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Knoxville Biz Ticker: Amazon promotes 35,000 operations employees and announces more than 4,700 new seasonal roles in Tennessee

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logoThe Knoxville News-Sentinel 10/29/2020 Knoxville News Sentinel

Amazon promotes 35,000 operations employees and announces more than 4,700 new seasonal roles in Tennessee

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 27, 2020--Amazon today announced it has promoted more than 35,000 Operations employees in 2020, that 30,000 employees have taken advantage of Amazon’s Career Choice program,  and that it’s creating an additional 100,000 seasonal jobs. With more than 12 million Americans out of work according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[1] these new seasonal roles in several locations across the US and Canada will complement its regular full- and part-time positions. Amazon offers jobs for people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and these 100,000 new, seasonal jobs offer opportunities for pay incentives, benefits, and a path to a longer-term career, or can simply provide extra income and flexibility during the holiday season.

Amazon was recently named #2 on the Forbes World’s Best Employers list, a list based entirely on anonymous employee input, which reflects Amazon’s highly-competitive pay, benefits from day one, and training programs for in-demand jobs, among other criteria. On top of an industry-leading $15 minimum wage, full-time and part-time regular jobs at Amazon come with comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance, 401K with 50 percent company match, and a network to succeed.

“At Amazon, we believe in providing our employees with great jobs and better futures. We’re proud to see our employees grow through promotions to the next level at Amazon and also through programs like Career Choice, which help them pursue careers here or elsewhere,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment. “These 35,000 newly-promoted Amazonians came from a variety of backgrounds, and many started in seasonal jobs like we’re announcing today. They have made a big impact for our customers and contributed to a positive and safe work environment, and we’re thrilled to congratulate them on their next step.”

Marcus Vegas is an Amazon employee from New Jersey who first joined the company as a seasonal employee in 2018 with the goal of making money for the holidays, but quickly found that Amazon offered him opportunities for growth and long-term career success. Vegas has received four promotions since he transitioned to a full-time, permanent employee in 2019 and is now a Delivery Operations Manager at his delivery station in Kearny, New Jersey.

“Amazon has given me so many opportunities,” Vegas said. “At every level I’ve achieved, there’s always been a clear path for the next step and for growth. Leaders have trusted me to deliver results and there’s endless support at every turn.”

As it continues to create jobs across the country, Amazon leverages its scale for good and makes investments to support employees and communities. For example, Amazon has invested more than $60 million in Career Choice—an innovative program designed to help upskill people who are interested in pursuing a future in a high-demand field. With more than half of participants from underrepresented minority groups, the program offers courses covering 20 different career paths, including computer support specialist, web developer, nurse, aircraft mechanic, commercial trucker, paralegal/legal assistant, IT security assistant, and network technician, among others. Amazon has partnered with more than 85 education partners and community colleges in the U.S. and continues to grow its educator network.

“Career Choice is one way we help people think big about their careers, and we offer training across a wide variety of skills needed for high-demand fields,” said Darcie Henry, Vice President of Global HR for Amazon Operations. “We’re excited for the 30,000 people who have already participated in the program to continue contributing to their communities and creating better futures for their families. And we hope that number will continue to grow—people hired today could be the Career Choice graduates of tomorrow.”

Patricia Soto is a former Amazon employee who went through Career Choice and is now a certified clinical medical assistant at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation.

“I had worked in a warehouse setting for years but knew I wanted to help people and had been curious about healthcare. In just nine months, I became a certified clinical medical assistant while working at Amazon in Tracy, California, thanks to Career Choice,” she said. “A career in healthcare would have been difficult to obtain without tuition support from Amazon and an internship opportunity to apply my new skills. For anyone thinking about it, you only have something to gain from participating in the Career Choice program.”

You can read more stories from Amazon employees on our Day One blog.

In addition to promoting and upskilling employees across its network, Amazon will be hiring more 100,000 additional people in seasonal roles for its peak season, giving people flexible working options to earn money during the holidays and explore a career with Amazon. Many job locations also include bonus holiday incentives. Jobs in Amazon’s operations network include stowing, picking, packing shipping and delivering customer orders, and can also include a wide variety of other jobs including managing people, being a safety ambassador, working in HR, IT, operating robotics, and more. New hires will be fully trained and all facilities follow strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols. A job with Amazon can be the start of a future, long-term career inside or outside of the company. Interested candidates can visit http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/l20MCgJDwLfljLlGEf2EAAQ?domain=amazon.com to learn more about locally available jobs of all kinds.

Amazon prioritizes the safety and health of its employees and has invested millions of dollars to provide a safe workplace. The company has made over 150 significant process changes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and invested over $800 million on COVID-19 safety measures in the first half of the year alone, including personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning, staggered and flexible shifts, revisions at workstations, and developing in-house COVID-19 testing capabilities, to name a few. More information is available on the company’s COVID-19 Safety blog.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful to host virtual Summit

Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s annual summit will be going virtual this year. The KKB Summit: Individual Pathways to Sustainability will be held on November 13 from 9:00am to 12:30pm via Zoom Webinar.

KKB seeks to showcase ways you can be more environmental and sustainable in your everyday life. The Summit will consist of three presentations each an hour long. Attendees came join the Zoom Webinar for all three or doing the topic of their choice.

The Summit will kick off at 9:00am, with a presentation from Melissa Hinten of UT’s Department of Geography. Hinten will focus on carbon footprinting and how you can reduce your footprint. At 10:15am, Harley Bryant with KUB will give tips on reducing your home energy and water bill.  The final presentation will be at 11:30am, focusing on creative reuse with Ashlee Mays, the creator of the Museum of Infinite Outcomes in Parkridge.

The Summit is free, those wishing to attend may pre-register at https://2020kkbsumit.eventbrite.com. Pre-registering allows you to receive reminders about the event.

The KKB Summit: Individual Pathways to Sustainability is sponsored by The Fox & Fogarty team.

About Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Founded in 1978 to help “clean up” prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a local non-profit with a mission to inspire and empower Knox County communities to improve their quality of life through beautification and environmental stewardship. We pursue this by:

  • Educating students and the public about waste-prevention, litter, recycling, and environmental stewardship
  • Facilitating and supporting litter pickups that make our roads and local waterways cleaner
  • Creating and protecting murals and hosting beautification mobs to make Knoxville a more beautiful and interesting place to live and visit

During 2019-20, we

  • Facilitated or supported 238 litter pickups
  • Collected 36,282 pounds of litter
  • Managed 7 beautification projects
  • Reached 1,317 kids with our presentations
  • Used our recycling trailer and recycling bins to provide recycling for 10 events
  • Worked with 2,073 volunteers

To learn more about Keep Knoxville Beautiful, visit keepknoxvillebeautiful.org

RTG joins health care leaders to break ground for Advanced Orthopaedic Institute

Leaders from Realty Trust Group, University of Tennessee Medical Center and OrthoTennessee broke ground Oct. 26 for a freestanding orthopedic ambulatory surgery center with physicians and team members committed to providing outstanding patient care and advancing orthopedic research.

UT Medical Center’s Advanced Orthopaedic Institute will be located at UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm across Alcoa Highway from the main campus of UT Medical Center. The project will include an ambulatory surgery center and large-scale clinic space for OrthoTennessee, as well as designated research space for UT Medical Center and its partners.  Construction is expected to take about 18 months with an estimated opening date in the spring of 2022.

“This groundbreaking is the culmination of a trusted partnership between our firm, healthcare leaders in our community and the University of Tennessee,” said Chad Simpson, executive vice president for Realty Trust Group. “UT Medical Center’s Advanced Orthopaedic Institute will be a best-in-class, destination location for patients and families across our region. Realty Trust Group welcomed the opportunity to be a part of this project, and we look forward to seeing its completion.”

Realty Trust Group (RTG) is the real estate development partner for the project. The facility was designed by BarberMcMurry Architects, and The Christman Company is the general contractor. Financing is provided by First Horizon.

“The UT Medical Center Advanced Orthopaedic Institute will serve our patients with high-quality care delivered by experts in orthopaedics in a convenient location,” said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “This partnership with OrthoTennessee/University Orthopedic Surgeons combines outstanding orthopaedic clinical and surgical knowledge with a research collaboration to address the growing needs of our community.”

Project leaders expect to have approximately 150 employees, including 14 orthopedic surgeons, when the center opens. That total number of employees could expand to 180 with growth of the facility. Team members at the 91,000-square-foot center will care for around 225-275 patients a day for surgery, clinic, imaging and therapy.

“With this groundbreaking, the UT Research Park is expanding in an exciting new direction that will provide opportunities for collaboration with our renowned researchers and students,” UT President Randy Boyd said. “We look forward to how this project will impact the lives who come before the center seeking help and researchers and students who seek to contribute to the latest in medical technology and practices.”

About Realty Trust Group

Realty Trust Group, LLC (“RTG”) is a real estate advisory and services firm offering a full spectrum of real estate services including advisory, development, transactions, operations and compliance.

Since 1998, RTG has helped hospitals, physician groups, and property owners navigate the rapidly changing industry with growth strategies that gain market leadership as well as enhance patient and physician experiences for better delivery of care. Our philosophy is to provide innovative solutions to the complex and challenging issues found in today’s healthcare real estate market. These solutions include strategic campus and facility planning, portfolio optimization, portfolio monetization, project development, leasing, acquisition and disposition services, portfolio management, regulatory compliance and many other ideas and services. For more information about RTG and our innovative healthcare real estate services, visit www.realtytrustgroup.com, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or call 865-521-0630.

Construction underway on UT Medical Center’s Advanced Orthopaedic Institute

Leaders from The University of Tennessee Medical Center and OrthoTennessee gathered at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm to break ground on UT Medical Center’s Advanced Orthopaedic Institute. The organizations teamed up to construct a freestanding orthopaedic ambulatory surgery center with physicians and team members committed to providing outstanding patient care advancing orthopaedic research. The UT Research Park is across Alcoa Highway from the main campus of UT Medical Center.

a group of people standing on top of a grass covered field: In conjunction with representatives from OrthoTennessee and the University of Tennessee, The University of Tennessee Medical Center held a groundbreaking event for the UT Medical Center Advanced Orthopaedic Institute. Pictured, Dr. George Baddour, Dr. Chip McDowell, Joe Landsman, Jon-David Deeson, Randy Boyd, Donde Plowman and Chad Simpson. © Genna Sellers In conjunction with representatives from OrthoTennessee and the University of Tennessee, The University of Tennessee Medical Center held a groundbreaking event for the UT Medical Center Advanced Orthopaedic Institute. Pictured, Dr. George Baddour, Dr. Chip McDowell, Joe Landsman, Jon-David Deeson, Randy Boyd, Donde Plowman and Chad Simpson.

“This project represents a partnership to provide patients with the most ideal site of service for outpatient orthopaedic care,” said Jon-David Deeson, CEO of OrthoTennessee. “Its scope of services is orthopaedic focused, and the location is aimed at improving the experience and cost of care for patients while maintaining the longstanding commitment of both our organizations to provide high quality care.”

An ambulatory surgery center provides a high-quality, cost effective alternative with convenient patient access and parking when an overnight hospital stay is not expected. Some of the most common orthopaedic procedures that will be performed at the center include surgery of the hand and foot, arthroscopy and reconstruction of the shoulder, hip and knee, as well as total joint and spine procedures.

“The UT Medical Center Advanced Orthopaedic Institute will serve our patients with high-quality care delivered by experts in orthopaedics in a convenient location,” said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “This partnership with OrthoTennessee/University Orthopedic Surgeons combines outstanding orthopaedic clinical and surgical knowledge with a research collaboration to address the growing needs of our community.”

Project leaders expect to have approximately 150 employees, including 14 orthopaedic surgeons, when the center opens. That total number of employees could expand to 180 with growth of the facility. Team members at the 91,000-square-foot center will care for around 225-275 patients a day for surgery, clinic, imaging and therapy.

The first floor of the three-story building will serve as the ambulatory surgery center including five operating rooms and an advanced imaging center. The second and third floors will house clinical areas as well as research and administrative offices. The facility will dedicate 17,000-square-feet of space for orthopaedic and other medical research, which project organizers describe as the ideal fit for the mission of the research park.

“With this groundbreaking, the UT Research Park is expanding in an exciting new direction that will provide opportunities for collaboration with our renowned researchers and students,” said UT President Randy Boyd. “We look forward to how this project will impact the lives who come before the center seeking help and researchers and students who seek to contribute to the latest in medical technology and practices.”

Realty Trust Group (RTG) is the real estate development partner for the project. The facility was designed by BarberMcMurry Architects, and the Christman Company is the general contractor. Financing is by First Horizon. Construction is expected take about 18 months, with an estimated opening date in the Spring of 2022.

