Local entrepreneurs earn $10,500 in Knoxville Area Urban League business pitch contest
Five winners of the Knoxville Area Urban League’s business pitch contest have received checks totaling $10,500 for enterprises ranging from health care to art classes.
Mark Isom, the founder and president of Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation, presented the entrepreneurs with checks during Impact Week, a virtual fundraiser held in late 2020 for the Knoxville Area Urban League’s community initiatives, including the 10-week CO.STARTERS training program for entrepreneurs.
Isom provides funding for the program, along with Randy Boyd, founder and executive chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, and his wife, Jenny Boyd.
“I want to congratulate the five entrepreneurs for having the vision to start a business and the commitment to pursue it,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “The CO.STARTERS program is a key part of our mission to bring businesses and jobs to our community and empower people economically.”
The program allows participants to build and test small business ideas while gaining feedback from their classroom peers and instructors and input from local, successful business owners. At the end of the program, participants pitch their business to a panel of judges for a chance to win $5,000.
After meeting in-person just twice, the 2020 program shifted to a virtual setting due to the pandemic, and the Knoxville Area Urban League continued to host guest speakers via Zoom.
First-place winner Jackie Holloway is an artist and the executive director of Canvas Can Do Miracles, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in East Knoxville that provides free, weekly community-based art classes to individuals with substance abuse issues to aid in recovery and redirection of their lives.
“The CO.STARTERS program elevated Canvas Can Do Miracles to the next level,” Holloway said. “Winning not only boosts my confidence, but it also allows me to launch the final page of our website and purchase needed equipment.”
Second-place winner Julia Ball is a family nurse practitioner and East Knoxville native. She earned $2,500 to support her business plan for East Knox Primary and Urgent Afterhours Care, an affordable health care center.
Ball has been a health care worker for more than 35 years and has earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee.
“I enrolled in CO.STARTERS with absolutely no idea how to start up, maintain and run a successful business,” Ball said. “The class provided a baseline of knowledge that will help me start my lifelong dream and maintain it for years to come.”
Three third-place winners earned $1,000: Molly Anderson, a life coach and speaker who started a business to inspire people with disabilities to overcome barriers; Kevin and Amy Brazelton, who own Dog City, a mobile hot dog stand that provides family-friendly food; and Lakeisha Stover, CEO of Gold Key Access, a company that helps families stay connected to incarcerated loved ones.
The Knoxville Area Urban League’s business programs, including CO.STARTERS, are part of the organization’s primary efforts to fulfill its mission of economic empowerment and stability for people of all backgrounds. Through these programs as well as a lending program, the Knoxville Area Urban League supports entrepreneurs at all stages and brings in successful business leaders like Boyd and Isom to show the way.
Boyd funded the CO.STARTERS grant through the United Way of Greater Knoxville. A leader in business and the community, Boyd is the founder of Radio Systems Corporation, which includes PetSafe and Invisible Fence, and now serves as president of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Funding for the program also came from community partners, including the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s LiftTN: Microenterprise grants, which provide resources and tools to underserved and underrepresented microenterprises in urban and rural areas.
For more information or to apply for one of the Knoxville Area Urban League’s business programs or capital loans, visit www.thekaul.org.
Covenant Health to provide COVID-19 testing for KSO as 2021 season resumes
Covenant Health will provide COVID-19 testing for Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musicians and personnel, so that the symphony’s 2020-21 season can safely resume in February.
The testing, which will be done throughout the season at the Physician’s Plaza on the Parkwest Medical Center campus in Knoxville, is sponsored by Covenant Health, a community-owned health system providing comprehensive services in 23 East Tennessee counties.
“We wanted to help the KSO make its upcoming rehearsals and performances as safe as possible,” said Jim VanderSteeg, CEO of Covenant Health. “Giving back is a core principle of Covenant Health, as is the overall health of the communities we serve. This sponsorship helps the musicians get back on stage and back to work and brings live music back to the community.”
The KSO is scheduled to perform Igor Stravinsky’s neoclassical theatre piece “The Soldier’s Tale” via livestream from the Bijou Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 7, as part of the Chamber Classics series. It will be the first KSO performance since the orchestra had to halt operations last March because of the pandemic. Details can be found at www.knoxvillesymphony.com.
“As a nonprofit, we rely on the community for support,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said. “The generosity of Covenant Health means our musicians and staff can have peace of mind as we prepare to perform. The KSO is so grateful for the support and sponsorship, and we look forward to making live music once again.”
Orchestra musicians and personnel will be tested for 16 weeks for a total of 560 tests donated by Covenant Health.
In addition to “The Soldier’s Tale,” the KSO has livestreams planned in February with the Q Series’ Principal Quartet and Woodwind Quintet on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the Bijou Theatre; News Sentinel Pop Series’ “Ragtime Kings” on Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Tennessee Theatre; and Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series’ “Appalachian Spring” on Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Tennessee Theatre.
To receive updates from the Symphony, visit knoxvillesymphony.com and sign up for the newsletter. Follow the KSO on Twitter and Facebook at twitter.com/knoxsymphony and www.facebook.com/KnoxSymphony.
Pilot Company rallies support for American Heart Association in 4th annual Life Is Why campaign
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (January 28, 2021) – Pilot Company today announced the return of the American Heart Association’s Life is Why™ campaign to its stores this February, American Heart Month. Guests can join the fight against heart disease and stroke by donating online or visiting any of the 750 company-operated travel centers and convenience stores in the U.S. to round up or purchase a paper heart in support of the life-saving work of the American Heart Association.
“We continue to be inspired by the countless stories shared by team members, guests and loved ones demonstrating the importance of heart and brain health,” said Brian Ferguson, Chief Merchant of Pilot Company. “The importance of giving to raise funds for the American Heart Association’s critical research and programs is greater than ever, especially due to COVID-19. With everyone’s help, we can make a difference for someone’s ‘why’ and improve the well-being of those in our communities and all over the world.”
During the month of February, Pilot Company will provide convenient ways for guests to give at its locations across the country, including company-operated Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers and One9 Fuel Network Stores. For guest safety, contactless payment options are available with tap-and-pay enabled pin pads, Apple Pay and Google Pay in stores or on the company’s website. The company’s fundraising initiatives include:
- Paper Heart Icons: $1, $3 and $5 red hearts will be available for purchase at all locations.
- Pin-Pad Round Up or Donation*: Guests can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar or elect to donate other amounts at the pin-pad during checkout.
- Donate Online: A donation link also will be included on the company’s campaign website throughout the month of February to provide guests another convenient way to donate.
Throughout the campaign, guests will also find exclusive deals in the Pilot Flying J app on healthier food and beverage options at Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers. Offers to save on snacks and drinks that are healthier for those on-the-go include Perfect Bars, Think Jerky, RX Bars, Wonderful Pistachios, KIND Bars, Chobani Yogurt, cheeses, freshly prepared fruit and protein cups, bottled water and Pilot Coffee.
All of the proceeds raised through Life is Why™ will directly benefit the critical programs of the American Heart Association and will enable the Association to:
- Fund research that can improve the health outcomes of heart and stroke patients;
- Train more than 2.5 million high school students in CPR annually;
- Support the work of local entrepreneurs and organizations working to improve health outcomes in under-resourced communities.
To learn more about Pilot Company’s Life is Why™ campaign, visit pilotflyingj.com/life-is-why or to find nearby locations to donate, download the Pilot Flying J app. To learn more about the Life Is Why™ campaign, please visit www.heart.org/lifeiswhy
*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.
About Pilot Company
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. With more than 1,000 retail and fueling locations across both the Pilot Flying J Travel Center network and the One9Fuel Network, Pilot Company makes road travel easier with a variety of products, amenities and services. The Pilot Flying J Travel Center network includes over 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces with more than 680 restaurants, 74,000 truck parking spaces, 5,300 deluxe showers, 6,200 diesel lanes and provides truck maintenance and tire service through Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J. The One9 Fuel Network connects a variety of fuel stops to provide value, convenience and perks to fleets and professional drivers at more than 240 locations across the United States. 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.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
Non-profits team up annually to honor Pat Summitt’s legacy
January 28, 2021 – MEDIC Regional Blood Center is asking blood donors to help The Pat Summitt Foundation in its funding of organizations engaged in patient care, caregiver support, and Alzheimer’s disease clinical research.
