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Knoxville Biz Ticker: Women-owned business, Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. celebrates 40 year anniversary in Knoxville

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logoThe Knoxville News-Sentinel 5/28/2021 Knoxville News Sentinel

Women-owned business, Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. celebrates 40 year anniversary in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, TN - Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. is celebrating 40 years in business in 2021. Late founder Ken Burns started the business in his garage in 1981. After moving to several commercial locations, the company settled in their current home on Industrial Heights Drive in 2004. Phyllis Burns joined her husband vin 1990 as President and Sales Manager. While the business started out by only offering printing services, over the years it has evolved to include graphic design, direct mail services and promotional products. 

In 2010 Ken left the business for health reasons and passed away in 2014. Phyllis continues to run the business as 100% women-owned and certified by the State of TN as a “Women Business Enterprise” (WBE). This certification has opened the door to government contracts with health providers for the State of TN and a sub contracted printing for the TN Lottery. Burns also serves many non-profit organizations as well as medical equipment manufacturers and other businesses in Tennessee and around the country.

Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. has won the American  Advertising Federation’s Big Wig Award for “Knoxville’s Best Fulfillment and Direct Mailing Company” in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In 2020 Phyllis Burns also won the Big Wig Award for Knoxville’s best printing representative.

Oak Ridge prepares Experimental Reactor for deactivation, demolition

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – EM crews are preparing to deactivate the former Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) before removing the contaminated facility and opening the DOE land for reuse.

The EGCR is one of 16 inactive research reactor and isotope facilities EM is addressing at ORNL. This massive cleanup effort is happening simultaneously with other cleanup projects underway at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

a group of people standing in front of Reichstag dome: Crews prepare the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor for deactivation. The eight-story facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory stands 216 feet tall. May 2021. © Courtesy of DOE Office of Environmental Management Crews prepare the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor for deactivation. The eight-story facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory stands 216 feet tall. May 2021.

EM’s cleanup at these sites is eliminating risks, enabling modernization, protecting current research and science missions, and opening land for new research and national security facilities.

At the EGCR, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and cleanup contractor UCOR are working to make the facility safer for deactivation and demolition crews by removing combustibles, abating loose asbestos-containing materials, and creating multiple emergency exits.

The UCOR team used an innovative technology to create an additional exit from the building. Workers used a waterjet process with a garnet-based abrasive — similar to an intense pressure washer but using a sharp, angular mineral agent — that was able to cut an opening in the facility’s thick carbon-steel outer shell. This method avoided hazards associated with torch cutting, and it was less labor intensive than using standard hand tools.

EM and UCOR are also collaborating to perform the work in a cost-efficient manner. They identified an opportunity to reuse unique equipment across multiple projects, saving nearly $3.5 million. UCOR moved transport platforms — large elevator-like devices installed outside facilities — to this project from the Biology Complex.

While the Biology Complex stood six stories tall, the EGCR stands eight stories and requires these special platforms for the deactivation phase to access upper levels and move crews, equipment, and supplies more easily.

EM and UCOR have moved the facility to a “cold and dark” state. This process is a crucial step prior to deactivation that requires isolation of all potentially hazardous energy sources. The EGCR deactivation phase is slated to begin this summer.

In 1956, Congress directed the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which would later become DOE, to build the EGCR, a gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor — the first civilian reactor of its kind in the U.S.

a group of people posing for a picture: This UCOR electrical team isolated all potentially hazardous energy sources at the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor to move the facility to a “cold and dark” state. This process is a crucial step prior to deactivation, which is slated to begin this summer. © Courtesy of DOE Office of Environmental Management This UCOR electrical team isolated all potentially hazardous energy sources at the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor to move the facility to a “cold and dark” state. This process is a crucial step prior to deactivation, which is slated to begin this summer.

The 107,922-square-foot facility, standing 216 feet tall, was intended to be more than an experimental reactor. It was to be a prototype for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s nuclear power generation. TVA is a corporate agency of the U.S. that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies, serving 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.

However, in 1965, when the facility was 90-percent complete, the AEC decided to go in another direction and stopped construction of the EGCR.

The reactor was never put into service, but its control, service, and turbine buildings were later used as development space for other research programs. The facility would go on to house ORNL’s fuel recycle division.

South College Bridge Program offers free courses to students entering higher education

South College is launching a summer Bridge Program, offering free refresher courses in English and math to any student entering higher education. Registration is open now and space is limited.

The courses are available at South College in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia at South College campuses in Knoxville, Nashville, Asheville, and Atlanta.

The Bridge Program is aimed at students entering any institution of higher learning who may have pandemic-related learning slippage or students who have been out of school for an extended time and need additional review of English and math.

“We are grateful to be able to share our expertise to benefit the community after a year with so much disruption in education,” South College Chancellor Steve South said. “We want to help ensure that students who enter college have the tools they need for a successful transition. If any student needs an extra boost in English and math, our free Bridge Program courses are available.”

The courses will be offered in 2.5-hour blocks twice a week for three weeks, with each block split evenly between English and math. The courses will be led by full-time math and English instructors who teach and work in tutoring labs. Assignments will be set up through the Canvas LMS so that students may gain experience with a learning management system, which are used by most institutions of higher learning.

As an additional incentive, South College is offering a book stipend up to $500 for students who participate in each session of the Bridge Program and enroll at any South College campus or online for the fall quarter.

All students must initially register for the Bridge Program at https://www.south.edu/bridge. Program details are as follows:   

Location: South College Knoxville Main Campus, 3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909

Program schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 3-19, from 9-11:45 a.m.

Questions: Contact Emily Tucker at etucker@south.edu.

About South College

South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels, as well as certificates. Questions about the accreditation of South College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (https://www.sacscoc.org).

For more information, visit https://www.south.edu/.

Comcast joins community organizations to launch 13 Xfinity WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” across greater Knoxville

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) May 26, 2021 – Comcast today announced the launch of 13 new Xfinity WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in greater Knoxville to support low-income students, families and others impacted by the global pandemic.

Lift Zones provide robust Wi-Fi hotspots in safe community spaces, allowing students to get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.  The sites also serve adults, connecting them to online education, job searches, healthcare information and public assistance. The initiative provides free internet connectivity inside community centers and access to hundreds of hours of content.

a young boy using a laptop computer: Obi Asinugo, a software engineer with Comcast, mentors students at New Foundations Charter School about coding animation during Tech in Action Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. (Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Comcast) © Courtesy of Comcast Obi Asinugo, a software engineer with Comcast, mentors students at New Foundations Charter School about coding animation during Tech in Action Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. (Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Comcast)

“The pandemic has presented significant internet connectivity challenges for families and students that Comcast has worked hard to address,” said Jason Gumbs, Regional Senior Vice President at Comcast. “These Lift Zones offer a safe place for our residents and students to succeed, and we thank our Knoxville community partners for their support.”

The newest Lift Zones locations include:

  • Boys and Girls Club - Northridge Crossing Location - 3916 Carus Road (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Walter P Taylor Location - 317 McConnell Street (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Haslam Location - 957 Irwin Street (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Western Heights Location - 1331 W. Oldham Avenue (open)
  • Morrison Hill Christian Church - 106 Morrison Hill Cir (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Debusk Family Location - 1819 Dry Gap Pike (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club – Montgomery Village - 4530 Joe Lewis Road (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club – North Ridge Crossing Location - 3916 Carus Road (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Clinch Valley Location - 102 S. Jefferson Circle (opening early June)
  • Centro Hispano de E TN - 2455 Sutherland Ave (opening early June)
  • Shora Foundation - 2425 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. (opening early June)
  • Knox County John T. O’Connor Senior Citizens Center - 611 Winona St. (open)
  • Boys and Girls Club - Vestal Club - 522 Maryville Pike #2412 (open)

COVID-19 accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and internet adoption programs for students and families who are at risk of being left behind without access to essential life-based education, work and healthcare information needs. Comcast’s Lift Zones initiative is specifically designed to help low-income students and families who are unable to access the internet.

In 2020, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 Xfinity WiFi-connected Lift Zones in community centers nationwide. This effort is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help low-income families connect to the internet while providing resources to help them fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy remotely.

a man using a laptop computer sitting on top of a desk: Comcast has launched 13 wifi powered community “Lift Zones” for Greater Knoxville families and students to access. This is part of their ongoing campaign to bridge the digital divide in Tennessee and across the country. May 2021. © Courtesy of Comcast Comcast has launched 13 wifi powered community “Lift Zones” for Greater Knoxville families and students to access. This is part of their ongoing campaign to bridge the digital divide in Tennessee and across the country. May 2021.

In nearly 10 years, Comcast Internet Essentials has become the nation’s largest and most successful low-income internet adoption program and has connected millions of people. It offers households low-cost, broadband service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer and multiple options for free digital literacy training. In 2020, Comcast committed to providing 60 days of free Internet Essentials service for qualifying low-income families that are new customers through June 30, 2021. Additionally, the company increased speeds for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers at no additional cost.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

SONIC Drive-In donates to local area teachers this Teacher Appreciation Month

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 25, 2021) - To honor the creative efforts teachers have made to maneuver their ever-shifting learning environments and keep students engaged this past year, SONIC® Drive-In donated $1.5 million to teacher requests on national education nonprofit site DonorsChoose on Teacher Appreciation Day, May 4. As part of SONIC's ongoing Limeades for Learning initiative, the $1.5 million donation helped fund more than 7,000 teacher requests across the country in need of critical resources.

"Teachers took this past year head-on, engineering a variety of innovative methods to keep their students learning in both in-person and virtual classrooms," said Lori Abou Habib, chief marketing officer for SONIC. "We express our gratitude to teachers like these, who create inspirational learning environments for students during a challenging time. With SONIC's $1.5 million donation match, we were able to help teachers access much-need supplies to successfully complete this school year."

