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Mayor Strickland appoints COO Doug McGowen to Memphis Light Gas & Water top post and promotes Chandell Ryan, to be the city’s first woman as Chief Operating Officer


Doug Mcgowen

Doug McGowen serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Mayor Jim Strickland and the City of Memphis.  As Chief Operating Officer, McGowen directly oversees all city operating departments and related agencies. From March 2020 to March 2022, he also led the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, coordinating all aspects of a successful pandemic response. Passionate about making Memphis a better place to live and work, McGowen also serves as Board Chair of the Mid-South American Heart Association and Board Chair for Explore Bike Share.  

Immediately prior to his COO role, he served as Director of the Innovation Team for the City of Memphis (now Innovate Memphis) and headed the Memphis Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

Prior to joining the city team, McGowen served as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy, retiring as a Captain in 2011 after 26 years of service.   His last assignment was as Commanding Officer of the Naval Base in Millington, TN.  McGowen also served as Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO TWO, Chief Operating Officer for the US Navy Recruiting Command, and Chief Operating Officer for Carrier Air Wing NINE.  During his career, McGowen completed multiple overseas deployments and participated in combat operations during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom flying the F-14 TOMCAT and later the FA-18F Super Hornet. 

McGowen holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and an M.A. in National Security from the United States Naval War College.  Born in Meadville, PA, McGowen and his family are proud to call Memphis home.



2016 – Present City of Memphis Memphis, TN

Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Operating Officer

Directly oversees all city operating departments and related agencies. Plans and executes annual operating budgets of more than $1.5B and a 5-year Capital program of more than $1.2B. Coordinates the efficient deployment of more than 8000 full and part-time employees in the delivery critical services. Provides strategic direction for divisions, advice to the Mayor and recommendations to City Council to help move the City and her Citizens forward.


– Pre-K funding—architect of the multi-agency structure and funding method to finance universal needs-based pre-k ensuring that every child in Memphis has access to early childhood education without a tax increase.

– Transit Vision- coordinated intergovernmental partnership and crafted a dedicated funding source to finance transit vision, adding an additional $30M dollars annually to MATA’s operating budget over 5 years to increase buses, frequency, routes to get more people to jobs.

– Memphis 3.0—understanding that the previous pattern of development had not driven sustainable growth, challenged the city team to create the first comprehensive plan in 40 years. Adopted by City Council in 2019, Memphis 3.0 was nationally recognized as the best comprehensive plan in the country in 2020. Awarded the State of Tennessee’s Outstanding Plan Award for 2019

– Accelerate Memphis—led the team and gained approval to leverage the upcoming debt cliff to issue $200 million dollars in bonds to provide improvements to nearly 100 new or existing projects: $75M to anchor sites, $75M parks, $50M to revitalize city assets, all informed by Memphis 3.0.

– De-annexation – led the intergovernmental effort to seamlessly transition several areas of the City back to unincorporated status, without impacting budgets or operations of either the City of Memphis or Shelby County. Resulted in a 10% reduction in service area of the City, with less than a1% loss of population. Proactive coordination and execution forestalled an effort by some state lawmakers to de-annex nearly 20% of the City’s population.

– Assembled and led the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force to respond to the pandemic. The regional effort included governments, hospitals, schools, public safety agencies, communication/executive orders, masking, and vaccination. Led the administration of more than 1.5M tests and 1.25M vaccinations.

– Set expectations, changed processes, and drove accountability for outcomes resulting in increased MWBE spend from nearly 12% in 2016 to nearly 24% today

– Dramatically changed service delivery models for critical functions: led the transformation of 911 processes and staffing to reduce answer times—answer times were at 1:00 minute in 2016, now down to 7-8 seconds consistently—well below national average of 20 seconds. Memphis Animal Services —a large percentage of

animals taken in were euthanized for time and space—after setting expectations, hiring the right staff, and providing necessary resources and support, now MAS’s save rate is consistently at or above 90%

– Established a culture of data driven governance and transparency. Awarded What Works Cities (WWC) Gold certification in 2021 (one of only 7 cities in the nation to earn this award). Previously won WWC Silver certification in 2019 and 2020.

