District 7: Billy Orgel
President of Tower Ventures
Organizer/Director of First Capital Bank in Germantown
Considered one of Memphis's must successful and civic-minded entrepreneurs, Orgel also served on the Public Building Authority that oversaw the on-time, on-budget construction of FedExForm and was a commissioner on the Memphis Shelby County Metropolitan Charter Commission. Like Kevin Woods of District 5, Orgel lives in outermost East Memphis, very near Germantown and close to Temple Israel, where Orgel has served as president. Orgel currently has one child in a private high school and one in a Memphis City Schools middle school (another is in college); his children also received their elementary education from MCS.
Orgel told the Commissioners that after graduating from the University of Texas (he is an alum of Richland Elementary School in Memphis City Schools and the more exclusive Memphis University School), he did not intend to return to Memphis but did so because help was needed with the family business. And he's never left. Orgel described his company, Tower Ventures, as one of the largest independently operating cell-tower companies in the country, but he also is involved in other ventures, including as organizer and director for First Capital Bank in Germantown.
Though Orgel identifies politically as a Republican, all but one of the commission's Republican members gave their support to Todd Payne, the general manager for Christian radio station 640-AM. Payne emphasized his belief that unincorporated Cordova needed representation. The other finalist receiving support was Rev. Ralph White, who lives in another part of Cordova and was a colleague of Orgel's on the Metro charter commission.
But with Sidney Chism and Walter Bailey both sticking with Orgel, White could not get enough votes.
"I keep my head down and do what I'm supposed to do," Orgel said before the vote.
After the vote, Orgel said: "I look forward to serving all the citizens of Shelby County. Thank you and I will not disappoint you."
His rabbi at Temple Israel, Micah Greenstein, says of Orgel: "Billy embodies the best of Jewish values in that he treats everyone the same and he follows the old rabbinical dictum, 'Say little, do more.'He never seeks attention, but finds ways to make things happen. He's honest and ethical, a family man who's devoted to his community."