The late Lady Vol Coach was a blood donor and advocate for MEDIC Regional Blood Center as well as the community blood supply. On countless occasions she worked to promote MEDIC’s mission and motivated her fans to roll up their sleeves to donate.
MEDIC is asking blood donors to “Give for Pat” from February 8th through the 12th to recognize Coach Summitt for her accomplishments with the blood community and for her work as an advocate for Alzheimer’s research.
“This is a great opportunity for two local nonprofits to work together for the greater good of our community members, said MEDIC director of communications and donor engagement Kristy Altman. “We love honoring Coach Summitt while supporting another organization that she loved.”
From Monday, February 8th through Friday, February 12th, anyone who donates lifesaving blood at any MEDIC blood drive will be supporting Coach Summitt’s legacy. MEDIC will make a $5 donation The Pat Summitt Foundation for every donor who donates blood. MEDIC has set a goal of 1,500 donors for the week.
Each donor will receive a special edition “We Back Pat” t-shirt and Texas Roadhouse coupon.
MEDIC is asking the community to use the hashtags #GiveForPat and #MEDICBloodCenter on social media when posting pictures of their donation or encouraging others to give.
Appointments are preferred for donors and there is limited availability for walk-in donors. Appointments can be made by calling 865-521-2658 or by going online to https://tndonor.org/donor/schedules/county and searching by county, city, zip code or map for the location nearest them.
About MEDIC Regional Blood Center:
MEDIC Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and the sole provider of blood and blood products for 26 regional hospitals. MEDIC relies tremendously on blood drives set up at businesses, churches, schools and community events, which accounts for 85 percent of the blood collected. Established in 1958 by Dr. Carl Nelson under the sponsorship of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine, MEDIC is an accredited member of the American Association of Blood Banks and a member of America’s Blood Centers. For more information, go to www.medicblood.org.
About The Pat Summitt Foundation
The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, was established by Pat and Tyler Summitt in November 2011. Its mission is to award grants to nonprofit organizations that advance research for treatment and a cure, provide care and support for patients and caregivers, and educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more please visit www.patsummitt.org, like the foundation on facebook.com/webackpat, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram @webackpat.
FirstBank chosen by Knox County for banking services
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (January 26, 2021) – Knox County has selected FirstBank to serve as the government’s financial services partner.
The unanimous vote by the Knox County Commission comes after FirstBank won a competitive bidding process. The deal contract is good for up to eight years.
FirstBank will provide banking services for most of Knox County government, including Knox County Trustee’s Office, Knox County Finance, other Knox County departments and fee offices, and Knox County Schools (KCS) – including the KCS Payroll Account, KCS Food Service Account, and KCS Internal School Funds.
“At FirstBank we are committed to the communities we serve and we are excited to be serving Knox County in this capacity,” said Brent Ball, Knoxville Market President for FirstBank.
“Knox County is grateful for FirstBank’s engagement with our community, and we look forward to working with them,” Mayor Glenn Jacobs said.
FirstBank recently opened a new Knoxville headquarters, another investment in the community. The 17,000-square-foot facility, located at 5537 Kingston Pike, includes a full-service financial center.
“Between the new headquarters, the Knox County contract, and becoming a presenting sponsor of a major upcoming addition to Zoo Knoxville, FirstBank will really raise our visibility in the area,” said Ball. “We will be doing more and more to showcase our commitment and connection with Knoxville and the surrounding area.”
Nashville-based FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of FB Financial Corporation (NYSE: FBK), is the third largest Tennessee-headquartered bank with 80 full-service bank branches across Tennessee, South Central Kentucky, North Alabama and North Georgia, and a national mortgage business with offices across the Southeast. The bank serves five of the major metropolitan markets in Tennessee and with approximately $11.0 billion in total assets, has the resources to provide a comprehensive variety of financial services and products.
Integrity Laboratories launches novel quantification tool for Covid-19 providers
January 26th, 2021 – Integrity Laboratories announced today, the launch of the first commercially available quantitative index to accompany positive COVID-19 specimen resulted through their EUA approved platform. The feature, known as AmpliteCt™, is a viral load indicator (VLI) and is achieved through an automated, quantitative methodology that categorizes the concentration of viral genetic material in a patient specimen. The AmpliteCt™ algorithm leverages several key data points, including cycle threshold (Ct), to accurately stratify COVID-19 positive patients within low, moderate, or high infection designations.
“The AmpliteCt™ Viral Load Indicator utilizes the ability of a real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology to quantify the pathogen’s genetic material in a patient sample in a very short time with high sensitivity and specificity, “said Maria Cekanova, RNDr, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer for Integrity Laboratories. “We are excited to begin deploying this much needed advancement in technology to our healthcare partners.”
AmpliteCt™ VLI was developed by GenomIQ, a division of Integrity Laboratories focused on research and innovation of novel diagnostic technologies. Work began on the quantitative based approach to COVID-19 in September and was accelerated in conjunction with existing healthcare partnerships and validation studies.
“The AmpliteCt™ technology advancement into viral load visibility is game changing for clinicians as they seek to triage the clinical needs of their patients,” Said Christian Clevenger, Integrity Laboratories Chief Executive Officer. “Having access to quantifiable indexing also helps to identify those that may be candidates for viral load mediated therapies such as convalescent plasma. We are very proud of our team and their pioneering work in advancing diagnostic accuracy for COVID-19.”
About Integrity Laboratories
Integrity Laboratories is the leading biotechnology firm committed to modernizing infectious disease management through high-complexity clinical diagnostics. Integrity Laboratories has pioneered antimicrobial stewardship with the introduction of Intercept PCR™, a molecular diagnostics platform that enables providers to order same-day and next-day diagnostic data on complicated patient conditions through non-invasive methods. Integrity Laboratories partners with the most trusted healthcare systems, providers, and insurance networks to deliver best-in-class technologies that lower costs and improve outcomes.
Knoxville Bar Foundation announces grant deadline is March 5
The Knoxville Bar Foundation was established in 1992 to improve the administration of justice, to enhance the public’s understanding of and confidence in the legal system, and to serve the legal profession. The Bar Foundation has awarded grants totaling approximately $ 485,000 for local law related projects and programs since its inception. This is a meaningful contribution to programs that promote and enable the essence of what we as lawyers seek – liberty and justice for all. Last year the Board of Directors approved thirteen grant requests, totaling $30,000.
In May, 2021, the Knoxville Bar Foundation will again award grants to deserving applicants. The individual grant awards usually are $5,000 or less and the deadline for submitting grant applications is March 5, 2021. Please note that grant funding may not be used for operating costs and endowments. We are excited about this year’s grant program and encourage interested parties and organizations to apply. Please go to www.knoxbar.org to download an application. Submit all grant applications before 5:00 p.m. on March 5, 2021 to Charles Swanson, Chairman, Knoxville Bar Foundation, P.O. Box 2027, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901 or deliver to 505 W. Main Street, Suite 50, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902.
The Trust Company of Tennessee exceeds $4 billion under management
The Trust Company of Tennessee, which helps individuals, families, business owners and nonprofits reach their financial goals, now has more than $4 billion in assets under management.
Founded in 1987 by Sharon J. Pryse, The Trust Company of Tennessee has more than 85 employees and offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.
“I am proud of our team for achieving this significant milestone through our commitment to serve our clients and community,” said Pryse. “Our primary fiduciary responsibility has remained consistent over 33 years. We help people, organizations and businesses through wealth management, corporate retirement and personal trust services.”
By serving clients in a fiduciary capacity, The Trust Company of Tennessee is bound to give the best financial advice for clients, not company gain. The company offers fee-based services instead of selling financial products, and each client has access to a full team of professionals, including investment and financial analysts; attorneys; CPAs; and financial planners.
“Our team is focused on helping clients make the best financial decisions possible for their families, businesses, organizations and employees,” said Daniel Carter, president of The Trust Company of Tennessee. “With this significant milestone achieved, we’ll continue to grow in new ways that help our clients live with financial confidence.”
Surpassing the $4 billion mark in assets, even amid the uncertainty of a pandemic, has been accomplished by following the company’s principles regarding organizational health, client experience and strategic growth.
About The Trust Company of Tennessee
Founded in 1987 by Sharon J. Pryse, The Trust Company of Tennessee is a state-chartered trust company with more than $4 billion under management and more than 85 employees. Based in Knoxville, the firm also has offices in Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities. The company helps individuals, families, business owners and nonprofits make better decisions with money through wealth management, corporate retirement and personal trust services. For more information, visit http://www.thetrust.com.