On Teacher Appreciation Day, the brand matched 50 percent of each donation made to all teacher requests on DonorsChoose.

In Alcoa, Tennessee, one teacher from one school received a combined donation of $69.00 including:

  • Dr. Christy Evans at Alcoa Elementary School for the project Build a Lego Movie
  • Dr. Christy Evans at Alcoa Elementary School for the project Help Us Build a Better Club

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 teachers from four schools received a combined donation of $1,681.00 including:

  • Mrs. Bateman at Christenberry Elementary School for the project Nice and Neat
  • Mrs. Gentry at Christenberry Elementary School for the project Storing Our Learning
  • Ms. Boehm at Christenberry Elementary School for the project Safe Summertime Fun for Virtual First Graders!
  • Mrs. Alley at Farragut Primary School for the project Digital Resources for a Successful Year!
  • Mrs. Mack at Farragut Primary School for the project Let Your Mind Wander
  • Mrs. Mcamis at Farragut Primary School for the project Math Tools Make Math Cool
  • Mrs. Rutzinski at Farragut Primary School for the project Fun and Exciting Digital Resources!
  •  Mrs. Spell at Farragut Primary School for the project Welcome Back to School!
  • Mrs. Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project Chromebook Storage and Sensory Tools
  • Mrs. Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project Organized and Ready to Learn
  • Ms. Hicks at Farragut Primary School for the project Flashlight Friday: A Reading Adventure!
  • Mrs. Dailey at Pond Gap Elementary School for the project Reading Rocks!
  • Mrs. Reyes at Sequoyah Elementary School for the project Visuals to Magnetize and Motivate

In Clinton, Tennessee, two teachers from one school received a combined donation of $3,308.00 including:

  • Mrs. Hill at Clinton High School for the project Is Your Heart Broken?
  • Ms. Harty at Clinton High School for the project Ready to Go

SONIC is committed to helping teachers now in this time of need, and all year long. Through Limeades for Learning, SONIC has donated more than $19 million to public school teachers, helping more than 36,000 teachers and impacting nearly 7.4 million students in public schools nationwide since 2009. Visit LimeadesforLearning.com to learn about future funding opportunities and explore public school teacher requests in your community in need of support.

About SONIC® Drive-In

SONIC, founded in 1953, is the largest drive-in restaurant brand in the United States with more than 3,500 restaurants in 46 states. Served by SONIC's iconic Carhops, the restaurant's expansive, award-winning menu offers unique, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and drink options for the whole family. SONIC is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. For more information, visit SonicDriveIn.com and

InspiredBrands.com.

About DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose is the leading way to give to public schools. Since 2000, 4.7 million people and partners have contributed $1 billion to support nearly 2 million teacher requests for classroom resources and experiences. As the most trusted crowdfunding platform for teachers, donors, and district administrators alike, DonorsChoose vets each request, ships the funded resources directly to the classroom, and provides thank yous and reporting to donors and school leaders. Charity Navigator and GuideStar have awarded DonorsChoose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, their highest ratings for transparency and accountability. For more information, visit www.donorschoose.org.

MLILY USA outfits Knoxville homeless shelters with 250 pillows

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Continuing its efforts to support charities in the community where it is headquartered, MLILY USA has donated 250 pillows to the Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) and the Knox Furniture Ministry to upgrade the sleeping environment in their homeless shelters.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to help KARM and the Knox Furniture Ministry who play such an important role in our community. Both organizations provide critical resources like shelter, home products and other services to homeless citizens and those who are emerging from homelessness, who otherwise would have nowhere else to turn,” said Stephen Chen, president of MLILY USA.

KARM provides emergency shelter and services to nearly 400 homeless men, women and children each night, and works with other family service providers in eastern Tennessee to find housing and additional resources. The Knox Furniture Ministry, in conjunction with several churches in the Knoxville area, delivers basic home furnishings to area residents who are transitioning from homelessness.

MLILY has maintained a highly active effort to help Knoxville-area charitable organizations. Earlier this year, the company donated mattresses to The House That Mercy Built, a non-profit, faith-based residential program based in Tellico Plains, Tennessee.

The mattresses outfitted a new shelter that the organization recently opened, and completely fulfilled the new shelter’s bedding needs. The House That Mercy Built provides a residence for women suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, and offers classes in life and parenting skills, health nutrition and work ethics. It also conducts in-house tutoring for the general education development (GED) test and assistance for college-bound residents.

The company is also an ongoing supporter of Special Spaces, a non-profit organization that transforms the bedrooms of children with cancer into healthy spaces. MLILY also performs charitable efforts on its own. Last year, after tornadoes ravaged areas in nearby Chattanooga and northern Georgia on Easter Sunday, the company sent mattresses to residents of those areas.

MLILY USA is the North American mattress and pillow company of Healthcare Co., Ltd. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, the company manufactures mattresses, pillows and sleep accessories in state-of-the-art factories located in China, Thailand, Serbia, Arizona and South Carolina, which span more than 7 million square feet. With products sold worldwide, MLILY also holds a unique global strategic partnership with Manchester United, the leading sports brand and popular soccer team located in the United Kingdom. As part of the partnership, MLILY provides the team’s training complex with mattresses and other sleep products. For more information, visit www.MLILYUSA.com.

Nokian Tyres takes next growth steps at Tennessee factory, adds third and fourth production shifts

Nokian Tyres is adding third and fourth production shifts at its US factory to increase output capacity to 24/7 production at the facility, in response to rising demand.

The company launched its third production shift the week of May 17 and will add the fourth shift in mid-July. Adding shifts is on pace with Nokian Tyres’ plans to produce as many as one million tires at the Dayton factory in 2021.

a man standing in front of a building: Nokian Tyres plans to double production at their Dayton, Tennessee factory through addition of third and fourth shifts. This represents significant growth for the company in North America, and it caps a hiring push that saw double the workforce by creating nearly 150 jobs in the first half of 2021. May 2021. © Courtesy of Nokian Tyres Nokian Tyres plans to double production at their Dayton, Tennessee factory through addition of third and fourth shifts. This represents significant growth for the company in North America, and it caps a hiring push that saw double the workforce by creating nearly 150 jobs in the first half of 2021. May 2021.

The expansion caps a hiring campaign that saw Nokian Tyres nearly double the factory’s workforce in the first half of 2021; the company now employs approximately 300 team members in Dayton. Once the facility reaches full capacity in the coming years, it will make up to four million tires annually and employ as many as 400 workers.

“The demand for our premium tires is rising also in North America, and we are proud to offer products that are tailored to fit the needs of drivers in the region. We are advancing with our growth plans and offer a versatile range of tires for demanding conditions. Last year we launched a record number of new products globally, and we will reach a new record in 2021,” says Nokian Tyres’ President & CEO Jukka Moisio.

Nokian Tyres started production at the Dayton factory in January 2020 to serve rising demand for its products in the North American market. It crafts all-season and all-weather tires at the state-of-the-art facility, which was the first in the tire industry to earn LEED v4 Silver certification earlier this year.

Nokian Tyres aims to leverage the factory to reduce delivery lead times to North American customers and build tires tailored to the needs of drivers in the region, such as the Nokian Tyres One, an all-season passenger tire it launched in North America in January.

“The expansion to third and fourth shifts will allow us to greatly increase our production capacity while gaining efficiencies from continuous operation,” says Nokian Tyres SVP, Supply Operations Adrian Kaczmarczyk.

“We’re focused on serving our customers by increasing our volume while maintaining the premium quality of the tires we’re making here,” says Dayton Factory Operations Director David Korda.

The Dayton factory expansion follows a quarter in which Nokian Tyres set a record for sales volume, increasing year-over-year net sales by 28.5 percent globally compared to 2020 and 27.5 percent in North America, with comparable currencies.

In addition to increasing output in Dayton, Nokian Tyres is operating its Russia factory at full capacity and announced in March that it will increase production capacity by 30 percent at its Finland facility. The company also announced the beginning of testing at its new test center in Spain in May 2021.

The Vol Network’s Bob Kesling & Bert Bertelkamp host annual golf tournament to raise “MONEY!” to serve those in need

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp Golf Tournament presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will be held on Monday, June 7 at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville. The annual golf tournament raises money for the McNabb Center, which provides access to behavioral health care for individuals and families with the most need in East Tennessee. The golf tournament is a longstanding Center tradition, lasting more than 20 years.

“Our mission is to support the health and well-being of the 3.4 million members we serve – and to work to improve quality of life for all our state’s residents through our corporate giving and community support,” said John Maki, Vice President of Sales and Account Management for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “We’re honored to support the McNabb Center as they help our neighbors facing mental health, addiction and social challenges.”

“Our goal each year with the golf event is to raise as much money as possible to support the great work of the McNabb Center,” said Bert Bertelkamp. “The Center provides services that are vital to the overall health of our community. We are fortunate to have the support of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and many others who recognize the positive impact the McNabb Center has on so many lives.”

There is still time to sponsor the tournament and receive recognition at the event. For additional questions, contact Beth Farrow at beth.farrow@mcnabb.org, (865) 329-9030 or visit mcnabbfoundation.org.

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind, Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

PYA pledges $100,000 gift to University of Tennessee Chaired Professorship Endowment

PYA, a national accounting and management consulting firm, has pledged a $100,000 leadership gift to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business (HCB) Richard L. Townsend Chaired Professorship of Accounting endowment. According to the university’s news release, this is the first endowed chair for the college’s Department of Accounting and Information Management (AIM).

The endowment began as a grassroots fundraising campaign in 2009 when former students of Richard (Dick) L. Townsend, professor emeritus, contributed in honor of his 42-year career at the university.

PYA President and CEO Marty Brown (HCB ’85) credited Townsend for introducing him to a future career path in the field of accounting. “When I took my first accounting class from Dick Townsend, I had not yet decided what career to pursue after graduation. His ability to teach complex accounting concepts, along with a genuine compassion for his students, helped shape the direction I would take, and has no doubt set many UT accounting graduates on paths to discovery.”

