambled off when they heard the call of the Big City. And by ‘series’ I mean you will very likely never see another one of these.
Lance Aaron Williams graduated from Morgan County High School in 1992. He played offensive tackle for the football Cougars under Bruce P. Herdman and is a founding member of BALK fantasy baseball league with MCHS Athletic Director Chris Trusty and teacher Stephen McKenzie. Lance is a 1996 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he studied journalism and served as editor for The Kentucky Kernel student newspaper.
Today he’s based in Nashville, Tennessee where he works for Nashville Business Journal with the American City Business Journals family of publications. He’s married with two daughters.
Matt Jarrells: So, Lance, when are you moving back to Morgan County?
Lance Williams: So, should i be serious or funny?
MJ: Seriously funny. Maybe a better question is: what’s keeping you from Morgan County?
LW: I lost a loser-leave-town arm wrestling match with Matt Blanton. I still think he cheated.
The serious answer: I wasn’t someone who was desperate to leave. But as a kid, I thought that if you left for college, it was nearly impossible to go back. Other than teachers, I didn’t know many folks with degrees. And I’d make a lousy teacher. So that was that.
MJ: So what’s keeping you in Nashville?
LW: Still holding out hope of running into Barbara Mandrell at the grocery.
MJ: Oh, ho! and so other than barbara what’s great about where you live?
LW: It probably starts with work. I love what I do, but the opportunities to do what I do are very limited in West Liberty. That’s not a slight; just the reality. Heck, the opportunities for what I do are getting slimmer across the country. But the schools are good, and we have made good friends in Tennessee. There are good people everywhere.
MJ: And you’re a journalist by trade?
LW: Editor. The newspaper is business focused, and particularly focused on small business and entrepreneurs. We write for and about companies that are trying to grow and create jobs and such. They are hungry for all kinds of info that will give them an advantage.
MJ: When people think of Nashville I’m sure the business that immediately comes to mind is Music – particularly Country Music. What surprised you most about the Nashville business sector and what role does music actually play in the fabric of Nashville?
LW: As far as business goes, health care rules Nashville. 6 of the 10 largest hospitals companies are based in Nashville, and 100s of companies circle around that space. Health care generates $60B a year in Nashville; nothing else comes close.
Over the last decade, many of the record execs have left town in the midst of intense consolidation in the recording industry. What remains are the creatives — the singers, musicians and songwriters. Not a bad group, but the music “business” is much different than it was even a decade ago.
And Nashville is not necessarily filled with screaming country music fans. CMA Fest was last week and brought 100k fans to town, but few of the attendees at the festival were local. I never see a cowboy hat unless it’s someone on stage or playing for change at the airport.
MJ: True, I think of the Americana Music Association – Buddy Miller, Avett Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider – when I think of Nashville, so best concert you’ve seen or perhaps best venue you’ve attended in Nashville?
LW: Well, I watched the Americana Awards at the Ryman last fall. Avett Brothers, Lucinda Williams, Patti Griffin … what a night.
MJ: It wasn’t long ago Nashville was hit by major flooding – how did that effect you and your family and friends?
LW: We were very fortunate. No damage for us.