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JUNE 2014

Thank You Tri-Cities for your Support!




Three Year Anniversary Special Issue

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FEATURES 70 Three Year Anniversary 71 Whats the Big Idea? 76 Blast From the Past 83 Success & Celebrations in our Region 88 Places We’ve Been 90 Bloopers 92 What Economic Depression 100 She Rocks. He Rolls.


Calendar of Events




4 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

JUNE 2014




EVENTS 10 13 14 19 20 21 22 28 30 33 34 37 38 40 40 42 45 46 49 50 51 52 54 56 59 60 63 65 66 69

Dawn of Hope Spring Luau Bristol Ballet’s Silver Coffee Luncheon 19th Annual TN/VA Scholars Senior Picnic East Tennessee State University Alumni Ring Ceremony CASA Volunteer Appreciation Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians Sweet Sellerbration Regional Business After Hours Thunder Valley Fly and Wine Sleepy Owl Brewery Grand Opening Up Against the Wall Anita Sobel Schmadtke JDRF Night of Hope 2nd Annual Thunder Valley Throw Down Reagan Day Dinner Kingsport Rotary Sunrise Pancake Breakfast Wallace Imports After Hours Eliminating Racism Empowering Women YWCA Tribute to Women SOLO Time At Bristol Northeast State Foundation Derby Party Rock and Roll BrewBQ Shellz Grand Opening Changes Medical Spa Open House Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Bourbon & Bluegrass Chillin’ and Grillin’ Red, White, & Boots Spine Health Derby ETSU All-Sport Golf Tournament Ballet & Bubbly Cleanup Around the Tri- Cities Appalachia Service Project 3rd Annual Golf Tournament

Some communities have acclaimed courses,

yours will have a vineyard, too.

Set against Virginia’s rolling highlands, you’ll find Vineyard Terraces at The Virginian. The new, Europeaninspired community boasts a working vineyard and an edible landscape plan with aromatic gooseberries, luscious blackberries, tangy currants and more. Named “One of the 50 Best Places to Live in America” by GOLF Magazine, The Virginian offers the perfect setting for Vineyard Terraces. To learn more about Vineyard Terraces, visit Homes from $750k.


Letter from the Publishers FOUNDER/PUBLISHER Angela J. Baker FOUNDER/CO-PUBLISHER Brian Hullette DESIGN NINJA Angelica Ares EVENT COORDINATOR DIRECTOR OF DISTRIBUTION Savanna Smith EDITORIAL INTERN Morgan Nellis SALES MANAGER April Taylor 423.646.4626 ACCOUNT MANAGERS Edward Abdelmessih 276.494.4342 Susan Couch 423.483.5591 Danielle Hahne 404.483.6926 Carolyn Kestner 423.292.3436 Jada Sherfey 423.817.5580 Kevin Shipley 423.446.0071

She Says ... I was sharing with someone the other day that to make it three years in a world where digital media reigns supreme feels like quite the accomplishment. Word on the street for some time now has been “print is dead.” Well, I beg to differ. What we have found is, while it is very true that people do enjoy electronic media and socializing, they also love having something tangible: a keepsake. Pictures are taken every day by people using their phones and computers and digital cameras, but are often left in their digital format for sharing online or via text. At VIPSEEN, we take it a step further and go old school by actually printing them. I love what we do. To have a dream and to be able to lead others to share and embrace that dream has been such a blessing. Brian immediately saw the potential although he knew nothing really about this type of business but was determined to learn. The team that we have now going into our third year is the best and strongest yet. The support they give us without us asking is valued beyond measure. The sense of pride within from knowing that they believe what we do has a purpose, is boundless. I love my team. This region has embraced us with open arms from the beginning. There were a few doubters at first, but all it took was time and hard work to earn their trust. I can understand and relate to that. The heart of region is incredibly huge and abundantly generous. Time and time again we have witnessed an outpouring of love when there is a need. We are proud to be a publication that promotes the good things and the wonderful people of this region. I love this community. I couldn’t have done any of this without the love, support, and encouragement of my family. There have been times when I was frustrated and felt somewhat defeated because I wasn’t able to see my family enough due to demands of ownership. They have always encouraged me because they, like the others I mentioned before, believe that what we are doing here has meaning and a purpose. They believe in me and they believe in my dream. That is priceless. I absolutely love my family. These last three years have been amazing, with each year being better than the one before. I can’t wait to uncover what awaits us in the future. Thank you for supporting VIPSEEN as we strive to support our community.

Rachel Solomon 423.863.3201 COPY EDITOR Lucy Honeychurch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Liz Bushong Linda Coffey Lucy Honeychurch Savanna Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Mickey J. Baker Liz Bushong Danielle Hahne Jada Sherfey Kevin Shipley Savanna Smith DISTRIBUTION Bobby Flowers Taylor Griffin Charles Kilgore Juanita Roberts Savanna Smith WEBMASTER Robert Neilson Wired Web Development VIPSEEN, Inc., Tri-Cities 151 E. Main Street, Suite 5 Kingsport, TN 37660 423.398.5321 WWW.VIPSEENMAG.COM

6 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Angela J. Baker, Publisher

He Says... Blast for the Past

To all who continue to claim that there is nothing to do around here…you have been living under a rock or you have been in witness protection for the past three years. It is really hard to believe just a little over three years ago that this was just a dream. Who would have ever thought that two strangers who had never met or even seen each other would randomly meet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kingsport and start VIPSEEN? It’s amazing that one question is the result of what you see today. After some mutual friends introduced Angela and I and we had a very brief conversation, we said goodnight and went our separate ways. As the story goes, though, Angela said she could see my wheels turning and that she knew that she would hear from me soon.   Boy was she right; I went home and stared at the ceiling until the sun came up. I got up the next morning and grabbed her business card and called her and said we need to meet. After convincing her that I wasn’t trying to get a date with her, I was finally able to get her to meet me at Stir Fry for lunch to discuss this social publication thing.  It was something she said she had wanted to do for a long time and that she would be open to talking to me about it. I think it was love at first sight and we instantly knew that we would make great business partners. After several meetings and discussions we decided to form a partnership and hit the streets.   I will never forget the two of us going out trying and trying to explain to people what it was we were doing when we didn’t even have a tangible thing to show. Talk about sheer determination. Then we started popping in all over the place taking photos with our little hundred-dollar Fugi camera. We carried with us a handy note pad, wore little plastic name badges, and started documenting the happenings of this area. Of course everyone wondered who the heck we were and what we were trying to do. We were told over and over that print was dead that we really needed to think about what we were doing. Never once did we let that discourage us, so we just kept showing up; anywhere and everywhere we could possibly find something going on. We built our brand once person at a time.   It amazes me to see what we have evolved into these past three years. Three years ago we were pretty much a picture magazine that resembled an old high school annual.  Month by month we would sit there and study the magazine and try to figure out how to improve it and what to do different.  Overtime we have become much more than a magazine filled with pictures.   Not only have we become a voice for the nonprofits in our region. I have watched us grow into a vital resource for advertisers and for our region. We are being used as a recruiting tool, an economic development tool, and a planning tool. We feel that we show a good representation of our area and that we have developed a regional springboard for hundreds of different organizations and corporations.   Our goal is to continue presenting stories that highlight the strengths and the uniqueness of the Tri-Cities area. This issue is packed with stories about social events and fundraisers, longstanding job creators and little known entrepreneurs, landmark hot spots, and the people investing and serving in our community.   As you read through the pages, please pay special attention to all the names listed in the front of the magazine. You will see it takes a small army to put this together. These are the people that work, day in and day out, and are responsible for making VIPSEEN what we are today. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing team!   I want to once again thank those who supported us and pledge that we will stay true to our mission: to celebrate our region’s history, as well as highlight the abundance of current business and the cultural and social happenings in and around the city. Over 10,000 people and 500 hundred locations will receive this publication and our list is growing everyday; proof positive that I’m not the only one who loves my community.   A huge thank you to our staff for you time, dedication and eagerness to help! Last a big thank you to my son Logan and his mother Debbie for supporting me and understanding our long hours.

I love you all! See you soon!

Brian Hullette, Co-Publisher


| June 2014









Children’s Storytime @ Bristol Public Library 11:30am – 12:00pm

Anne Shimojima @ the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

Anne Shimojima @ the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

Anne Shimojima @ the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Halll 2:00 pm

Blue Plum Festival @ 9am-10pm

Blue Plum Festival @ 9am – 10pm

Beaver Creek Storytellers @ 606 State Street Gallery 7pm – 9pm

Scott County Art Bazaar @ Grogan Park, Gate City 10am - 6pm

2 Blue Plum Festival @ 9am-10pm

JC Chamber Golf Tournament @ JCCC 11:30am – 4pm


4 Children’s Storytime @ Bristol Public Library 10:00 – 10:30am

48th Annual Covered Bridge Celebration @ Elizabethton

AACA car show @ TriSummit Bank Parking Lot 6pm – 8pm


6 48th Annual Covered Bridge Celebration @ Elizabethton

First Bank and Trust After Hours 5 – 7:30pm Kid’s Art Hour @ One of a Kind Gallery 4:30pm – 5:30pm





Licensing Expo @ Mandalay Bay 9-10am

Licensing Expo @ Mandalay Bay 9-10am

Licensing Expo @ Mandalay Bay 9-10am

Children’s Storytime @ Bristol Public Library 10:00 – 10:30am

Willy Claflin @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

Kid’s Art Hour @ One of a Kind Gallery 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Willy Claflin @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

15 4th Annual State of the Arts Weekend @ Historic Downtown Bristol

16 Literacy Council Mary Alice Monroe book tour @ Allandale mansion 9:30am- 11:30am


Willy Claflin @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm



NSCC’s Workforce Solutions Workshop- Grow Your Business @ Wayne G. Basler Library at NSCC’s 5:45pm – 8:30pm

Bill Harley @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

19 Homebuyer’s Workshop @ Kingsport Chamber of Commerce 5:30pm

2nd Annual Ballyhoo 2 Ton @ 1308 Stone Drive 4 – 5pm Annual Farm to Fork Gala @ Olde farm 6:30 – 7:30pm

48th Annual Covered Bridge Celebration @ Elizabethton Kingsport Tomorrow’s 9th Annual Golf Classic @ Meadowview 10:30am – 5:30pm


Sundown Band @ Kingsport Eagles Club 9pm 48th Annual Covered Bridge Celebration @ Elizabethton Covered Bridge 5K @ Elizabethton, TN

Marsh World Blood Donor Day @ 111 West Stone Drive 10am- 4pm

Sensabaugh Camp Classic @ Db 2 – 3pm

Holston Children Luncheon 11:30am – 12:30pm

Saturday in the Gardens Tour 9am – 2pm


11th Annual Cancer Outreach Golf Tournament @ Clear Creek Golf Club 4th Annual State of the Arts Weekend @ Historic Downtown Bristol Willy Claflin @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

20 Bill Harley @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

ArtSmart Class at Bristol Public Library @ Bristol Public Library 10am – 11:30am NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Sat. @ Bristol Motor Speedway June Jam River Festival @ Natural Tunnel State Park 1-8pm Tim Lowry-Children’s Concert @ the Mary B Martin Storytelling Hall 10:30 am


4th Annual State of the Arts Weekend @ Historic Downtown Bristol A day to S. M. I. L. E. @ Glen Beck Park & Gazebo 10 am- 1pm


Willy Claflin @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

The Whiskey Gentry perform live @ Machiavelli’s Mercy’s Reflection – Davidson Adoption Benefit Concert @ Evangel Family Worship Center 6:00pm

Bill Harley @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 7:30 pm

Bill Harley @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm

Bill Harley @ The Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall 2:00 pm















Happy Birthday Dawn Bowen! Happy Birthday David Deere!

Happy birthday to both Nikki and Laura Burdine!

Happy Birthday Darren DeBord!

Happy Birthday Sheila Ferguson!

Happy Birthday Nathan!!

Happy Birthday Chris Boehm!


Happy Birthday Aundrea Wilcox!

Happy Birthday Kenny Glass!

Happy Birthday Rita Lane!

Happy Birthday Lisa Martin!

Happy Birthday Amy Mize!

Happy Birthday Joan Guest!

Happy Birthday Penny Woods!

8 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Happy Birthday Rebecca Yonts!

Happy Birthday Melanie Farmer!

Happy Birthday Kim Nicewonder!

Happy Birthday Betty Payne!

Happy Birthday Rhonda Chafin!

Happy Birthday Sara Rollins!

Happy Birthday Ethan Walker!

Happy Birthday to both Scott Ball & Tony Marr!

Happy Birthday Seth Jervis! Happy Birthday Aaron aka Cuz!

Happy Birthday Abby Kwecian!

Happy Birthday Rob Jarrett!

Happy Birthday Kanishka!

Happy Birthday Julie!

Happy Birthday Deborah Todd!

Happy Birthday Lynda!

Happy Birthday Sean Cornett!

Happy Birthday Kim Jones!

Happy Birthday Morgan King!

Happy Birthday Mel Kniedler!

Happy Birthday Chantz Scott!

Happy Birthday Amber Connor!

Happy 5 year Anniversary Rachel and Jason!

Happy Birthday Angie Stanley!

Happy Birthday Jay!

Happy Birthday & Dad’s Day” Love, Carolyn

Happy Birthday Caroline Hollaway!

Happy Birthday Jane Rasar!

Happy Birthday Bobbie Phillips!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Jenn Hale!

Happy Birthday Becky Jones!

Happy Birthday Bob! -Love the family

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 9

Seen In Johnson Cit y | M I L L E N N I U M C E N T R E

Spring Luau T

he Dawn of Hope Foundation hosted the 10th Annual Spring Luau on Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 6pm-10pm at the Millennium Centre in Johnson City, TN. The Spring Luau is the Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser and a feature event in the Tri Cities area.

Mike and Charlotte Patterson

Kayla and Zack Bennett

Phillis Dewey, Lisa Pawley, and Jim Reed

John Hackett and Jim Haselsteiner

Roff Justice, Harvey Justice, and David Parker

Lisa Harris and Blaine Turner

David Randell, Destiny Cruse, and Warren Harden

Cynthia and Karel Elbers

A heart-felt and sincere THANK YOU goes out to Luau Major Sponsor Cherokee Distributing Company! We also thank our remaining event sponsors, donors, raffle ticket holders and the 50 Volunteers who helped to make this year’s Luau an event to remember. Without the unsurpassed dedication and support from our business and community partners, we could not have held such a successful celebration, where more than $ 50,000 was raised to be used towards supporting life enhancing programs for 210 Recipients served by Dawn of Hope. The accomplishment of the 2014 Spring Luau was born from the hard work of several very important individuals – the Dawn of Hope Luau Planning Committee. We are sincerely grateful for all of their time and efforts with ensuring this year’s Luau was a top notch event! The event included Hawaiian-style luau fare in a relaxed, tropical atmosphere. Guests spent the evening in absolute paradise, indulging in a feast of Hawaiian themed heavy hors d’oeuvres and complimentary beverages at Harvey’s Island Tiki Bar. Entertainment abounded in activities, such as testing the luck of guests who participated in the Big Kahuna Reverse Raffle for a chance to win $10,000, bidding in the live and silent auction, having fun taking complimentary photos with family and friends in the Tropical Photo Booth, chancing the odds in the Heads or Tails game, and dancing the night away to beach-themed music by 40 West. On behalf of everyone at Dawn of Hope, we extend our utmost gratitude to everyone who provided selfless generosity and support, and worked tirelessly over the past several months to make this year’s Spring Luau a tremendous success that was enjoyed by all! PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAVANNA SMITH | STORY SUBMITTED

Sue Henley and York Trivet

10 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Tammy Curtis and Julia Woodby

Kathy Calhoone, Le Alread, and Martha Kennedy

Hester Hunt and Teri Reach

Jerry Bevins, Donna Bevins, and John Perkins

Paige Sholes, Katie Yockel, and Tara Decker

Sports Clips Crew

Ryan and Danielle

Betty Reed, Mark Reed, and Jim Reed

Terrie Knapp and Jeb Eoswell

Michael and Janice Hall Lori Keene, Michael Dietz, and Chrystal Phillips

Luke Whitson and Sam East

Mark Douglas, Patrice Stern, and Pat Stern

Kat Byrd and Kristi Duncan

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 11

Seen In Bristol | H O M E O F B A R B A R A S M I T H

Silver Coffee Committee

Charlotte Clay and Karen Tillson

Michele Plescai and Holly Vining

Bristol Ballet’s Silver Coffee Luncheon



community fixture for 65 years, the Bristol Concert Ballet Company contributes elegance and art for the entertainment of audiences and for the development of its young citizens. It is fitting then that one of the sustaining events over the years has been the Silver Coffee, a presentation of elegant serving sets coupled with delicious foods and cordial conversation. Held in the home of Barbara Smith, Silver coffee has continued annually sine it was started in 1970. The event has become an opportunity for hostesses to educate and share the knowledge gained over the 65-year history of the Bristol Ballet.

Valerie Zochowski and Carol Everhart

Attendees enjoyed coffee and a special coffee punch, a variety of finger foods and refreshments, and a chance to catch up with old friends. Everyone also had a chance to meet some of the current dancers and take a look back at the history of the Ballet. The Silver Coffee is a vital fundraiser that helps sustain the Bristol Ballet. If you were not able to attend and would still like to donate, please visit www.Bristol The Bristol Ballet would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all hostesses who supported and all who attended the Silver Coffee Luncheon. Karen Tillson, Helen Scott, and Manya Hughes

Linda Riley and Jan Rainero

Monica Kaul, Abbey Kaylor, Michele Plescia and Gayle Stevens

Rosa Marie Burriss and Rita Gayewshi


Barbera Smith and Joyce Oakley

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 13

Seen In Kingsport | E A S T M A N C A B I N S

19th Annual



his year marks the 20th year for the Tennessee/ Virginia Scholars Program and in those twenty years 10,000 students have graduated. The program is still going strong and growing every year and has also inspired two similar programs in the Tri-Cities.

Students from seven region high schools gathered at Eastman Cabins where the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce hosted a picnic honoring the 20th graduating class of seniors in the program. The day was beautiful and everyone, including chaperones and sponsors, played around the grounds all day. Almost 400 area seniors were honored for their efforts and achievements. Etta Clark, vice president of Eastman global public affairs, attended and spoke to the students. “We really need to thank the teachers in our schools for all they do,” said Clark. She also added, “life is a continuous learning opportunity, you’re never finished.”

TN/VA Council Members - Sherry Morelock, Rebecca Baker, Tanya Foreman Lori Bush, and Nicole Austin

Laura Penley and Savannah Franklin - Dobyns Bennett

Brent Roberts, with Tommy and Jill Alley

Jessica Seals, Kateea Manis, Kristen Harris, Laken Corney, and Jasmine Seal - Cherokee High School

Catherine Click, Alexa Zimmerman, Maggie Potente, Christina Bouchillon - Gate City High School; Timmy Muncey, Ricky Raymond - Dobyns Bennett High School

Austin Crowder, Maddie Lee, Madeline Heartless, Allie Alvis, and Andrew Testerman - Cherokee High School

Successful scholars must take four years of math, four years of lab sciences, make at least a C in core scholars courses, have no out-of-school suspension, attendance of 95 percent, good behavior and do 80 hours of community service.

Katelyn Bishop, Caitlin Emond, and Rebecca Lane - Rye Cove High School

Anna Carter, Payton McGlothlin, Morgan Barton, Zachery Duncan, Brittany Gilbert, Kristina Hutt, and Kayla Barnes - Sullivan North High School

14 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Brittany Bowers and Amanda Filios - Cherokee High School

Gate City High School

Tyler Kleiboer, Hunter Clark, and Batton Stokes - Volunteer High School

Kristin Williams, Brittany Templeton, and Allison Vermillion - Gate City High School

Andy True and Miles Burdine

Kayte Daffron, Gary McConnell, Lisa Pierce, and Hope Burner

Jessie Clendenin, Jennifer Davis - Volunteer High School; Maggie Singleton, and China Hake - Cherokee High School

Tyler Hillman - Twin Springs

Stephanie Jolley, Amber Kent, Elane Smith, Sarah Van Dierdonck- Dobyns Bennett High School

“Would you trade me in for another Daddy?” He asked

-- usually after one of his me that question regularly

intense breakfast lectures.

elf, “Is that an option?”

I remember thinking to mys

ld ask such a question.

And I wondered why he wou

t he meant until I became a

I didn’t truly understand wha

father myself.

e time and you feel the awesom s child, your child, for the first r power to see that you in ing When you hold that preciou ryth eve do to t their future – you wan sense of responsibility for l. ntia pote its ieve child ach ege , “You’re going to get a coll e breakfasts, he would say thos for s. I didn’t n but’ dow or sat ’s we and en if’s, Wh t…no ways about. I don’t care wha education. There are no two do.” you going to make sure have that opportunity, but I’m And he did.

gs. was willing to try new thin thirsted for knowledge and he , 80s his use in to n d Eve love ne. He . He had an iPho learned how to text required him to change. He but who Things that were scary and a blurry picture of his toe, was it es etim Som es. sag mes ure to track pict ne d iPho sen his and on era app the cam Find Friends try new things! He used the were you hat “W , ning mor t cared? He wasn’t afraid to nex the pride in being able to ask me with his family. And he was me by GPS and took great ebook so he could keep up Fac ned lear He Sometimes e?” ther or doing here r’s faces when we talked. e so we could see each othe , he would ead Inst . face his just learning to use Facetim see ld hold the phone away so I cou to ded ear. I’d nee his he of et de forg insi ld he wou e up shots of the ear. I got some really clos teaching him, was I ght thou I instinctively put it up to his h. laug big a Eartime” and we’d have for say, “Dad, it’s Facetime, not e change, and always thirst conquer my fears, embrac to me hing teac was he but instead knowledge.

for the long run. You don’t give up when the going gets tough. You’re partners. Quitting isn’t an option.” And I haven’t.

Even as a small business owner who often spent 80 hours a week working, he the community. It found time to give back to much it didn’t realize until later how I and him for ds a was a priority on a young person – it buil ion ress imp an es mak t Tha influenced me as well. culture of giving back. And I do.

situations. in their personal lives and He was genuinely interested ey. I tried mon by ned ear be ’t Dad had a way with people. can by showing him a loyalty that ed ond resp they And ed. He car to my children. to pass those teachings on and now a coach at Carson son, a former football player my from r the of lette t as fron istm the Chr I received a ays conducted from ned that leadership is not alw ’re doing. Newman who wrote, “I lear sm and passion for what you usia enth is s take it All ple. peo to d ugh ippe eno equ t etic mos athl the line by was I considered player on the field. Rarely I faced. Rarely s guy the inst Rarely was I ever the best aga go to . Rarely was I big enough ple ld do was prepare the peo compete for a job on the field complex schemes. All I cou the I out nt re figu mea to just it ugh er eno was I smart I was the best play could be. That didn’t mean e to make mak to had I es rific around me to be the best they sac er best team at all cost. Whatev time with had to be willing to be on the less playing time, spending them. Whether that meant e And I will. mak to had I e holds true in er, sam bett The . team team the the of e a sak wasn’t , etc. I had to do it for the never down time. If there guys I didn’t get along with service station, there was me what a team looks like.” way were immaculate), the ut us. Thanks for teaching by When I worked for him at the abo ich It’s (wh ms me. ut roo abo rest t the isn’ n It clea life. to time the was it er t, customer on the fron n the front. You may rememb life continues. Dad. And so, the circle of take out the trash, hose dow caused a bell to go off lessons I learned from my ch pick up the cigarette butts, the whi g p alon pum sing gas a pas d just che I was r as you approa He tubes you would drive ove pew in the this day when a bell goes off. well. We sat together on a action. I still get nervous to under the ck che to them Ask dren knew their grandfather er. inside. That was my call to chil tom where I my ’s cus that the that et py And gre . hap p, so ther pum was toge I s up to the yed, sang, and worshipped windshield. Be sure to pra the n We would say, “When a car pull Clea ry. s. love looks ctua orie hat san ess “W , very acc tled back of this tires, batteries, and in the Times-News enti ’ll be loyal.” hood. Be sure to ask about s photo you may have seen le. And tomers fairly, son, and they eles Bib n cus pric r ope r you that t d thei Trea ture oss t. cap acr rec ds cor it’s my mom and dad holding han count their change to prove like.” I glanced over and saw it would never work. And how elope. And how critics said to n their isio dec r thei ght about thou rts because 65 years later I hea r thei followed And they were. they ignored those critics and that was I glad how I’m sure it was in 1948. n Garden, I was amazed at bond was just as evident as s from Wilcox & Sevier to Lyn den just to Gar n Lyn to es Acr When dad moved his busines en quickly Gre breakfast on Saturdays. I Fairacres or Riverview or asked if I would join him for he many people would drive from so, to do, or r ded yea nee t I pas gs the thin r During ient. Sometimes I had othe trade with my Dad. ause you never ’. It wasn’t always conven bec ‘yes ted ed wer wan he ans er nev whe , he my wife I would gladly go Greatest Generation. In fact but they could wait. I told nie would join us. We shared among the youngest of the . He’d laugh and My uncle Jim and cousin Don that e. do During World War II, he was hav ld you wou he time h why took group photos muc him know how ld enlist. I asked before he was my Dad. We I think my lied about his age so he cou stories of what he was like on the farm in Clintwood.” rd g hea simple, but so I livin so tos. than was pho ier It n. old eas be tow to rs ugh join in as they passed thro say, “I figured World War had ld have some of the V-mail lette wou still I s er. tive hov rela pus ting a visi like with l Patton look w as 1601 together. grandmother made Genera Highway (which we now kno incredible to have that time Kingsport at 1601 Gate City Higher the for d use and rch nd. he sent to her new home in chu very this by ed own now is ther, son, uncle, brother, frie dence a husband, father, grandfa y on bombing runs over of e dail mpl Lynn Garden Drive). Her resi off exa take er es bett a plan of k saw I can’t thin e Ministry……he of life Ground Baptist Church Car rn. He believed that our way tion of them would never retu por a day ry eve And . ope every day. Eur And it’s one I try to emulate was worthy of risking his. this world. e traded you for anything in n….no, Dad, I wouldn’t hav So, to answer your questio And he did. ry year we that have no hope. came from and almost eve We grieve, but not as those nt to remember where you sey orta Jer imp od, was two it d Clin t eve visi beli to He est Virginia er way to go than quietly, to his homeplace in Southw of adventure with Easter weekend. What bett would make the trek back reminder of that hope than Huckleberry Finn-like tales er rd hea bett I . at y Wh eter ’s Cem p. ther own slee ndfa ir – just drifting off to Branch, and the Flemingt remedies. Stories of my gra at home, in your favorite cha room schoolhouse. Home w what it meant to kno to his brothers and sister. A one me ted wan He eat. you soon. ’t work, you didn’t ly age, he l. Save me a place. I’ll see time as sheriff. If you didn that name. From a very ear I love you, buddy. Sleep wel onsibility to bring honor to resp my was It ing. Flem a be who my people are. wanted me to know exactly And I do.

e can ry about material things. Lov advice, he said “Don’t wor ship ’re in this tion you rela but s, for ed day ask bad en be Wh good days and there will be will e ther e, Sur g. thin overcome any

Jeff Fleming April 17, 2014

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 17

6th Annual




with the

June 28, 2014 Doors Open 5:00pm Dinner 5:30-7:00pm MeadowView Convention Center Tickets: or 423-257-7512

Teddy Gaines, Dr. Sam Huddleston, Dr. Bernard Tisdale, Jeff Jones, Monty McLaurin, Carla Karst, Aundrea Wilcox, Beth Shumaker, Dessi Foster & Kelly Torbett

Kim Adler & Teddy Gaines Dr. Mike Adler & Dessi Foster

Why We Dance‌.. Dancing with the Tri-Cities Stars, now in its 6th year, was started as a fundraiser for SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services, Inc in Limestone, TN. All the proceeds from donations, ticket sales, sponsorships, advertisements, silent and live auctions go to benefit SteppenStone to help provide a treatment program within a safe, caring, environment, for boys 12-17 years old who have experienced significant trauma, abuse, and/or neglect and have developed emotional and behavioral issues. Services include year-round residential treatment, foster care, adoption, and a fully accredited school. The primary goal of SteppenStone is to help these young men heal and develop skills to become successful, healthy adults. SteppenStone has been taking care of adolescent boys since 2003. SteppenStone is 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.





ast Tennessee State University held several alumni activities the last week of April and the first week of May. A ring ceremony involving current graduates was held on the second floor of Burgin Dossett in order to commemorate all those graduates who were receiving a class ring. Recipients were called by name and allowed to ring a model of the ETSU Carillion before receiving their ring from Associate Vice President for University Advancement/Executive Director of ETSU National Alumni Association Bob Plummer. Graduation weekend saw the campus filled with the chatter and laughter of friends long graduated as the class of 1964 was inducted into the Golden 50s Club. The newest members were treated to a breakfast on Friday May 9th, a bus ride around Johnson City, an Ice Cream Social in Charles C. Sherrod Library and then a banquet dinner on Friday night. The day of graduation, May 10th, the class of Golden 50s members was again treated to a breakfast before heading out to welcome in the class of graduating seniors for the morning ceremony. The class of 2014 clapped raucously as the Golden 50s members, alumni banner waving proudly, walked down the corridor and out on the mini-dome floor to usher in the newest class of graduates. All in all, the alumni office lay out the red carpet and the newest inductees into the Golden 50s club were treated to a great time and enjoyed an event filled weekend.


JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 19

Seen In Kingsport | K I N G S P O R T C H A M B E R




uring the month of April, CASA for Kids, Inc. recognized Volunteers, Judges, and Court Staff from across the region that help better the lives of children every day. CASA for Kids of Hawkins County was held on April 16th at the Price Community Center in Rogersville. CASA for Kids of Bristol was held on April 24th at the Bristol United Way Office; and CASA for Kids of Kingsport was held on April 28th at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. All events were well attended by CASA Volunteers, Judges, Court Staff, and Board Members who are a vital part of the agency. Everyone in attendance greatly enjoyed themselves and had a sense of pride when they were recognized for helping the kids. CASA loves giving back to all those who support the Organization. Having the appreciation in April coincides with Child Abuse Awareness Month. CASA for Kids, also joined Greene County CAC (Child Advocacy Center) in proclaiming April as Child Abuse Awareness Month. Four hundred and eleven blue pinwheels were “planted” in the front lawn of the Hawkins County Court House; which represented the children protected last year by both agencies from abuse and now reside in a safe and permanent environment. CASA for Kids, wishes to thank all Volunteers, Judges, Court Staff, and Board Members for their continuing support of Lifting up a Child’s Voice.

Andy Dietrich and Travis Penn

Mandy Whetsell and Annie Harrell

Betty Lamb, Megan Thomas, and Deborah Todd

Lisa Reece and Charlene Murphy

Mary Kilpatrick, Becky Britton, Shannon Kern, and Missy Sturgill

Jason English, John Eanes, Greg Walters, and Mike Fox

20 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Seen In Johnson Cit y | T H E C H A R L E S

Jessi Bernadini and Heather May

Taylor and Savannah

n o i t a r b r e l l e Sweet S

Lori and Loren


irl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) serves over 15,000 girls, volunteers and adult members in a 46 county area. Its mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. On May 6 GSCSA held their first ever “Sweet Seller-bration” at the Charles in downtown Johnson City. Sweet Sellers are Girl Scouts who sold 650 or more boxes of cookies during the 2014 cookie season.

Troop 268

Samantha and Kenslee

Abagail and Larry

Danni and Ellie

Taylor and Mikayla

Gabriel and Rochelle

Girl Scout troops who sold an average of 228 or more boxes of cookies were also invited to the festivities. Girls who earned the individual distinction of becoming a Sweet Seller were invited to celebrate, along with their families. They walked the red carpet, had their pictures taken by our very own ‘paparazzi’, danced the night away, and were honored by our CEO as a Sweet Seller for 2014. Every year Girl Scouts across east Tennessee, northern Georgia and southwest Virginia participate in the largest girl-run entrepreneurial program in the world! Everyone knows that Girl Scout cookies are delicious, but the Girl Scout Cookie Program also teaches girls valuable life skills that will serve them well -- years and years after their cookies sales have concluded. Every penny earned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program benefits girls in the communities GSCSA serves. PHOTOGRAPHY AND STORY BY SAVANNA SMITH

CONFIDENTIAL HELP IS AVAILABLE for treatment of the disease of chemical dependency and associated medical illnesses.

Discrete one-on-one personalized care with specialized, board certified physician in the privacy of your home or office. Tailored to the needs of executives and professionals and those requiring confidential treatment. Full service wellness-centered medical care available including private assessment, pharmacotherapy as indicated, lab work, counseling, and treatment of chronic medical conditions associated with chemical dependencies. Call, text, or email discretely and directly with the treating physician:

423-341-0086 |

Seen In Bristol | B R I S T O L M O T O R S P E E D WA Y


Richard Peters, The Honey Do Service, Inc.; Aundrea Wilcox, Kingsport Chamber; and John Rotty, Office Planning Group


Jerry Caldwell

Tom Scott, ETSU Athletics; Heather Hill, Johnson City Chamber; Tim Burchfield, Chick Fil A of Johnson City; and Greg “Chipper” Harvey, BMS


ecoming a Bristol Backer was the theme of the most recent Regional Business After Hours event held at Bristol Motor Speedway, which will host one of NASCAR’s most popular races later this summer, the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Members from all three Tri-Cities Chambers took part in the event, kicked off by Bristol Chamber president Joy Madison, who was joined by Gary Mabrey (Johnson City) and Miles Burdine (Kingsport) in explaining the concept of becoming a Bristol Backer. The program encourages Chamber members to support the Speedway and its events by decorating their businesses, holding various promotions, supporting them on social media, etc.

Bristol Chamber President & CEO Joy Madison with Chamber staff and Chairman of the Board Chris Lee

More than 200 members took part in the event, which also featured live music, track laps, refreshments and plenty of great networking opportunities.

The Major Sevens entertained from Boone, NC

Codi Stewart, Country Club Kennels; Ian Bellinger and Mike Moncier, Crestpoint Health; and William Cummings, Cellular Sales

Jim Leinbach and Mary Massarueh, Leinbach Services

Gary Mabrey, President/CEO of Johnson City Chamber and Brenda Whitson, Exec. Director of Johnson City Chamber

22 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Don Campbell, Marsh Regional Blood Center and Ernie Rumsby, TC-MAC

Door prize recipients – Sam Gammon, Victory Sports and Scott Wilson, Thompson & Litton

Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber; Jerry Caldwell, BMS; Lindsay Calloway, Fleenor Security; and Kevin Triplett, BMS

Serve it up Sassy


“The ladybug wears no disguises; she is just what she advertises, a speckled spectacle of spring; a fashion statement on the wing, …”

by J. Patrick Lewis, is the perfect inspiration for this allgirl, Ladies Night Out, in-home party. Sometimes you just need a little girl time! Gather a group of fun-loving friends for a special night of laughs, giggles and girl talk. Catch up on the latest buzz while enjoying the company of your closest friends.

The ladybug motif, the “small speckled visitor wearing a crimson cape…” is seen all over this natural outdoor get-together. Allow your imagination to flyhigh while planning this whimsical buffet. Play off the scenic surroundings by placing your table against a wall of climbing hydrangea as the perfect backdrop.

A precise cut-to-fit piece of Astroturf tops the table round. As a centerpiece, a bright yellow Biden, with a trailing Petunia and Verbena gently relaxes in a ladybug ceramic container. No other bugs are allowed at this shindig, only ladybugs. The simple-to-make menu includes Ladybug Appetizers, a Mashtini Bar, Dr. Enuf ’s® Herbal Ginseng and Guarana drink, and Mini Oreo® no -bake cheesecakes topped with frosting sunflowers and ladybug M & M’s® Your friends will love this fun-filled buffet. In keeping with this fashion statement, a large black stiletto high heel, steps out in style sporting ladybug appetizers. These sassy ladies are fresh zucchini rounds topped with sour ranch filling, sliced cherry tomatoes, and black olives with chives as antennae to mimic the fashionable ladybug, a healthy sole-satisfying tapa. Another lovely ladybug creation includes the dessert. Mini Oreo no-bake cheesecakes are blooming in color. A bright yellow sunflower, made with buttercream frosting and a mini Oreo cookie tops these small garden delights. A red M & M is dressed like a ladybug that looks like she has just landed gently on top of this bright flower. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 25

Serve it up Sassy

Every Ladies Night Out always includes something from the bar, in our case it is a Mashtini. Simply a delicious rich mashed russet potato served up sassy in a martini glass. Diced tomatoes, bacon bits, sour cream with horseradish, green onions, black olives and sharp cheddar cheese round out the condiments for the bar toppings. A browned tater-tot with a sprig of fresh rosemary serves as a delightful garnish. The Mashtini Bar with its warmed mashed potatoes is simple to serve and fun to create.

