Events timeline beginning in May 1983
1983, May Guy Cobb drops out of school to become a co-founder and performer with the Bud Light Daredevils. The Daredevils become the premier acrobatic slam-dunk show at NBA and college basketball games. For the next ten years (1983 to 1993) Cobb performs extensively throughout all 50 United States and internationally in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Exhibit: Sports Illustrated photo of Cobb with the Bud Light Daredevils.
1985, Apr Construction begins for installing the new Hurricane Creek Tunnel which will connect the Hurricane Creek to the Nonconnah Creek while passing directly beneath the East side of the Memphis Airfield and Runway 9/27. Responsibility for the maintenance of the new tunnel belongs to the Memphis Airport Authority (although Memphis Airfield Maintenance Staff have stated to Cobb that the tunnel’s maintenance responsibility belongs to the Memphis Public Works Department). Exhibit: Tunnel Diagram.
1993, Apr Guy Cobb retires from the Bud Light Daredevils and begins a new career in banking starting first as a minimum-wage call center operator. He eventually works his way up to Vice President and Manager of multiple banking operation centers. Exhibit: See article.
2000, Mar Interested in pursuing more technical skills, Cobb leaves his management career in banking to join Memphis startup dotLogix as a Java computer programmer and Oracle and DB2 database administrator (DBA). FedEx Chairman Fred Smith is one of dotLogix’s venture capital investors. Unable to sustain itself following the burst of the dotcom bubble, dotLogix begins laying off its staff. Cobb is laid off but continues to work at dotLogix with no salary to keep his resume current. Exhibit: dotLogix story.
2003, Jan The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) publishes its report Aviation Infrastructure: Challenges to Building Runways and Actions to Address Them. The report found that the median amount of time to plan and construct a new runway safely was ten years. Memphis is one of the five airports the GAO focuses on. The complete removal of the old asphalt Runway 9/27 and construction of the new concrete runway in 2009 will take less than 8 months. Exhibit: GAO Report.
2003, Mar Guy Cobb is hired by Robert Half Technologies and works as a consultant/contractor until he joins FedEx in December of 2003.
2003, Dec 30 Guy Cobb’s first day of work as a computer programmer with FedEx Pricing Administration. Cobb is given a personal shipping account which he shares with his mother who openly uses the account to send packages and letters to family members over the next five years. This is not an issue until two weeks before the opening of the new Runway 9/27 when Cobb is terminated (see “2010, Nov 12” for Administrative Law Judge’s comments) Exhibit: Cobb’s children at FedEx WHQ. At the World Tech Center.
2004, Feb 27 Google Earth satellite photograph of Runway 9/27 at the Hurricane Creek Tunnel crossing shows two large fractures in runway directly above the tunnel. Airport Authority Legal Counsel Sara Hall confirms these fractures date back to the installation of the tunnel in 1985 when Runway 9/27 was “open cut”. The asphalt Runway 9/27 in the satellite photograph is clearly in very poor condition. Exhibit: Feb 28, 2004 Photo.
2004, May 08 Google Earth satellite photograph of Runway 9/27 at Hurricane Creek Tunnel section dated 5.08.2004. Runway appears to be in the same condition as it was in the February 28th, 2004 image. Large asphalt fractures above the east west tunnel walls are clearly visible. Exhibit: May 08, 2004 Photo.
2004, Sep 19 FedEx MD-11 accident with Runway 9/27 tail strike. After landing 30 feet off-center, the aircraft suddenly pitches upward 3 feet after what was perceived as a normal touchdown by both pilots. The pilot elects to perform a “go around” maneuver. Witnesses observe the aircraft’s tail section drags from 3000 to 4000 feet down the runway in a shower of sparks causing extensive damage to the airframe. Guy Cobb believes this accident caused extensive damage to the Hurricane Creek Tunnel when the tail of the plane dragged across the runway/tunnel intersection. Exhibit: NTSB Report.