As the endowment grew, so did expectations it could fund a professorship. In 2020, a new campaign requiring a minimum $2 million would upgrade the professorship to first chair. Townsend’s legacy and direct influence on former students like Brown compelled PYA to lead the fundraising efforts for the endowed chair—the highest faculty award a professor can hold. “Dick has impacted many of PYA’s partners and clients, and we regularly recruit Haslam’s AIM students to join the firm,” said Brown. “We are so proud of the AIM program and what it has become over these last decades.”

The first person to hold the new chaired professorship is Terry Neal, head of the Department of Accounting and Information Management.

About PYA

For more than 35 years, PYA, a national professional services firm providing management consulting and accounting, has helped its clients navigate and derive value amid complex challenges related to regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, governance, business valuations and fair market value assessments, multi-unit business and clinical integrations, best practices, tax and assurance, business analysis, and operations optimization. 

PYA’s steadfast commitment to an unwavering client-centric culture has served the firm’s clients well. PYA consistently is ranked among the Top 20 healthcare consulting firms in the U.S. by Modern Healthcare. PYA is also ranked by INSIDE Public Accounting as one of the Top 100 largest accounting firms in the U.S. Additionally, PYA has been consistently voted a “Top Workplace.” PYA’s affiliated companies offer clients world-class data analytics; professional real estate development and advisory resources for healthcare providers; and wealth management and retirement plan administration.

PYA is an independently owned consulting and accounting firm and is a member of HLB, the global advisory and accounting network.

PYA assists clients in all 50 states from offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, Knoxville, Nashville, and Tampa. For more information, please visit pyapc.com.

Girl Boss Offices announces major re-brand and expansion

The company formerly known to the community as Girl Boss Offices unveiled their rebrand on Monday, May 17th. The company is now named ‘Aught’. Erika Biddix, Aught owner, explains: 

“Since opening in 2019, we’ve seen what the power of community can create, over and above our initial decision to provide coworking space.  As we’ve increased our brand offerings for female entrepreneurs, we knew we needed to rename the company to encompass everything we offer, or have on the horizon, including retreats and a podcast. Websters has several definitions for the word aught. But two caught our eye. “Anything” and “At All”. As we read them, these two definitions merged and became one.

We are on a mission to empower women to build anything at all. We believe women can do anything at all. We believe entrepreneurship can be for anyone at all. We believe anything at all can be accomplished through entrepreneurship.

If we can redefine entrepreneurship, certainly, we can redefine a word. We hope when you see Aught, it's a reminder to you that you can do anything at all. That you can redefine what entrepreneurship means for you, your company, your family or your community.”

This unveiling was the first of two big announcements. The second big announcement and the most exciting for the Aught Entrepreneur Community is an Expansion. A second location located at the Langley Building (520 West Summit Hill Drive, Suite 601 Knoxville, Tennessee 37902) will be available for up to 20 members beginning October 1, 2021.  Applications for desks are currently open. In addition, the opportunity to franchise Aught Offices is now available.

Since launching in December 2019, Aught grew and transformed more than Erika Biddix could have ever imagined! “To see the impact community makes on all female entrepreneurs – not just our members – gives us joy every day.  We are celebrating growth, partnerships, friendships and business launches each day, and we are excited to keep the party going.”

Join us and help cultivate a community that empowers and supports female entrepreneurs through business and personal development programs, networking opportunities, and connection with local resources. Visit www.aughtentrepreneurs.com for more details on available desk space and franchising opportunities as well as information on upcoming retreats and podcasts.

Buff City Soap brings plant-based products to West Town

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (April 20, 2021) – Buff City Soap, a Southern-based lifestyle brand changing the way people buy their everyday soap by providing plant-based alternatives, will be opening its third soap ‘makery’ in Knoxville on May 20. Located at 228 Morrell Rd., Buff City Soap is known for its handmade, plant-based soap and body products.

To celebrate the new location, Buff City of West Town is hosting a grand opening event on July 10. The grand opening celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a multitude of store-wide promotions including free soap for a year to the first 50 people to visit the location.

Unlike supermarket alternatives, Buff City Soap creates high-quality products free of harsh chemicals, detergents, dyes, animal fats, and sulfates. By giving customers the chance to see the whole making process live in each Soap Makery, Buff City Soap is disrupting the consumer goods industry by focusing on the transparency of ingredients and process.

“We are very proud to bring Buff City Soap to Knoxville,” said local owner Jamie Mason. “To have the local community be able to see the entire soap making process and feel the difference in quality gives us immense joy in what we do.”

Each Buff City Soap store offers traditional soap bars, body butters, shower oils, and bath bombs, along with a facial care line, men’s care product line, plant-based laundry detergent, pet care products and bath accessories. Each shop includes a Makery, where employees handcraft each product in-store and customers can customize their products. Furthering its customization promise, the shops also host birthday parties, ladies’ nights and other group events.

To learn more about Buff City Soap of West Town, visit www.buffcitysoap.com.

About Buff City Soap

Founded in 2013 and franchising since 2018, Buff City Soap continues its rapid growth trajectory across 15 states and 90+ stores. Buff City Soap’s delightfully smelling and uniquely handmade soaps are disrupting the retail beauty and consumer goods categories, and Buff City Soap was recognized in Entrepreneur’s Top 100 “Best of the New” franchise rankings. For more information visit www.buffcitysoap.com. 

New Roadside Eats at Pilot Flying J with Classic and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 20, 2021) – Pilot Flying J, the largest network of travel centers in North America, is unveiling two new delicious crispy chicken sandwiches to its growing menu as more Americans are expected to hit the roads this summer. Available now at more than 300 participating Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across the country, the Southern Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich have the flavor and quality ingredients to rival some of the top food brands.

a close up of a sandwich sitting on top of a book: Pilot Flying J is entering the chicken sandwich game and unveiling two new delicious crispy chicken sandwiches to its growing menu as more Americans are expected to hit the roads this summer. The Southern Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich are available at more than 300 locations nationwide, including the Flying J Travel Center on Watt Road in Knoxville. May 2021. © Courtesy of Pilot Flying J Pilot Flying J is entering the chicken sandwich game and unveiling two new delicious crispy chicken sandwiches to its growing menu as more Americans are expected to hit the roads this summer. The Southern Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich are available at more than 300 locations nationwide, including the Flying J Travel Center on Watt Road in Knoxville. May 2021.

“We are entering the chicken sandwich game and gearing up for increased summer travel by introducing several new, innovative food options that are going to surprise and delight our guests,” said Jamie King, senior director of food and beverage for Pilot Flying J. “Our awesome menu, including our newest southern and spicy chicken sandwiches, make Pilot Flying J the ultimate stop to fill up on great food, fuel and everyday items that you need to reach your destination.”

Made daily with premium ingredients, Pilot Flying J has a variety of fresh food available 24/7 at participating locations. Its newest crispy chicken sandwiches and recently introduced handheld wraps include:

  • The Southern Chicken Sandwich: Enjoy a freshly cooked crispy chicken breast filet on a brioche bun, topped with dill pickles. Simply delicious as-is or choose from a variety of add-on condiments to dress-up this classic sandwich.
  • The Spicy Chicken Sandwich: A spicy twist on the chicken sandwich, served on a fresh brioche bun and topped with pepper jack cheese and chipotle ranch for an extra kick and the perfect amount of heat.
  • The Greek Chicken Wrap: Pulled, smoked chicken tossed in a tangy Greek dressing and mixed with slightly sweet banana peppers and chunks of Feta cheese are all wrapped in a spinach herb tortilla lined with provolone cheese for a handful of flavor.
  • The Smoked Turkey & Bacon Wrap: Sliced turkey, fresh spinach, brown sugar-cured bacon pieces and cheddar cheese are rolled into a soft tortilla with hints of garlic for the perfect sweet and savory taste.

To kick off Pilot Flying J’s third annual National Road Trip Day on May 28, guests can save $2 on the southern or spicy chicken sandwich from May 24-30, 2021 by redeeming the offer in the myRewards PlusTM app at any of the 300 participating Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers.*

a sandwich sitting on top of a book: Pilot Flying J is entering the chicken sandwich game and unveiling two new delicious crispy chicken sandwiches to its growing menu as more Americans are expected to hit the roads this summer. The Southern Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich are available at more than 300 locations nationwide, including the Flying J Travel Center on Watt Road in Knoxville. May 2021. © Courtesy of Pilot Flying J Pilot Flying J is entering the chicken sandwich game and unveiling two new delicious crispy chicken sandwiches to its growing menu as more Americans are expected to hit the roads this summer. The Southern Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich are available at more than 300 locations nationwide, including the Flying J Travel Center on Watt Road in Knoxville. May 2021.

Pilot Flying J’s full menu of unexpectedly awesome foods, including new breakfast sandwiches, baked-in-house pizza, jumbo wings, fresh salads and more, is available at pilotflyingj.com/pj-fresh/. To find the nearest Pilot Flying J and to save more at every stop, download the myRewards PlusTM app.

*Data rates may apply. Participating locations only. Other terms and conditions may apply.

About Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J, the largest network of travel centers in North America, is committed to connecting people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. The Pilot Flying J Travel Center network includes over 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces with more than 680 restaurants, 74,000 truck parking spaces, 5,300 deluxe showers, 6,200 diesel lanes and provides truck maintenance and tire service through Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J. More details on locations and amenities are available in the myRewards PlusTM app. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.

Pilot Flying J is part of the Pilot Company family of brands. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Company is currently ranked No. 10 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. For additional information about Pilot Company, its 28,000 team members and commitment to giving back, visit www.pilotcompany.com.

