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VOL. 41 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 11, 2017

Ashe, De Friece returning to Museum Commission

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De Friece

Two East Tennesseans – Victor H. Ashe II of Knoxville and Nancy Baker De Friece of Bristol – have been reappointed to the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.

Speaker of the House Beth Harwell appointed Tina Hodges of Nashville as a new member and re-appointed Representative Steve McDaniel.

Ashe served as the first chair of the State Museum Commission from January 2010 until December 2013. He was mayor of Knoxville from 1988 until 2003.

He also served six years as a Tennessee state representative and nine years as a state senator. Ashe was the 24th United States Ambassador to Poland.

De Friece was recently re-elected as vice chair of the State Museum Commission, a position she has held since July 1, 2015. She is a former chairman of the Tennessee Arts Commission, and a charter member of the Hands On! Regional Museum, serving on the museum’s Business Council. She has received numerous honors, including the “Arts in Tennessee Award” presented by International Storytelling Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center’s Citizen’s Hall of Fame.

De Friece currently serves as president of Landmark Realty, Inc., and as a managing partner of Sikorski-De Friece Properties.

Thomas S. Smith of Nashville serves as the chairman of the Commission. Other members of the Commission include: Harbert Alexander Sr., Jackson; Pete Claussen, Knoxville; Walter G. Knestrick, Nashville; Deanie Parker, Memphis; Representative Charles Sargent, Franklin; Laura Travis, Dayton; Senator Bo Watson, Hixson, and Eleanor Yoakum, Tazewell.

ORNL selects new technical director


Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Lou Qualls is the new national technical director for molten salt reactors.

Qualls, a nuclear engineer who joined DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1988, will serve as a liaison among the nuclear industry, the national laboratory system and Department of Energy in defining the future of MSR technology in the U.S.

The new position was created in response to the private sector’s growing interest in MSRs as the next generation of power reactors. A significant number of nuclear plants are expected to close beginning in 2030, with most closed by 2045, as their operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expire.

Various companies are pursuing new reactor designs to replace this loss of nuclear energy, which represents approximately one-fifth of US-generated electricity and the nation’s largest source carbon-free energy.

“There are about ten U.S. companies developing MSR designs in hopes of seeing their technologies make it onto the grid,” Qualls says. “My job is to work with these vendors and DOE to understand how each design could fit into the energy market and to identify hurdles that could prevent these reactors from ever delivering electricity.

“It’s a positive step that shows the level of excitement from industry, DOE and the national labs.

“ORNL is the developer of the technology. The expertise and interest still resides in this area, but we have a limited amount of time to capture and utilize it,” Qualls adds.

“It’s important for the lab to acknowledge and secure the history and heritage and to be a strong focal point for the technology. We will be working closely with our university, industry and lab partners to do so as we move forward.”

UT’s Eighmy appointed to lead of UT-San Antonio


UT Vice Chancellor of Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy has been named president of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

He will continue to serve at the University of Tennessee Aug. 31

“Taylor Eighmy is a talented administrator, respected scholar, and national leader in higher education policy,” says UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport. “The University of Texas at San Antonio is very fortunate to have landed such a great president. Taylor has been a trusted advisor and key member of my senior leadership team, and he has been invaluable to our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“He will be greatly missed at Tennessee.”

After coming to UT as vice chancellor in 2012, Eighmy has overseen several notable accomplishments, none bigger in scope and visibility than The Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation.

“I look back on all the progress that has been made here by our faculty, staff and students, I look at our relationship with ORNL and with the local and state organizations interested in economic development, and I see nothing but positives,” Eighmy says. “The university is on an upward trajectory and has such a bright future. I wish Chancellor Davenport, her cabinet and the entire discovery enterprise the very best of luck.”

UT professor joins first fellowship class


Louis J. Gross, University of Tennessee professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and mathematics, has been chosen as a member of the inaugural class of fellows of the Society for Mathematical Biology.