Dr. Enuf ’s new Herbal Ginseng and Guarana drink is red in color and full of Vitamin B. (Guarana is used as a tonic or stimulant, made from the seeds of a Brazilian shrub). Being a healthy beverage and red in color made this the perfect drink for our ladybug themed event. In keeping with our color scheme, black and white polka- dot scrap-booking paper was wrapped around the cute little bottles with two black and white striped drinking straws attached to the side. Dr. Enuf is made in the Tri-City region of Tennessee. Who would have thought that this cute ladybug, “…wearing a crimson cape, brighter than a cherry, and smaller than a grape” could have such an impact on our party planning and landscape. In gardening terms, the ladybug is the state

of Tennessee’s choice insect. In general, ladybugs are useful in the garden as they feed on aphids and other scale- type bugs which are pests to landscapes, fields and gardens. They are actually beetles and not bugs, but they are cute no matter what you call them. Some even say they bring good luck? An unknown author has said, “I am sending luck and wishes, all wrapped up in a hug, good things should come your way with this tiny ladybug”. The next time you want to have a Ladies Night Out with your favorite girl friends, consider hosting a garden party featuring a ladybug theme, it might just become the new southern tradition of outdoor entertaining.

Special thanks to Sharon Neuhaus for the use of her print Ladies Night Out! Check out these websites for more information.

DIRECTIONS INGREDIENTS ¾ cup Greek yogurt 4 tablespoons sour cream 2 tablespoons Brianna’s Ranch Dressing Black food paste coloring- Wilton product 15-1/4”sliced fresh zucchini 15 medium black olives 15-20 grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise 30- 1 ½ inch fresh chive pieces

Yield: 15 appetizers

1. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, sour cream and dressing. Reserve 1 tablespoon and tint black. Place tinted mixture in a small plastic bag or decorating bag with tip # 2. 2. Cut zucchini into slices and layer on paper towel to soak up juices. 3. Cut tomatoes lengthwise, drain on paper towels 4. Sliver horizontally one side of black olives to allow for a flat surface 5. Spread yogurt mixture on one side of zucchini round; arrange two tomatoes halves on top of round to resemble ladybug wings. 6. For heads, place slivered olive on each zucchini slice. Insert two chives into olives for antennae. Use tinted cream mixture to pipe spots onto tomato wings.

Ladybug Appetizers Mashtini Bar INGREDIENTS


12 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered ½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon white pepper-optional

2 cups bacon bits, sharp cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, black olives, sour cream with 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish, chopped green onions, condiments of choice for toppings. Garnish: 6 -12 baked tater-tots, fresh rosemary sprigs and toothpicks DIRECTIONS

Yield: 12 single servings

1 In large saucepan, boil potatoes until tender. Drain and mash. 2. Add mayonnaise or flavor the potatoes as desired. 3. Bake tater tots as package requires. Using toothpick, attach tot to pick, and add rosemary sprig to top of tater tot. 4. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop a large potato ball or mound into martini glasses. Place tater tot garnish on top of potato mound in serving glass. 5. Each guest can add the condiments they desire. You can place the potatoes over canned heating system or chafing dish to keep warm.

26 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes ®


CRUST 11 graham crackers, crushed ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar 7 tablespoons melted butter CHEESECAKE 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped and set aside 2 packages cream cheese, softened 2/3 cup granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon clear vanilla ½ cup crushed mini Oreo cookies ¼ cup brickle- optional SUNFLOWERS AND LADYBUGS 1 1/2 cups white butter cream frosting- purchased or homemade Golden yellow, black and green food paste coloring 24 red M & M’s 24 mini Oreo cookies Strawberry Jam is used when serving in mini parfait glasses. Place 1 teaspoon of jam into bottom of each glass, then add the mini cheesecake.

Yield: 24 mini cheesecakes

with Sunflower and Ladybugs INSTRUCTIONS 1. In food processor, crush graham crackers with dark brown sugar. Add melted butter. Pulse to blend. Place 1 teaspoon of crumbs into a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. Set aside. 2. In large mixing bowl, beat chilled whipped cream until stiff peaks form; remove from bowl, set aside. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar together on high until smooth and creamy. 3. Stir in crushed Oreo’s and brickle, and then gently fold in whipped cream. 4. With a plastic bag or a decorators pastry bag, with no tip, pipe cheese filling into pan. 5. Refrigerate cheesecakes until very firm. 8- 24 hours. 6. Divide the frosting into 3- ½ cup portions. Tint each portion with food coloring. 7. Using 2 pastry bags fitted with a leaf tip- or a V tip #362. Fill with green frosting and yellow. 8. Place mini cookie in center of chilled cheesecake. Pipe 3 green leaves around cookie. Pipe yellow leaves from center of cookie to resemble sunflower petals. 9. Fit pastry bag with round tip # 5 or clip corner of plastic bag with small opening. Pipe black dots onto red M & M’s for spots, head and center back line. Attach ladybug to cookie

with dot of black frosting.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art ofentertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ . In 2009 and 2010, Liz was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 100 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the holiday. In 2011, she was part of sevenperson team selected to decorate the Tennessee governor’s mansion for the holiday. Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS affiliate for the Tri-cities area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer and Family Sciences from Purdue University and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is also certified in Decorative Finishes and has been trained as a master gardener. Liz is the author of Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook. Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee. She continues to perfect her sassy approach to turning simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments. To purchase cookbooks, see recipes, cooking, and decorating ideas go to

Seen In Bristol | B R I S T O L M O T O R S P E E D WA Y

Jimmy Daugherty and Jamie Upchurch

Julie Knox and Domenic Rusciolelli

Thunder Valley Fly & Wine


Harold Ross and Tracy Fleenor

Justin Harbour and Kendall Thomas

Jesse, Alice And Steve Cheers


n expanded Thunder Valley Fly & Wine returned for a second season to Bristol Motor Speedway Friday, April 25 – Sunday, April 27. Increasing from two days to three, the event showcased the region’s blue-ribbon fly waters and benefited the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. With an extra day, the expanded schedule offered something for everyone from novice fishermen to the most experienced anglers. Many spent an evening with a legend of the fly-fishing sport at Bristol Motor Speedway’s Bruton Smith Building as angler Jim Casada entertained guests with fish tales of every sort. The Thunder Valley Fly and Wine Expo was hosted in Bristol Motor Speedway’s Hospitality Village, featuring Fly 101 Kids Clinic, casting clinics and competitions in the Casting Pond, fly-tying demonstrations and seminars from local and regional experts. Speakers for the event included expert anglers such as Mike Adams, Russ Ambrose , Jim Casada, David Hise, Don Kirk, Dan Long, Charlie Parker and ORVIS Guide-of-the-Year Patrick Fulkrod. Guests also had the opportunity to browse the displays of regional fly shops showcasing the latest developments in gear and technology. Guests were given an opportunity to sample products from regional wineries and breweries including; Reedy Creek Vineyards and Holston River Brewing Company.

Mike Adams, Susan and Brownie Liles, and Jonathan Thomas

Hamlin Caldwell And Daniel Woodward

Jonathan Thomas, Jerry and Belton Caldwell, with Cathy and Jeremy Davidson

ORVIS Guide of the year - Patrick Fulkrod

In addition to the expo, guests enjoyed an exclusive lunch with expert angler Jim Casada at Saturday’s “Flies, Lies and Other Fishtales.” The Noon event provided attendees with a catered lunch and the opportunity to hear stories from the fly fishing world. Along with Holston River Brewing Company and Reedy Creek Vineyards, Speedway Children’s Charities would also like to thank NN Inc., Bristol Herald Courier, Carnegie Hotel, Charter, Eastern Fly Outfitters, Holston Valley Broadcasting and VIP Seen for their support. The Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities use all event proceeds to support children’s organizations in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Since its inception in 1996, the chapter has raised more than $8 million for the region. 28 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Kelsey Stuart, Dustin Fleenor, Russ Ambrose, and Preston Stotler

Tom Raymond and Danielle Hahne

Seen In Kingsport | S L E E P Y O W L B R E W E R Y

Vicky Jackson and Michelle Watts

Megan Christian and Katie Runciman



e are extremely happy and humbled by the turn out for our grand opening. Opening night proved two major things: one that the area has pent up demand for craft beer and a comfortable and rustic venue to hang out and listen to live music; and two, that we need more capacity! Being a nano brewery (1.5 Barrel) limits our serving and storage capacity, but the upside is that, as a business, we are in the black for the year after our first night of being open. This supports our model of starting small and growing slow, and means that we can be around for a long time. We plan to expand over the next 6 months to a larger brewing system, which will let us begin to distribute our beer to local venues. The region proved without a doubt that it wants local craft beer, and that all ages can join together to support it. We want to thank everyone that came out to support Sleepy Owl Brewery, from regional craft beer and music fans, to other regional breweries, to the awesome bands that played, and to friends and family.

John Thurman and Adam Farmer

Brian and Heather Connatser


Amythyst and Brian Hullette

Kathy Rankins and Ken Graph

Jessica Flagg, Danielle Goodrich, and Chris Bowen

Kevin and Hayley Shipley

Nancy Hart and Randy Gentry

30 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Kieran Ohalloran and Casey Pennington

Miles Burdine, Angela and John Vachon

Brenda Nichols, Christy Byrd, Bryant, Jillian, and Jordan Byrd

Nick Bowen and John Brooks

Phillip and Tracie Coppedge

Kristian Heffner and Eddie Myers

Kevin Mason, Dennis DeVinney, and Bob Wolf

Mel Kniedler and Alex Manole

Emilio Tahinci, Yancey Appling, Baptiste Lebreton

Jessica Glasscock, Matt McGahey, Callie Richardson, and Lane Isbell

Caitlin, Kara, Sara Beth, Katie, Anne

Seen In Kingsport | U P A G A I N S T T H E WA L L G A L L E R Y

Up Against the Wall Anita Sobel Schmadtke L

Hanne Sobel, Anita Sobel Schmadtke, and Norman Sobel

isa Anne and Mike Milhorn were thrilled to welcome customers, friends, and family to enjoy a special night with jewelry artist, Anita Sobel Schmadtke at Up Against the Wall Gallery in Downtown Kingsport. Anita is originally from Kingsport, but now lives in Nashville where she creates handmade jewelry with a twist. She finds inspiration for her designs in random items such as wine corks and remote controls. Many of her pieces are created using vintage letterpress blocks, which were given to her by her parents, Hanne and Norman Sobel, when the downtown Sobel’s store closed in 2000. She hammers and twists either sterling or copper into wearable works of art. On Friday night and Saturday morning, guests enjoyed visiting with Anita, picking out their favorite pieces, and reminiscing about Sobel’s history in Kingsport. Up Against the Wall Gallery, the Tri-cities’ Best Kept Secret is located at 316 East Market Street.

Deb Ingram and Lisa Anne Milhorn

PHOTOGRAPHY AND STORY BY JADA SHERFEY Norman Sobel, Frank Hanson, and Jacob Owens Lisa Anne and Mike Milhorn

Karen Herring and Jordan Davis

Cynthia Hanson, Anita Sobel Schmadtke, and Lisa Anne Milhorn

Joyce Brogden and Laurie Andrews


Lisa Anne Milhorn and Betsy Boyd Suzanne Kerney-Quillen and Keltie Kerney


he much anticipated “Arm Party” featuring designer, Carley Ochs’ Bourbon & Boweties bracelets was held at Up Against the Wall Gallery in downtown Kingsport. Mike and Lisa Anne Milhorn welcomed guests to preview a jewelry line that will forever be “Made by Proud Southern Hands.” Since August of 2012 over 200 stores across the United States have been ‘bowetied’ and the owners of Up Against the Wall Gallery are thrilled to be a retailer for these versatile bangles. The bangles are wired with fabulous gems and stones and have an equally fabulous company of followers. From Hollywood to New York and from Lilly Pulitzer to Katie Couric, Carley’s designs are enjoyed by women from all walks of life. The designer comes straight from the South, as did the hospitality offered by the staff at Up Against the Wall Gallery. Customers enjoyed wine, cheese, crackers, and conversation while stacking their arms full of arm candy.

Abby Tompkins, Rebekah Tompkins, Alice Tompkins, and Kelly Gardner

Jan Stapleton and Nina Myers

Jennifer Merritt, Katie Massa, Karen Massa, and Ann Massa

Jackie Morris, April Smith, Jonathan Hughes, Ingrid Moyer, and Deb Ingram

Lisa Anne Milhorn and Levita Haynes-Moore

Lisa Anne and Carley Ochs

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 33

Seen In Johnson Cit y | M A P L E L A N E FA R M S

“Night of Hope” 7 TH ANNUAL


Amanda Bacon and Jeannie Elliot

inco de Mayo proved again to be a successful theme for the 7th Annual “Night of Hope”, a local fund raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF. The event, which again this year rose over $20,000, was held on Sunday, May 4th at the beautiful Maple Lane Farm on Cherokee Rd in Johnson City and is the creation of husband and wife team Larry and Debbie England also of Johnson City. The England’s reason for organizing this annual event is to raise funds for their son Russell’s JDRF Walk team for the upcoming JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes to be held on Sunday, May 18th at Warrior’s Path State Park. Russell was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes in May of 2006 at the age of nine and the England’s have been involved with JDRF since that diagnosis. Larry currently serves as the Board President for the East TN Chapter of JDRF. Over 150 folks attended the Cinco de Mayo themed event where they were treated to a great selection of Mexican foods provided by Maple Lane Farm, Food City, Earth Fare of Johnson City and Basic 2 Brilliance Catering of Kingsport. Selections of Mexican themed beverages were also part of the evening and were provided by Happy Hour Liquor & Wines & Cherokee Distributing.

Joe and Connie Slaughter

Those in attendance were entertained throughout the evening by music provided by MR DJ, Alan Dotson while Mr Picture Booth owner/operator Scotty Baker provided attendees an opportunity to have their pictures taken while adorning an assortment of Mexican attire. The evening also included more than 100 Silent & Live auction items donated by many local businesses. Local auctioneer Jim Woods of Jim Woods Auction & Realty Company was instrumental in getting the most $$$’s out of each live auction item. JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research-related education. Forbes Magazine recently called JDRF “…a tightly run organization that puts almost every dollar spent to work curing diabetes…”

Bill and Sherri Beasley

Lisa and Scott Baker

Bruce Donaldson and Nina Marchioni

To learn more about JDRF simply log on to: Photography by Savanna Smith | Story Submitted

Ryan Wagner and Scott Tutterow Sam Messimer and Dave Roe

Pat Holtsclaw and Clarinda Jeanes

34 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Larry, Debbie and Russell England

Lucinda Grandy and Kimberly Roe

Emily Danner, Cara Ledbetter, Amy Lynn Henry, Candy Stieler, and Debbie England

Stacie and Ronnie Dunn

Shawn O’Dell and Jodi Wagner

Jim Woods and Barb Janisewski

Heidi Dulevohn and Mike Marchioni

Karen and Joe Wise

Cheri and Dwayne Fortney

A group of friends enjoying great food and company

Chris and Steph Coleman

Lyndsey Lewis and Lindsey Harris

John and Jo Anne Bullington

Sally Dodson and Summer Renner

Jessica Owens and Matt Greene

Kimberly Cowden and Dianne Esteban

Jenny and Tom Rogers

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 35

Seen In Johnson Cit y | T H U N D E R V A L L E Y C R O F F I T



Paul Wagner and Latisa Clayton

​his year’s 2nd Annual Thunder Valley Throw T Down at Thunder Valley Crossfit was Epic and definitely the competition to sign up for, compete in and not just that, but to come out and watch some of the top ranked athletes in Johnson City. Thunder Valley Box Owners Brad Weems and Chris Rasnake could not have asked for a better turn out with almost 300 spectators, 100 athletes who participated in the competition, and numerous sponsors who donated their support.  Also, not to mention 14 different Crossfit gyms from East Tennessee competed in the competition and placed on the podium in their divisions. Box owners Brad Weems and Chris Rasnake now have expanded to a total of 5000 sq. ft. to better serve the community, with a total of 5 bay garages that can open at one time for optimal space. The space will add more functional space for one on one clients, add more class times to the schedule and adapt to the athletes needs better.  Crossfit is a wonderful community to be a part of and if you ever get a chance to observe a competition or to come to your first class, please give it a chance because it will change your life for the better.

Drew Hardison, Jackson Chambers, and Jared Hardison

Katy Walker and Shasta Miller

Dr. Eva Pickler and Stirling Young

Jennifer Miller and Kelley Hite

Jay Storm and Nic Alexander

Liz Hale and Sarah Ellis

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 37

Seen In Kingsport | M E A D O W V I E W C O N V E N T I O N C E N T E R


Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Gov. Bill Haslam

Lisa Grigsby, Sandra Kerney, and Beth Waugh


he Meadowview Convention Center played host to this year’s Sullivan County Reagan Day Dinner on Thursday, April 24th. The celebration of our 40th President garnered over 300 attendees and was the first opportunity for our local elected officials to come together with their constituents following the 2013-2014 session. Sullivan County Republican Party Chairman, Keith Parker, acted as the MC introducing the legislators throughout the evening. Chris Devaney; Tennessee Republican Party Chairman, Congressman Phil Roe, Jon Lundberg; 1st District Representative, Tony Shipley; 2nd District Representative and Timothy Hill; 3rd District Representative were called to stage individually to remark on this year’s work and their vision for the future. Each of the gentlemen expressed his sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve their district, explaining the enjoyment they feel for being able to speak for their friends and families without whom their service wouldn’t be possible.

County Commissioner John Gardner and Johanna Justus

Jim Goodwin and Ray Conkin

Lt. Governor & 4th District Senator, Ron Ramsey then spoke a bit further in depth on the issues facing our country and how Tennessee is leading the way in resolving those issues. Governor Bill Haslam was then introduced, where the pair spoke in a candid and conversational format. They traded behind the scenes stories and jabs about their campaign against one another and how their strong friendship and support of the other has come to be. The evening was filled with enthusiasm and fellowship, over a wonderful steak dinner prepared by the accomplished Meadowview staff. The evening was capped off much as it began; from the singing of our National Anthem to a stirring performance of “How Great Thou Art” by Country Music Association Hall of Fame Inductee, Jimmy Fortune.

CMA Hall of Famer, Jimmy Fortune

38 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Beth and Dustin Waugh

Chuck Stanley, Susan Shipley, and Angie Stanley

Barbara Bailey, Carol Heimbach, and Amanda Kuhn

Olivia Love and Tara Bacon

Chad and Amber Conner with Alexa and Stan “T. Stark” Edwards

Rep. Tony Shipley, Brig. Gen. Ken Takasaki, and Miles Burdine

Linda Osborne, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, and Tara Bacon

US Congressman Phil Roe

Seen In Kingsport | W A L L A C E I M P O R T S

Wallace Imports


Wallace Imports of Johnson City, TN hosted a Ribbon Cutting and business invitational After Hours event, in partnership with the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, on May 1st, 2014. The General Manager, Steve Moore, welcomed everyone as they came in the door to inquisitively look at the new Subaru vehicles. People gathered around and admired the beautiful renovations. Wallace Subaru of Johnson City offers new Subaru cars in Johnson City, Certified Pre-owned Subarus, along with used cars, trucks and SUVs by top manufacturers. The sales staff will help you find that new or used car that is right for you. For years, the financial staff at Wallace Subaru of Johnson City has offered expert advice for those seeking a great Subaru car loan or lease. Their service doesn’t stop there. Johnson City customers can come in and take advantage of their knowledgeable Subaru auto repair technicians and a fully-stocked inventory of Subaru auto parts. You can reach Wallace Subaru of Johnson City any time by calling them at 877.877.5629, or simply visiting our Asheville, Knoxville, Kingsport and Greeneville area Subaru dealership at 3101 E. Oakland Ave.

Deloris Tester and Jim Reed

David Baird, Felecia Baird, and Brad Nicksic

Darryl Hayden and Sabra Hayden

Tim Plaas and Jacob Hubbard

Karrom Boonsue

Brandy McKinney and Nancy Range

Lester Lattany, Jill Salyers, and Rusty Little

Chris Trent

Larry and Kim Hodge Keith Carrier, Daniella Carrier, and Aiden Carrier

Cheryl Snapp

Jim Reed, Larry Reaves and Lamar Reid

Seen In Kingsport | R O T A R Y C L U B

Kingsport Rotary Sunrise Pancake Breakfast PHOTOGRAPHY AND BY SAVANNA SMITH

Vivian and Al Crymble


otary Sunrise Rotarian Connie Salyers was instrumental in developing a service project to help feed needy people in Kingsport. Rotary Sunrise is small in numbers, but our “hearts are big” says President Bobbie Phillips!  “Connie met with Food City Eastman Road representatives and worked out the details so that Sunrise Rotarians could provide $50.00 worth of food in food baskets to be assembled at Food City and delivered to Kingsport Community Ministry Center at 618 Watauga Street, prior to Thanksgiving. We delivered several $50.00 food baskets to KCMC. Director Mary Watterson of KCMC had spoken previously to our Rotary Club and she knew families who could benefit from the food assistance.  The project was very successful,” said Phillips.  “Most recently, we worked with Food City Center Street to purchase food.  Prior to our weekly Rotary meeting before the Easter weekend, we assembled baskets and drove the food baskets to a food storage area of the Family Resource Center for Kingsport City Schools.  Director LeAnn Broome worked with us to make sure children had something to eat during the Easter Holiday,” said Rotary Sunrise President Bobbie Phillips.  “We look forward to continuing these projects in the future that help people in our community,” said Phillips, “but we needed a fundraiser to help with the cost of the food baskets.”  “We decided on a pancake breakfast as a fundraiser to help pay for the food baskets.   We had a good time working together and also meeting people.  Folks were generous to our cause.  We plan to continue the pancake breakfast in future years,” said Phillips.      People who are interested in discovering how to get involved in service projects through Rotary should contact Rotarian Gary Tucker at 423-578-7516. 

40 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Carson, Jack and Billy Gilliam

Regina Beckner and Connie Salyer

Andrew Godsey and Jeremy Malone

Nicole, Brayden and Ray Austin

Matt Hale, Sarah Moody, and Griggin Moody Jimmy and Megan Allphin

Kingsport Rotary Sunrise

Dereck and Daniel Ramsey and Eston Ratliff

Seen In Bristol | H O L I D A Y I N N

tribute to women

Shelly Wiseman, Judy Rutherford, and Amanda Henejar



he YWCA held their annual Tribute to Women banquet at the Holiday Inn in Bristol Thursday, April 24. The YW Tribute to women empowers women by providing businesses and organizations an opportunity to publicity recognize the outstanding achievements of exceptional women in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Every day the Tri-Cities community is supported and strengthened by women devoted to enriching the quality of life for others.

Jack and Nancy Arnold

The banquet room was full as women and men from across the area gathered to hear the announcement of the 2014 award recipients. The hotel served a delicious dinner and afterwards, the awards began. An esteemed panel of four out-of-state judges considered numerous nominees in the fields of business, arts, education and community service-twelve recipients were chosen. Congratulations to Anita DeAngelis, Valeria Sinyavskaya and Sandra Woolley for winning the 2014 Tribute to Women Arts Award. Congratulations to Denny DeNarvaez, Patricia Holtsclaw and Hellen Scott for winning the 2014 Tribute to Women Business Award. Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Bremner, Janice H. Gilliam and Amal Khoury, Phd for winning the 2014 Tribute to women Education award. And congratulations to Lottie Ryans, Johnnie Mae Swagerty and Sandra Willis for winning the 2014 tribute to Women Volunteer Award. To learn more about the YWCA please visit their website at All funds raised from this event support YWCA Bristol programs: slidingscale child care, teen pregnancy education, afterschool program for at-risk girls, and women’s health and wellness programs.

Jim and Barb Street

Sydne Montague and Julie Davidson


42 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Rose Marie Burriss and Shannon Helton

Ruth Musser and Terry Ryan

Paulette Broyles and Karen Clark

Mary Anne Holbrook and Carol Cross

Fred and Connie Lewis

Amanda Wilder and Ashlyn Fadial

award recipients

Cadijah Williams and JOHNNIE MAE Swagerty

SANDEE and Jack Wooley

SANDRA and Doyle Willis

PATTY Holtsclaw and Clarinda Jeanes

Bertina Dew and VALERIA Sinyavskaya

Dr. Tim Attebery and DR. AMAL Khoury, and Dr. Chad Jarjoura

JANICE and Austin Gilliam

ANITA DeAngelis and Jenifer Ares

Dan and KELLY Bremner

Eric and LOTTIE Ryan

DENNY and Oscar DeNarvaez

HELEN and Bob Scott

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Seen In Bristol | B R I S T O L M O T O R S P E E D W AY

Tracy Green and Chad Riggs



Autocross competition came to Bristol Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 3rd and spectators were ready to see some speed. Sports car enthusiasts from across the region gathered to compete for two great causes. All proceeds went to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The 3rd Annual “SOLO TIME AT BRISTOL” was sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and featured competitors driving a timed precision course on a flat track. Racing cars included anything from a souped up Subaru to ready to race Mustangs and everything in between. “Solo” competition is a form of autocross where drivers compete against the clock, rather than in head-to-head competition. They run at least three times on a challenging flat course marked by orange cones. Drivers cannot “practice drive” the course, but walk it prior to competing to learn the turns, slaloms, and straight-aways. More than 100 competitors registered and raced against time. Spectators were also able to ride with drivers at race speed if they wished. Many took advantage of the offer and jumped right in! Both charities are extremely grateful to Bristol Motor speedway for hosting the event.

David Evans and Shane Reman

Robert Carpenter and Brian Flanangan

Heather Boegemann, Laura Pilson, Michelle Harp and Mark Pilson

Robert Carpenter and Brian Flanangan

Alice and Jessie Feathers

Tracy and Cooper Carrier

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 45

Seen In Bristol | T H E F O U N D AT I O N E V E N T FA C I L I T Y

Northeast State Foundation Derby Party


he next best thing to experiencing the Kentucky Derby Live, was the Northeast State Foundation Derby Party on May 5th. The event held at The Foundation on 620 State Street in Bristol had all of the flare of Lexington; hats, roses, seersucker suits, good music and don’t forget mint juleps. The night began with red carpet photos and heavy hors douvres prepared by 620 State, with a brief two-minute intermission for that all important horse race called the Kentucky Derby. After the race, awards were given out to those who had picked the winner (California Chrome), the best dressed man and of course the ladies with the best hats. Sound of Soul Dance Band carried the party on for the rest of the evening with some help from their friends at Daytime Tri-Cities. Throughout the evening, guests bid on silent auction items such as; suite passes for the Bristol Night Race, a stay at a beautiful Folly Beach home and even VIP tickets to the Kelly & Michael show in New York which the winners received as things wound down. The party was once again a great success for Northeast State CC which hopes to surpass scholarships raised from last year’s event totaling more than $10,000.

Best Themed Hat: Tamara Parsons


Amy Lynn and Morgan King

Francis Canedo and Vicki Cordero

Nathan and Charity Shepherd and Haley Shipley

David and Lindsey Hatley, Terry Kazmier and Christy Steadman

Best Dressed Man: Kyle Davis

Lynnis Hornsby and Amy Stewart The Winners

Jessica Barnett, Dawn Carter and Ashley Pierce

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Spirit of Soul Dance Band

Tracie and Ashley Wilson

Best Fascinator: Debbie Arrington

Northeast State Art Club: Kimberly Smith, Christal Hensley and Cody Buczkowske

Biggest Hat: Charity Shepherd

Most Bedazzled Hat: Margaret Luckenback

Leigh Hornsby, Ph.D., Robert L. Arrington, Dr. Janice Gilliam, President; Northeast State Community College, Lee Shillito, Gerald O’Connor and Carol Kimberlin

Sound of Soul Table

Seen In Kingsport | S L E E P Y O W L B R E W E R Y

Jim and Pam Trampe

Ann Dretzka, Kanishka Biddanda, Kevin Gilmer, and Mayra Gonzalez

Brandon Parker

Rock & Roll


Jim and Pam Trampe

Darrell Duncan and John Clark


he Kingsport Chamber of Commerce held a rocking event Tuesday evening, April 29th. Sleepy Owl Brewery, downtown Kingsport’s first brewery, was host to everyone who came out. The weather was beautiful and people filled the overly large patio of the brewery. There was local live entertainment, The Well Dogs kept the crowd pumped up and dancing all evening. Sleepy Owl served their new craft beer and the Spring Ale was a crowd favorite on such a hot afternoon. Southern Smoke catered the BrewBQ with their delicious spread of pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad and cole slaw; which went great with the brews. The crowd filled the patio eating and socializing and some were even dancing to the band. The Kingsport Chamber was please with the turn out and support from community members who are together helping to make Sleepy Owl and Southern Smoke more successful. To learn more about Kingsport Chamber events, visit their website at To learn more about Sleepy Owl Brewery, please visit them at

Wes Argabrite, Ginger Nixon, Julie and Chirs Raines, and Chad Nixon

Teresa Vicars and Karen Hill Claudia Corradino, Rebecca Mills, and Michael Richards

Dan Bolton and Michaela Hale

Susan and Charles Carty

Brian and Heather Connatser

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 49

Seen In Johnson Cit y | S H E L L Z B O U T I Q U E


Grand Opening


pril the 19th Shellz Boutique held their grand opening from 1pm until 6pm. The boutique is located at 4411 N. Roan St. Johnson City in the Boones Creek area. Michelle Garber owner of Shellz Boutique offered refreshments and door prizes to everyone. What a wonderful day of shopping it was, with specials and what a great selection of clothing, apparel and accessories. She has everything from cocktail dresses to beach wear. A big thanks goes out to all her friends and costumers, with approximately 200 attending throughout the day. Michelle Garber always wanted to open her own shop. She loves clothes, shopping and people. Michelle researched color for the interior of the shop, to make people feel welcome while they shopped. She kept a list of names brands and styles missing from our area. Michelle has had requests from her customers since opening; she plans on expanding her space to include plus sizes and space for additional children’s sizes. It’s such a treat to find trendy styles that are so affordable. Every woman should be able find their style at Shellz.


Rebekah Rowlans and Lisa Rowlans

Linda Lacey and Lisa Ball

Sharon Smallwood and Amanda Schafer

Shelly McIntosh, Penny Woods, and Amber Campbell

Danielle Stafford and Taylor Eanes

Elaine Hutton and Elwanda Bailey

Amanda McCurry and Michelle Garber

Hollie Johnson and Kinzton Scott

Katie Moyers and Hannah Ali

Penny Woods, Shelly McIntosh, and Amanda Schafer

50 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Katie Moyers and Jessica Glasscock

Seen In Boones Creek | C H A N G E S M E D I C A L S PA

Changes Medical Spa OPEN HOUSE


Jim Leinbach and Angela Shelton

Miss Greater Greeneville, Sarah Stokely

gloMinerals Makeup Application

Angie Phipps and Angela Shelton

Dr. Richard Jackson and Angela Shelton, PhD, MBA

Angela Shelton, Marsha Daniels, and Ashley McInturff

“Woman of Changes”


hanges Medical Spa opened its doors to honor local mothers May 7th. All visiting mothers received lingerie bags compliments of Dr. Angela Shelton, owner of the spa, filled with samples from Obagi Medical Skincare, Skinceuticals, gloMinerals, and gloTherapeutics Skincare. Patients and the general public were provided complimentary consultations and computerized skin analysis by Dr. Richard Jackson, Medical Director of Changes. Licensed Esthetician Ashley McInturff showed off her makeup artistry with free makeovers and skin care advice. Brigitte Jones, Certified Laser Technician, demonstrated the new Vectus Hair Removal Laser, the only one in East Tennessee, as well as tattoo removal and skin rejuvenation lasers. Medical staff also conducted free screenings for treatment of excessive perspiration, using the miraDry Technology available in East Tennessee only at Changes Medical Spa. Miss Greater Greeneville, Sarah Stokely, who works at Changes, was on hand in crown and sash for pictures with moms and to draw for door prizes of skin care services and products. Cafe One-11 catered the event, and the spa staff provided their signature Dragonfruit Mimosas to visitors. The local Chico’s store provided discount cards, jewelry door prizes, and gift cards for each mother attending the event to receive a personalized style consultation. One mother/ client in attendance, Marsha Daniels of Envision Healthcare, spoke and thanked the staff and Dr. Jackson, saying that for the first time in her 60 years, people are complimenting her skin. “We love our Changes!”, she said, on behalf of a group of the attendees. Changes Medical Spa is located in the Boones Creek area, next to Cracker Barrel. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 51


Seen In Kingsport | C I V I C A U D I T O R I U M




hursday May 1, 2014 was the National Day of Prayer, and prayer ceremonies were held all over the Tri-Cities. One ceremony- The Mayor’s Prayer breakfast has become a tradition on the National Day of Prayer for the city of Kingsport. On the 63rd observance of this day, Kingsport Mayor Phillips invited the public to join him in celebrating. This year’s program featured various individuals who lead invocations for different aspects of the community. Included were prayers for the city, the nation, the business community, education community and for the local, state and national leaders.

Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips and wife Bobbi

The Mayor thanked everyone who attended for standing up for every individual’s right to pray. “As you know we are living in very challenging times with outside sources threatening our freedom to worship, the very foundation of this great nation,” said Kingsport Mayor Phillips. The individuals who participated in reading scriptures and saying special prayers also thanked all of the outstanding ministers who serve the city churches. The prayer breakfast is an event that is dear to the heart of the community of Kingsport, especially the Mayor. The buffet breakfast was catered by Pratt’s Catering, who also participated in the Prayer Breakfast.

Ernie Rumsby, Sam Jones, and Parker Trent


Patircia Winton, Joni Hughes and Lilian Leeper

Miles Burdine, Jeff Flemming and Bob Feagins

Janice Hill with Freda and Clyde Correll

Bettye Creasy, Jane Crawford, and Betty Taylor

Leigha William and Jay Hubbard

Jim Goodwin and Master Chief Walter Pierce

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Linda and John Robinson

Jo Zimmerman and Linda D. Buckles

Jim Hunter and Dr. Jerry Miller

Morris Baker and Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips

Rosalee and Bruce Sites

Noel Fuller, Sam Potter, Doug Trail, and Joan Wilder

Steve Godsey and John Crawford

Seen In Kingsport | R I D G E F I E L D S



ourbon lovers with big hearts turned out to increase awareness and raise funds for Kresge’s Krew Foundation and local Autism services at the third annual “Bourbon, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival” sponsored by B&B Package Store and held at The Club at Ridgefields. One in every 68 children born has Autism Spectrum Disorder according to recent research. Kresge’s Krew Foundation helps children and adults with Autism throughout the Tri-Cities and surrounding area by providing funds to local foundations, charities and different therapists who specialize in aiding those with Autism. The Kresge’s Krew Parent Group meets the second Monday of every month at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce at 6pm, and all are welcome to attend. Make a difference today by donating at

Roy Harmon and Mary Gosselin

Kanishka Biddanda and Stuart Lawson

Thomas and Robin Carter

Sarah Lett, Caryn Culver and Chad Culver

Bill Hardin, Roy Harmon, and Stan Carder

Ed Dobbs and Joe Baker

54 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Mike Williams and Roger Johns

Robin Carter and Steve Maupin

Studio Brew

John Pelphrey, Brian Hullette, and Michael Hartleroad

Jerry Brooks, Harlen, Will Beavin, and Smitty

Seen In Bristol | B R I S T O L M O T O R S P E E D WA Y



he weather was spectacular and the backdrop of the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” set the stage for an afternoon of fun, food, drinks, live music and more. The Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District (CAC) held its annual Chillin’ and Grillin’ event inside Bristol Motor Speedway on the last Sunday in April. The event was sponsored by Plaza Package & Libation Station, Modern Woodmen, and People’s Community Bank, while live music was provided by Samantha Gray & The Soul Providers thanks to the Law offices of Tony Seaton. Local restaurants, the CAC Board of Directors, and even grillin’ families were there to ensure a variety of grilled food for everyone. The Troutdale, Holy Taco, Tipton Street Pub,and The Stir Fry Group prepared some of their incredible grilled dishes for the guests to enjoy. In addition to the live music and great food, guests enjoyed a silent auction and a wine grab. Regional distributors were on hand to offer samples of beverages, ranging from Jack Daniels to moonshine; and Plaza Package and Libation Station offered wine and beer pairings. Chillin’ & Grillin’ was held to help support the CAC, whose mission is to combat child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse by coordinating and providing services to children in a safe, caring environment. To find out how you can help with their mission, go to, because every child deserves to feel safe in his or her own castle.

