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VOL. 41 | NO. 36 | Friday, September 08, 2017

MCB welcomes Wilkes to staff as vice president

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Diane W. Wilkes has joined Mountain Commerce Bank as vice president and relationship manager, overseeing the bank’s Cedar Bluff branch in Knoxville and its client relationships.

Wilkes has more than 40 years in the financial services arena – all of it in Knoxville. She brings an extensive background in consumer, commercial and retail banking to her new role.

“We’re delighted to welcome Diane to the MCB family,” says William E. “Bill” Edwards III, MCB president and chief executive officer. “Her vast knowledge of banking and finance, along with her reputation for customer service and her thorough understanding and awareness of the Greater Knoxville community, will be tremendous assets for our business and personal banking clients.”

Wilkes attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is a graduate of the Tennessee School of Banking and Commercial Lending Schools at Vanderbilt. She has also successfully completed more than a dozen specialized financial training and banking-related courses during her career.

Maryville High gets gift to spruce up lecture hall


Maryville High School has received a donation from alum William “Ed” Harmon to improve the seating, flooring, sound, and aesthetics of the lecture hall at the school.

Harmon was born and raised in Maryville and is a graduate of Maryville High School’s class of 1963.

Previously named the Ruby Tuesday lecture hall from the original community investment in the space, the room will now be called the “Ed Harmon Lecture Hall.”

“This room has been one of our most heavily used spaces in the building since it opened in 2001,’’ says Greg Roach, principal. “The wear and tear from constant use was beginning to show and a complete update was long overdue. Mr. Harmon’s gift will benefit students, faculty and our community for many years.”

Harmon received an associate’s degree from Martin Methodist College, a bachelor of arts degree and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and an honorary doctorate from Hiwassee College in 2008.

Knoxville Police Dept. graduates 39 new recruits

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and Mayor Madeline Rogero announced the graduation of 39 recruits from the Police Academy.

The recruits were in training for 28 weeks.

Each will pair up with experienced training officers for another 21 weeks, gaining real-life patrol experience. Combined, the recruits will go through a nearly year-long training program.

For this class of 39 trainees, 462 candidates applied for Academy openings, Mayor Rogero says.

“KPD is getting the cream of the crop,” she told the graduates and their families at a recent ceremony.

About 1 in 12 applicants were accepted and made it through from application to graduation.

The 2017-A basic recruit class is made up of these new officers:

  • Anthony D. Bradley
  • Christopher M. Brooks
  • David C. Chandler
  • Joseph C. Clabo
  • Jonathon D. Clabough
  • Hayden E. Cochran
  • Caleb M. Coffey
  • Andrew C. Connell
  • Conner A. Cox
  • Terry M. Crowe
  • Burnett A. Cummings
  • Anthony T. Estrada
  • Nathaniel J. Gardin
  • Jonathan M. Gomez
  • Ethan D. Grantham
  • Patrick M. Green
  • Jordan S. Hardy
  • Tyler L. Harmon
  • Bradley C. Heath
  • Stephen C. Henderson
  • Melissa M. Hernandez
  • Gordon R. Johnson
  • Hunter D. Lehman
  • Austin L. McCoy
  • Christopher W. McKinney
  • Christopher L. Medina
  • Stephen D. Mercado
  • Donald R. Mullins
  • Mark E. Niethammer
  • Geraldo O. Orta
  • Christopher G. Ott
  • Martin S. Rice
  • Dustin J. Roberts
  • Dexter D. Rogers
  • Daniel T. Soldner
  • Curtis R. Stabler
  • John W. Steele (KFD)
  • Ethan F. Thompson
  • Francisco S. Vargas
  • Robert C. Wiesenberg

Eleazer named orchestra conductor


Alan Eleazer has been named conductor of the orchestra at Maryville College for the 2017-18 concert season.

He is an adjunct instructor of music and voice at the college.

Eleazer, who has been a professional musician, conductor and college educator in the East Tennessee area for more than 30 years, is also in his tenth season of serving as director of the Maryville College Community Chorus. He will continue in that role.

He has a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in sacred music and choral conducting from the University of Tennessee.

While working on his master’s degree, he developed an interest in orchestral conducting and studied with Maestro Kirk Trevor, former conductor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) who taught graduate instrumental conducting at UT.

Downtown Tapas & Tacos welcomes new chef

T.J. Saunders has been hired as the executive chef Babalu Tapas & Tacos, a downtown Knoxville restaurant.

