Ex-Jack Daniel’s distiller announces area plans

Friday, April 23, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 17

The former top distiller at Jack Daniel’s has announced that he and several partners are opening a new whiskey distillery in Townsend.

Company Distilling will first open a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant, former Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett and his partners say. A 20,000-square-foot main distillery in Alcoa and a tasting room in Thompson Station, closer to Nashville, will follow next year.

Arnett is teaming with former Tennessee Distillers Guild President Kris Tatum, construction businessman Corey Clayton, founder of H. Clark Distillery Heath Clark, and Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton. The initiative is expected to include a $20 million investment and provide 50 to 60 jobs.

Company Distilling’s locations will be geared toward the outdoors. The 31-acre (13-hectare) main distillery location in Alcoa will include a tasting room, restaurant, brewery, retail store, a live music venue, cornhole, pickle ball courts, bonfire pits and open access to greenway trails, according to the news release.

The Townsend location will be along the Little River with the Townsend Greenway in the front of the 13.5-acre property, offering access to cycling, running and nearby mountain biking and hiking trails.

The distillery will make straight bourbon whiskey finished with maple wood.

In late 2020, Jack Daniel’s announced Arnett’s departure after a nearly 20-year stint with the powerhouse whiskey maker, including 12 years in which he led production.

-- The Associated Press

Pilot hiring 5,000 for travel season

Pilot Company, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, will host its annual National Hiring Day Tuesday, April 27, with virtual meet and greets across North America. Pilot Company is seeking to fill more than 5,000 positions with jobs in retail, food service, professional driving and corporate roles.

Pilot Company’s growing family of brands includes more than 800 owned and operated Pilot Flying J Travel Centers and One9 Fuel Network locations.


Merchant & Gould offers Law scholarship

Merchant & Gould P.C., a national intellectual property law firm that helps innovators around the globe, is sponsoring a scholarship for University of Tennessee College of Law students seeking a career in intellectual property law and coming from diverse backgrounds. In addition to providing financial support, the firm wants to create opportunities and experiences for the next generation of Tennessee IP attorneys.

A cash gift of $5,000 merit aid will be awarded each year to a deserving student. It may also be split between students.

Information: lawadmit@utk.edu, 865-974-4131

Hemp company opens fulfillment center

Hempitecture Inc, has expanded its in-house distribution network by adding a fulfillment center in Knoxville.

The addition of this distribution center will allow Hempitecture to better service clients across the East, Midwest and South, with more affordable shipping rates and expanded inventory capabilities.

This facility addition is a major advancement for Hempitecture on its mission to make biobased insulation products, namely HempWool, more cost competitive and more available.

This announcement coincides with the growth of the North American supply chain for the raw materials needed for manufacturing HempWool, making the product more available.

UT adds public health masters to online lineup

The University of Tennessee is expanding its online portfolio with Noodle to include a master’s degree of public health from the Department of Public Health in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Along with the recently announced online bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary programs with a concentration in applied studies, the online MPH marks an important milestone in a partnership that will grow to 10 online programs.

The online version of the master’s degree brings the same pedagogy, curriculum, and faculty expertise as the existing on-ground version. This non-thesis professional preparation degree program offers working adults the opportunity to advance their education and careers now without relocating to Knoxville. Given the range of public health issues we face, there’s never been a better time to take the program online.

Pryse, Trust Company endow directorship

Alumna Sharon Pryse and her investment firm, The Trust Company of Tennessee, has endowed a directorship for the Masters Investment Learning Center at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business

Tracie Woidtke, Sharp/Home Federal Bank of Tennessee Professor and head of the Haslam finance department, made the announcement virtually during the department’s annual advisory council meeting. As the MILC’s current director, Laura Cole is the first beneficiary of the endowment, which will be known as the Sharon Pryse/The Trust Company of Tennessee MILC Directorship.

The MILC is designed to be a resource where Haslam students can gain an understanding of financial markets by accessing, analyzing and interpreting economic data. The center houses 20 Bloomberg terminals — software databases that provide access to real-time financial market data, news and analytics for more than 174 countries and 360 exchanges. In 2019, UT ranked first worldwide for the number of students earning Bloomberg Market Concepts certification.

Pryse graduated from UT with a degree in finance and worked her way up to senior vice president at Valley Fidelity Bank before leaving in 1987 to start The Trust Company of Tennessee, which now manages $4 billion in assets. She is a member of Haslam’s Advisory Council to the Dean and has served on UT’s Board of Trustees and numerous nonprofit boards. She has worked extensively with the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, where she served as chamber chair from 1999 to 2001.

UT’s ROTC receives MacArthur Award

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Army ROTC program has earned the 2020 MacArthur Award for excellence in performance, retention and training.

UT is one of eight schools selected out of 274 senior Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps units nationwide, showing outstanding work in preparing commissioned officers for service in the U.S. Army.

The awards recognize the ideals of duty, honor and country as advocated by General Douglas MacArthur. Awards are based on the achievement of the school’s commissioning mission, its cadets’ performance and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List, and its cadet retention rate. Cadet Command and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation have given the awards each year since 1989.

UT’s Army ROTC program is one of the oldest in the country, tracing its roots to the founding of the university in 1794. The program was officially founded in 1916 when ROTC was created at the national level.

IACMI, UT, partners create high-tech bridge

A new, high-tech composite bridge embedded with fiber optic sensors is intended to demonstrate the benefits of composite materials for bridge work.

The bridge in Morgan County replaced a damaged, decades-old concrete crossing which, like thousands of rural, low-volume bridges across the state and nation, was rated structurally deficient and outdated.

Developed by Structural Composites Inc., the composite bridge deck is comprised of two 8-foot-by-25-foot fiber-reinforced polymer deck panels that are engineered for high-strength, corrosion resistant and 90% lighter than concrete.

For Morgan County, the lightweight, easy-to-install bridge comes at no cost, courtesy of the composites industry. Working together under the umbrella of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI – The Composites Institute, almost a dozen private companies led by Tennessee-based Composite Applications Group partnered with industry organizations and university researchers to make the composite bridge a reality.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers and engineering students from the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing facility are part of the bridge partnership.

IACMI and its industry partners are developing a comprehensive case study based on the Morgan County bridge project, including comparing total costs of a typical concrete bridge and one using an FRP bridge deck.

MCB announces stock repurchase program

Mountain Commerce Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for Mountain Commerce Bank, says the board of directors has authorized a stock repurchase program under which the company may, from time to time, acquire up to $5 million of its outstanding common shares.

The repurchase program has been extended through March 31, 2022. The shares may be purchased in open market or private transactions, including pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, at the discretion of management and subject to the limitations of applicable securities laws.

The share repurchase program may be extended, modified, amended, suspended or discontinued at any time at the company’s discretion and does not commit the company to repurchase shares of its common stock.

Knoxville’s GEOServices purchased by UES

Universal Engineering Sciences has acquired GEOServices, LLC, a geotechnical engineering, materials testing, construction services and environmental services firm headquartered in Knoxville.

UES is an infrastructure company specializing in geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, building code compliance, threshold inspections and environmental consulting,

The company is expanding to meet current and anticipated needs, as evidenced by the White House’s recent $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Experts predict a significant need for infrastructure growth and repairs in the U.S. in the coming years, with an expected $255 billion needed to modernize miles of roadways and repair more than 10,000 bridges, the need for construction engineering services continues to grow.

GEOServices has 150 employees serving the Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge, and Tri-Cities regions of Tennessee.