About OrthoTennessee/University Orthopedic Surgeons

OrthoTennessee is the region’s largest provider of orthopedic care and services with over 250,000 patient visits annually at 10 East Tennessee locations. University Orthopedic Surgeons is one of four physician group divisions of OrthoTennessee and includes 14 orthopedic surgeons providing the region’s only Level I orthopedic trauma and orthopedic oncology services as well as comprehensive subspecialty orthopedic care. For more information about University Orthopedic Surgeons, visit online at www.uosortho.com.

About the University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 10,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 400,000 alumni around the world.

About The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a Magnet® recognized hospital also certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and Comprehensive Cardiac Center, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center is a 685-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, with a regional network of primary care and specialty care physicians and practices as well as outpatient regional health centers and urgent care locations throughout its 21-county primary service area. The medical center, the region’s ACS-verified Level I Trauma Center and state designated regional perinatal referral center with a Level III private room NICU, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. UT Medical Center features seven Centers of Excellence, including the Brain & Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Emergency & Trauma Center, Heart Lung Vascular Institute, Advanced Orthopaedic Center, Primary Care Collaborative and Center for Women & Infants. Visit UTMedicalCenter.org for more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Knoxville-Knox County CAC has $600,000 available for utility bill payments

The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) has $600,000 available in utility bill funding for Knoxville and Knox County residents impacted by COVID-19.

Funds are available for payments on utility bills, including those on a payment plan with KUB. Individuals or households of any income level affected by COVID-19 can apply before the deadline of Tuesday, Nov. 10. There are no individual or household income caps.

Individuals or households can receive payment on their KUB utility bill if at least one member of the household has been affected by COVID-19 under any of the following circumstances:

  • Job loss, reduction of hours or reduction of wages due to COVID-19
  • Missed work to care for a child due to illness, school closure or online learning due to COVID-19
  • Missed work to care for an adult family member or relative diagnosed with COVID-19
  • COVID-19-related out-of-pocket medical expense
  • Unable to find employment
  • Other circumstance related to COVID-19

Utility bill payments are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants must apply before the Nov. 10 deadline.  There are several ways you can apply, including an online application available at http://www.knoxcac.org.

For additional information, call the CAC Neighborhood Center located nearest you:

  • West/Central/North Knoxville: 865-524-3345
  • East or South Knoxville: 865-546-5125

This project is financially supported under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee.

This service is offered to the Knoxville-Knox County community by CAC and its community partner, Community Action for Affordable Neighborhoods (CAAN).

Knoxville Chamber, First Horizon partner on Economic Conditions Report

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., October 20, 2020 – The Knoxville Chamber announced the launch of ECO, financed by First Horizon Bank, last week. The monthly economic conditions report compiles survey responses from local members of the manufacturing, service and retail industry along with traditional indicators to gain insights into the next six months.

“The Knoxville Chamber is committed to driving regional economic prosperity, and that starts with ensuring every business in our region has the resources they need to operate successfully,” said Joe Riley, research specialist. “With ECO, our goal is to provide the regional business community with data that can help gauge the economic forecast and inform their operational decisions.”

The monthly publication is distributed via email to Chamber investors and can be accessed on the organization’s website at www.knoxvillechamber.com/eco. Past editions are also available at the link.

Those in the regional manufacturing, service and retail industry who are interested in contributing to ECO, financed by First Horizon Bank, can register to participate at www.KnoxvilleChamber.com/ecoregistration.

Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen, PC celebrated the grand opening of its new location

Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen, PC celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Knoxville Chamber on October 21, 2020. The new location is located at 800 S. Gay Street, Suite 1200 in the First Horizon Plaza. Partners Shelley Breeding, Matthew Olinzock, Jimmy Carter and Stephanie Crippen cut their ribbon at their new location surrounded by friends, colleagues, and clients.

The firm is a full-service law firm offering a variety of legal services to businesses and individuals across East Tennessee. The firm was founded in 2008 and has expanded several times over the years. The firm’s twelve attorneys practice in business law, construction law, family law, criminal defense and intellectual property, among other practice areas. Attorneys from Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen, PC are well-known in state and federal trial courts throughout East Tennessee.  

a group of people posing for the camera: Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen, PC celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Knoxville Chamber on October 21, 2020. © Submitted Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen, PC celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Knoxville Chamber on October 21, 2020.

Bank of America names The Restoration House as Neighborhood Champion

KNOXVILLE - Bank of America today announced The Restoration House as a Neighborhood Champion, a recognition that includes both grant funding and leadership training. The Neighborhood Champions program supports the role strong nonprofit leaders play in advancing economic mobility, and is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Alongside Knoxville, the bank will bring the program to over 40 additional communities across the U.S. this fall as part of its commitment to investing in the long-term health of communities.

As part of the program, The Restoration House will receive $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity for virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector. The Restoration House was selected as the 2020 Neighborhood Champion because of its proven success helping Knoxville’s low-income, single-parent families break the cycle of poverty.

“It’s important we support The Restoration House, particularly knowing that the health and humanitarian crisis brought on by the coronavirus has only created more challenges for Knoxville families,” said Terry Cline, Bank of America Knoxville Market President. “We look forward to seeing how this investment helps The Restoration House make even greater strides toward economic opportunity for all families.”

The Restoration House plans to use the grant funding to implement in Knoxville a new program focused on building healthy co-parenting relationships. Research shows that even though a child may live with one parent, the co-parent remains a critical part of their development. The program will aim to help separated parents, where no physical or emotional abuse has occurred, be more confident and successful co-parents.

“This is the best possible time for us to receive this great honor of being selected as a Neighborhood Champion by Bank of America,” said Daniel Watson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Restoration House. “We are looking to go even deeper into our work of helping single-parent families experience restoration with the implementation of a new co-parenting program. This honor will help us tremendously, not only financially, but also to become even more impactful leaders.”

Applying for the Neighborhood Champions program is invitation-only for nonprofits poised to take their work to the next level. Leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardee.

Since the program’s inception last year, Bank of America has invested $4.2 million in 84 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program. The Neighborhood Champions program in Knoxville will strengthen the bank’s commitment to advancing economic mobility and nonprofit leadership.

Restoration House

Single parent families represent over 35% of households in Knoxville, and the majority of them are single-mother families who are living below the poverty line. The Restoration House was founded in 2007 to help low-income mother-led families experience restoration through supportive housing, ally teams, family advocacy, and youth development. In 2020, The Restoration House finished development of The Village, a 24 unit mixed-income community for single parent families in west Knoxville. Over the next 10 years The Restoration House will directly impact the lives of over 150 families including 300 children. You can follow The Restoration House on social media @RestoreFamilies and learn more at TheRestorationHouse.net.

Bank of America

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for email alerts.

www.bankofamerica.com

Food City receives national award

ABINGDON, VA (October 23, 2020) – Earlier today, the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) presented Food City with their prestigious Employer of the Year award during a virtual awards ceremony.

“I’m humbled and honored to accept this distinguished award on behalf of our entire Food City team – particularly our Store Managers and Human Resource Coordinators, who work diligently to ensure we provide every opportunity possible to enable our associates with disabilities to become an integral part of our team.  They do such a great job and mean so much to our company and our customers,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.

Food City was nominated for the award by a local team, including ETSU’s Dr. Dawn Rowe, a member of the organization, Teresa Smith (UT Center for Literacy, Education and Employment), Susan Arwood (CORE services) and Lottie Ryans (FTDD).  When considering a worthy employer from the region, the committee said Food City topped the list for everyone.

The Employer of the Year award has been given since 1989 and is presented to an employer or business that has shown remarkable commitment to promoting or providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities.  Previous honorees include St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, WI, JC Penney Distribution Center in Lenexa KS, Bank of America-Delaware, Fifth Third Bank, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Delaware Department of Transportation.

The mission of DCDT is to ‘promote efforts to improve the quality of and access to career/vocational and transition services, increase the participation of education in career development and transition goals, and to influence policies affecting career development and transition services for persons with disabilities’.  DCDT members represent special education teachers, administrators, family members, service providers and researchers.

“Food City has a commitment to youth and adults with disabilities, as is evidenced by the wonderful associates working in their stores across the region,” says Dr. Rowe.  “In learning of this honor, Mr. Smith humbly said ‘it’s not about me, it’s about all of our associates working to make a difference in our community and the lives of those we serve.”

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 134 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga, north Georgia and soon to be Albertville, Alabama.

UTHSC Researchers identify three drugs as possible therapeutics for Covid-19

Memphis, Tenn. (October 21, 2020) – Researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center working with colleagues at the University of New Mexico have identified three drugs, already approved for other uses in humans, as possible therapeutics for COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Based on virtual and in vitro antiviral screening that began in the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers led at UTHSC by Colleen Jonsson, PhD, identified zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine as promising therapeutics for the virus in its early stages.

Dr. Jonsson is a professor and the Endowed Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology in the College of Medicine at UTHSC. She also directs the UTHSC Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL), where this research was conducted. The university’s RBL is one of roughly a dozen federally funded labs in the country authorized to safely study contagious pathogens.

In a paper published in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science, the researchers propose the drugs as possible candidates for testing in future clinical trials to improve immune response to the virus. Amodiaquine is an older antimalarial, zuclopenthixol is an antipsychotic, and nebivolol is a blood pressure medication.

“Particularly in the context of this pandemic, there is a stringent need for high-quality studies that can provide critical knowledge concerning the COVID-19 disease and reliable treatment proposals,” the paper states. “With these caveats in mind, we conceived a computational workflow that included independent in vitro validation, followed by assessing emerging candidates in the context of available clinical pharmacology data, with the aim of proposing suitable candidates for clinical studies for early stage (incubation and symptomatic phases) patients infected by SARS-CoV-2.”

“Given the need for improved efficacy and safety, we propose zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine as potential candidates for clinical trials against the early phase of the SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the researchers wrote.

Comparing the drugs to hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug most-frequently studied in clinical trials for use as a COVID-19 therapeutic, the researchers examined 4,000 approved drugs and found these three to act similarly to the hydroxychloroquine, and in some cases, more safely. The research indicates they may also improve efficacy when combined in lower doses with remdesivir, an anti-viral given an emergency use authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a therapeutic for COVID-19.

“Think of it as a whack-a-mole game,” said Tudor Oprea, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, chief of the UNM Division of Translational Informatics, and corresponding author on the paper. “Instead of having one hammer, you have two hammers, which is more effective. We’re trying to give the scientific community two hammers, instead of one.”

Dr. Jonsson added, “This is a very exciting discovery and we are following up on the potential use of zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine in additional research studies.”

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc, LinkedIn: linkedin.com/uthsc, and Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc. 

Keeping the David Landes Miracle Alive Blood Drive November 4

Event organizers are proud to announce a Medic Blood Drive from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Wednesday, November 4th. It is the eighth annual “Keeping the David Landes Miracle Alive Blood Drive”.

The blood drive will take place in the parking lot of West Hills Center at 7005 Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be served to all donors.  Event organizers stress that social distancing measures will be strictly enforced to ensure the safety of all donors, volunteers, and the Medic staff.  

The blood drive enjoys the sponsorship of many local families and businesses that have donated great door prizes and giveaways. The flagship sponsors of the event are Steve Fogarty and Justin Bailey with Realty Executives Associates.

The event is open to the public.  All members of the local real estate community are especially encouraged to attend.  Donors can pre schedule appointments at https://tndonor.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/67275 , or by calling 865-742-4505. Appointments will be scheduled every 15 minutes throughout the day. Walk up donors are also encouraged and will gladly be accommodated on the day of the drive. 

The blood drive commemorates the miraculous recovery of local real estate appraiser David Landes from what was medically deemed to be a fatal illness. The drive has since benefited others who have been and will be saved by blood donations.

The cause is one that both Landes and his wife, Yvonnca, have become very passionate about. In years past, the blood drive has consistently been one of the largest, privately organized drives in the region. The Landes family and the organizers of the event strive to grow the event and achieve new goals each year.

Landes, who was hospitalized for almost six months in 2013, says donated blood saved his life. “My body’s blood supply was replenished four times over while I was in the hospital.”  Per the American Red Cross, more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.

“Many people have no idea how great the need for blood donors is right here in our local community. Per Medic Regional Blood Center, it takes 275 units of blood to supply our 28 local medical centers and hospitals every day.” Landes says.  According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, and 80% of the blood donations collected by the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives such as this.

Efforts from this drive alone have yielded enough donations to save 1,617 lives. Organizers are looking forward to exceeding the record collection of the 2019 drive, their largest blood drive to date.

Per Medic Regional Blood Center, the need for blood and blood products has not declined since the onset of the pandemic. In fact, the need for convalescent plasma (CCP) has increased the demand on Medic’s supply by our local hospitals. Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 is especially encouraged to call Medic at (865) 524-3074 to learn more about donating.

The organizers are looking forward to everyone coming out and SAFELY enjoying the event. Food and beverages will be served all day long, great door and contest prizes have been provided by local corporate sponsors.

Those medically unable to donate can contribute as well, by encouraging friends, family, and colleagues to rise to the occasion and donate to this great cause.