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center launches "Made for Knoxville" campaign

“Made for Knoxville” is a print and social media campaign and storytelling website initiated by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center to elevate awareness of Knoxville’s diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem — ranging from “solo-preneurs,” makers, growth stage tech companies, investors, and established institutions.

Made for Knoxville shines the light on the big wins, everyday hustles, and ongoing challenges that our entrepreneurial ecosystem faces in unprecedented times - through an incredible collection of original interview videos, profiles of nearly one hundred entrepreneurs, and original blog articles by Knoxville legend Jack Neely.

Highlights include Brandon Bruce, James Trimble of the Dirty Guv’Nahs, Marcus Hall, Dr. Angelique Adams, Grady Vanderhoofven, Patricia Bible, and Zack Roscop.

What entrepreneurs, makers, dreamers, and doers in your network have a story to tell?

This is also an opportunity for small business owners, startups, and community leaders to be part of a multimedia campaign to celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region.

Sea Ray sponsors free boat-in movie night at Lenoir City Park Cove in Lenoir City Friday, May 28

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 18, 2021) — Sea Ray and American Boat Center are kicking off Memorial Day weekend by sponsoring a free special event for the entire family. During Boat-In Movie Night, Friday, May 28, boaters from around the Knoxville area are invited to cruise to the Lenoir City Park cove by Fort Loudon Marina for a nautical movie night under the stars. The night will showcase a double feature with Finding Nemo at 7 p.m. and Aquaman at 9 p.m. This event is organized by BigWheel Events and is a kick-off to the annual Rockin the Docks Event.

“We’re proud to partner with Sea Ray to sponsor this great night of free movies for boaters to enjoy,” said Ryan Jones, American Boat Center sales manager and Sea Ray dealer. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the local community.”

Attendees will raft up their boats for a view of the screen and use their radios to tune in. The cove will be designated a no-wake zone starting at 6 p.m.

“We’re happy to celebrate the start of Memorial Day weekend and share this family-friendly event with our friends and neighbors in the East Tennessee community,” said Caroline English, Sea Ray director of marketing. “Thank you to American Boat Center and additional sponsors WVLT, B97.5 and Knox News Sentinel. And special thanks to the organizer BigWheel Events for helping ensure Boat-In Movie Night is a success.”

For more information about Sea Ray, and to view the complete lineup, visit SeaRay.com.

About Sea Ray

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Sea Ray is the world’s leading creator of superior quality pleasure boats. For more than 60 years, Sea Ray has pushed the limits of performance and craftsmanship to elevate the boating experience. Each Sea Ray is designed to make every moment exceptional, supporting boaters’ unique lifestyles with a customized balance of unparalleled comfort and performance and world-class technology throughout. Learn more about the Sea Ray Experience at SeaRay.com.

About Brunswick

Headquartered in Mettawa, Ill., Brunswick Corporation’s leading consumer brands include Mercury Marine outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; Mercury global parts and accessories including propellers and SmartCraft electronics; Advanced Systems Group, including MotorGuide trolling motors, Attwood, Mastervolt, Blue Sea Systems, and CZone parts and accessories, and ASG Connect integrated systems; Land ’N’ Sea, BLA, Payne’s Marine, Kellogg Marine, and Lankhorst Taselaar marine parts distribution; Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Heyday, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Thunder Jet and Uttern boats; Boating Services Network, Freedom Boat Club and Boat Class. For more information, visit Brunswick.com.

Ole Smoky Distillery releases 50ml mini bottles of five 'Fan-Favorite' whiskies


Video: Fun facts about downtown Knoxville (The Knoxville News-Sentinel)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

GATLINBURG, Tenn. – (May 18, 2021) – Ole Smoky Distillery, one of the nation’s fastest growing spirits companies, now has five of their innovative whiskey offerings available in mini 50ML bottles, Salty Caramel Whiskey, Mango Habanero Whiskey, Peanut Butter Whiskey, Peach Whiskey and Salty Watermelon Whiskey.  The minis can now be found across the United States in liquor stores and anywhere you typically purchase spirits.

Handcrafted in small batches, Ole Smoky’s Whiskey Line launched nationally in the fall of 2017 and has expanded to 17 inventive flavors.

“We are pleased to introduce new whiskey minis featuring our fan-favorites, including our

a bottle of wine sitting on top of a wooden table: Ole Smoky Distillery now has five of their innovative whiskey offerings available in mini 50ML bottles, Salty Caramel Whiskey, Mango Habanero Whiskey, Peanut Butter Whiskey, Peach Whiskey and Salty Watermelon Whiskey. The Ole Smoky 50ML mini bottles provide consumers the convenience of smaller bottles and the opportunity to try multiple flavors, much like the moonshine and whiskey tasting experiences available at all four Ole Smoky Distilleries in Tennessee. May 2021 © Courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery Ole Smoky Distillery now has five of their innovative whiskey offerings available in mini 50ML bottles, Salty Caramel Whiskey, Mango Habanero Whiskey, Peanut Butter Whiskey, Peach Whiskey and Salty Watermelon Whiskey. The Ole Smoky 50ML mini bottles provide consumers the convenience of smaller bottles and the opportunity to try multiple flavors, much like the moonshine and whiskey tasting experiences available at all four Ole Smoky Distilleries in Tennessee. May 2021

#1 selling whiskey, Salty Caramel, followed closely by our most recent release, Peanut Butter Whiskey,” said Robert Hall, CEO, Ole Smoky Distillery. “These small bottles are perfect for traveling, gifting, trying a new flavor, or offering customers a one-shot bottle of our award-winning whiskey line.”

The Ole Smoky 50ML mini bottles provide consumers the convenience of smaller bottles and the opportunity to try multiple flavors, much like the moonshine and whiskey tasting experiences available at all four Ole Smoky Distilleries in Tennessee.

In 2021, Beverage Information Group awarded Ole Smoky Distillery three ‘Rising Star Growth Brand Awards’ honoring the brand’s Whiskey Line, Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey, and Ole Smoky Peanut Butter Whiskey. The Ole Smoky Whiskey Line was also named an ‘Impact Hot Prospect Brand’ by M. Shanken Communications in 2020.

About Ole Smoky® Distillery LLC

Ole Smoky is the leading distiller of premium moonshine in the world, the leading craft distiller in the US and the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky's roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains' earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Today, Ole Smoky retails in all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors. Ole Smoky can be found in liquor stores nationwide, as well as at the company's four famed distilleries in Tennessee, The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and 6th & Peabody in Nashville. For more information, please visit olesmoky.com and follow Ole Smoky on social media @olesmoky.

Clayton and Family Promise announce continued partnership to prevent and end family homelessness across the U.S.

Summit, NJ – Family Promise, the nation’s leading nonprofit addressing family homelessness, has announced the continuation of their partnership with Clayton, a national home builder of site-built and off-site built homes. Through the partnership, which launched in November of 2019, Clayton and Family Promise aim to prevent more than 700 families from becoming homeless in 2021, providing educational outreach and resource development, comprehensive case management, support services, and non-traditional, affordable housing solutions for graduate families, such as off-site built housing and transitional housing.

The partnership is part of Family Promise’s A Future Begins at Home program, which focuses on the crucial importance of housing not just on a family’s wellbeing, but a child’s future. The program includes services that prevent families from becoming homeless or divert them from entering a shelter, through targeted intervention, including strategic use of funding, comprehensive case management, and community relationship building..

“At Clayton, our goal is to make homeownership more attainable, which leads to greater family stability, wealth creation and building a better future,” said Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton. “We are proud and fortunate to partner with Family Promise, which is so experienced at reducing homelessness and setting families up for success.”

“Since we launched A Future Begins at Home, our partnership with Clayton has helped countless families achieve housing independence through home donations and homelessness prevention efforts,” said Claas Ehlers, CEO of Family Promise National. “We are thankful for Clayton’s ongoing commitment to the fight against family homelessness, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on America’s low-income families.”

As part of this year’s partnership, Clayton will provide more than $450,000 in support to Family Promise and its Affiliates, as well as three new off-site Clayton Built® homes valued at more than $175,000 to be used as transitional housing.

As part of the monetary support, Clayton and Family Promise National are providing A Future Begins at Home: Prevention and Shelter Diversion Grants to 26 Family Promise Affiliates across the country.

Affiliates receiving home donations and additional funding as part of this partnership will be announced in the coming months.

About Clayton

Founded in 1956, Clayton is committed to opening doors to a better life and building happyness through homeownership. As a diverse builder committed to quality and durability, Clayton offers traditional site-built homes and off-site built housing – including modular homes, manufactured homes, CrossMod™ homes, tiny homes, college dormitories, military barracks and apartments. All Clayton Built® homes are proudly designed, engineered and assembled in America. In 2020, Clayton built 56,240 homes across the country. Clayton is a Berkshire Hathaway company. For more information, visit claytonhomes.com.

*CrossMod™ is a trademark of the Manufactured Housing Institute.

About Family Promise

Family Promise envisions a nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future. What began as a local initiative in Summit, NJ, has become a national movement that involves 200,000 volunteers in 200+ communities in 43 states. Family Promise delivers innovative solutions for family homelessness including prevention, shelter, and stabilization services. We have served 1 million family members since our founding more than 30 years ago, and we aspire to change the future for 1 million children by 2030 through our community-based programs.

TNECD accepting applications for Tennessee Historic Development Grant Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that applications are now being accepted for the Tennessee Historic Development Grant Program.

Approved by the Tennessee General Assembly in April 2021, the program will provide $4.8 million to projects that aim to renovate and preserve the state’s historic buildings. The program will encourage communities and private developers to invest in buildings that have contributed to a community’s history but now sit idle. These buildings can once again contribute to the economy through job creation and commercial opportunities.

Once completed applications are submitted, awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. A portion of the funding will be set aside until December 31, 2021 for projects located in Tier 3 and Tier 4 communities.