Jessica Lindsey, Amy Mooney, and Allison Jones

Scott Ploucha and Amber Campbell

Carey Lewis and Moses O’Neal

56 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


Ernie Reed, Bolivar Vasquez, Lindsay Nickels, Polly Whitaker, Steve Maupin, Moses O’Neal, Leah Smith, and Tiny Roberson

Lemy Dao, Cecile Huddleston, and Robin Williams

Caroline Scharfstein, Ann Smith, and Jennifer Wolfe

Erin Williams, Lindsay Nickels, and Janet Hatfield

Steve King, Jason Champion, Rick Lilly, Jimmie D, and Samantha Gray

Gretchen and Wayne Tongco with Amber and Greg Stewart

Robin and Jeff Williams

Celeste Taylor and Jessie Wilder

Brandy and Nate Goble

Matt Green, Leslie Day, and Heath Fields

Ernie Reed, Bolivar Vasquez, Lindsay Nickels, Moses O’Neal, and Daniel Bratton

Marilyn Neece and Gwen Rader

Tiny Roberson (East TN Distillery)

Jesse Scott (Holy Taco)

Don And Linda Arnold with Margie Fry

Stephanie, Grant, Rab, and Nita Summers

Seen In Bristol | T H E PA R A M O U N T

Steve Johnson, Nikki Smith, Nikki and Scott Niswonger

Wayne and Rita Estes

Bobby Griffin, Angela Yinling, and Jordan Conigliaro



Mary Shrader, Lucy Heffinger, and Louise Mandrell

Rita Kiscaden and Rebecca Pepin

Annabelle’s Curse

Beth Morrison, Jody Long, and Rita Kiscaden

Debora and Marc Perry

Mandrell also used the evening to inspire the audience and teach them the effects of leadership in the lives of young children, especially girls. Before she took the stage, there was a special performance by Annabelle’s Curse, a local folk rock songwriter group. The crowd was enthused and ready for an evening full of talented artists after the meet and greet was over.

Doug Weberling, Louise Mandrell, and Eileen Weberling

Larry Leonard, Brian Shrader, Jody Long, and Elmer Bare

irls Inc of Bristol presented a wonderful evening of musical entertainment with the legendary Louise Mandrell. The event was at the Paramount at 8 pm, Friday, May 2nd, but before the event many guests were able to attend the VIP meet and greet cocktail party at KP Duty. During the party everyone got to meet Louise personally and talk with her a little while. She thanked everyone for what they were doing for Girls Inc. and talked about the importance of a program that is directed towards little girls.

Grant Nacos and Mary Crutchfield

Girls Inc. of Bristol would like to thank Louise Mandrell for guest staring and helping raise money for such a wonderful cause. Girls Inc. would also like to thank Annabelle’s Curse for putting on a special performance and to everyone who attended the evening. To learn more about Girls Inc. of Bristol please visit

Derby Day

Seen In Bristol | T H E O L D E FA R M



n May 3rd supporters of the Spine Health Foundation gathered at the Olde Farm to celebrate the positive impact being made in our region. SHF is the only non-profit organization in the nation directly impacting lives by providing disadvantaged individuals access to specialized spine care. Annually, the Spine Health Foundation honors one individual who has gone above and beyond to help those suffering with spinal disorders or injuries. Dr. Richard Duncan of Watauga Orthopaedics was presented with the 2014 Hope Award. Dr. Duncan has been a participating physician for the Spine Health Foundation since the beginning and has provided assistance and surgeries to numerous recipients.

Mark and Julia Williams

Cindy Jewitt, Ginney Jenkins, and Gigi Boggan

LaVada and Ronnie Davis

Vicki Stockton, Bill Copper, and Sandra Dean

The Hope Award symbolizes excellence in accomplishing the mission of the Spine Health Foundation. This is an annual award presented to an individual who has selflessly provided his or her time to help fulfill our mission of helping others get back to life. A few highlights of the evening were: Guests walked the red carpet to have their picture taken by VIP Seen Tri Cities as they entered the Pavilion to join the pre-derby party festivities John Nichols, Speaker and Author shared his personal and powerful story of the spine injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down – and his miraculous recovery! Best Derby Hats Contest – An illustrious judging panel selected the most original hats. Winner – Cathie Olmsted, Place Erin Hadary and Show –Sara Burleson Since February 2011, SHF has provided over 300 medically related resources including 17 spine surgeries for area residents. These successes are made possibly by our generous sponsors and dedicated participating physicians. Major sponsors included Alpha Natural Resources, Eastman Credit Union, Regions Bank, Food City, Depuy Synthes, Medtronic, Integra Foundation & S-I Bone.

Eva Pickler and Stirling Young

Christa Merkel and Chuck Richani

Hollie Beth Johnson and Chantz Scott

Morgan Blessing, Bruce Blessing, ​ Sarah Blessing, and Wes Burleson

Tim and Molly Wright

Dr. Morgan Lorio, John Nichols, and Carol Conduff

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Wes Burleson, Sara Burleson, Bruce Blessing ,​​​Morgan Blessing, Sarah Blessing Cathie Olmsted, and Dr. Tom Olmsted

Kristin Kistner, Chef Abigail Hutchinson, Marc Eubanks, and Lori Boggs

Steve and Debbie Smith

Sara Jane Hall and Jessica Stollings-Strang

Visit Simply Home and discover Asian and American antiques, primitives, original art, gifts, painted furniture, rugs, and custom design services. Amy Howard at Home One Step painting workshops and other creative how-to classes are available. Dates and more information available on the website.

Angela and Mickey Baker

K.D. Bowen

Remarkable goods for the home

Come & See Us

319 West Main Street Abingdon, VA 24210

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Seen In Jonesborough | B L A C K T H O R N C L U B

ETSU All-Sport Golf Tournament A

n event-record 136 participants enjoyed a day on the links while also raising an all-time tournament high of roughly $50,000 to support the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association on a gorgeous Monday during the 2014 BASA All-Sport Golf Tournament presented by AT&T at the Blackthorn Club at The Ridges. BASA – the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association – has hosted this unique tournament for 11-consecutive years in an effort to meet the needs of ETSU’s student-athletes. This year, the tournament will net roughly $50,000 to support the scholarship fund; an all-time record in the 11-year history of the event.

The tournament, which was held at the beautiful Blackthorn Club at The Ridges, is one of the most unique charitable events in the region. Each year, the BASA Tournament features outstanding team prizes, registration gifts, hole prizes, and a postevent dinner. Proceeds from the tournament help fund scholarships for ETSU’s student-athletes. In addition, the tournament provides an opportunity to spend the day with ETSU coaches, staff and other special guests.


Larry Calhoun, Dr. Richard Sander, Scott Carter, and Shane Abraham

Brian, Richard Horton, Gene Horton, and Todd Ireland

Taking a shot at $1000

The ETSU Crew a.k.a.“Ballers”

1st Place Women

3rd Place Women

Long Putt Winner

3rd Place Men

2nd Place Women

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 63

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Seen In Kingsport | H I B B E R T- D A V I S C O F F E E C O M PA N Y

Mike and Bertina Dew (Executive Director Of Kingsport Ballet)

Mayor Dennis Phillips and Vivian McIntyre

Darrell and Sharon Duncan



Sandee Woolley and Barbara Niemezak

Lenita Thibault and Katherine Scoggins

Joseph Bennett, Savanah DeRossett, Madeline Young, and David Mather

Valeria Sinyavskaya (Artistic Director), Bertina Dew, and Mary Ruth Richards

Ballet & Bubbly

Greg and Sarah Kitzmiller, Brad and Missy Belote, and Heather Taylor

allet and Bubbly, the Kingsport Ballet’s fundraiser was held on a beautiful spring night in downtown Kingsport. Live music beginning with local musician, Curtis Cooper was followed by The Diamonds Jazz at the Hibbert Davis Coffee Company. A contemporary dance choreographed by Erika Ballard and performed by advanced modern dancers was the highlight of the night. An elaborate juxtaposition of culture and style through delicious gourmet fare, select wines and champagne, and an open-air performance made this a memorable evening for everyone in attendance. A fabulous silent auction featured many unique items from local businesses and community supporters. It was a splendid evening of art, music, and delicious food to help a wonderful organization. Proceeds from the event will benefit Kingsport Ballet special outreach programs. Through their program, DANCE CO, Kingsport Ballet is able to provide ballet instruction to over 50 underserved children each year.  DANCE CO stands for Developing Artists and Nurturing Cultural Education through Community Outreach. If you want to ensure the preservation of a beautiful art form, you can contact the Kingsport Ballet at 423.378.3967

Seen In Tri-Cities

Clean Up Around the Tri-Cities


Volunteers from all walks of life, including individuals, families, scout troops, youth programs, businesses, government, churches and The Day of Service volunteer organization joined forces in Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol to pick up garbage, clean in and along waterways, and collect recyclables. Between the three Keep America Beautiful affiliates, over 600 volunteers collected over 10 tons of garbage, trash and recyclable materials in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. In support of their efforts, VIPSEEN would like to encourage our readers to recycle whenever possible and properly dispose of trash. We would also like to encourage everyone to get involved with their local KAB affiliate and help keep the Tri-Cities beautiful by participating in clean-up projects around your community. Together we can make a huge difference in the quality of life in Northeast Tennessee. Keep Bristol Beautiful Keep Johnson City Beautiful Keep Kingsport Beautiful



he Keep America Beautiful affiliates in the Tri-Cities have been busy keeping Northeast Tennessee beautiful this spring as part of the nationwide Great American Cleanup efforts. Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Keep Bristol Beautiful, and Keep Johnson City Beautiful held clean ups in their respective communities. Events included a downtown cleanup in Bristol, the annual Boone Lake Cleanup in Johnson City, as well as the Downtown Cleanup and Greenbelt Cleanup, sponsored by Eastman Credit Union and Indian Path Medical Center, in Kingsport.



66 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


w w w . tr is um m i t b a n k .co m

Seen In Jonesborough | B L A C K T H O R N C L U B



ppalachia Service Project (ASP) held its 3rd Annual Golf Tournament last month resulting in nearly $50,000 raised for making homes warmer, safer and drier. Presented by Johnson City, Tennessee-based Mullican Flooring, and with the strong support of key businesses, including Bank of Tennessee, Modern Woodmen of America, Atmos Energy, Ferguson Enterprises and Reinhart Foodservice as well as over 100 players from the community, funds raised will be used this summer on emergency home repair projects across Central Appalachia. The tournament, held at Blackthorn Club at the Ridges, included 26 teams competing in a 4-person best ball format. The team from Mullican Flooring, including Drew Poland, Addie Baggarly, Brian Greenwell and Kevin Greenwell, took top honors with a low score of 59. The second flight winning team—Shawn Porter, Corey Webb, Chris Bowen, and Nick Bowen—scored 65, and third flight winners, with a score of 67, were Jenny Brock, Jeff Dykes, Scott Bowman and Rob Thomas. For information about how you can support ASP with a financial gift, please contact Lyssa Perry, Director of Philanthropy, at, or by calling (423) 854-4422 or toll-free 1 (866) 607-4433. For information about volunteering, contact Karen Frederick, Director of Volunteers, at or by calling (423) 854-4434 or toll-free 1 (800) 289-4254.

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 69


rint industry years are the equivalent to dog-age years. It is true. Every time I look in the mirror or at Brian’s face I can see that we have aged at the speed of light over the last three years (which would actually be like 21). In honor of this milestone 21st birthday (just do the dog-year math), we are taking a look back! Places we have been, some of the people who have contributed in a big way to our community, how business has flourished, and even poke fun at ourselves for being human. We hope that you enjoy this next section of VIPSEEN!

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September 2011

he old familiar saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, is definitely not one that can be applied to magazines. In fact, most of the time, a person decides whether or not they will be walking away with magazine in hand based on the cover. The cover of VIPSEEN is the most sought after and protected piece of ‘real estate’ in the magazine based on that very reason.

Stan and Kim Pace at Ridgefields Golf Course SEPTEMBER 2011

Over the last three years we have been asked a countless number of times about our cover. Do they have to pay? Did they know? Who decides who is on the cover? FEATURING:

This chapter of our anniversary issue will take you through each of our covers over the last three years and attempt to put curiosity to rest. Grab your popcorn and enjoy an inside look at the method to this cover madness.

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

DEBUT ISSUE: June/July 2011

October 2011

2011 Dancing with the Tri-Cities Stars Season 3

Racks by the Tracks

June/July 2011


Dragon Boat



In this issue:

We knew that we needed something big … a cover that would be a good representation of the entire Tri-Cities. We had looked through all of the photos taken over the previous couple of months and had NOTHING that was grabbing us. Two days before we had to upload, Kim Adler gave us a disc of pictures taken by David J. Clapp to use for a little ad inside the magazine. I am pretty sure as the image began to reveal itself onto my screen I heard angels singing above. We had the perfect cover!…now to track down this David Clapp fellow and get permission. With less than 24 hours to go, David was kind enough to grant us permission. It’s funny now thinking back to this cover… at the time, I hardly knew a single soul that was appearing on the first issue(including the Photographer David Clapp) and now, three years later, I know most of them very well and am blessed enough to call them friends.

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

August 2011


Dr.David Thompson, Etta Nicewonder and Her son, Kevin Nicewonder at the Paramount in Bristol (They had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) We were attending Puttin’ on the Ritz, an event put together to help raise money for the Paramount and everyone was dressed to the nines. I found myself immediately in cover search mode. I spotted Etta walking toward the stage after the event to get her picture made with a group of her friends and remember thinking to myself how much I loved her attire. I saw her again as we were leaving as asked to get their photo. As soon as I took it, I knew it was a cover option. This was another case where I was still so new to the area, that at the time of this photo, I had no idea who any of them were. Now, three years later, we have come to know them very well as each of them are very active and contributing members to our region! This remains to be one of my favorite covers.

November 2011

Sandy and Tom McGlothlin at Johnson City Country Club (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) Once again, it was down to the wire and we were going through our photos for this issue in search of our cover when we came across these two babes! The sky was perfect, their smiles were perfect and our search was over…which was perfect!

Moving into the September issue, I knew I wanted a cover that represented Kingsport. I was in a meeting with Stan Pace and Shelley Parham one day at Ridgefield’s when just out of nowhere it popped into my head as we were all talking that I would like him and his wife Kim to be on the cover. He had recently purchased Ridgefield’s Country Club and I was already aware that he owned other businesses in the area. I asked him right then and there and he said yes! Kind of sounds like a marriage proposal, doesn’t it?

Bernie Moseley and David Meredith at Maple Lane Farm (They had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) NOVEMBER 2011

By November, we had come to know David and Bernie fairly well. It was evident that they were socially involved in our community and we had attended a few events at their venue, Maple Lane Farm. Bruce Green, an Accounts Manager at the time, turned in this photo after covering an event out there. No cover search needed this month. This picture was a no-brainer.


Niswonger ParTee Bl ue Pl um

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 71

June/July 2012

June/July 2012


Special Feature:

Father’s Day

Racks by the Tracks The Hope Gala Northeast State Derby Party Tri-Cities Got Talent

Destination Downtown (Planned) July/August 2012

Our special focus for this issue was the downtown areas in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. I decided I wanted to feature people who had a strong tie to their downtown area. Other words, when you think of downtown Bristol, Christina Blevins comes to mind and vice versa. We asked around, and the faces on this cover were the ones who were chosen by their peers in the city they live. Mickey Baker shot this cover at Tri-Cities Aviation. It was a very hot day that day!

Special Feature:

Pink Tie Gala Dancing with the Stars Rockin’ the Red Carpet

February 2012

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Kelli Rogers (Trent) in Abingdon, VA (She had no idea she was the cover until it hit the stands)

August 2012

Medical Issue: The Doctor Is In (Planned)

This picture was actually taken by Mickey Baker during an ad photo shoot for Annie’s Room in Kingsport. There were several pictures from that particular shoot that would have made a great cover for our very first bridal issue as Kelli is a natural in front of the camera! Her reaction when we delivered magazines to her work and she discovered she was on the cover was priceless!

Our feature for this issue was the medical community in our region. My desire is to use the magazine as a platform for doctors, FNP’s and the medical community as a whole to be more than just a white jacket in a small room. This special feature allows for a more detailed look at who is caring for us and why you should trust them with both your health and your family’s health. Thanks to David Clapp and his team, we were able to use the headshots he captured and then create a great cover.



August/September 2012

March 2012


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

They have both been instrumental people in our region for education systems.

July/August 2012

Spirits of the Season

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

March 2012

Dobyns Bennett Band Director and Northeast State Foundation Director. It was taken at the northeast state derby party.

Santa Train (Planned)

This cover was planned as soon as we knew we were going to be able to ride the Santa Train. With help from our friends at the Kingsport Chamber we were able to get permission for a photographer (Mickey Baker) to have clearance to get on the track as the train was coming in.

NO PLACE Like Home... for the Holidays

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

December 2011 January 2012

Lafe and Heather Cooke (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands)

Patty and Vince Turner (They had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) Plain and simple… when we were going through our photos through the month, these two caught our eye! A great picture of a terrific couple = a lovely cover!

John E. “Jack” Woolley

Stacey Pomrenke, Helen Scott, and Melissa Steward (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) Mickey Baker captured this shot at the Healing Hands fundraiser (Cirque Du Montagne) held at the Olde Farm. As soon as we saw the picture, we knew we would be using it for the cover. All three of these ladies are active in our community and make a difference in the lives of others.

VIP Profile: Features: Home & Garden

September 2012

Polynesian Beach Party

Evening with the Path Gentlemen of the Road

Community Profile: Rogersville 22nd Annual Spirit Gala

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Bristol Cotillion 65th Annual Kingsport Chamber Dinner

April 2012

The Tri-Cities Pink Tie Guys (Planned) April 2012

The cover for this issue came about thanks to Cheryl Youland (former Executive Director of Tri-Cities Susan G. Komen for the Cure). She had seen something similar done in another market, brought me the magazine and asked if I would consider. It was a great idea and a done deal. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

PROM & GRADUATION Community Profile: Surgoinsville


Vegas Night at Ridgefields Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway One Singular Sensational Evening


October 2012

Bristol, VA Mayor Jim Steele, President and CEO Bristol Chamber of Commerce Joy Madison, and Bristol, TN Mayor Joel Staton (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) When I heard the Bristol sign was turning pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, I was so excited for the community. That was huge and I wanted us to be there to see it! That evening when I realized I had the new Bristol Chamber CEO Joy Madison there along with both Bristol VA and Bristol TN Mayors, I began my mission to get that shot! Mickey was with me and was feeling the pressure and stress of difficult lighting…but he was able to get it. None of the three knew at the time that we were shooting for the cover… but I did! Chelsie Gregory, did a great job in post editing to make this cover really pop!

May 2012 May 2012

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Special Feature:

We Remember - Memorial Day 18TH ANNUAL TN/VA SCHOLARS

Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza Bristol Library Spring Gala

Boys and Girls Club Grand Tour Gala

72 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Tri Cities Dancing with the Stars Season 4 (Planned) The first cover was a hit, we absolutely LOVED the event and wanted to continue to support the nonprofit that it benefits (SteppenStone), so, we made the commitment to do the cover again. I also liked that it represents people from all over the Tri-Cities. Needless to say, another gorgeous shoot by none other than David J Clapp… who, at this point, was no longer a stranger to us, but rather, a very highly respected and talented photographer.

November/December 2012

James & Laura Rogers with the Singing Chef, Andy LoRusso (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) This cover was taken by Mickey Baker at the Foundation. The Singing Chef had been brought in to help raise money for the Paramount. Brian set this photo up for Mickey to shoot with the cover in mind!

The Grindstaffs (Planned)

Earlier in the year we donated the cover to Dancing with the Stars live auction. It was actually won by someone who was unable to fulfill that obligation. The next highest bidders were the Grindstaff’s. They certainly did not have to buy it, but chose to so that SteppenStone would not lose the donation. JUNE 2013

You’re unique.

January 2013

Kosbe Award Winners (Planned)


At Custom Compounding Centers of America, we customize Pain Gel Prescriptions for each Patient's needs.

This was chosen to be the cover because we thought it was a great representation of small business success in our area and wanted to bring attention to those who had put in the blood, sweat and tears to fulfill their dream. KINGSPORT


109 Jack White Drive Kingsport, TN 37664

701 N State of Franklin Rd # 9 Johnson City, TN 37604-3645

(423) 245-1022

(423) 207-4290



LocaL & LoyaL A Father’s Day TribuTe

Home Sweet Home

For more information email

Hat Ladies at the Spine Health Foundation Derby Party (Had no idea they were the cover until it hit the stands) As a part of our media sponsorship agreement, The Spine Health Foundation asked if we would use a picture from their event for our cover. Derby attire; Olde Farm; Great Cause; I think so! I had fun going through and hand picking the hats I wanted!


Why shouldn't your prescription be?

June 2013


December 2012 January 2013

Spine Health Foundation

Derby Day

JDRF: “A Night of Hope”

Girls Inc. of Kingsport

Covered by most insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid

JULY 2013

You’re unique.


This cover was shot and submitted by Jim Goodwin Photography. We were very familiar with their work and jumped at the chance to feature one of their brides on our bridal issue cover. I still get lots of comments on this one. It was a favorite of many.

(423) 207-4290


Kim&Mike ADLER


& Beauty

Back To School

Racks by the Tracks


BLUE PLUM Festival

Covered by most insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid

Bridal Bliss


JOHNSON CITY 701 N State of Franklin Rd # 9 Johnson City, TN 37604-3645

(423) 245-1022

For more information email



KINGSPORT 109 Jack White Drive Kingsport, TN 37664


At Custom Compounding Centers of America, we customize Pain Gel Prescriptions for each Patient's needs.

Mr. & Mrs. Logan and Alicia Patrick (Planned)

Tri- Cities Dancing with The Stars Season 5 (Planned) For the third year in a row, we felt we should continue to build on the momentum this event was gaining. Plus, as I mentioned previously, I love having such wonderful representation from the entire region on our cover! Thanks again to David J Clapp for the photography!


Why shouldn't your prescription be?

February 2013

July 2013

Bristol Chamber of Commerce


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities

701 N State of Franklin Rd # 9 Johnson City, TN 37604-3645


(423) 207-4290



Drive 37664

August 2013

Medical Issue (Planned) We collaborated with Fresh Air Photography to create this cover. We wanted to feature our medical community again but in a different way. Our original idea and thought for this cover did not turn out at all, however, when this cover came together in the end, we were abundantly pleased.



Sullivan & Hawkins County CASA Board (Planned) A board member simply asked if we would be interested in being a media sponsor and if part of that sponsorship could include the cover... as I have said before, sometimes all you have to do is ask. We love being a part of bringing awareness to such a worthy cause.


m Compounding of America, we mize Pain Gel tions for each nt's needs.

March 2013

Neither are... compounding pharmacies.


ouldn't your iption be?


MARCH 2013

e unique.

Not all scars are created equal.

Johnson City 701 N State of Franklin Rd #9 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 207-4290




Golf in our Region

Custom Scar Formulations by CCCA

Only PCAB Accredited pharmacy in the Tri-Cities.







Drive 7664

701 N State of Franklin Rd # 9 Johnson City, TN 37604-3645


(423) 207-4290

Ask for personalized pain gels.







Johnson City



701 N State of Franklin Rd #9 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 207-4290


FOOD CITY 500 Shake your Shamrock

Custom Pain Relief Gel by CCCA

September 2013

Seniors from area high schools in the region (Planned) Since this issue was about being college bound and features universities from the region, we decided that it would be advantageous for all if we were able to get each school to send us a representing senior. The BMS was very kind in allowing us to us their facility to take this picture on what may have been one of the hottest days in August. Shot by Mickey Baker.



Lizz Marrs and Jim Bailey (Planned)




m Compounding of America, we mize Pain Gel tions for each nt's needs.

“What can I give you for pain?”

Superior compounding pharmacy. ABC WKPT was launching a news product again after many years of not Superior answer for pain relief. having a local newscast. We featured anchors Jim and Lizz on the cover in an effort to help promote the station’s latest venture and inform the community. Shot by my husband, Mickey.


ouldn't your iption be?


APRIL 2013

e unique.

April 2013




Mira Gerard FunFest

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Only PCAB Accredited pharmacy in the Tri-Cities.



MAY 2013

May 2013

“What can I give you for pain?”

Pink Tie Guys (Planned)

Ask for personalized pain gels.





Spring Chic


Johnson City 701 N State of Franklin Rd #9 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 207-4290

SPRUCE UP YOUR Spring Shake your Shamrock Custom Pain Relief Gel by CCCA

Only PCAB Accredited pharmacy in the Tri-Cities.




Restaurant Menu Guide Cover (Planned) The decision to feature the area restaurant owners and chefs who participated in the third annual restaurant menu guide was an easy one. It was a great tie in with the contents of that issue. We were granted permission from WJHL to use the set of Daytime Tri-Cities. The reason we shot it there is because we felt it was neutral ground for this group. Mickey Baker was the photographer for this cover.



We did this cover again because it turned out so well the previous year Superior compounding pharmacy. Superior answerlove for pain relief. and there were quite a few more Pink Tie Guys to show off! We to support those who support others! Even though Mickey is in the shot, he actually had everything all set up and waiting for me to just push the button.

October 2013



Gift Guide



Virginia Buda


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 73

MARCH 2014

March 2014

This idea was born from surfing the web trying to spark some creativity. I had already planned on these ladies being on this cover because originally, March was going to be the spring fashion issue. (Which ended up being pushed to April) I ran across a dress made of newspaper and I had made up my mind. We would do magazine dresses. Once again, my dedicated team helped to pull this together and pull it off! I believe this is Mickey’s favorite cover that he has shot.




ve you for pain?”

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

November 2013

Rita Dykes and Bruce Hullette (This was a surprise cover)

April 2014 APRIL 2014

alized pain gels.



Johnson City 701 N State of Franklin Rd #9 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 207-4290

Madison Perkins (Planned) When trying to come up with an idea for this cover, I did a lot of research. I needed this cover to be a great follow up to the last. I was on Pintrest when I came across a double exposure photograph and instantly loved the idea. From there, I enlisted one beautiful model (my daughter), one amazing stylist (Sherri Jessee), one wonderful photographer (my husband) and one incredible creative director (Angelica Ares). Waaaah La! The cover was brought to life more beautiful than I could have imagined!


I chose to do this cover in honor and memory of Brian’s grandfather who had just passed and meant so much to so many. Rita, Brian’s aunt, is very special to VIPSEEN and has written for us since the beginning.


pounding pharmacy. er for pain relief.

Olivia Fletcher, Miss Virginia TEEN USA 2014, Arielle Rosmarino, Miss Virginia USA 2014 and Sherri Jessee, Stylist (Planned)

Only PCAB Accredited pharmacy in the Tri-Cities.


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

December 2013

ized pain gels.

We wanted to celebrate and congratulate WJHL on 60 years of broadcast service to our region bymmaking a d e pat i e n t s p e cthem i f i c at c u s tthe o m c o m feature p o u n d i n g c e n t estory rs of america inside and featuring them on our cover. I was very pleased with the work done by Mickey Baker and Angelica Ares on this one!

ounding pharmacy. for pain relief.

May 2014

customized compounding services


• Can be billed on insurance • Formulations are made specific to each patients individualized needs • Formulations can contain multiple variations of: • Antibiotics • Topical Steroids • Antifungals • Antihistamines

Johnson City 701 N State of Franklin Rd #9 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 207-4290

Only PCAB Accredited pharmacy in the Tri-Cities.

Tryphena Layman (Planned)


Custom Compounding Centers of America Prescription Compounding Specialist

for more information, go to





LIZ Bushong

ACCREDITED Compounding Pharmacy

Johnson city, tn Location PCAB Accredited Compounding Pharmacies are recognized by the AMA as adhering to “quality & practice standards”.

Compounded formulations require a prescription by a licensed prescriber. Compounded medications are not approved by the FDA nor are they required to be. © Custom Compounding Centers of America.



January 2014

Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

3/20/14 5:59 PM

For our bridal issue this year, we told the sales team that whoever signed a wedding photographer first for the feature, that we would select one of their bridal shots for our cover! Jeremy Gouge was the winning photographer. His work was beautiful but this cover won out among all.


Customized Compounding Services • Can be billed on insurance • Formulations are made specific to each patients individualized needs • Formulations can contain multiple variations of: • Antibiotics • Topical Steroids • Antifungals • Antihistamines

February 2014 FEBRUARY 2014

Toast Across America Liana Fuente and Joey Nickels (Planned)

t SpeCifiC at CuStom Compounding CenterS of ameriC a made patien

for more information, go to WWW.CCCarX.Com


CCCA of423-245-1022 Joey Nickels has been a faithful supporter VIPSEEN since our second issue. I had made a promise to him at that time, that one day we would use the cover to promote an event if he ever wanted to do that. We kept our word and even selected a picture of him to use for the cover. We always support and appreciate our supporters!

ACCREDITED Compounding Pharmacy


CCCAVIPAD-June copy2.indd 1


Aundrea WILCOX




Jacob Tittle

Toast ACROSS America


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

74 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

PCAB Accredited Compounding Pharmacies are recognized by the AMA as adhering to “quality & practice standards”.

Compounded formulations require a prescription by a licensed prescriber. Compounded medications are not approved by the FDA. © Custom Compounding Centers of America.

5/17/14 9:05 AM


JohnSon CitY, tn LoCation

Custom Compounding Centers of America Prescription Compounding Specialist

Thank You Tri-Cities for your Support!

JUNE 2014

Bless You!


Liz Bushong with JJ and Sebastian (Planned) Liz Bushong has been writing for VIPSEEN for quite some time now. We made the decision to put her on the cover for multiple reasons and because she was also our featured profile for the month of May. We also featured her rabbit, JJ and Tamara Marshall’s standard poodle Sebastian because of the “Furrbaby” section also included in this issue.



MAY 2014

WJHL 60 Year Anniversary Cover (Planned)


you for pain?”


Arts & Entertainment Throughout the Tri-Cities Scene

Last one on this list, but certainly not least, is the cover of the magazine you are holding in your hands. It is compiled of all the covers we have printed to date. I asked my team a couple months ago for cover ideas for this anniversary issue and one of our newest members, Jada Shefrey, sent me a concept very similar to this. I sent it to my Creative Genius Angelica Ares and she brought the idea on home.

BLAST from the



ere at VIPSEEN, as we begin looking back over the past three years, we are thrilled to have been apart of so many amazing events in our community and surrounding areas. We’ve spent time socializing with friends at the Blue Plum festival to running for a great cause at Race for the Cure. We have cheered on those rowing in Mountain States Dragon Boat race to congratulating our community at the Annual Kingsport Chamber Dinner. Looking back we feel so blessed to have been able to share so many amazing moments with our community and are looking forward to what is still yet to come. As we look back, we would like to share some of these special moments with you in hopes that you have enjoyed them just as much as we have! STORIES BY SAVANNA SMITH AND MORGAN NELLIS

ACOUSTIC CHRISTMAS The annual Electric 94.9 Acoustic Christmas Concert is held at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City in December. Kia of Johnson City serves as a primary sponsor of the event, which raises funds for both the CASA of Northeast Tennessee and Special Spaces Tri-Cities charities. The Electric 94.9 Acoustic Christmas always brings big names in to the Tri-Cities in the name of charity and delivers nothing short of a great show. CASA NETN is a Nonprofit, Community Based, Volunteer Service Organization who works hand in hand with the Juvenile Courts of Johnson City, Washington, Greene, and Unicoi Counties and pledges volunteerism to abused and neglected children. Special Spaces Tri-Cities founded November 2011, provides dream bedrooms for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses to inspire their imaginations and provide peace and comfort in their time of need.

BACONFEST It all started with a dream and a love of bacon. On September On September 1, 2012 the Bristol Motor Speedway played host to the region’s first Tri-Cities Bacon Fest! Billed as an All Ages bacon celebration that included live music on the Shocktop Main Stage, fun activities such as Hog Callin’, Man vs. Bacon Challenge, Pigskin Toss Challenge, and even an Amateur Recipe Challenge, the event was a success! In September 2013, the Tri-Cities Baconfest was back…but this time to Downtown Johnson City, TN!  Held at VENUE at the King’s Centre in Johnson City, Tennessee and and benefiting Special Spaces of the Tri-Cities, the event raised almost $4,000 for a special little girl named Riley. The date for the 3rd Annual TriCities Baconfest has been set for August 30, 2014. Tickets again will be limited. For more information on this year’s event, visit

RACKS BY THE TRACKS Racks by the Tracks is a family fun event featuring local food, beer and crafts. Held at the Kingsport Farmer’s Market, Racks by the Tracks features a craft beer sampling from some of the many breweries in the region. There is also a barbeque ribs cook-off and tasting where the best of the best in the Tri-Cities bring the flavor. Racks by the Tracks also offers a full day of incredible live music by some of the big name stars in east Tennessee. There are activities for the whole family that include a blowup area for the kids. If you haven’t been to Racks by the Tracks, come see what your closest 10,000 friends are talking about.

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 75

SUSAN G. KOMEN Every year in October, Susan G. Komen Tri-Cities holds the Race for the Cure, a 5K walk/run that raises money for breast cancer research and awareness. Since it’s start 9 years ago, the race has grown into one of the largest in the area. The support has been unbelievable and the funds raised have surprised everyone. The Tri-Cities is making a significant stride against breast cancer and is aiming to raise even more money in 2014. Susan G. Komen Tri-Cities was founded in 2005 with a commitment to help the underserved women and men in the 23 county service region from Greeneville, Tenn. into South West Virginia and western North Carolina. Susan G. Komen Tri-Cities allows women and men access to screening and early detection opportunities. Susan G. Komen TriCities is proud of the fact that 75% of the money raised stays in this region while the other 25% goes directly to national research.

CASA’S ANNUAL RED SHOE GALA The Red Shoe Gala evolved from the theme of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, who realized “There’s no place like home.” With that phrase in mind, CASA uses this gala to help children who only want to be in a safe home. The Gala is a black-tie optional event that includes dinner and a dance. Then of course there is always a Red Shoe contest for anyone who wishes to participate. The event also features a silent and live auction. The mission of CASA of East Tennessee (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is to improve the lives of abused and neglected children through trained volunteers who advocate for a safe, permanent, loving home. CASA provides highly trained citizen volunteers to advocate for children who come under the protection of juvenile court. With the help of fundraisers like the Red Shoe Gala, CASA can do just that.

RELAY FOR LIFE The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a lifechanging event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Northeast Tennessee plays a large part in helping raise those funds. Races held in Greeneville, Kingsport, Elizabethton, Bristol, and Johnson City bring together entire communities to support cancer research and awareness. So this year, gather a team and lets raise some money!

BRISTOL RHYTHM AND ROOTS Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion isn’t just a music festival, it is an infectious three-day music experience bursting with creative passion, electricity, and soul. Every third weekend in September, State Street in historic Downtown Bristol, TN/ VA is amped to the beat of Appalachia’s past, present, and future. It digs down deep into the roots of traditional Appalachian sound and lifts its branches to new heights–and it all happens in the heart of The Birthplace of Country Music. As a non-profit, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is dedicated to keeping ticket prices low for families. The festival relies heavily on volunteerism, fundraising and grant funding. The Reunion is very fortunate to have been embraced by the community in a very personal way. Bristol Rhythm and Roots works closely with a number of local non-profits on projects year-round in support of Bristol’s Downtown and music tourism in the region. Be sure and get your ticket this year!

76 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


In recent years, the Haunted Half Marathon has been added to the day of fun, which also includes a kid friendly zone and delicious food from local vendors. This event has been a blast since day one and will continue to be the best Halloween party anywhere in the Tri-Cities.

SANTA TRAIN For 71 years the Santa Train has been making the annual 110-mile run from Pikeville, Kentucky through Virginia and ending in Kingsport, Tennessee. The Santa Train is the world’s largest parade, making 14 stops handing out over 15 tons of gifts while making many people’s lives a little brighter. Gifts are donated from individuals and companies across the United States, including CSX, Food City, and this year’s new sponsor, Dignity U Wear. The Santa Train also gives a remarkable gift that lasts a lifetime, the Santa Train Scholarship. The Scholarship is a four-year, $5000 award given each year to a graduating senior that lives near the Train’s route.


The Tri-Cities’ largest Halloween Party, Rockin’ the Hallows, rocks Kingsport near the end of October, averaging more than 1500 attendees. The annual event is always a favorite among partygoers. Fantastic costumes fill the Kingsport Farmer’s Market in downtown Kingsport with horror, humor, and sheer beauty as Strategic Placement Group, Inc. and Kingsport Tomorrow present a great event. Local musicians and bands always rock the night while everyone parties the dance floor, hang out with old friends, and make some new friends.

The Santa Train makes its way through the winding route captivating children of all ages. Thousands stand along the route yelling, waving, and snapping pictures as they waited for that first glimpse of Santa. Some even travel hours to partake in the wonderful outpouring of love, hope, generosity, and Christmas joy. While some want to be right near the tracks, others watch from a distance.

