Folks across the state know Greg Adkins – as a familiar face for many years in the restaurant industry, as a former Metro Councilman, from his work at the Tennessee General Assembly or for his leadership as President and CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association. What few know is that Greg joined the United States Army Reserve after graduating from high school, serving for six years and ultimately earning a bachelor’s and a law degree.
“The hospitality industry was always there for me while I was in college and law school, and a place where I made lifelong friends that I still keep in touch with,” Adkins says. “It allowed the flexibility I needed and enough money to live on as a student, and to fulfill my military commitment with the Army Reserve unit.”
He trained at Fort Jackson, S.C., and as luck would have it, he was assigned to a Nashville duty station as a clerk for the 3290th U.S. Army Reserve Forces School in Nashville. He was honorably discharged in April 2000, having earned the Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon and a National Defense Service Medal during the first Gulf War.
Adkins has come a long way since his days waiting tables while going to school and serving in the military. The statewide association he now leads includes more than 1,600 members, including Tennessee restaurants, lodging and tourism partners across all 95 counties. He also serves as a board and executive committee member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, as a member of Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Tourism Committee, and as a leader on the board of the Music City Bowl. He recently wrapped up his term as president of the International Association of Hotel Executives.
His service in government is equally noteworthy. Adkins currently chairs the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Commission and has led the state’s County Services Association and County Commissioners Association, among others, and he represented Nashville’s District 26 on the Metro Council for eight years, reaching his term limit.
“Serving on the Council was a thrill and allowed me an opportunity to work on some very meaningful projects. I was fortunate to be chair of the Convention Center & Tourism committee when we passed the initial ordinance for the Music City Center,” he says.
“All of those experiences have helped shape me, personally and in my role as the chief executive of TnHTA. You take away something from every stage in life and apply it to the future, and for me that certainly includes working as a server and my time in the military.”