In addition to David Landes, Yvonnca Landes, & Vicki Williams, the event is coordinated by Realty Executives Associates, and Cumulus Broadcasting (WIVK, SportsTalk, NewsTalk).

Preview event provides inside look at new senior living community

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., October 22, 2020 – With an indoor pool, jacuzzi, fitness center, dog park, a “Main Street” with a café, ice cream parlor, coffee shop and a full array of social events, senior living is taking on new meaning at The Lodge at Shannondale. A new 96-unit luxury apartment in West Knoxville located at the corner of Vanosdale Road and Middlebrook Pike, The Lodge will provide numerous opportunities for its residents to maintain active and socially vibrant lifestyles.

With completion scheduled for spring of 2021, an intimate preview event was held on Thursday, October 22 that included tours of the new community. Knoxville-area elected officials including Congressman Tim Burchett, Knoxville City Mayor Indya Kincannon and Jane Jolley, spokesperson for Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, spoke to the growing demand for senior living options in Knoxville—a demand that The Lodge seeks to fulfill.

This demand is not expected to subside anytime soon. Baby boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, are currently one of the biggest parts of the U.S. population. According the Population Reference Bureau, more than 100 million Americans will be over the age of 65 by 2060. Even now, a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University revealed that more than 50 percent of U.S. homes have a head of household who is already 50 or older—and these individuals seek housing to meet their future needs.

Todd Taylor, CEO of Shannondale, finds it is not only senior housing that is in demand, but senior housing that can meet another trend—the active lifestyles of today’s seniors.

“As life expectancies continue to rise and people stay active longer, our mission is to build a place where seniors can live their best life,” said Taylor. “With The Lodge at Shannondale, we offer plentiful opportunities for our residents to maintain an active lifestyle and social calendar.” 

The Lodge will also offer daily dining, wellness programs, housekeeping, security, and generous parking.

The individual floor plan options will be one and two bedrooms with kitchens and square footage ranging from approximately 771 to1550 square-feet. Interior design options will be available including flooring and paint color selections. All floor plans will enjoy their own private balcony or patio area. 

Construction is currently underway by The Christman Company.

“Watching this come together and being part of something that meets a need for our families and friends in this community is particularly fulfilling for our company,” said Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville.

“Eventually, most of us tire of home maintenance, yard work and upkeep,” said Taylor.  “The Lodge at Shannondale offers stress-free, maintenance-free, safe and socially active living, so residents can live life, their way.” 

About Shannondale:

Shannondale opened its doors in 1967 and has since become a leader in senior living communities, with multiple locations in both Knoxville and Maryville. Employing over 600 highly skilled staff and health care professionals, Shannondale provides a continuum of care enabling residents to retain their independence longer and stay within the same family-friendly community and experience “Better Care, For Life”. http://shannondaletn.org/

Honor and celebrate Veterans with Pilot Company’s Round-Up for Wreaths Across America and Free Breakfast for Veterans Day

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (October 22, 2020) – In recognition and appreciation of all who served, Pilot Company announced today an in-store round-up fundraiser benefiting Wreaths Across America through the end of the year. The funds raised will support Wreaths Across America’s goal to place more than 2.2 million wreaths in all 50 states to remember and honor fallen soldiers during the holidays. In celebration of Veterans Day, from Nov. 9-15, the company will offer all veterans one free breakfast combo, valid at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers.

Pilot Company and Wreaths Across America partnered to bring the Mobile Education Exhibit to the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina on October 20, 2020 for free a public tour. Now through Dec. 31, 2020, Pilot Company is raising funds for Wreaths Across America with an in-store round-up at its 750 company-operated stores in the U.S. © Submitted Pilot Company and Wreaths Across America partnered to bring the Mobile Education Exhibit to the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina on October 20, 2020 for free a public tour. Now through Dec. 31, 2020, Pilot Company is raising funds for Wreaths Across America with an in-store round-up at its 750 company-operated stores in the U.S.

“The holiday season is a special time to remember and recognize veterans for their sacrifice,” said James A. Haslam II, a U.S. Army veteran and founder of Pilot Company. “On behalf of our 28,000 team members, we sincerely thank the men and women who’ve selflessly served our country. We appreciate Wreaths Across America’s mission of remember, honor and teach and invite our guests to partner with us in support of their goal to lay a wreath on every hero’s grave.” 

Now through Dec. 31, guests visiting any of the 750 company-operated stores in the U.S., including participating Pilot and Flying J travel centers* and One9 Fuel Network stores, can opt to round-up purchases** to the nearest whole dollar and donate the additional amount to Wreaths Across America. In remembrance of the company’s hometown heroes, Pilot Company is donating $20,000 and contributing $20,000 from the round-up campaign to support the Wreaths Across America ceremonies in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“It is partners like Pilot Company that continue to step up and amaze us with their generosity, not just with the financial support of sponsoring wreaths, but in their commitment to the veterans in the industry and in their communities that deserve recognition,” said Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America. “This new round up program is beyond anything we could have expected or hoped for and we are grateful to Pilot Company and all the professional drivers and carriers that help us move the mission.”

The round-up fundraiser is part of Pilot Company’s long-standing support of Wreaths Across America, including helping to fuel the organization’s traveling Mobile Education Exhibit to visit cities across the U.S. The exhibit is open to the public for free tours at several locations throughout the year and recently made a tour stop on October 20, 2020 at the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina. Pilot Company also supports and is honored to participate in Wreaths Across America’s celebration of veterans in the trucking industry, recognizing and thanking the veteran professional drivers that transport the wreaths to more than 2,200 locations across the country for the annual holiday wreath-laying ceremonies.

Pilot Company also will celebrate Veterans Day with a week-long special offer for all U.S. military veterans. From Nov. 9-15, all veterans are invited to enjoy a free Pilot Coffee of any size and one free breakfast offering, such as the french toast sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. The Veterans Day Breakfast Combo offer is available through the Pilot Flying J app and is redeemable at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

To learn more about Pilot Company and its longstanding commitment to giving back, visit pilotcompany.com/about. For nearby travel center locations to donate and to redeem the breakfast offer for veterans, download the Pilot Flying J app.*** More information on Wreaths Across America is available at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

*Round-up donations made at Knoxville-area Pilot Convenience Stores will benefit JDRF through November 1, 2020 and Salvation Army from November 23 – December 25, 2020.

**Certain purchases (including, without limitation, fuel and fuel additives and purchases made on fleet cards or direct bill programs) are not eligible for round-up contributions.

***Standard data rates may apply.

Pilot Company keeps North America’s drivers moving as one of the leading suppliers of fuel and the largest operator of travel centers. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Company supplies more than 11 billion gallons of fuel per year and has an industry-leading network of more than 950 retail and fueling locations that offer a variety of products, amenities and innovative solutions to make road travel easier. The Pilot Flying J travel center network includes 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 34 Truck Care service centers. The One9 Fuel Network provides fleets and professional drivers with more places to stop at a variety of fueling locations. Pilot Company’s energy division supplies fuel, DEF, bio and renewables and provides hauling and disposal services as the third largest tanker fleet in North America.

Pilot Company is currently ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies. More information on locations and amenities are available on the Pilot Flying J app. For additional information about Pilot Company and its commitment to team members and giving back, visit www.pilotcompany.com.

Petco Foundation continues commitment to fund pet cancer treatment at top U.S. universities and expands initiative to support other critical pet health care needs

Knoxville, TN (Oct. 21, 2020) — The Petco Foundation, a national non-profit organization working to lead and inspire change for animals, continues its support to pet parents to help with the cost of pet cancer treatment, with an $825,000 investment to the top veterinarian oncology universities for pet cancer treatment funds, bringing their total commitment to over $5.2 million to date. Since 2010, the Petco Foundation, in partnership with Blue Buffalo, have invested more than $16 million in the fight against pet cancer.  

“Pet cancer is the #1 disease-related killer of dogs and cats, and a devastating diagnosis for pet parents who cannot afford treatment for their pets. With all the strides being made in the veterinary oncology field increasing treatment options for our pets, our goal is to make these lifesaving treatments available to more pets and their pet parents,” said Susanne Kogut, president of the Petco Foundation. “University treatment funds to support pet cancer did not universally exist prior to our creation of this support. Not only are these funds changing the lives of pets and pet parents, but it is improving the outlook for our veterinarian professionals who can help even more pets when costs might otherwise preclude such treatment.” 

a woman holding a cat: Petco Foundation supports pet parents with the cost of pet cancer treatment for their pets. © Submitted Petco Foundation supports pet parents with the cost of pet cancer treatment for their pets.

The University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center is one of 11 universities to be awarded $75,000 this fall for the continuation of the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo pet cancer treatment fund. Other grant recipients include Colorado State University, Cornell University, Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, UC Davis, University of Florida, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Wisconsin.

The National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research estimates 6 million dogs and nearly the same number of cats are impacted by cancer each year.

“Blue Buffalo has been committed to fighting pet cancer since our inception,” said Danielle Donegan, Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Retail Activation at Blue Buffalo. “We are proud of the collaborative efforts together with Petco and the Petco Foundation to raise funds, increase awareness and help pet parents and their pets in the fight against pet cancer.”  

The Petco Foundation, in partnership with Blue Buffalo, are continuing their annual campaign to raise funds for pet cancer but expanding efforts to include raising funds for other critical pet health care needs. According to a study by the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, an estimated 29 million dogs and cats live in households that rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Seventy-four percent of pet owners reported not being able to afford sick care, with middle class participants as likely to cite financial barriers as lower-income participants. From now through October 25, the public can help pets receive treatment for pet cancer and other lifesaving care by donating at Petco or online at petcofoundation.org/pethealth.

To learn more about the Petco Foundation and its efforts to provide lifesaving treatment to pets, visit petcofoundation.org/pethealth and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Free debt relief virtual legal advice clinic set for November 7

KNOXVILLE – The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Knoxville Bar Association, in partnership with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, the University of Tennessee College of Law (UT Law), and the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law (LMU Law), will host a virtual Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic for pre-screened individuals on Saturday, November 7, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The clinic is open to residents of Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, and Union Counties. 

Those seeking advice must register and qualify in advance by emailing their name and phone number to yldclinics@tnbar.org no later than October 23, 2020.  Students from UT Law and LMU Law will follow up with potential clinic clients to determine eligibility for the clinic, which is available to individuals whose income and expenses place them at less than 250% of the federal poverty level based on household size.

Once pre-qualified and pre-registered, a Zoom link will be provided.  Clients accepted for the clinic must have access to a phone or computer with internet access and must complete and return an electronic form with financial information in order to participate and receive personalized legal advice at the clinic. 

United States Bankruptcy Judge Suzanne H. Bauknight will begin the clinic with an overview about debt issues, the bankruptcy system, and reasons for and against seeking bankruptcy protection. After the overview, clients will be paired with volunteer attorneys in virtual break-out rooms to confidentially discuss debt relief options.

Stamper, Zion & Associates join UBS Wealth Management USA in

Knoxville

Knoxville, TN, October 15, 2020 – UBS Wealth Management USA is proud to announce that Todd Stamper and Brett Zion of Stamper, Zion & Associates have joined the firm in Knoxville, TN. Todd joins as a Financial Advisor and Senior Vice President—Wealth Management and Brett joins as a Financial Advisor and Account Vice President. Carol Keese and Annette Winters, both Client Service Associates have also joined UBS.

a group of people posing for a photo: UBS Wealth Management USA announces that Todd Stamper and Brett Zion of Stamper, Zion & Associates have joined the firm in Knoxville. Todd joins as a Financial Advisor and Senior Vice President—Wealth Management and Brett joins as a Financial Advisor and Account Vice President. Carol Keese and Annette Winters, both Client Service Associates have also joined UBS. © Submitted UBS Wealth Management USA announces that Todd Stamper and Brett Zion of Stamper, Zion & Associates have joined the firm in Knoxville. Todd joins as a Financial Advisor and Senior Vice President—Wealth Management and Brett joins as a Financial Advisor and Account Vice President. Carol Keese and Annette Winters, both Client Service Associates have also joined UBS.

"On behalf of the entire team in Knoxville, we look forward to partnering with the team to grow their business and continue to serve clients with the best resources that UBS has to offer,” said Chris Cannon, Knoxville Branch Manager at UBS Wealth Management USA. “There is no doubt that our highest expectations will be exceeded."

Todd has over 28 years of wealth management experience. He focuses on helping clients create the best life possible with the resources they have. As an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Todd is an active supporter as well as a member and former elder of the Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church. He is a former member of the President's Society at Webb School and a former representative of the Parent's

Council at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN. Todd is also a founding board member of the Sequoyah Elementary Foundation. Todd and his wife Ashley have two sons, Riley and Jones. He is an active golfer and member of Cherokee Country Club.