TVA Joins UT as principal partner in Tennessee RiverLine
The Tennessee Valley Authority joins the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as a principal partner in the Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system. TVA’s elevated commitment of a $1.2 million investment will accelerate the progress of this regional initiative, which was founded in the UT College of Architecture and Design’s School of Landscape Architecture in 2016.
With its transformational financial support, TVA not only elevates its leadership in the project but also strengthens its partnership with UT to invest in the economic development, healthy lifestyles, and environmental stewardship of our region—areas the organization has prioritized throughout its history.
“TVA strives to invest in what we like to call power partnerships, those alliances that reflect our 1933 mandate from Congress to ‘make life better for the people of the Tennessee Valley,’” said TVA Vice President of River and Resources Stewardship David Bowling. “Eighty-eight years ago, when TVA went to work building dams that made the Tennessee River navigable, provided flood control and created electricity, the dream of a 652-mile regional trail system would have been unthinkable, but today, that vision is coming to fruition. It is one that TVA is proud to support financially and with the expertise of team members who manage the river and its 11,000 miles of shoreline on a daily basis.”
Soon after establishment of the Tennessee RiverLine in 2016, TVA began investing financial support and other resources to ensure its initial success. Together, UT and TVA will help sustain the momentum and continue growing the initiative’s influence on communities across the region.
“Our university and all those who carry the Volunteer spirit remain committed to our land-grant mission and to inspiring the communities of our state and region who look to us for leadership in the pursuit of health and prosperity—benefits that will be achieved through the Tennessee RiverLine,” said Scott Poole, dean of the college. “UT is committed to investing in and advocating for our region, the people who call it home, and our treasured natural resources so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
The Tennessee RiverLine is a vision for a 652-mile continuous system of paddle, hike, and bike trail experiences along the entire length of the Tennessee River, from Knoxville to Paducah, Kentucky. The initiative transforms the way Tennessee River communities and more than 2.4 million residents relate to, experience, and understand the river.
Since 2016, the Tennessee RiverLine has involved more than 60 UT students in trail system planning, amenity design and programming for river communities, and conducting research with a pilot group of five river communities that in turn have formed project leadership teams, offered new river experiences and amenities, and applied for state and federal funding. The initiative recently welcomed 15 communities, representing 35 cities and counties and 836,000 citizens, as members of the inaugural Tennessee RiverTowns Program cohort. In 2020 the initiative earned national, regional, and state awards and released its first comprehensive research findings and recommendations.
As principal partners, UT and TVA take a leadership role in ensuring the Tennessee RiverLine becomes an engine for resilient economies and an infrastructure of public health for generations of residents, eco-tourists, and adventure seekers.
“We are honored that TVA has joined UT in providing essential sustained leadership, advocacy, and investment in the Tennessee RiverLine,” said Brad Collett, associate professor of landscape architecture and director of the initiative. “This partnership enables critical progress toward the Tennessee RiverLine’s vision and its economic development, public health, and environmental stewardship imperatives that unite our two missions to the benefit of the constituencies we serve.”
The Tennessee RiverLine is administrated by the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership, a diverse group that includes UT; TVA; the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program; and several other organizations and agencies.
About the Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
Patricia Nash Designs announces appointment of Evolution USA as licensing and brand management agency
Knoxville, Tenn., January 19, 2021 – Patricia Nash Designs, a designer brand of leather handbags, jewelry, and accessories, announced today the appointment of Evolution USA as the licensing and brand management agency for relevant category extensions. Evolution is tapped with developing and managing a full-scale licensing program including identifying retail and licensee partnerships with initial focus on the North American market.
The Patricia Nash brand, inspired by travel, memories, vintage craftsmanship and a sense of family will focus on natural category extensions that preserve the integrity and quality of the brand. Newly licensed categories will include a broad assortment of indoor and outdoor home furnishings and housewares, tabletop and drinkware, women’s dresses and resort wear, women’s swimsuits and cover-ups, sleepwear and slippers, and an extended line of accessories including watches, sunglasses, gifts and candles, stationery and paper goods and pet accessories. The applicable product extensions will mirror the current retail distribution channels of the core Patricia Nash product categories. Patricia Nash Designs will continue to produce, market, and distribute leather handbags, accessories, jewelry, and men’s accessories directly.
“As we celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2020, we felt it was time to take the brand to new audiences,” said Founder and CEO, Patricia Nash. “Our signature prints have become synonymous with the brand and many customers have asked if we would extend to other categories. We have a great opportunity to show our beautiful prints, for example on throw pillows, bedding or even a beautiful, printed leather chair. I envision all of these new categories having the same design aesthetic as current assortments, thus creating a cohesive design and impactful and exciting merchandising story in the market.”
“We chose Evolution because of their shared passion for our brand’s DNA and hands-on team. They have a vast history of building brand extensions on both the retail and wholesale sides of the industry,” said Nash.
Notable Patricia Nash design elements like the use of vegetable tanned full-grain leather, the iconic signature map with a nod to world travel, collectible romantic prints, artisan tooling and mastery of vintage-inspired collections will be visible throughout the brand extensions. The Patricia Nash brand is one of the biggest and most respected brands in the designer brand leather goods space,” said Travis J. Rutherford, founder and chief revenue officer of Evolution. “The brand has such a distinct aesthetic within the industry, as well as a clear sense of where they want to take their brand to ensure they’re everywhere their customers shop. We are excited to work with them to get there.”
About Patricia Nash Designs
The quintessential embodiment of style, form and function, Patricia Nash Designs creates leather handbags and accessories that are made of beautiful, vegetable tanned leathers and the finest materials from all over the world. The company was founded in 2010 by the designer Patricia Nash who was inspired by her extensive international travels. The collection pays homage to vintage craftsmanship through delicate, hand-finished detailing and is known for its outstanding functionality. The brand also sells jewelry, men’s accessories, scarves, and knitwear. Patricia Nash Designs is based in Knoxville, TN, and is sold in major retail department stores and specialty stores, as well as QVC and HSN. www.patricianashdesigns.com.
Evolution is a leading brand monetization agency headquartered in Calabasas, California, servicing the popular culture, media, gaming, toy, personality, character, and lifestyle industry verticals. Evolution offers bespoke turn-key solutions, including strategic brand planning, market analysis, contract negotiations, legal support, product development, retail development, royalty collections, contract compliance, and inventor relations as well as providing manufacturers a full-service licensing acquisitions team.
Evolution monetizes and enhances brand value via licensing, direct to retail partnerships, collaborations, experiential retail and direct to consumer sales.
The agency’s clients include Meredith Corporation, Gaumont Television USA, Skydance Media, Stampede Ventures, Pressman Films, Camden Media, ITV Studios, TinyBuild Games, System Era, Tilting Point, OLO Industries, and The Ella Fitzgerald Estate, among others.
For more information, contact: [email protected] / https://evomgt.com
FirstBank Investment Partners forms new affiliation with Raymond James Financial Institutions Division
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2021) – FirstBank Investment Partners is now affiliated with Raymond James Financial Institutions Division (FID). Through this new partnership, FirstBank’s investment program will now offer investment and wealth management services to its clients through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.
The bank’s investment division was previously affiliated with LPL Financial and made the switch after merging last fall with Franklin Synergy Bank, which had a longstanding partnership with Raymond James.
“The FirstBank Investment Partners team has always been dedicated to helping our customers make sound, strategic financial decisions and build a better future,” said Tripp Thompson, president of FirstBank Investment Partners. “The partnership with Raymond James will further our ability to provide innovative financial solutions, as well as advanced technology, tools and resources that will continue to ensure an outstanding service experience.”
Thompson oversees the new combined investments team that includes 22 advisors, 10 support staff and a branch manager, managing a combined $1.2 billion in client assets. FirstBank Investment Partners provides a variety of financial planning and investing services to customers including retirement planning, annuity, mutual fund and stock and bond investment, estate planning, college funding, and small-business financial planning.
“We are excited to continue our valuable partnership with the advisors and professionals from the former Franklin Synergy Bank, and to begin our new alignment with the team at FirstBank, as the two programs build their new legacy together as FirstBank Investment Partners,” said Tim Killgoar, senior vice president and FID national director. “We are proud they chose Raymond James FID as the optimal partner in delivering wealth management services to clients. We look forward to working with FirstBank Investment Partners as they continue to serve clients and grow their program.”