Various criteria must be met in order for a structure to be eligible for a grant. Eligible properties that qualify as certified historic structures are defined here.

Applicants must be the person or entity who holds legal fee or leasehold title to a certified historic structure, or an identifiable portion of the certified historic structure. Applicants will be notified of award on or around July 1, 2021, and contracts are expected to begin later that month.

TNECD will be hosting webinars for interested applicants to learn more about the grant program. Webinar information can be found below:

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1-2 p.m. CDT

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1-2 p.m. CDT

Thursday, May 20, 2021

1-2 p.m. CDT

Additional information about the grant, eligibility and application can be found here.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.

Food City to hire 1,000 associates

On Wednesday, May 19th, Food City will be hosting a company-wide hiring event to include both full-time and part-time positions. The event will be held at all Food City locations & Food City Distribution Center, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  

Food City is planning to hire over 1,000 friendly, smiling faces to work at their Distribution Center and in key customer and food service positions at store locations throughout their operation area. The positions include, both entry-level positions and experienced, skilled positions, such as meat cutter, cake decorator, and retail management, as well as various warehousing/distribution positions. 

Food City is a family owned and operated company that offers a generous benefits package to their associates including competitive salaries, comprehensive training, healthcare coverage with medical and dental plans, 401(k) with a 3% company match, vacation accrual, vision coverage, and company paid life and disability plans, and Employee Stock Ownership Plan. In addition, to these great benefits, Food City also offers advancement opportunities to associates who wish to progress within a growing company.

Interested candidates, can apply online at FoodCity.com or visit any Food City store to complete an application. Make plans to attend the event at your local Food City to find out how Food City is so much more than a grocery store.

United Community Banks, Inc. announces acquisition of FinTrust Capital Partners, LLC

GREENVILLE, S.C. – May 13, 2021 – United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ: UCBI) (United) today announced that its Advisory Services division will be expanding through the acquisition of FinTrust Capital Partners, LLC (FinTrust), and its operating subsidiaries FinTrust Capital Advisors, LLC, FinTrust Capital Benefit Group, LLC and FinTrust Brokerage Services, LLC. FinTrust is a 13-year-old employee-owned investment advisory firm headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, with additional locations in Anderson, South Carolina, and Athens and Macon, Georgia. The firm provides wealth and investment management services to individuals and institutions within its markets. As of March 31, 2021, FinTrust had assets under management of $2.0 billion across its advisory, retirement planning and brokerage businesses.

United’s Chairman and CEO Lynn Harton stated, “Our investment advisory business has grown organically over the past several years and was expanded in 2020 with a broader product offering with the acquisition of Seaside and their wealth management business. The addition of FinTrust, a strong and growing Registered Investment Adviser, continues the expansion of our product offerings and gives us additional opportunities to provide a full range of financial services to our customers. We have known FinTrust for many years and we know they share our dedication to providing an integrated and expansive set of services to clients to help them achieve financial health and peace of mind. This opportunity significantly increases our advisory assets under management and adds an established team of professionals that we are very pleased to welcome to United.”

The transaction has been approved by United’s board of directors and is expected to close in Q3 2021, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and compliance with other customary closing conditions. Upon completion of the transaction, FinTrust will become an operating subsidiary of United. Certain businesses currently operating under the Seaside brand will be combined with FinTrust and its existing brand.

FinTrust’s Co-founder, Phillip Brice, stated, “As Managing Partners, Pat Sheridan, Allen Gillespie and I are truly excited and energized by the potential of this partnership with United. We thoughtfully built our firm from the ground up and as a result we have attracted high quality, dedicated employees and loyal clients who are the cornerstone of our success. It has always been our focus to provide the highest quality service to our clients. We have built a highly scalable operation and with United’s resources, capital, and commitment to the investment advisory business, we are excited about our future growth throughout the Southeast.”

Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP serves as United’s legal counsel. Park Sutton Advisors LLC serves as financial advisor to FinTrust and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP serves as its legal counsel.

About United Community Banks, Inc.

United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ: UCBI) (United) provides a full range of banking, wealth management and mortgage services for relationship-oriented consumers and business owners. The company, known as “The Bank That SERVICE Built,” has been recognized nationally for delivering award-winning service. United has $18.6 billion in assets and 161 offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee along with a national SBA lending franchise and a national equipment lending subsidiary. In 2021, J.D. Power ranked United highest in customer satisfaction with retail banking in the Southeast, marking seven out of the last eight years United earned the coveted award. United was also named "Best Banks to Work For" by American Banker in 2020 for the fourth year in a row based on employee satisfaction. Forbes included United in its inaugural list of the World’s Best Banks in 2019 and again in 2020. Forbes also recognized United on its 2021 list of the 100 Best Banks in America for the eighth consecutive year. United also received five Greenwich Excellence Awards in 2020 for excellence in Small Business Banking, including a national award for Overall Satisfaction. Additional information about United can be found at www.ucbi.com.

About FinTrust Capital Partners, LLC

FinTrust Capital Partners, LLC (FinTrust) provides investment advisory, financial planning, and securities brokerage services to private wealth and corporate and institutional customers. FinTrust’s mission is to deliver “Financial Peace of Mind with Unequaled Confidence and Conviction.” FinTrust has over $2.0 in client assets under management in four offices across South Carolina and Georgia. Additional information about FinTrust can be found at www.fintrustadvisors.com.

Caution About Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that include projections, predictions, expectations, or beliefs about future events or results or otherwise and are not statements of historical fact. Such statements are often characterized by the use of qualified words (and their derivatives) such as “may,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “will,” “should,” “plan,” “estimate,” “predict,” “continue” and “potential” or the negative of these terms or words of similar meaning or other statements concerning opinions or judgments of United and its management about future events. Although United believes that its expectations with respect to forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its existing knowledge of its business and operations, there can be no assurance that actual results, performance, or achievements of United will not differ materially from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements; such statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties that change over time and could cause actual results or financial condition to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such statements. Actual future results and trends may differ materially from historical results and or those anticipated depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to the factors and risk influences contained in the cautionary language included under the headings “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” in United’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and other periodic reports subsequently filed by United with the SEC, available on the SEC website, www.sec.gov. For any forward-looking statements made in this press release, United claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Daily live music returns to Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee

Ole Smoky Distillery is proud to announce the return of daily live music at their East Tennessee locations, starting May 17.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys

12pm to 5pm

Ole Smoky Distillery, The Holler

903 Parkway, Gatlinburg

David C. Hayes et al. posing for a photo: The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17. © Courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17.

Midnight Run

5pm to 10pm

Ole Smoky Distillery, The Holler

903 Parkway, Gatlinburg

a group of people that are standing in the grass: Midnight Run will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17. © Courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery Midnight Run will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17.

Firewater Junction

6pm to 11pm

Ole Smoky Distillery, The Barn

131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge

a group of people posing for the camera: Firewater Junction will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17. © Courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery Firewater Junction will preform at Ole Smoky Distilleries in East Tennessee starting May 17.

The Christman Company hiring for multiple construction positions

The Christman Company’s Knoxville office is hiring for multiple positions.

One of the country’s leading professional construction services firms, The Christman Company offers construction management, general contracting, design/build, program management, real estate development, self-perform and millwork services. In addition to rewarding careers, Christman offers competitive pay, generous benefits program, regular training and professional development.

Open positions at the Knoxville office include:

  • Industrial/wastewater project superintendent
  • Project safety manager
  • Project superintendent

Interested candidates can see all open positions and sign up for job alerts at https://www.christmanco.com/careers.

“Success at The Christman Company starts with our people,” said Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville. “With more than half a billion dollars of work underway in the region, we are looking for great leaders who will deliver the highest level of service to our valued clients.”

The Christman Company has built some of East Tennessee’s most historically significant structures, including The Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Towers and iconic Sunsphere for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville.

The company has partnered with the University of Tennessee since 1946 on more than 40 projects, including the recent construction of the Student Union and Ken and Blaire Mossman Building. 

Current local projects include The Lodge at Shannondale, renovation of Neyland Stadium and renovation of the former TVA East Tower for use by UT and Knox County Schools, among others.

The company currently has 485 employees with 77 in the Knoxville office. It offers training and development to employees through Christman University. The Christman Way is the foundation of the diverse culture and values of the company, which includes teamwork, mutual respect and a focus on developing relationships. Community impact is delivered through the organization’s “Be Constructive” program.

“The Christman Company is dedicated to developing employees, delivering client goals and serving our community,” Gibbs said. “We look forward to expanding our Knoxville team.”

For more information about The Christman Company, visit https://www.christmanco.com, and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

About The Christman Company

The Christman Company, founded in 1894, is one of the country’s leading professional construction services firms. The company’s award-winning services include construction management, general contracting, design/build, program management, real estate development, self-perform and millwork services. Christman specializes in a variety of construction markets, including government, higher and K12 education, industrial and power, healthcare, and corporate office. Ranked at 88 in the Engineering News-Record ENR 400 top contractors nationally and 54 in the ENR 100 Construction Management-at-Risk firms, Christman has more than $4 billion in construction underway managed by 485 professional employees across five states throughout the Southeast U.S., the Midwest, the Southwest U.S., and the Mid-Atlantic. For more information, visit https://www.christmanco.com, and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

BESCO promotes Bridgett McMahan to President

Knoxville, Tennessee – May 11, 2021 – BESCO, an industry leader in providing electrical and mechanical services throughout the Southeast region and across the United States, today announced the promotion of Bridgett McMahan to President. McMahan joined BESCO six years ago and is currently BESCO’s Vice President of

Administration, overseeing its legal, compliance, HR, marketing, and IT departments.

