Knoxville Staff

Jim Collins currently serves as President of First Southern Mortgage. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Jim joined his father’s appraisal practice (Scott Collins Company) from 1980 to June 1996 and obtained the MAI designation in 1987. Jim specialized in commercial real estate appraisals throughout the Southeast US. Clients include private developers, real estate trusts, pension funds, commercial banks, life companies, governmental agencies and individual investors.

Jim joined First Southern Mortgage Corp of Tennessee in July 1996 as a mortgage producer. Since joining First Southern, Jim has personally placed more than $1 billion in permanent loans with life insurance companies, Wall Street conduits, pension funds, banks and government agencies. With over 30 years in commercial real estate, brings extensive valuation skills for loan underwriting, asset valuation and portfolio review. Jim is a partner and President of First Southern.

Aaron Ball joined First Southern Mortgage as a mortgage analyst in early 2016 and has assisted in over $100 million of loan closings. In 2018 he was promoted to Junior Capital Advisor and continues to be involved in all facets of loan production. Aaron is currently seeking his CCIM designation to continue furthering his knowledge of commercial real estate. Aaron is originally from Metro Detroit, Michigan where he interned at Berkadia Commercial Mortgage as an underwriting analyst. Aaron also attended Concordia University in Ann Arbor, MI where he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and accounting and played 4 years of college baseball.
Kim A. Sprague joined First Southern Mortgage in 2014 as Controller and effective 2017 also serves as Director of Servicing. In her role with the company, Kim is responsible for corporate accounting, regulatory and financial report and human resources as well as all aspects of servicing for First Southern’s correspondent lenders. She oversees a servicing portfolio of $1.2 billion while maintaining MBA standard criteria for all of servicing. Those criteria include financial reviews and monitoring for current assets, servicing requests, overseeing special escrow accounts, managing tax and insurance escrow funds, loan audits, and lender reporting. Kim has spent all of her career in accounting and finance. She worked for 8 years as Director of Finance for Cherokee Country Club, assisting management in all accounting, information technology and human resource requirements. Prior to that, she was the Controller of Bush Brothers & Company. Kim is a Certified Public Accountant.
Chrissy Fowler joined First Southern Mortgage in 2017 as a Servicing Specialist. Chrissy assists with several tasks for First Southern’s servicing department including cash receipts and remittances, monthly reporting for lenders, and bank account reconciliations. She is a Paralegal with 15 years of banking experience. Chrissy worked at First Tennessee Bank for 12 years in the consumer loan collections department managing recoveries; then worked with BB&T for 3 years servicing commercial loans.
Christina Hollaway joined First Southern Mortgage in 2021 as a Servicing Specialist. Christina assists with a wide array of tasks for First Southern’s servicing department including escrow setup/reviews, escrowed tax and insurance payments, amortization schedules, loan releases, UCC continuations/terminations, and portfolio-wide insurance reviews. Christina has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Finance from Tusculum University and has a variety of professional career experience consisting of work as a bank examiner and most recently an accountant at @HomePrep where she was in charge of accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Nashville Staff

Stephen Brink currently serves as Vice President of First Southern Mortgage and Manager of its Nashville Office. Stephen has been in the commercial mortgage industry for more than 25 years. He began his career with Fleet Real Estate Capital as a real estate analyst in 1986 and held several positions, ending with the responsibilities of Vice President. In 1996 Stephen was appointed Vice President of Mellon Mortgage Company, a subsidiary of Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. In May of 1999, Stephen joined First Southern as its Vice President and Manager of its Nashville office. He was promoted to Partner in November of 1999.

With each of these companies Mr. Brink has concentrated his efforts in providing mortgage financing and equity placements for commercial properties in Tennessee and surrounding states. These placements include construction and permanent loans, as well as joint-venture equity arrangements, private equity infusions and tax-credit financing. The sources of the debt and equity funds are primarily life insurance companies, but also include conduit lenders, credit companies, commercial banks and private investors. Mr. Brink has arranged debt and equity placements of more than $1.0 billion and served as buyer’s broker in more than $250 million investment sales transactions.

In June 2010 Mr. Brink was honored by the Nashville Business Journal as one of the Most Valuable Players in Nashville’s Commercial Real Estate Market during the past decade. Mr. Brink has served on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Mortgage Banker’s Association where he chaired and worked on the legislative, finance and ethics committees. He has also received honors for his involvement in the Mortgage Bankers of America. He has been named as one of the top players in Nashville’s commercial real estate market by various local publications. Stephen is also a licensed attorney in Tennessee and a member of the American Bar Association.

Thomas Smith joined First Southern Mortgage full time as a real estate analyst in early 2013 after graduating from the University of Tennessee. Thomas had previously served as an intern for the company while in college. Thomas currently assists in all facets of loan production, servicing, and closing.

Thomas currently serves as Senior Analyst and Closing Manager of the Nashville office. Since joining the First Southern team, Thomas has closed over $1.0 billion worth of commercial real estate capital.

Graham Gilreath currently serves as a Capital Advisor, assisting clients with capital stack formation for their projects across the southeast. He joined First Southern Mortgage in April 2019 as a real estate analyst, assisting in all facets of deal execution, including sourcing, underwriting, and closing.

Prior to joining First Southern, Graham served as the research point of contact for JLL. In this role he was responsible for assisting internal stakeholders and external clients in using proprietary market research data to make informed real estate decisions across the state of Tennessee. Prior to joining JLL, Graham completed multiple internships with one of Nashville’s largest landlords, Boyle Investment Company, assisting both their development and brokerage teams. Tasks included market research for tenant attraction and retention, financial modeling for debt refinancing and due diligence on potential mixed-use development opportunities.

Graham has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Samford University, majoring in Finance. He currently holds a Tennessee affiliate broker’s license, and is an active member in the Nashville chapters of NAIOP and ULI.

Memphis Staff

Bill Quinn associated with First Southern in 2002 after 17 years in the industry in Memphis. Prior to that Bill owned his own private mortgage banking firm. Bill holds a Principal Broker license in TN and MS and has been a state certified General Appraiser. Bill has extensive knowledge in the industry having closed loans in eight states.

Jackson Staff

Ruffin Lowry joined First Southern as a Senior Capital Advisor in 2013. Ruffin works with First Southern’s various capital sources, including insurance companies, conduit lenders, banks, as well as, mezzanine, equity and agency capital providers to structure custom capital solutions that meet our clients’ needs and objectives.

Prior to joining First Southern Ruffin worked at Grandbridge Real Estate Capital where he specialized in the underwriting, analysis, and funding of all commercial real estate asset classes, across a variety of debt and equity capital sources, including Agency, FHA, Conduit, and Insurance Companies. Ruffin has also served as Vice President at Community Bank where he specialized in commercial and residential loan production. Ruffin’s experience as an analyst and lender provides First Southern and its clients with an in depth knowledge of commercial real estate and capital markets.

Ruffin earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and investments from the University of Mississippi and a Graduate Degree in Banking from the Mississippi School of Banking. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, NAIOP, and CCIM.