2004, Dec 16 Google Earth satellite photograph of Runway 9/27 at Hurricane Creek tunnel crossing dated “Dec 16, 2004” shows the runway has been repaved. The Memphis Airport Authority state that the runway was repaved in August of 2004 but there is no evidence to support this claim. Stacy Tomlinson, Memphis Airfield Supervisor reported to Guy Cobb and Scott Crenshaw that Runway 9/27 was repaved in “2005” during a runway their runway inspection on Dec 18, 2007. Exhibit: Dec 16, 2004 Photo.
2005, May 26 Wall Street Journal story about FedEx’s new secret police force sanctioned by the US Government and State of Tennessee. Exhibit: Read story.
A discrepancy still exists as to the exact date Runway 9/27 was repaved.
2006, Feb 27 Google Earth satellite photograph of Runway 9/27 at Hurricane Creek tunnel crossing dated “Feb 27, 2006” shows distinct outline of the open cut fractures from 1985. Exhibit: Feb 27, 2006 Photo.
2006, Sep 19 AFRAM Corporation publishes its first study commissioned by the Memphis Airport Authority to determine if the Memphis airfield infrastructure can handle FedEx’s new order for a fleet of A380’s. This report is critical because each A380 can weigh up to 1.3 million pounds which is almost double the weight of a fully fueled and loaded Boeing 747. Exhibit: AFRAM Report 1.
2006, Nov 01 Guy Cobb and members of FedEx Services’ Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) team tour and photograph the Hurricane Creek Tunnel as part of an exercise to consider what would happen to Runway 9/27 and the FedEx SuperHub Facility in the event of a New Madrid earthquake. The New Madrid fault line is located less than 100 miles from Memphis and was responsible for an 8.0 earthquake in the 1800’s. See photos from 2006 tour (pages 22 thru 33).
2006, Nov 02 Guy Cobb begins writing Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 – Hurricane Creek - Memphis International Airport and FedEx SuperHub documenting defects with Runway 9/27 and the Hurricane Creek Tunnel based on AFRAM’s September 19, 2006 study. EVS 001 includes additional construction data about the Hurricane Creek Tunnel provided by FedEx Facilities that was not made available to the AFRAM team. Exhibit: Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001.
2006, Dec 17 While documenting the November 1, 2006 tour of the Hurricane Creek Tunnel in his Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001, Guy Cobb uses Google Earth for the first time to document the path of the tunnel beneath the Memphis Airfield. It is on this date that he first discovers the large fractures across Runway 9/27 at the intersection with the tunnel shown in Google’s Feb 28, 2004 image. Guy Cobb immediately calls Memphis Airfield Supervisor Stacy Tomlinson and reports the damage he has seen in the Google Earth photographs. Mr. Tomlinson arranges to have the runway closed and available for inspection the following morning of December 18th. See Feb 28, 2004 photo.
2006, Dec 18 Guy Cobb and fellow FedEx Business Continuity member Scott Crenshaw inspect Runway 9/27 with Memphis Airfield Supervisor Stacy Tomlinson. The actual condition of the December 18, 2006 runway does not match the condition seen in the Feb 28, 2004 Google Earth satellite image. The runway has clearly been repaved sometime after the Feb 28, 2004 satellite image was taken. Mr. Tomlinson states that he believes that the runway was repaved in 2005.
2007, Jan Guy Cobb presents Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 – Hurricane Creek - Memphis International Airport and FedEx SuperHub to Denise Wood, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for FedEx with Director Mike Rodriguez present at the meeting.
2007, Jan Guy Cobb publishes his Enterprise Vulnerability Study 002 : Computer Room – Express World Headquarters – Building D – 2nd Floor. This study documents an overloaded computer room floor at FedEx Express’ World Headquarters. Cobb sends this report to Scott Mugno, Director for FedEx Safety. Exhibit: Enterprise Vulnerability Study 002.
2007, Jan 09 Guy Cobb & FedEx Express liaison John Baxter meet with the Memphis Shelby Country Airport Authority. Prior to this meeting Guy Cobb is instructed by his Director that FedEx Legal has instructed him not to provide the Airport Authority with any of the photographs we took during BCDR’s tour of the tunnel on November 1st, 2006.
