Bill was born and raised in Donelson, TN along with his five sisters where he attended public schools. He attended high school at Peabody Demonstration School (now University School) before going on to the University of Tennessee.
Bill's career in real estate began as a teenager, when he held a summer job as a maintenance man and grounds keeper at family-owned apartment complexes. At 16, he became the youngest person in the country to graduate from the Realtors' Institute and receive the GRI designation, and at 17, he acquired his first piece of income producing real estate.
Prior to founding Freeman Webb, Inc., Bill was director of Downtown Urban Development for the Metropolitan Nashville Development and Housing Agency (MDHA). He also spent four years as a real estate securities sales representative with Freeman Brothers Realtors.
Today, Bill serves as Chairman of Freeman Webb, Inc., a real estate investment, management and brokerage company he co-founded with partner Jimmy Webb in 1979. Bill and Jimmy met at Nashville's Junior Chamber of Commerce over 35 years ago and they have grown Freeman Webb into one of the area's most successful full-service real estate companies.
Today Freeman Webb has about 500 employees and manages over 15,000 apartment units. Their first employee is still with the company and many others have been with Freeman Webb for 15, 20 and even 25 years. Freeman Webb has been recognized for three consecutive years as a "Best Place to Work."
A strong supporter of charitable and community organizations, Bill currently serves on the board of directors of the Nashville State Community College Foundation and has served on the boards of the Tennessee State University Foundation, the Nashville Area YMCA, the Nashville Public Television Council and Children's House.
An alumnus of the Leadership Nashville program (1979-1980), he has served as commissioner of the Nashville Convention Center and on the board of The Tennessee Housing Development Agency. He was named Man of the Year by the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1977.
Bill was recently chosen as one of Nashville Business Journal's 2014 Power Leaders in Commercial Real Estate. He was also honored as one of the five American Diabetes Association's 2014 Fathers of the Year in June.
Bill enjoys spending time out at his farm and training his two hunting dogs, labs Paddy and Pitch. He is an elder at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, where he and his family have been going for over 30 years.
Bill is a devoted husband to his wife, Babs Tinsley Freeman, father to their three sons, Bob, Harvey and Mike, and grandfather to Bob and Rachel's two daughters.
What's the single, most important issue facing Nashville?
The main issues facing our community are inherently connected and must be addressed in a comprehensive approach. Increasing affordable housing, improving public education, enhancing transportation infrastructure and maintaining Nashville's positive economic climate are the issues voters are most concerned about. As mayor, these will be my primary areas of focus.
Could you identify the top three areas where Nashville needs to see change, and how you can help with the change?
We need to get our community on the same page when it comes to helping ALL of our school age students and families. I'll do this by promoting a Community Schools initiative that offers a broad suite of wraparound services for students including before and after school programs, expanded meal services and access to health care. Many of our peer cities have implemented a community schools approach and have seen achievement gaps close, graduation rates rise and higher levels of community involvement in public education.
As we plan for the next five, ten and twenty years of growth, we must address the complex transportation issues facing our community. As mayor, I will be committed to an open and transparent community planning process that moves Nashville from a "One Car Town to a Transit Oriented City." The time has come for Nashville to move forward with an ambitious plan to deal with a problem that will only compound with complacency and continued growth.
As Mayor, I will also promote more diversity and multiculturalism in Metro government, as well as eliminate the gender pay gap, which I plan to do by signing an Executive Order on my first day in office.
In what particular area do you stand out as a mayoral candidate? How will this serve you well as mayor?
As a businessperson, I have created jobs, balanced budgets and made strategic investments that have led to long-term sustainable growth. I do not believe government can be run exactly like a business, however there are many commonalities. Nashville has experienced unprecedented growth over the past several years. In order to maintain our economic momentum and preserve our quality of life, we must make strategic decisions and investments that will yield positive returns for everyone in our community. I believe my experience growing a successful business should give voters confidence in my ability to manage our city's finances and to make strategic investments that will ensure Nashville is well positioned for future growth.
Why should a young person in Nashville consider voting for you?
I grew up in Nashville and have seen our city transform from a sleepy river town into "It City." As a father and grandfather, I want to make sure every generation has access to the same opportunities and exceptional quality of life Nashville has offered throughout my lifetime.
Who is your favorite music artist?
Allman Brothers. They used to come and play small gigs when I was in high school. At the time, they lived in Nashville and played lots of local events, they also went by the name the Almond Joys.
"We've wasted a lot of time in this fight between charters and traditional public education. There's been a lot of wasted motion and arguing over one versus the other. I happen to think that they both need improvement. They both contribute to the solution ... I think the danger in this charter-versus-public school discussion is we focus 90 percent of our energy on charter schools when 92 percent of our kids are in traditional public schools."
"Expanding and implementing Community Schools, which would offer wraparound services for students. These schools would include before and after school programs, expanded meal services, and health care for students. These services are not just for the students, they are also offered for the students’ families and the entire community."
On Public Transit:
“200,000 more people are projected to be moving to Davidson County over the next 20-25 years. More than 1 million will move to the Nashville area including surrounding counties. It's imperative that we begin on a regional mass transit system as soon as possible. On my first day as mayor, I will begin this work, employing a transportation expert in the Mayor's Office who will coordinate with surrounding county mayors, MTA and RTA. The system could include or consist of light rail, commuter rail, and rapid-transit buses. The objective is to get commuters "door to door" -- home to work -- without resorting to single-passenger car, except to a park-and-ride lot not far from their home. We will emphasize connectivity between regional transit, MTA and multiple modes of transportation. Sidewalks and bikeways are part of the plan, as is an updated MTA bus route system. We have to begin the change the car-centric culture of our region, and that will mean making the system fast and efficient.”
On Affordable Housing:
“First, "What affordable housing?" The "It City" boom, despite all its benefits, has not done much for citizens with less than upper-middle-class incomes. We have 40% of Nashvillians living below the poverty line; that is unacceptable. And increasingly, they can't find a place they can afford, without moving to another county and taking their tax dollars with them. We need an infusion of affordable and workforce-level housing ($700-$800 month rent, $120,000 homes) to keep Nashvillians in Nashville. I will start on my first day on a program to build 10,000 such homes within four years, and another 20,000 homes within 10 years. The program will be driven by the private sector, developers who will accept incentives such as tax increment financing. The homes will be located throughout the county, not concentrated in blighted areas. Nashvillians will accept this housing, because it will be attractive, well-planned and enhance Nashville as a welcoming, diverse, progressive city.”
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