2011-2015 Innovate Memphis Memphis, TN

Executive Director

Selected by Mayor AC Wharton and Bloomberg Philanthropies to lead data driven, outcome-oriented initiatives in the City of Memphis. Quickly built a relationship of trust with the Administration, City Council, and community partners to coordinate and pilot initiatives aimed at reducing youth violence and improving neighborhood economic vitality.


-Piloted first ever street intervention and violence prevention program “Memphis Gun Down” that demonstrated success in reducing violence in target geographic areas of the city. Laid foundation for the current Group Violence Intervention Program.

– Introduced data-driven governance and processes into government operations that resulted in permanent establishment of the Office of Performance Management for the City of Memphis.

– Selected to lead the multi-agency Sexual Assault Kit Task Force, successfully testing for DNA 12,792 kits dating back to 1976, and driving a victim centered, trauma informed approach to investigations. Selected by the Department of Justice as part of the team that drafted and published a Guide to Best Practices for the nation.

2009 – 2011 Naval Support Activity Mid-South Millington, TN

CEO (Commanding Officer)

In less than one year, transformed an under performing organization to an innovative, effective, and efficient command recognized as a leader in the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Enterprise. Efficiently executed every aspect of a 1500-acre, 8000 employees, 174 building office and industrial complex. Developed long-term goals for the command, challenged the staff with significant expectations of progress and empowered the staff with authority to make changes necessary to reach the desired end state. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: – Outstanding emergency management leadership. Performance in the face of an unprecedented 1000-year flooding was lauded by the Chief of Naval Operations as “textbook”.

– Inspired and led the first Master Plan for the Navy Base in over fifty years. Provided a vision for the future and instilled a culture of innovation. This resulted in the selection of NSA Mid-South as one of only five installations from across the 75 base enterprise to be awarded the CNO Innovation Award.

2007 – 2009 Navy Recruiting Command Millington, TN

COO (Operations Officer)

Within the first year of arriving at Navy Recruiting Command, led the wholesale turnaround of the organization and achieved across the board recruiting success. Directed the efforts of 5000 field recruiters assigned to 26 independently operated recruiting districts across the United States and overseas to meet annual Active and Reserve, Officer and Enlisted recruiting goals. Effectively coordinated the accession of over 50,000 recruits annually with basic and intermediate training schools.


– Maintained a 22-month “clean sweep” streak where 100% of Officer and Enlisted, Active and Reserve recruiting goals were met.

– Selected by the Chief of Naval Personnel to lead a cross-functional team for the U.S. Navy to meet competing strategic imperatives: improving the ethnic and racial diversity of the Naval Officer Corps and improving to 85% the number of NROTC Midshipmen taking technical degrees. Implemented eight strategies in 2008 that generated success in their first year and have resulted in sustained success through present day.

2005 – 2007 Navy Personnel Command Millington, TN

VP Human Resources (Division Director)

Without prior Human Resources experience and with a staff of only of 25 senior department head direct reports, expertly managed the careers of 17,000 junior executives (naval officers) for the Naval Aviation Community while effectively staffing over 550 organizations.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Within 1 month of arrival at Navy Personnel Command and in response to the Global War on Terror (GWOT) that committed 14,000 Sailors to non-traditional combat operations, was selected to launch a new operation. Led a team of over 100 team members from 15 independent organizations to develop the process that improved the procedure and notification time for deploying Sailors from the previous norm of 10-15 days prior to expected deployment date to a minimum of 90 days, with 6 months as the new norm.

2002 – 2005 Strike-Fighter Squadron 102 Lemoore, CA – Atsugi, Japan

CEO (Commanding Officer)

Led a combat aviation unit of 40 Officers and 400 enlisted Sailors and their families and 14 aircraft valued at $700M. Facilitated the personal and professional development of all Sailors through a robust application of the Navy’s training and mentorship program. Ensured the tactical development of squadron aviators in each operational mission, and the technical proficiency of maintenance crews. Responsible for the safe maintenance and operation of squadron aircraft ashore and at sea. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: – Steered the successful transition of the squadron from the F-14 to the newly developed FA-18F. This included wholesale change in training for the aircraft maintenance department as well as the pilots and weapons systems officers.