SPECIAL SPACES TRI-CITIES Special Spaces Tri-Cities is a local chapter of a national organization whose mission is to help make a difference in the lives of children with lifethreatening illnesses by designing and creating their dream bedrooms. The directors are Krista Wharton and Tamara Marshall. Their mission is simple but zealous. Special Spaces creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses. A place that only the child can dream or imagine while addressing their medical needs. Where does a child go while battling a life-challenging illness to find peace and comfort? Special Spaces Tri Cities was founded in November 2011 on the precedent that children battling a life-threatening illness needed their own special space. It is a special space of hope and inspiration and a place to find peace and comfort. Please visit the Special Spaces Tri-Cities Facebook page for more pictures and information about upcoming makeovers!

TN/VA SCHOLARS TN/VA Scholars is designed to encourage students to complete high school courses that provide a fundamentally sound academic education. Such a curriculum emphasizes “on level” and above courses in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts (including foreign language), and computer literacy. Only with these courses can students compete in the high technology global economy of the 21st century. There are a number of local school systems currently involved in the TN/ VA Scholars Program. Data has been collected from four original school systems Hawkins County, Kingsport City, Scott County and Sullivan County. The senior classes of these school systems get rewarded with a free day out of school at a local park. This is where they get to know one another and make friends from other schools. Many of these students will attend college together, so the idea is to get them in a familiarized group. The scholars Program loves rewarding their students almost as much as the students love their free day of school. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 77

BLUE PLUM FESTIVAL Thousands upon thousands flood the path of the festival as they enjoy the company of friends and family while taking in all that the festival had to offer. The Blue Plum Festival is a free outdoor art and music festival that has taken place in downtown Johnson City for over a decade. The festivities have come to include the Blue Plum 5K, Little Plum Run, Blue Plum Animation Festival, arts and crafts, Rugby and Cornhole tournaments, art showings, tons of musical entertainment, great food, the Urban Art Throwdown, a kids area, and much more. The festival was originated by two of Johnson City’s citizens, Kim Schneider and Mary Palmer. Schneider and Palmer developed the Friends of Olde Downtowne organization to freshen up downtown Johnson City. The organization started by first renovating an abandoned fountain, but they did not stop with the fountain. Throughout the years with the help of the City of Johnson City, downtown Johnson City has been refurbished and is full of charm. Friends of Olde Downtowne have promoted tourism and brought the downtown area back to life by originating and developing the Blue Plum Festival. For more information on the festival, visit

BRISTOL RACES With seating for 160,000 people, Bristol Motor Speedway, which was originally built in 1961, enters its 53rd year of hosting two annual Sprint Cup events every season. Known as “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” BMS is actually just a hair over that at .533 of a mile. Its high banks, which ride as high as 30 degrees up, are only part of the challenge the place presents. The turns are tight, but that’s only part of it. Trying to go three-wide on the narrow racing surface is extremely difficult. The speedway has brought much recognition to the town of Bristol and the Tri-Cities. Thanks to BMS, the birthplace of country music gets a visit from 160,000 of its closest friends twice a year. Local fans are just as thrilled in March and August to spend the week at the track. Many say it is the best time of year for the Tri-Cities.

SPIRITS OF THE SEASON The Spirits of the Season is one of the premier cocktail events of its kind to be held in the country as more than 250 attendees usually attend this exciting event. Community members get together to raise money for saving lives. With the help of this spirited event, the American Cancer Society will continue to save lives and create more birthdays by helping people to stay well and get well, find cures, and fight back. For nearly a century, the American Cancer Society has fought for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. By taking what we’ve learned through research and turning it into what we do, we have contributed to a 15 percent decrease in the overall cancer death rate between the early 1990s and 2005. That means that we helped avoid about 650,000 cancer deaths and created the potential for more birthday celebrations. Overall, 11 million cancer survivors in America will celebrate a birthday this year. Now that’s a reason to party, so join us at the next Spirits of the seasons!

DRAGON BOAT With thousands of attendees, multiple vendors, and a full day of familyfriendly activities, the Dragon Boat festival has become one of Johnson City’s most popular events. Beginning back in 2006, the Mountain States Dragon Boat Festival has since become one of the most successful regional events by proudly raising well over $600,000! Many different areas of Mountain States Health Alliance have benefitted by these funds. So how exactly does the race work? Directed and coached by a steersman standing in the rear of the boat, each team races a distance of 200 meters in an attempt to earn the fastest time. Every team will compete in two heats, with the top 18 fastest combined times from Heat 1 and Heat 2 will compete a third time in the championship round. There are up to 50 teams that participate in the festival. Be sure to attend the next one and see what all the buzz is about. 78 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


Mike and Kim Adler, of Johnson City, teach the Tri-Cities stars. Both Mike and Kim achieved World Champion status with their professional partners and as a couple with the United Country Western Dance Council. The dancers each perform two dances for the audience then a panel of well-known judges awards a winner. Dancing with the Tri-Cities Stars is one of the many great fundraisers in the region.

DERBY DAY IN THE TRI-CITIES Every year on the first Saturday in May, The Tri-Cities is the second best place you can be for the Kentucky Derby. Two major fundraisers are held in total Derby style. Supporters of the Spine Health Foundation gather at the Olde Farm to celebrate the positive impact being made in our region. Northeast State Community College also invites supporters out to the Foundation at 620 State Street to raise funds for scholarships for students in the region.


Dancing with Tri-Cities Stars is stepping into its sixth year in 2014 and the founders couldn’t be more grateful. This fundraiser benefits SteppinStone Youth Treatment Services. Founded by Mike Adler and Tom Herington, SteppenStone is a Tri-Cities treatment center in Limestone, TN that helps boys who experience emotional and behavioral problems. They provide a continuum of treatment in a residential setting as well as day treatment, after school treatment and outpatient treatment. SteppenStone is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Both events always hold all the flare of Lexington; hats, roses, seersucker suits, good music and don’t forget mint juleps. Guests also walk the red carpet upon arrival and have their pictures taken in their best dress. Awards are always given in categories such as best dresses, best hat, and of course to those who picked the winner of the Derby. Both parties are always a hit and even more important, are for a great cause.

FARM TO TABLE More than fresh, local food is on the plate when Jonesborough, Tennessee, hosts its annual farm-to-table dinner. The event takes weeks of planning and combined resources, talents and ideas from several volunteers. Two dinners have raised more than $10,000 for the local farmers’ market. This is no simple, outdoor meal. It is a sophisticated affair that would have proven challenging in a grand banquet hall. The Jenkins and Bomba families, a volunteer wait staff, and farmers’ market growers and volunteers pulled it off. Chef Bomba manages to create a sumptuous, five-course meal with all the ingredients — not including the risotto and wine — coming from local producers year after year. Even the 48 centerpieces were created from locally sourced flowers.

FUNFEST In 1981, founders stated an original theme of “Community Unity.” Fun Fest’s sole objective was “to promote unity, harmony, fellowship and cooperation among people in the greater Kingsport Area. . . . If tourist attraction and economic development benefits accrue, this is desirable; however, promotion of Fun Fest should not be conducted with those objectives primarily in mind.” In short, Fun Fest was created as an effort to unite Kingsport residents, to help foster a belief that Kingsport is a caring community that is a good place to live and to work, and to provide numerous opportunities for people to congregate and become acquainted while appealing to their interests in culture, athletics, arts and entertainment. Today, Funfest has grown to be a world famous festival that pulls in huge celebrities and some of the best athletes. It has easily become Kingsport’s staple and is always excitedly welcomed by locals. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 79

HEALING HANDS Healing Hands is a Christian ministry serving the unmet health care needs of the working uninsured and underinsured in the area. They provide free medical, dental, vision, chiropractic and counseling care. The Ministry is celebrating 16 years and serving over 50,000 patients in the region. Staff and volunteers work aimlessly around the clock to ensure everyone has access to healthcare. This ministry could not exist without the support of the community. For years Healing Hands has had fundraisers and held galas all in the name of free needed assistance. Some of their gala themes include 2013’s A Night in Havana, 2012’s Cirque du Montagne, and 2011’s Out of Africa. Each one have been more successful than the last, only proving people in the community really do care about others and genuinely want to help. Healing Hands is grateful to all who volunteer, donate, and reach out to help. To learn more about Healing Hands visit

VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS FESTIVAL The Virginia Highlands festival was started in 1948 by Robert Porterfield, founder of the Barter Theatre, as a simple one-week festival to showcase Appalachian arts and crafts. Every year hundreds of volunteers work to create exciting new events for our festival for you to enjoy. Every year the festival gets better for attendees. In the last few years there have been some spectacular events with new music, new artists, new crafts, and vendors added, along with some old favorites. This year you’ll notice Festival entrance gates and a donation request to help support the activities of the Festival. Those shady tents, live entertainment, and kids’ activities don’t come cheap, and we hope that you will help out with a $1 cash donation per person, per day, (kids under 12 are free). Your dollar gets you access to the Juried Arts & Crafts show, the youth tent and all youth activities, and all daytime music concerts at the Market Pavilion, plus access to the tastiest Festival food this side of the Blue Ridge!

KINGSPORT CHAMBER ANNUAL DINNER Kingsport’s social event of the year! The Kingsport Chamber Dinner takes place every February and is looking toward its 68th year in 2015. The event is black tie optional and is dedicated to the outstanding entertainment that is booked each year. The business portion of the event is brief, but that doesn’t stop the Chamber from giving out one of the most prestigious awards, the Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member Award. This is an award that honors and individual for a lifetime of outstanding service to the Kingsport community. The Chamber’s largest event of the year hosted another record-breaking crowd of more than 1,800 guests this past year. The Kingsport Chamber continues to hold the record for the largest annual dinner among Chambers nationwide. Guests attending Kingsport’s “Social Event of the Year,” are always treated to an amazing dinner, an incredible look-back presentation of achievements by Kingsport, the Chamber, and its members, a preview of another exciting year ahead, and phenomenal entertainment.

THE HOPE GALA The Hope Gale helps to support The American Cancer Society, which is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. With the help of their supporters, the American Cancer Society can help save lives and support those who are battling cancer. The Hope Gala was held at Maple Lane Farm in Johnson City and was hosted by the owners Bernie Moseley and David Meredith. Kentucky Derby themed, the Hope Gala and Maple Lane Farm paired up perfectly to help bring out a wonderful crowd to support a great cause.

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KINGSPORT CHAMBER GOLF SCRAMBLE The annual Kingsport Chamber Golf Scramble is the second biggest fundraiser for the Chamber, and after twenty-two years, it is an ever-popular event. The event has grown over the years that two tee times are now played making it an entire day of golf. Players and teams are treated to breakfast, lunch, and dinner by local caterers and restaurants and are given fantastic prizes throughout the day. Funds raised from the event benefit the Kingsport Chamber and its Keep Kingsport Beautiful and Leadership Kingsport programs.

For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, go to

KOSBE AWARDS In 2004, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and City of Kingsport jointly formed the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development organization, to specifically nurture, counsel and encourage the continued robust growth and development of startups and existing small businesses in Kingsport, Tennessee.


The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit business organization composed of nearly 1,000 members. The Kingsport Chamber’s mission is to utilize resources and focus efforts on enhancing a strong and viable business environment for the Kingsport area.

KOSBE’s intent is to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their business, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships. Each Year the non profit holds an award ceremony for those small businesses around the community. Awards include categories such as Veteran Owned, Woman Owned, New Business, Steady Performer, Small Manufacturer, Home Based, and Impact Award. There are many other awards given as well. To learn more about KOSBE, please visit

OKTOBERFEST Kingsport Oktoberfest is a one day family festival in the heart of Downtown Kingsport. Thanks to the fabulous sponsors, the admission is free to the celebration of Bavarian heritage. The Kingsport Oktoberfest began in 2011 and has grown in popularity to over 16,000 attendees last year. Ranked “Top 50 Festival” by Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine in 2012 and 2013, the festival includes a kidzone, craft tables, craft artisian market and of course crowd pleasing wiener dogs and craft beer. From Gatlinburg’s German heritage to the original settlers in the Tri-Cities, German heritage plays an important role in the Appalachian Mountains. The Kingsport Oktoberfest embraces our German influences by having Oktoberfest, a celebration of German heritage and fun for everyone.

PIE WARS Pie Wars has become a legendary event in our region the past four years. Taking place in downtown Johnson City, every year the creative fundraiser continues to grow. Pizza connoisseurs came out and donated some of their hard earned ‘dough’ to support CASA of Northeast Tennessee. The name of the game is to serve the best pie in the Tri-Cities. Atendees get to try and judge from multiple types of pizza from unnamed sources. Then at the end of the night when all the judges are finished voting, a Pie Wars Champion is crowned. CASA NETN is a nonprofit, community based, volunteer service organization. They work hand in hand with the juvenile courts in Johnson City, Washington, Greene, and Unicoi Counties. What this actually means is caring, dedicated volunteers acting on behalf of abused and neglected children who must depend on the juvenile courts to ensure that they will have a safe, stable, and caring home. Pie Wars is one of the many great fundraisers that benefit CASA. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 81


o say that these last three years have been a journey, would be putting it mildly! Often times, we have found ourselves traveling the entire region in a day, stopping at each city along the way to cover an event. We have been fortunate enough to experience the look, the feel and fun at a multitude of places. Each possessing their own unique charm while providing our community a place to gather together in the name of charity.


Kingsport HIgher Education Center

Do you get around as much as we do? (… no this isn’t a trick question) Let’s find out! Place a check in the box beside the Places YOU Have Been. Next, list the events you have attended at that venue in spaces provided beside each logo. When you are finished, total up your points• to find out what it says about you! * Add one point for every event you’ve attended.


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Johnson City


Johnson City


Holy cow! Do you need us to come over and help you lift that rock off your back that you have been living under?! There is a great big world out there just waiting for you to experience everything it has to offer! Our community looks forward to meeting you soon!


You have what it takes to get around, but there are still plenty of places to be and people to meet. Check out our calendar in every issue so you can strive to move up the social tree.


Do you want a job? I mean, if you are going to be at all these places, you might as well have a camera in hand! Looks as if you get around just as much as we do! Doesn’t it feel great to be involved? Kudos to you! Thank you for supporting our community. I look forward to seeing you at the next event! JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 83


We did it again! BY MORGAN NELLIS


e here at VIPSEEN know that mistakes happen and we have made our fair share. From wrong captions all the way to wrong stories, some things just slip past our editing and make it to the printer. In this section we would like to take a moment to point and laugh at ourselves for some of the “bloopers” we have made over the past three years. We hope that you all will enjoy and laugh along with us at some of these moments.

hday Aunt

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Kissing Cousins S E E N IN C IT Y L o c a ti o n

VIPSEEN would like to formally congratulate these two individuals on being cousins…not a couple. We mistakenly took a photo of two individuals thinking they were a newly engaged couple. We decided what a wonderful idea it would be to congratulate them in the next months magazine. Turns out they were cousins…not a couple.

Heritage P o Groundbr i n t Towne eaking Cer emon hday Cindy

Happy Birt



hday Chris

Happy Birt


On March 15, official s broke gr I-81 interc ound at H hang eritage Po and Alderm e. Lieutenant Gover int located no an, Kingsp at the I-26 ort Econom r Ron Ramsey, King and and the Su sport’s Bo ic and Dev llivan Count ard of May elopment y Commiss the comm or Bo io ard, Steve emorative Godsey, groundbrea n, and other comm unity leader king cerem s on at te y. nded The 1.4 m illion squa re feet of th trade and e To travel outp ost. The de wne Center will be po establishm velopmen ents includ t will accom rtrayed as a modern ing an outd hotels, an ith! modate m oor outfitte d theaters ay Lori Sm anyB r, a . Heritage reirt tahd il design incl appy Po int will have wholesale clH uding beau ub, restau G ue ru st rants, s enjoying stic ch tiful st walkways. Linda Pola Heritaye s int onework, fifty percent arm with a contempo gearPo nd’s story boos will als gree rary Mets - 32 Kingsport ting the Tri-Cities’ econ o generate thousand n space, and wooden omy immen s of jobs to sely. the area w Heritage Po hile int, located at the cros Tennessee, sroads un Virginia, an iting paths d North C from these leading to arolina will adjacent st Kentucky, not only br ates, but it will be the ing people will also br perfect ve to Kingspor in nu g e in travelers the monot for travelers t . ony of the Th to stop in e Towne C drive, stretc for the nigh dollars into enter h their legs t, grab a bi the Tri-Citie , and shop te, to brea s. k while bringi ng tourism Kingsport businessm an and en the resear tre preneur, St ch, purcha ewart Taylo sed the pr as Heritage operty, an r had a vis Point begi d is tu ion, did ns develo developm pment. Alth rning his vision into ent will take a re ough the co several ye residents mpletion of ality ars, Kingsp will experie d! the or nce the ex takes plac citement an t and Tri-Cities official arren DeBor e with the s and Happy Birthday D d anticipat magnificen ion with ev t transform er y at change th ion a! of For more in at formation, Susan Clarl Ertung Heritage Point. visit www.he hday ritagekings Happy Birt

Groundbreaking Tea Party

Putting the right ! captions with the right pictures can be a bit of a hard Keen irthday Ric Happy Btask. We must have been a little off the day we decided to put tea

party captions with groundbreaking pictures and story. But lets be honest, a groundbreaking tea party makes for a great story!

84 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


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We’re Not Confused, Just Well, Mixed Up. Here at VIPSEEN we realize that everyone at some point will end up in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong information. We apologize for printing an article on the Red Shoe Gala with the wrong information, we like to support all events in the Tri-Cities and sometimes we get things a little mixed up.


of Northeast Ten nessee’s 8th Ann Gala proved to ual Red Shoe the community be another hug came dressed e success as in their best to great organizat support such ion. Women and a red shoes all me n alik e showed off in the name of their finest charity. Before participated in dinner attende a silent auction es with items tha Shortly after the t impressed bid auction was clo ders. sed, dinner wa one enjoyed a s served and delicious meal every provided by the also hosted the Carnegie Hotel, event. who A live auction was conducted after dinner and than generous. the The event had the red shoe the bids were more Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy’s m reminiscen t to the des mission to pla ce CASA childre ire to go home; which mirrore d the n in safe hom own. All togeth es they can cal er the commu l their nity raised ove neglected and r $15 abused childre ,000 to help the n. CASA or Court Appointed Spe cial Advocates support commu rec nity based vol unteers who adv ruit, train, and interest of chi ldren in the Juv ocate for the bes enile Courts. The t to preserve the se volunteers right of each chi strive ld to have a saf home. To learn e and permanen more about CA SA or to find out t please visit ww how to volunteer or call 423-46 1-3500. PHOTOGRAP HY BY DAN


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Dr. Richard Jack son and Dr. Ang ela Shelton

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VIPSEEN would like to introduce you to “The Henry’s” after making a minor error in using Mrs. Henry’s maiden name to introduce the couple rather than her married name.

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Magazine is a publication built on positive events and impacts in the Tri-Cities region. Over the past three years many positive things have taken place, but some have affected us all. In this section we would like to acknowledge some of the community celebrations that have been, what we feel, most impactful to the region. We are so blessed to have been able to share these celebrations with our community and we look forward to all of the celebrations yet to come.Â

Tri-Cities Crossing is Breaking Ground Tri-Cities Crossing shopping complex will be a great addition to the growing residential population. The complex with be located between Kingsport and Johnson City allowing great accessibly for the surrounding communities. Also, with Tri-Cities being close to the interstate, passing travelers will bring great revenue for this enormous shopping complex. Residents are anxiously awaiting the finishing of Tri-Cities Crossing and are excited for what is to come.

Investing Billions for a Better Tomorrow In May of 2013 Eastman Chemical Company made a long term decision and decided to invest 1.6 Billion dollars in their Kingsport Campus insuring the city will be the long time home of Eastman. The investment will include an update to many facilities and also a large expansion that will add 300 jobs to the community over the next seven years. The multiyear project will culminate with Eastman’s 100th anniversary in 2020. This announcement helps ensure the stability of the Tri-Cities and we would all like to thank Eastman for investing in Kingsport.

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Tupelo Honey Goes to Johnson City


Tupelo Honey is expanding and coming to the Tri-Cities are with a location in Johnson City. The restaurant will be located in the CC&O Railroad Station. The Asheville, North Carolina restaurant has been renovating in preparation for a 2014 opening. The dining room will feature a local flavor with memorabilia and photographs designed to tell Johnson City’s narrative, will seat approximately 230 people, and will employ between 80 and 100 workers. The restaurant’s centerpiece will be the open display kitchen, where customers will be able to observe and interact with the staff. From sweet potato pancakes with peach butter to shrimp and grits, Tupelo Honey is known for its casual, colorful and whimsical atmosphere as well as its unique flavors.

PEAK Kingsport’s Young Professionals To attract, develop and retain Kingsport’s young professionals is the goal of the new PEAK organization formed in Kingsport. The organization aims to create an atmosphere that fosters the social and professional needs of future community leaders. PEAK has five components- social engagements, civic volunteerism, regional networking, professional development, and talent recognition. Kingsport has been looking for a group of young entrepreneurs that have the drive to target other young professionals. PEAK will do great things for the youth of Kingsport.

The Pinnacle Project is Moving Forward The Pinnacle is growing to be the premier shopping destination in Bristol, Tn. As the foundation for Bass Pro Shop, there will be many other large-name retail stores moving in. The 105,000 square foot store is located near exit 74 and I-81. The Pinnacle will serve northeast Tennessee, Southeastern Kentucky, and Southwest Virginia. The facility will house retail, hotels, restaurants and medical office spaces. The combination of all will give visitors an experience unrivaled by any other retail destination in the Tri-Cities.

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Let the Battle Begin The Battle at Bristol can’t come soon enough for college football fans. The Tennessee Volunteers will play the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 10, 2016, at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The NASCAR track will be transformed into what will be the largest college football stadium holding 160,000 fans. As the countdown continues until the Battle at Bristol football fans eagerly await for the biggest college football game ever.

The Falls Promising Future Opening in 2015, The Falls at exit 5 in Bristol, Virginia will emcompass over 1 million square feet of retail space. The center will generate millions of dollars in annual sales for the city and surrounding regions. The Falls will draw approximately 2 million annual visitors and the projected traffic counts approach 100,000 average daily traffic. The Falls will make a huge impact on the town of Bristol!

The Opening of The Heartwood The Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is now open! Visitors can explore a variety of crafts, music, food, and local culture while at Heartwood. At Heartwood visitors can see the culture and beauty of the region and explore the history and heritage through outdoor recreation. Visitors can now enjoy exploring Heartwood and all the amenities it has to offer.

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Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Buccaneers Bring Back Football After a long eight years, ETSU will make its return to football in 2015. They plan to be the first game of the college season and will play Kennesaw State on September 3. Head Coach Carl Torbush and other coaches are busy looking for recruits and plan to sign between 15 and 17 players to the first team. Having football back in the Tri-Cities will make the region come alive on Fall Saturdays. It has been a long time coming and every Tri-Cities football fan can’t wait until kickoff!


In August 2014, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum will open its doors to the public in Historic Downtown Bristol. The beautiful state of the art museum will tell Bristol’s story as the home of the Bristol’s Sessions through permanent exhibits, a special exhibit gallery, educational programs, film experiences, and a theater dedicated to live year-round music performances. The enchantment of downtown Bristol will be increased even more with this informative on of a kind museum. In addition, the museum will feature interactive music mixing and listening stations.

Kingsport Aquatic Center The Kingsport Aquatic Center is more than just a pool, the year-round aquatic center is open to the community with a variety of activities available to all ages. The facility includes an indoor Olympic-size pool and three multipurpose, heated pools.The outdoor facilities were designed to look and feel as though guests were at a water park, which includes a water playground, two slides, and a lazy river. The aquatic center is the perfect place for the community to come and enjoy all of the wonderful amenities they have to offer.

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Kingsport Chamber Gets New Home In 2012 the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce upgraded in a big way when they set up shop in the newly renovated old Kingsport Press building. The Chamber left Main Street with old memories, but was ready to move into a space that better fit its growing needs. In their new building, the Kingsport Chamber Staff can better and more easily accommodate the citizens and businesses of Kingsport.

Macado’s comes to Broad Street Downtown Kingsport has a lot of exciting things happening in the next year or so. One major addition will be Macado’s on Broad Street. The sports grill will be directly across from Wallace News Stand and is projected to open sometime in 2014. This location will be the chain’s 20th location and they could not be more excited to be in Kingsport. This will give downtown more credibility, as Macados is the third major restaurant to move in. Citizens, Downtown Kingsport Association, and the City of Kingsport are all very excited to welcome Macados.

Mumford and Sons stops in Bristol Bristol got its groove on in August 2012 when one of the only four Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers in the U.S., featuring Mumford and Sons, came through. The concert was an all day event for the community and over 15,000 tickets were sold. Crowds from all over the Southeast traveled to Bristol just to see the tour. The once in a lifetime event brought crowds to Bristol that had never visited the city and shed even more light on the history. The Gentlemen of the Road are welcome back any time!

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Taking a look back at some of our New on the Scene inductees and their successes throughout the past three years.


What Economic Depression? W

ith all the talk about the economic depression our country is facing today, we at VIPSEEN feel that the Tri-Cities region is always growing. We see very little to no signs of this so-called “depression” and are thankful to live in an area less affected. We would like to take a moment to recognize those in our community who have overcome the economic struggle. We want to congratulate our community and the businesses on their success over the past three years and we wish them all the best of luck in future years.


LIVEfit Medicine LIVEFit Medicine is more than just a medical practice. It is a way of life. We first opened in 2010 inside of Anytime Fitness with 800 sq ft, within our first year we grew to needing a larger space. Our goal was never to be a weightloss clinic but to be a facility to help people change their lives. Over the last five years we have continued to grow and most recently over the past year and a half added CrossFit “Shifty” Powers to our arsenal. CrossFit is the principles that we have always followed at LiveFit Medicine. The platform starts with nutrition (eating clean and not dieting) and functional exercise. We have recently renovated the Old Skate City building to create a 28,000 sq ft CrossFit box with indoor track, basketball, volleyball, kids area, HOT YOGA room and locker rooms. 423-765-9500


Franklin Woods Community Hospital Mountain States Health Alliance is the region’s largest healthcare system, and they grew even larger with the opening of the Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City back in late 2010. The facility was the first certified green hospital in TN, and has continued to support those in their community. 400 N State of Franklin Rd Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 431-6111

MAY 2011

The Mattress Firm The Mattress Firm opened its third location, the Bristol location, in the Tri-Cities in May of 2011. In a little over three years, the franchise has seen nothing but growth in the Tri-Cities market. Not only is Mattress Firm one of the largest specialty bedding companies in the world, they also truly care about their local community and show it by giving back at every opportunity. 3006 Lee Hwy Bristol, VA 24202 (276) 466-1085

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 91

JUNE 2011

JUNE 2011

JUNE 2011

Process Supply, LLC

Asbury Place-JC

Gracious Designs

Process Supply, LLC, a locally owned and operated Industrial Service and Supply company located on Riverport Road in Kingsport, is approaching their three-year anniversary of being in business. As distributors of full line pipe, valves, fittings, specialty plastics, pumps and related accessories and a primary focus on products that are Made in USA, Process Supply, LLC has grown their customer base for thirtytwo straight months.

Asbury Place in Johnson City celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony on June 29, 2011 for an expansion and renovation project. The community specializes in short-term skilled care, rehabilitation, and long-term care. Of only five accredited continuing care communities in Tennessee, two of them are part of the Asbury Place network of communities.

Gracious Designs specializes in creating home environments that are unique, comforting, and aesthetically pleasing. The store offers gifts and home decorations, while their in-home design services will do anything from refresh your house to design from the ground up. Located in historic Jonesboro, Gracious Designs celebrated their ribbon cutting on June 3, 2011.

400 N. Boone St., Suite #1 Johnson City, TN 37604

2527 N. Roan St. Johnson City, TN 37604 423.434.4304

1509 Riverport Rd. Kingsport, TN 37660 (423) 765-9991





Sweet CeCe’s

Krispy Kreme - JC

In October of 2011, Chick-fil-a opened a new restaurant on exit 7 in Bristol. For three years, the entire restaurant and both drive through lanes were constantly packed with satisfied customers. This location has grown substantially since its opening and will continue to do nothing but that. General Manager Dave Pollard could not be more excited to continue to serve his community along with his loyal staff.

Sweet CeCe’s Frozen Yogurt & Treats located at 1880 North Eastman Road was welcomed to the community on November 15, 2011, and is still providing our community with a variety of tasty treats. Sweet CeCe’s continues to support its local communities by getting involved in fundraisers and non-profit events. As long as they keep their delicious yogurts, they seem to have a steady future in Kingsport.

In the early morning of November 15, 2011, Johnson City welcomed Krispy Kreme at its grand opening ceremony which took place at 5:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme has faithfully been serving the community their tasty doughnuts and providing customers with excellent service since then.

3483 Lee Hwy. Bristol, VA 24202 (276) 466-5811

1880 N Eastman Rd #320 Kingsport, TN 37660 (423) 230-0565

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1100 West Market St. Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 929-0076

Gametime Sports Gametime Sports and Awards opened their doors in the Regency Shopping Center in Colonial Heights well over three years ago. Since then, the store has added many things to their line up including uniforms, team apparel and equipment. Gametime Sports also provides on site screen-printing, vinyl decals and business trophies and awards. The owners and staff at Gametime are happy and humbled to still be serving their community. 4924 Fort Henry Dr Kingsport, TN 37663 (423) 406-1440



Jennings Group


Crestpoint Health

On September 15, 2011 Kingsport welcomed the Jennings Group to the community with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Jennings Group is an innovative tax and bookkeeping service that provides a wide range of services to the businesses in the community. Jennings Group has continually strives to support and meet the need of each individual client.

Johnson City welcomed CrestPoint Health through a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 3, 2011. CrestPoint is a provider-owned health solutions company. CrestPoint has continued to follow their mission which is to better service the heath and wellness needs of the people who live and work in the communities they serve.

1567 N Eastman Rd #1 Kingsport, TN 37664 (423) 408-2106

208 Sunset Drive, Suite 101 Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 952-2190


EARLY 2012

ECU - Gray

Citizens Bank - JC

ECU - Jonesborough

On October 6, 2011 the Johnson City community welcomed Eastman Credit Union at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Gray, TN. ECU celebrated the opening by sharing tasty treats and a tour of the facility with the community.

Citizens Bank celebrated the opening of their new location in Johnson City, TN on October 13, 2011. Citizens Bank opened their first branch back in 1934 in Carter County, TN. and has since established a reputation as one of the state’s most well- capitalized, stable financial institutions.

The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early 2012, to welcome Eastman Credit Union to its new location at 301 West Jackson Boulevard in Jonesborough, ECU serves over 130,000 members at over 20 branches and have access to over 42,000 free ATMs nationwide and a wide variety of financial services.

384 Roy Martin Rd, Gray, TN 37615 (423) 467-4460

3208 Peoples St. Johnson City, TN 37064


JULY 2011

301 West Jackson Boulevard Jonesborough, TN

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Food City - Bristol

Reeves Eye - Boones Creek

ECU - Bristol

Food City in Bristol held their Grand Opening Ceremony Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The Food City in Bristol provides its customers with features such as a sushi bar, pizza bar, a meeting room, and an area for cooking classes.

The Reeves Eye Institute was welcomed to the Johnson City community on February 15, 2012 at their ribboncutting ceremony. The Reeves Eye Institute specializes in LASIK surgery, cataract surgery, eye lid surgery, and treatment for retina diseases. They have stayed committed to the community through their motto “Your Vision, Our Mission.”

Eastman Credit Union celebrated its new facility located off Exit 7 in the Highlands Shopping Center in Bristol, Virginia on February 28, 2012. City and county officials along with ECU staff commemorated the ceremony by breaking ground at the new site.ECU serves more than 15,000 members in Va. and supports many organizations throughout the region.

2685 Boones Creek Rd Johnson City, TN 37615 (423) 722-1307

16501 Highlands Center Blvd. Bristol, VA

1320 Euclid Ave Bristol, VA 24201 (276) 466-2330

MAY 2012

MAY 2012

JUNE 2012

Ecological Energy Systems

Code Restoration

Pen’s Floral

Ecological Energy Systems celebrated the opening of its new location in May of 2012. The continuing success of Ecological Energy Systems supports its community through the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, and supplying other solar-related products. The company that is still located at 508 Volunteer Parkway in Bristol.

Our community welcomed Code Restoration in May of 2012 to the community at its current location 500 Bluff City Highway. Code Restoration specializes in water extraction and fire damage repairs while offering support to its community through their 24-hour emergency response services.

508 Volunteer Parkway Bristol, TN (423) 573.4361

4107 HWY 11E #4 Bluff City, Tennessee (855) 873-2633

Downtown Bristol began smelling a little sweeter in June of 2012 when Pen’s Floral opened their doors. With combined experience of over 25 years, owner Pen and designer David have been very successful in serving the community of Bristol and have made some long lasting friendships doing it. Pen’s Floral has become a staple in Downtown Bristol and continues to grow every day.

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32 Moore St Bristol, VA 24201 (276) 644-4600

MARCH 2012

MAY 2012

Shabby Allie’s

Interventional Cardiology

Brushstrokes n’ More

In July 2012 Shabby Allie’s opened their doors to the public with a Kingsport Chamber Ribbon cutting. The unique boutique located at 700 West Sullivan Street offers a variety of beautiful antiques, vintage collectibles, home décor, and furniture. Shabby Allie’s also offers candy bouquets, gift baskets, floral bouquets and jewelry. The boutique is more than happy to be serving people in the local community and looks forward to many more years.

Representatives of Wellmont Health System, the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute, Alpha Natural Resources, and community leaders gathered on March 1, 2012 at Bristol Regional to celebrate the opening of the Center for Interventional Cardiology. The center positions Bristol Regional as the clear leader in heart care for the area it serves in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The Kingsport community welcomed Brushstrokes n’ More on May 22, 2012 at the celebration of their ribbon-cutting. Brushstrokes n’ More is Kingsport’s first “Paint Your Own Pottery Studio”, where customers are welcome to create their very own masterpiece. Brushstrokes n’ More moved to their new location on January 1, 2013.

700 West Sullivan Street Kingsport, TN (423) 367-0957

JULY 2012

1 Medical Park Blvd. Bristol, TN 37620

JULY 2012

1001 E. Stone Dr Kingsport, TN 37660 (423) 765-0352


Allstate Agency


Andes - Straley Vet

April Hamby Crabtree’s Allstate Agency celebrated its opening with a ribbon-cutting on July 12, 2012 at their new office located at 1701 Euclid Avenue in Bristol,VA. The new Allstate Agency continues to support its community by offering a wide range of insurance policies that helps clients to protect personal needs. The agencies knowledge and understanding of the people in the community allows them to continue to provide clients with outstanding service.

ProCompounding Pharmacy was welcomed to the community on July 19, 2012 to its location at 525 North State of Franklin Road. ProCompounding Pharmacy has continued to support the community through its services dedicated to customizing medication to meet the specific needs of both humans and animals.

On August 25, 2012 the staff of Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital officially welcomed the community to their newly improved and expanded hospital, located on Memorial Boulevard in Kingsport, through a ribbon cutting ceremony. The hospital has served the Kingsport area pets and their owners for over fifty years and continues to provide quality service.

1701 Euclid Avenue Bristol,VA. (276) 628-1184

525 N State of Franklin Rd, Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 975-0597


MARCH 2012

3407 Memorial Boulevard Kingsport, TN (423) 378-4443 JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 95


Integrity Capital Management Integrity Capital Management celebrated the ribboncutting of its new location at the Press Building located at 444 Clinchfield Street in Kingsport. Integrity Capital Management is a Registered Investment Advisory firm providing asset management, retirement planning and 401k advisory services throughout the Tri-Cities region. 444 Clinchfield St #302 Kingsport, TN 37660 (423) 230-4500



Blackburn, Childers, & Steagall Blackburn, Childers & Steagall was welcomed to their new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 10, 2013. Blackburn, Childers & Steagall, a certified public  accounting firm has continued to provide the community with quality professional and business services that meet and exceed their clients’ expectations. 801 Sunset Dr. Johnson City, TN 37604 (423) 282-4511

APRIL 2014


Barberitos Barberitos opened its doors to the public on February 26, 2013 in downtown Kingsport. To make the opening official, members of the town attended the ribbon cutting on March 6th. The crew at Barberitos has done an outstanding job serving the community so far and will continue to do so. It is safe to say Kingsport is more than happy to welcome this restaurant to town. 300 Clinchfield St., #220 Kingsport, TN 37660

APRIL 2014

Blood Assurance

@Work Personnel

BMC Office Technology

Blood Assurance opened a blood donation center in Johnson City this past January. The new facility, located at 1 Professional Park Blvd (across from Johnson City Medical Center), is a large, open space to accommodate the organization’s growing donor base. The location includes a conference room, which is available for use by community and civic organizations. Founded in 1972 in Chattanooga, Blood Assurance is a non-profit, full service regional blood center that supplies blood donations to more than 70 hospitals and healthcare facilities.