2007, Jan 12 Guy Cobb sends email to Memphis Airport Authority’s Chief Planner Tom Clarke expressing concern over tunnel’s capacity to support Runway 9/27. Exhibit: Guy Cobb email – see page 9 (large document, may take a few seconds to load).
2007, Jan 12 Tom Clarke responds. Exhibit: Tom Clarke email (see page 10)
2007, Jan 18 Guy Cobb emails Google Earth satellite images of Runway 9/27 to Tom Clarke showing damage where Runway 9/27 crosses the Hurricane Creek Tunnel. Exhibit: Guy Cobb email to Tom Clarke (see page 11).
2007, Jan 24 Guy Cobb and FedEx Information Security Director Mike Rodriguez present Cobb’s Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 – Hurricane Creek - Memphis International Airport and FedEx SuperHub to a large group of FedEx Express Management at the FedEx Express World Headquarters. Tod Ondra with FedEx Corporate Security is also present. After the presentation Cobb is told not to let this information get out into the public and to shred his documentation from the meeting.
2007, Feb Tom Farnsworth, Jr. resigns his position as a Memphis Airport Authority Board Commissioner of the after 18 years with the Airport Authority. Exhibit: MSCAA Newsletter Feb 2007
2007, Feb Memphis Airport Authority Chairman Arnold Perl and FedEx Express Executive Tom Schmitt co-author a management book titled Simple Solutions: Harness the Power of Passion and Simplicity to Get Results. Exhibit: MSCAA Newsletter Feb 2007
2007, Feb Memphis City Attorney, Sara Hall, joins the Memphis Airport Authority as its first General Counsel. Exhibit: MSCAA Newsletter Feb 2007
2007, Feb 06 Two weeks after Cobb’s presentation to FedEx Express management on expressing concerns about the AFRAM report, AFRAM publishes a revision to their original September 19, 2006 study. This revised report removes any concerns about the size of rebar which exists inside the Hurricane Creek Tunnel walls. When Guy Cobb contacts Benjamin Bovee, the AFRAM engineer who authored the report to ask why he removed the rebar concerns, Mr. Bovee refuses to comment and refers Cobb to Kimley-Horn, the Airport Authority’s project management firm. Exhibit: AFRAM’s Revised Report.
2007, Mar 14 Guy Cobb emails FedEx Safety Director Scott Mugno expressing concern as to what may be causing stress upon the Hurricane Creek Tunnel and Runway 9/27 “from both the weight of the jets landing and the residual vibrations caused by the jets reversing their engines.” Exhibit:
2007, Aug Guy Cobb is promoted from FedEx Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery to the newly created FedEx Innovation Group. FedEx Innovations is created under a dual reporting structure between FedEx IT and FedEx Global Marketing. Exhibit: Read story.
2008, Oct 31 Guy Cobb contacts Randy DiGirolamo with FedEx Express for the first time via email. Cobb Emails DiGirolamo his Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001. Exhibit: Cobb emails to Randy DiGirolamo.
2008, Nov 06 DiGirolamo responds to Guy Cobb’s Enterprise Vulnerability Study, asks for a copy of the Airport Authority’s AFRAM report. Exhibit: Response email
2008, Nov 06 Cobb sends DiGirolamo the AFRAM report via COMAT (inner office mail). Exhibit: See COMAT Cover Sheet.
When did the decision to replace Runway 9/27 take place (sometime between Nov 6, 2008 and Nov 28, 2008). It is important to note that up until the moment Guy Cobb sends FedEx Express’ Randy DiGirolamo the Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 and the first AFRAM report, neither the Memphis Airport Authority nor FedEx Express had any need or inclination to replace Runway 9/27. We know this because based on AFRAM’s revised report the airport’s infrastructure including the runways, taxiways, and the Hurricane Creek Tunnel were believed to be able to support the fleet of A380’s that were on order.