Learn more about FirstBank Investment Partners at FBInvestmentPartners.com.
CASA of East Tennessee hosts ninth annual Red Shoe Gala fundraiser
KNOXVILLE, TN | January 24, 2021 – CASA of East Tennessee invites Knoxville area community members to its 9th annual and first virtual Red Shoe Gala on Saturday, February 6th from 6:00-10:00pm. Presented by Lusid Media, Waste Management, and Radio Systems Corporation.
Tickets are available online at www.casaofeasttn.org/rsg or by phone at 865-329-3399, ext 1. Tickets to access the event are $40 individual and $75 per couple. Sponsorships are available starting at $250.
The event, themed Wizard of Oz’s “there’s no place like home,” will include virtual video content from emcee Shane Cox of B97.5. Special “Oz themed” entertainment from Knoxville native and Broadway performer, Jordan Bondurant and friends, as well as an exclusive debut of local musician Redd Daugherty’s latest song written for this event. A large selection of local goods and exciting experiences will be available through the online silent auction. Red shoes are still encouraged! The event will benefit CASA of East Tennessee.
Court Appointed Special Advocates -CASA- of East Tennessee, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Knoxville, TN. Founded in 1986, CASA’s mission is to improve the lives of abused and neglected children through trained volunteers who advocate for a safe, permanent, loving home. For more information about how you can become a CASA volunteer in Knox County, call 865-329-3399 or visit www.casaofeasttn.org/volunteer.
Nokian Tyres to add up to 150 jobs at Dayton factory
DAYTON, Tenn. – Nokian Tyres is launching the most ambitious hiring campaign yet at its Dayton, Tennessee factory. The company plans to add approximately 150 jobs in the first half of 2021, and hiring is underway now.
Interested candidates can visit NokianTires.com/DaytonFactory to apply.
Nokian Tyres is pursuing team members to work in its mixing, tire production, maintenance and logistics areas, and those interested in performing tasks related to general factory overhead and quality control. Most production positions require the following qualifications:
- High school diploma and/or GED
- Associate’s degree from an accredited community, technical or vocational college preferred
- 1-to-2 years of direct experience in a manufacturing environment preferred
- Experience with lean/process improvement tools and/or interest in advancing knowledge in this area
“Nokian Tyres is eager to welcome new employees to our team as part of our quest to be an employer of choice in Southeast Tennessee,” said Dayton Factory HR Operations Manager Blake Markham. “This latest hiring phase will nearly double our workforce and allow us to significantly increase production of safe, sustainable tires at our high-tech factory.”
The growing workforce will enable the factory to expand from two production shifts to four, a necessary step as Nokian Tyres seeks to satisfy rising demand for its products in North America, including the Nokian Tyres One, an all-season passenger tire the company launched in January.
The Southeast Tennessee facility opened in fall 2019 and is one of the most sustainable production factories in the industry; last year, it was the first tire factory to earn LEED v4 Silver certification, a result of its solar energy, energy efficiency and eco-friendly design. Last April, the factory earned ISO 9001 quality certification just six months after officially opening.
Nokian Tyres plans to hire approximately 400 employees to produce tires and oversee operations at the Dayton factory by 2023. It eventually aims to make as many as four million tires per year at the facility.
The company seeks to provide a positive culture for its employees. Workers are exposed to some of the most advanced production machinery and processes in the tire industry, and Nokian Tyres aims to foster an environment that helps employees develop professionally. Perks include competitive pay and benefits, a wellness center, a greenspace and even a sauna.
For more information about Nokian Tyres’ Dayton Factory or to apply for jobs there, interested parties can visit NokianTires.com/DaytonFactory.
COVID Utility Relief Effort (CURE) launched to help KUB customers
KUB has joined with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) on a new program to assist KUB business and residential electric customers with outstanding utility bills. The COVID Utility Relief Effort (CURE) is designed to provide assistance to groups who may not have previously qualified, including businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“So many in our community have been hit hard by the pandemic. They have found themselves in financial difficulty and unable to pay their utility bill,” said Barbara Kelly, CAC Executive Director. “The CURE program is a way for people to get caught up on payments and move forward.”
There is no income limit to qualify for funds, and the application process is simple. Applicants must be KUB electric customers and provide proof of their outstanding KUB balance along with photo identification. Business applications will also need to provide
business identification along with proof the applicant is authorized to act on behalf of the business. CURE can provide a one-time payment of up to $1,000 for residential customers and $3,000 for business customers, or the current outstanding balance due on the account if less than the maximum payment allowed.
“We know that this has been a difficult year for our community, and we want to assist our customers whenever possible,” said Tiffany Martin, KUB Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “Working together with TVA and CAC has made this possible, and CURE aims to provide a hand-up for residential and business customers in our community who are still in need.”
CURE will last through September 2021 or until the $6M funding total of the program is depleted. To apply, visit CAC’s website for the residential application and the business application, or call 865-244-3085 and leave a message if you have additional questions. For more information on CURE, visit www.kub.org/help.
KUB is a municipal utility serving Knox and parts of seven adjacent counties and provides electric, gas, water, and wastewater services to more than 468,000 customers.
Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee generates $21.2 Million in shared savings over two years under Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model
TAMPA, Fla., and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2021) – Collaborative Health Systems announced today the Accountable Care Coalition (ACC) of Tennessee, LLC generated $21.2 million in shared savings for performance years 2018 and 2019, according to figures released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
With a focus on reducing the total cost of care for patients in East Tennessee, ACC of Tennessee was formed in 2018 by Summit Medical Group, a physician-led organization, and Collaborative Health Systems, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation. The coalition participates in the CMS Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model.
In performance year 2019, the ACC of Tennessee, which is in its second year in the Next Generation ACO Model:
- Served more than 22,000 Medicare beneficiaries across Tennessee;
- achieved an overall quality score of 99%; and,
- generated $15.9 million in shared savings – a 200% increase from performance year 2018.
“Our continued success in striving for clinical excellence and improving care for Medicare beneficiaries is a reflection of the strong partnership we have with CHS,” said Ed Curtis, Chief Executive Officer of Summit Medical Group. “The Next Generation ACO Model continues to help us lead the way to higher quality, more affordable healthcare, and set the pace nationally as a leader in the movement to value-based care.”
In addition to founding member Summit Medical Group, the ACC of Tennessee includes primary care practice participants and specialty healthcare collaborators across the region, such as Knoxville-based Gastrointestinal Associates, Premier Surgical, Tennessee Eye Care and University Eye Specialists.
“We are proud to report the ACC of Tennessee has generated savings for our providers and the Medicare program for the second consecutive year,” said Dr. Bhavana Vora, Medical Director for the Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee and a partner in Summit Medical Group. “We remain committed to providing high-quality care and services to our patients and are grateful the CMS program allows us to demonstrate how we can provide increasing value in our local communities.”
The Next Generation ACO Model was designed under the CMS Innovation Center to test whether strong financial incentives for ACOs can improve health outcomes and reduce expenditures for Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) beneficiaries. Under the Model, groups of doctors and other healthcare providers come together voluntarily to provide coordinated, high-quality care at lower costs to their Medicare FFS beneficiaries. Provider groups in this Model assume higher levels of financial risk and reward than are available under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The Model engages beneficiaries in their care through benefit enhancements designed to improve the patient experience and rewards seeking appropriate care from providers and suppliers participating in ACOs.
“The ACC of Tennessee continues to demonstrate how physicians committed to efficiency and enhancing patient care can succeed by embracing value-based models that increase accountability, lower costs, and improve quality of care,” said Anthony Valdés, President of Collaborative Health Systems. “We look forward to our continued partnership as we work to achieve quality health outcomes, healthier patient populations, and lower costs in Tennessee communities.”
For more information about the ACC of Tennessee and Collaborative Health Systems, visit www.CollaborativeHealthSystems.com.
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon 2021 races ‘re-routed’ to fall
Out of an abundance of caution and in order to deliver a premier event for participants, the 17th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon will be postponed until fall 2021.
Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Tennessee and potential restrictions on public gatherings as a result, all races and supporting events are cancelled for the tentative race weekend of March 27-28. The Knoxville Track Club and Covenant Health continue to work with the City of Knoxville and state officials, as well as sponsors and other partners, to confirm 2021 scheduling and plan a safe, in-person race weekend. Specific dates will be announced as soon as possible.