– Led an overseas move of over 400 Sailors and their families from Lemoore, CA to Atsugi, Japan, one of the most complex non-combat operations any unit can undertake. Proactive leadership and communication with Sailors, their families, higher headquarters and supporting commands was the key to a seamless move. Efficiency and effectiveness of the move allowed the squadron to arrive on station in a combat ready operational state six months ahead of the planned date, allowing accelerated transition of other squadrons from the F-14 to the F18F. – Guided the squadron in four Western Pacific deployments totaling 20 months of safe and effective operations at sea. Successfully passed all maintenance and aircrew inspections and maintained a 99% sortie completion rate during deployed operations.

2000-2002 Carrier Air Wing NINE Lemoore, CA

COO (Operations Officer)

Directed a staff of 40 in the preparation, training, and inspection of eight squadrons and 1500 Sailors. Prepared tactical instructions and operational doctrine for the Air Wing. Scheduled and coordinated all training exercises, support requirements, and ordnance allocation. Developed daily air operations schedule for the deployed battle group. Coordinated combat flight operations with Joint Service and Coalition partners and led the extensive, detailed planning of multi-service combat operations in Afghanistan as a

part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: – In the wake of the attacks on Sept 11th, 2001, led an accelerated combat deployment of an air wing and carrier battle group consisting of 8000 sailors, eight squadrons, 70 combat aircraft, and seven ships. Immediately developed and coordinated comprehensive, innovative strike training and overseas transit plans that resulted in a combat ready strike force that arrived on station and began conducting successful combat operations in early December 2001 as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.


Naval War College, Newport RI

M.A., National Security & Strategic Studies 1997

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA

B.S., Civil Engineering, 1985


2022 Kate Gooch Leader of the Year Award (Leadership Memphis)

Board Chair, American Heart Association

Board Chair, Explore Bike Share

Board Member, Renasant Convention Center

Board Member, Memphis Medical District Collaborative

City Representative, MLGW Power Supply Advisory Team

Co-Chair, MLGW Outage Improvement Advisory Team

Member, Leadership Memphis Executive Class 2011

Chandel Ryan

Chandel Ryan

Chandell Ryan became the first female Chief Operating Officer for the City of Memphis in 2022 and is responsible for directly managing and overseeing all city departments and related agencies. Prior to this appointment, Ryan served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer providing strategic day-to-day service delivery, resource allocation, and policy development for all City divisions. She became the first female Solid Waste Director (Interim) in 2021 while also serving as DCOO and she instituted new technology, route optimization, and on-the-job CDL and Picker Operator training to the Solid Waste team. As an 18-year veteran at City government, Ryan held a total of 8 various attorney, human resource management, and operations roles across 4 divisions, including her service as the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer where she launched the City’s overall D&I strategy. Her experience outside of City government includes general civil litigation, management, and human resources.

Ryan obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, in 2001. She is a New Memphis Leadership Development Intensive Alum (2017) and Leadership Memphis Executive Program graduate (2020). The Memphis Business Journal recently added Ryan to their 2023 Power100 list created for the most powerful people in Memphis Business. A native Memphian, Ryan is deeply involved in the Memphis community, serving on several boards including New Memphis Institute, Innovate Memphis, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Memphis Convention Center Commission, and the Tennessee Labor-Management Foundation


Attorney Carr practiced general litigation for Spicer, Flynn and Rudstrom, PLLC until she joined the City in 2003. During her 13+ year tenure with the City, she served in various roles including Assistant City Attorney, Senior Assistant City Attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer/Labor Relations Manager, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Senior Manager, and EDI Officer. In her role as EDI Officer Attorney Carr was responsible for diversity and inclusion strategy and programs, equal employment opportunity philosophy and policies, on-the-job injury program, civil service commission, employee and labor relations, corporate social responsibility, and the AmeriCorps VISTA program. The COM employs 7500+ public servants and is associated with 13 labor organizations representing 20 bargaining units. As the Human Resources Manager/Labor Relations with United Technologies at the Carrier Plant in Collierville, TN for nearly 3 years she was responsible for all labor (union represented) and employee relations activities for the 1900+ employees, recruiting, training, responding to discrimination complaints and assisting the leadership team in reaching business objectives through consultation, advice, and policy and procedure improvements.

