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VOL. 43 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 5, 2019

Adams to manage pair of Knoxville hotels

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Skip Adams has been named dual general manager for The Tennessean hotel and the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park in Knoxville.

Rockbridge Capital purchased the two hotels in January and placed them under management by Aimbridge Hospitality, the country’s largest independent hotel investment and management firm. Aimbridge provides management, asset management, development, renovation and consulting services to 800 hotels.

Adams has 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including food and beverage, catering, operations, convention services and general management positions for Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, Noble Investment Group and Pacific Hospitality Group, in addition to his tenure with Aimbridge.

“It is an exciting time for Skip to lead The Tennessean and Holiday Inn,” says Mike McGilligan, Aimbridge Hospitality vice president of operations. “As we continue to build on the success of The Tennessean and undergo a significant upgrade and brand transition at the Holiday Inn, Skip’s depth and breadth of experience will be invaluable as we further enhance the guest experience.”

Wilson to chair Blount Memorial Foundation


The Blount Memorial Foundation has named its 2019 board of directors.

Greg Wilson, the community market president for Maryville at First Tennessee Bank, is the board’s chair. Mary Beth West, a public relations executive, is vice chair.

Other board members include:

• Joe Dawson, former administrator for Blount Memorial Hospital, now retired

• Attorney Matthew Haralson with Kizer & Black, Attorneys, PLLC

• Philip Hoffman, community volunteer and a retired cardiologist

• Lea Anne Law, an employee of the University of Tennessee for 25 years in various roles, including director for communications and outreach at the UT Science Center Graduate School of Medicine

• Boyce Smith, market eCommerce manager for Walmart’s Knoxville and Chattanooga markets;

• Bill Swiszowski, vice president of logistics for Altar’d State stores

• Tony Thompson, senior vice president and area manager for client services for Blount County at Pinnacle Financial Partners

“I am excited to work with such a well-respected, dedicated and diverse group of individuals who will have instrumental roles in guiding our future and cultivating community support for our Blount Memorial Foundation,” says Connie Huffman, Foundation president and chief operating officer. “The Foundation Board is committed to ensuring our mission of providing vital resources to the uninsured and underserved patients of Blount County and Blount Memorial Hospital for generations to come.”

Author Patterson rewards UT students


Best-selling author James Patterson and his wife Susan Solie Patterson have awarded $6,500 to four University of Tennessee graduate students in English and elementary education.

“The Patterson’s investment in teacher preparation is making a real impact on higher education, and we are pleased to have our college affiliated with the crucial work of their foundation,’’ says Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

The recipients are:

• Kelsey Fields, an elementary education major from Knoxville

• Rebecca Garren, an English education major from Athens working on her master’s degree

• Chantel Kluemper a graduate in English education with a concentration in literature working on her master’s degree

• Brianna Watkins, a graduate in American Studies, currently pursuing a graduate degree in elementary education.

WDVX welcomes Gulley, Williams


WDVX radio announces Steve Gulley and Anne Williams, two well-known talents within Americana, bluegrass, traditional country and gospel genres, are joining the staff.

Gulley is the former music director at the legendary Renfro Valley Barn Dance and Jamboree in Kentucky and previous program director and on-air talent for WCXZ/WLMU.


He will host WDVX’s “Rize and Shine” morning show and continue to tour and record solo and with his current band, Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle.

With over three decades in the radio industry, Williams joins the WDVX team as operations manager and development director bringing extensive experience across management, operations, on-air and engineering roles with her.

An earlier champion of Americana, Williams made the newly formed genre the focus of the “Acoustic Sunrise” show she hosted at WNRN in Charlottesville, Virginia, for 20 years.

UT President’s Award winners recognized

The University of Tennessee has announced its 2019 President’s Award winners.

Randy Boyd, UT interim president, announced the honorees, the highest honor a UT employee can receive from the University. Honorees are selected each year from a systemwide pool of candidates nominated by campus and institute leaders. Commemorative plaques and monetary awards of $3,000 are presented.

The winners are:

• Rapinder “Rupy” Sawhney, UT Knoxville professor in industrial and systems engineering, has significantly impacted the educational experiences of students at all levels. Along with teaching and mentoring, Sawhney is the executive director for the Center for Advanced System Research and Education and a Heath Faculty Fellow in business and engineering.

• Karen Johnson, UT Health Science Center College of Medicine endowed professor of women’s health, has made significant scientific contributions to the understanding of and interventions for hypertension and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy. She has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for 24 years, receiving more than $50 million in grant funding. She has also contributed as a co-investigator in peer-reviewed studies funded by NIH or the Department of Defense. The funding for those studies totals more than $45 million.

• Sarah Hillyer, director of the Center for Sport, Peace and Society in the UT Knoxville College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of sport for community development, peace building, disability inclusion and gender equity. She also serves as co-primary investigator of a U.S. Department of State grant for the Global Sports Mentoring Program, which has brought more than $10 million in grant funding to UT since 2012.

• Kathy Gibbs, assistant vice chancellor for student academic support services and inclusion, has profoundly impacted almost every student at the UT Health Science Center. Gibbs researches best practices in academic support and has created multiple tutoring programs that assist students and has helped educate staff with test preparation.

• Valerie Rutledge, dean of the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies at UT Chattanooga, embraces diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university. She also continues to financially and administratively assist the Moc Forward Diversity Conference.

Beckendorf-Edou to take new position


Dr. Tracey Beckendorf-Edou, executive director of teaching and learning at Oak Ridge Schools, has accepted a job in Washington State.

She will be the superintendent of Cascade School District in Chelan County.

She has worked for Oak Ridge Schools since the 2012-2013 school year. Previously, Beckendorf-Edou worked for Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Dobyns-Bennett principal Hampton honored


Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett High principal Chris Hampton has been named the 2019 recipient of the William J. and Lucille H. Field Award for Excellence in Secondary Principalship for Tennessee.

The honor comes from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee. It recognizes a leadership excellence by a secondary school principal.

Hampton’s education background includes an Ed.D. in educational administration and supervision, a master’s degree in elementary education and a bachelor’s degree in geography.

While Hampton has been principal at the school, Dobyns-Bennett has been recognized by Newsweek in its Top High Schools list; by U.S. News and World Report in its Best High Schools list; and by The Washington Post as a top high school for academic rigor.

UT board welcomes first-year law student


Johnelle Simpson, a first-year law student at the University of Tennessee, has been appointed to serve as the student member on the UT Knoxville Advisory Board.

Simpson’s term extends from July 1-June 30, 2020.

The board includes five public members appointed by the governor, one faculty member appointed by the campus’s faculty senate, and one student member appointed by the advisory board.

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