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65 years and counting of banking for CedarStone’s BDO, Willie McDonald
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

 Staff Reports

Middle Tennessee has experienced incredible economic growth over the past five years. Just imagine how much it’s grown over the past 65 years. 

One man – and perhaps only one man -- can tell you. William “Willie” McDonald is celebrating his 65th consecutive year in the Middle Tennessee banking industry, the last 11 of those years as Business Development Officer for CedarStone Bank, the bank founded by his son, Bob.   

“It’s an honor to continue to work alongside my father,” Bob McDonald said. “Willie is a banking legend in this state. And the relationships he has cultivated and nurtured over the past 65 years have helped CedarStone grow into a bank that our customers know and trust.”   

Robert L. McDonald, Jr., Willie McDonald and Bob McDonald  

Willie McDonald launched his banking career in Nashville in 1950 with Third National Bank, which later became SunTrust. He worked for Third National and SunTrust for 53 years, then had a brief stint at Regions Bank before coming to CedarStone when the bank opened its doors in 2004. 

“I watched Third National grow in the 1950s so it’s been exciting with CedarStone to again be part of something at the very start and watch it grow,” McDonald said. 

Last year McDonald was selected by the Tennessee Bankers Association for its Leadership in Banking Excellence Award. The award, which recognizes exceptional bankers throughout the state’s history, includes a permanent display in the TBA headquarters building. McDonald has twice been named the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year and in 2010, he received a proclamation from the Tennessee House of Representatives as the Honorary “Mayor of Donelson.” 

The accolades are nice but what keeps McDonald coming back to his office every morning is the opportunity to help people and foster relationships that are long lasting. 

“I always open a conversation by asking ‘Who’s your banker?’” McDonald said. “And I would say 80 percent of the people I ask tell me they don’t have a personal contact at their bank. 

“So developing relationships is the key. Oftentimes our customers need somebody to listen to them and give counsel or advice. We not only talk about finances but we talk about life. We can be a sounding board that they know and trust.” 

McDonald’s grandson, Robert L. McDonald, Jr., serves as CedarStone’s Relationship Manager in its Donelson office, giving the family three generations of Middle Tennessee bankers. 

“From my grandfather I learned the value of customer service and building long-lasting relationships,” Robert McDonald said. “It’s an honor to follow in his footsteps -- and my father’s footsteps -- and both of them inspire me to work harder every day.” 

Willie McDonald has not only helped hundreds of businesses with their financial needs but also mentored dozens of bankers over the years, including CedarStone Executive Vice President Hank Stuart, whose first job in banking was under McDonald at Third National. 

“I am grateful for all that he has taught me,” Stuart said. “He continues to outwork us all and like I have always said, ‘Willie works by walking around.’” 

Indeed, customers can still find McDonald walking around, whether it’s in the bank lobby, in customers’ offices or at community gatherings around the area. And McDonald is thrilled to take part in CedarStone’s latest venture, a new, state-of-the-art branch location in Donelson. 

“It’s still exciting to watch a new branch open its doors for its customers,” he said. “Banking has changed in a lot of ways in 65 years but, in some ways, it hasn’t. You have to keep up with technology or it’s going to go off and leave you. But that doesn’t mean you lose the personal relationship that so many of your customers are accustomed to. 

“I’m proud to be a banker. And I’m proud to call Middle Tennessee my home.” 


McDonald, who was born in Monterey, moved to Nashville in 1938. He and his wife, Helen, have been married 62 years and have two sons (Bob and Bill), five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 

John Dewaal resigns as Wilson County stormwater director
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

John Dewaal was named Wilson County storm director in August of 2011. Last week, he stepped down from his post due to personal reasons, according to Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. 

The mayor said that the decision was not a complete surprise, and that both he and Dewaal are completely understanding of the situation. 

Hutto did not waste much time naming James Vaden as the new interim Stormwater director. Vaden has spent the last three years as the assistant for Dewaal. “The next time the board meets I will ask them if they want me to open up the position to the pubilc or if they would like me to promote from within and possibly keep Vaden on as director.” said Hutto.

Hutto continued, “We have already had several inquiries about the position so I do believe there’s a chance that we could have a pretty good pool of candidates.”

The next board of commissioners meeting for the county will be Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. in the road commission office. 

Shoplifters caught after robbery and short police chase near Providence
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

After a short vehicle pursuit, a group of 4 shoplifters were apprehended after stealing from Belk. Mt. Juliet Police were summoned to Belk department store in Providence Marketplace on Sunday afternoon around 5:30 p.m. after loss prevention reported a shoplifting group inside the store. It was reported to police that the group was working together to actively conceal items in bags while in the fitting rooms. Upon police arriving on the scene, the group left the store, jumped into a Nissan Altima, and took off.