“We are dedicated to providing opportunities for East Tennesseans and visitors to our community to set and achieve personal fitness goals,” said Jason Altman, race director of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. “As part of that commitment, we must prioritize the health and safety of participants and volunteers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We also want to ensure a reliably scheduled and managed event, as is within our abilities, to continue to execute the region’s premier road race event at the top quality that our participants and supporters expect from the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.”
“In the meantime, we encourage you to keep moving – whether walking, jogging or running, now is the time to set goals for the fall race and work toward them. We can’t wait to gather together again in the fall and make the 17th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon our best race weekend yet!”
Everyone who deferred registration from 2020 to the 2021 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon will be able to participate in the fall event as planned. Once specific dates are confirmed, race participants will be contacted by the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon via email with all related registration options. New participants also can register at www.knoxvillemarathon.com.
“Covenant Health remains committed to our mission of improving the quality of life through better health. We believe it’s in the best interest of our community to postpone the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon until the fall of 2021,” Covenant Health President and CEO Jim VanderSteeg said. “We extend best wishes for a safe and healthy year to everyone training for race weekend, and we look forward to seeing you at the finish line. As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine gets underway, we encourage everyone to continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands to slow the spread of illness so that we can race and celebrate in person this fall.”
As additional details of the event are confirmed, updates will be posted to the race website at www.knoxvillemarathon.com. For more information, visit the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon website or call 888-217-5635.
Keep Knoxville Beautiful announces 2021 Orchid Awards nominees and honorees
Throughout the month of February, Keep Knoxville Beautiful will host its annual Orchid Awards, honoring Knoxville’s most beautiful properties, public spaces, and public art. Awards will be presented to winners in six different categories: New Architecture, Redesign/Reuse, Outdoor Space, Community Space, Public Art, and Creative Reinvention.
“The nominees for the 39th annual Orchids Awards experienced new hurdles in 2020, but persevered to continue improving our local landscape”, stated Keep Knoxville Beautiful Executive Director Alanna McKissack.
The nominees for New Architecture are The Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Five Thirty Lounge, and KCDC’s Five Points 3.
The nominees for Redesign/Reuse are First Presbyterian Church, Loghaven Artist Residency, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, SmartBank Corporate Headquarters, South High Senior Center, and West Knox Senior Center.
The nominees for Outdoor Space are Baker Creek Bike Park and Gateway Connector Trails, Cal Johnson Park, Everly Brothers Park, IC King Park Expansion, Ladies of Charity Parking Lot Renovation, Lakeshore Park HGTV Overlook, Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza at Campbell Station Inn, Randy Tyree Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park, and Volunteer Boulevard Beautification.
The nominee for Community Space is Oakwood Lincoln Park’s Burwell Gardens
The nominees for Public Art are Cal Johnson Park Outdoor Basketball Courts and Mount Olive Elementary Tunnel Mural.
For 2021 only, Keep Knoxville Beautiful will present the Creative Reinvention award to the Downtown Knoxville for initiatives such as Peppermint Grove and the extended seating on Market Square. This award is given for creatively adjusting to social distance guidelines.
Additionally, The Mary Lou Horner Beautification Award will honor Krutch Park. This award is given to an Orchids winner from 10 or more years ago that has maintained their orchid-worthy status.
Robert Graves of Carex Design Group will be honored with The Felicia Award. This award is given to an individual that has exemplified the mission of Keep Knoxville Beautiful.
Keep Knoxville Beautiful will announce the winners of the beautification awards February 1 through 26 on Facebook.
For more information, please visit www.keepknoxvillebeautiful.org/orchid-awards/
All proceeds benefit Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s programs.
PYA accepting applications for First Tom Ballard Innovation Award
Applications are open today, January 15 for PYA’s new Tom Ballard Innovation Award. The award competition is open to any early-stage company in the East Tennessee area with revenue and an established “proof of concept.” Applicants are competing for a combination of investment capital and in-kind services totaling at least $50,000 to support their innovative ideas.
Applications for the Tom Ballard Innovation Award can be found online at pyapc.com/ballardinnovationaward. Applicants must indicate how their company and products or services are innovative and improve business, including a business plan. Applicants can include links to a short video or multimedia presentation and can submit supporting documentation.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for emerging companies with great promise and an innovative focus to showcase their talents in a unique way,” said Larsen Jay, Director of Business Alliances at PYA. “The winners will receive a tremendous amount of support from the professionals at PYA that will both honor Tom Ballard’s focus on entrepreneurship while encouraging business leaders to aspire, grow, and achieve.”
The deadline for applications is Friday, February 19. Awards will be announced on March 12. Second and third-place winners will receive $10,000 and $5,000 in-kind strategy support, respectively.
The award is named in honor of PYA’s Chief Alliance Officer, Tom Ballard. A native of East Tennessee, Tom has spent the last four decades working to build relationships while working at organizations such as the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While there he helped to lead multi-organizational alliances focusing on statewide telecommunications networking, automotive research, and land use planning. He joined PYA in 2012. He is also the Editor and Publisher of Teknovation, a daily newsletter dedicated to covering businesses focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology in the East Tennessee area.
Judges in the panel for the Tom Ballard Innovation Award include Charlie Brock (Chattanooga Renaissance Fund), Brandon Bruce (Startup Knox), Amy Henry (TVA), Mike Odom (Knoxville Chamber), and Mary Celeste Beall (Blackberry Farm). An award presentation for the top three finalists will be scheduled for mid-March.
For more information on the award, go to PYAPC.com/BallardInnovationAward.
Serving clients in all 50 states from offices in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Tampa, PYA is ranked by INSIDE Public Accounting as one of the nation’s “Top 100” Largest Accounting Firms. Accounting Today highlighted PYA as “One of the Most Successful Firms in the Country,” and PYA is consistently ranked by Modern Healthcare as one of the nation’s Top 20 healthcare consulting firms.
Learn more at pyapc.com.
UT Medical Center opens new facility at Northshore Town Center
The University of Tennessee Medical Center expanded its health care services in West Knoxville by opening UT Medical Center at Northshore Town Center. The facility meets a community need by adding a variety of services offered by the medical center in a convenient location for people in West Knoxville, Hardin Valley, Farragut, Alcoa, Bearden and other nearby communities.
Located at 1975 Town Center Boulevard near the Target in Northshore Town Center, the medical center’s newest location adds a multitude of diagnostic and outpatient services for the community. The 12,600-square-foot facility is located on the second floor of a two-story building and offers numerous diagnostic services, such as 3D mammography, computerized tomography (CT), X-ray, bone density scanning, pulmonary function testing and echo and vascular ultrasound imaging. University Cole Neuroscience Center as well as University Cardiology and University Pulmonary and Critical Care specialty practices are also located at the facility.
“In accordance with our strategic plan, UT Medical Center at Northshore Town Center improves access to health care services and provides outreach by bringing safe, quality and convenient health care to many living in West Knoxville and the surrounding areas,” said Steve Ross, senior vice president for strategic development at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “By offering more diagnostic and outpatient services to individuals where they live throughout our region, we’re making it more convenient for our patients to receive the outstanding care provided by UT Medical Center physicians and providers they trust.”
The new location is the perfect complement to the medical center’s long existing University Medical Plaza at Northshore, located near the Kroger at 9625 Kroger Park Drive, on the opposite side of Pellissippi Parkway from Northshore Town Center. The medical center will continue to provide primary care, OB/GYN, physical therapy and urgent care services at that location.
For more information about UT Medical Center at Northshore Town Center, call (865) 909-4040.
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.
Clayton & Family Promise partnership helped prevent more than 400 families from becoming homeless
MARYVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 12, 2021 – Clayton, a national home builder of site-built and off-site built homes, and Family Promise, a national non-profit dedicated to ending family homelessness, announce the annual impact of a national partnership that aims to prevent families from becoming homeless. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, the partnership helped prevent more than 400 families, including 900 children, from becoming homeless through three core programs: A Future Begins at Home, Partners in Housing and Housing Leadership.
“Clayton’s support of A Future Begins at Home has enabled us to increase the impact of our homelessness prevention and diversion programs and assist many more families facing homelessness,” said Claas Ehlers, CEO of Family Promise. “This has been crucial with so many families facing homelessness due to COVID and the economic crisis.”