@WORK Personnel opened a new location April 8th at 151 Main Street in Downtown Kingsport. For over a decade, @WORK Personnel Services has built upon its core foundation of meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of people seeking employment opportunities as well as clients seeking a full service staffing partner. The agency is glad to be downtown among partner clients and is looking forward to further serving the community. Their hours are 8am- 5pm.

BMC Office Technology opened a new office location at 144 Old Gray Station Road, Suite 110 in Johnson City. They celebrated with a ribbon cutting and open house on April 22nd. Serving Knoxville and East Tennessee for over 30 years, BMC is local owned and operated providing office technology solutions from Kyocera, Kip and Muratec. Their services include “PrintSmart”, BMC’s award winning Managed Print Services program. To learn more about BMC visit them at

1 Professional Park Drive, Suite 14 across from Johnson City Medical Center (423) 431-6111

151 Main Street Downtown Kingsport (423) 765-2628

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144 Old Gray Station Road, Suite 110 Johnson City, TN

APRIL 2013

JUNE 2013

Bounce Bristol

Reedy Creek Bicycles

Salon 525

Bounce Bristol opened their doors April 15th, 2013 in the Bristol Mall. A little over a year later, the indoor family entertainment center is thriving! Everyone loves Bounce Bristol, from the 18 month to the twelve year olds to the parents and grandparents who watch their children play. Owners Darren and Maria Phillippi are excited to be such a large part of the community.

On April 11th, 2013 Reedy Creek Bicycles LLC officially cut the ribbon to open their store in Kingsport at Reedy Creek Terrace shopping center located on Eastman Rd. Since then, their presence in the cycling and fitness community has grown leaps and bounds.  Their bike brands are Specialized and Norco, two companies that offer a full line up of kids bikes all the way through professional race bikes.   Reedy Creek offers bike rentals for the Greenbelt, full service work on any brand and sell everything you will need to make your riding experience better.   They are also directing the Funfest cycling event known as White Lightning Ride in 2014. Like them on www.facebook. com/reedycreekbicycles for more info.

Amy Adkins opened Salon 525, State Street Bristol, on June 13th, 2013. Since then Amy and her staff have built a large clientele over the year by catering to the whole family. The beautiful modern design of the salon has drawn many people in as well. For more information, to schedule and appointment or to meet the staff call 276-644-1510.

APRIL 2014

MARCH 2014

500 Gate City Highway (Bristol Mall), Bristol, Virginia (276) 644-9599

APRIL 2014

525 State Street Bristol, Virginia (276) 644-1510

B&H Wealth Strategies


Johnson City Eye Clinic

Bingham and Hensley is now operating under a new name, B & H Wealth Strategies. Bingham & Hensley was founded in 1966 and is the oldest financial planning firm of its kind in the Tri-Cities. The new name, B & H Wealth Strategies better depicts the company’s focus and makes the business both the oldest and the newest financial planning firm of its kind in the area. Jeff Bingham is the President. B & H Wealth Strategies specializes in retirement planning with a vision of integrating Wealth Management with Healthy Aging. This is a holistic view of a healthy and successful retirement.

CenturyLink celebrated a new location in Kingsport Tuesday April 22nd with a ribbon cutting by the Kingsport Chamber. Community members gathered at the new call center to view the new building. The office is located at 2444 Memorial Boulevard right across from the Kingsport Town Center. CenturyLink said they are happy to be in Kingsport and to supply the demand of the area residents. Please visit this CenturyLink location to pay bills and find out information about services. For questions or more information please visit the new location.

On Tuesday, March 25th, Johnson City Eye Clinic and Surgery Center hosted a Ribbon Cutting in honor of the addition of the LenSx® laser to the center’s line of state-of-the-art technology. Laser Assisted Refractive Surgery brings a new standard of precision to cataract surgery.  This custom, blade-free, laser assisted cataract removal option allows the surgeons at Johnson City Eye Center to plan and perform cataract surgeries to exacting, individualized specification previously unattainable with the standard cataract surgery.

1402 E. Center St. Kingsport, TN 37664

2444 Memorial Boulevard Kingsport, TN 37664


APRIL 2013

110 MedTech Parkway, #1 Johnson City, TN 37604

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 97

APRIL 2014

MAY 2014

APRIL 2014

Ozark Mountain

priceLESS Foods

Wallace Imports

Ozark Mountain Brewing Supplies held a ribbon cutting April 16th to celebrate their new, bigger location. The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Kingsport Association held the ceremony to thank Ozark Mountain for remaining in downtown. The new location at 215 Commerce Street, Suite 100 is bigger and now the brewing company has a storefront. Ozark Mountain Brewing Supplies is open MondaySaturday from 11 am-7 pm and on Sunday from 12-5 pm. For more information visit their website at

The new Priceless Foods located at 4230 West Stone Drive celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting April 24th. Community members gathered to help the store celebrate and take advantage of the great savings Priceless has to offer. A new way to shop, Priceless has all groceries for less than other stores. The product is always priced at cost and with only 10% added at the register, the savings are unbelievable. Priceless is open 7 am to 9 pm daily. To learn more visit

Wallace Imports of Johnson City, TN hosted a Ribbon Cutting and business invitational After Hours event in partnership with the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce on May 1st, 2014. The General Manager, Steve Moore, welcomed everyone as they came in the door to inquisitively look at the new Subaru vehicles. People gathered around and admired the beautiful renovations.

215 Commerce St. Kingsport, TN 37660

4230 West Stone Drive Kingsport, TN 37660

You can reach Wallace Subaru of Johnson City any time by calling us at 877.877.5629, or simply visiting our Asheville, Knoxville, Kingsport and Greeneville area Subaru dealership at 3101 E. Oakland Ave.



BRISTOL Highland Cleaners Mattress Firm Well Fargo Bank Chick-fil-A at Bristol Douglas Equipment Ecological Energy Systems Pen’s Floral The Foundation Event Facility SESCO Group Inc. Bristol VA School Board Bristol BBQ MedExpress Image Essentials Eastman Credit Union Northeast State at Bristol About Face TRISUP/Tri Cities Stand Up Paddleboard Company U.S. Solutions Group Salon 525 Old Lighthouse Diner Bristol Executive Office Suites ASR Metals ACMA Mountain Music Museum Friendship Hyundai of Bristol Smoky Mountain Vapor & Java Cafe Wellmont Urgent Care Center Stover’s Liquidation Lender’s Title & Escrow, LLC Ernie Sullins Clothing Holston River Brewing Co. Jim Embree Insurance JOHNSON CITY Reeves Eye Institute Amedisys Home Health Eastman Credit Union (Jonesborough and JC Locations) 98 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Wellmont Breast Center KBM Commerical Real Estate Sport Clips Bed In A Box Longhorn Steakhouse JC medical Center Edible Arrangements Knox TVA Credit Union Insight Alliance ProComounding Pharmacy Eastern Eight Development Appalachian Tumbling Greater Eastern Credit Union Charming Charleys Buffalo Wild Wings Asbury Place JC Community health Center Worldwide Equipment Petro’s FTHRA Hibachi Grill Family Dollar ETSU Baseball Consumer Credit Union Ultimate Shine Car Wash Universal Wine JCMC Surgical Tower App Community Federal Credit Union Blood Assurance Traynor Insurance HR Block Monarch Apartments Ross Medical Redeemables Result Physiotherapy JC Eye Clinic Farm Bureau

Peak Fitness BMC Office Wallace Imports Cchef’s Liberian Soulfood East Coast Wings GAAM Wealth Advisors H&R Block Himelwright Dentistry Keller Williams Kingsport Aquatic Center & Kingsport YMCA Wellmont Center

KINGSPORT A Morton Thomas & Associates Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union Ashely Furniture Home Store The Bagel Exchange Beef ‘O ’Brady’s Biggie’s Restaurant Brushstrokes n’ More CASA for Kids Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation Imperial Family Medicine Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee Integrity Capital Management Jerrod Fund Golf Academy Kingsport Fire Station 8 Leaping Lizards Family Entertainment Center Livefit Medicine Mortgage Investors Group Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs (RCAP) Process Supply Rain for Rent Sport Clips Threads Zak’s Attic Discount Furniture Outlet Allandale Mansion Amphitheater Ballistic Hair Company Blackburn, Childers & Steagall Campbell and Company Hair Studio Caroline’s Dirtwerks Clay Studio & Gallery First Assist Urgent Care

Lighten Yore Load Miller Village Apartments Price Less Foods #487 Pulitzer Orthodontics Reedy Creek Bicycles Results Physiotherapy Sew Vac and Long Arm Quilting Snap Fitness 24/7 Star Trails Downtown Storage Plex Storm Security Systems Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurts The Nutty Java Trinity Memorial Centers: Funerals, Cremations & Life Celebrations UPS Dobyns Bennett ROTC Champion Chevrolet Cadillac B&H Wealth Strategies Indian Path Medical Center 40 Year Anniversary American Red Cross Second Harvest Food Bank @Work Personnel Services Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies Price Less Foods #469 CenturyLink Honda Kingsport Citizens Bank Loan Production Office Elmcroft Senior Living of Kingsport


he Tri-Cities region is a wondrous place to work, play, and live. There is a heritage and history rooted deep in these hills that affect all of us in ways that we may not see or even understand. The people of this region are certainly special and are, to a large extent, the reason that this region is so successful and full of potential. The community leaders profiled in this month’s issue of VIPSEEN are just a smattering of those who help to make the area of East Tennessee such a fantastic place to hang our hats. The list is by no means definitive, and there are sure to be names that can be added, because the amount of people who contribute to the great communities we live in is vast. There are unsung heroes in every area of our community and people in this region who toil tirelessly to ensure that the lives of others are better tomorrow than they are today. When you are out in your communities, at your schools, hospitals, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and music venues: take a moment to think of those whose collaboration helped to make those places possible. City managers, Chamber members, city planners,

budget committees, builders and architects are just a small sampling of those who help to bring reality to the vision that many of us have for our cities. The Tri-Cities area has not been without its growing pains though, and every project does not make everyone happy, but decisions are made for the benefit of the greater good rather than for the individual. Remember that when you read these next few pages and look through these profiles. Each person talked about, in this issue, what he/she does out of love for community, desire for positive progress, and a yearning for the betterment of others. There are countless volunteers who remain nameless and in the background of projects and non-profits and events: they are in no way any less necessary. It takes the cooperation of everyone in order for our communities and for the area of East Tennessee to fulfill the potential that is here. It takes something else equally as important too: faith. We need to remember that we are all capable of much more than we do and that accomplishing feats that seem impossible are made much more easy with faith: faith in our fellow man, faith in the system, and faith in ourselves.


SHE ROCKS... 100 Claudia Byrd 102 Gaye Collins 104 Betty DeVinney 106 Michelle Dolan 108 Heidi Dulebohn 110 Janice Gilliam 112 Danelle Glasscock 114 Ashley Grindstaff 116 Diana Harshbarger 118 Eva Hunter 120 Joy Madison 122 CeeGee McCord 124 Helen Scott 126 Melissa Steagall-Jones 128 Kathlyn Terry 130 Shirley Warren 132 Aundrea Wilcox

HE ROLLS... 134 Pal Barger 136 Miles Burdine 138 John Clark 140 Larry England 142 Bob Feagins 144 Charlie Floyd 146 Jeff Jones 148 Gary Mabrey 150 Monty McLaurin 152 Paul Montgomery 154 Dennis Phillips 156 Jim Street 158 Stewart Taylor 160 Judd Teague 162 Richard Venable 164 Isaac Webb 166 Keith Wilson

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 99

She Rocks...



In addition to her work with

Speedway Children’s Charities, Claudia is involved in many civic

organizations. She is past president of children’s advocacy center of Sullivan County, the Paramount theater, and the Rotary club of Kingsport. She serves on the foundation boards of East Tennessee State University and Northeast State. She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport. 100 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


n 1996 when Bruton Smith bought Bristol Motor Speedway he hired Jeff Byrd to come to Bristol to run the track. Jeff had worked for RJR Nabisco for twenty-three years so Smith was making a great move in obtaining such a knowledgeable sports marketing mind. Claudia Byrd had been blessed to be a stay at home mother while her husband worked and, along with raising children, had spent a great deal of that time volunteering with various schools and children’s charities. After the hire, she and her husband left their home in Winston-Salem to venture out to their new life in Bristol, Tennessee. When she arrived in Tennessee Claudia Byrd needed to find something to do. “I was in a new community with a son, Christian, starting college and a daughter, Belton, in high school so I needed something to do so that I could stay busy and get familiar with my new community.” Because he lost his own son to SIDS, Bruton Smith had established Speedway Children’s Charities at each of the tracks that he owned and Bristol Motor Speedway was no different. “I asked permission to run the Bristol chapter because I was looking for something to do, but also because helping children had always been a passion of mine.” Raising money in the Tri-Cities region takes work and dedication, but it is also something made easier because of the people who reside here. “I have learned that this is a very generous and caring region. We live in an area where people really care about others, so when I am trying to raise money for children in this area; people are always quite receptive.” We have been so very blessed and have raised over $8 million dollars to give back to non-profit children’s organizations in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia through Speedway Children’s Charities. That is something we can all celebrate and the “Night of Smiles” in November

These numbers are great, but Byrd admits that it is still not enough. “We have never been able to meet the need of all of the agencies asking for funding. Last year we gave away $742,000 to 87 amazing non-profit children’s organizations. That is the good news, the sad news it that we had over $1.2 million dollars requested from many other great non-profit children’s organizations.” The need for non-profit children’s organizations in our region is tremendous. “We work so hard to raise money that these organizations can use to serve children whose lives they touch each and every day.” Funding has, unfortunately, been cut back for so many and they depend on the grant money that Speedway Children’s Charities provides in order to assure they can give the best possible care and services to the children they serve. Claudia Byrd believes in the saying, “to whomsoever much is given, much is expected” and she lives by these words each day. “I was raised in a family where I saw firsthand how wonderful it was to give back. We always got more out of giving than by being given to. It was how I was raised and I hope I have passed those same values on to my children.” Byrd has seen a great deal of progress in the Tri-Cities in the past eighteen years and feels that the area has so much to offer. “I think this is an area with a small town feel but with so many amenities. The revitalization of the downtown areas, plus the new developments, is only adding to this region’s allure.” With so many positive things happening in this area it is safe to say that we won’t see Claudia Byrd heading anywhere else anytime soon. When asked what she would tell anyone who wants to start a new business in the Tri-Cities region she thinks for a moment. “Love what you do. As long as you love what you do and you love going to work everyday then you should be successful with any profession you choose. If you are passionate about what you do then it will show with others.” The TriCities region is most certainly filled with people who are passionate about their jobs and the volunteerism that they participate in. Byrd chooses to wake up everyday asking God to be with her throughout the day so that she can serve him in everything that she does. She finds that it is much easier to smile than to frown and the people that she works with have a little something to do with that. “I love people and I surround myself with the most amazing group in the world: the employees at Bristol Motor Speedway.” Byrd is confident that she has the best job in the world helping to raise money for the children of the Tri-Cities region. The hardest part for the Speedway Children’s Charities trustees is to decide how to distribute the money that they receive each year because there is never enough. The needs are still out there, however, and it is the goal of the charity to one day raise enough money to support all of the groups that request funds. “I love what I have been given the opportunity to do, and with more fundraising efforts every year, I hope that we can one day reach our goal.” Byrd is driven to keep working because of the group that is asking for the funds. “I have the best job in the world. I raise money for children in our region and then give it all away at the end of the year.” The charity never knows how much it will be blessed to raise each year, so everyone works very hard and have many fundraising events just to meet the needs. “No matter how tired I am after an event I realize that what I did made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and the tiredness goes away.”


when we give the money away is my favorite day of the year. My smile that night is infectious. We have a tremendous team and great group of employees here at Bristol Motor Speedway that helps make the charities so successful.”

She Rocks...



Gaye Collins is a graduate of Lynn

View High School and the LSU

Graduate School of Banking. With more than 37 years of banking experience it is safe to say she knows what she is talking about when it comes to helping people get started either in business or life. She has served as Vice Chair (2012) and Chair (2013) of the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA), was Chair (2008-2010) of the American Red Cross board, and volunteers with United Way of Kingsport. 102 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


aye Collins was born in Kingsport, Tenn., and never dreamed of leaving the area, but she and her husband were forced to when he lost his job at Mead Corporation and they had to move to Jacksonville, Fla.. They were in Florida for seven years, but their collective goal was always to return home to East Tennessee. “Even in high school when everyone else was talking about graduating and moving away, my desire was to always stay here. It’s my home.” She likens the Tri-Cities area to a large family and feels she has always had support from her community members.

Collins is quick to express her appreciation for the leaders of this community as well. “Our leaders show a desire to keep our community thriving and are always looking for ways to attract others to our area.” The community in and around the Tri-Cities is a thriving one, and she is certain this is because of all of the happenings in the area right now. “There are so many things going on right now: new retail centers, growth in the medical sector, and growth in the industrial arena. Many of our leaders have a great vision, and it is wonderful to see their vision unfold.” Gaye worked for a finance company while living in Florida so the job there gave her some background in the financial industry. Her experience was enough so that when she and her family moved back to Kingsport she was able to apply and be hired for a position First Tennessee Bank. She has continued to work in banking and today serves as Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender for First Community Bank of East Tennessee. “I love my job at First Community Bank because it gives me the opportunity to help others with their dreams and goals. There is nothing

Collins has served on various committees for non-profit entities in the Kingsport area, including the American Red Cross and United Way. She has been a member of the UETHDA board of directors for over 10 years now where she has served as both Secretary/Treasurer and Vice Chair. Beginning October of 2013 Collins started a four-year stint as the new UETHDA Board Chair. Her work in the community and her ability to give back to those who have given to her is something that drives Gaye Collins to continue volunteering. Asked about her most important trait and Collins answer immediately: “my most important trait is my love for my community and its members.” It is this deep love for her community that allows her to be successful when others might have failed. “If I am successful as a lender, it will show via the success of my customers. Growing their business, building their dream home, and sending their child to college are huge milestones in their life and also in mine as I help them to achieve these successes.” She thrives on the challenge of helping others to achieve dreams that they themselves might have deemed impossible. Collins enjoys seeing the fruits of her labors and insists what she does never feels like a job because she enjoys it so much. “When I am introduced by someone as the person who helped them get where they are today: it is such a huge compliment and sense of accomplishment. I can’t think of doing anything else.” The Tri-Cities area needs lenders to help those who wish to start new businesses, but it also needs leaders who are committed and knowledgeable. “My biggest piece of advice would be to reach out to our community members.” Members of the Tri-Cities community are ready and waiting to welcome and help others so Collins recommends asking others about helping with the region’s non-profit agencies. “Some of my most rewarding experiences have come via helping others. My parents made sure I understood the meaning of giving but the true spirit of giving came via my involvement with our community agencies.” Excellent advice from someone who has been around enough to know that asking for help does not mean asking for a hand out, but a leg up. Despite helping so many others, Collins is clear to state that she is not where she is because of work she did all on her own. “My family, my customers, and my community members have all contributed to my accomplishments to date.” She understands that is one big partnership that we’re in together. Little gets done in the Tri-Cities without the cooperation of everyone pitching in to make sure we are successful as a whole and as a region. She sees this in her job at the bank, and the cooperation is all worth it when a customer leaves happy and on pace to be successful in life, at work, and in his/her community.


more rewarding than watching a start-up business grow and be successful, knowing you were there at the start line.” Collins believes strongly in establishing relationships and getting to know her customers, learning about their families, and meeting their children. Another important aspect to doing her job is knowing the goals and desires of her clients so she can help them to understand how to achieve those goals. Gaye Collins was taught at an early age that giving back was an important aspect of being a community member. “My parents were both very giving in nature, and they passed those ideals on to me.” Collins’ community activities give her a great sense of succeeding in one of her primary goals: helping others.

She Rocks...


DEVINNEY When she was ten-years-old Betty DeVinney’s mother passed away

from cancer and Betty was put into an orphanage. She graduated high school at sixteen and college at age nineteen. “I learned persistence and determination in my desire to get out of the orphanage and on my own.” As she looks back on her experience, however, she admits that staying at the orphanage taught her self-reliance, independence, and persistence. She learned another important lesson as well, “It also taught me that no matter how much I give back to the community-it will never be enough.” 104 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


n the early 1970s, on their way to visit relatives in New York, Betty DeVinney and her husband drove through the area of East Tennessee and were immediately smitten with the region. Her husband was offered a position with Eastman Chemical Company in 1972 and they jumped at the chance to live in this area: it is a decision that they have never regretted. In 1973, DeVinney herself got a job with Eastman, “after my son turned three he loved the “Mommy’s Day Out” program at our church and would even cry if he couldn’t go see his friends. Naturally, I started thinking about going back to work.” She had taught school in Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia but no when teaching jobs materialized for her she put in her application at Eastman and was hired: she retired in 2003 as Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Communications, and Public Affairs. Her job at Eastman was fulfilling because, “the people there are representative of those in our region and share the traits of self-starters, life-long learners, and independent thinkers.” DeVinney counts herself lucky to have worked with people who she still considers dear friends and has a great love for. “Eastman is a strong believer and gives back a lot in order to ensure a high quality of life for those who live in this region. While working there, I was happiest when I was learning something new and being challenged with difficult tasks.” Her time at Eastman allowed Betty to make connections with others in the community who also care about quality of life for those living in the Tri-Cities Region. She joined the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and has been the chair of that board for twelve years. In that time she has served as the Chair of Audit, Chair of Compensation, Vice Chair and, most

Her past board memberships also include Eastman Credit Union, Children’s Advocacy Center, Paramount Theatre, Junior Achievement, the Tri-Cities Airport Commission, Volunteer Kingsport, Southern College Placement Association, Knoxville Sports Corporation, Holston Valley Hospital, Mountain States Health Alliance, the Mountain States Health Foundation, Tennessee State Commission on Workforce Development. In 2002, Ms. DeVinney was the recipient of the Mountain States Health Alliance Spirit Award and was inducted into the East Tennessee State University College of Business Hall of Fame. In 2003, Ms. DeVinney was awarded Honorary Alumna Status at East Tennessee State University and in 2006, she was honored by the Bristol YWCA in its Tribute to Women. Her service to the community is not just something that makes DeVinney proud, it is something she is passionate about. “I have always enjoyed working with the elderly and with children. Nothing can get my ire up faster than seeing either group mistreated.” In addition to her work, her volunteer time has been spent in the help of those two groups; among others. Don’t call Betty DeVinney retired though, because she works just as much now as she did when she was with Eastman. She loves raising funds for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital since it enables young couples to stay home and still get their children great health care instead of having to travel to Knoxville, Nashville, or Memphis. She helped to get a Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the Tri-Cities to educate women in our region regarding breast health. “We got it started and had a successful Race for the Cure right out of the box, thanks to Natalie Whitlock of Eastman. Also, thanks to John Thompson of Wellmont, we had a gap analysis of our affiliate area, because with the money and the data, we were able to make a difference quickly.” She has also chaired a volunteer effort to build a playground where disabled children and abled children can play together. Darrell’s Dream opened in 2007 and, “since then, we have added Narnia’s Trail for the sight impaired (Thanks to the Lion’s Club); a treehouse (Thanks to Sam and DeLois Anderson) and an amphitheater (thanks to the Palmer Center Foundation). I hope that each of these has made a difference in the lives of others.” Anyone who lives in this region knows how much these programs and places are enjoyed by those who live here. DeVinney would love to see the region continue to grow and hopes that each of the cities in the Tri-Cities area has booming economies with jobs that pay well so that more young professionals will stay in the area. She also sees health as a big area concern and hopes to see a greenbelt that stretches from city to city for bikers and runners. “I would love to see our citizens live healthier lives. Poor health could be our Achilles Heel if we don’t address it. We have strong health systems and strong minds and a ton of recreational opportunities, so we just need to take charge of our lives and get ourselves healthy.”


recently, Chair of the Board. Her most recent appointment as the Chair of the Board is a four-year term that ends in 2017. She has served in the past on the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Foundation Board, the East Tennessee State University Foundation Board, the Boys and Girls Club Foundation, the East Tennessee State University Business Advisory Council, The University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Advisory Council, and the University of Southern Mississippi Business Advisory Council. She was Founding President of the Tri-Cities Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; led a community group to raise funds to build Darrell’s Dream, a $4 million Boundless Playground in the Tri Cities, TN/VA region; and chaired the signature committee of Mountain States Foundation in an effort to raise funds to build a regional children’s hospital to serve the more than 250,000 children of the TriCities. Other areas where she has served include the Chair, Northeast State Community College Foundation; the Barter Theatre Capital Campaign Committee; President, United Way of Greater Kingsport and chaired the 2000 campaign; chaired the Number One Committee; served as co-chair, Tri-Cities Economic Summit; president, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce; president, Children of Tri-Cities; chair, Leadership Kingsport; chair, Fun Fest Executive Committee.

She Rocks...



When Michelle Dolan was elected in 2011 and became Mayor in 2013, she was proud to be a part of a female triumvirate of sorts. The City Council has an all-female executive structure, of which Dolan is now a part. “It’s certainly an exciting way to open a new chapter in Bristol ’s history.” Dolan’s ideas for the future of Bristol are strong and clear and aggressive, but only because she wants Bristol to be the best city that it can be. “I want to make Bristol a place that our children and their children can stay and pursue opportunities, and live as good or

better lives that we have.” 106 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ichelle Dolan is a lifelong native of Sullivan County. She grew up in Kingsport to parents who worked in manufacturing and had prospered more than their parents, but did not know the value of a college degree to her generation. After high school Dolan set off in the business world, but as she moved up the ladder it became apparent that the jobs she wanted would require a college education. She was not what many would consider a traditional student by the time she enrolled at East Tennessee State University. She was far from it, in fact, because she was already twenty-six and the mother to a one-year-old and two-year-old. “My desire to succeed came from several different things. One, I didn’t like not having any money. Two, I wanted to give my children a better life, and three, I believed in the American dream of being able to choose one’s level of success.”

The four years of earning a college degree were very demanding. She had a weekend job to earn money and a job on campus that was required by an academic scholarship. It was not until her children were already asleep and the housework was done that Dolan even got started on her homework. This left little time for sleep and between her Junior and Senior year she welcomed baby number three. “One of my favorite pictures is of me holding her in my arms as I walked out of graduation with my cap and gown on at the age of 30.” At this point in her academic career, she had amassed quite a large student loan and knew that a high paying job was the only thing to make her life work. Because, Dolan had started looking for a job six months before she graduated, she was able to drive to her graduation in a new company car.

“I have been Mayor since July of 2013 and have loved every minute of it. My top two priority goals have been to recruit two mid-sized manufacturing companies to Bristol and increase the educational level of our community.” Bristol has over three hundred acres available in its industrial parks: two of which are state certified. A major draw to companies is the fact that Bristol is one of a few cities in the nation to have 1-Gigabit capabilities, thus allowing companies to communicate at ten times the speed of fastest Ethernet technology. “To me, the free market economy and education are the greatest pathways to prosperity. If being an entrepreneur is not for you, getting an education will equip you with the skills to command high wages.” Bristol is in need of citizens with trade skills because they are wholeheartedly embracing the Governor’s “Drive to 55” initiative, which aims to get fifty-five percent of Tennesseans to have a certificate or degree beyond a high school diploma by 2025. Dolan is certain that it is never too late to improve one’s situation and she is proof of this philosophy paying off. Some things that Bristol already has in its favor are the Bristol Motor Speedway (the August night race is one of the top 10 sporting events in the world), being the Birthplace of Country Music (Smithsonian museum to open in August), and the regional retail development at exit 74 (with Bass Pro Shop to also open in August). These things, along with future development around BMS and a connector road between Volunteer Parkway and exit 74, “are my vision and legacy of a kick ass Bristol for future generations.” Bristol is well on its way, with Michelle Dolan at the helm, to becoming a top-notch destination for new business and prospective new citizens. Ask what gets her going and Michelle Dolan is quick to respond, “Inspiring people. I love helping them recognize the greatness that lies within them. I am at my happiest when I am helping others both see and reach their goals.” Her advice to anyone who is just starting out, half way through, or near the end, is, “to accept responsibility for your life and know that you can do, be, or have anything you desire if you will only do what it takes to get it.” She has certainly proven that this mantra is one that is time-tested and true to those who believe they can make it happen.


Long hours and a decade and a half of hard work allowed Michelle Dolan to reach a good level of success. She had been able to pay off her student loans, had bought and paid for a house, and used part of her earnings to invest in real estate and start her own companies. She was well on her way when life decided to throw her a curve ball. Dolan blew out a disk in her back: an event that required surgery and two-years of rehabilitation. “There were some pretty dark days during this time and I spent a lot of time watching political news and getting really concerned about the direction our country was headed. I also became concerned about where our local government was headed.” Michelle admits that Bristol had a reputation as not being business friendly and of being a retirement community, so the more she was able to, the more she became involved. Within a year she ran for city council and was elected. “The first two years were frustrating because my belief in a smaller, more efficient and business friendly government was in the minority.” In the last election, however, the people spoke and now not only does Bristol have a majority conservative council but a new city manager that will bring vision into reality.

She Rocks...


DULEBOHN When asked about giving advice to anyone else who may be thinking of moving to the Tri-Cities area, Heidi Dulebohn knew exactly what to say. “My best advice to someone new to the area is to get involved! Congratulations, you have moved to an area full of warm people, just waiting to welcome you. Ask around, join a group; the Rotary, the Kiwanis, the PTA or just call a non-profit you in which you have interest and ask for any volunteer opportunities.”

108 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


eidi Dulebohn and her husband Scott found themselves living in Northern Minnesota during an exceptionally frigid winter and were convinced, partly because of the cold that a move to a milder climate was in order. Dulebohn’s husband had visited a close friend in the Tri-Cities region for years and was a part of an annual meeting/ski trip called Medical Updates, which is comprised most of Tri-City area physicians. Scott, who is a neurosurgeon, loved the area and wanted to be a part of Appalachian Neurosurgery, which is today Mountain States Medical Group. They both agreed on the change and were promptly on their way down to a warmer climate in the Tri-Cities area. “I spent the first year here finding my way, as I had left my friends and organizations in Minnesota. While Scott was very happy, I found myself with nothing to do and a whole lot of time on my hands. One day our friend, Dr. Turney Williams came to see me and said his busy medical practice could use someone on a part-time basis to do a little outreach, and would I be interested. I jumped at the opportunity, which I continue today. At about the same time, I met Patty Bolton, formally with Mountain States Foundation. Patty was the Corporate Director of Major Events and worked a lot with volunteers. She said, ‘Come play with us!’ Between Turney and Patty, I was “introduced” to the area and was off and running.” These avenues afforded to Heidi by her new friends offered her the opportunity to venture out in order to become familiar with her new community. “I immediately found everyone very welcoming and warm and despite the fact that I was not from here. I felt genuinely accepted and encouraged to get involved.” Heidi’s family was civic-minded so she too felt strongly that she should give back to her community. When


Mountain States Foundation offered her several volunteer opportunities, she embraced their openness and got to work at volunteering. “I have worked on all the major events, which have benefited cancer, heart disease and the smallest patients in our area: the children. I felt a special connection to help with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital since one of my sisters died very young from a childhood cancer. I hope that if we could help just one little patient, our efforts with the Golf Classic, Blue Grass Marathon, Spirit Gala and all of the events, were well worthwhile.” She loves the Mountain States mission statement that says, “Mountain States Foundation advances quality healthcare in our region by linking friends with Mountain States Health Alliance and creating a difference through giving” and feels that she is fortunate to help fulfill it this motto. She just finished a position as chair of Mountain States Foundation’s Washington County Board and is very proud, too, of having served on the board of the Public Building Authority: a Johnson City Commission appointment. Included in the board’s charge is the Millennium Centre. “I think I may be the Centre’s number one fan. I am on the marketing committee and have definitely taken ownership. Ken Misterly and everyone at the Centre, give 150% every day, which makes it easy to help promote the Millennium Centre.” Heidi has been involved with other nonprofits in the area as well such as the Washington-Unicoi-Johnson Medical Alliance, a volunteer group comprised of physician spouses who advocate for and work toward the good health of all. “We have a wonderful, active group in East Tennessee and have fun while helping ensure good health in our state.” In April, she finished her term as state president of the Tennessee Medical Association Alliance and has since accepted a position of the American Medical Association Alliance and is delighted to chair the Legislation Committee. Dulebohn was formally trained as a Merchant of Grain by one of the country’s top five-grain companies; Continental Grain, which was bought by Cargill, Inc. Heidi’s sales and trading acumen was noticed early in her training and she was promoted quickly through many transfers as facility manager and trader to various Midwest and Mid-South locations. The Italian giant, Montedison, S.p.A., Gruppo Ferruzzi lured her to their New York trading office where she developed, and managed, the largest domestic trading “deck” in the U.S. Her sales and rapport lead her to become the largest single corn supplier to several large companies, including Tyson Foods. “While working for Ferruzzi, my skills were rewarded and I became the first female general manager of a major grain exporting facility in the U.S.” While serving as General Manager, Heidi re-negotiated a non-profitable contract with the facility’s stevedores; The Teamsters Union, which resulted in the removal of the union from the three-shift ocean-going vessel loading facility, making the facility profitable. Heidi then headed to Omaha, Nebraska to helm ConAgra’s Flour Milling Company’s soft wheat program: becoming the first female trader in ConAgra’s history. While at ConAgra, she was selected by the company’s CEO to help start and serve on a diversity team. Heidi left ConAgra, to marry and move to Minnesota, as the second highest ranked woman in the Fortune 200 Company. While living in Minnesota, and after her father’s illness and death, Heidi became more involved with her family’s grain business. She and her father oversaw a considerable country grain elevator business that was eventually sold. In Heidi’s “retirement” she found her niche in community leadership by serving on many various boards, and served at the privilege of Governor Tim Pawlenty on the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center where she chaired the Finance Committee reporting to the local city council as well as the Governor. Heidi is a proud graduate of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce’s “Leadership Duluth”. “I am very appreciative to everyone in the Tri-Cities who has given me the chance to work on his or her project. At the end of the day, we are all in this thing called “life” together. Get busy and help somebody, because you never know when the tables can turn.”

She Rocks...



Ask Janice Gilliam why she helps others and her answer is simple: “I have had many people help me along the way so I am just returning the favor.” She started out working with the Broyhill Organization for youth in Haywood County, North Carolina and was later a leader in the United Way Campaign. To this day, she continues to work with United Way, the Girl Scouts, with various other foundations, and is active in her church. 110 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


r. Janice Gilliam learned to give to others from both of her parents. Her father was in textiles and her mother was a school cafeteria worker, both with only an eighth grade education, but both of Gilliam’s parents consistently gave to others in their community and church. Before becoming the President of Northeast State Community College in 2009, she spent more than 28 years in the community college system of North Carolina moving from faculty member to administrator. In that time, Gilliam managed to earn her Associate’s degree, her Bachelor’s degree, her Master’s degree, and eventually even her Doctorate in Education. She understands where students at Northeast are coming from and what sort of obstacles they face. “I couldn’t be where I am now without the community college system. It opened the door for me for work and education,” Gilliam explains. “You never know where it could lead you.” Before coming to Northeast State, Gilliam originally began working at HCC as Cosmetology Program Coordinator. After 13 years in the Cosmetology program at Haywood Community College, she became Vice President of Student Development Services in 2000. She led a department of about fifty part-time and full-time employees, including Developmental Education, High School Programs, and Haywood Early College. Gilliam started teaching in the vocational technical program at Isothermal Community College while working on her education and gaining experience. During her brief time at Northeast State Community College, Gilliam has worked hard to make sure that the college grows in a positive direction that helps the students to achieve the most that they can. “The

“People are our biggest asset and I believe in laying the foundation for the future since leadership is always about others.” Gilliam worked hard attending school full time and raising three boys but says she would do it all over again in a minute. “Once I got my Bachelor’s degree I wanted my Master’s. It was hard working full-time and raising a family, but I got it done and others can too.” She believes that anyone starting out in the Tri-Cities region with school or a new business should find a mentor for guidance. “Be open to taking advice and constructive criticism. You have to be ready to change and focus on continually improving yourself and your organization.” It is worth it though because Gilliam believes that the rewards are well worth the hard work put in to obtain those goals. “Talking to students who have found their way at Northeast State is my greatest reward. I love to also see our faculty and staff improve and grow because this means that we are better able to serve our students.” Janice Gilliam is a strong believer in workforce development and knows that, in order to compete, graduates from Northeast State must be ready to enter the workforce prepared to hit the ground running. “Manufacturing is alive and well in Northeast Tennessee,” she said. “And we’re trying to provide them with skilled workers. Those skilled and knowledgeable workers cannot be replaced.” This is a great area to live and to work and, with more and more manufacturing jobs being moved to the area by other movers and shakers, it is imperative that students be prepared to take on the jobs that are being brought to this region. Specialized training is needed in the area and that is something that Gilliam strives to bring to the region by preparing the students at Northeast State. Gilliam is quick to point out that no great leader does anything alone. “Seeing my team work so hard for students and because of the students is such a heartwarming thing. They really care and that is great.” The amount of work that she and the staff put into making Northeast State a great school shows too since 95% of the students place into their jobs of study. The college, along with the exceptional faculty and staff, offers learning centers at its main campus and satellite campuses in order to help students succeed in their courses of study. “Northeast Tennessee is one of the best places to live. The area is rich in culture with Native American, Scotch-Irish, German, and English mixing to create the very conservative Appalachian culture. People go out of their way to make sure you feel welcomed and they are very cooperative and helpful.” With a region so rich in culture it is no wonder that Janice Gilliam feels so strong toward the school and the mission that it preaches. Reaching out to everyone, regardless of his/her background, is one of the fundamental building blocks of making Northeast State such a strong institution. The college is expanding in order to make the options available to those in this area even better. Along with the new teaching site in Johnson City, there are expansions in Erwin and Mountain City and the completion of a new $35.5 million Emerging Technologies Complex will be completed in 2017. Gilliam hopes to continue adding new programs to the college’s repertoire and to expand professional development opportunities for faculty. It is apparent that Gilliam is proud to have taken the helm of Northeast State and clear that she will continue to drive the school into the 21st century and beyond. She continues to grow and learn as a person and a leader, so leading by example, she hopes that others will grow as well to help her make Northeast State a premier institution of learning.


two main things we give students are helping them discover opportunities and give them the confidence to be successful.” She knows what it is like to be a first generation college student, so Gilliam works hard to ensure that students entering college for the first time are taken care of and are not set up for failure. “I want to give students the opportunities to expand the quality of their lives through education by giving them confidence in themselves and their abilities.” She wants to ensure that a campus is within every 30 miles of a resident, and Northeast State is well on its way with campuses opening in both Kingsport and Johnson City very soon.