Officers pursued the Altima out of Providence MarketPlace and onto Mt. Juliet Road, where traffic prevented the shoplifters from going further at the Interstate 40 overpass. Once the Altima was stopped, officers successfully apprehended two juveniles and two adults. $440.00 of stolen items from Belk was recovered from inside the car and returned to the store.

Further investigation revealed an additional $400.00 is merchandise in the car that was potentially stolen from Ross, Rue 21, and Old Navy. However, it has not been reported stolen at this time.

Tashara Anderson, 20, of Nashville was arrested, charged with Theft of Merchandise, Possession of Tools to Interfere with an Anti-theft device, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (2 counts).

Donte Fentress, 20, of Nashville was arrested, charged with Theft of Merchandise, Possession of Tools to Interfere with an Anti-theft device, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (2 counts).

Anderson ($4000 bond) and Fentress ($3500 bond) were booked into the Wilson County Jail.

A male juvenile, 17, of Nashville was charged with Theft of Merchandise, Evading Arrest, and Reckless Endangerment.

A female juvenile, 17, of Nashville was charged with Theft of Merchandise.

Partlow named new Wilson Co. director of transportation
Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Staff Reports

Jerry Partlow, a lifelong Wilson County resident and former Transportation Director of Wilson County Schools, was named the new Director of Transportation last Thursday morning, according to Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright.

This decision came just a few days after former Director of transportation, Tiffany Lowery, was terminated from her postion. 

It was Lowery’s first time as a transportation director, and she had been on the job for less than a year before being terminated.

Lowery replaced Joshua Hinerman, who was terminated in October of last year for multiple violations, according to documentation in his personnel file. 

Lowery was hired from the Fayette County school system, a larger district in Lexington, Ky., where she was the district’s safety and training supervisor for student transportation.

Wright said many different factors played into the decison to replace Lowery but most of all, it was made in the best interest of the children.

Partlow, who has served as Transportation Supervisor for Robertson County Schools for the past couple of years, previously worked for Wilson County Schools from September 1994 until June 2000, when the school system contracted with First Student Inc. to manage the transportation department.

Wright said Partlow was told of the opening Tuesday night and immediately expressed interest in returning to the school system.

“Jerry has over 20 years experience in school bus transportation, and 10 of those were spent as the head of transportation for Wilson County Schools,” said Wright. “In talking with many of the long-term drivers about when they felt the transportation department operated at its best, Jerry’s name was mentioned time and again.”

Hired in September 1994 as Director of Operations for Wilson County Schools, which included the Transportation Department at the time, Partlow held that position until July 1996 when he was reassigned as Transportation Coordinator.

He held that position until 1998, when he was named Transportation Director of the school system. Even after the system contracted with First Student, Partlow continued as Transportation Director for the school system until 2004, when he accepted a position with First Student as a Regional Sales Director for the company.

While with First Student, Partlow worked with various school districts across the Southeast and assisted with new contract start-ups of large school districts from the Northeast to the Deep South.

“Drawing on his years of experience, we are confident Jerry will work diligently to improve the current operations of our Transportation Department by actively attracting drivers and supporting the current staff,” Wright said.

Partlow said he is excited to return to his home county and to work with drivers he knew from his time in the system before, as well as new employees in the department.

“Wilson County Schools was a large part of my life for 20 years,” he said. “I look forward to coming home and working hard to make it the top-notch department I know it can be.”

Partlow’s first day on the job will be Thursday, Sept. 24.

White Castle almost ready to open in MJ
Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You may have noticed the new White Castle being built in front of Lowes in Mt. Juliet. The new 24 hour location will bring another great fast food option to the city.

Regional director of White Castle, Shawna Jones, could not be more excited for the new location. “Everyone in Mt. Juliet has been really wonderful to work with. It is a pleasure to be coming to such a great city, we are ready to get started making some very memorable moments for everyone in the Mt. Juliet community.” stated Jones.

She then went on to say, “It’s a beautiful building. It has 28 parking spaces with two handicap spots. It can seat a capacity of 53 people on the inside, and will also feature three patio tables. It is looking great.” 

Jones has been with White Castle for 38 years and has many different favorites on the menu. “My personal favorite is the Jalapeño cheeseburger but we also originated the slider in 1921 and it is a very popular choice along with our delicious breakfast egg. We have been serving breakfast for over 25 years and it is amazing how many people don’t realize that.” said Jones.

White Castle will be holding a job fair at Mt. Juliet career solutions on Friday, Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The new location will be the 11th in the Nashville region, and 390th nationwide. It will bring around 30 jobs to the city and while there is no official opening date yet, it is expected to open sometime around the beginning of October.

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