Notable Achievements

· Negotiated with labor organizations to create new impasse ordinance

· Collaborated with Memphis Fire Division to develop an in-house paramedic school for firefighters

· Designed and developed an in-house training program for wastewater operator to fill critical wastewater operator vacancies with multi-department team

· Mayoral Commendation for work in merging departments in accordance with City Charter provisions

· Received A.C.E. (Achieving Competitive Excellence) Gold status for the Carrier HR Department, the highest honor for having the highest levels of performance by cultivating a culture of continuous improvement.

· Negotiated a new attendance policy with United Steel Workers to improve daily attendance

· Created new medical leave infrastructure which advanced the culture by improving and clearly defining roles, processes, and tracking mechanisms which curtailed abuse

Professional Affiliations

· New Memphis Institute, Leadership Development Intensive, Alumni

· Tennessee Labor Management Foundation, Board Membe



2018 – Present City of Memphis, Tennessee Government             Memphis, TN 

Deputy Chief Operating Officer 

Oversees and prepares $23M budget for the Executive Division which includes 14 departments. Responsible for day-to-day service delivery, resource allocation, and policy development for all City divisions containing over 6000 employees and 20 labor organizations. Provides strategic guidance and drives efficiencies throughout city government. Serves as Chief Negotiator as needed during labor negotiations. Provides strategic and Labor & Employment (L&E) advice and counsel to division directors. Notable projects include leading teams to create new departments from concept to startup, establishing a sustainable solid waste fund, coordinating the strategic passage of legislation action, and overseeing the strategic communication and transition of services when de-annexing neighborhoods.  

2021 – Present City of Memphis, Tennessee Government             Memphis, TN 

Interim Solid Waste Director 

Directs the collection and disposal of all solid waste within Memphis city limits with a staff of over 500 and three labor bargaining units. Responsible for managing an O&M budget of over $75M, multiple facilities and fleet. Spearheaded the implementation of route optimization for garbage collections utilizing new technology.  

2014 – 2018            City of Memphis, Tennessee Government              Memphis, TN 

EEO Officer/Labor Relations Manager, EDI Senior Manager, EDI Officer 

Responsible for EEO/Labor Relations functions (see below). Promoted to EDI Senior Manager expanding department to include D&I strategy and programs, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Launched Mentor Memphis, a CSR program providing employees with volunteer hours to mentor Memphis youth. Promoted to EDI Officer adding the responsibility to manage safety and on-the-job injury programs. Launched the HR Business Partner model. Assisted in the creation of the 401A Hybrid Pension Plan for Solid Waste employees. (Served as Interim Chief Human Resources Officer.) 

2012 – 2013            City of Memphis, Tennessee Government              Memphis, TN 

Senior Assistant City Attorney 

Provided legal defense in State and Federal Courts as well as before administrative boards and agencies. Drafted settlement agreements, legal opinions, policies, ordinances, and legislative resolutions. Worked closely with Human Resources and other divisions on L&E issues. Assigned counsel to Human Resources and the Fire Services Divisions. Assisted in labor negotiations. Served as liaison for the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board. Administered the process for public records access. Responded to and provided legal representation for subpoenas issued to the various record custodians.  