Brett began his career in banking and has over 20 years of experience working with clients. Prior to his career in wealth management, Brett co-founded and sold two private companies. Brett and his wife Angela have two children, Christopher and Clara, and their family are members of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. As an alumni of Davidson College, Brett majored in economics, and has earned his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designations. Brett is active in the

local community, working with multiple non-profits and coaching youth sports.

"We were looking for a firm that was client-centric in their approach and philosophy. Today a number of firms provide solutions that are beneficial for them, but these are not necessarily what clients want,” said Todd. “Brett and I discovered that UBS delivers a client-centric platform in a clear, precise, and transparent manner that clients truly appreciate."

Jackson Kayak increases employee wages, adds to staff

WHITE COUNTY — Local kayak manufacturer Jackson Kayak is now among one of the area’s highest-paying employers for plastics production type work.

According to Jeff Leach, Jackson Kayak Human Resources, a quick snapshot of area plastics production work shows wages between $9-$14 per hour.

“Our similar role pays $13 (per hour) starting out with a top-out of $16 dollars (per hour) in 18 months,” he said.

Jackson Kayak employees will now see an increase in pay; on average, starting at $12 to $13 per hour for most positions. That’s an increase from $10-$12. The company has also established an aggressive performance incentive program with reviews at 90 days, six months, 12 months, and 18 months. Wages now top out at $14-$16 an hour for production employees, without considering off-shift premiums.

As an incentive to cover second- and third-shift operations, Jackson Kayak offers an additional $1.25 per hour for second shift workers and $1.50 per hour in additional wages for those working third-shift. Employees who handle roto-molding, for example, during an off-shift have the potential to earn $17.25-$17.50 per hour after only 18 months.

"We're so pleased to see local industry rewarding their quality employees with better wages and performance incentives. This is a great step toward raising the standard of living in White County and we're grateful for the partnership we have with Jackson Kayak," said White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson.

The pay increases are an opportunity for Jackson Kayak to reward staff for their hard work and dedication as demand for their popular outdoor products continues to increase.

“From a leadership perspective, we are very proud to be able to pass on some of the company’s stellar performance to (employees),” Leach said. “They are hard workers making the stellar products (our) customers are emphatic about and certainly deserve and have earned it.”

In addition to the recently-announced wage increases, Jackson Kayak also announced new attendance programs and benefits. The attendance program will reward any employee who follows their shift perfectly for 90 days with $50; allowing employees to earn up to $200 for perfect attendance.

While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on many small businesses, Jackson Kayak, a leader in kayak innovation and build quality, is seeing a boom in sales; leading to an increased production demand and the demand for additional labor.

“We simply have orders booked beyond belief; until the end of the year,” Leach said.

With the increase in sales, Jackson Kayak has also added several employees to the roster in recent months. Jackson Kayak has onboarded 18 new employees in just the last two weeks; bringing the manufacturer's total number of employees to 112.

“At Jackson Kayak, we always have exciting, cutting-edge things in the works,” Leach said. “That is what makes us one of the foremost leaders in performance kayaks. We do things differently at Jackson Kayak. The employees really get to be part of the process and have a real sense of ownership in the product.”

Kroger Health, Cardinal Health and DisposeRx to Host Drug Take-Back Events on October 24

Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from a friend or relative – often from the medicine cabinets in their own homes, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That’s why the Cardinal Health Foundation, Kroger Health and DisposeRx® will host Drug Take-Back events at nearly 100 Kroger pharmacy locations across the country on Saturday, October 24, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. 

Local collection sites will provide safe, convenient and anonymous disposal of unused or expired prescription medications in the parking lot of the participating Kroger locations.  Law enforcement officers will be present to accept unused and expired pills, liquids, gels and patches.

The Cardinal Health Foundation has partnered with Kroger in hosting drug take-back events across the U.S. for several years; more than 90,000 pounds of unused prescription drugs have been collected for safe disposal during these events.

The Kroger stores located at 9225 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, and 220 Wears Valley Road, Pigeon Forge will be hosting the event, Saturday, October 24, 2020, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

CVS hiring 240 positions in Knoxville

WOONSOCKET, R.I., October 19, 2020 – CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced that it is recruiting qualified candidates to fill 15,000 jobs. These new and existing positions will help the company continue to respond to the needs of communities across the country during the fall and winter months when the incidences of COVID-19 and the flu are expected to increase.

240 of those positions are in Knoxville.

The roles include Pharmacy Technicians, Nurse Practitioners, Call Center Representative and Work from Home Customer Service Representatives.  This is part of our efforts to respond to the needs of local communities during this fall and upcoming winter as cases of COVID-19 and the flu are expected to increase. These positions play a critical role in helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19, provide flu and other important immunizations as well as respond to the  general health needs of our customers/patients/clients. Additionally, we’re recruiting several thousand work-from-home customer service representatives which enables people who are unable to be in an office, the opportunity to work.

More than 10,000 of the new roles are for full- and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians at CVS Pharmacy locations and will be filled as soon as possible, helping increase support for patients and fellow pharmacy professionals. Many of the positions are temporary with the possibility of becoming permanent.

The company is also marking Pharmacy Technician Day on October 20th by advocating for an expanded scope of practice that would allow trained pharmacy technicians to administer COVID-19 vaccinations under the supervision of an immunization-certified pharmacist. As an integral part of the health care system, pharmacy technicians can help fill the urgent need to safely and quickly scale distribution of a vaccine and extend the capacity of the health care workforce to address the pandemic.

“Additional team members typically are needed every flu season,” said Lisa Bisaccia, Chief Human Resources Officer, CVS Health. “However, we’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities. These jobs offer a rewarding career opportunity, with flexible hours, advancement potential and a supportive environment while helping people on their path to better health.”

Working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, CVS Health pharmacy technicians continue to serve as a trusted resource for patients by processing prescriptions, dispensing medications, providing information to customers or health professionals and performing administrative tasks. They also are vital to administering COVID-19 tests at more than 4,000 drive-thru testing sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations across the country. In this role, they are critical in helping to curb the spread of the virus and expand access to care, particularly in underserved communities.

Additional on-site roles that are part of the company’s recruiting effort include pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, member benefit case professionals, and distribution center employees.

Finally, to support the CVS Caremark and CVS Specialty pharmacy businesses, the company is recruiting for several thousand work-from-home customer service representative positions across the country, with hundreds of openings in several markets, including: Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Knoxville, TN; Mt. Prospect, IL; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and  San Antonio, TX. These full-time opportunities start at 30 hours per week and offer a flexible schedule for people seeking to quickly get back to work. Candidates for these opportunities can easily apply online and take an online virtual job tryout.

“By leveraging CVS Health’s innovation and technology, we can help get more Americans back to work from the convenience of their own homes, where they can contribute to the company’s ongoing efforts to help solve the country’s health care challenges,” said Jeffrey Lackey, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, CVS Health

The additional 15,000 positions are incremental to the accelerated recruiting effort that was announced in March to hire 50,000 new colleagues in support of the company’s response to the pandemic.

Opportunities for full-time colleagues include competitive pay, paid training and a generous benefits package. Job seekers can go to cvs.jobs to apply. 

Information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including support for health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, can be found in the company's COVID-19 Response Report.

CVS Health is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We do not discriminate in recruiting, hiring or promotion based on race, ethnicity, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or protected veteran status or on any other basis or characteristic prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local law.

UScellular donates iPads and funds new ‘Maker Space’ for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 15, 2020) – UScellular has donated eight iPads to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley for local community sites and has funded a new “maker space” for the Walter P. Taylor Club to help staff support their members.

The maker space will allow elementary and middle school-aged students to enjoy science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and activities, including coding games, small robotics kits, building physics, circuits and more. The iPads will help the clubs offer a mix of in-person and virtual programming during the school year and make it easier to communicate with kids, teachers and parents. The $8,000 donation is part of more than $100,000 in technology items that UScellular donated to 13 clubs across the country.

“Throughout the past several months, we’ve seen how vital technology and connectivity are as many people have been virtually learning, working and communicating,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for UScellular in East Tennessee. “During this challenging time, the Walter P. Taylor Club has continued to support local youth, and since school has started again, we hope these new technology resources can help staff and members stay connected to the people and information they need to be successful.”

Earlier this year, UScellular donated $325,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs COVID-19 Relief Fund, $15,000 of which directly supported youth in East Tennessee. For more information about U.S. Cellular’s corporate responsibility initiatives, please go to www.uscellular.com/about/community-outreach.

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. It is ranked #1 in the North Central Region in the J.D. Power 2020 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study – Volume 2. 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.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark food drive raises $3,000

(SEVIERVILLE, Tenn.) -- Soaky Mountain Waterpark officials announced today the food drive they hosted on their last day of the 2020 season raised $3,000 for the Sevier County Food Ministry.

According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our first season turned out to be an amazing one, and we are so happy to be sharing our gratitude with those less fortunate in our community.

a view of a city: Soaky Mountain Waterpark's food drive raised $3,000 for the Sevier County Food Ministry. © Submitted Soaky Mountain Waterpark's food drive raised $3,000 for the Sevier County Food Ministry.

“We are really grateful to everyone who has embraced our new tourist attraction, and who realizes the powerful impact it can make on Sevier County.”

City administrator Russell Treadway also recently stated that the amusement tax for Sevierville for July-September of the fiscal year 2021 was $72,127 more than budgeted and the increase can be attributed in part to Soaky Mountain.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark has added nearly 500 jobs to the local economy.

It cost $90 million to construct and was developed by Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks who also owns and operates Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, and Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Lodge, and Wilderness on the Lake, Wild Rock Golf Course, Sundara Spa and Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.

For more information visit: SoakyMountainWaterpark.com.

Tennessee Market Week hosts International Gift Expo of the Smokies and Smoky Mountain Gift Show

NEW YORK, NY. (October 14, 2020) – Emerald, owner of the International Gift Expo of the Smokies (IGES), along with Clarion Events, owner of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show, today announce two of the gift, resort and souvenir industry’s most comprehensive buying events will come together to host an in-person Tennessee Market Week on November 4-7, 2020.

The Smoky Mountain Gift Show will be located at the Gatlinburg Convention Center while the International Gift Expo of the Smokies (IGES) will be located at the Pigeon Forge Leconte Center.  Both events will feature the top name lines and new products from hundreds of leading manufacturers and newcomers. As some of the first live-events trading in the second half of 2020, the top priority is ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved.  Both event teams and management are working closely with the convention centers, service providers, and state and local authorities to implement control measures to assure strict adherence to every health and safety standards.  Collectively, the Smokey Mountain Gift Show and IGES will create a Tennessee Market Week that meets every customer expectation from safety and convenience to the hospitality both IGES and the Smoky Mountain Gift Show are known for.

The IGES and Smoky Mountain Gift Show teams have taken a customer focused approach as they plan for the upcoming trade shows. Commented Lisa Glosson, vice president at Clarion Events which produces the Smoky Mountain Gift Show, “We know that this year has been different and difficult for many in our gift and souvenir family and we want to take every step to help support their businesses. The overwhelming feedback we have gotten is that they are ready to get back together, see and feel new products in person and network with the gift and souvenir community. This year may be unique, but it is the first step on each of our paths to coming back stronger than ever. We are so ready to see our friends back in Gatlinburg for the Smoky Mountain Gift Show.”

Emerald’s Executive Vice President Karalynn Spouse solidified the event producers’ shared vision for Tennessee Market Week noting, “Having conducted more than 20 years of business in the Smoky Mountains, IGES is excited to return to Pigeon Forge and connect with the gift and souvenir community. Our team is working tirelessly to stage a safe and effective live show for IGES’ loyal vendors and buyers. Our customers have expressed a deep desire to secure new merchandise for their retail shops as the busy holiday season approaches, connect with new suppliers and celebrate the longstanding tradition that is IGES. I am truly looking forwarding to seeing our friends and colleagues move business forward, and particularly safely this year.”

Buyers have echoed that sentiment, “Given the uncertain times we are all facing, attending the IGES show in November is as critical as ever to the future success of our business. IGES helps us maximize the sales and profitability of all our shops by working with our key vendors to get the best products at the best prices. Talking with fellow retailers about what changes they’ve made to their operations and what new products are doing well for them is an additional benefit to attending the show. There is nothing like seeing new items, designs, and colors in person. Not to mention talking with new vendors to see what they have to offer, which goes well beyond just products in a catalog,” commented IGES Attendee, Don Henk, Massanutten Resort.

Ensuring the safety of exhibitors, attendees and staff at Tennessee Market Week will be both teams’ priority as buyers and exhibitors head to the events. Beginning with pre-show communications to many new onsite health and safety additions – Tennessee Market Week will follow government guidelines issued by the CDC, state and local officials with regard to COVID-19 protocols and precautions. They continue to work closely with travel partners, hotels and convention centers to provide a safe and productive environment to conduct business. Each event has a comprehensive health and safety plan detailed through their website.  (See www.smokymtngiftshow.com  and www.iges.us).