Saunders will oversee the culinary staff and create dishes featuring authentic, gourmet tacos and Spanish-style tapas with a southern twist.

“Chef Saunders’ culinary experience is paired with the enthusiasm and passion we look for when making a new addition to our team,” says Dee Hust, general manager of Babalu Tapas & Tacos. “Chef Saunders impressed us from day one, and we look forward to seeing his creativity and innovation in the kitchen impress our guests.”

Previously, Saunders served as executive and regional chef for Maryville College. He also had served as executive chef at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Knoxville, Diverse Concepts in Knoxville and Café Del Mar in Del Mar, California. He served as a sous chef at Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad, California, and at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan.

Saunders trained under the direction of five certified master chefs in the Culinary Arts program at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. Before starting his culinary career, he served as corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

Keasling to retire from Home Federal


Dale Keasling has announced he will retire in December as chief executive officer of Home Federal Bank.

He will remain as chairman of its board of directors. He also will continue to serve the bank and its leadership in an advisory role.

Keasling’s CEO responsibilities will transition to President David Reynolds, a 22-year veteran of Home Federal Bank, which is the largest locally owned bank in East Tennessee. Reynolds was named president in early 2016 as part of a comprehensive succession plan and will hold both titles.

Keasling joined Valley Fidelity Bank in 1973 and was appointed president in 1980 and chairman in 1988. Following Valley Fidelity’s acquisition by First Tennessee, he joined Home Federal Bank as president in 1992.

“There are so many accomplishments at Home Federal I could point to with pride,” Keasling says. “However, I am most proud of our strong commitment to serving others and our community with the highest ethical standards.”

Hammer ordained as health care chaplain

Methodist Medical Center’s Mary Lou Hammer is a newly ordained health care chaplain.

She received her congregational endorsement from the United Church of Oak Ridge (Chapel on the Hill).

As Methodist Medical’s customer service coordinator, Hammer interacts with patients and guests on a daily basis. Since the January retirement of Chaplain Jack Sills, she has also been providing chaplaincy service at the hospital.

She has a master’s in Social Work and completed the laity theological core curriculum of the Capital Region Theological Center and spent two years in the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at the University of Tennessee Medical Center Pastoral Care Department.

Previously, she managed programs working with homeless persons through the Salvation Army and Ridgeview.

“This is truly a combination of everything I’ve been working toward in my professional career,” Hammer says. “I am a lifelong learner, and I have more goals I want to achieve as a Chaplain. The more I know, the more I know I want to learn more.”

Barton joins Crossville medical practices


Darren Barton, DO, has joined Covenant Health, Cumberland Medical Center and Cumberland Orthopedics in Crossville.

Barton is joining the orthopedic surgery team at Cumberland Orthopedics that includes Jon Simpson, MD and Ashley Reagan, PA-C.

Barton’s clinical interests are: general orthopedic care, foot and ankle issues, rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain and shoulder and knee replacements.

He attended Lincoln Memorial University and DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

His residency was in Orthopedic Surgery at Wellmont Orthopedic Residency Program. His fellowship in sports medicine was at Hughston Clinic.

Interns represent ORNL GEM fellowship


Oak Ridge National Laboratory participated in the National GEM Consortium summer fellowship program with interns working in the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate and in the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate.

Participants worked with mentors across the lab for 10 weeks in areas as diverse as microbial engineering and electrical grid design. GEM fellows at ORNL pitch their research during a technical presentation competition for a chance to advance to the national competition.

Matheos Asfaw, Chukwuemeka Obikwelu, and Jessica Velez were selected to represent ORNL at the GEM Annual Conference September 8-9, in New York City.

About the GEM interns and their mentors this summer were:

Asfaw, an M.S. student in computer science at the University of Southern California, mentored by Gautam Thakur of the Geographic Information Science and Technology Group.

Kreston Barron, Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering at the Georgia Tech, mentored by Ryan Kerekes.

Joshua Benjamin, Ph.D. student in civil engineering at South Florida, mentored by Brennan Smith.

Bryan Blaise, Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Tech, mentored by Alex Melin of the Sensors and Embedded Systems Group in the EESRD.

Nick Jean-Louis, Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Rice University, mentored by Som Shrestha.

Obikwelu, Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at the Georgia Tech, mentored by Suman Debnath.

Velez, Ph.D. student in energy science and engineering at the University of Tennessee, mentored by Josh Michener.

Anthony Villareal, M.S. student in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Techn, mentored by Jeffrey Munk of the Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research Group in the ETSD.