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VOL. 43 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 27, 2019

PYA’s Pershing announces end-of-year retirement

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Edward V. Pershing, co-founder and chief executive officer of PYA P.C. will retire from the firm at the end of 2019.

PYA is a health care consulting and certified public accounting firm headquartered in Knoxville.

Pershing’s departure will end a 36-year journey that started in December 1983, when he and Doug Yoakley, a colleague at Ernst & Ernst – a then “Big 8” accounting firm – struck out on their own to launch what was known as Pershing & Yoakley CPAs.

PYA has grown to become the 13th-largest health care management consulting firm in the U.S., as reported by Modern Healthcare, and a top 100 accounting firm by INSIDE Public Accounting.

“PYA is well-prepared for this transition,” Pershing says. “We have emphasized succession planning for years, and we have a great ownership group. The firm has never been stronger or better positioned in the marketplace.”

That succession process was initiated more than four years ago when Pershing relinquished the title of president, and PYA’s owners elected Marty Brown to the role. The firm’s owners elected Brown to assume Pershing’s CEO title as well, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

“Ed is the person whose vision, passion, imagination, persistence, and legendary great reluctance to back away from an opportunity have led to the nationally ranked and respected firm we are today,” Brown says. “Achieving the national rankings we have earned did not happen by accident. It started with Ed’s vision and the belief that anything could be achieved with the right dedication and the best talent.”

ORNL researchers take on major project

Three researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will lead or participate in collaborative research projects aimed at harnessing the power of quantum mechanics to advance a range of technologies including computing, fiber optics and network communication.

In total, DOE’s Office of Science made available more than $60 million to 10 universities, nine national laboratories, and one non-profit via its Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

ORNL is represented by two research teams on two of the three funded projects, each headed by a member of the laboratory’s Quantum Information Science Group.

Researchers Pavel Lougovski and Travis Humble received more than $8 million to oversee ORNL’s research efforts.

Nick Peters, the laboratory’s Quantum Information Science group leader and senior staff scientist, will lead a team that received more than $3 million to determine the architectural foundations for future transparent, all-optical networks based on quantum repeaters.

ORAU announces Pollard scholarships

Oak Ridge Associated Universities has named its 2019-2020 William G. Pollard Scholarships.

The recipients are Jamie Batson, Alexis Hammond, Ashlyn Ivey, Audra Jean Jones and Olivia Mahathy. Each will receive $2,500.

Each year, ORAU awards these scholarships to employees’ children who display exceptional achievements in their high school or undergraduate studies.

A University of Tennessee physics professor, Pollard founded the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies – which later became ORAU – to link the valuable scientific resources developed in Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project with regional universities.

Batson, of Knoxville, was the salutatorian of Karns High School and a National Merit Finalist in 2019. She is pursuing an accounting degree at the University of Tennessee.

Hammond, of Oak Ridge, was a 2019 graduate of Oak Ridge High School where she achieved a 4.14 GPA. She is pursuing a chemical engineering degree as an Honor College student at Auburn University.

Ivey, of Knoxville, graduate from Hardin Valley Academy with a 4.4 grade point average and earned a medical assistant certification. She is pursuing a major in biology on the pre-med track as an Honor College student at the College of Charleston.

Jones, of Oak Ridge, graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2018 with honors, state honors, and state distinction. She is a political science major at Austin Peay State University where she is has a cumulative GPA of 3.84.

Mahathy, of Oak Ridge, graduated in 2018 with state honors from Oak Ridge High where she was a member of the National Honor Society and the ORS Secret City Wildbots robotics team. She is pursuing a degree in business with a minor in music at Tennessee Tech University.

THEC selects East Tennesseans for fellowships

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has announced its inaugural cohort of the Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program, including several East Tennesseans.

This cohort-based professional development program is designed to develop the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education.

Beginning in October, fellows will convene on campuses across the state to learn from experts and build extended networks.

The program will facilitate individual development goals through professional assessments, one-on-one executive coaching, and mentoring networks and job shadowing experiences.

Fellows from East Tennessee are:

• Lori Bruce, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Tennessee Technological University

• Kelli Chaney, president, TCAT Knoxville

• Susanne Cox, vice president, TCAT Morristown

• Bo Drake, vice president of Economic and Workforce Development, Chattanooga State Community College

• Michael Hoff, chief planning officer, East Tennessee State University

• Theresa Liedtka, dean, UTC Library, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

• Connie Marshall, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, Northeast State Community College

• David L. Miller, chief financial officer, University of Tennessee

TN Homeland Security honors first responders

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security honored first responders, including several East Tennesseans.

