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VOL. 45 | NO. 30 | Friday, July 23, 2021

Barrette Outdoor to expand in Hawkins Co.

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Barrette Outdoor Living officials have announced the company will expand operations in Hawkins County.

The company, a manufacturer of fencing, railing and exterior products, will invest $33 million and create 162 new jobs in Bulls Gap, where it has operated since 2001.

With a workforce of more than 700 employees, Barrette Outdoor Living is one of Hawkins County’s largest employers. Barrette will add 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including four new extruders, co-extruders and cooling tanks as well as additional fabrication and packaging equipment.

Barrette was founded nearly 100 years ago in Canada and employs approximately 2,000 people today across North America. As the leading North American supplier of exterior home products to the residential market, Barrette Outdoor Living manufactures and distributes vinyl, aluminum, steel and composite fencing and railing, composite decking and other outdoor products.

Over the last five years, TNECD has supported more than 40 economic development projects in Northeast Tennessee, resulting in 4,700 job commitments and $1 billion in capital investment.

Remote work, mobility top real estate issues

Two Knoxville real estate experts, Maribel Koella and Michael Honeycutt, say remote work and mobility are the top issues in commercial real estate.

Maribel Koella, CRE, owner and founder of NAI Koella | RM Moore, and Michael Honeycutt, CRE, senior vice president and principal, Realty Trust Group, referred to the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate, according to the findings of The Counselors of Real Estate, an international consortium of 1,000 commercial real estate professionals,

“As we emerge from COVID-19 into a new world replete with local and global disruptions alike, our industry has been forced to recognize that adaptability and resiliency are paramount in real estate markets,” Koella says. “It is undeniable that the pandemic’s disruption significantly impacted human behavior in how and where people have chosen to work. Now with workers beginning to return to offices, landlords and companies are facing repositioning of the workspace and the benefit of easily adaptable and sharable spaces.

Keeping up with pandemic recovery funds

The Housing Assistance Dashboard, a new collaboration of City of Knoxville, East Tennessee 211, Knoxville Utilities Board, and the Knoxville Knox County Community Action Committee, shows how Knoxville-area residents are accessing COVID-19 pandemic recovery funds to pay for rent and utilities and maintain their housing.

It displays data regarding when and from where (by ZIP code) residents are requesting and receiving rent and utilities relief through available programs.

Programs include the City’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program funded by the federal CARES Act and KUB’s CURE Program to help residents pay their utility bills.

Renter households still in need of housing assistance can apply through the Knox Housing Assistance Program (, which is currently funded with $19 million from the U.S. Treasury and aims to ultimately distribute up to $44 million.

In the summer of 2020, as COVID-19 pandemic recovery funds became available to residents experiencing job loss and financial difficulties related to the pandemic, City officials jumped on the opportunity to track and monitor the flow of assistance to gauge the general state of housing stability in the city.

No information identifying individual residents is shared or available through the public-facing dashboard, only the ZIP codes of the residents seeking assistance, the kinds of assistance requested, and the dollar amounts of assistance provided.

The dashboard is at

Priority Ambulance rebrands, expands

Knoxville-based Priority Ambulance has rebranded its parent company as Priority OnDemand to expand its EMS and medical transportation services with telehealth and innovative, technology-powered solutions aimed at meeting the changing needs of patients, providers, hospitals, communities and insurers.

“We believe the best way to serve patients is by meeting them where they are and providing the care they need whenever, wherever and however works best for them,” said Bryan Gibson, CEO of Priority OnDemand.

The company announced its acquisition of telehealth provider OnDemand Visit, which will join its EMS & Medical Transportation and Patient Logistics solutions. Starting from 911 as the point of entry into the health care system for many, Priority OnDemand’s telehealth capabilities broaden the levels of care in conjunction with hospital partners while delivering health care anywhere. With an EMT or paramedic extending physician and mid-level practitioner care beyond the scene, patients can receive all the medical care of an urgent care or office visit without leaving home.