She Rocks...


GLASSCOCK “We are a community of

connected individuals, all people, united and working together for the benefit of all. That is at the heart of what the United Way represents. We invite you to join us by Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering. That is how we all Live United.” 112 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


anelle Glasscock, United Way of Greater Kingsport’s executive director, sees great value in making connections. “I love to connect people and organizations. By introducing folks to each other who may have something in common, you quickly find it isn’t long before they are talking about common goals and how progress can be made through collaborations,” said Glasscock. “Kingsport is a great city because its citizens have historically proven to be great collaborators who are focused on improving the lives of all those living and working in our community.” Glasscock’s appreciation of Kingsport comes from living, working, and serving in a variety of other communities both inside and outside the United States. Her position as an industrial engineer with Eastman Chemical Company first brought Glasscock from her home in Alabama to Kingsport. Later, job transfers related to husband Chris’ position with Eastman took her to the Netherlands, South Carolina, and finally back to Kingsport. Glasscock proudly considers Kingsport her home community.

Glasscock’s admiration of this area’s physical beauty, along with the incredible volunteer spirit of the people, make living and working in Kingsport both fun and rewarding. Her former supervisor at Eastman, Betty DeVinney, was the person who introduced Glasscock to the United Way of Greater Kingsport. “Ms. DeVinney was one of those bosses that when she said, ‘Jump’ you asked, ‘How high?’” DeVinney, like many at Eastman, was a great supporter of United Way, and she gave Glasscock her first opportunity to volunteer for the organization where she participated in the member agency allocations process. Glasscock was a unique find for the United Way of Greater Kingsport as she had proven leadership skills in both private industry and with non-profits. She also had valuable experience related to entrepreneurship as she owned and operated a small business for five years before returning to Kingsport. After returning to the area in 2009, Glasscock knew that she wanted to serve in the non-profit

A strong sense of servant leadership came naturally to Glasscock as both her parents’ role modeled this behavior for Glasscock and her siblings. “I have a deep Christian faith and tremendous examples of community service to help guide me in what I do today,” noted Glasscock. Her family spent two mornings a week during the summer working with special needs children, who were transported to and from the church by the Glasscock’s in their family station wagon. “My mom was also my Girl Scout leader. She served on the Regional Girl Scout Council, and my father volunteered extensively at both church and in the community. My dad even helped start our local YMCA.” Making life better for others is something Glasscock and her husband, Chris, have instilled in their three children, Allison, Will, and Kellen. The entire Glasscock family believes in the work of the United Way and supports Danelle as she works to help the organization achieve its vision and mission. Glasscock is inspired by leadership, and she is proud to have a front row seat in the “stadium of life” where she watches how lives are improved in this community through passionate and effective leaders and volunteers. “I see a great team of donors, board members, and volunteers on the one side and then a tremendous network of non-profit leaders on the other. All of these folks work diligently and with sacrifice to improve the lives of children, adults, and seniors in our community,” added Glasscock. She is generous with her praise of others and is as giving with her accolades as she is with her time. Glasscock’s goal, and that of the United Way of Greater Kingsport, is “A Better Life for All” where everyone in our community has an opportunity for a quality education, financial stability, and good health. One way this is being accomplished is through United WE READ, a collaborative partnership model aimed at advancing the common good by raising visibility, deepening connections, and engaging supporters to build a literacy-rich community. “United WE READ is focused on helping children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade read on grade level. Research tells us that 3rd grade reading scores are the single, best predictor of future academic success,” noted Glasscock. “If we can positively impact early grade literacy, then we know that financial stability and good health will also be improved.” Glasscock is leading the charge at the United Way of Greater Kingsport to see all of the metrics improved upon in the community. These are things like high school graduation rates going up, poverty rates and unemployment rates going down, and access to medical and dental care for the underinsured and uninsured being improved. The United Way of Kingsport is committed to achieving its vision: “A Better Life for All.” “We say that there are three basic building blocks to a good quality of life: Quality education, financial stability, and good health. We know that improvements in these key areas will dramatically improve the lives in our community,” said Glasscock. These are the things that matter at the United Way of Greater Kingsport and more specifically to Glasscock. The things the United Way strives for are things that Glasscock believes in too and works every day to bring to others in this region. Her tireless work at the United Way of Greater Kingsport has helped change hundreds of lives, and she hopes this good work ripples through the community eventually touching those she may not even know.


sector. She was soon asked to serve in a leadership role with the United Way’s Children and Youth Vision Council, which ultimately led to Glasscock applying for the open executive director position. Glasscock was selected as executive director—a role she enthusiastically accepted because she was familiar with the organization and saw firsthand how the organization worked to fulfill its mission of improving lives.

She Rocks...


GRINDSTAFF Ashley Grindstaff has always been a goal-

oriented person and loves challenges.

She is inspired by the giving spirit and compassion of those who call the Tri-Cities home. She is inspired too by her family since they drive her to work hard. Asked to give advice to those wanting to get started in the region and she says, “do whatever it takes to get to the goal you have in mind. Have passion, don’t get discouraged by others, and listen to people who can advise you in business.” She works hard, still, to follow the advice of those who have been where she wants to get because she knows that their advice is indispensible. 114 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


shley Grindstaff was born and raised in Tennessee, and although she is originally from Signal Mountain, she moved to Kingsport in 1993. Her mother moved around a lot as a girl because Ashley’s grandfather was in the military, but when her grandparents passed through on vacation one year, they became smitten with the area and decided to put down roots. Her mother is from a German-Italian family that Ashley remembers as being very hardworking, strong-willed and loud and her father is of German-English descent and is himself from a hardworking family as well. “My dad’s childhood home still sits on Main Street in the historic district of Piney Flats. He was one of eight children. With the mixture of my heritage and the values my parents instilled in my sister and I, we learned at a very early age to work hard for whatever it is we wanted in this life.”

When Grindstaff was Miss Johnson City she was awarded a scholarship from Steve Grindstaff since he had served as a longtime sponsor of the pageant. When she was Miss Kingsport she saw Steve Grindstaff and took the opportunity to thank him for the scholarship that she had received the previous year. “He was surprised that I thanked him because no one had personally thanked him before. After the pageant was over he walked over and said that he was opening a new dealership and needed a spokesperson.” In January of that year Ashley became the official spokesperson for the new Grindstaff KIA, eventually marrying Steve and owning the dealership herself. “He gave me butterflies in my stomach and made me blush anytime I was around him. The rest, like they say, is history.” She credits her husband with taking her under his wing and showing her the ropes when it comes to business.

By the time she was Miss Tennessee Teen United States, Grindstaff was the Regional Spokesperson for Character Counts and was traveling all over the state speaking to students about Character Counts because, “I was bullied by other girls in school for being “different”. So it became a great passion of mine to teach kids that being different comes in all shapes, colors and sizes, telling them about my experiences.” Her volunteerism is a passion that she still displays. “To this day I enjoy the impact of whatever I can contribute to others especially children and causes that effect us all.” Ashley’s parents instilled in her the need to give back to others in the community whenever and wherever she could and she has carried those ideals with her always. When asked what she sees for the future of the Tri-Cities region Ashley Grindstaff gets a twinkle in her eye with her reply. “I hope to see the TriCities as a little Metropolitan city and I think we are on a great track. All three of the chamber of commerce’s are doing a great job to entice growth and development attracting big business to even mom and pop small business.” She is an advocate for local shopping and is proud to say that many of her favorite shops are small businesses owned by locals. Shopping in this area and from people who live in this region only strengthens the bonds that we have as a community. Grindstaff sets high standards for herself and for others because she has such a passion for the community and those who live here. “I can burn the candle at both ends because I believe in hard work and in the betterment of others’ lives. It is hard being a woman in business sometimes because I am a mother too and it is such a balancing act.” She knows that having a business, or two, and being a wife and mother is not an easy act but it is one that she is able to do with the support of her friends and family. “I’m blessed to have amazing friends that listen to me cry, vent, and laugh because we share a lot of the same experiences.” Ashley is adamant that surrounding oneself with positive friends and supportive peers is the most important building block to being successful and to helping others be successful as well. Ashley has always been a social person and would, much to the chagrin of her parents, spend most of the time after cheer practice talking. “I would keep my dad waiting after cheer practice because I had to talk to everyone. My dad still jokes about that today, but I guess my social skills come into use with what I do today.” She goes to great lengths to make sure that people are happy: even with the purchase of their new car. “I always want our buyers to be happy with their new cars.” Her passion for her buyers extends beyond the car lot, though, and she volunteers for new projects on a consistent basis. “My husband will joke and ask what have I volunteered us for now but he knows my heart is big and I want to help everyone, and I try.” Whatever project is presented to her Ashley Grindstaff will certainly want to help with whether she physically can or not such is her passion for helping those who call the Tri-Cities home.


Giving back to the community is something that Ashley Grindstaff started doing at an early age when her father worked at the Asbury Center in Kingsport. Since both sets of grandparents died when she was young, Ashley had missed out on having the grandchild-grandparent connection that so many of us take for granted. “It always brought me such joy to spend time with the elderly because I didn’t have that at home with my own grandparents. I always found it so sad how so many residents never saw any of their own family. I would sit and listen to their stories, paint their nails, play games, and host social events.” At the tender age of twelve she could already see how much happiness it brought to the lives of others for them to have someone who took the time to care.

She Rocks...


Harshbarger loves the region that she

lives in and believes that it has more to offer than most people who even live here know about. We have a region of proud people and no one wants to be dictated to about how they should live. She instead works hard to open a dialogue in order to find out what they want to achieve in the hopes that she may even help them develop a goal because “sometimes I see them wandering aimlessly without direction.” Giving direction to others is something that Diana does well and it is something that she hopes to continue to do long into the future. 116 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


iana Harshbarger is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee and a graduate of Ketron High School. She attended East Tennessee State University for a short while before finishing up her studies at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. Harshbarger was a newly minted Doctor of Pharmacy trying to decide what to do with her career when she and her family decided to move back to the area so she could start her own pharmacy practice in East Tennessee. “I was always interested in medicine but didn’t think that I would ever be able to afford an education to that extent. I always respected the pharmacists that my family did business with because of their availability and how they treated my family as friends.” Even as a young girl, she could see herself as a pharmacist and perceived the job as something that she could most certainly do. Being able to have a job that she loves is something that Diana finds a blessing, but more important for her is being able to work in a place that she so dearly loves. “I have learned that this area we call home is one of the best places in the country to live. People in this region are genuine and really do want to do their best to take care of themselves and their families.” She most especially appreciates that those who live here will trust her, as a pharmacist, to help them with their health. The relationships that she nurtures with her clients are connections that will last a lifetime. “In my perspective, they value you as a professional to guide them to a healthy tomorrow but they also consider you as a friend in their community.” In her pharmacy practice, Harshbarger helps with many alternative drug or non-drug therapies that can benefit her patients. She is devoted in the field of anti-aging because she sees this area of study as a way to keep her patients healthy and strong, mentally and physically, for many years to come. “In the next

When I ask Diana what she feels one of her best traits is and she answers honestly and modestly. “One of the best traits I possess, I guess you could say, is knowledge. That doesn’t mean I am the smartest person on the planet, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does mean that I can certainly do the necessary research to get the most appropriate answer to you.” She tells me that she has learned over the years that if she doesn’t know the answer to a question that it is fine to admit that. “I have learned that if you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t act like you do! Go look it up!” She is honored when someone trusts her enough to bring an important matter to her attention. “I think I am approachable and that gives the person asking the question a sense of ‘well she won’t look down on me for asking this question’. I relish the fact that people think enough of me to even ask.” Harshbarger has a big heart and it is a sincere hope of hers that through some advice or recommendation she gives that she might possibly change the course of her patient’s lives in some way. “I want big things for my patient’s lives and maybe sometimes bigger things than even they want. I want them to follow my advice and if they implement it, together we can strive to accomplish a common goal.” Whether it is just to feel better or to reach a strategic health initiative, she strives to impart wisdom onto others about their health. Diana has learned over the years that to be happy a person has to be content. This means, she tells me, that this doesn’t mean that anyone has to be “satisfied” because she believes that people are always going to strive to become better in what they do or as an individual. Satisfaction is to fulfill desires or expectations and that is an ongoing process. “I am happy because I am content with what and who I have been entrusted with. My constant desire is to be a help to our community so that they can have their needs met and that they will learn that contentment can lead to a happier and healthier life.” The driving force for her is to continue to do what she has been directed to do. “To know that I can change the course of someone’s life due to my expertise in this part of the healthcare field is something that constantly brings fulfillment to my life. She has worked hard to build her business, her reputation, and my place in pharmacy since 1987. Diana Harshbarger, and her colleagues at Custom Compounding, has developed many alternative therapies in collaboration with physicians and healthcare providers that have been beneficial to the patient and their health condition. We are truly innovators in the formulation of therapies. We go into work every day to face new challenges and that is what keeps me motivated. I am involved in a regional effort for our patient population as well as on a national level. She has worked in the area of women’s and men’s health and worked with healthcare providers for many years and is clear for Diana to see how many women and men have been helped by natural hormone therapies and supplementation. “I would like to see the preventative health aspect of our community grow to outrageous proportions. Patients come to me every day and they have a desire to become healthy but they don’t know where to start. I can give you a pill for ANYTHING! But that is NOT what I want to do. I love to help incorporate simple changes into a person’s life that will make a PROFOUND change in their life.”


three years, I think we might just be able to get the word out that we CAN live a healthier lifestyle. It may come through workplace education about the values of alternative therapies.”

She Rocks...


HUNTER Eva Hunter helped to co-author

a 2013 Tennessee Department of

Transportation grant for funding to purchase a mobile classroom that focuses on litter education, waste reduction, and recycling. The mobile unit is a 7’ x 14’ trailer decked out with flat screen television, video games, exhibitions and solar panels to power the exhibits. The mobile classroom is an educational tool that will be used across five counties within two states. 118 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


va Hunter was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, but was raised in Carter County. Although her dad was in the Navy, when he retired he came back to the one place he knew and loved and called home: East Tennessee. She went to school from the first through the fifth grade in Carter County, but in the sixth grade she started school in Johnson City at Northside Elementary School. She is a 1974 graduate of Science Hill and will graduate from East Tennessee State University this summer. Eva’s serious study began with Reese Holloway Toohey in 1970 where she was mentored and trained daily, later being chosen by Ms. Toohey, herself a former professional dancer, to lead the classical ballet classes at the Holloway Dancing School in Kingsport, TN. In 1978, she attended the Costa du Sol International Academy of Dance under Anna Marie and David Holmes. This intensive study was her first exposure to the Vaganova method taught exclusively of Russian Ballet style. She continued to study with the famous couple for an additional 6 years. Eva was, once again, trained and groomed to teach the children’s ballet classes for the Holmes’ home studio, Oak Ridge Academy of Dance, in addition to performing as a soloist for the Holmes’ Tennessee Festival Ballet Company, Knoxville and Oak Ridge, TN. “I started working when I was twelve years old cleaning the toilets in my dad’s machine shop and I have always held two or three jobs at once. Even when I taught ballet, I worked two other jobs and one was with the General Mills Restaurant Group. I will never forget one time my manager told me that I had the uncanny ability to talk to anyone, whether it was the CEO of a company or the guy who drove the truck.” She has parlayed that ability into careers in a number of professions, one of which is the position she currently holds as Recycling


Marketing Coordinator for the city of Johnson City and Director of Keep Johnson City Beautiful. She is modest when it comes to discussing her accomplishments though and is quick to give credit where credit is due. “I would not be able to do this without the help of others. The city has a large group of people who help me do my job and many of the programs that we run are kept afloat by volunteers.” Hunter is clear to say that the community has a lot to do with her success as well. She truly believes that there is not another place around where people are so giving of their time and energy as those who live in the Tri-Cities area. “I feel like we are really starting to see communities a lot like when I grew up. We aren’t back in the 50s yet, but there are neighbors saying hello to each other over the fence. People having block parties and getting involved in the community and caring what their neighborhoods look like.” Eva Hunter tells me that she has lived other places, but none of them have been home. She is driven by the seasons and admits that living somewhere sub-tropical is not the same as having four distinct seasons. “When I was away from here and I didn’t have those seasons, I was miserable. Each season is so unique and distinct from the others and having those distinctions lends itself to making a mark on each part of my year.” The seasons make her job more interesting as well because the beautification of any area doesn’t just happen in the spring or summer. “We work all year long to teach the kids in this area about cleaning up and recycling and each time of the year presents us with a unique lesson about the environment.” Her love of her city and her desire to see it be the best it can be is something that drives Hunter to work hard, but the thing that really gets her engines going is teaching. Teaching the up and coming generation about what she knows and imparting upon them the importance of taking care of the environment is the cause that is really near and dear to her heart. “I love the kids. I love teaching. I have done all sorts of other things in my life, but I always go back to teaching because once someone realizes that they are a teacher then that never leaves them.” Her role as teacher is something that she takes seriously and something that Hunter lights up about when she discusses it. “I love seeing how excited kids get about what we show them both in their classrooms and in the mobile classroom. The best thing is when they run back to their grandparents and tell them all about recycling. I can’t get enough of it frankly.” Eva Hunter wants to make a difference, even if it is a small one, on the community she lives in and on the lives of those who inhabit Johnson City and the surrounding areas. Her tireless dedication to the craft of teaching is something that she brings to her dance life as well. She is a master ballet instructor and still lends her time and talents to the City Youth Ballet even though she doesn’t have to. Her love of teaching and serious study of ballet are what keep her coming back to the studio year after year to impart her knowledge on others. I ask her why she feels like she needs to give back to others, because all of the work that she does stretches her thin sometimes. At this question, Eva Hunter chokes up and her eyes well up a bit. “When I was a teenager my parents had already been divorced a long time, but they could not agree on who was going to continue to pay for my ballet lessons. Well, the Holloways stepped in and adopted me and took me in. Now think about that a minute. They didn’t have to do that, but they did and all I had to was “show up” to the studio.” She composes herself and then looks me straight in the eye. “What did I do to deserve people that good in my life? I don’t know, but to this day I make sure that everything I do is something to try and pay back the good that has been given to me.”

She Rocks...


MADISON Both Madison and her husband grew up

with parents owning small businesses.

“We both remember dinner table conversations about the difficulties and satisfaction of being an entrepreneur. Both of us had parents who served as elected officials.” She has not forgotten the issues that her parents discussed having to face as small business owners. She asks herself every day if she did enough to be a good advocate for the small businesses in this area and wonders what she will be able to do tomorrow to help even more. 120 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


oy Madison currently serves as the President and CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, but before accepting the position she served for seven years as the President and CEO of the Modesto, California Chamber of Commerce. Upon being unanimously selected for the position, Madison was clear to point out that she is joining a great organization that has already made its mark as one of the best Chambers around. “I will be joining an effective organization that has earned multiple U.S. Chamber accreditations. I am eager to get started working with the board, volunteers, and staff to promote business and the community.” She came to Bristol because she was looking for a new challenge and, the more she studied the position, the more she knew the position was right for her. Bristol was in a great place and was already experiencing positive growth, and, to her, the potential seemed endless. Madison was impressed by the professionalism of the board members who interviewed her via Skype, but the tipping point for her was visit to Bristol for her in-person interview. “The position requirements matched my existing skills and required me to learn new strategies. I can’t remember trying so hard in an interview.  Then I met the chamber team and I was so impressed with how much they accomplish and their desire to do more. The community is so welcoming. Sometimes you do find the perfect place to live and work.” Madison got her start in the chamber industry as a volunteer, since she was actively involved on the Government Affairs Committee with the Dickinson, ND Chamber of Commerce.  She was invited to serve on the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Workers Compensation Task Force also as a volunteer.   Because she had spent a lot of time in Bismarck testifying before the legislature,  when a position to lobby for the manufacturers and processors at the state chamber became available,

“The Tri-Cities will always be strong because of the people who live and work here. They are smart, innovative, and determined. The work ethic of the people in this area is amazing and everyone is quick to welcome outsiders, like me, to the team.” She is impressed too by the sense of optimism and desire that those who live in this region have when it comes to really making things happen.  “You can always tell a lot about the community when you are out and about.  People here relish being with their families and it reminds me a lot of growing up in North Dakota.” Madison is impressed by the fact that family and friends are such a priority and feels that, for sure, this is one trait that makes the Tri-Cities such an attractive place to live. Family is important to her in her own life and it is something that has been a consistent benefit in her daily life. “I come from a family that has always worked hard. My parents and grandparents served as excellent role models and each of them instilled the belief in me that not everyone is as blessed as I have been. They always told me that if I could help, then I needed to give back to the people and planet that have nourished and sustained me.”  Madison admits, though, that is actually feels good for her to be able to give. “I think working through breast cancer has given me a sense of urgency to do more.  I have a keener sense of my mortality and a selfish need to make whatever time I have left, whether it’s years or decades, really positively impact wherever I can.” She feels that she is both blessed and cursed by determination and the need to be the best at whatever she does. She consistently strives to be an asset and partner to the business community, because she wants to see that sector grow, prosper, and maximize their potential. Because the Chamber was able to work behind the scenes and help, many businesses have been successful when they otherwise might have failed and this is an accomplishment that Joy Madison attributes to collaboration and cooperation. “The chamber is driven to promote a strong economy, encourage community development, represent the interest of business before government, engage in political action regarding those business issues, and improve business relationships.” She admits, however, that it is not one person nor just one Chamber that is able to accomplish these goals. Businesses, individuals, organizations, and city governments must all work together in order to reach the goals set forth to help the people of the Tri-Cities Region. Before Joy Madison took the position at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, those who were hiring her looked long and hard for the right candidate. She stood out among many because of her dedication to helping other communities be successful. While serving in an executive role at the chamber of commerce in Ottuma Iowa, she helped raise $11.5 million for an events center using private and public funding.   She has served as Corporate Counsel for a family owned company in North Dakota and was a lobbyist for the economic development association of North Dakota. In 2009, she was named the Woman of the Year from the 25th Assembly District in the State of California. Don’t name off the accomplishments of Madison’s life though because she feels that she has not nearly done enough to help the regions that she has lived in. “At the end of the day when I kick off my high heels, I want to know that I, as part of the Chamber Team, made a difference.”


she jumped at the opportunity. She parlayed that positions into one that soon had her lobbying for the Economic Development Association of North Dakota. When she was ready for a CEO position, she moved to Iowa, then to California, and now here to Bristol. “I am excited about the diversification in the economy and I would like to see more growth in the manufacturing sector.”   With the burgeoning tourism and destination retail, commitment to education, housing, and healthcare, though, Joy sees the Tri-Cities as a place positioning itself for smart growth. “We are planning for the future,” she tells me, “not reacting to the past and that is a great reason why we are in the top ten best places to live in work.” It is clear that, despite the fact that she has lived and worked in other places, Joy Madison has established a quick fondness for the East Tennessee Region.

She Rocks...


MCCORD The people closest to CeeGee

McCord tell her that her strongest trait is her authenticity. “I’m not sure whether that is good or bad for the people that I work with. But I think people know that they get what they see.” McCord works diligently at what she does in the

hopes of bringing opportunity to others. “Opportunity is a blessing. There is no guarantee with opportunity, but it gives us a good chance and a good chance is all we can really ask for.” 122 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


eeGee McCord grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee but moved away from her hometown like most people do. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters degree in public administration from Kennesaw State University, she worked extensively in the nonprofit and public service sector. When given the opportunity to move back in 1996, however, she did and is glad to call home a place that she deems a treasure. “Being able to make a life and raise my children here is a blessing.” McCord believes that there is a humble confidence about this region. “It’s a unique combination and it’s one that, I hope, soaks into me at least a little.” She believes the people of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia understand the strength of family and community through good times and bad - and that understanding makes a difference in the communities in the Tri-Cities area.

She is a part of Eastman’s public affairs team and has worked in corporate communications and government affairs. McCord has recently been named Manager of Global Community Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility. She has responsibility for corporate events and launching the company’s overarching corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and will steward the development and implementation of CSR efforts across the world. McCord mentioned that businesses approach CSR in a variety of ways. Initiatives may range from community volunteering to modernizing facilities for energy efficiency or designing products that both meet customer needs and help address social problems. CeeGee went on to say, “Eastman has a long history of working with government, education, business, and community leaders to drive fundamental and lasting improvements to enhance the quality

She finds happiness in serving others. “Happiness is not really something you try to find. It finds you and I think you make yourself easier to find if you are trying to contribute. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to contribute to my company and my community.” Her giving spirit is something that her family showed her as being the cornerstone to a joyful life. She says they helped build a strong foundation for her and it has only been strengthened by a husband who shares the same beliefs. “My family, and others that are closest to me, have always been ready to give, not just willing to give, but ready to give. I think if you are around those kinds of people, you become that kind of person.” She has always appreciated and respected the way retirees in our region actively volunteer and are engaged with things that make our community better. Now she marvels at the giving and collaborative nature in the younger professionals and the youth of the region. “It’s encouraging, reinforcing, and motivating. I am thankful for the people who have helped shape me into a person who understands the power of community service and equally thankful for the individuals and strangers I encounter daily giving their time, talents and resources to this place we call home.” CeeGee believes strongly that the region will only continue to grow, and not just in population or square footage, but in human capital as well. “We have extraordinary school systems, committed communities, and corporate citizens that are second to none. Not a lot of places have such a powerful combination.” She is certain that big things are right around the corner for the Tri-Cities region. “Within this region, we have the humility to ask the hard questions and the confidence to stay a good course. That will pay off. That sort of thing always pays off.” McCord can sense that innovation, in everything from the arts to advanced manufacturing, is ready to happen in order to make East Tennessee one of the most sought after places to live and work in the US. People here want each other to succeed and, feels McCord, are practical and value good work. She has served in many volunteer leadership positions in philanthropic and service organizations. She is the past chair and commissioner of the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority and currently, a member of the Frontier Health Board of Directors. McCord currently serves on the Boards of the Kingsport and Johnson City Chambers of Commerce and is serving as the Treasurer for the Kingsport Chamber. She has chaired the Kingsport Community Foundation and served on the Board of the United Way of Tennessee. She is the Vice-Chair of the American Chemistry Council’s State Affairs Committee and a board member of the South Carolina Business and Industry Education Coalition (BIPEC). She is married to Jeff McCord, vice president of economic and workforce development at Northeast State Community College, author and local columnist. It helps for her to work hard at what she does because she loves the job she’s doing and the company she works for. “A grateful life is almost always a better one, and I am grateful for the work that I have been given to do and for the people I work with. Eastman people work extremely hard, are responsible, knowledgeable, giving and innovative.” McCord attributes the hard work and dedication of her coworkers with making her job that much more motivating. “I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given because, even though I have always been challenged, I was given resources for those challenges.” Seeing others in the community volunteer their time is something that motivates her as well since it shows how deeply others care about this region.


of life in site communities. It’s a part of the company’s DNA. As we further integrate CSR into our business goals, I firmly believe there will be a more robust set of tools for serving customers, shareholders, and communities around the world.”

She Rocks...



Scott is a lifelong member of Central Presbyterian Church and says her family’s

connection to the church is an important part of her life. She is also past president of Bristol VA/TN Rotary Club, is a Paul Harris Fellow, a William Skelton Fellow and has received King University’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and YWCA Tribute to Women. She serves as a Bristol Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Bristol and was awarded the Sue Shawl Memorial Award. Helen was the founding chair of the Tri-Cities RAM clinic at Bristol Motor Speedway and serves as a founding board member for the Tennessee Charitable Care Network in Nashville. 124 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

For Helen Vance Scott, her office is more than just the place where she works every day as Executive Director of Healing Hands Health Center. For her, the office at 210 Memorial Drive has a deeper meaning and history: it’s a reminder of her family’s deep Bristol connections. “When they first showed me my office, I said, ‘Oh, that was my uncle’s office for 40 years,’” Scott said, referring to physician Fred Vance. Scott felt immediately that her new position was meant to be.

Her Vance family’s Bristol roots can be traced back to the 1800s. The family helped found Central Presbyterian Church in 1875, after several members broke away from another church, allegedly because it did not allow dancing or card-playing. Scott was born and raised in Bristol and loves her community. Her father, Allen Vance, was a prominent banker here and four of her uncles were physicians. “I hear stories about how my relatives helped people in this community. A lot of people knew my dad and my uncles, because they took care of a lot of people,” she said. Scott has a genuine interest in people that goes far beyond just wanting to help. “The patients who come here are extremely grateful. You can imagine the exorbitant amount of medical and dental bills that can accumulate, without insurance, for you and your family.” After Scott graduated from Tennessee High School, she attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where she studied Business and Logistics. After graduation from UT, she worked in public transportation in Nashville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama, but she felt that her earlier jobs were not what she was called to be doing. She was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom when her two boys were young, but remained active in the community and was involved in civic activities; many of them through her church. “I did a lot of volunteer work and fundraising,” Scott said. Eleven years ago, a friend from her church approached her asking Helen to come interview for the executive director position at the local free clinic. “I had one interview and it seemed like it would be a good fit,” Helen said.

The mission committee of Bristol’s First Presbyterian Church, with Jean Ferguson Poole behind the movement, started Healing Hands in 1997 after they read an article in Parade Magazine about how to found a much needed free health clinic in your community. Other churches and professionals were invited to participate and one hundred people showed up at the organizational meeting. “With that turnout, it was obvious that the Bristol community could make Healing Hands a reality,” Scott said, “and a local foundation pledged $100,000 to get it started.” Bristol Regional Medical Center also played a huge role. To this day, the hospital continues to provide tremendous support. “They realize that we are an excellent addition to the medical community and appreciate our value because we work to keep the uninsured out of the hospital and the emergency room, a very costly way to treat patients and to keep people healthy so they can remain employed.” Scott said. “Our compassion has served the residents of Bristol area and other communities well and enhanced their quality of life.” When Healing Hands needed a home, Helen’s uncle, Dr. Fred Vance, and his partners, Dr. Ben Cowan Sr. and Dr. Fred Greear, donated their medical office building to Healing Hands when Bristol Medical Associates chose to relocate their office. “I remember coming in this building when I was growing up,” she said. Helen Scott has come full circle in her life and is so proud to say that she can help those in the community who are trying to help themselves, but who are falling through the healthcare gaps. As Healing Hands Executive Director, Scott organizes fundraising events throughout the year, writes grants and solicits private donations from individuals, churches, corporations, civic groups, and foundations. “Our patients who are financially able to give donations, do so and we are a United Way of Bristol agency. Healing Hands is widely supported by our generous community of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia because it is a great way to help people who are trying to help themselves,” Scott said. Scott has nothing but glowing remarks about the donors, staff and the volunteers. “I have great confidence in our generous donors to help us be successful as well as great confidence in our staff and volunteers.” The clinic has provided 53,000 patient visits and has given $15 million in free medication. She is most amazed at the dedication of the 200 volunteers, who donate their time and energy without asking for anything in return. “A lot of volunteers will work eight to five and then work for us at night or treat our patients in their own offices,” Scott said. They feel like they get as much out of it as the patients.” She takes pride in the job and says it is the most satisfying work she has ever done. Every year more and more funds are needed to be able to help a growing number of people. Healing Hands greatly appreciates funds, as well as in kind donations, because these donations help to keep their expenses down. Many former patients are so grateful that they often donate to Healing Hands. She remembers a woman who inherited some money when her mother died and donated $1,000 to the organization. “We were really touched by that,” Scott said. “I’m sure she could have used the $1,000 for something else.” Scott has some long-term goals for Healing Hands. “The need for free medical and dental services is only going to increase. We would like to invite the community to partner with us in supporting our clinic and our neighbors in need. Besides funding, volunteers are needed, especially dentists and optometrists,” Scott said. Helen’s contact information is or (423) 652-2516. www.


Healing Hands is a non-profit health care facility that serves Bristol and the surrounding area. The organization provides free medical, dental, chiropractic, and vision care to low income, employed citizens in the community. It is a safety net for those who earn too much to qualify for government programs but are not provided health insurance through an employer or it is too expensive for them to purchase. Even with full implementation of the Affordable Care Act there will still be large numbers of uninsured and underinsured individuals in our community. Healing Hands is working to expand their dental and vision clinics because that is where the greatest needs are, two services currently not covered under the Affordable Care Act.

She Rocks...




According to Melissa, a team of retirees was lined up to

oversee the building of a Habitat for Humanity House, but they were struggling to meet the $35,000 minimum needed to start. BCS desired to make this their signature

project in the year they were celebrating their 50th year in business by giving for 50 weeks. With a hefty amount of money and volunteers needed, Melissa was concerned it may not be possible for a few accountants. One morning, while getting ready for work, she mentioned this to her husband. “I’ll never forget it. Jeff was brushing his teeth and I was curling my hair. After hearing, he immediately stops and said, ‘my company is considering donating $20,000 in Tennessee for a Habitat House.’” BCS and some clients added the remaining $15,000 and more. Between BCS and Citi, they produced enough money and volunteers to build the house in three months. “We couldn’t have done it alone, but working together, we provided a new home to a deserving family.” 126 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


elissa Steagall-Jones was born in Johnson City and raised in Elizabethton, Tennessee. She could have chosen to move anywhere after college, but is content with her decision to have stayed close to home. “I love visiting the big cities and traveling, but I’m always anxious to come home to the beautiful mountains and the southern charm of home.” She graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Her father, one of the original partners of the accounting firm, Blackburn Childers & Steagall, was the driving influence behind her decision to pursue accounting while in college. “Growing up, the extent of my CPA knowledge was seeing Dad carry around a calculator, green ledger paper, and a mechanical pencil.” Before college, Melissa was certain that her career path would lead her into law school and then straight into a courtroom or politics.

After graduating high school and while attending college, Steagall-Jones began working as an intern with her father’s accounting firm and was soon thinking about graduate school. “My dad recommended I pursue an undergraduate degree in Accounting in case I decided against law school. He pitched a good case and it got my attention.” Her plan was to pass the CPA exam, and continue to law school, but “somewhere between my internship and the words, ‘you passed’ on the CPA exam, my interest in accounting grew, while thoughts of law school began to fade.” It wasn’t long before Melissa decided to make accounting her career and today is recognized as one of the most successful Certified Public Accountants in the Tri-

Giving back is something that Steagall-Jones learned from her parents and at an early age. Her earliest memories of her parents giving to others were formed in church. “I watched my parents give back through their time, talents and money. Whether it was teaching Sunday school or placing their tithe in the offering plate each week. They always understood the importance of serving others and led by example.” Today, Melissa continues the tradition of giving back and has led the 3-4 yearold Choir in her church for thirteen years and worship team for Bible school for five years. She is currently a board member for the United Way of Washington County and Dawn of Hope. She also serves on the following Foundation boards: Chamber of Commerce, Northeast State Community College, Mountain States Health Alliance and East Tennessee State University. Another rewarding position was the year in which she chaired the Washington County United Way campaign. It was the first year the campaign topped $1.5 million. She also did this while pregnant with her second child. She grins as she says, “This could be considered unfair. It was very difficult for anyone to tell a pregnant woman no.” It is important to Melissa Steagall-Jones that the region that she loves so dearly continue to grow and prosper. Her work with the Roan Scholars at ETSU has shown her, over the past couple of years, a group of fantastic youth who want nothing more than to stay in the place they call home. “I would love to see progress being made toward better jobs throughout the Tri-Cities. There are so many wonderful young people born and raised in this area and it’s my desire that they could fulfill all of their dreams here and be able to stay in the Tri-Cities to raise their families.” To that end, she has worked tirelessly for causes that will help to grow business in the area. She has also been involved with the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce for years. She started out as an Ambassador very early in her career. She also led the leadership program for four years. She says, “Chairing the leadership program was one of my favorite roles. I especially loved showing off my wonderful community to those participants that had just moved into this region.” This led her to eventually serve as the youngest, Chair of the Board and the fifth female.


