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Music City
ACM KEEPS GROWING
2/18/22

The Academy of Country Music is expanding with new hires across several departments.

Lori Kraft is named Director, Brand Creative & Design, Steve Mekler joins as Director, Brand Marketing & Partnerships, Jennifer Davis becomes Manager, Events, Rebecca Fisher is appointed Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Jesse Knutson is hired as Manager, Publicity & Media Relations and Kristan Pridgen joins as Executive Assistant to CEO, Damon Whiteside.

“With the ACM Awards just weeks away, there couldn’t be a better time to continue expanding our team with the additions of Lori, Steve, Jennifer, Becca, Jesse, and Kristan,” said Whiteside. “Their passion and enthusiasm will no doubt help the Academy reach new levels of success for our members and the Country Music community as a whole.”

(l-r) Kraft, Mekler and Davis

In her new role, Kraft will steer ACMs visual branding and identity, while working with the Director of Content and Manager of Digital & Social Media for support media and content strategies. She reports to Rory Levine, VP, Marketing and Digital Strategy & Engagement.

Mekler joins the Academy after more than three years at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. He will lead and manage the Academy’s promotional reach while collaborating with other departments for the Academy’s brand identity. He also reports to Levine.

Davis, who spent time at Buckley Hall Events and MSG before joining FirstBank Amphitheater, will manage venue logistics and event operations for the ACMs, among other events, meetings and activations. She reports to Lanni(Gagnon) Niggli, Director, Events.

(l-r) Fisher, Knutson and Pridgen

Fisher, who previously worked for Fortune 500s before joining Nashville’s Taillight in 2017, will manage the Academy’s partnerships and relationships. She’ll also oversee brand activations and sponsorship at the ACMs. She reports to Jen Heaton, VP, Strategic Partnerships.

Previously holding producing and reporting roles for TV stations, multi-Emmy Award-winning journalist Knutson will now support publicity and media relations efforts for the ACM. He reports to Melissa Moldovan, Director, Communications, Media Relations & Radio.

Nashville native and twenty-five-year Country Music biz veteran Pridgen joins the Academy after a twelve-year stint at WME. Now, she’ll provide admin support to CEO Whiteside, the Board of Directors and Executive Team. She reports directly to Whiteside.