2008, Nov 28 Memphis Airport Authority announces Runway 9/27 will be completely replaced (just 22 days after Randy DiGirolamo receives and reads Cobb’s Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 and first AFRAM report sent by Cobb to DiGirolamo). Exhibit: Press Release
2008, Nov The Memphis Airport Authority applies for and receives a $44 million dollar revolving credit line from Regions bank to cover construction costs for the new runway. No where in the Airport Authority’s Operating Charter does it permit the Authority to apply for this type of loan. Exhibit: MSCAA 2009 Annual Report (see report page 25, pdf page 28 under “Debt Activity”)
2009, Jan 14 Memphis Airport Authority closes bidding process for construction of new runway.
2009, Jan 22 Guy Cobb wins FedEx Global Marketing’s Rising Star Award for his presentation to FedEx Chairman Fred Smith and the FedEx Board of Directors. Exhibit: Award
2009, Jan 28 Memphis Airport Authority awards new runway contract to Ajax Pavement. Kimley-Horn & Associates will serve as the primary project management firm.
2009, Jan 30 Guy Cobb is awarded a FedEx Bravo Zulu Award for “Outstanding Flash of Genius Ideas: Cash Management Lock Box Monitor & Automated Robotic Conveyor Belt Probe.” The Robotic Conveyor Probe is a safety device intended to ride along the 250 miles of FedEx SuperHub conveyor belts sensing an increases in temperature where belts may start on fire due to slippage. Exhibit: See Award.
2009, Feb 12 Guy Cobb emails Randy DiGirolamo praising the decision to replace Runway 9/27 but also asks if additional construction had been funded to reinforce the Hurricane Creek Tunnel. Exhibit: Read email.
2009, Mar 01 Runway 9/27 construction begins with removal of 207,000 tons of asphalt. Construction will be completed in 8 months on November 1, 2009.
2009, Mar 02 Not having received a response to his email from Randy DiGirolamo, Guy Cobb emails Mr. DiGirolamo again, this time suggesting it might be a good time for installing cameras at both ends of the Hurricane Creek Tunnel with funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Exhibit: Read email.
2009, Mar 02 Randy DiGirolamo responds to Guy Cobb’s February 12, 2010 email query as to whether additional construction had been funded for the reinforcement of the tunnel beneath Runway 9/27. Mr. DiGirolamo’s response is currently being withheld due to a protective order issued by the Administrative Law Judge for Cobb vs FedEx.
2009, Apr Memphis Airport Authority newsletter makes first mention of Runway 9/27’s replacement and “Challenging Fast Track”. Exhibit: MSCAA April 2009 Newsletter.
2009, Apr 03 Tom Clarke, Memphis Airport Authority’s Chief Planner resigns and begins new position at Little Rock Airport. Exhibit: See website profile.
2009, Sep 20 600 feet of Runway 9/27 remains to be completed (source: Commercial Appeal). Exhibit:
2009, Dec 27 The Memphis Airport Authority informs Guy Cobb that former Memphis Airport Authority Chief Planner Tom Clarke no longer works for the Airport Authority and will not provide any contact information. Exhibit:
2010, Jan 11 Guy Cobb interviews former Memphis Airport Authority Chief Planner Tom Clarke by telephone. Exhibit:
2010, Feb 01 FedEx Attorney Lynn Diebold submits Cobb vs FedEx position statement specific to Cobb’s protected activity documenting and presenting his Enterprise Vulnerability Study 001 – Hurricane Creek - Memphis International Airport and FedEx SuperHub. Exhibit: This document is currently blocked by a Administrative Law Judge Protective Order.
2010, Feb 03 FedEx Attorney Lynn Diebold submits Cobb vs FedEx Position statement specific to the overloaded FedEx Express World Headquarters Computer Room investigation. Exhibit: Read position statement.
2010, May 19 Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery contacts Memphis FOX 13 news concerning Guy Cobb’s presentation at the Memphis Airport Authority Board Meeting on May 20th. A producer from FOX 13 calls Guy Cobb to confirm the time and place for the meeting scheduled the next day. Exhibit: Read emails.