OnDemand Visit also offers a comprehensive range of direct-to-consumer telehealth services, apps, ai-empowered analytics and treatment planning, and private telehealth kiosks. OnDemand Visit will continue to be led by current CEO Ashish Mehta, who will report to Bryan Gibson. OnDemand Visit’s existing team also will join the Priority OnDemand family.

Altar’d State joins clean water effort

Altar’d State, a lifestyle and fashion brand headquartered in Maryville, has launched a new partnership with Lifewater International to bring clean water to vulnerable families in East Africa.

The boutique retail family has already made Lifewater part of “Mission Mondays,” an ongoing giving program where 10% of net proceeds on Mondays go to local and global charities. Additional plans are underway to integrate Lifewater’s clean water mission into other employee and guest giving programs.

With more than 40 years of operation, Lifewater is the longest-active faith-based clean water charity in North America. The organization’s proven approach to providing sustainable solutions to the water crisis is the culmination of decades of WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) experience and exhaustive research.

Through this initial partnership, Altar’d State employees and guests will provide sustainable clean water, plus hygiene training and sanitation, to an estimated 15,000 people in East Africa. Funds will be used where needed most, with initial emphasis on rural regions in Ethiopia.

Cope Architecture announces transition

Knoxville-based Cope Architecture announces it is, “shifting into an exciting new phase,’’ according to Lanny Cope, founder and president emeritus.

“We’ve built a remarkable culture at this company, based on professional excellence and authentic relationships with clients and partners,’’ Cope says, adding the company’s leadership is transitioning “to ensure ongoing stability and growth.’’

Cope, who has served as president of the company since founding the firm in 1983, is assuming a high-level role as president emeritus and will focus on maintaining the high standards of attention to client’s needs that have defined the firm and his career.

Cayce Smith, who has played a significant role in the firm for over eight years and has served as executive vice president since 2017, will succeed Cope as president of the firm. Peter Ludman and Jim Hinton, principal architects at the firm, have played major roles in project success on many signature projects for over 15 years and will continue the high level of project design and delivery. Hinton will serve as the firm’s vice president and Ludman has been named director of design.

Medal of Honor Society to meet in Knoxville

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society will hold its annual celebration for recipients of the United States’ highest military award for valor in Knoxville, Sept. 13-17, 2022.

The Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor recipients; to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal; to promote patriotism and love of country; and to inspire our youth to become worthy and dedicated citizens of our nation.

Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 69 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees.

The Knoxville Medal of Honor Celebration team will travel to Boston this September to accept the official Congressional Medal of Honor Society flag and bring it back to Knoxville where it will be raised at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial at World’s Fair Park. Thus begins a yearlong series of events culminating in the 2022 Celebration which will coincide with the UT-Army game in Neyland Stadium.

Hill & Hill Financial reaches milestone

Hill & Hill Financial, LLC, a retirement and investment planning firm with office locations in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The family-owned business was founded in Atlanta in June 2001 and has since expanded to three office locations and clients in more than 20 states.

The company serves more than 700 families and provides services related to investing, retirement and income planning, risk management, estate planning and taxes. In honor of this milestone, Hill & Hill Financial has several celebratory initiatives planned for current clients, including a night at the Chattanooga Lookouts game where the firm’s CEO, Morgan Hill, will throw the first pitch, and a number of end-of-year/holiday celebration parties in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

A recently launched website highlights the its services and team members.

Maryville College earns recognition again

For the 10th consecutive year, Maryville College has been named a College of Distinction for its commitment to engaged, hands-on education that focuses on student success and satisfaction.

Colleges of Distinction, a college guide now in its 21st year, advocates for schools whose undergraduate experiences are grounded in a philosophy of well-rounded, individualized engagement.

Colleges of Distinction’s longstanding support for student-centered schools highlight those that traditional rankings often overlook. Colleges of Distinction was founded in 2000 to draw more attention to schools whose student-centered education prevails in applying theory to practice while fostering a dynamic learning community.

Maryville College earned its recognition for excellence exhibited in the classroom, incorporating high-impact practices throughout every student’s undergraduate education.

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