2010 – 2012    United Technologies, Carrier Corporation     Collierville, TN 

Human Resources Manager/Labor Relations Manager/Industrial Relations 

Responsible for all labor relations activities including administering and assisting in the negotiation of the labor agreement and employee relations for 1900+ employees. Represented management in 3rd step grievance hearings and prepared attorneys for arbitration. Drafted settlement agreements and memorandums of understanding with union. Coached leaders on conflict resolution and mediated employee disputes. Consulted / advised / educated leadership team regarding contract provisions and compliance with L&E laws. Identified training needs. Wrote and conducted training / workshops on compliance, policies, and developmental programs. Drafted responses to EEOC, DOL, TDOL, THRC, and Labor Board. Monitored time and attendance administration. Prepared communication plans and messages for communication to workforce. Recruited for salary staffing. Assisted leadership team in reaching business objectives through policy / procedure changes and human resource management expertise. Responded to ethical inquiries with local BPO. Negotiated new attendance policy to increase hourly attendance. Created new medical leave policy with EH&S and leadership team to curtail abuse. Managed a Sr. HR Rep and an HR Coordinator. In May 2011, the Collierville plant (and each department including HR) was recognized for having the highest levels of performance by cultivating a culture of continuous improvement within the company by obtaining A.C.E. (Achieving Competitive Excellence) Gold status, becoming the largest ACE Gold site in the world. 

2006 – 2010 City of Memphis, Tennessee Government             Memphis, TN 

EEO Officer/Labor Relations Manager 

Monitored practices and policies to ensure compliance with employment, privacy, and local laws. Conducts on-site audits for compliance with employment laws. Identified training needs. Wrote, compiled and conducted regular compliance, policy, leadership and labor relations training / workshops and developed customized training. Responsible for all labor relations activities for 20 (formerly 23) bargaining units and employee relations for 7500+ employees. Administered and negotiated City’s 20 labor agreements which include managing attorneys and/or staff members. Represented City in arbitrations and with external agencies including EEOC, DOL, TDOL, and THRC. Coached leaders on conflict resolution and mediated employee disputes. Consulted/advised the Division Directors on the application of employment laws, local laws, policies and labor agreements. Coached/guided leaders on promotions, disciplinary matters, and diversity inclusion. Provided leaders with human resource management expertise to assist in achieving business objectives. Created, communicated, implemented and interpreted policies, City Council Resolutions, and ordinances. Responded to informal appeals and provided oversight to the Civil Service Board serving as secretary. Assisted in the creation of and validated recruitment tools, postings and procedures for hiring/promotion testing including mass staffing of police officers and firefighters. Assisted in development of in-house paramedic school for firefighters. Approved all policy changes and job descriptions. Communicated with City Council as needed. Managed staff of 5 and department budget. 

2003 – 2005            City of Memphis, Tennessee Government Memphis, TN 

Assistant City Attorney 

Defended City in litigation in State and Federal Courts as well as before administrative boards and agencies. Worked in the Employment Law litigation section of the office. Also litigated GTLA cases and represented the City in Civil Service Hearings. Created legal opinions, policies, ordinances and City Council resolutions. Assisted Human Resources with employee relations, labor relations and the investigation and conciliation of EEO complaints. Worked closely with Human Resources and other divisions on Labor and Employment Law issues. Liaison to the Workforce Investment Network and co-liaison to the Fire Division. Assisted in the development and formulation of the medical screening process for the staffing of Fire Services employees. Assisted in the conciliation / mediation of employment disputes. Drafted settlement contracts in connection with civil litigation or the resolution of Labor and Employment matters. 


Attorney License: Tennessee 

Juris Doctorate: University of Memphis School of Law 

Bachelor of Science: Merchandising, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 

Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt: Certification 

Fellow: New Memphis Institute, Leadership Development Intensive 

Graduate: Leadership Memphis, Executive Program 


City of Memphis Ovation Award Nominee (2015, 2018) 

United Technologies Corporation HR Department ACE Gold Award (2011) 

Mayoral Commendation (2010) 

City of Memphis Perfect Attendance Award (2005 – 2009) 


New Memphis Institute, Trustee (2020 to present) 

Innovate Memphis, Board Member (2020 to present) 

Tennessee Labor Management Foundation, Board Member (2019 to present) 

Tennessee Labor Management Foundation, Alternate Board Member (2009 – 2010) 

Memphis Bar Association, Government Lawyer’s Section, Vice-Chair (2010) 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Member