The focus of both shows this year will be on generating connections and business. On the show floors, attendees can expect to find apparel, accessories, souvenirs, décor, gourmet foods, jewelry and more, in a variety of in-demand options including custom name-drop, Made in America, sustainable and others. The combined exhibitor lists feature more than 600 leading manufacturers with thousands of lines. IGES attendee, Bill Hyland, CEO, The Summer Hut commented, “Finding new vendors is a key reason for me to go to IGES. All their products are on display and you can compare between several choices. I find the atmosphere warm and friendly at IGES and this is extremely helpful when you talk to fellow attendees to learn more about business in general or a specific vendor. Go to IGES, you will love all it has to offer. Put in the effort and you will find those things that are necessary to push your business forward.” 

Smoky Mountain Gift Show attendee, Amber Williams of U.S. Space & Rocket Center added, “I look forward to reconnecting with industry peers, vendors, and show staff. There is always to so much to learn from other buyers across all different institutions. Every year after connecting with my peers I discover something that they are doing that can be beneficial for my business. Also, I firmly believe that as things return to a semi normal state, we all need to be prepared for incredible business. My goal for Smoky Mountain Gift Show is to use this time for product development so that I am ready to place orders when the museum begins to see an increase in attendance.  I do not want to be behind the curve and just beginning product development.”

The power of Tennessee Market Week also happens off the show floor with the contribution the events bring to local businesses including hotels, retail, restaurants and ground transportation. According to Go LIVE Together, a coalition of over 1,500 organizations representing thousands of business events who have joined forces to support legislative actions that will aid the event industry’s recovery from COVID-19, trade events contribute more than $419B annually in direct spending. On a local level, both the Smoky Mountain Gift Show and IGES work closely with the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge tourism and convention bureaus to promote the unique experiences in these destination cities. Tennessee Market Week will help to support many of the destination and travel businesses that attend the shows as buyers.

Smoky Mountain Gift Show exhibitor, Beth Long with Beth Long Sales commented, “I am very excited as are all of my customers to go to the beautiful fall Gatlinburg Show. There are wonderful exhibitors and customers, and everyone is ready to have the world start moving again - and love that we feel comfortable coming to the “small town feel” Tennessee Valley. I have spoken to a number of my regular customers and they are all excited to join us at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show and see what new products everyone has to offer.”

To make the Tennessee Market Week experience easier and more enjoyable for buyers, complimentary transportation is provided with shuttles running to and from the Gatlinburg Convention Center and the Pigeon Forge Leconte Center every 30 minutes. Both teams also offer budget saving travel incentives.

For more information please visit the event websites; Smoky Mountain Gift Show, www.smokymtngiftshow.com  and International Gift Expo of the Smokies, www.iges.us. Registration is free for qualified buyers and you must register separately for both events. Information about exhibiting at the Tennessee Market Week is below.

Tennova Healthcare promotes helpline to assist medicare beneficiaries in health plan selection

KNOXVILLE, TN (October 14, 2020) – Tennova Healthcare announced today the availability of a toll-free helpline designed to help Medicare beneficiaries select a health plan that fits their needs and budget.

The free helpline connects callers with local licensed agents who can assist in comparing traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Supplement and Prescription plans, and then facilitate enrollment in the plan selected. Through this program it will be easier for Medicare beneficiaries to find a plan that is best for them during Medicare annual enrollment from October 15th through December 7th. Licensed insurance agents are available at no cost or obligation to help consumers find a Medicare plan that meets their healthcare needs.

Local consumers can access the helpline at 855-721-8091, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT, or online at www.medicarecompareusa.com.

“Consumers are bombarded with confusing messages from competing health plans and options—and this is especially true for those just turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare for the first time,” said Tony Benton, president and chief executive officer of Tennova Healthcare in East Tennessee. “This helpline is a one-stop resource for insurance information, so individuals can be confident in the selections they make.”

MedicareCompareUSA is the nation’s leading company helping consumers make this important decision. Not owned or managed by any Medicare insurance company, MedicareCompareUSA’s mission is to provide individuals the unbiased information they need while simplifying the enrollment process.

In addition to providing assistance throughout the plan application and enrollment process, agents of MedicareCompareUSA can provide an annual review of an enrollee’s Medicare coverage during Medicare’s enrollment period. This often includes assisting members affected by Medicare plan network changes that sometimes occur. Doing so assures that beneficiaries have the information they need to proactively select a plan that best meets their specific needs, preferences and budget.

Benton points out that Tennova is not in-network with all insurance options or health plans, and contractual relationships may change over time. If a patient enrolls with a health plan that does not include Tennova’s hospitals in the network, their care and relationships with their doctors could be affected.

“Members of our community have been entrusting us to be their healthcare partner for many years, and that’s a responsibility and honor we don’t take lightly,” Benton said. “This helpline can help those on Medicare make an informed decision regarding their insurance options at this important time in their life. We urge all eligible consumers to take advantage of this free service.”

Traditional Medicare and the Medicare Advantage plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Cigna-HealthSpring, Humana, Amerigroup, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare all allow consumers covered by these plans full access to in-network medical care and procedures at the Tennova hospitals in East Tennessee.

Hi-Wire Brewing updates core beer lineup

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — October 13, 2020 — Hi-Wire Brewing is shaking things up across the board in its core lineup of beer. “The global pandemic this year gave us some time to sit back and reflect on our core business and how we can improve it,” notes Chris Frosaker, co-owner of Hi-Wire Brewing. Frosaker continues, “We also asked ourselves how to continue to grow and stand out in the crowded beer market. Our upcoming lineup changes reflect Hi-Wire’s desire and ability to continue innovating and provide value to our customers.” These exciting updates to the brewery’s year-round flagships are rolling out starting this month, October 2020, as they become available across Hi-Wire’s distribution area. 

First off, Hi-Wire Lager and Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA just hit a growth spurt. Both beers have moved from the classic six-packs of 12-ounce cans into new tallboy six-packs of 16-ounce cans for the same price as before. That means Hi-Wire fans get to take home even more beer without paying any extra. Following this huge update, Hi-Wire Lager will no longer be available in twelve-packs, but Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA will continue to come in twelve-packs of 12-ounce cans. The bigger and better six-packs of both beers have already started to hit shelves throughout Hi-Wire Brewing’s distribution footprint. Both are also available now in Hi-Wire’s Asheville taprooms and shop.hiwirebrewing.com, and they will soon be available at Hi-Wire Brewing Durham and Knoxville as well. 

The fan-favorite Lo-Pitch Juicy IPA is getting a bit hazier to become Lo-Pitch Hazy IPA (5.5% ABV). This new, easy-drinking hazy IPA packs a bright citrus hop punch without all the bitterness, and it will receive full distribution in six-packs and twelve-packs of 12-ounce cans. It is available now in Asheville taprooms and Hi-Wire’s online beer shop with bright new electric green packaging.

There’s also a brand-new face on Hi-Wire’s flagship roster with the addition of Double Hi-Pitch IPA (9% ABV) in six-packs of 12oz cans line-priced with its year-round peers. Previously available in a limited run of four-packs of 16-ounce cans, this even bolder version of Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA is back by popular demand and here to stay. It receives a double dose of classic West Coast hops resulting in eye-opening dank, citrus aromas. Weighing in at 65 IBUs, this dangerously drinkable double IPA boasts distinctive melon and grapefruit flavors to balance out the malt. Double Hi-Pitch IPA is available now in Hi-Wire Brewing taprooms, across Hi-Wire’s distribution footprint, and online at shop.hiwirebrewing.com.

With these major updates comes the partial loss of Bed of Nails Brown Ale. This American ode to a traditional English brown will no longer be distributed in six-packs of 12-ounce cans, but it will still be available on draft in select markets. However, cans of Bed of Nails Brown Ale will also still feature in the newly-updated Hi-Wire Brewing Clown Car mixed twelve-pack alongside 12-ounce cans of Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, Lo-Pitch Hazy IPA, and a brewer’s choice beer.

The only flagship beer that will not see any changes is Go Getter Low-Calorie IPA that was added to the lineup in January 2020. It will continue to receive full distribution in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. 

Hi-Wire Brewing is known for producing approachable and balanced lagers and ales, most notably Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, Lo-Pitch Juicy IPA, and Bed of Nails Brown, and it boasts an award-winning sour and wild ale program. Founded in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2013, Hi-Wire now has two locations in Asheville – the Big Top Production Facility, Taproom & Event Space and the South Slope Specialty Brewery & Taproom – along with a third taproom in Durham, North Carolina, and its first out-of-state taproom in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hi-Wire’s fifth taproom is slated to open in Wilmington, North Carolina, in fall 2020. Hi-Wire Brewing’s Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup award-winning beers can be found on draft and in cans across North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Virginia, and Indiana. To learn more about the company, visit hiwirebrewing.com.

Tanger Outlets Sevierville joins the Civic Alliance to encourage participation in November election, offers paid time off to employees who work the polls

GREENSBORO, N.C., -- Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT), a leader in the outlet industry, announced it has joined the Civic Alliance, a non-partisan coalition of businesses whose aim is to support safe, healthy and trusted elections and inspire civic engagement amongst its employees and customers.

Through its work with the Civic Alliance, Tanger Outlets Sevierville will participate in Power the Polls, an initiative to address the nationwide poll worker shortage by recruiting and training the next generation, with the goal of securing at least one million volunteers by November. As part of the effort, Tanger Outlets Sevierville is encouraging its regular full-time employees to utilize available paid time off through the volunteerism program to serve as poll workers in their communities.

Tanger’s participation in the Civic Alliance is part of the company’s recent efforts to support civic engagement and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council’s leadership and action goals ahead of the 2020 election. Last month, Tanger began a partnership with HeadCount, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting voter registration amongst young people, installing voter registration stations at 24 of its open-air locations nationwide. This partnership encourages employees and shoppers to check their registration status, register to vote, find a local polling place, access information about how to vote early and review registration deadlines state by state.

“At Tanger, we believe our democracy works best when we all participate. We value civic engagement, especially exercising the right to vote, which is why we have taken a number of steps to help our employees and customers navigate this election season.” said Stephen Yalof, Chief Operating Officer and President of Tanger Outlets. “We are excited to join the Civic Alliance and continue our partnership with HeadCount ahead of the upcoming election. I’m proud of Tanger’s continued commitment to supporting civic engagement among our employees and shoppers. By working together, we can ensure everyone’s voices are heard this November.”

To learn more about Tanger’s commitment to supporting civic engagement, visit www.tangeroutlet.com.

About Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT), is a publicly-traded REIT headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina that presently operates and owns, or has an ownership interest in, a portfolio of 38 upscale outlet shopping centers. Tanger's operating properties are located in 20 states and in Canada, totaling approximately 14.1 million square feet, leased to over 2,700 stores which are operated by more than 500 different brand name companies. The Company has more than 39 years of experience in the outlet industry. For more information on Tanger Outlet Centers, call 1-800-4TANGER or visit the Company's website at www.tangeroutlets.com.

About the Civic Alliance

The Civic Alliance is a nonpartisan business coalition that strengthens our democracy by supporting safe, healthy and trusted elections and inspiring every American to participate in shaping our country’s future. Founded by the CAA Foundation and Democracy Works, the Civic Alliance cultivates a community of companies united by a shared belief that an active democracy is good for business and an engaged business community is good for democracy. With its valuable tools, resources, events and partnership opportunities, the Civic Alliance helps companies engage employees and consumers as active participants in civic life. Join us at civicalliance.com.

About HeadCount 

Since 2004, HeadCount has registered over 650,000 voters and worked with a long list of musicians and partners including Ariana Grande, JAY-Z, Beyonce, March for Our Lives, RuPaul's DragCon, MTV, and Dead & Company. With 40,000 volunteers, HeadCount ranks as one of the most active grassroots civic participation organizations in the United States.    

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Apex Bank opens in Knox County

Knoxville, Tenn. – On Thursday, October 1, 2020, Apex Bank began operations in South Knoxville. In August, Apex Bank entered into an agreement with People’s Community Bank to buy the building, along with a location in Rogersville to its rapidly expanding East Tennessee footprint.

Apex Bank, founded in 1931 and headquartered in Tennessee, is consistently ranked as one of the best performing community banks in America. Apex Bank has experienced tremendous growth since unifying its brand in 2015, increasing total assets from $157 million to over $870 million as of August 31, 2020.

“Our success is attributed to our unwavering commitment to customer service,” said President and CEO, Matt Daniels. “We continually look for ways to re-invent banking in order to best support our neighbors with their financial needs.”

The Bank’s east Tennessee expansion started in 2017 with the acquisition of American Patriot Bank. Since then, the bank opened an additional five locations in Greene County, along with an office in Bulls Gap and a new location in Rogersville, Hawkins County.

“Our team has worked extremely hard and we’ve grown significantly in east Tennessee in just three years,” said Jerome Julian, East Tennessee Community President. “Being able to expand into Knox County is a great next step in our overall growth plan. Apex Bank has earned people’s choice awards for being involved in the community with a particular focus on supporting schools. We look forward to engaging with the South Knoxville and Seymour communities.”