Gross is the founding and current director of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and director of UT’s Institute for Environmental Modeling.

His research focuses on computational and mathematical ecology, with applications to plant ecology, conservation biology, natural resource management and landscape ecology.

Gross was among 18 fellows of the society named in the inaugural class.

Five firefighters honored by KFD

The 2016 Firefighters of the Year: Assistant Chief Jim Arnold, Capt. Dale Patterson, Capt. Pete Hayes, Senior Firefighter Chris Hill and Senior Firefighter Erica Behning.

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The Knoxville Fire Department has named its firefighters of the year: Assistant Chief Jim Arnold, Capt. Dale Patterson, Capt. Pete Hayes, senior firefighter Chris Hill and senior firefighter Erica Behning.

The five firefighters were honored for saving two lives in a smoke-filled apartment building in March, 2016. The fire was at Williamsburg Village Apartments at 5005 Inskip.

The team entered a burning apartment and pulled two unresponsive residents to safety.

“It’s no coincidence that our firefighters seem to always be in the right place, at the right time,” Mayor Madeline Rogero says.

“They immediately know what to do, and they do it skillfully, even if it means putting themselves in danger to help a stranger. That says a lot about the quality of their training, but even more importantly, it speaks volumes about their courage and their character.”

THEC picks KUB’s Roach for vice-chair


The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has elected Mintha Roach as vice-chair for East Tennessee.

Roach, who lives in Knoxville, is the president and chief executive officer of the Knoxville Utilities Board. Having worked at KUB since 1992, she became president and CEO in 2004.

Roach was appointed to the Commission by Governor Bill Haslam in 2015.

“Colleges and universities in Tennessee have demonstrated that they are focused on student success and, as a Commission, we want to be responsive to student and campus needs,” Roach says. “I look forward to serving as Vice-Chair of the Commission and continuing the forward-thinking work of my fellow Commission members and staff.”

THEC serves as the coordinating body for Tennessee’s 51 public colleges and universities, which collectively educate nearly 250,000 students. The Commission coordinates the state’s six locally-governed universities and the two systems of public higher education, the University of Tennessee system and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

TNBANK’s Holder named to Vistage board

Mark Holder, executive vice president and chief credit officer at TNBANK, has been selected as a member of the Key Executive peer advisory board by Vistage Worldwide, Inc.

He joins more than 200 senior executives, business owners and CEOS who are Vistage members.

Holder is an Oak Ridge native and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mark to this diverse group of exceptional senior executives who play pivotal roles in achieving accelerated growth in their companies and are growing quickly themselves as leaders,” Board Chair Kurt Greene says. “Mark joins them in a special commitment, one which is enhancing not only their own lives, but also those of their families, employees and others they touch in their communities.”

TNBANK, headquartered in Oak Ridge, serves five branches in Anderson, west Knox and Blount Counties.

Alcoa City Schools announces honorees


Alcoa City Schools Foundation has named its Legacy of Excellence winners. The event to celebrate those recognized will be held Aug. 19.

Retired Brig. Gen. Dwight Creasy of Alcoa High School and Sylvia Porter of Charles M. Hall High School are to be acknowledged as top alumni.

Creasy, a graduate of Alcoa High in the Class of 1971, the University of Tennessee and the UT College of Law, earned a master’s degree at George Washington University. He served as staff judge advocate for Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and currently, he is the general counsel of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.


Porter graduated from Charles M. Hall High School, Tennessee A&I State University in 1964 and earned her master’s degree from Tennessee State in 1966.

She became the first African-American female in the state to be named as a local director in Blount County as director of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. She worked with the Head Start program in Knoxville and helped adults with developmental disabilities in Lenoir City.

In the Legacy of Service category, Geraldine Upton was recognized.

In the Legacy of Leadership Award, John Harris Fowler and the Fowler family were named. In addition, the Beightol and Ware families will be honored for leadership and service.

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee was recognized with the Legacy of Partnership Award.