Through A Future Begins at Home, Clayton and Family Promise provided education and resource development, comprehensive case management and other support services that enabled families facing homelessness to remain in their homes, including negotiating with landlords, assisting with back rent, and covering unexpected expenses to help families work toward financial stability.
“Our partnership with Clayton is meaningful philanthropy in action,” says Cara Bradshaw Chief Impact Officer of Family Promise. “With the affordable housing crisis escalating this year, we have pivoted our services toward prevention and keeping families safe and housed. Clayton’s support helps us deliver a sweeping and lasting impact nationally for families at risk of homelessness.”
The Partners in Housing program educated and trained approximately 30 Family Promise Affiliates on the benefits of using off-site built housing as an affordable option for stable housing.
Through the Housing Leadership program, Clayton donated five off-site built homes to Family Promise Affiliates that used the homes to provide housing solutions to families in need.
“When I first turned to Family Promise, I had recently lost my home. The transitional housing program gave my family a place to live while I worked on improving my finances,” said Misti Whitehead, Family Promise Program Graduate. “I never dreamed I would be a homeowner again, but with the help of transitional housing I was able to improve my credit score, put money into savings and now I live in my dream home.”
In 2020, the homes donated by Clayton were used for both permanent and transitional housing, serving families for decades to come. Transitional housing offers families who have graduated from Family Promise programs a temporary home solution while they prepare for permanent housing. Three of the five home donations were used as transitional housing in 2020.
“The addition of transitional housing to the home donation program is an exciting and impactful step in our partnership,” said Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton. “This will exponentially increase the number of families we are able to support across the country through our partnership with Family Promise.”
The partnership with Family Promise will continue and grow in 2021 for the third year. This year, the partnership aims to prevent more than 700 families with children from becoming homeless through prevention and diversion services.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of East Tennessee looking to fulfill role
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is hiring and has an opening for Recruitment and Development Manager. This new position is critical to the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee and the agency’s continued growth and success. The primary purpose of the role is to recruit mentors and to manage the agency’s 2Gen grant, funded through the state of Tennessee.
The incumbent will be creative, flexible, hardworking, with an eye for high-level customer service. Though the first two years of the role will be entirely grant-funded, the position will continue beyond state funding, as a critical role in the agency’s strategic plan goal of serving more than 1,000 youth annually through a one-to-one mentor. Download the full job description.
To apply, send cover letter and resume to [email protected] Please include salary range in cover letter. References and writing samples will be requested from the final round of candidates.
Squisito Too NY Pizza & Pasta to open first Tennessee location in Sevierville at Tanger Outlets
Sevierville, TN (January 2021) – Squisito Too, one of the country’s fastest-growing fast casual pizza and pasta franchises, is celebrating the official opening of its newest location in Sevierville, Tennessee with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. Located inside the bustling Tanger Outlets shopping center, the new store marks the first of four from new franchisees Joey and Missy Messick that are slated to open in the coming year.
The ribbon cutting will begin at 10:30am as the Messicks join together with Squisito founders, Michele and Gennaro DiMeo, along with Sevierville community representatives as they celebrate the launch of the new store. When the doors open at 11am, the first 100 guests in line will have the chance to grab a complimentary slice of Squisito’s award-winning cheese pizza. Additionally, all guests who order a pasta entrée will receive half off a second pasta entrée. Giveaways and free swag handouts will also take place throughout the day.
Joey Messick is a second-generation Krispy Kreme franchisee with two stores currently open in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. Searching for the perfect fast casual concept to bring to the area, Joey and Missy felt aligned with Squisito Too and its build-your-own menu model. With an array of authentic recipes, the husband-and-wife team knew it would be the perfect fit in the Knoxville and Sevier County areas, confident that guests will appreciate the high-quality menu and create-your-own vibe.
“It’s such a privilege to be able to bring Squisito Too here and introduce this delicious yet affordable concept to our hometown,” said Missy and Joey Messick. “We feel so passionate about the product that we are on track to open four locations in total across the area, being able to spread the word and reintroduce what fast casual should be.”
Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. is based in Annapolis, Maryland and oversees the franchising efforts of both Squisito Pizza & Pasta and Squisito Too. With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and managing restaurants ranging from fine dining to fast casual, the Messicks have tremendous support and are backed by the incredible track record of the Squisito brand. Squisito currently boasts 10 locations throughout the Northeast with seven additional openings, including those in Tennessee, planned for the immediate future. The Sevierville store is the second Squisito Too location following Jessup, Maryland which opened its doors last year.
“Joey and Missy have great knowledge in the franchising industry, and we know that Squisito Too will be a success in this high-traffic area, appealing to both locals and tourists alike,” said Michele DiMeo, President of Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. “We look forward to our ongoing partnership and are so fortunate for those in Eastern Tennessee to now have access to our award-winning Italian recipes.”
Each Squisito Too location embodies the same set of core values – delicious, fresh, traditional Italian food, incredible customer service and a dedication to give back to the communities in which they do business. Squisito Too is currently franchising and aggressively expanding throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. is the principal franchisor for both Squisito Too and its sister concept, Squisito Pizza & Pasta.
About Squisito® Franchise Enterprises, Inc.
Squisito® Franchise Enterprises, Inc., based in Maryland, is the principal franchisor of both Squisito Pizza & Pasta and Squisito Too franchise opportunities. The Italian word “Squisito,” translated into English as “exquisite,” is a guiding principle applied to all facets of the Squisito franchise dining experience. Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. combines delicious cuisine, fresh ingredients, fast casual ordering systems and an open-style kitchen to allow guests to experience the Italian traditions firsthand.
Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc.’s latest franchise concept, Squisito Too, is a create-your-own dining experience in a fast-casual restaurant. Guests have the opportunity to be their own chef by customizing their entrées. Learn more about the fast-casual Italian opportunities with Squisito Franchise Enterprises at www.squisitofranchise.com.
Element by Westin debuts in Knoxville
Knoxville, TN – January 8, 2021 – Element Hotels, part of Marriott International, along with Chattanooga-based 3H Group. Inc. announce today the opening of Element by Westin Knoxville West, marking the debut of the stylish and eco-focused hotel brand in Knoxville. The new build hotel aims to fuel a balanced life for travelers on the road. Designed for today’s healthy, active traveler, Element Hotels has redefined the longer stay experience with a nature-inspired design philosophy that is clean, modern and bright.
“We are thrilled to be bringing such a fun and vibrant brand to Knoxville for the first time with the opening of this property” said Hiren Desai, President and Chief Executive Officer of 3H Group, Inc.
The Element Knoxville West boasts 105 spacious standard guest rooms, studio suites, one-bedroom suites, and studio commons suites. Offering the ideal location for the business and leisure traveler, the new Knoxville extended-stay hotel is just off I-75 and within short distances of eateries, shopping, and entertainment. The Element Knoxville West offers guests a bright, fresh, and inviting environment that seamlessly blends both work and play.
“The (Element) will provide a new extended-stay option that will appeal to both corporate and family travel,” said Desai. “This new hotel will undoubtedly bring an elevated hotel experience to all guests, whether traveling for business or pleasure.”
The new hotel provides guests with many eco-friendly amenities that are an important part of the Element Hotels experience. All guest rooms provide travelers with a filtered water system within each room. In the spa-inspired bathroom, guests will find low-flow water faucets, toilets and showers, as well as environmentally conscious body lotion, shampoo, conditioner and soap, containing certified organic ingredients by Pharmacopia, an all-natural vegan and cruelty-free brand. The hotel’s standard rooms are outfitted with a mini-fridge, microwave and sink, while the studio, one-bedroom, and studio commons suites are outfitted with a refrigerator, sink, microwave, dishwasher and two burner cooktops.
The hotel also features on-site versatile meeting and events room with 700 sq. ft. of usable space perfect for conferences, retreats, and training sessions.
Element Hotels aim to allow guests to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while on the road by offering a complimentary Rise breakfast every morning featuring a yogurt station, a fresh range of whole fruits, and more. Those looking to keep up with their fitness routine can enjoy the 830-square-foot Motion Fitness center, open 24/7. Guests can also take their workout offsite while enjoying the local scenery via Element’s Bikes to Borrow program, which is run in partnership with Priority Bicycles. Complimentary bikes are available upon request for guests to enjoy during their stay. Notable attractions include World’s Fair Park, Neyland Stadium, Thompson Bowling Arena, Turkey Creek Shopping Center, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. For those looking to unwind after a long day, the hotel offers Element’s signature Relax evening reception hour, where guests can enjoy complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and appetizers.