2010, May 19 Guy Cobb emails Airport Authority General Counsel Sara Hall a copy of his presentation for the next day’s Airport Authority Board Meeting. Ms. Hall offers to print and distribute the presentation to each of the Airport Authority members prior to the meeting. Guy Cobb agrees. Without informing Cobb, Ms. Hall then removes much of the information Guy Cobb has included in his presentation and prepares the edited copies for the Board Members. Exhibit: Read email.
2010, May 20 Unbeknownst to Guy Cobb, Kimley-Horn & Associates releases a “structural inspection and analysis of the Hurricane Creek Box Culvert” report on the same day as the Memphis Airport Authority’s Board Meeting. The release is timed so that Guy Cobb will not have an opportunity to read the report prior to his presentation at the Board Meeting. The Airport Authority have paid Kimley-Horn $70,000 for the report. Exhibit: See report cover.
2010, May 20 Monthly Memphis Airport Authority Board Meeting takes place. Sara Hall distributes the edited copy of Guy Cobb’s presentation to the individual board members. Arnold Perl informs Guy Cobb that he will speak first, then Ms. Hall, and then a Kimley-Horn representative. Cobb’s presentation has been scheduled to go first to assure that none of the information is recorded in the Board Meeting’s minutes. Exhibit: Board Meeting Minutes.
2010, May 28 Due to extensive news coverage of the killing of multiple police officers in West Memphis on the same day as the Airport Authority’s Board Meeting, Memphis FOX 13 is delayed broadcasting its story about the Memphis Airport Authority’s Board Meeting. Exhibit: Watch Fox 13’s story.
2010, Jun 03 After reading the 100+ page Kimley Horn Report, Guy Cobb publishes a response letter and submits to the Memphis Airport Authority Board Members. Exhibit: Response Letter.
2010, Aug 05 Mark Luttrell wins as Shelby County Tennessee’s new Mayor. Brian Kuhn is still the Shelby County Attorney at this time. Exhibit: See story.
2010, Aug 25 FedEx Executive Tom Schmitt resigns his position to become CEO of Purolator parcel shipping of Canada. Airport Authority Chairman Arnold Perl says of Schmitt’s resignation “Tom Schmitt is an extraordinary leader,” Perl said. “He’s been a great colleague, a great chairman of the chamber, chairman of the aerotropolis steering committee and one of the creators and drivers of Memphis Fast Forward. He not only is a great leader in his own right, he develops others into better leaders. He’s kind and considerate, while at the same time holding people accountable to get results. He and (chamber) president John Moore have infused a spirit within the chamber that has reached a zenith under their collective leadership.” Exhibit: Read story.
2010, Sep 16 Memphis Airport Authority General Counsel Sara Hall resigns her position to become Chief Legal Officer and General Council for ALSAC, the fundraising branch of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Exhibit: Read story.
2010, Sep 30 OSHA Whistleblower Report published validating Guy Cobb’s concerns that Whistleblower investigations are not being conducted correctly. Exhibit: Read report.
2010, Oct 21 In a Memphis Daily News interview, former Shelby County Attorney Brian Kuhn says that he called Sara Hall “because she was an old friend and I’d always admired the airport authority and her” to offer his services as an assistant attorney. “It just happened to be the same week she accepted the position she was going to, so she said, ‘I’ve got one better than that, I’m leaving so you may want to look at this job,’” Kuhn said, later earning an appointed [sic] by airport president and CEO Larry Cox and approval by the board of commissioners. Exhibit: Read story.
2010, Nov 12 Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge rules that: “The statements in this document [from Cobb’s interrogation by FedEx Security] do not indicate a willful desire to violate company shipping policy. Materials provided by Respondent [FedEx] indicate that it is permissible for family members to use an employee’s account to ship packages to the employee. These answers are therefore exculpatory.”
Federal Gag order in place