The South Knoxville office is located at 7570 Mountain Grove Drive and will operate Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM and Friday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM. The Apex Bank team welcomes former People’s Community Bank customers to visit the team at this location and/or call us at 865 500-4127 for more information about Apex Bank and the bank’s product offerings.

Apex Bank delivers high-quality financial services and actively looks for opportunities to engage with local communities to build strong relationships that promote economic stability and growth. Apex Bank currently operates 17 offices across Tennessee, in addition to its Knoxville-based national mortgage-servicing center, where the bank purchases residential and commercial mortgages throughout the country. For more information of Apex Bank, please visit www.ApexBank.com. Apex Bank is a member of the FDIC.

Avison Young closes $31 million office portfolio sale

KNOXVILLE, TN: Avison Young closed the $31 million, 193,000 sq.ft. four-building office portfolio at 1965 & 1967 Hawks Landing Lane and 3225 & 3231 North Star Circle in Louisville, TN (Blount County). The disposition team at Avison Young led by John M. Adams III SIOR, CCIM and Brian Tapp CCIM represented Stock Creek Properties in the disposition.

These properties are conveniently located to Pellissippi Parkway between McGhee Tyson Airport and I40/75. These properties have been exceptionally maintained and were 100% leased as they were built in phases in 2000, 2006, 2011 & 2015.

Avison Young opened its Knoxville office in September of 2015. The Knoxville office boasts over 225 years of combined brokerage experience. They currently represent over 1.85 million square feet of commercial, office and industrial space in Knoxville alone. The Knoxville team includes ten brokers, six of whom hold CCIM designations—the most of any other local firm—and three SIOR members. These designations recognize expertise in various disciplines in commercial real estate. In addition to industry certified team members, they also have a full-time marketing and support staff and premium memberships across various marketing platforms.

Pilot Pumpers event raises $94,697 for United Way of Greater Knoxville

Pilot donated $94,697 to the United Way of Greater Knoxville thanks to the support of community members who purchased gas and other items at Knox County Pilot Convenience Stores during the “Pilot Pumpers” fundraiser Oct. 5-7.

During the 28th annual Pilot Pumpers three-day event, Pilot donated five cents of every gallon of gasoline sold and 10 cents of every dollar spent in-store to the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 2020 annual campaign.

“We are impressed and humbled that, during a unique year without in-person celebrity pumpers greeting guests at the pump, the community stepped up and showed up at our stores to support the Pilot Pumpers fundraiser,” Pilot Founder Jim Haslam said. “Now, more than ever, the United Way is ready and able to help many people in East Tennessee, and this $94,697 will go a long way in supporting our community. Thank you!”

To prioritize the health and safety of guests and local celebrities, Pilot Pumpers did not have on-site pumpers greeting guests in 2020. However, Pilot remained committed to partnering with the community and the United Way to raise funds and support the increased need for relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to guests who participated and stopped at stores to fuel up and grab a coffee or a snack, the event again was a success.

“We’re staying apart but working together to make our community stronger for everyone,” Haslam said.

Pilot Pumpers is the single-largest special event fundraiser for the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s annual campaign. Since its inception in 1992, the event has raised more than $1.6 million for United Way.

For more information, visit www.pilotpumpers.com. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot operates 38 convenience stores in Tennessee.

Marcus & Millichap arranges the sale of a 9,014 square foot net-leased property

SEYMOUR, TN, October 9, 2020 – Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in investment sales, financing, research and advisory services, announced today the sale of a Dollar General Seymour, TN (Knoxville MSA), a 9,014-square foot net-leased property, according to Josh Caruana, regional manager of the firm’s Cincinnati office. The asset sold for $975,000, which represents a 7.86% cap rate and 99% of asking price.

Darpan Patel, First Vice President in Marcus & Millichap’s Cincinnati office, and Dan Yozwiak, First Vice President, and Justin Fenn, Senior Associate in Marcus & Millichap’s Columbus office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a private investor. Jody McKibben, Tennessee Regional Manager and Broker of Record, assisted in closing this transaction.

The Dollar General property generated national interest and the team was able to secure seven (7) offers, the owner selected an Alabama based buyer who was able to visit the site and had similar assets in their portfolio.

“Our marketing efforts generated action immediately and we were able to efficiently select a buyer to achieve a great price with a smooth escrow,” said Darpan Patel. “The competitive bidding for this asset proves now is a great time to evaluate your options as an investor to see if it makes sense to capitalize on the market,” added Dan Yozwiak.

Five local startups graduate from Tennessee’s Energy Mentor Network

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  Five Tennessee energy startups are graduating from the Energy Mentor Network, a rigorous mentorship program that cultivates energy entrepreneurship across the state.

Run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) in partnership with Launch Tennessee, the Energy Mentor Network equips promising young companies with the tools and connections to raise capital and scale their businesses to market success.

The companies were paired with expert entrepreneurs to guide the companies through the multi-tiered program of panel presentations and mentorship sessions. To reach graduation, the startups built investable pitch decks, finance models, and structured business plans and defended those plans before panels of established entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

The graduating energy startups were members of the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Innovation Crossroads program, a two-year fellowship that supports energy entrepreneurs to take their inventions from R&D to commercialization. Innovation Crossroads is a business mentor partner of the Energy Mentor Network. The startups include:

Eonix - Don DeRosa is developing next generation electrolytes to lower the cost and size of ultracapacitor modules. The lower cost and smaller ultracapacitor modules, used with lithium ion batteries, can dramatically improve efficiency, range and longevity of hybrid and electric vehicles. Eonix developed a novel salt that reduces device resistance by 40 percent and increases capacitance by 10 percent. They were founded in 2014 and have raised $800,000 in grant funding. Don DeRosa, the Chief Technology Officer, found his peers through Innovation  Crossroads and the Energy Mentor Network to help his startup with work. “We all have our  enclave to bounce ideas off of and go through shared obstacles,” DeRosa said. “That’s one of the strengths of the program.”

Nth Cycle - Megan O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, is developing a system to cost-effectively recycle lithium-ion batteries to recover the high-value metals within. She said she found the Energy Mentor Network to really focus on tech and helped her develop her business model. “Overall, I thought the program was amazing, it really helped us prepare for our seed round investment.” Nth Cycle has raised $930,000 in non-dilutive capital since it was founded in 2017, and is currently in the process of closing a $3 million financing round.

TCPoly - Matthew Smith’s new class of high thermal conductivity plastic composite materials aim to improve heat dissipation, allowing for metal replacement and light-weighting, cost and component reductions, and improved performance and reliability. These materials can also be 3D printed, allowing thermal engineers to rapidly and inexpensively prototype multi-functional thermal solutions and enabling the design of heat transfer products that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods. Smith, co-founder and CEO, has helped the company raise $1 million in undiluted funds since it began in 2016. TCPoly holds five patents.

Lux Semiconductors - Shane McMahon, CEO of Lux Semiconductors, said that working through the Energy Mentor Network helped him identify ways to think about the business. “What the first product looks like,” he said, “and engage with potential partners.” The company is working to significantly improve the performance of large area, thin-film semiconductors through a patent pending recrystallization process. By leveraging a century of innovations in bulk crystal growth and applying them to low cost thin-films for the first time, Lux will deliver an entirely new class of flexible semiconductors to serve as a next generation material platform for integrated electronics. They’ve raised $1 million since being founded in 2017.

Ascend Manufacturing - Founder and CEO Justin Nussbaum developed a 3D printing technology called Large Area Projection Sintering (LAPS) for manufacturing technology. With LAPS, components can be economically created with drastically increased production rates, process a broader range of materials, provide superior mechanical properties and while fully integrating quality control and assurance measures. Through the mentor network he was able to access feedback. “All the mentors in the area provide that feedback to help you solve those problems,” he said. And Nussbaum had some advice for those who may enter the Energy Mentor Network in the future. “Always ask questions, even if they’re not about the program. And always feel free to reach out,” he said. “It’s a great area to build a company in, because of that assistance.” Ascend, founded in 2018, has raised $575,000. They have had 7 patent disclosures, 5 of which are related to the technology used at Ascend Manufacturing.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee and is modeled after CONNECT San Diego’s 30+-year-old Springboard program. Each company or entrepreneur is matched with C-level executives who have deep experience in growing and scaling companies. The mentoring team is led by an Entrepreneur-in-Residence who coaches and guides each company through the program. The Energy Mentor Network has more than two dozen mentors with expertise in energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy. To learn more, go to tnadvancedenergy.com/energy-mentor-network/

ISI moves downtown

ISI is excited to announce that they have moved their headquarters to downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

This year has brought many challenges and changes with how we do business in the insurance industry. Many companies have been forced to adjust to accommodate new business practices. To make room for transformation and expansion we have modified the layout of our company, allowing us to further streamline our business processes. We are excited to announce that we have moved our headquarters to downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

Please note that our move does not change anything for our clients. Everything remains business as usual. We hope when things get back to normal, you will be able to come visit!

Cherokee Distributing Company announces renewed partnership with the Vol Network

Cherokee Distributing Company, a leading beer wholesaler in the state, and the Vol Network, the exclusive producer and marketer of the University of Tennessee athletics program, have worked to serve Tennessee for more than 50 years and have renewed their partnership.

The Sampson family – George W. Sampson founded the distributing company on Jan. 6, 1958 – has a longstanding relationship with The University of Tennessee and the Vol Network. Through the renewed partnership, Cherokee Distributing Company continues its tradition as a proud supporter of the University of Tennessee and exclusive marketing rights holder to University of Tennessee Athletics in the beer and seltzer category. The sponsorship agreement will feature four brands: Coors Light, Dos Equis, Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea.

a group of people posing for the camera: Cherokee Distributing Company and the Vol Network celebrate renewal of their partnership at Neyland Stadium on the University of Tennessee (UT) campus this fall. Pictured from left: Vol Network General Manager Steve Early; UT Senior Associate Athletics Director Jeneen Lalik; Cherokee Distributing Company Off-Premise Manager Burton Sampson; UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer; Cherokee Distributing Company General Manager Jeff Knight; Cherokee Distributing Company Director of Sales Dwayne Light; and Vol Network Executive Director Glenn Thackston. © Submitted Cherokee Distributing Company and the Vol Network celebrate renewal of their partnership at Neyland Stadium on the University of Tennessee (UT) campus this fall. Pictured from left: Vol Network General Manager Steve Early; UT Senior Associate Athletics Director Jeneen Lalik; Cherokee Distributing Company Off-Premise Manager Burton Sampson; UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer; Cherokee Distributing Company General Manager Jeff Knight; Cherokee Distributing Company Director of Sales Dwayne Light; and Vol Network Executive Director Glenn Thackston.

“We believe that no matter where you are in Tennessee, the Vols and the Vol Network should be synonymous with our lineup of beers,” Cherokee Distributing Company General Manager Jeff Knight said. “We’re thrilled to announce the renewal of this partnership. As an in-state, family-owned company, the University of Tennessee, its fans and the Vol Network are close to our hearts and we’re excited to continue promoting our outstanding beverage brands throughout Big Orange Country.”

Established in 1949, the Vol Network has served as the main communications link between the University of Tennessee and its fans. It oversees the multi-media, marketing and broadcast assets related to University of Tennessee athletics including the statewide 60-plus station Vol Radio Network and interactive social media channels. Cherokee Distributing Company will have enhanced direct access to audiences to promote products in addition to the marketing rights to use the Vol Network’s branding and logo.

“We also welcome the renewed partnership and look forward to promoting Cherokee Distributing Company’s four exclusive brands as proud supporters of the University of Tennessee Volunteers,” Vol Network General Manager Steve Early said. “Now more than ever, we’re looking forward to the return of sports and the fellowship and camaraderie that comes along with being a Vol fan.”

Cherokee Distributing Company will utilize the radio market and merchandising rights across its 61-county footprint in Tennessee to promote Vol Network sponsor brands – Coors Light, Dos Equis, Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea.

To learn more about Cherokee Distributing Company, visit www.cherokeedistributing.com.

MEDIC Regional Blood Center earns AABB accreditation

Knoxville, Tenn. – MEDIC Regional Blood Center has been granted AABB accreditation for Donor Center Activities.

Accreditation follows an intensive on-site assessment by specially trained AABB assessors and establishes that the level of technical and administrative performance within the facility meets or exceeds the standards set by AABB. By successfully meeting those requirements, MEDIC Regional Blood Center joins similar facilities located throughout the United States and around the world.

“The AABB’s Accreditation procedures are voluntary,” according to Director of Communications and Donor Engagement Kristy Altman. “MEDIC sought AABB Accreditation because this program assists facilities around the world in achieving excellence by promoting a level of professional and technical expertise that contributes to quality performance and safety.”