According to BESCO CEO, Wayne Wojciechowski, “I am very excited about this promotion. Bridgett is a proven leader and has both the experience and knowledge of our business to keep us growing in the future. More importantly, she is a team player, has a real passion for our customers, and cares deeply about everyone at BESCO.” He added, “She has earned the respect of her colleagues during her six years at the company and is the natural choice for this critical position. I am so glad that we are able to promote from within the organization.”

a person sitting on a bench posing for the camera: BESCO announced the promotion of the company’s new President, Bridgett McMahan. Bridgett was BESCO’s first female Vice-President, and now BESCO’s first Madame President. May 2021. © Courtesy of BESCO BESCO announced the promotion of the company’s new President, Bridgett McMahan. Bridgett was BESCO’s first female Vice-President, and now BESCO’s first Madame President. May 2021.

McMahan received a Political Science degree from University of Missouri and a law degree from Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law. Moving to Knoxville in 2009, she began her legal career at the Legal Aid of East Tennessee Family Justice Center in 2012 and worked as a legal assistant & clerk for a law firm prior to joining BESCO in 2016. Since joining BESCO, Bridgett quickly rose to several supervisory and management positions and has been instrumental in the Company’s ongoing success.

According to McMahan, “I am truly honored to take on my new role as President of BESCO. This is a great organization and I look forward to working closely with Wayne and my colleagues to continue moving the business forward.” She added, “Maintaining a strong culture will be critical to our future success and will be a key focus of mine as we move forward. It is a great time to assume this position. Our financials are strong, our

pipeline is strong, and we are growing. I look forward to keeping this momentum going.”

About BESCO

BESCO is a leading electrical contractor based in Knoxville, Tennessee, providing electrical construction and maintenance across the Southeast region and the country. BESCO also owns Engert Plumbing and Heating Inc, a mechanical company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since 1950, BESCO has supported the regional growth in

the area as the Tennessee valley grew from an agricultural center to a thriving economy of technology, manufacturing, higher education, and healthcare. In addition to the growing industries in the region, BESCO is a proud partner for commercial, healthcare, industrial, utility, and nuclear energy companies as well as federal, state, and local governments for electrical infrastructure and emergency storm response.

SouthEast Bank announces 'Great Grill Giveaway'

Be the star of this year’s backyard BBQ by entering to win a large Big Green Egg.

Enter SouthEast Bank’s Great Grill Giveaway for the chance to win a Big Green Egg charcoal grill, valued at $948! Choose one of these two entry methods, or do both to double your chances of winning:

Every Friday through May 28, SouthEast Bank will also randomly select one giveaway participant to receive a $50 VISA gift card! And don't worry - even if you win a gift card, you'll still be eligible for the grand prize drawing on June 4.

Oasis Senior Advisors celebrates grand opening in East Tennessee 

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 11, 2021) — Oasis Senior Advisors, a national franchisor offering no-cost senior living placement assistance, is pleased to announce the grand opening of Oasis Senior Advisors East Tennessee.  

The new franchise, the first in the state, is owned and operated by Neal Bowes, a Certified Senior Advisor who lives in Johnson City. He knows the region is home to many fine senior living communities and each one has its own philosophy, level of care, activities schedule, and overall feel. “That’s where it gets confusing,” Bowes says. “It’s good to have all these choices, but how do you know you’re making the right choice?” 

To help seniors and their families navigate the housing transition, Bowes takes a personalized approach, learning about the individual’s care needs, level of independence, and budget. Then, he uses proprietary software to make unbiased matches based on the communities’ profiles. “I’ve been to the communities; I’ve met all their folks,” Bowes says, adding that he can easily call and schedule tours once the matches are made. 

Previously, Bowes worked for sixteen years as a youth minister. He believes his experience in guiding families of teenagers through sometimes-difficult situations has equipped him for nurturing families who need to consider options for senior living. “This isn’t a sales job,” he says, “it’s another kind of ministry. If I can help a family reduce their stress and feel confident about their decision, then a good thing has happened.” 

As a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Bowes has completed coursework on the process of aging and on ethics in working with seniors. He maintains his membership through the completion of continuing education credit units.

For more information about Oasis Senior Advisors East Tennessee or to connect with Neal directly, visit www.OasisSeniorAdvisors.com/East-TN or call 423-89-OASIS.  

About Oasis Senior Advisors 

Founded in 2014 by Tim Evankovich, Oasis Senior Advisors provides free, personalized assistance in finding senior living solutions for seniors and their families that best fit their needs. This includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, residential care homes, respite and more. The company, based in Bonita Springs, Florida, services a growing number of franchises across the United States. Their personalized and caring approach has built a dynamic network of partners such as hospital discharge planners, elder law attorneys, home care and more. Through client satisfaction and strong partnerships throughout the country, Oasis Senior Advisors is positioned for continued growth. Franchise opportunities are available nationwide. Visit oasissenioradvisors.com or call 888-455-5838 to learn more.  

Pinnacle loans $88.8 million to Knoxville area companies in round two of the Paycheck Protection Program

KNOXVILLE, TN, May 11, 2021 – In the second round of Paycheck Protection Program lending, Pinnacle Financial Partners made 567 loans worth $88.8 million to local businesses in need across the Knoxville area. Added together with first round lending, the firm issued nearly 1,662 PPP loans worth more than $330 million in the market. For context, Pinnacle’s local loan growth in all of 2019 was $216.8 million.

“For more than a year, our associates have worked primarily on helping their clients get through this crisis,” said Mike DiStefano, Pinnacle’s Knoxville president. “PPP was a big part of that and has helped thousands of local businesses survive shutdowns and pandemic restrictions. We’re grateful to have played a part in Knoxville’s economic recovery and to our clients for placing their trust in us to help.”

The average size of a second round PPP loan from Pinnacle in the market is $156,665, with 89 percent coming in well below $350,000 each.

2021 Small-dollar Loans Less than $350,000

  • 506 loans worth $34.3 million
  • 89 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made in the market
  • Average loan size in this category is $67,742.

2021 Mid-size Loans Larger than $350,000 and Less than $1 million

  • 40 loans worth $22.8 million
  • 7 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made in the market
  • Average loan size in this category is $570,538.

2021 Large Loans Greater than $1 million

  • 21 loans worth $31.7 million
  • 4 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made in the market
  • Average loan size in this category is $1.5 million.

Statewide in Tennessee, Pinnacle originated $552.3 million in PPP loans to 5,327 businesses in the second round. The firmwide total is more than 9,000 loans worth more than $930 million. When combined with first round PPP loans in 2020, Pinnacle lent $3.2 billion to 23,000 clients across its footprint. The firm saw enormous success with small-dollar and mid-size loans, in particular, getting much needed funding to small businesses facing revenue shortfalls and added expenses, both related to the pandemic. 

Total Small-dollar Loans Less than $350,000

  • 21,784 loans worth $1.4 billion
  • 91 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made
  • Average loan size in this category is $63,096

Total Mid-size Loans Larger than $350,000 and Less than $1 million

  • 1,490 loans worth $851.9 million
  • 6 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made
  • Average loan size in this category is $571,748

Total Large Loans Larger than $1 million

  • 504 loans worth $1 billion
  • 3 percent of the total PPP loans Pinnacle made
  • Average loan size in this category is $2 million

PPP lending in 2021 was a much different process than in 2020. Pinnacle’s PPP team had more time to prepare but also faced more complications and greater scrutiny in the SBA review process. It took a full-time, dedicated effort from dozens of associates and continued attention from practically all relationship managers to advise clients and take in and process PPP applications.

“Our associates spent more than a year on this incredible effort, and they delivered in ways only Pinnacle can,” said Terry Turner, Pinnacle’s president and CEO. “Their preparation and willingness to tackle the complexities are a true demonstration of what makes Pinnacle different, but the real value is in the 23,000 businesses in our home communities that will make it to the other side of this crisis because of the funding we helped them get.”

These loans are made from Pinnacle funds and include an SBA guarantee. They are potentially eligible for forgiveness if used by the borrower for required purposes. Pinnacle has already opened its forgiveness application portal for second round loans, and the number of forgiveness applications for first round loans is steadily increasing. With lending now closed, the SBA appears to be processing and approving forgiveness applications at a faster rate. Pinnacle is encouraging first round PPP borrowers to apply for forgiveness now before deadlines start hitting in the summer.

“We’re encouraged by the increased number of PPP loan payoffs we’ve seen recently from the SBA,” Turner said. “This process isn’t over when we fund the loan. We’ve been working with clients since October on the forgiveness process, and we’ve spent more than a year now advising businesses who are facing pandemic-related troubles. It started with PPP and our intensive deferral and credit review process, and now we’re moving into the home stretch with PPP forgiveness and the new SBA grant programs that launched this month. It’s been a difficult road, and our associates have worked hand in hand with their clients every step of the way.”

Resources for Pinnacle clients working on forgiveness are available at PNFP.com/PPPForgiveness. And though banks are not directly involved in the programs, Pinnacle is advising clients on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant at PNFP.com/SBARelief.

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. Pinnacle earned a spot on FORTUNE's 2021 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fifth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For eight years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $10 billion in assets in 2020.

Pinnacle expanded to East Tennessee in 2007 by hiring a team of local financial services professionals to start an office in Knoxville. Pinnacle now operates five offices in Knox County, one in Oak Ridge and one in Maryville. The firm is the fourth-largest bank in the Knoxville MSA in terms of deposits.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $35.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 12 primarily urban markets in Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia and Atlanta.

Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at www.pnfp.com.