Cities. As one of 11 active partners for Blackburn, Childers & Steagall, she specializes in assurance services and consulting for the healthcare industry, employee benefit plans and government.

Honesty and a strong work ethic are two traits that Steagall-Jones believes can help anyone to be successful in life, but another more important trait, she finds, has served her quite well. As a wife and mother, she believes that a work/life balance is a must. “It is important to me, and all of the partners at BCS, to provide our staff with adequate work/life balance.” During peak tax season, BCS understands the long hours and sacrifices made by the staff to help meet client needs. To ensure work life balance, BCS compensates the staff by reducing work hours in the summer, because being Lydia and Evan’s Mom is by far the most important, hardest, and most rewarding job that she has. When asked about giving advice to those who may be just starting out in business in the Tri-Cities Steagall-Jones is emphatic about one thing: getting involved. “Whether you’re established or just starting out, I recommend that all companies get involved in the community. From volunteering for a not-for-profit organization, to networking at a local business function, there are countless ways to get involved and stay involved.” As a Board member for six organizations this year, Melissa can tell you there are a lot of needs in the Tri-Cities. “The key is to find something that you enjoy in the community. We need more people who are willing to donate their skills and talents for a worthy cause.” Joining together as a community and helping others is an important aspect of this region that Steagall-Jones believes makes the Tri-Cities such a special place to live. JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 127

She Rocks...



“My belief is that local foods are the first step in helping people understand the value of supporting our local economies in all manner of ways. She loves helping people to understand that a dollar spent here stays here; whether it is food or furniture.” Kathlyn Terry believes that businesses, nonprofits, and others will be imbued with a sense of collaboration and understand that we all have a place and a purpose in our efforts to improve this region. We just need to work together and identify how we each add value to move this work forward. 128 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


athlyn Terry is a native of Texas, but lived in San Diego for ten years before relocating to Kingsport in 2005. “My parents had moved here a few years before and could not stop talking about what a great area this was. I visited and just absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the mountains and the warmth of the people and decided to take the opportunity to start over.” Prior to moving to Kingsport Kathlyn Terry had spent her career in operations and project management in private industry, but she decided that when she made this move that she was going to take her time to find something to do with the rest of my life that really meant something. “Something that made me realize why I get up every morning. I had a passion for nature and the environment, but I was also very pragmatic and practical. Armed with this very vague sense of purpose, I began to volunteer and network in Kingsport.” It was not long before she found her calling with Appalachian Sustainable Development. Terry was not familiar with the concept of a nonprofit that worked on economic development strategies, even owning and operating early-stage businesses. The practical approach to respecting the environment, while also understanding the need for people to earn income from their natural assets (e.g. agriculture and forestland), really appealed to her. In her mind, it made perfect sense that those in this area would find ways to make money from the assets that this region has to offer, all while ensuring that those assets are not depleted. “In 2006 I began working with ASD as its Business Operations Manager in charge of its two enterprises. In 2011 I assumed the role of Executive Director.” Kathlyn Terry had found her home both in life and in work. “The thing that I have enjoyed about being the Executive Director is the ability to partner with wonderful folks in the community in finding new ways to create impact. I love that we can connect farmers in remote Appalachia with large markets, helping them to stay on their family farms.” She has


discovered another love as well: “teaching those in need how to grow their own food and even assisting them with selling food at different markets. It’s absolutely wonderful to see someone who you provided with resources to get started, earn income and begin to move themselves in an incredibly positive direction.” Nonprofits are always in a bit of a state of transformation, but Terry believes that the work to make changes in a community is really hard and there is no formula to follow. This means, to her, that one must come to this work with a willingness to experiment, partner with others, keep pushing to find ways to “move the needle”. Moving the needle is something that she, and Appalachian Sustainable Development, have become quite good at. Appalachian Sustainable Development has most recently been recognized with Commending Resolution No.893 from the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate. Jointly sponsored by Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, and Delegate Kenneth Plum, D-Reston, the Commending Resolution recognizes the organization for its ability to create collaborations and partnerships with other organizations and for its efforts to provide opportunities to Appalachian Virginians. Asked about the honor and Terry takes pause, “We view our work as existing on a continuum. We want to provide farmers with access to markets, those in need with the ability to provide for themselves, children with the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and to taste fresh healthy foods they have never tried before.” Working hard to accomplish these things means long days and endless work, but it is something that does not scare Kathlyn Terry off. “The other day I finally got out of the office and attended a small event at the Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority where we were planting and re-planting Garden Boxes with some of the residents. I wish everyone could see the joy on the faces of the participants.” It is this joy and satisfaction that keeps her and her comrades at Appalachian Sustainable Development doing what they do despite obstacles. Kathlyn Terry has a real appreciation for the strengths of others, both individuals and organizations. She is able to identify the strengths in others (as well as the strengths she needs on a team) and has used this ability to surround herself with truly fantastic people. “I go so many places and meet so many people and it is always gratifying to hear what people think of our key staff members. I consider it an honor to work with them.” In her experience in this region, she has met a vast majority of people who are very open to partnering and sharing information. She believes that it is imperative to cultivate a fearless attitude of collaboration, but she is careful to always be aware of what she brings to the table because she understands that she cannot be all things to all people. That she works hard at her job is evident, but also is the fact that she enjoys her job. “I love being the Executive Director because it has provided me the opportunity to partner with wonderful folks in the community in finding new ways to create impact. I love that we can connect farmers in remote Appalachia with large markets, helping them to stay on their family farms.” ASD has such a focus on food and food systems that naturally Terry’s thinking goes in that direction. “I’d love to see all of us in the region become fully aware of and engaged in our local economy and I see food as an outstanding way of helping people understand that supporting local can actually be a pleasant experience.” She hopes to see a thriving food economy with bustling farmers markets that serve as not only an opportunity for farmers to thrive but also as tourist destinations and wonderful restaurants that feature local food, beers and wines.

She Rocks...




Every transaction in real estate presents its own unique challenges so Shirley Warren

believes that on-going training is the best way to prepare for such instances. The agents at Signature Properties all work together to share knowledge, experiences, and ideas so that learning from each other is an integral part of everyone’s daily experience at the office. This sharing has created a family atmosphere and it is as a family that the agents in the office volunteer to help in the community. Helping to make this region a better place means that living here is the best experience that anyone could have this side of the Mississippi. 130 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


hen many think of a Realtor they think of someone who buys and sells homes and who is crafty, if they are good, in the art of wheeling and dealing. Shirley Warren may be a Realtor, but the art of the sell is not the main reason she does what she does. “Buying and selling a home are two of the most stressful events in a person’s life. If you don’t truly care about people then being a realtor is not for you.” Before becoming a Realtor, Warren was a lawyer in Los Angeles where her husband, Steve, a California native, worked for the L.A.P.D. Some of us might ask, a lawyer and a Realtor? Those are two jobs that most of us normally associate with people who care very little about anything other than a bottom line, but a quick conversation with Shirley Warren would put any of those suspicions to rest immediately. “Real estate is not a property business. I tell my agents everyday that we are in the people business and I believe that is the reason nearly 85% of my business is referral and repeat business.” Shirley’s husband Steve worked with the Los Angeles Police Department for eighteen years before he decided to attend Talbot Seminary. After his retirement from the force and graduation from seminary, he and his wife headed East with their three children to Kingsport to help with the Evangelical Free Church. That was in 1992 and it is the Tri-Cities Region that neither can ever see leaving. “The Tri-Cities Region has long been a very well kept secret-incredible place to live!” For someone to have been born and raised in South Carolina and then to have lived in LA for so long, the fact that the Tri-Cities region is so highly spoken of must mean that we are all doing something right. Warren, for one, loves the slower pace and family-oriented values that are so indicative of this area.

Ask Shirley Warren where she sees the Tri-Cities region in three to five years and she is both excited and a bit worried. She admits that she has mixed emotions about the growth in this area. “It is great to have progress and improvements because these things attract more people, but more people in this area creates its own issues such as more traffic and a higher crime rate.” I guess one could say that she wants what all of us want for this region: the positive without the negative. We want to have our cake and eat it too. No one wants the region to become congested or busy or crimeridden, but one sure-fire way to avoid those things is to stay involved in community development. Warren has some advice for young people just getting started in the Tri-Cities area, “find something you believe in, something you can be passionate about, and something that gives you energy. If you are starting a business always try to under promise and over perform and always, always be honest with your clients and yourself.” That is sage advice from someone who has seen a thing or two in her years living both in LA and here in Kingsport. She may be close to retirement age, but ask Shirley Warren has no such plans. “I really have no plans to or desire to retire soon, Lord willing.” Helping others find the right home is still a major priority in her life because she still believes in the American Dream of owning a home. “It is still a major part of the American Dream and wealth-building for a lot of people. It is so rewarding to help young buyers find their first home-they are always so excited and appreciative.” Helping people is something that she grew up doing and that is something that the realty office is centered around; for a person who loves people so much, stopping now would seem silly. Signature Properties does more than just donate a portion of commission earnings to charities. Each of its agents is very involved in the community and spends countless hours each year helping with various organizations. The office participates with the JDRF Walk, Susan G. Komen Race, the Second Harvest Foodbank, Habitat for Humanity, the United Way Week of Caring and many other positive organizations. “The giving agents at Signature Properties make me proud to be affiliated with them. I love sharing my real-estate experience as well as my legal background to help all of our brokers be the best equipped professionals they can be.” Working seems less like work and more like fun when others can be helped so much at work and in life. Striving to make the lives of others better is something that is just second nature to Warren and something that she does because she was taught to do so. The region is blossoming and she is proud to be a part of such exponential growth. The new developments in the area such as the YMCA Aquatic Arena, the Carousel Project, the Higher Education Center in Downtown Kingsport, and the new residential lofts are just a few of the positive changes that she sees as helping to attract more people to the TriCities area. This means more houses to buy and sell, of course, but it also means more people to help and that is a goal that Shirley Warren loves reaching for.


Growing up in a Christian family meant that giving to the church and to other ministries was a way of life. “We were always told that it was better to give than to receive. We were more blessed as individuals when we could give.” It was with this mantra in mind that Shirley took Seth Jervis up on his idea to start a realty office that gave part of its commission earnings to charity. Not only does Signature Properties buy houses, sell houses, and manage properties; they give a portion of every commission to a charity of the client’s choice. As of this publication, over $95 thousand dollars of realtor commissions have been given to charities such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, and the Horse Affect among others. “I have never been personally affected by a charity, but I have had many clients who chose a charity because they had at one time been personally helped by that organization.”

She Rocks...



In 2009, the Tennessee District Office U.S.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

presented the Women in Business Champion Award to Wilcox, an honor bestowed to select individuals or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding dedication to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. Previously, she testified at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business in Washington, D.C., and served as a session moderator on Small Business Incubation at the 55th Annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Economic & Community Development. 132 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


undrea Wilcox is originally from Michigan, a fact that many of us can overlook since she has so endeared herself to the hearts of those in Kingsport. She came to this area via AGC Glass Company when the company relocated Wilcox and her daughter here. The subsidiary of AGC in Atlanta was being restructured and it was move or lose her job so Wilcox chose to move and it has been one of the best things for her. An even better move was when a job with the Kingsport Chamber opened in 2006 and she was offered a position. It was, she admits, a career changing move. She is the type of person who jumps in with both feet, so when she took the job with the Kingsport Chamber that is exactly what she did: jump. “If you are not a team player, do not apply within. You can’t just fit in at the Chamber: you have to pitch in. After eight years of this boot camp, it’s a natural reflex and it feels wonderful.” Her work at the Kingsport Chamber has been beneficial both to Wilcox and to the surrounding community. She currently serves on the Holston Valley Medical Center Board of Directors as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Performance Improvement Board Oversight Committee; she is a Board Member of the Holston Business Development Center Small Business Incubator; a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator; and she is a former Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) Board of Examiner. When asked how she got involved in her current line of work her response is, “purely by chance.” Wilcox admits that she just so happened to be in the right place at the right time and decided to take the risk in order to do what it was that she loved to do. “I decided that life is too


short to wait for the good things to happen, so I went after what I wanted.” She believes in the saying, “fake it until you make it” because not trying at all means that you will never even have the chance at success. She discusses these and other mantras in her book Startup Savvy, which is a compilation of seven actual small businesses combined with solid advice from Aundrea who also happens to be a professional small business advisor. Her giving spirit comes from the wonderful people that she works with everyday at the Kingsport Chamber and Wilcox admits that now her husband and their children give too. At first her family gave just to help her out, but now the giving spirit is in their hearts as well. She and her family love the Tri-Cities area and Aundrea is happy to live in a community that she is so connected with. “I have lived in many places, but I can tell you that this community is like no other. In my experience, the people in this community are willing and eager to give a first chance (or a second) to anyone—if they are willing to step up to the challenge and change for the better.” She admits, though, that she would love to see more diversity in the area. “Diversity will always be important, because that is the only way to truly understand and appreciate others and learn to work effectively with others to overcome the greatest challenges life may present us with.” Wilcox is a firm believer that everyone has something to contribute and that people who work together accomplish more. Wilcox has most recently received the following awards/recognition: 2011 Women of Excellence (Pi Omega Omega Chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority); 2011 Caped Crusader (Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship); and 2009 Women in Business Champion Award (Tennessee District Office U.S. Small Business Administration). She has the sincere hope of bringing business longevity and financial peace to the lives of others. “We all want to be self-sufficient, but I want to help others go beyond self-sufficiency and create a lasting legacy for the future.” She admits that working with small business owners is satisfying because her help and their success means additional jobs, capital flow and income growth for the East Tennessee region. Her analytical way of thinking means that Aundrea Wilcox is naturally a good listener and this helps in her line of work. “I seek to understand the back story as to why someone wants to start a business, which precludes a canned approach to working with each client. When I am working with an existing business, this analytical trait usually leads to insightful reflection and fresh brainstorming. It is not uncommon for me to come up with suggestions for a client that they had never thought of.” Something like 80% of small businesses never make it past the five-year mark so Wilcox is full of advice for how to avoid going under, but one sure fire way is, “learn from real entrepreneurs about some behind the scenes aspects of starting and running a small business; save yourself considerable pain, money and precious time; outperform and outlast your competition.” Others in business had to go through growing pains to become accomplished and successful, so Wilcox advises those just starting out to ask for help and advice, because no one is ever a successful business owner all on their own. Since being hired at the Kingsport Chamber in July 2006, Wilcox has provided one-on-one technical assistance to more than one thousand individuals or businesses.  She holds a master’s degree from Brenau University, Gainesville, Ga.; and has more than twenty-five years of wideranging business experience in the full-service hotel, environmental consulting, automotive, woodworking machinery, flat glass and nonprofit sectors.  In her role as a professional small business advisor, she helps navigate startups and existing businesses through the, sometimes rough, waters of small business ownership and management.

He Rolls...



How did you happen to live and work in this area? I didn’t have much say in the matter, at first. I was born in Kingsport and have lived here most of my life.  My father was born here too, and my grandfather was the first chief of police when Kingsport was incorporated.  I have chosen to stay here for many reasons - including the favorable economic conditions for operating a successful business, of course.  But I usually take for granted the other advantages of living here until I am reminded by any of the hundreds of participants who have come from all over this country and even other countries to attend our BEI classes. (Business Excellence Institute is where Pal’s business principles and practices are taught to anyone interested.)  These visitors are impressed with the beauty of the land here, the four distinct seasons of weather, the variety of recreational, cultural and educational opportunities, and the low cost of living, just to mention a few highlights.

stint. During part of that time I was stationed in Austin, TX where I saw a hamburger stand called 2J’s that probably copied the original McDonald’s, before Ray Kroc was involved, that had just started in California. I asked if I could come in and see the operation, but they said no. So then I began my first experience of “benchmarking” – back then it would have just been called “spying”.  When I wasn’t working on the base, I sat in the back of 2J’s parking lot and watched with binoculars.  There was glass on 3 sides of the building so I could see most of what was going on.  I could even see the sales being rung up on the cash register, so I tallied up what I saw for the different hours.  I began to plan my version of this restaurant.  After my discharge from the Air Force, I finished my business degree at ETSU then operated another restaurant for a couple of years, getting experience and saving money until I got the opportunity to finally open my first Pal’s Sudden Service on Revere St. in Kingsport in 1956.

What motivates you to do what you do for a living? When I started the first Pal’s, I worked long hours every day, but even when I left at closing time I was already wishing for morning to come quickly so I could be back in the store. Making customers happy has always motivated ma and made me happy. But I feel like I haven’t really worked a day in my life since I started Pal’s.  I’ve enjoyed it so much, it’s like I’ve been on vacation the whole time.

What sort of personal fulfillment do you receive from your work? For me, one source of great satisfaction and pride is watching the development of new employees as they learn and grow and experience their own success in the company. Whether they plan a career with Pal’s, or they’re just passing through with other dreams and goals, I have seen how they benefit from our intensive training program and positive coaching system.  The thoroughness of our training, including the Baldrige principles of quality management, is one of the main assets of our business.  It is fitting that one of the keys to our success as a company can also be the key to an individual’s personal success.  Many of the concepts we teach and exemplify are useful to our employees in their personal lives and future careers. 

How did you become involved in the restaurant business? When I was a teenager, my parents started Skoby’s Restaurant, so I got familiar with the restaurant business very quickly while helping them there, but I wasn’t impressed.  I wanted to be an accountant and had attended 2 years of college before joining the Air Force for a 3-year 134 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

You are known for a generous spirit of giving. Where did you acquire that spirit? My family didn’t have much when I was growing up.  I remember that for a while my only pants were two pairs of pants, so I had to be careful to keep one pair relatively clean until my mother had time to get the other washed and dry.   I started helping bring in some money when I was just a youngster – I pulled my little wagon around the neighborhood and sold produce. I never imagined I would be in the position to donate to so many good causes, but it just feels like the right thing to do.  I feel a deep connection to this community and this whole region.  The people here have been very good to me and have contributed to my success either as employees or as customers or both. Being able to give back and help others is an honor and a pleasure. What do you feel is an important personal trait that has contributed to your success? Two main traits come to mind:  Curiosity is one.  I have always felt driven to understand how things work, to know what else is out in the world, to seek out new ideas by reading, traveling, and listening to people who are smarter than me -  that includes just about everybody in one way or another. The other important trait is attention to detail.  According to my wife and kids - and maybe a few others, I may have a slight case of OCD.  My experience in the military taught me to appreciate having everything precise and orderly, but I guess I must have already been that way naturally or I wouldn’t have considered being an accountant.  It has been a good approach for running a business; because if you set the example that every detail matters then the whole operation runs much more smoothly with more focus, fewer problems and better results. What do you hope to bring to the lives of others by what you do?  It’s my hope that everyone who associates with Pal’s will benefit in some way from the experience, whether it’s the employee learning valuable concepts or the customer whose day is brightened by our hospitality and quality products. What insights about the Tri-Cities have you gained by working in this region? Well, one thing I’ve noticed over the years:  People around here have finally accepted pizza.  In the early years of the first Pal’s, I had traveled out of the area and noticed how popular pizza was becoming so I added it to our menu.  Some people thought “pizza pie” was a dessert.  Most were just not ready to try something so unusual, so I had to discontinue it.  East Tennessee has come a long way since then!   But on a more serious note, another observation about this area is that there’s a strong labor force here.   People around here are generally hard working and have a good work ethic. The Pal’s employees seem to appreciate their jobs and take pride in making our customers happy.  And our customers really appreciate the efforts we take to go the extra mile for them.   Employees and customers alike seem to respond well to the company’s attention to exceeding their expectations they would have at our competitors and I feel good about being able to make that possible. What are your thoughts about the future of the Tri-Cities? I’m excited about all the new projects currently going on in the area.  There’s so much retail development in the works, local industries are growing and other industries are moving in.  It’s a great place to be doing business and it just keeps getting better.   The relatively recent additions of the aquatic center and the convention center have been positive forces in promoting the area, so I think people are encouraged to continue the growth trend. What piece of advice would you offer anyone who is just starting out and wants to be successful in the Tri-Cities area?  Am I limited to just one?  At my age, I could fill the whole page, at least!  Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, you should make a conscious decision where to focus your attention. Plan your work and work your plan. Paying attention to details will show that you care, whether to your customers, your employees or your boss.  To have a competitive advantage, be unique, set yourself apart from the crowd. Maintain a policy of honesty and integrity in all you do.  Is that enough for now?


I’m also glad to see the company grow for the benefit of the whole region. It means more jobs here, more sales tax coming in, and I am proud to have helped put the TriCities area on the map with OUR (They’re your Pal’s too!) funky, attention-getting, award-winning little restaurants.

He Rolls...


BURDINE Miles Burdine tells me about a sign that hangs

over the employee entrance to the Kingsport Chamber and it reads “To love what you do

and feel that it matters…the perfect job.” Your chamber employees do their job and they do it well. They are making a difference. They are improving our community at their job every day. But their efforts are not only at work. Just like the many who volunteer for us here at the Chamber, our employees also volunteer. They support and work for many United Way agencies, hospitals, educational institutions, and many other non-profits. The employees of this organization set a great example. I am proud to work with them and I am proud to follow them.” 136 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


iles Burdine was reluctant, for several reasons, to talk to me about what he does for the community at his position with the Kingsport Chamber. He is not the type of man to wave his flag, or toot his horn, or whatever else people might say about those who gloat about their doings. If being in the Marines for thirty years taught Burdine anything it is that those who tend to speak the most about themselves are the ones who have the least to say. “I get paid for what I do and I just happen to love what I do, so really I get paid for something I love.” I work with about twentyfive other people in all at the Kingsport Chamber and they all work so hard at their job that they make mine that much easier. I may have President and CEO next to my name, but I am not the one who leads or teaches. I follow those men and women on the front lines and they teach me what it is to lead and to do a job well.” Burdine was born and raised in Kingsport, and after graduating from the University of Tennessee and spending seven years on active duty in the Marine Corps, he wanted to move somewhere that was a great place to raise kids. He immediately thought of home. “There is nowhere like the Tri-Cities. We have so much to offer here and so many opportunities for those who call this region home.” He goes on to tell me the many advantages of living in this area. It is beautiful, safe, and clean. It has good hardworking people, exceptional schools, low taxes, and an affordable cost of living. “Remember though,” he tells me, “we live in a global economy and there are corporations that can choose to go

While discussing other strategies for growing more jobs and creating more investment, Miles offered the idea that as a region and local community, we should recognize that there are good people living in every neighborhood in every city and if given the opportunity to establish relationships and work together, all involved will find ways to improve our wonderful city and the lives of our citizens. More and better jobs follow a united effort.  Good things follow cooperation, compromise and collaboration.  Look what happened recently when the Heritage Glass owners worked with the business leaders and politicians from the city of Kingsport, Sullivan County, the State of Tennessee and others.  “We/they” could not have made the project happen.  But setting aside differences and working together has provided jobs for 120 good people. I asked Miles Burdine about his desire to help others in the community and he takes pause for a moment and then recalls a conversation with his father, a man who volunteered regularly while Miles was growing up. “I asked him why he volunteered so much and for so many organizations and causes. ‘Because I was selfish’ he told me.” Puzzled, Miles asked his father what he meant and his father responded. “I volunteered because I was selfish. I got back much more than I gave.”


anywhere in the world, anywhere, and they come here because of what we have to offer as a region. Although we should be welcoming and hospitable to businesses that are interested in locating here, we should always seek ways to support existing businesses. Our region’s growth and success will come, for the most part, from those businesses that are already here.” After transitioning from active duty in the Marine Corps, Miles Burdine worked in small business before learning of an opportunity for the Chamber of Commerce. “I saw an advertisement in the Kingsport TimesNews for the Kingsport Chamber so I applied for the job and was hired. The list of activities drew me to the job listing and I was excited about all of the different duties the ad said that I would be required to do.” Burdine has been with Kingsport long enough to see it revitalize itself in order to try and turn things around economically. “Kingsport had to reinvent itself if it was going to survive, so in 1999, a city-led “Economic Summit” developed solutions through community-wide participation: training and workforce development, promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit and diversification of the economic base.” The common thread in all of the discussions about how to get Kingsport off of life-support was one thing: education. Kingsport is a great place to live, but it is also a mid-sized city that lacked a college campus and it is an accepted fact that education is a sure-fire way to prepare any population to compete in a global market and on a global scale and he believes that we should keep all of our educational institutions (K-12 and post-secondary) solid and forward leaning.  The success each educational institution is paramount to the success of this region. “Our children need to understand that in order to compete for better jobs, they must seek education beyond high school.  Our employers who are here now, and those who are considering coming here, expect it.”  Burdine is adamant that the region needs a good mix of two-year, fouryear and advanced degrees.  All offer great opportunities for our citizens to compete for better jobs in order to make good living for their families: all of the degrees can be obtained in this region.”

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CLARK It is people that most inspire John

Clark to be the best at anything he

does. “I am inspired by the words, actions, and deeds of all citizens especially my family, friends and colleagues. Their passion and compassion drive me to be the best I can.” I want to try and make them proud so I do what I can to help others succeed and reach their potential and goals. He is quick to say that teamwork, making positive contributions, and helping others succeed are the most satisfying aspects of my work. 138 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ohn Clark’s wife Etta was born and raised in Rogersville, Tennessee and has always been quite fond of the Kingsport area. Clark and his parents fled from Havana, Cuba on a small single-engine plane, when he was just two. After arriving in the United States, Clark’s father landed a job at DuPont in Philadelphia, the town where he was raised. John Clark fell in love with East Tennessee after attending the University of Tennessee, so after living in various other places, it was an easy decision to relocate to Kingsport when the two of them were looking for somewhere to raise their children Alex and Haley. Clark feels fortunate that his company, DuPont, gave him the option of living anywhere in the Southeast so long as he lived near an airport. “The Tri-Cities area is a fantastic place to live and work. The mountains are gorgeous and the lakes are just breath taking, but the thing I love the most about this area is the people. I am always inspired by the patriotism and giving spirit of those who reside in this region.” Clark majored in logistics while at the University of Tennessee and after his graduation in 1980 he was hired on by DuPont in their International Distribution Division. After just three years, though, he was transferred into the company’s medical products sales division and this began his thirty-year career in the healthcare radiology industry. His medical business experiences include manufacturing, sales, marketing, procurement, supply chain, and business management. Clark and his family have lived in Kingsport for the past nineteen years and they each consider their time here a true blessing. John Clark is happy managing a healthcare business that manufactures, markets, and sells high quality radiology, cardiology, and IT solutions. All of the products are designed to improve patient care and save

Alderman John Clark describes himself not as a politician, but rather a family man and a businessman who wants to give back to the community and continue working for Kingsport’s success. As business manager, growing our company helps secure the careers and livelihoods of many current employees and creates excellent job opportunities for new hires and their families. “As Alderman, I hope to help improve the quality of life for all citizens during these difficult economic times by providing a different way of addressing our challenges and instilling a positive tone for what lies ahead by working together with all city and community partners.” To this end, Clark has been instrumental in helping to raise awareness about the lack of employees working in Kingsport who actually live here. “We have a lot of people who work in our city who don’t live in our city.” Clark feels strongly that those who work here, but don’t live here are not fully invested in Kingsport. The city is hurting for revenue and the more people who lived here then the better off financially Kingsport would be. I encourage those who live and work here to get involved networking within the community. Have a positive attitude about the place we live and the experience of living here with be very fulfilling and rewarding. Both family and life experiences have taught John Clark the value of giving back and helping others. “My parents were first generation immigrants to America and always found time and ways to engage in the Pennsylvania neighborhood where I was raised. Etta and her parents were always involved in East Tennessee community activities as well.” When Clark’s grandfather became disabled, it became abundantly clear the value of organizations like United Way and the good that they bring to the elderly and needy in the area. All of these experiences, along with the wonderful activities of his church, have taught Clark the importance and joy of giving and helping others. Clark is proud too of his role as Vice President of Imaging at Agfa HealthCare North America and of the work that he and others do for the community. Agfa develops manufactures and markets analogue and digital systems for the printing industry (Agfa Graphics), for the healthcare sector (Agfa HealthCare), and for specific industrial applications (Agfa Materials). Agfa is headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium. The company is present in 40 countries and has agents in another 100 countries around the globe. It is clear to see that Clark is the type of person who is cognizant of his place in the world and his responsibility as someone who has been blessed to help those less fortunate. “I have been blessed with a wonderful family, great work, and the ability to live in such a fantastic place. I always want to give back some of what I have gotten so that others can be as blessed as I have been. Everyone deserves a chance to be happy.” Clark, and his wife Etta, work tirelessly with several organizations in the community in addition to the work that they both do at their respective positions. They are only two people, but all it takes is a single grain of sand to tip the scales.


lives. On the community front, he is most happy serving as the current Alderman on Kingsport’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen. “Serving the Kingsport citizens and helping our city grow and prosper is a real privilege and honor.” He wants nothing but the best for a region that has meant so much to him over the past few years, so Clark works hard to ensure that the lives of others in the region are improved in any way that he can help. “I want to see the Tri-Cities become the preferred region to work and live in the southeast U.S. The area has made excellent progress and is well positioned for future success. With the continued success of our businesses and the can-do spirit of our citizens, the future is very bright for our area.”

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When England was a young man his grandfather

passed away and, aside from his father, the most influential person in Larry England’s life was his granddad. “He was a very hard worker who, with only a third grade education, became a successful businessman.” At his funeral a poem was read and England remembers, to this day, the first line from that poem: “I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one any day, I’d rather one would walk with me than merely tell me the way”. He has strived his entire adult life to live by those words and hopes that he has been a man that people can trust to do what he says and hopes to set an example that others might want to follow. He works hard everyday to strive for perfection in

the hopes of achieving excellence. 140 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


t was the first Friday in August of 1995 when Larry England and his wife Debbie, along with their then 2-week-old son Russell, moved to Johnson City. Larry’s mother and sister already lived in Johnson City, so he and his wife had been regular visitors prior to their move. They had traveled here enough to know that the area had promise. “We knew that the Johnson City Schools had a very good reputation and we had also witnessed the growth of the area and felt that this was where we wanted to raise our son.” England grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and his first job, at age eleven, was as a paperboy for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Such responsibilities did not intimidate him though and he was soon holding a plethora of jobs all over the Knoxville area. England worked at the UT home football games, walking up and down the bleachers selling cokes. In the summer time he mowed yards in the neighborhood. In the fall he raked the neighbor’s leaves and in the winter he shoveled snow from their sidewalks and driveways. “My wife often tells me ‘You just look for stuff to do’. I guess that it’s just in my nature to not only work hard, but also to always do the best job that I can do. My grandfather told me many times while I was growing up to always do each job like I was signing my name to it.” Every job that Larry England does he still performs to the highest degree possible because he knows that if his name is attached to a project then it had better be done right. Prior to opening his Cartridge World business, England had owned and operated three rent-to-own stores, Colortyme Rental, in the Tri-Cities. After selling those stores, though, he was looking for something else when he came across an article in the Wall Street Journal concerning the cartridge refill business and how quickly the business was spreading across the country. It took just a few weeks of due diligence and soul-searching before he settled on the Cartridge World franchise. England opened his first location in February of 2005: the first Cartridge World to open in the state of TN.


Larry England has seen a lot in his twenty some odd years of living and being a business owner in East Tennessee. “I have seen first-hand the many ups and downs of our business community, where one business closes and another soon takes its place, and being a small business owner you realize that the closing of any small business, in most cases, means the end of someone’s hopes and dreams and sometimes financial ruin.” He feels that because so much of someone else’s livelihood depends on us as consumers that we have an obligation to shop, whenever possible, our local retailers first before going online to shop. A strong local economy means better county services and school systems since these services benefit from our tax dollars. Ask him about his volunteer spirit and Larry England will answer, but he is clear to say that a lot of other people volunteer as well. He caught the volunteer bug many years ago as the member of a local Jaycees Club in Tazewell, TN. For nine years he was the person in charge of the local county fair and spent many hours each year assuring that the weeklong event was a success. It didn’t take long before he was addicted to volunteering, “I used to watch the smiles of the kids as they rode the amusement rides. There is just something so special about being responsible for bringing a smile to a child’s face.” Bringing smiles to the faces of adults is something England loves as well and is quick to say that he is non-discriminatory when it comes to making people smile: he doesn’t care who they are just as long as he can do something to make them happy then he is happy too. “As a business owner your time is your own and although there are sometimes too few hours in a day this freedom allows you to become involved with others in your community who are like-minded and want to see our part of the world become a better place to live and to raise a family.” England believes in volunteering and encourages others to join a civic organization or the board of a local non-profit, because they will soon find that “the more you give the more you gain, which encourages you to give even more.” Soon after opening his first Cartridge World store Larry was asked to join the board of the Mountain States Foundation Community Board and he quickly became involved with the Foundation’s many special events and now serves as the Board Chair. He is a member, and past President, of the Johnson City Morning Rotary Club. In May of 2006 his son, Russell, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and England and his wife Debbie became advocates in the Tri-Cities for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) where he is currently serving a third term as a board member. He is also the President of the JDRF East TN Chapter. Larry England is gracious in his accolades of others and wants others to understand that he is but a small fish in a larger pond, “I recall that soon after the VIPSEEN publication began showing up each month with their coverage of many of the local events, that many of our friends were amazed at how many things were going on in our region that they had no idea what they were missing. Attending these events allows us to form friendships and relationships throughout the Tri-Cities, which in turn make us a stronger community working in unity instead of in competition with one another.” Being a small business owner requires one to become many things and some things are more comfortable than others. Being adaptable is one of the necessities required in order to be successful not only in business, but also in life. This may mean meeting with the CEO of a large company one day and then cleaning the commode at 7:30 am the next morning: all while waiting on the contractor to show up and finish the build for a new location. Fairness is also a trait that England believes is important since clients and employees are the very people who will determine a business’ success or failure. When I ask him about businesses in the Tri-Cities area England wants me, and others, to know that this area offers many great opportunities for folks just starting out who want to build either a business or a career. “Be sure to do your homework before you make the leap to owning your own business.” There is so much that the Tri-Cities has that other communities do not and he sees this as an advantage. Passion is a must and so is finding a niche, “When I first saw the Cartridge World opportunity I realized several things. First, that this was a new concept and that the customer base was very large (who doesn’t have a printer), also that the product is a consumable and that there wasn’t competition on every corner.” Still though, a small-business owner has to be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, all while remembering that the community is what allows a business to either fail or survive. Everyone who works together will see that building strong ties both in business and life will always bring benefit to the community as a whole.