AABB’s Accreditation Program contributes to the quality and safety of collecting, processing, testing, distributing and administering blood and cellular therapy products. The Accreditation Program assesses the quality and operational systems in place within a facility. The basis for assessment is compliance with AABB standards, Code of Federal Regulations and other federal guidance documents.

For more information on MEDIC Regional Blood Center, please visit www.medicblood.org or call 865-524-3074. For specific media and promotions requests, please contact Director of Communications and Donor Engagement Kristy Altman at 865-521-2663 or via email at kaltman@medicblood.org.

MEDIC was established in 1958 by Carl Nelson, MD, under the sponsorship of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine. MEDIC is a nonprofit organization and is the only U.S. blood center which has a Blood Coverage Program covering members’ blood supplier processing fees at any hospital in the country. MEDIC is an accredited member of AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks) and America’s Blood Centers (ABC). The center adheres to the blood product safety regulations established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is licensed by the FDA and the State of Tennessee. MEDIC is an independent blood center and not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Today, MEDIC Regional Blood Center is the provider of blood and blood-related products for the 25 area hospitals in 22 counties East Tennessee and Southeastern Kentucky.

Bite Squad expands service in Knoxville, doubles delivery zone in areas, extends delivery hours

Knoxville, TN – Just weeks after announcing it was looking for 200 new drivers, Bite Squad today announced it has doubled, in some places, the range of its delivery zones for restaurant food in Knoxville. The popular app also is extending the hours that people can use the service.

Effective immediately, customers can place orders with Bite Squad beginning at 7:00am through 11:00pm on weekdays, with the closing time extended until 11:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The expanded hours and delivery zone give customers more time to order and more choices; restaurants the opportunity for more orders; and drivers the opportunity to make more money – all necessities during these challenging times.

Delivery areas now reach as far as 10 miles away from certain restaurants, which in some cases is double the prior reach. In the last two months alone, the popular app has added more and more local eateries to its platform from many independent neighborhood restaurants, as well as several well-known chains. In total, Bite Squad has 245 partners in the Knoxville area from which to choose.

“We’ve heard from many customers that their favorite restaurant was across town and therefore too far away. Now, with the expanded service, they’ll have easy access to more of their favorite foods,” said Nathan Hubbartt, regional manager for Bite Squad.

Bite Squad along with Waitr connect local restaurants to hungry diners in underserved U.S. markets. Together, they are a convenient way to discover, order and receive great food from local restaurants, national chains and grocery stores. As of June 30, 2020, Waitr and Bite Squad operated in small- and medium-sized markets in the United States in over 700 cities.

McNabb Center partners to provide outpatient behavioral health care to uninsured children

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services expanded the state’s Behavioral Health Safety Net program to include uninsured children, and the McNabb Center is proud to partner with the state on this initiative.

“The Behavioral Health Safety Net is a foundational program to meet the mental health needs of uninsured Tennesseans, and we are so grateful to Governor Lee and the General Assembly for investing and expanding this program to our children,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “Uninsured children in any county will have the ability to get services through our community mental health

providers, and that is amazing.”

The McNabb Center will provide outpatient mental health care to uninsured children through the Behavioral Health Safety Net program in eight East Tennessee counties and surrounding areas: Anderson, Blount, Cocke, Hamblen, Hamilton, Knox, McMinn and Sevier. Children and their families will have access to services including, assessment and evaluation, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, case

management, transportation, family support services, medication management and pharmacy assistance and coordination.

“It is essential to provide behavioral health care to uninsured children and we know this expansion will make a tremendous difference in the lives of kids and families,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center president and CEO. “We are proud to be a community mental health center and provide care through this program.”

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.

Powerhome Solar responds to Tennessee's call for green energy with second office

KNOXVILLE, TENN. - POWERHOME SOLAR, one of the fastest-growing American companies specializing in solar energy and efficiency services, is opening a Knoxville-area office, located at 860 Lakemont Dr. in Louisville, and plans to hire up to 100 employees. In April, POWERHOME SOLAR opened its first Tennessee office in Nashville and is quickly expanding within the state.

Even without net metering incentives for customers in the state, POWERHOME SOLAR has found Tennesseans very receptive to adding solar energy. Solar energy accounts for only 0.59 percent of electricity generated in Tennessee, making the Volunteer State one with untapped potential.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that homeowners across the state are interested in owning their power and maintaining a consistent energy payment,” said Jayson Waller, CEO, POWERHOME SOLAR. “The cost of solar power in Tennessee is increasingly affordable, and our panels are financed for roughly the same cost as an electric bill. When the financing ends, so does the payment for solar energy. Based on consumer interest, we need to open a second office to accommodate for our growing customer base.”

POWERHOME SOLAR plans to fill positions for solar panel installers and warehouse personnel. No prior experience is necessary, as POWERHOME SOLAR will offer on-the-job training. Walk-in interviews will be held at the new office location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6 through Thursday, Oct. 8.

Those interested in joining the Knoxville team also can visit http://powerhome.com/solar-jobs or send an email to careers@powerhome.com.

POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,500 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America – the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 of this prestigious list. For more information, visit www.powerhome.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Centriworks earns CompTIA Security Trustmark+

Knoxville, TN: Centriworks, East Tennessee’s oldest and largest business technology company, announced today it has received the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ from CompTIA, the non-profit association for the world’s information technology (IT) industry.

The CompTIA Security Trustmark+ validates that Centriworks uses the security processes identified by the IT industry as generally accepted best practices and has been evaluated by an independent third-party assessor as meeting the criteria established by the CompTIA Security Trustmark+. Based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ is a comprehensive review of the security posture of any IT business, applicable across multiple industries and compliance regulations.

“The CompTIA Security Trustmark+ signifies that Centriworks adheres to our industry’s highest standards for security practices and business processes in critical components of identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery as related to data security,” said Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president, industry relations, CompTIA. “Earning the Security Trustmark+ demonstrates a true commitment to address the challenges of security compliance facing our industry today.”

“I am very proud that our Centriworks team earned the CompTIA Security Trustmark+. It confirms our commitment to quality. It also assures our clients that we can help them meet their industry and government compliance obligations,” said J. Mark DeNicola, CFO /CSO of Centriworks.

To earn the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ Centriworks successfully passed an independent assessment of their security policies, capabilities, practices, and processes against industry best practices in areas such as:

  • Security technologies, including firewalls, anti-Virus/ malware/ spyware, and intrusion detection
  • Vulnerability assessment detection
  • Data encryption
  • Technical employee knowledge/expertise
  • Security clearances and background checks
  • Physical and hardware security
  • Permissions, passwords, and other security requirements

Centriworks is East Tennessee’s largest and oldest business technology company offering Cybersecurity, Managed IT Services, IT Consulting & Software, VOIP Phones, and Hardware to enable clients to focus on their core business. In its 56th year, the company has more than 60 employees at offices in Knoxville and Johnson City. For Centriworks’ complete range of products and services, visit www.centriworks.com.

South College School of Pharmacy receives $8,000 from Walgreens to promote diversity

South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy.

The purpose of the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship is to recognize student pharmacists who represent a diverse group or underrepresented minority and have an interest in community pharmacy.

a group of people posing for the camera: South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy. Pictured from left are Keith Ford, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor; Jill Brehmer, director of admissions for the South College School of Pharmacy; Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy; and Scott Leslie, Walgreens district manager. © Submitted South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy. Pictured from left are Keith Ford, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor; Jill Brehmer, director of admissions for the South College School of Pharmacy; Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy; and Scott Leslie, Walgreens district manager.

“We are grateful to Walgreens for its support of diversity in pharmacy education and honored to be chosen as a recipient of these funds,” said Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy. “Having a diverse and inclusive student population is vital to positive outcomes for all of our students both while they are at South College and when they enter the professional ranks as pharmacists.”

South College School of Pharmacy students in their second year are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship, funded by the Walgreens donation. The remaining funds will be used to expand and promote outreach programs to attract diverse students to the school. Minorities currently represent 30 percent of the South College School of Pharmacy student population, and 22 percent were born outside the United States with 27 countries represented.

The donation comes as a result of achievements that the School of Pharmacy has accomplished in striving to serve a diverse population, including its programs.

Each year since 2008, Walgreens has donated more than $1 million in support of diversity in pharmacy education, with approximately half going to students in the form of scholarships and the remainder being provided to accredited pharmacy schools in the United States and Puerto Rico. The funds have increased the enrollment of and provided educational assistance to students in underrepresented communities.

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

About South College

South College is a private institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of South College. For more information, visit https://www.south.edu.

YMCA offers free, six-week STRONG Challenge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 5, 2020) – Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The YMCA of East Tennessee invites the community to participate in a free six-week STRONG challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.

“Now, more than ever before, we need to recharge and refocus,” YMCA of East Tennessee President and CEO Jim Dickson said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. Let’s stop letting life go by and get back to living the life we’ve been given.”

Opt in to the free challenge by texting STRONG to 855-717-9622. Follow the prompts to sign up, and you will receive three texts a week filled with motivation, challenges, workouts and more. The program runs Oct. 19-Nov. 28.

Everyone in the community is invited to work out wherever you are, taking free YMCA online classes like Boot Camp, Yoga and Barre. The challenge also encourages you to take advantage of local outdoor amenities, like the greenway system and Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. But the Y’s STRONG challenge focuses on more than just physical activity, encouraging you to play, rest, connect with your support system, and serve your community. Visit the website https://myy.org/strong/challenge to learn more about the STRONG challenge.

“It’s the perfect time to take back our lives, reenergize, achieve goals, feel better and get stronger together, as individuals and as a community,” Dickson added.

McNabb Center receives Tennessee Community CARES grant

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The McNabb Center is proud to expand access to care thanks to

a grant award through the Tennessee Community CARES Program. The Center

received $380,200, which will be used for personal protective equipment (PPE)

expenses that have been incurred and will need to be replenished.

This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee and the

funds will also be used to provide support to students and families in local schools.

Youth and families in Knox County, Blount County, Maryville city, Lenoir City, Oak

Ridge city and Newport/Cocke County schools will be provided access to resources

to manage issues related to COVID-19, such as anxiety, depression and responding to

positive cases within their communities.

Governor Bill Lee announced the $150 million in Coronavirus Relief funds in July. The

goal of the Tennessee Community CARES Program is to provide funding to nonprofit

organizations to allow them to respond to health and economic needs

stemming from the impacts of COVID-19. The funding, provided through the

Tennessee Department of Human Services, is administered by the United Way of

Greater Knoxville.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on all aspects of our society,

and non-profit organizations are no different,” Governor Lee said. “Non-profits play a

vital role in ensuring Tennesseans’’ needs are met in times of crisis, and it’s

imperative these organizations receive financial support to continue their work.”

The McNabb Center has been able to continue serving individuals with the most

need and fewest resources during the pandemic thanks to grants and community

donations. At the onset of the pandemic, programs across the McNabb Center saw

an increased need for personal protective equipment, telehealth supplies and other

items to ensure services could continue uninterrupted.

“We are thankful for local, state and federal funders, as well as individual and

organizational donors who help us achieve our mission of improving the lives of the

people we serve,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center president and CEO. “The

Tennessee Community CARES funding will go a long way to positively impact

individuals who are suffering because of the pandemic.”

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.

Four ORNL technologies win R&D 100 Awards

Four research teams from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their technologies have received 2020 R&D 100 Awards.

In lieu of the traditional in-person event, this year’s R&D 100 winners were announced in online events Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, as part of the R&D 100 Conference and Awards.

Established in 1963, the R&D 100 recognizes new commercial products, technologies and materials from around the world for their technological significance. These new wins bring ORNL’s total R&D 100 Awards to 225 since the award’s inception.

“I am extraordinarily proud of the creative and dedicated teams behind these innovative technologies,” said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. “Being named among the R&D 100 is a reflection of the caliber of our staff’s work.”

ORNL researchers and technologies that have been named winners include:

Amanzi-ATS, submitted by Los Alamos National Laboratory and co-developed with ORNL.

This powerful and adaptable simulation software provides an avenue for holistic analysis of complex environmental systems.

Environmental systems are immensely intricate collections of interdependent subsystems that ebb, flow, and interact with each other, with small changes in one part impacting other factors as well. Amanzi-ATS provides a flexible, comprehensive open-source software solution that can be quickly adapted to model environmental systems across scales, addressing problems ranging from climate change impacts to contaminant mitigation.

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research Program, the DOE Office of Environmental Management and laboratory directed research funds from ORNL and LANL.

ORNL’s Ethan Coon, Ahmad Jan and Scott Painter contributed to the development along with David Moulton and Rao Garimella at LANL and the broader Amanzi-ATS team at LANL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Biomacromolecule Engineering by Soft Chain Coupling Technology, developed by ORNL.

Polylactic acid, or PLA, is a commonly used bioplastic and its biocompatibility, biocompostability, high strength and stiffness make it ideal for use in biomedical devices, films, packaging and 3D printing. However, its brittle nature limits its use in many applications.