Nightly rates start at $109. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 1 865-409-5030 or go to www.elementknoxvillewest.com
Johnson Architecture establishes scholarship at University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design
Johnson Architecture has established a $25,000 scholarship for University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design students that is intended to increase diversity in the profession.
The funds will be used for travel abroad experiences that are university-sponsored or -supported with $5,000 scholarships presented to students over the next five years.
“The University of Tennessee’s College of Architecture and Design is widely regarded for innovative and immersive programs, and we want to help foster that in a meaningful way,” said Daryl Johnson, founder and president of Johnson Architecture. “Providing the next generation of architects an opportunity to study abroad and experience architecture on another level will help broaden the perspective of deserving students. We welcome the partnership with UT to provide funding for these endeavors.”
Johnson, AIA, NCARB, is a 1984 graduate of the UT College of Architecture and Design, as are partners Eric Bowen, AIA (1992); Rick Friel, AIA (1992); and Jeff Williamson, AIA (2001); and an additional 13 members of the firm’s staff of architects and interior designers.
The Johnson Architecture Scholarship will be awarded by the college’s scholarship committee in accordance with university policy and available to students pursuing a major in the School of Architecture or School of Interior Architecture.
“When students are able to study abroad, they become better designers who contribute meaningfully to society,” said Scott Poole, dean of the college. “We sincerely thank Johnson Architecture and its leaders whose vision recognizes the value of study abroad for students and the future of the architecture and design professions.”
Applicants must be currently enrolled or admitted at UT, demonstrate successful academic performance and be considered a third-year student or higher, having completed a minimum of four semesters. While intended to address underrepresentation in the field of architecture and increase diversity, the scholarship shall be open to all applicants regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, or parental status or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law.
For more information about Johnson Architecture, visit https://www.jainc.com.
About Johnson Architecture Inc.
Founded in 1994 by Daryl Johnson, AIA, Johnson Architecture is a design firm that provides architecture, planning and full in-house interior design services for facilities of all types. Johnson Architecture has designed various sized projects for numerous purposes, including commercial, educational, healthcare, residential, restaurant, tourism and spiritual. Notable clients include Blackberry Farm, Clayton Homes, First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, Covenant Health, DENSO, Zoo Knoxville and The University of Tennessee. For more information, visit https://www.jainc.com.
Landscape Workshop acquires Volunteer Lawn Corporation
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Landscape Workshop recently completed the acquisition of the landscape operations of Volunteer Lawn Corporation, based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Founder and President Wendell Jones started Volunteer Lawn in 1978, growing it into the leading landscape company in East Tennessee. Following the acquisition, Wendell and his wife Vicki plan to begin retirement. “The employees and customers of Volunteer Lawn have always been important to me,” said Wendell Jones, “and when it was time for Vicki and I to retire, we picked the buyer who we thought would carry on our legacy of customer service and being a good place for our employees to work.”
“We are incredibly excited to combine our existing Knoxville operations with the operations of Volunteer Lawn,” said Landscape Workshop CEO J. T. Price. “Wendell Jones built the leading landscape company in East Tennessee, and our combined operations have more resources available to serve East Tennessee customers than any competitor. We are fully committed to upholding the level of customer service that Volunteer has established.”
Landscape Workshop’s Scott Ragsdale will continue as General Manager of Knoxville operations. Tyler Govert and Forrest Oliver from Volunteer will take on senior leadership roles in the combined organization, and a majority of Volunteer Lawn’s operations team will join the Landscape Workshop team.
Landscape Workshop is a full-service grounds management company that has been providing professional service and expert maintenance for outdoor commercial spaces since 1984. Landscape Workshop serves 10 Southeastern markets in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle. Landscape Workshop is backed by Carousel Capital and McKinney Capital.
Bradley served as Landscape Workshop’s legal counsel in this transaction. Volunteer Lawn was represented by Woolf McClane.
UScellular turns on 5G network for Knoxville customers
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 7, 2021) – UScellular customers across East Tennessee are now able to access the company’s 5G network. The initial deployment covers much of Knoxville, including downtown and densely populated areas in Farragut and North Knoxville.
Other areas of East Tennessee with access to 5G include portions of Blount, Sevier and Anderson counties. Access also has expanded regionally to include North Carolina, totaling more than 50 UScellular 5G sites throughout Tennessee and North Carolina.
“UScellular customers in East Tennessee will have access to even faster data connection speeds for a better experience on city streets, country roads and in their homes,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for UScellular in East Tennessee. “We encourage our new and current customers to check out the growing number of 5G smartphones and connected devices in our portfolio, so they can benefit as we expand our 5G network.”
The multi-year network expansion for 5G in East Tennessee is a result of previous network investments to modernize equipment and software. Additional 5G coverage will be added in the future to enhance the network experience for UScellular customers.
The company has a growing portfolio of 5G smartphones from Apple, LG and Samsung, connected devices and IoT solutions with a range of price points for everyone to experience 5G.
The initial 5G network deployment is on the company’s 600 MHz spectrum and will provide customers in Tennessee communities with faster data speeds, seamless video chatting and a more responsive mobile experience.
A 5G coverage map is available at https://www.uscellular.com/coverage-map. This will be updated as more 5G network coverage is added. For more information about UScellular’s 5G network, please go to uscellular.com/5G.
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.
Blackberry Farm & Blackberry Mountain announce the 2021 Blackberry Year lineup
WALLAND, Tennessee (January 2021) – Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain, the award-winning East Tennessee Relais and Chåteaux resorts, announced their first installment of the 2021 Blackberry Year, a year of intimate experiences connecting guests with unique personalities. Throughout 2021, the Blackberry Year will feature a rare series of intimate, in-person events with acclaimed artists, chefs, vintners, authors, thought leaders and wellness experts. These one-of-a-kind experiences are designed to engage, stimulate and awaken. As in years past, the Blackberry Year evokes curiosity and motivates personal growth, inspired by Proprietor Mary Celeste Beall’s invitation to celebrate “RARE Moments” in 2021.
“Though the Blackberry Year may look a little different in 2021, our purpose has remained the same – to provide our guests with RARE Moments to learn, grow, connect and create in a safe and inclusive environment,” says Beall.
Throughout 2021, guests of Blackberry Farm will be treated to intimate events that highlight culinary talents, unique beverage producers, wellness experts and thought leaders. Blackberry Mountain will offer immersive Focused Weeks of wellness, art, culinary and adventure that include small classes, lectures and adventures.
Blackberry Farm is scheduled to host a robust roster of personalities throughout the first quarter of 2021, including Sacred Space founder Chrissy Carter; James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef Cheetie Kumar and wine expert Henri Gabriel; coach and pro cyclist Robbie Ventura; award-winning photographer Heather Anne Thomas, and many more. A full list of personalities and a schedule of events can be found online, with additional experiences being announced soon.
Blackberry Mountain will offer RARE opportunities for guests to dive deeper into the core elements of the Mountain lifestyle: wellness, culinary, adventure and art. Led by the Mountain’s on-property experts and thought leaders, immersive Focused Weeks incorporate curated workshops, treatments, demonstrations and master classes, and are scheduled to include Focus on Wellness: Body; Focus on Art: Photography & Writing with visiting award-winning photographer Bonjwing Lee; Focus on Culinary: Flavor, and more, taking place in early 2021. A list of Focused Weeks programming can be found online with more personalities and details for future weeks to be announced in the coming months.
Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain are committed to providing remarkable 2021 experiences for guests while ensuring their health and safety. Both properties are upholding the highest health standards with extensive Blackberry Wellbeing Efforts. For more information, please click here.
About Blackberry Farm
Located 25 miles from Knoxville, Blackberry Farm, a Relais & Châteaux property, is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed destination for business retreats and leisure getaways. The 4,200-acre estate, which also owns a nearby 5,000 acres of protected wilderness, is celebrated as an unrivaled food and wine destination, providing the ultimate in farm-to-table cuisine and a wine collection of more than 160,000 bottles from around the world. Blackberry Farm’s Foothills Cuisine® pays homage to locally sourced and seasonally fresh products grown on the property’s four-acre garden. Activities abound at Blackberry Farm and include fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, wellness activities, spa, sporting clays, yoga, cycling, and more. For more information on Blackberry Farm or to make a reservation, please visit: www.blackberryfarm.com. Blackberry Farm, LLC, encompasses the hotels, brewery, retail enterprises, and charitable outreach of the Blackberry Farm family of brands and the Blackberry Farm Foundation, which has donated $1.5 million to local non-profit organizations.
