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VOL. 44 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 20, 2020

UT communications school honors top alumni

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The University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information has announced its alumni of the year honors.

The Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient is Lelan Statom of Nashville, who in 2019 was named national Broadcaster of the Year by the National Weather Association.

Other honorees include: Advertising Alumnus of the Year Brad Jacobus, ‘06, Communication Studies Alumnus of the Year Curt Maggitt ’14, Information Sciences Alumnus of the Year David Johnson MSIS ’93, Journalism and Electronic Media Alumna of the Year Teresa Walker BS/JEM ’87, and Public Relations Alumnus of the Year Jamie Lonie PR ’10.

Most of Statom’s professional career has been with NewsChannel 5 (WTVF) in Nashville, which he joined in 1993 as a weather anchor for the weekend morning and evening newscasts.

In 1999, he became part of the station’s No. 1-rated morning newscast, NewsChannel 5 This Morning. In 2006, he became co-host of Talk of the Town, the station’s long running and top-rated talk show.

During his time at WTVF, Statom has earned five Emmy awards for severe weather and snow coverage and for co-hosting the station’s Fourth of July special. He has been named Best Weather Anchor in the state three times by the Tennessee Associated Press. In 2019, he was named national Broadcaster of the Year by the National Weather Association.

Other winners:

• Jacobus is the chief marketing officer and founder of JRW Partners. He’s a strategic brand builder, creative minded, ROI-driven marketing executive that can develop both the strategic and tactical framework that drives proven sales and traffic success within multiple industries. He has a deep understanding of organizational development to create “best in class” teams while developing processes to be the most efficient under high-pressure situations. Jacobus’ most recent experience spans from national to regional brands, mainly in the restaurant/hospitality sector. He currently owns his own business, along with two executive partners, which focuses on helping businesses develop their overall business strategy even to fractional department support needs. Most recently, he led the rebranding efforts as chief marketing officer for Logan’s Roadhouse, reenergizing the brand to positive consecutive quarterly sales for the first time in multiple years. Before Logan’s Roadhouse, he held multiple brand positions at Cotton Patch Café, O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar, Ruby Tuesday and media advertising sales.

• Maggitt is a former football linebacker who is pursuing his MBA from the Haslam College of Business, focusing his studies on entrepreneurship and supply chain management. He currently serves as a procurement analyst intern with Honeywell and will join their Supply Chain Leadership Program, ISC PACE, after graduation. In 2019, he held a charity fundraiser called “A Night to Remember,” which raised more than $10,000 for children in east Knoxville. Since returning to UT, has served as a consultant with the athletic department’s programs for professional development. He gained experience in leadership development while working as an instructor with The Program LLC. He owns his own photography studio, TooMaggitt LLC, which specializes in weddings, portraits and events. He also holds a Florida real estate license and a freediving certification. Maggitt was an All-Southeast Conference linebacker for the Vols from 2011-15.

• Johnson is executive director of the Fayetteville, Arkansas, Public Library and has served in that position since 2012 He is currently guiding a massive renovation of the facility. The Fayetteville Public Library, which won the Library Journal and Thompson/Gale Publishers’ 2005 Library of the Year Award, has long been the growing city’s hot spot for learning, special events and community gatherings. Johnson’s proposal for the 80,000-square foot library expansion includes: A teaching kitchen that will allow high school students to earn an associate degree through a partnership with a local culinary institution, a 700-seat auditorium for concerts and author talks that can convert into a 500-seat banquet hall; a virtual reality lab; a full-size audio recording studio; a video studio; a robotics lab and more.

• Walker is the Tennessee sports editor for The Associated Press and a three-time Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year. She was elected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame in the 2020 class. Upon graduation from the University of Tennessee in June 1987, she went to work as a news reporter for The Daily Times in Maryville. She joined The Associated Press in Nashville in December 1989, and became Tennessee sports editor for AP in June 1992. Walker has covered five Olympics, four Super Bowls, a handful of Southeastern Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, several NCAA Tournaments and regional finals and the 2014 Women’s Final Four in Nashville. She won an APSE award for a feature from the Masters in 2015. She also covers the NHL’s Nashville Predators, including the 2017 Stanley Cup Final; Vanderbilt football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball; the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Tigers. She became beat writer for the now Tennessee Titans in Nashville in July 1997 and is one of the AP’s Pro Football Writers helping cover the NFL. She is a two-time president of the Pro Football Writers Association’s Nashville chapter and a past president of the TSWA.