Honorees are nominated by his or her peers and represent the 11 homeland security districts, law enforcement agencies, and emergency responders throughout Tennessee, as well as state agencies.

First Responder Recipients are:

• Dispatcher Jessica Donihe, Bristol Police Department

• Investigator Wendy Zolkowski, Oak Ridge Police Department

• Officer Ethan Grantham, Knoxville Police Department

• Capt. Hank Smith, Bradley County Fire and Rescue

• Firefighter Zakk Gilreath, Bradley County Fire and Rescue

• Lt. Aaron Hicks, Bradley County Fire and Rescue

• Lt. C.J. Davis, Bradley County Fire and Rescue

• Dispatch Supervisor Becky Waller, Bradley County Fire and Rescue

Kramer Rayson attorneys named ‘Lawyers of Year’

Six Kramer Rayson attorneys earned Lawyers of the Year as part of the Best Lawyers 2020 publication.

Those recognized and their fields of expertise are:

• Beecher A. Bartlett, Jr., insurance law personal injury litigation - defendants personal injury litigation - plaintiffs

• Warren L. Gooch, administrative/regulatory law, government relations, health care law

• Thomas M. Hale, litigation real estate, commercial litigation, corporate law, land use and zoning litigation – municipal.

• Jackson G. Kramer, litigation - trusts and estates, real estate law

• Steven E. Kramer, employment law - management labor law, management litigation, labor and employment

• John E. Winters, employment law, management insurance law, labor management litigation

Pinnacle Maryville adds Brown as senior VP

Pinnacle Financial Partners’ office in Maryville has announced two new hires.

Mike Brown is a senior vice president and financial advisor supporting the firm’s client services team.

Amy Howell has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a mortgage advisor assistant.

Brown, with 37 years of experience, comes to Pinnacle from SmartBank (formerly Foothills Bank & Trust), where he was vice president of commercial and consumer lending. Previously, he was with Mountain National Bank, where he was president and chief executive officer, First National Bank of Gatlinburg, where he served as senior operations officer and First Federal Savings Bank (now Regions), where he was branch administrator and compliance officer.

Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Tennessee and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Howell brings 14 years of experience and comes to Pinnacle from Mortgage Investors Group in Lenoir City, where she was a mortgage processor. Other roles included serving as a post-closing auditor for Mortgage Investors Group in Knoxville and an office administrator for Century 21 Smoky Mountain Realty & Log Homes of the Smokies. Howell began her career in 2005 at Regions Bank in Maryville, where she served as an assistant branch manager.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee.

UTIA team wins engineering contest

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Biosystems Engineering Senior Design Team won first place in the G.B. Gunlogson Student Environmental Design Open Competition at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

The student project, titled “Soil Fracking for Stormwater Infiltration Enhancement,” represents an entire academic year of work and collaboration. Overall, nine collegiate teams submitted designs and three were invited to participate in the oral competition held at ASABE’s international meeting.

This is the sixth win for UT students in the past 10 years.

Members of the team are Matthew Johnsen, James Lewis, Christian Patterson and Ryan Watson, all of whom graduated in 2019. The team is advised by associate professor John Tyner and senior lecturer Andrew Sherfy, both from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science.

ETSU assistant professor honored by nursing group

Christine Mullins has received the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Novice Faculty Excellence Clinical Teaching award.

She is an assistant professor in East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing.

Mullins began her teaching career at ETSU in October of 2014 as a clinical training director and clinical coordinator on an interprofessional education grant, later accepting a tenure-track assistant professor position with the College of Nursing in 2016.

She was most recently funded by the ETSU College of Nursing Research for creation of a digital clinical application, an idea that sparked from attending the inaugural American Association of Colleges of Nursing/Apple Digital Innovative Bootcamp in 2018.

Mullins serves as a co-leader for a working group in the Tennessee Interprofessional Practice and Education Consortium exploring interprofessional classroom-based educational endeavors. She is also a member of the Northeast Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association, Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, Virginia Nurses’ Association, and American Nurses’ Association.

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