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VOL. 45 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 2, 2021

Bennett steps down; Ellestad named interim

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Dick Bennett, longtime professor and director of the Stoneking engage Engineering Fundamentals program at the University of Tennessee, is leaving the position.

He will return to teaching full time.

Rachel Ellestad, senior lecturer and research assistant professor, has been named interim director, effective May 1.

Bennett has served as director of the program since 2008. Under his leadership, the program nearly doubled the number of students it serves, as well as incorporated a large number of educational innovations that have led to continual improvements over time, including the EF Study Room, the flipped classroom approach many of the EF courses now use and, along with Distinguished Lecturer Will Schleter, the initial development of the Innovation and Collaboration Studio.

“I look forward to continue to teach in Engineering Fundamentals and to have more time to interact with the students,” Bennett says. “Moving to the Zeanah Engineering Complex is very exciting and it will be fun to teach in the space that we spent so much time designing.”

ORNL welcomes Jenks

Cynthia Jenks has been named associate laboratory director for the Physical Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Her job will begin April 19.

Jenks comes to ORNL from Argonne National Laboratory, where she directs the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, overseeing the contributions of 17 research groups. Before her time at Argonne, Jenks served in a variety of roles at Ames Laboratory.

Jenks holds a doctorate and master’s in physical chemistry as well as a master’s in chemical engineering, all from Columbia University in New York. Her bachelor’s in chemical engineering is from UCLA.

Throughout her career in the national laboratory system, Jenks has developed strong relationships within DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, or BES, one of the nation’s largest sponsors of research in the physical sciences. The research she leads at Argonne is also supported by DOE’s offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Jenks is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and her extensive multidisciplinary research has resulted in 123 publications.

Ortiz earns top employee award

The Tranzonic Companies has selected Pablo Ortiz as its 2020 Knoxville employee of the year.

Ortiz joined the company in 2000 and currently serves as a facility technician. He was nominated and recognized by the company and his peers for his dedication to doing great work and a self-starting approach.

“Keeping our production facilities in good working order helps us keep our commitments for employee safety and excellent customer service,’’ says Brian Rhoades, executive vice president of operations for Tranzonic. “Pablo takes pride in everything that he does and is always willing to lend a helping hand. We have such a great team, and it is wonderful to get to celebrate Pablo for his years of loyal commitment, strong work ethic and continuous expansion of skills and duties.”

The company began recognizing employees through an employee of the month program in 2018, and its first employee of the year was announced in 2019. Ortiz was selected by a vote from all company employees from among all 2020 employee of the month honorees.

In his tenure with the company, Ortiz has served in multiple roles including wheels value stream lead, second shift production supervisor and maintenance technician. He is certified in overhead crane and forklift operations.

Brannon joins SmartBank Pigeon Forge location

Joel Brannon has been hired as vice president and relationship manager at the SmartBank in Pigeon Forge.

Brannon has more than 18 years of experience in the banking industry. Most recently he served as vice president of business banking at First Citizen’s Bank.

His areas of expertise include managing commercial loan portfolios, business lending and business development. Brannon also holds certifications from the Tennessee Banker’s Association and Risk Management Association.

Brannon received his undergraduate degree in business management from Clemson University and later earned a master’s in business administration from Carson Newman.

Lynch opens practice in LaFollette

Emily N. Lynch, D.O., has joined the team at Tennova LaFollette Medical Center Clinic – South, a department of LaFollette Medical Center.

She is accepting new patients at her office at 2145 Jacksboro Pike, LaFollette. She also offers telehealth visits.

Lynch is dedicated to caring for women, men and children of all ages. She offers well checks, sick visits, immunizations and women’s health screenings.

Lynch has a special interest in preventive health care and the management of chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She also performs joint injections and aspirations, dermatologic excisions, biopsy procedures, basic suturing, and contraceptive implantation and removal.

She earned her medical degree from Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate. She also completed a family medicine residency at Reid Health in Richmond, Indiana, and she is board certified in family medicine. Before joining Tennova, she was a hospitalist with Team Health in Sevierville.

Maryville’s Seiber named Newman Civic Fellow

Kris Seiber, a child development and learning for teacher licensure K-5 major at Maryville College, was recently named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally.

Campus Compact is a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The organization’s 2021-22 cohort includes 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico.

Seiber, who is from Maryville, is a Bonner Scholar who volunteers with the after-school program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Alcoa. He also has served the Bonner program itself, keeping track of student service records and serving as a coach to his peers.

Myers tops list of archival researchers

Linda Myers, Haslam Chair of Business and Distinguished Professor of Accounting at the University of Tennessee, tied for first place in the BYU rankings among the field’s archival researchers worldwide.

Widely recognized as objective and key rankings in accounting research, the BYU Accounting Research Rankings are based on classifications of peer-reviewed articles in 12 top accounting journals since 1990, which determines each institution’s ranking based on author affiliations.

Myers, the director of Haslam’s Ph.D. program in accounting and a Ray & Joan Myatt Faculty Research Fellow, serves on the board of the European Accounting Association as the national representative for North America.

“We appreciate and applaud the extraordinary research productivity and impact of professor Linda Myers,” says Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the college and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair. “Leveraging and building upon her research prowess, she is a force of nature in contributing to the research productivity and professional development of her Ph.D. students and her faculty colleagues.”

MCB promotes 5 in Knoxville area

Mountain Commerce Bancorp, Inc., the Knoxville-based bank holding company and parent of Mountain Commerce Bank has announced five promotions.

Stephanie Barnes has been promoted to senior vice president and relationship manager. Barnes has more than two decades of banking experience in commercial, consumer and mortgage lending, and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Tennessee Wesleyan College. She joined MCB in 2015.

Helene Rodzevicius has been promoted to assistant vice president and portfolio manager. Rodzevicius joined MCB as a customer service representative in 2015. Soon after, she was promoted to customer service representative and vault teller at MCB’s Bearden location. In 2017, she transitioned to treasury management and earned her Accredited Payments Risk Professional certification from NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association. Rodzevicius holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Tennessee.

Katherin Conley has been promoted to branch manager/banking officer at the Cedar Bluff branch. She holds an associate degree from Asheville—Buncombe Technical Community College.

Kristen Portuesi, an MCB customer service representative, has been promoted to client service assistant, working with MCB’s Knoxville lenders. She joined MCB in early 2018 with more than 10 years of customer service and management experience.

Sarah Rachel, customer service representative, has been promoted to head teller at the Bearden branch. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from King College.

“At MCB, we’re delighted to announce these promotions,” says Bill Edwards, MCB’s president and chief executive officer. “Each of these team members has worked tirelessly during their tenure with MCB, developing and deepening customer relationships, and providing responsive relationship banking to our clients. For these five, the promotion is richly deserved.”

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