• Lonie is the founder of Amplifi Digital and has worked for nearly a decade to address the global learning crisis and amplify the education experiences of students around the world. Lonie began his career as an elementary school science teacher as a Teach For America corps member. As a result of his classroom experience and subsequent master’s in education degree, he founded his company Amplifi Digital to support digital communications at education nonprofits. Lonie develops online marketing campaigns for mission-driven organizations that aim to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality and inclusive education for all. In this capacity, he has served global organizations like the Education Commission and the Global Business Coalition for Education, managing digital content across these organizations’ websites, blogs, email campaigns and social media channels. He continues to support UT students through his service as a member of CCI’s Board of Visitors and as the President of the UTK New York City Alumni Chapter.

Trust Company adds Davis as accountant

Henry Davis has been hired by The Trust Company of Tennessee as an accountant in the firm’s Knoxville office.

Based in Knoxville, The Trust Company of Tennessee is a state-chartered bank with more than $3.5 billion under management.

“Henry’s experience overseeing complex finances make him a great addition to our strong team,” says Daniel Carter, president of The Trust Company of Tennessee.

A native of Dallas and raised in Chicago, Davis moved to Knoxville to attend Tusculum College and earned a degree in business administration with an emphasis on accounting, employment law, business law, corporate finance and tax.

He previously worked as a sales accountant for Pilot Company, overseeing the cash line, inventory line and gross profit margin for more than 144 travel centers and 87 restaurant concepts.

East TN photographers win wildlife contest

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, one of the largest and oldest nonprofits dedicated to conserving the state’s wildlife and natural resources, has announce the winners of its sixth annual wildlife and landscape photo contest.

Several East Tennesseans won out of more than 3,400 photo submissions. Winners will be featured in the Federation’s 2021 wildlife calendar.

In addition to being featured in the calendar, photographers won a variety of prizes including Federation gear, custom birdhouses, gift cards and a duffle bag. The Federation would like to thank Academy Sports + Outdoors and Patagonia for sponsoring prizes.

Winners from East Tennessee are:

• Denise Neuendorf of Cleveland, Bryce Gibson of Knoxville

• Braam Oberholster of Ooltewah, Brian Anderson of Kingsport

• Joy Adams of Ooltewah

• Christopher Cannon of Oak Ridge

• Denise Hilley of Sevierville.

In the landscape contest:

• Brandon Johnson of Tellico Plains, first place

• Alisha Upton of Tellico Plains, second place.

Clifton to serve on diversity advocacy council

Nick Clifton of the Maryville College has been selected to serve on the Educator Diversity Advocacy Council.

He is a junior child development and learning with teacher licensure major.

The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance partnered with The Education Trust in Tennessee, to establish the Educator Diversity Advocacy Council. The Council consists of current and aspiring educators, public policy and education leaders, and advocates that will lead a statewide effort focused on increasing educator diversity in Tennessee. The Council will serve as architects of the 20×25 campaign, with a goal of increasing educators of color in Tennessee by 20% by 2025.

As a member of TECA, Dr. Cynthia Gardner, chair of the Division of Education and associate professor of education at MC, encouraged Clifton to apply to be on the Council.

“Nick is an advocate for children and a role model for children of color,’’ Gardner says. “I am inspired by the work that he does for the College and the community.’’

Clifton, who is from Sylvania, Georgia, is a member of the MC men’s basketball team, the Black Student Alliance, the Newman Civic Fellowship Council and the Kappa Delta Phi Educational Honors Society. Through his internship with Memphis Teacher Residency and his work as a Bonner Scholar, Clifton has gained much experience working with children by volunteering many hours at community centers and schools.

“I feel like these experiences have helped me prepare to join this council,’’ Clifton says. “I have made so many relationships with people from numerous economic classes, races and regions. I’ve heard different stories of how people were educated growing up and how diversity showed up in their education.”

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