About Blackberry Mountain
Spanning 5,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains, with 2,800 acres dedicated to land conservation, Blackberry Mountain, a Relais & Châteaux property, continues the legacy of the Beall family’s world-renowned hospitality as well as unwavering dedication and appreciation for the land. Blackberry Mountain is a perfect adventurous retreat for family, friends or business, offering modern-day luxuries in an unencumbered natural environment. Seasonal menus pay homage to locally sourced, fresh ingredients and the bounty of the Great Smoky Mountains. From relaxing spa treatments to outdoor adventures, activities are vast on the Mountain and include hiking, tree climbing, foraging, fly fishing, mountain biking, aerial yoga and more. Transportation around Blackberry Mountain is provided exclusively by Lexus.
Timberland Partners acquires Heritage Lakes Apartments through real estate investment fund
(Jan. 4, 2021) – Timberland Partners has acquired Heritage Lake Apartments, a 262-unit apartment community in Knoxville, Tenn. This was Timberland Partners’ ninth acquisition in 2020. This is also Timberland Partners’ first property in the Knoxville area and tenth in the state of Tennessee.
Built in 2001, the Class A property is located 20 minutes west of the downtown core. Residents can choose from updated and spacious one, two and three-bedroom floorplans. All units have a balcony or patio, high ceilings, crown molding, full-size washer and dryer hookups and modern kitchens. The property has its own one-acre lake, gazebo, 24-hour accessible fitness center and a recently updated swimming pool.
The apartment community has been significantly updated and improved. Approximately 75 percent of the units have new kitchen countertops, cabinet doors, stainless steel appliances, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures. Timberland Partners has plans for additional renovations and improvements to the apartments and common spaces upon closing.
Heritage Lake is conveniently located near several large area employers, and shopping, dining and entertainment options. Knoxville is an attractive real estate market and aligns well with Timberland’s overall investment strategy. The community is growing, with a diverse and educated population. The city is home to the University of Tennessee, five state parks, nine lakes, and boasts countless options for outdoor activities.
“Heritage Lake Apartments is in a highly sought-after neighborhood with multiple competitive advantages that will set it apart for years to come,” said Aaron Spiegle, Acquisition Specialist with Timberland Partners. “We are very excited to add this property to our portfolio and to enter the Knoxville market. This was an attractive opportunity for our real estate investment partners that is primed to produce strong returns.”
Minneapolis-based Timberland Partners owns and manages a portfolio of 81 communities in 15 states for a total of more than 17,000 apartment units. It offers a boutique investment firm experience rooted in the values of integrity, transparency and honesty. To learn more visit www.TimberlandPartners.com.
Newmark closes nearly $80 million in FHA financing for multifamily assets in the Knoxville MSA
Knoxville, TN (Jan. 4, 2020) — Newmark has completed $79 million in FHA financing for multiple multifamily assets in the Knoxville, Tennessee MSA–including Kingston Pike Village–in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Newmark’s Multifamily Capital Markets Group Directors David Pinson and Bill Tanker arranged $36.6 million in FHA 221(d)(4), a combined construction/permanent loan, on behalf of Watt Road Investments, LLC for the new construction of Kingston Pike Village in Farragut, Tennessee. The community will include nine three- and four-story apartment buildings offering 228 market-rate, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. There will be surface parking with 399 spaces and 24 units will offer attached garages. Kingston Pike Village will offer a full range of amenities including a fitness center, a pool, a game room and a grill station. The community is on an adjacent lot to a brand-new grocery store being developed simultaneously. The site is also within a short walk of a large public park with several athletic fields, walking trails, a playground and a lagoon. Located at Kingston Pike & South Watt Road, the property offers easy access to Interstate 40 for those commuting to downtown Knoxville or the University of Tennessee.
“Kingston Pike Village will be an outstanding apartment community for families in one of the premier towns in East Tennessee,” said Tanker. “Newmark worked with the development team every step of the way to bring this project to fruition. We are so pleased to provide the construction and permanent financing to fund the project.”
Additionally, Pinson recently closed additional transactions in the area, helping borrowers lower interest rates, reduce MIP (mortgage insurance premiums) and deploy capital for other projects. These transactions, including Kingston Pike Village, resulted in Newmark originating nearly $80 million in loans in Knoxville in the fourth quarter of 2020.
About Newmark (Nasdaq: NMRK)
Newmark Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries (“Newmark”), is a world leader in commercial real estate services, with a comprehensive suite of investor/owner and occupier services and products. Our integrated platform seamlessly powers every phase of owning or occupying a property. Our services are tailored to every type of client, from owners to occupiers, investors to founders, growing startups to leading companies. Harnessing the power of data, technology, and industry expertise, we bring ingenuity to every exchange, and imagination to every space. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently owned offices, our 18,800 professionals operate from approximately 500 offices around the world, delivering a global perspective and a nimble approach. In 2019, Newmark generated revenues in excess of $2.2 billion. To learn more, visit nmrk.com or follow @newmark.
Discussion of Forward-Looking Statements About Newmark
Statements in this document regarding Newmark that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These include statements about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results, financial position, liquidity and outlook, which may constitute forward-looking statements and are subject to the risk that the actual impact may differ, possibly materially, from what is currently expected. Except as required by law, Newmark undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For a discussion of additional risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see Newmark’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including, but not limited to, the risk factors and Special Note on Forward-Looking Information set forth in these filings and any updates to such risk factors and Special Note on Forward-Looking Information contained in subsequent reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q or Form 8-K.
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, American Federation of Musicians reach union agreement
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 546 have reached an agreement that will bring the musicians of the KSO back to the stage from a furlough that began last August because of the pandemic.
The agreement covers the remainder of the 2020-21 season with the musicians returning to work on Feb. 1, 2021. It offers flexibility to the musicians and to the KSO as the organization continues to navigate the ongoing pandemic and its effects on the Symphony’s ability to safely serve the East Tennessee community. Specific plans for performances are expected to be announced in January.
The KSO recognizes the sacrifices of its musicians and appreciates their willingness to work through a very difficult period that has taxed every performing arts organization across the country.
“The pandemic handed the KSO one of the biggest challenges it has ever faced,” KSO Board Chair Bill Riley said. “While we have much work yet to do, I thank the musicians – who are the heart of our organization – for their efforts over the last several weeks as we persevered in reaching an agreement. I am confident that we will emerge from this critical time in our history stronger than ever.”
“We are all looking forward to bringing music back to our patrons and the Knoxville community, especially during this challenging time,” said Stacy Nickell, a cellist for the KSO and Orchestra Committee chair. “I am glad we were able to reach an agreement, as we all need the healing power of music. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra can continue to grow and thrive despite the pandemic, thanks to the collaborative effort of our many talented musicians and creative staff.”
On Aug. 28, the KSO board voted to furlough all musicians and most of the administrative staff as concerts were canceled through Jan. 31, 2021.
“COVID-19 has impacted the performing arts industry in profound ways,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said. “We have greatly missed interacting with our audiences, and for the last several months we have missed the musical gifts of our musicians. Finding a path forward has been challenging, but in the end, the musicians, administrative staff and the board of directors have come together to reach an agreement that allows music to continue and our institution to move forward. I admire and thank the wonderful musicians of the KSO for their work in helping craft this agreement and look forward to seeing them on stage soon.”
Under the agreement, the musicians will return to work on Feb. 1, 2021, and continue through the end of the season on May 23, 2021. The musicians will be paid 80 percent of their weekly pay beginning Jan. 4, 2021.
The Symphony and its musicians look forward to performances – in whatever ways are possible – in February. The KSO currently is revising programming to conform to health guidelines and protocols and will announce programming in January.
The KSO plans to stream programming so that audiences can enjoy the sounds of their talented orchestra from the comfort and safety of their homes.
To receive updates from the Symphony, visit knoxvillesymphony.com and sign up for the newsletter. Follow the KSO on Twitter and Facebook at twitter.com/knoxsymphony and www.facebook.com/KnoxSymphony.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: Local entrepreneurs earn $10,500 in Knoxville Area Urban League business pitch contest
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