ORNL researchers have developed a biomacromolecule soft-coupling technology that improves the ductility and toughness of PLA through a melt-phase process that creates droplets in the polymer microstructure, increasing its toughness up to 20 times compared to the original polymer. This process gives PLA the properties of ductility and super-toughness without sacrificing its tensile strength. 

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Soydan Ozcan led the ORNL development team which included Halil Tekinalp, Kai Li, Yu Wang, and Xiangtao Meng.

ChemSitu Microfluidic Technology for In Situ Mass Spectrometric Characterization of Microfluidic Devices, developed by ORNL.

The convergence of microfluidics and biology has produced numerous “biology”-on-a-chip devices that mimic organs, vascular networks and plant-microbe systems, enabling exploration of dynamic biochemical processes. But current devices provide only limited spatial and chemical information.

ORNL’s ChemSitu analysis approach allows in situ quantifiable chemical characterization at any location within the microfluidic device. Analyte is extracted into a flowing solvent probe and characterized by mass spectrometry – allowing for measurement of hundreds of molecules simultaneously.

Enabling mass spectrometry to characterize living biology in microfluidic systems for the first time, ChemSitu’s location-specific chemical profiling may prove invaluable in studying molecular transport across biological interfaces, which is important in toxicology and pharmacology.

Funding for the project came from the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research, Bioimaging Science Program.

The ORNL team was led by John Cahill and included Vilmos Kertesz and Scott Retterer.

Cobalt-Free Li-ion Battery Cathode Material, developed by ORNL and Sparkz.

Cobalt is a rare, costly and difficult-to-access metal that increases the performance but reduces the safety of lithium-ion batteries found in consumer electronics such as mobile devices and in electric vehicles. The metal is used in a battery’s cathode, the positively charged end that determines much of a battery’s performance.

ORNL researchers have developed a cobalt-free cathode material for use in lithium-ion batteries made with nickel, iron, and aluminum (NFA) in the place of cobalt. The material exhibits electrochemical properties similar to cobalt and demonstrates comparable performance. NFA cathodes can replace cobalt-containing cathodes at a lower-cost, while maintaining performance and creating minimal disruption to the lithium-ion manufacturing process.

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office.

Ilias Belharouak led the ORNL portion of the development team which included ORNL’s Nitin Muralidharan, Rachid Essehli, Jagjjt Nanda, Mohammad Khaleel; and Sparkz’s Sanjiv Malhotra.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

490 BioTech wins Innov865 Alliance’s Startup Day; Dr. Peter Tsai is recognized for Global Pandemic Support

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The startup 490 BioTech, which developed bioluminescent human cells to show changes in cellular health, won the Innov865 Judges’ Choice Award at Startup Day 2020 with a pitch that explained how its technology can improve development of pharmaceuticals.

“Healthy happy cells are bright, sick cells go dim, and dead cells go dark,” 490 BioTech co-founder and CEO Dan Close said. “Our product provides continuous information about a drug’s effect on human health so pharmaceutical companies can operate more efficiently.”

As winner, his company will receive a $7,000 cash prize that they will use to develop its business further. 490 BioTech was named among several winners during Innov865 Week, which celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation in Knoxville and the region.  He and others pitched their businesses on Startup Day, Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Winners were named in an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 2 that included the judges’ choice, 490 BioTech; the Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by BB&T and SunTrust Bank, now Truist, was given to Quantum Lock; and the first recipient of the Innov865 Impact Award, presented by Verizon, was named - N95 mask developer Dr. Peter Tsai.

The look and feel of Innov865 Week may have been a little different, but the excitement of the eighth annual Startup Day was woven throughout the a week of virtual events designed to introduce investors to burgeoning startups in the process of gaining traction in the market.

The festivities started with a discussion from University of Tennessee President and entrepreneur Randy Boyd during a Facebook Live segment on Monday morning, followed by the Spark Innovation Center Showcase on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday nearly 200 attendees heard from Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and then were introduced to six investable pitchers in what was deemed by judges as the closest Startup Day to date. The virtual “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition included previously taped pitches and virtual question and answer sessions hosted on the local startup virtual platform Lunchpool.

Quantum Lock, co-founded by Erica Grant, won the $3,000 Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize as voted on by viewers of the competition on Startup Day.

Quantum Lock creates random, untraceable combinations for locks that prevent hackers from doing things such as creating a master key for hotel rooms, among other safeguards. Later plans for Quantum Lock’s technology include securing the energy grid, hospitals, homes, smartphones and personal security.

"Encouraging entrepreneurs to creatively solve problems and build businesses is one way Truist delivers on its purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities, said Christian Corts, regional president for BB&T | SunTrust now Truist, East Tennessee. "We appreciate the hard work and ingenuity of all of Startup Day’s participants, and congratulate Quantum Lock and Erica Grant as the crowd favorite award winner for Startup Day 2020.”

The inaugural Innov865 Impact Award, presented by Verizon, was given to Peter Tsai, University of Tennessee researcher who developed the N95 mask material.

"Verizon is proud to present the inaugural Innov865 Impact Award, and pleased to announce the winner, Peter Tsai," said Thomas Green, Managing Partner for Government and Public Safety at Verizon. "As the architect behind the essential technology in N95 masks, his work is essential to the global response for fighting the pandemic. This is the kind of life-changing technology that the Innov865 Impact Award presented by Verizon is meant to highlight."

The Innov865 Impact Award recognizes an inventor who has made a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19. Tsai, a research faculty member at the University of Tennessee Department of Material Science and Engineering, used a method called electrostatic charging to develop the N95 mask material, which filters out 95 percent of particles from air that wearers breathe through the mask. Front-line healthcare workers and others use the N95 mask as part of the essential personal protective equipment they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tsai then participated in a fireside chat with Lonnie Love of ORNL, moderated by Jon Sheiber with TechCrunch, in which he explained his work.

“I did not expect this. It’s just happened by chance,” Tsai said. “My invention is an ordinary invention.”  However, Tsai’s invention has had an extraordinary impact. Dr. Tsai retired two years ago, but the global pandemic caused a shortage of N95 masks. Earlier this year, he worked with labs and manufacturers to teach others how to make the materials and safely reuse N95 masks.

About the Startup Day winners

Innov865 Judges Choice: 490 BioTech – The Knoxville-based 490 BioTech makes bioluminescent human cells capable of continuously producing a visual light signal that adjusts in real-time to represent changes in cellular health. The company’s glowing cells can be used by pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to develop safer, more effective, and less expensive medicines. 490 BioTech serves the academic, commercial, industrial, and government research community by providing high quality bioluminescent cell lines that don’t require external luciferin treatments to function.

Their patented genetic architecture allows their cell lines to produce their own luciferin internally, allowing for continuous light production throughout the life of a culture.

Cofounder and CSO: Dan Close

Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by BB&T and SunTrust Bank, now Truist: Quantum Lock – Quantum Lock is developing a smart lock system that is more secure than many current smartphone-based key systems. Quantum Lock’s technology uses quantum physics to generate keys that are random and untraceable. Quantum Lock's premier product, Gamma Lock, is a smart phone or key fob based smart lock which is built to secure guests at Bed and Breakfasts and hotels.

Cofounder: Erica Grant

About the Innov865 Alliance and Innov865 Week’s Startup Day

Innov865 Week is a weeklong series of events that celebrates Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit by bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm, and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit http://innov865.com/.

Helen Ross McNabb Center announces name change to McNabb Center

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) Helen Ross McNabb Center, the region’s leading provider of

behavioral health services, announced that it has changed its name to

McNabb Center, effective immediately.

“Mrs. Helen Ross McNabb founded the organization in 1948 and it has since evolved

to serve individuals from infancy through adulthood,” said Jerry Vagnier, president

and CEO of the McNabb Center. “Mrs. McNabb left a legacy of compassion that

continues to inspire us to serve those with the most need in our community.”

The McNabb Center is undertaking a brand refresh to become more identifiable

within the communities it serves. Over the next year, the Center will roll out its new

logo, highlighting its focus on “Well Mind, Well Being.”

“The McNabb Center provides mental health, substance use, victim and social

services across East Tennessee,” Vagnier said. “The focus of ‘Well Mind, Well Being’

speaks to the whole person approach to the care we provide.”

While the logo and name are changing, the Center’s dedication to delivering the

highest quality care is not. The Center’s mission has been and continues to be;

improving the lives of the people we serve.

In addition to the name change, the Center has refreshed its website to provide

clients with easier access to care: www.mcnabbcenter.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.

Y-12 conducts successful emergency exercise during pandemic

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – The Y-12 National Security Complex successfully conducted its first full-scale emergency exercise since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Y-12 regularly conducts emergency exercises and drills with various scenarios to ensure it can effectively respond to potential emergencies, but the September 1 exercise was the first to include the pandemic safety protocols established by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), which operates the site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Approximately 290 personnel were directly involved in the exercise as responders and exercise control personnel, and all successfully implemented COVID-19 controls.

“Conducting a full scale exercise during the COVID-19 epidemic was a huge challenge as the primary consideration was the health and safety of personnel during the exercise,” said Jon Pack, Emergency Management Program Manager. “An exercise safety plan is always utilized for an exercise, but this exercise plan addressed the new hazard of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Throughout the exercise “there was excellent adherence to the COVID-19 controls,” said Susan Morris, NNSA Production Office’s Assistant Manager for Environment, Safety, Health and Quality.

Independent observers from the Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessments agreed, concluding in their field notes that “NPO and CNS demonstrated that Y-12 can effectively respond to an Operational Emergency while operating under COVID-19 pandemic protocols.”

CNS had already implemented safety protocols, such as mandatory mask usage and social distancing, for the site. Exercise participants adhered to those measures “with some additional actions such as placing Plexiglas shields in some areas of our emergency centers where maintaining six feet social distancing was problematic,” Pack said.

“The most important thing for the general public to understand is that by continuing to perform complex Emergency Management exercises during the COVID-19 epidemic, the Y-12 Site demonstrates the ability to effectively respond to an operational emergency while operating under COVID-19 epidemic protocols in order to ensure that appropriate response measures can be taken to protect the worker, the public, the environment, and national security.”

The previous month, the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, completed its successful full-scale emergency exercise, the first this year in the DOE Complex to be held with COVID-19 pandemic protocols in place. CNS manages both Y-12 and Pantex and had established pandemic protocols at both sites.

Merchant & Gould receives Mansfield Certification for 3.0 Version, boosting diversity efforts

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 29, 2020 -- Merchant & Gould P.C., a national intellectual property (IP) law firm with a Knoxville office, has achieved Mansfield Certification status for 2020, after completing a 12-month self-study designed to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in firm leadership.  Created by Diversity Lab, a data company that leverages research and behavior, the Mansfield Rule certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities -- at least 30 percent of the candidate pool -- for recruitment, governance roles, equity partner promotions, and inclusion in formal pitch presentations to clients. 

“More than ever, it’s important to reaffirm our commitment to each other and to our legal community.  We continue the dialog about diversity, inclusion and equality, and we continue to boost diverse leadership and representation,” said Christopher J. Leonard, Merchant & Gould’s Managing Director, CEO, and Chairman of the Board.  “The data we have collected during the Mansfield Certification process has been informing new policies and outcomes, benefiting our firm, clients and industry.”

Merchant & Gould was one of 100 law firms completing the certification program, a designation meant to ensure representative promotion processes at law firms -- moving toward a larger goal of diversifying industry-wide leadership as inclusively and effectively as possible.   The Mansfield Rule aims to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these roles and opportunities.

“We’ve participated for two years and have already seen changes in more diverse client teams and hiring.  We have also opened our firm’s leadership to reflect a broader coalition of attorneys having various backgrounds.  It’s more than an initiative to us; these actions are part of our firm’s culture and core values,” added Andrew L. Jagenow, Merchant & Gould’s Diversity Committee Chair. 

Merchant & Gould participated in the previous iteration of the Mansfield Rule and achieved Mansfield 2.0 Certification in 2019, in addition to the Version 3.0 just earned.  The firm continues its work to advance diversity throughout the legal industry.

Recognized on the Forbes list of “America’s Top Trusted Corporate Law Firms 2019,” Merchant & Gould P.C. is a national intellectual property (IP) law firm with approximately 100 attorneys in offices in Knoxville, Tenn.; Minneapolis; New York; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; and Denver.  Founded in Minneapolis in 1900, the firm has grown to become one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, representing the worldwide intellectual property interests of clients in diverse industries and technologies.  www.merchantgould.com

Merchant & Gould helps sole inventors, emerging and established companies, universities, venture capitalists, and Fortune 500 and 100 companies stay ahead of the curve to gain leverage in new and existing markets.  The firm handles every phase of IP prosecution and enforcement, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, as well as licensing, due diligence, opinions and counseling, in all areas of technology.   As the pace of global innovation surges, intellectual property has become an increasingly integral and valuable part of business.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: Amazon promotes 35,000 operations employees and announces more than 4,700 new seasonal roles in Tennessee

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