DENSO hosts drive-through job fair at its Athens facility

DENSO, a leading mobility supplier, is looking to fill open positions at its Athens, Tennessee facility and is hosting a drive-through job fair on Thursday, May 13, 2021, from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m (DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee, 2400 Denso Drive, Athens, Tennessee, 37303.. Attendees should drive up to the front circle at DENSO’s facility and follow the posted signage for further directions. Resumes are optional. All attendees will be entered into a raffle drawing for tickets to Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s amusement park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

DENSO is a $44.6 billion global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components for nearly every vehicle make and model on the road today. With manufacturing at its core, DENSO invests in its 200 facilities to produce thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification, & electronic systems, to create jobs that directly change how the world moves. The company’s 168,000+ employees are paving the way to a mobility future that improves lives, eliminates traffic accidents, and preserves the environment. Globally headquartered in Kariya, Japan, DENSO spent 10.0 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. For more information about global DENSO, visit https://www.denso.com/global. 

In North America, DENSO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, and employs 27,000+ engineers, researchers and skilled workers across 51 sites in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs 17,700+ employees across 14 states (and the District of Columbia) and 41 sites. In fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, DENSO in North America generated $9.3 billion in consolidated sales. DENSO is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion inside the company and beyond – a principle that brings unique perspectives together, bolsters innovation and pushes DENSO forward. Join us, and craft not only how the world moves, but also your career: densocareers.com. For more information, go to https://www.denso.com/us-ca/en/. 

Dollywood's Splash Country announces unique hiring event

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Monday, May 10, 2021)—With summer quickly approaching, Dollywood’s Splash Country is looking for friendly faces to join the team with a special stay-and-play hiring event. Anyone looking for a fun and exhilarating place to work is invited to swap their traditional suit and tie for their favorite swimsuit on Thursday, May 13 from 3-7 p.m.

During the event, interested applicants should be prepared to interview on-the-spot for positions including culinary service, lifeguards, park operations and more. After the interview, applicants are encouraged to enjoy the slides and pools that make Dollywood’s Splash Country the most trusted water park in the Smokies. Applicants also will enjoy delicious food items and receive a complimentary one-day admission ticket for a future visit.

The Dollywood Company employees receive a variety of unique benefits including access to the Dollywood Family Healthcare Center, along with complimentary Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country admission for family and friends. Employees also take part in Dollywood’s Park Perks program which provides free or reduced admission to a large number of regional attractions, theaters and experiences. A comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision, is available for qualified full-time employees. Numerous development opportunities also are available to help employees develop leadership skills.

Voted one of the best outdoor water parks as part of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards, Dollywood’s Splash Country’s fun, friendly and engaging environment makes it an excellent place for anyone who desires to be part of helping water park guests create lifelong memories. 

Highway Transport announced driver pay increase to begin immediately

Highway Transport, a bulk chemical transportation company, is implementing an immediate pay increase for drivers that will apply to both hourly and mileage pay across all 14 of the company’s service centers.

“Our drivers are our most crucial asset, and we are committed to rewarding them for their commitment to quality and safety for our customers,” said Marshall Franklin, President and CFO of Highway Transport. “When you drive for Highway Transport, you are a trusted leader in a family that cares about you. Pay is one area we strive to show our commitment and gratitude to our family of drivers.”

a man standing in front of a truck: A pay increase for all Highway Transport drivers is the latest effort by the Knoxville-based bulk chemical transportation company to support drivers. The company is in growth mode at a time when there is a nationwide driver shortage so the pay increase comes at a vital time. May 2021. © Courtesy of Moxley Carmichael A pay increase for all Highway Transport drivers is the latest effort by the Knoxville-based bulk chemical transportation company to support drivers. The company is in growth mode at a time when there is a nationwide driver shortage so the pay increase comes at a vital time. May 2021.

The pay increase follows the recent introduction of new technology aimed at to create efficiencies for drivers:

  • PeopleNet, the new fleet management system minimizes data entry and automates workflow and tracking.
  • TempTrack, the new solar-powered location and temperature monitoring system, provides real-time updates to drivers and customers.
  • The redesigned driver app gives drivers around-the-clock access to key information, including logs, employee documents and pay information.
  • MyHighway Customer Portal has been enhanced with TempTrack connectivity and the ability to view, download and print load logs to automatically keep customers informed on load activity.

“We have some of the most hardworking and dedicated drivers in the industry,” Franklin said. “We want them to feel supported, whether that’s through new technology or a pay increase.”

Highway Transport currently is hiring experienced drivers. Drivers interested in working for the national company can apply at Drive4Highway.com.

About Highway Transport

Highway Transport is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based company in business since 1948 providing bulk transportation of specialty chemicals. The tanker fleet operates from 14 service centers in major chemical manufacturing areas across the U.S. with a fleet of 400+ tractors. Highway Transport was honored to receive the Responsible Care® Partner of the Year Award in both 2019 and 2021. The Responsible Care® organization recognizes partners with superb performance and safety records involved in the transportation of chemicals. Discover more in-depth information about Highway Transport by visiting https://hytt.com/. Highway Transport has service centers in the following U.S. cities: Knoxville and Chattanooga in Tennessee; LaPorte, Freeport and Garland in Texas; McDonough, Georgia; Croydon and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; Florence, Kentucky; Joliet, Illinois; Wyandotte, Michigan; Geismar and Lake Charles in Louisiana and Rock Hill, South Carolina.

The Knoxville Museum of Art opens two new exhibitions May 21

May 8, 2021 (Knoxville, TN) – The Knoxville Museum of Art unveils two new exhibitions, both drawn from the museum’s growing collection, on May 21, 2021:  A View of the City:  Knoxville & Vicinity and Undercurrents: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art.  Both exhibitions are on view through August 1, 2021.

According to KMA Executive Director David Butler, “These outstanding exhibitions demonstrate the growing depth, quality, and range of the KMA’s holdings, which have expanded dramatically in the past decade from gifts and purchases.  These shows amplify and enrich the stories told by the museum’s flagship permanent exhibitions Higher Ground:  A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee and Currents:  Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond.  For perhaps the first time in the KMA’s history, the entire building is devoted almost entirely to showing objects the museum owns.”

a person driving a car: Henri Cartier-Bresson (Chanteloup-en-Brie, France 1908-2004 Céreste, France), Knoxville, Tennessee, 1947, gelatin silver print, 12 x 16 inches, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2019 purchase with funds provided by June and Rob Heller, Jim Martin, James L. Clayton, Hei Park, John Cotham, Jayne and Myron Ely, Dorothy and Caesar Stair, Ebbie Sandberg, John Trotter, The KMA Guild, Mardel Fehrenbach, Kitsy and Louis Hartley, Sylvia and Jan Peters, Mary Rayson, Alexandra Rosen, John Z.C. Thomas, and Lisa Carroll. © Courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art Henri Cartier-Bresson (Chanteloup-en-Brie, France 1908-2004 Céreste, France), Knoxville, Tennessee, 1947, gelatin silver print, 12 x 16 inches, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2019 purchase with funds provided by June and Rob Heller, Jim Martin, James L. Clayton, Hei Park, John Cotham, Jayne and Myron Ely, Dorothy and Caesar Stair, Ebbie Sandberg, John Trotter, The KMA Guild, Mardel Fehrenbach, Kitsy and Louis Hartley, Sylvia and Jan Peters, Mary Rayson, Alexandra Rosen, John Z.C. Thomas, and Lisa Carroll.

A View of the City:  Knoxville & Vicinity offers a complex and compelling portrait of the area over the course of the past century. Paintings by Marcia Goldenstein, Joanna Higgs Ross, Tom McGrath, and Karla Wozniak present local roadside imagery from a variety of artistic perspectives and compositional strategies.  Color photographs by David Hilliard and David Underwood offer multiple views of local subjects in order to underscore the notion of movement and elapsed time.  Black and white silver prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Danny Lyon represent key moments in Knoxville’s everyday life as captured by artists making their first visit to the city. Knoxville 7 artists Robert Birdwell and C. Kermit Ewing use prominent urban locations as points of departure into bold, angular abstractions. Figurative canvases by Joseph Delaney and Charles Farr offer nostalgic views of Knoxville’s inner city painted years after the artists left town, while descriptive architectural works by George Galloway and Joe Parrott depict local historic structures, many of which face an uncertain future.  Together, these works offer a diverse portrait of Knoxville and its environs, and underscore the area’s importance during the last century as a source of creative inspiration.

a group of colorful flowers: Jered Sprecher (Lincoln Nebraska 1976; lives and works in Knoxville), Technology of Dirt, 2018, oil on linen, 47 x 40 inches, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2020 bequest of Daniel F. McGehee © Courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art Jered Sprecher (Lincoln Nebraska 1976; lives and works in Knoxville), Technology of Dirt, 2018, oil on linen, 47 x 40 inches, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2020 bequest of Daniel F. McGehee

Undercurrents: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art features more than 20 paintings and works on paper representing the exciting growth of the KMA’s contemporary collection.  It includes a diverse selection of figurative works by Katherine Bernhardt, Richard Jolley, John Kelley, Marin Majic, Daniel Pitin, and Charles E. Williams; abstractions by Hamlett Dobbins, Michelle Grabner, Howard Hull, Josh Smith, and Jered Sprecher; sculptures by John Himmelfarb and Creighton Michael, atmospheric photographs by David Allee and Robert von Sternberg, and works that test the boundary between representation and abstraction by Nathan Hylden and Antonio Santin.  This selection reflects key developments in international contemporary art while also representing the studio practices of a variety of outstanding artists based in East Tennessee.

Because of COVID-related restrictions, there will be no in-person events related to the exhibitions.

The KMA gratefully acknowledges the generous support for both exhibitions of The Frank and Virginia Rogers Foundation, Presenting Sponsor; UBS Financial Services, Leader Sponsor; and the Brewington Family, Amanda and Jason Hall, April and Stephen Harris, Nancy and Stephen Land, Carole and Bob Martin, the Petrone-Speight Family, and Debbie and Ron Watkins.

The Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates East Tennessee’s rich, diverse visual culture and its connections to the wider currents of world art.  The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive and is currently open to the public on a limited schedule, Wednesday through Sunday 1–5pm. Admission is free but visitors are requested to make timed reservations at www.knoxart.org.  Masks are required. Parking is free. For more information, contact David Butler at dbutler@knoxart.org or visit www.knoxart.org.

NellOne awarded competitive grant from the National Science Foundation

[Knoxville, TN], April 26, 2021 – NellOne Therapeutics, Inc. (NellOne) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant for $250,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on evaluating the therapeutic potential of NV1, a proprietary variant of the naturally occurring NELL1 protein with enhanced properties for commercial manufacturing and healing injuries in soft tissues.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

NellOne is developing NV1 as a first-in-class biopharmaceutical to restore damaged lung tissues such as those caused by severe viral infections (e.g. COVID19 and flu).  The fatalities in these conditions are mostly due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which endangers 3 million patients annually in the U.S. and has a high mortality rate (46%). Despite extensive research for the past 20 years, the incidence of ARDS continues to rise and presents challenging clinical conditions to effectively manage and treat. A pilot study in SARS-CoV-2 infected mice recently showed that NV1, increases survival by regulating and balancing the hyperinflammation and excessive response of the immune system. If successfully translated into humans, NV1 can potentially reduce ARDS-associated morbidity and prevent long/term disability in survivors. NellOne’s SBIR grant is designed to validate the effects of NV1 in cultured human lung tissues and in a larger population of a mouse COVID19 model to examine further the molecular and cellular effects on lung tissues and potential gender-based differences in response to NV1 treatment.

“During this pandemic, we have witnessed that when sound science and technology are developed in partnership with the US federal government and other private organizations, life-saving diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapeutics are created and delivered to save millions of lives,” said Dr. Cymbeline Culiat, President and Chief Science Officer at NellOne. “NellOne Therapeutics, is greatly honored and excited to receive this initial significant financial support from the US government through NSF. Being selected for this grant after a rigorous highly competitive peer review is an expression of NSF’s favorable assessment of the innovation and potential great impact of NVI technology in addressing a medical problem that has eluded effective solutions for decades.  This research funding allows NellOne to move one step closer to improving patient outcomes by treating the severe lung tissue damage in ARDS patients.”

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II funding are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will typically know within one month if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/

About NellOne Therapeutics, Inc.: NellOne is pioneering advances in regenerative medicine to restore injured tissue to its normal functional state. NellOne is dedicated to harnessing the power of the NELL1 / NV1 protein to improve outcomes for patients around the world, who suffer from significant soft tissue damage incurred in traumatic injuries or diseases. The NELL1 signaling protein’s healing properties are derived from its activity during early mammalian development in the production of an environment (extracellular matrix) that promotes pathways to regulate inflammation, increase cell/tissue survival under adverse conditions, recruit stem cells, and enhance blood vessel formation -- thereby supporting new tissue formation and maturation to replace damaged tissues. For more information on NellOne visit nell-one.com.

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

Knoxville Area Association of Realtors endorse multi-use stadium development in Downtown Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors today announced that its Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse the proposed multi-use, multi-sport stadium development to be located in downtown Knoxville. The project would also feature an additional $100 million in private, mixed-use development surrounding the stadium, including new residential and commercial space. 

The board released the following statement:

“Knoxville is already a great city, but it has even more potential. By enhancing public amenities and promoting the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods, robust investment in civic infrastructure plays a vital role in unlocking Knoxville’s full potential. 

The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors® strongly support the joint effort by our local governments to bring this transformative public project to fruition. This is simply an opportunity Knoxville cannot afford to miss.”

"Our board recognizes the project as a strategic investment in our community that will raise Knoxville's national profile and spur economic growth and prosperity for many years," said Hancen Sale, KAAR's Governmental Affairs and Policy Director. "This multi-use development is an opportunity to create new jobs, enhance our ability to attract new talent and business, and revitalize a previously vacant, blighted area."

UScellular donates $30,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 6, 2021) – UScellular has announced a $30,000 investment in Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley to provide educational opportunities and experiences to local youth. UScellular’s investment supports K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and academic enrichment programs for club members and is part of a $1 million donation the company made to support 20 Boys & Girls Clubs across its service areas.

The continued emphasis on STEM learning and experience is designed to prepare students of today for careers of tomorrow, inspiring children to explore STEM careers and opportunities for their future.

“As America’s locally grown wireless carrier, supporting local educational initiatives like the Boys & Girls Clubs’ STEM programming is in UScellular’s DNA,” said Nathan Waddell, UScellular’s director of sales for East Tennessee. “It is our goal that through new learning opportunities, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley members will dream big and apply what they learn toward their future careers.”

a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer: UScellular has announced a $30,000 investment in Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley to provide educational opportunities and experiences to local youth. May 2021. © Courtesy of US Cellular/Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley UScellular has announced a $30,000 investment in Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley to provide educational opportunities and experiences to local youth. May 2021.

“We are thrilled to work with UScellular once again to support STEM education for kids across the country,” said Jim Clark, president & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Now more than ever, kids need caring mentors and safe places where they can learn, grow and have fun. Through UScellular’s support, even more youth will experience new opportunities through impact-driven programming that will inspire and empower them to achieve great futures.”

UScellular associates didn’t let a pandemic stop them from donating their resources in 2020. The company’s associates took part in a variety of virtual volunteer activities, participating in more than 2,000 volunteer experiences to give back throughout the year. They also donated $250,000 to more than 500 organizations, which was then doubled by UScellular through its donation matching program.  

UScellular has a longstanding commitment to supporting its local communities through donations and volunteerism. Since 2009, the company has donated more than $20.7 million along with countless experiences and technology items to nonprofit organizations across the country. For more information about UScellular’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, please go to https://www.uscellular.com/get-to-know-us/community-outreach.

About UScellular

UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier is building a stronger network with the latest 5G technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with UScellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.

KCDC secures 25 housing vouchers for young adults leaving foster care

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has secured 25 vouchers through a new federal housing grant to assist young adults ages 18-24 who have aged out of the foster care system.

The organization recently applied for the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) grant – which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – and earned funding based on KCDC’s track record of Section 8 housing success and its working relationship with the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).

“The Foster Youth to Independence vouchers allow us to serve an especially vulnerable population and offer young people a path to achieve self-sufficiency,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “The Section 8 team at KCDC has developed a strong relationship with the local Department of Children’s Services, which is necessary for this program to work effectively since DCS makes the referrals directly to KCDC.”

The program is similar to the Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers, which KCDC qualified for in 2018 through a competitive process. The housing agency’s 100 percent leasing rate in the relatively new FUP enabled KCDC to earn the grant award for FYI.

The FYI initiative makes Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance available to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in partnership with Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWAs).

The FYI vouchers can subsidize appropriate housing for up to three years for young adults who are homeless or at risk to be homeless after exiting foster care. Under the terms of the program, youth also will be provided supportive services such as basic life skills and educational and career counseling.

For more information about Section 8 affordable housing in Knoxville and Knox County, contact KCDC’s Section 8 Housing office at 865-403-1234 or visit https://www.kcdc.org/.

About Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, call 865-403-1100 or visit http://www.kcdc.org.

Knoxville group invests in RT Lodge to preserve community ties and legacy

A local partnership of Knoxville hospitality owners has invested in RT Lodge to preserve the history and community essence of the iconic property located on the Maryville College campus.

Often lauded as one of the best-kept hospitality secrets in the region, RT Lodge encompasses seven acres and has served for decades as a special place for gatherings and events with a historic lodge, natural grounds and award-winning dining.

The partnership, Morningside Lodge, LLC, has pledged to oversee the lodge, restaurant and grounds in a way that honors its place in the East Tennessee community. Built as a home by Susan Wiley Walker in the early 1930s, its original name was Morningside. Walker bequeathed the property to Maryville College, which has served as steward since 1950.

The staff of RT Lodge, including General Manager Gary Doyle and Chef Trevor Stockton, will remain in their roles, and the restaurant, lodge and event spaces will stay open throughout the transition.

“This is the best outcome we could have imagined to maintain RT Lodge and its place in the East Tennessee hospitality landscape,” Doyle said. “It’s a weight off all of our shoulders to be supported by local investors, and we anticipate a bright future that builds on the existing legacy.”

The RT Lodge also will welcome leadership from Beth McCabe Holman, founder of The McCabe Company and prior senior event manager for Blackberry Farm. Other local investors include Annie and David Colquitt, Knoxville residents and owners of The Swag resort in North Carolina.

“RT Lodge, like Maryville College, is an East Tennessee treasure,” Colquitt said. “We see this as a long-term responsibility to our community to steward this property well so that it can thrive for another 50 years.”

Maryville College President Dr. Bryan Coker said, “This is incredibly good news for the future of the RT Lodge, formerly Morningside, which is a vital part of Maryville College’s history. Beth McCabe Holman and the Colquitts understand and respect the small, historic and local nature of the lodge and how it is beloved by both the college and wider communities. I have complete confidence in their abilities to effectively steward Morningside and the legacy of Susan Wiley Walker. We look forward to a wonderful relationship with them for many years to come.”

At the helm of this vision is Holman, the founder of a luxury event rentals company and experienced event planner. With an entrenched understanding of local events and long-established relationships in hospitality circles, Holman will bring that experience and sense of place to RT Lodge. 

“We’re grateful for this opportunity to extend the longevity of RT Lodge and thrilled that we can retain the current staff to help us do that,” Holman said. “We’re also grateful to Goldman Sachs and Maryville College for their partnership and thoughtful handling of this cherished property.”

In the meantime, it’s business as usual at RT Lodge. The new owners promise a seamless customer experience throughout the transition and encourage the community to continue dining, dancing and making memories at the lodge.

For information about the restaurant, lodging and events, visit www.RTLodge.com.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: Women-owned business, Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc. celebrates 40 year anniversary in Knoxville

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