JUNE 2014 | VIPSEEN | 141

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FEAGINS Bob Feagins knows that he has

been blessed by the Lord above and he uses his love and appreciation of life as a drive to make him do

better at both work and life. “I give back and volunteer because so much has been given to me. I want others to feel the love that I feel and to understand that someone out there cares.” Good energy in means good energy out so he works hard each and every day to put out the best energy he can since others have always done the same for him. 142 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ob Feagins is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee and a 1987 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High school. He received his Bachelor’s in Mass Communications from Emory & Henry in 1991 and his Master’s in Mass Communications from the University of Florida in 1993. Kingsport has always been home, though, and Feagins could not wait to get back. He served as the client services director for The Corporate Image in Bristol, Tennessee from 1993 to 1998. In 1998, he joined the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce where he currently serves as Executive Director of communications and development. He can list countless reasons that this region is such a great place to live, but one among many is the volunteer spirit that those who live here display every day. “The Tennessee volunteer spirit is exemplified in so many ways every day by our businesses and companies and most certainly by the people who live here.” The giving spirit of those who live here most certainly makes a difference in the lives of others in the community. Bob truly loves the field of public relations and loves working for the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. His skills and experience as a public relations professional blend very well with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. He names four people who have had a tremendous impact on his personal and professional life. “When I was at Emory & Henry College, two communications professors had a major influence on me, Dr. Teresa Keller and Professor Bob Mann.” Feagins fell in love with all aspects of media and public relations and all of the exciting and creative opportunities that it has to offer. He credits The Corporate Image Founder and President Jon Lundberg with further strengthening his desire for public relations as a career. He mentions Kingsport Chamber President and CEO Miles Burdine


saying, “He has been such a great mentor and friend. I have learned so much from his example and leadership.” It goes without saying that Bob would not be where he is without the help of others, none of us would, but he credits one special person with all that he has in life. “I thank God for the life that I have had, because when one loves God they are ready to love and serve others. My parents are my heroes and my inspiration, and everything that I am, I owe to them.” Feagins swears that an angel on Earth lives in his wife Laura since, “she has the biggest and most loving heart of anyone I know.” He has witnessed many acts of love and compassion from his friends and family at Mafair United Methodist Church. They influenced him when he was growing up and the folks at Mafair still continue to help guide the life of Bob Feagins. He cannot thank anyone, however, without mentioning his alma mater of Emory & Henry College, “they taught and showed me the importance of civic engagement and the responsibility of devoting one’s life to service and community.” Feagins loves to work for the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and is appreciative of the great team and family like atmosphere that exists there. He truly believes that the work that the Kingsport Chamber does matters to the community and to the people who both live and work in Kingsport. “I love going to work every day knowing that we are all striving to enhance the quality of life in our city and community.” Communication is the key to making things run smoothly: strong, effective, timely, targeted, positive, and pro-active communication makes a huge difference in any endeavor. He feels that there are so many positive attributes of the area to promote and this makes Feagins’ work fun and different every day. “One of the most rewarding benefits of working for the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce is that the work we do has a lasting and profound impact on this community and on the people who call it home.” He hopes that in some small way that he can serve as an example of someone who cares deeply about his community. Perhaps Bob Feagins’ passion can rub off on others, “I serve in large part because I have seen countless others give back over the years and their hard work has had an impact on me.” The easiest way to help make one’s community a better place is to get involved. Whether anyone is looking to start a business, grow a business or grow as a person, getting involved and helping neighbors is a sure fire way to make an impact on the lives of others. “Having spent sixteen years working with hundreds of business in the Chamber Industry, I can easily attest that those companies who sponsor and support community endeavors and community organizations clearly stand out from the rest.” Feagins is clear to say that the companies that stay involved in community growth projects are the companies that, in the long run, are more respected and successful. Ask Feagins what he sees for the future in the Tri-Cities and his answer is one that is emphatic and excited, “I want this area to continue to enhance and promote what a great place we have here for both work and play.” He is clear that the Tri-Cities area should focus more on the strong educational system that exists here since he knows that we have strong schools. He wants us to continue to receive recognition for the stellar schools that are in the area, because education is the foundation for a better future and translates into having a stronger economy. Feagins, for now, will continue to work with his fellow Kingsport Chamber member Laura Woods in hosting the award winning television show Kingsport ChamberZone in order to highlight new and exciting events and developments happening in the Kingsport community and region. His position at the Kingsport Chamber allows him to see, firsthand, the great things that are happening in Kingsport and in the Tri-Cities Region and these changes get Bob excited about the future of the area. “I want to leave a better community for my children and for those who come after us. I want them to have the same, if not better, incredible experience of calling this special place home.” It is a lofty goal, but not one that is too far out of reach with individuals like Bob Feagins working the front lines.

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Charlie Floyd has some advice for anyone seeking to start up a business in the Tri-Cities area: “Be persistent.

Establish networks in each of the communities in this area by making connections with the area Chambers, business incubators, and small business organization already rooted in each area. Surround yourself with positive agents of change. Nothing good happens overnight.” This is smart advice from someone who has been around the block a time or two and advice that is sure to help anyone starting out get a good foothold in the Tri-Cities business arena. 144 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


harlie Floyd has worked for Domtar for twenty-five years, when it was called both Willamette and Weyerhaeuser and developed a niche as a start-up manager. Floyd relocated to Kingsport in 2003 after completing the commissioning of an operation in Savannah, Georgia. He was asked to take on the $450 million modernization of the Kingsport Mill and has been in Kingsport for over ten years; watching the mill transition, grow, and mature into a first class operation for Domtar.

Floyd is a 1980 graduate from Clemson University and left the university with a degree in Engineering and admits that he had no paper mill experience. “My career actually began in the consulting business and, after graduation, I managed construction projects in the field at several operations across the country. I made a change, because of the stability, into the manufacturing side of the paper business and by the late 1990s had gained management responsibility for the engineering and maintenance departments. By 2000 I had finally moved my way into Mill management.” He knows what it is like to have to “work one’s way up” the ladder of the business world and it is this understanding that allows Floyd to help those who he sees working in the same capacities that he once did. Nothing pleases him more than to see a great plan come together. The work the team at Domtar has performed over the past eleven years to make Kingsport Mill an industry leader has certainly been a source of great pride for Charlie Floyd. Equally satisfying though is the work done in the community by citizens from organizations like The Academic Village, the RCAM Training facility, Domtar Park, The Press Site Redevelopment, Downtown Revitalization, and the new

“As the Manager of a large manufacturing entity in this area, I believe giving is something we have an obligation to do. We must show we are appreciative, and to earn our ‘right to operate’ from the citizens of our community every day by giving back in some way.” Floyd is proud to have enjoyed being active and /or Chairing Boards of many major non-profits in the area over the past ten years. Some organizations include United Way, NETWORKS, Kingsport Chamber, and Wellmont Holston Valley Hospital. “I feel that Domtar’s giving spirit has been left with each of these great organizations.” Charlie Floyd understands that giving back is something that he should do because of his position and ability to help. His ideals, however, do not fall far from the familial tree. “My parents, who owned a small business, weren’t wealthy by any means but always had something to give to those in need; even if they knew they would never be repaid.” He understands that cooperation is something integral in building a better community and his work with other organizations shows this. Most recently Floyd was elected chairman of Holston Valley Medical Center’s board of directors.   “As Kingsport’s flagship hospital, we have always focused on delivering superior health care with compassion,” Floyd said. “Our physicians and staff are among the best in the nation, and we will continue to provide not only the best care in our community but the best health care anywhere.” Floyd’s work with organizations such as Holston Valley are not all that he does in the community. The purchase of Weyerhaeuser assets by Domtar in 2007 was something that Floyd worked hard to support and is something that he is proud of still today. The merger made Domtar the largest manufacturer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America. Floyd was promoted recently and works collaboratively with Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Leaders within the Domtar system to identify and resolve issues that affect manufacturing performance, develop and implement high value projects to improve reliability, productivity and quality issues and to implement standard methods, tools and training to drive process reliability and continuous improvements. “I truly believe that employment is a privilege. My father frequently advised me that if I respected my job, and gave my employer a little more each day, then my employer would always be there for me. I am blessed to have been given such excellent opportunities by Domtar over the years.” When asked about working in the Kingsport area and where he sees the Tri-Cities moving, Charlie Floyd gets animated. “As for ‘Quality of Life,’ the Tri-Cities is truly a ‘Diamond in the Rough’ and that’s an educated opinion! Having lived in a half dozen or so rural and metro areas across the Southeast I have yet to find one with so much natural beauty, proximity to quality and variety of entertainment, transportation alternatives, quality education, beautiful (4-seasons) weather, and wonderful people.” As an employer Floyd is quick to point out that Domtar has been extremely pleased with the decision made many years ago not only to purchase the Kingsport Mill (from Mead Papers) but also with the decision to make the $450 million investment in modernization back in 2000. At the time that commitment represented the single largest investment ever made to a manufacturing facility in Tennessee. He sees the ultimate achievement as being the collaboration of all three cities to land a major employer brought here by the attributes of this infrastructure. “I think NETWORKS (The Sullivan County Economic Development Partnership) is poised and ready to facilitate such an expansion.”


Chamber Offices (all of which are happening right at our front door!). “I would like to think that Domtar’s positive presence here had a role to play in each of these projects. My greatest hope is to make Kingsport a better place to be educated, to work, to raise a family, to have fun, and to retire for each employee of our mill and for the citizens of our community.” Cooperation is certainly something that Floyd strives for in his own work and it is something that he knows will make the Tri-Cities area a region able to compete on a global scale long into the future.

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Jeff Jones is highly respected within the banking industry and balances a tightrope of daily

responsibilities. He oversees one of the largest call centers in the state of Tennessee and executes strategies designed to attract multimillion dollar clients. He doesn’t want his position to fool anyone though because he is just about as personable as they come. After earning his Bachelor of Science from East Tennessee State University, Jeff began working as a collection agent for what is now Citi. He has been involved in some of the largest consumer loan portfolio conversions in his division’s history. “Sustaining a successful business means knowing that we’re in it together-as a team, we work to serve our clients with excellence.” 146 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ampton native Jeff Jones is happy to call East Tennessee home and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Although he is highly respected in the banking industry and works a very tight schedule, many employees at Citi will tell you that it is not unusual to see Jones pull up a chair in the cafeteria to talk with those who work for him. Seeing where he is now does not mean that Jones was always at the top of the ladder. “My first position at Carter County Bank was not as a teller, loan officer or manager. When the President and all of the other leaders left for the day I started my job because I cleaned the bank.” He had taken the part-time job as a way to help put himself through college and Jones admits that looking back the job was an opportunity not just to earn money, but “it served as the springboard that would later launch my career in banking.” Those who ran the bank saw his work ethic and decided to give Jeff a baseline opportunity, setting his career in motion. Today, he is Site President for Citi in Gray: a location that supports the company’s consumer banking business. “I attribute much of my success to leaders and mentors because they took the time out to invest in my life. To that end, I try as much as possible to work to invest in the lives of others.” Jones works hard to provide a great place to work for his employees. He enjoys watching them succeed and advance both in their career and personal life. He is happiest when he knows that he has made a positive impact in the lives of family, employees, and community. “It is important that we do our part to provide competitive wages, insurance, and other benefits such as tuition reimbursement.” Ensuring that his employees have the means with which to better

Jones was recently named one of the ten contestants for Dancing with the Tri-Cities Stars, a local fundraiser for SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services. Over the years he has helped in just about every community project that is out there. He has helped build houses and passed out water roadside for Wounded Warriors, “but I never imagined that I’d be dancing for a non-profit!” I suppose that when one volunteers he/she must always be ready to volunteer for just about anything. Jeff has served on various boards over the years, supporting three to five non-profit organizations each year and was recently selected as the 100th Board President for the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Aside from all of this he also joins forces with a host of Citi employees to tackle volunteer projects in the community. “Each year, more than 10,000 hours are volunteered in the community by employees, completing anywhere from 40-60 projects.” Citi employs more than 1,600 people in the Tri-Cities and, although it is not the largest call center in North America, the Gray facility has become a preferred Citi location for visits from company leaders and potential new clients. Jeff Jones attributes this to one thing, “our people. This location maintains one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry and is widely known for its expertise and culture.” The employees in this area are committed to both the customers and the communities that they live in. To help celebrate Citi’s recent 200-year anniversary, Jones and his family set out to complete 200 acts of kindness. “Not only did the children venture out into the community with us, but they also learned that kindness comes in many forms: no matter the size.” Currently Jeff Jones serves as a Board member for the Ronald McDonald House, Northeast State Foundation, the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, and the East Tennessee State University Foundation. “I consider it an honor to be a part of programs and services that enrich the lives of others.” His goal for the area sounds simple, but it likely involves much more time and energy than any of us could imagine. “I want to bring new opportunities to the area, and not only for business, but for employees and the community as well.” Jones reveals that these three components are uniquely intertwined because, “as client needs evolve, Citi delivers solutions to meet those needs. These advancements help create new business, which can result in additional jobs to the Tri-Cities. As a long-standing corporate partner in the community, Citi is the employer of many volunteers, some of whom are the first to respond when community needs strike.” Employee commitment and dedication at Citi is unparalleled and is just one of the reasons that Jones works so hard to provide a sustainable business that he hopes will last for years to come. Another hope is that he can bring opportunity to the community in Johnson City and in the Tri-Cities area. After twenty-eight years he still feels honored to love what he does every day. He continues to be inspired by how much Citi employees give back to the community through volunteer efforts and financial contributions. For those who might be getting started in the Tri-Cities, Jones has several words of advice. “I recommend taking the time to increase your knowledge of the area from a civic, economic, social and demographic perspective. Having a solid understanding of the industries and businesses that surround you is critical for success in this area.” The community is safe in the hands of Jeff Jones and Citi because if anything ever happens we know who will be first on the volunteer list.


their lives and the lives of their families is something that Jones sees as the driving force behind what he and Citi do for the community. “Early in my career, key leaders instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community. Their example motivated me to get involved, which plays a key role in my community work today.”

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MABREY His view on work is that “if you love

what you do, you never really work a

day in your life,” and his passion for the Chamber profession continues to grow stronger each day. The Johnson City/ Jonesborough/Washington County’s Centennial year in 2015 will see a celebration of the past, present, with great expectations for the future. “The strength of this or any chamber revolves around the membership and the volunteer leadership, whose commitment to business and our local economy brings results that keep us at the forefront of change.” 148 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ary Mabrey is an East Tennessee Native and when he left as a young man he could not wait to come back. After completing his military service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era, serving in Okinawa and Germany, Mabrey received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science from East Tennessee State University in 1973 and stayed on to add a master’s degree in city management in 1974. He pursued his city management degree serving in Lenoir City as City Administrator, and then with the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service with MTAS, and as Executive Director of the Center for Government Training in Nashville. When a position with the Johnson City, Jonesborough, and Washington County Chamber of Commerce came open in 1987, Mabrey jumped at the opportunity to serve the place that he loves so dearly. He has served twenty-seven years with the organization helping it to obtain a four-star accreditation rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

At the national level, Mabrey holds positions on several committees and boards of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, including the Accreditation Commission, and past member of the Federation Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors. He serves on Small Business Council, Homeland Security, Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, formerly known as the Executive Leadership Forum. A member of the Tennessee State Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a former member Tennessee Business Roundtable Board of Directors, he is also past president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is an active alumnus and member of the ETSU Foundation, the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy Board of Visitors, the College of Business and

Mabrey has long been associated with the United Way, serving as chair for Johnson City campaign in 2000 and Chairman of the board in 2003, and currently on the Board. He is also a member and current chair of the Frontier Health Board of Directors. He finds that, being so blessed himself, giving back is only natural but it is also a trait he learned early on from his mother. She told him that a ‘job is half done when you say yes you will help.’ He wants to be an example for others, but it warms his heart to know that something good has happened for someone and especially when the recipient doesn’t know how or who helped that good fortune occur. “I see the efforts from my role models and it reminds me of the importance of giving without expecting anything else in return.” Gary Mabrey loves what he does, loves seeing new faces at the Chamber meetings, and loves driving around the community to see all of the progress that is taking place. He firmly believes that the Tri-Cities is a dynamic metro with a highly diversified regional economy and is one of the most affordable places to live, work, and play. “The Tri-Cities TN/ VA region is altruistic and this is demonstrated by the way we share our resources.” The region is a great place for families, small business, large business, and international companies, “positioning us right in the seat of a global roller coaster of an economy.” He notes that the next four years will be pivotal for the city and region as we build on collaborations and partnerships. These are exciting times in our community and our faith in the future continues to guide us. In 2003 Mabrey, and others, began to explore ways to get small business together and from their collective brain-storming came the US Chamber’s first small business summit: ACCESS 2004. The goal was to get small businessmen and women in front of Congress in order to put the faces with the names. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we get legislation that’s, hopefully, much better for business and enhances free enterprise.” The summit was a success and continues to this day, taking place this year June 11-13 in Washington, D.C. He feels that it is important that business do not feel like they are alone and the Chamber is behind them and supports them in their endeavors to do business in our region. The local chamber’s relationship with the US Chamber continues to be a key element in staying abreast of issues pertinent to chamber members and business in general. ‘Our role as a local voice for business is enhanced with the relationship we have with the US Chamber. His family is a key ingredient in his life, with three children, Megan Tesnar, the mother of grandson Jack, and married to a wonderful son-in law John, a daughter Dr. Heather Mabrey, herself an ETSU alumna and practicing audiology in Asheville, and Claire, his step daughter, who is an early childhood professional. Jackie, his wife is an agent for Farm Bureau Insurance, in Jonesborough. Henry, his cat, receives lots of mentions in meetings, as the family’s pet. In his spare time he enjoys golf, reading, and the gym or power walking. He is a fan of ETSU’s athletic endeavors attending all the games his schedule allows.


Technology Advisory Board, and the Fine and Performing Arts Steering Committee. He was inducted in the College of Business Hall of Fame and has an award named in his honor with the Gatton College of Pharmacy, the Gary Mabrey Community Leadership Award. Along with his wife, Jackie, he is a member of the Distinguished President’s Trust, the Legacy Circle and Bronze Society. His support of higher education continues with his membership on the Tusculum College Advisory Board as well as the Milligan College board. Milligan awarded him their Servant Leadership Award this year.

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MCLAURIN His philosophy for running the hospital is simple; “It’s always smart to end up doing a few things very, very well, rather than trying to do everything not so good.” This is sound advice for any endeavor in life, party or hospital management, and it seems to be serving McLaurin well.

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onty McLaurin is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, so he has brought the rich traditions of that region with him and he and his wife Debi know how to throw a party. When I met with him he told me that his wife decorated more for Mardi Gras than she did for Christmas and proceeded to show me pictures in his phone. He chuckled and then said, “You know it wasn’t until high school that any of us figured out that Mardi Gras wasn’t a national holiday. We thought everyone took a week off to celebrate.” It is clear to me that Monty is a man who enjoys other people and a good get together. I quickly learned that he and his wife Debi are known for their gatherings and that neither one of them knows who will end up coming. “I see people and tell them to come and then my wife sees people and tells them to come. Everyone brings a dish, but we never know how many people will ever show up.”

McLaurin’s parties are so much fun because he truly loves to be around and talk to people. He has been in the hospital administration business for over thirty-five years now and still enjoys what he does today just as much as he did the day he started. His passion for others and their well-being is apparent in how well Indian Path Medical Center is doing. “This hospital started as an HCA hospital in 1974 and really did well into the 1990s, then there was a change of management and they stopped making investments here. By 1998, when [Mountain States Health Alliance] was formed and the HCA hospitals were acquired, this hospital was on life support,” McLaurin said. Mountain States made the investments necessary and now Indian Path is a thriving hospital with a full range of specialties and programs. In addition, it is a great place to work. “Everyone knows each other by name here. We are one big family composed of some very talented and gifted Team Members. IPMC is

He loves being part of the healthcare industry. “My dad was a hospital administrator and my mother and sister were nurses. I guess that being involved with hospitals is all I have ever known.” Volunteering in the community is very important to him. Since moving to Kingsport, he has served as United Way of Greater Kingsport Champaign Chair and most recently as the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Board Chair. Fun Fest has also brought great joy to McLaurin’s life, culminating in him serving as FunFest Chair in 2011. “We started out volunteering with the hot air balloons and before I knew it we were house sponsors for three balloons and their crews. We’d wake up in the morning and there would be people spread out all over the house: sleeping in chairs, on the floor, and on sofas. It’s the absolute best.” Monty McLaurin is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Indian Path Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. He also holds a Nursing Home Administrator’s License and is a member of the Tennessee Health Care Association (THCA). During his tenure at IPMC, Monty has been instrumental in a $28 million dollar physical expansion of the Indian Path Medical Center and campus. He has also played a vital role in development of many new programs at IPMC. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the Kingsport Rotary Club. Monty is a member of the Peak Advisory Board and the Healthy Kingsport Advisory Board. Monty completed his BS in Science Education at Louisiana College and holds a Master’s Degree in Hospital and Healthcare Administration from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He has held Executive positions in hospitals in Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee over the past 35 years. He truly enjoys what he does and that is obvious in his excitement when he talks about the hospital and how much Kingsport is growing and changing. “I love this view,” he says as we look out his office window. “Someone put a lot of thought into designing and building the hospital because look at that view.” McLaurin’s office is wall-to-wall window on one side and it looks onto the Physician parking lot, but beyond that mountains can be seen. He is proud of the fact that the hospital is also near a stockyard, “We have older patients come in here and request the floors that face the stockyard so that they can hear the livestock being auctioned off. That auctioneer goes on all day sometimes and those old guys just love it.” It is the fact that the hospital has feet both in the past and the future that makes Indian Path Medical Center a project so close to McLaurin’s heart. “This is a great facility and we do so much around here to help the people of this region. We have a wonderful staff who all care deeply about the well-being of everyone who walks through these doors.” The hospital is special too because of its ability to recruit top-notch individuals. “I don’t have a problem at all getting really good doctors and nurses to come here. Kingsport has just blossomed over the past few years and it holds so much promise that I can recruit some great people for Indian Path.” Indian Path Medical Centered celebrated forty years of service earlier this year and many in the region hope that the hospital is here for another forty and beyond. The services offered at Indian Path include a 24-hour Emergency Department, the Cardio-Diagnostic Outpatient Center, cardiovascular/ cardiopulmonary services, the Center for Sleep Disorders, diagnostic imaging, the Family Birth Center, the Joint Replacement Center, Kingsport Day Surgery, Mountain States Rehab Outpatient Services, physical therapy for pregnant and postpartum mothers, neurology, oncology services, orthopedic services, surgical services and women’s services.


widely recognized for the quality of our services matched by our focus on Patient-Centered Care.”

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Being raised in Glade Spring, Virginia

meant farming and farming meant days of hard work and a sense of community that could not have been gained in a larger city or in the suburbs lost in the outstretched urban sprawl as a result of too much building too fast. Having others rely on him and his family meant that, no matter what, Paul didn’t want to let anyone down. That refusal to let another person down has carried over into his work with Eastman and is what drives him to ensure that so many others are helped.

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hakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true” and Paul Montgomery lives by these words every day. “I have always strived to treat others better than I treat myself. Honesty and integrity are important traits that have served me well over the years.” He is a man who works hard to avoid letting others down and who wishes to make others happy more than he wishes to have personal recognition. He asked if VIPSEEN was sure that it wanted to do an article on him since he believes there are so many in the community who do more than he does, but his humble attitude masks a hard-working individual deadset on making the lives of others the best that they can be. After graduating from King College, Paul moved to Kingsport to take a job as a management trainee with the Kingsport Press. It wasn’t long before he was offered a supervisory position with Texas Instruments in Johnson City, but he never felt separated from Kingsport and soon found himself serving on several boards, including; the South Kingsport Optimist Club, the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission, the YMCA board of directors, Kingsport Nursery School Board of Directors, and the Kingsport Board of Education. It was at his time with the Kingsport Board of Education that Montgomery met Tom Haskins, who suggested that Paul apply for an open position at Eastman Chemical Company. He worked in the production planning division for a year, before moving to the Community Relations Staff where he continues to work with the community in this region.

Ask him where he gets his giving spirit and Montgomery is quick to recall his childhood in the small community of Glade Spring, Virginia. “Our neighbors helped us in farming, and with the harvesting, and we helped them too. We all relied on each other and worked together to get things done.” The idea of helping one another is something that he carries with him today in all that he does for and in the community. His focus in recent years has switched to education and Montgomery is a former member on the Tennessee Board of Regents, the ETSU Foundation Board of Directors, and works with the Eastman Scholar Mathletes program. “Preparing students for the future is a continual goal at Eastman. By providing these teachers with new and exciting ways to build interest in math, students will become more engaged and successful in their studies.” He has been blessed have worked in the past for three great companies and he uses these experiences to help others in the community. “As I progressed from company to company each one was better than the one I left, and I understand the principle of going from ‘Good to Great’.” Community and family are something that Montgomery still keeps at the forefront of everything that he does. His work in education has left him with the firm belief that the Tri-Cities region is quickly becoming a place focused on and known for its excellence in secondary education. Eastman awards teachers every year who demonstrate the qualities needed in order to give children a great head start in life. An education grant is provided through the Putting Children First program and the program continues to award hard-working teachers each year. Since Paul is the Vice President of Community Relations and Corporate Services for Eastman he knows how to find a talented person or two in whatever field he or she may work in. “Finding top talent begins by developing that talent in the classroom. At Eastman we feel it is our responsibility to help teachers become exemplary teachers with classrooms full of successful students.” It is the firm belief that he is always being evaluated that drives Montgomery to work so hard, that, and the fear of letting others down. His advice to others is to imagine that they are being evaluated no matter where they are, because the advantage of this is that one will always put his or her best foot forward. “Even if no one is looking. Imagine that they are and act and dress your best.” It is good advice to follow for anyone who wants to make a good impression on others: strangers or friends. The Tri-Cities region is small compared to other parts of the nation or the world, but that is what many around here like about the place where we live. It is refreshing to see individuals like Paul Montgomery work so hard to make this region one that we can all be proud of. His work with Eastman and in advancing education in this area is unrivaled by larger corporations or more well-known people in other parts of the U.S., but I have a feeling that a fact such as that is just fine with him. He wants others to be happy and healthy and successful and is just fine with everyone not patting him on the back for doing what he believes others in his place would do just the same.


The Tri-Cities area is one that has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades. In 1999, when the Tri-Cities area was awarded the All-American City Award gasoline was .99 a gallon and there was so much missing that today we all accept as having always been here. It is the “can-do” attitude of the people who live in this region that so impresses Paul Montgomery. “In the 90’s Kingsport City, Abingdon and Johnson City had made individual attempts as being recognized as an “All American City”. It was not until we put together a coalition across the region to become the first region to be designated as “All American” that anything was really accomplished. It was as a result of this very accomplishment that Governor Bredesen and others were so willing to establish the Pharmacy School at ETSU.”

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PHILLIPS Kingsport, Tennessee is the recipient

of several prestigious awards such as:

the Harvard University Innovations in Government award; the Relocate America Top 100 communities award; the Walk Magazine Most Walkable City award; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Siemens Sustainable Community Award. Mayor Phillips is always open to speaking with anyone about new ideas they may have about how to make the City of Kingsport a better place to live. He is proud to be a part of a r esurgence that is quickly putting his beloved city on the national map. 154 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014



ingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips was born and raised in (Newdale) Burnsville, North Carolina but that hasn’t kept him from becoming just about as native as anyone could be. After serving a four-year stint in the Air Force, a young Phillips came to Kingsport to look for work and got a job selling insurance with Western and Southern Life Insurance. When he heard that the Kingsport National Bank had an opening for a bank manager he immediately applied for the job. “I thought I was perfect for the position,” Phillips said. “They just didn’t seem to see things the way that I did.” That didn’t stop him though and Phillips ended up joining the bank in 1968. He started in the bookkeeping department filing checks. He joined the newly formed Bank of Tennessee in 1974 as VP and Loan Officer and worked his way to President and C.E.O. These positions eventually led to Phillips being named commissioner of banking for the State of Tennessee in 1987. He has since established several business in Kingsport and continues to work, not only as mayor, but in the construction and building business.

“The success of any city is a three-legged stool,” Mayor Phillips told me during our meeting. “There are three things that a city needs to be very successful and that is shopping, education, and housing. We have the first two and we are working on available housing.” Eastman, Domtar, AGC, BAE and the medical community employ a lot of people, however many of those people end up not locating in Kingsport because the housing they want is not available. Leaving to “go home” in another city means that there is less investment in the city where one works. “We need to remedy that. Housing is getting better, but we are continuing to build so that those folks who work in Kingsport will stay in Kingsport to live.” Phillips sees himself as a

Phillips readily admits that he has a compassion for people. I asked him what it was that kept him coming back to his job everyday and he immediately answered with one word: diversity. “I love the diversity of people that I run into in this community and in my position as Mayor. There are so many different types of people in Kingsport and I get to just about see them all.” It takes a person with a strong constitution and a willingness to go to battle in order to get things done and that is the type of person that Kingsport needed. “Kingsport needed a parking garage, so we worked to get a parking garage. We needed more shops and more restaurants and a strong center for education and we worked to get those things as well. Having vision is great, but there also needs to be someone willing to make that vision a reality.” Betterment of other’s lives is the main goal for Phillips and he seems to be doing a pretty good job. Ask Dennis Phillips how he feels that Kingsport can be made a better place and his answer is quick and to the point, “get involved. Don’t complain about nothing getting done but then be the type of person who is not involved in the process. There are public meetings and suggestions are always welcome. Volunteer to help with any organization that is affiliated with the community. Do something, anything, but make sure that you are involved in the community.” He feels that so many people these days are afraid to work from the bottom up, but everyone has to start somewhere and getting frustrated is easy. “Starting a business is hard. No one is going to start a business and be a millionaire in a year. They might not ever make a million, but don’t stop working and don’t be afraid to work your way up.” Mayor Phillips is a people person and someone who just loves being around others and helping any individual that he can. He believes that people should be willing to help themselves first, but he is there to help anyone go that extra mile toward reaching his/her goal. I asked where he saw Kingsport and the Tri-Cities in the next three to five years; “growing. We are already growing but we need more housing to attract people to live here. Kingsport has to stop being a city where people only come to for work.” He is quick to tell me how appreciative he is that companies like Eastman chose to settle in Kingsport because they could have taken their business anywhere else. “I know that people complain sometimes about companies like Eastman, but Kingsport wouldn’t be anything without those companies here. Eastman is an international company and they have made a huge investment in Kingsport and that is something that we should all be grateful of and remember.” Phillips is a straight shooter for sure. It was clear in my conversation with him that Dennis Phillips is sincere in his love for Kingsport and in his desire to help others. He could very easily have been a mayor who took care of himself and his own, but he has worked tirelessly to take care of Kingsport and the people who call that city home. He gives back to the community by working with businesses to create an atmosphere that will attract builders and entrepreneurs and capital that can help Kingsport prosper long after he has left his post as mayor.


friend of business and wants very much for the communities in Kingsport to thrive and he does that by making things a bit easier for those who need to work with the local government. “We help people cut through the red tape. Nothing kills an idea faster than a ton of red tape. We cannot attract new businesses and prospective tenants if they have to fight a lot of red tape just to become a part of the Kingsport Community.”

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STREET I want our economy to grow and

expand to the fullest potential. I would like to see everyone contribute to Northeast State for their expansion which will strengthen our educational

opportunities. With Governor Haslam investing in this program, I believe it will ensure that local economic expansion will be close behind. We must first strengthen our training and educational programs in order to deliver a workforce ready to serve industry needs which employers will demand. 156 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

Please give us some background on how you came to live and work in this area. I was born and raised in Vansant, Virginia in Buchanan County to Frankie Mae and Joe W. Street, in 1948, the third of eight children. They were such wonderful examples for their children to have. They expected and encouraged each child to attend church on Sunday morning and live that life throughout the rest of the week. I also learned from them at a very early age how to help others and share what I had to offer. These values set the foundations for how I live my life. I’m a 1966 graduate of Grundy Senior High School and a 1972 graduate of Virginia Teach. It took me six years to graduate because I would alternate semesters between attending college and working. The work semester would pay for my tuition the following term. This approach also benefitted me through graduating with valuable work experience already under my belt. How did you get involved in the business and/or industry that you are currently in? Well, I’m a Civil Engineer from VA Tech and worked for the VA Department of Transportation while in college. I actually thought I would end up building bridges for the highway department. I really believe in fate, for when I graduated, the highway department was not hiring. Here I was, married with a young child - what was I going to do? I decided to interview with a general contractor, BurWil Construction Company. Mr. Bill Burris gave me a job. He was such a wonderful man and mentor. He was

What insights about the Tri-Cities area have you gained by working in this region? Actually, my perspective benefits from two angles. The first is from building projects and the second through private developments. Through these ventures I am able to observe how the economy is fairing, based on our workload volume and the type of structures we are building. Right now we are busy maintaining a steady workforce. We can judge the expansion of our community based on the companies that are thriving. When we construct a new manufacturing facility, we are excited to see the area benefit from the creation of new job positions. These salaries directly support the families of employees and further benefit the greater community through additional income and increased tax revenues. This process is vital to stimulating the economy and maintaining growth in our region. Where do you get your giving spirit? Family genetics? Because of life experiences? My parents taught me by example, though genetics are likely a factor. My brothers and sisters are also givers and volunteers within their communities. It was something we grew up watching our parents do. What makes you happiest about what you do for a living and in the community? The Tri-Cities area is such a great place to live. There are so many opportunities for people to live, work and raise a family here. We have wonderful educational systems and the geography of the area is fantastic. Our country music heritage, our race track and lakes offer a great wealth of recreational opportunities to enjoy. What do you feel is an important trait that helps you in your day-to-day business dealings? Honesty and integrity are definitely the most important qualities to apply. One of my first customers was Jack Smith of Food City. Over 28 years later, and they are still our largest customer. We continue to work with this outstanding company through Steve Smith, Jack’s son. We greatly appreciate this relationship and their confidence in our firm, as we have all benefited from the work they have provided over so many years. WE ARE PROUD OF THE FACT OUR BUSINESS IS STILL BEING DONE WITH THEM ON A HANDSHAKE. THAT’S THE KIND OF PEOPLE AND COMPANY THEY ARE. The projects we perform for them keep many of our employees working and supporting their families. This is so important to both Steve and me. When a new store opens, there are many more people who will be supporting their family with a good-paying job. What do you hope to bring to the lives of others by what you do? I want to be an example to my employees, my family, and my community by showing them that giving to others is one of the finest enjoyments in life. I strive to inspire others with beliefs and tools essential to taking the company into another generation of management. That is so important to me. Also, helping others reach their goals is also another way of sharing with them. You know, someone mentioned that I have the opportunity to help others build their dreams through so many of our building projects. It is an amazing feeling, to be involved in realizing dreams of others. I believe in the Jaycees creed which says that the service to humanity is the best work of life!


an honest business person, and he taught me so much more than the mechanics of building construction. Little did I know, working for him was the preparation I needed to become my own boss later in life. Yes, I really believe in fate.

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TAYLOR Family is an important part of Stewart

Taylor’s life. He saw how hard his

grandfather, father, and uncles worked. Hard work was all he ever saw anyone in his life do and it was all he ever knew to do himself. His business employees people who are like family to Taylor and he takes that responsibility seriously. It is natural for him to want to give back to the community since it is a place that he was born and raised and where he has lived his entire life. “I am a lifetime member of this community and to be able to stay in the Tri-Cities with my extended family and to be able to see and enjoy the benefits of our community is very rewarding.” 158 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


uring WWII, Henry Taylor moved from Pineville, Kentucky to Kingsport, Tennessee because he felt that the economic climate would be better. His hunch proved to be right and, several generations later, the Taylor family is still in Kingsport and still thriving at a time when many other small towns are drying up. Stewart Taylor grew up watching his father and uncles sell cars and buy property to rent out for profit. “I was always around those men and they were always working hard; both at business and at life.” At sixteen Taylor had raised enough money for a down payment on a house, a thousand dollars, but he wanted his father’s advice first. “I called my dad and asked him to look at this little house on Elizabeth Street so I could get his opinion. He told me that I was on my own with this one and that I had to decide myself. I did decide and at sixteen I was the owner of a home that I could use as rental property.” His entrepreneurial leanings did not stop there, however, and it was not long after that Stewart Taylor had a small business selling knives from an advertisement in the back of Coin World Magazine. The magazine is still going strong even today and so is Stewart Taylor. His company went from the floor of his living room to a multi-million dollar business that sells knives all over the world. What Taylor does with his business, though, is what sets him apart from many other businessmen. “Many of our products are geared towards law enforcement, military, and EMS services. Some of the tools that these industries use were invented at Taylor Brands LLC and we are proud of the legacy that we are leaving.” Knives are not the only things that he is involved in and making the community a better place for others is a great deal of what drives Taylor these days. “I have always believed that we have a responsibility to help our fellow man and feel there are too many good

Taylor feels that the Tri-Cities region is unique in its size and only benefits from the fact that many in the business community know or know-of each other. He believes that, “The key to success in working within this environment is to be able to recognize and adjust to what is needed in order to capitalize on the situation.” He hopes that the Tri-Cities area only continues to grow over the next three to five years so that this area becomes even more attractive for retaining business and keeping talented individuals. No one can say that Stewart Taylor is one to sit around and do nothing. The Tri-Cities is a region that he sees as being filled with a great deal of potential and attracting business and young people to stay in this region is something Taylor strives to do with his community work. “I have been blessed with a beautiful family. Hard work and luck have helped me to be successful at something that I love to do. Not everyone gets to work at a job they love and I realize that. I want to give back so that I can help others be happy at what they do.” Taylor employees his sons at Taylor LLC, but he is also responsible for the livelihood of nearly fifty full-time employees; some of whom have been with the company for over twentyfive years. The success or the failure of the company is something that is ultimately on the shoulders of Stewart Taylor and this is a fact of which he is totally aware. He has worked hard over the years to surround himself with talented individuals who will work hard to advance the company and to give back to the community. Success with one individual is only a good thing when it enhances the community that this person is a part of. Taylor LLC is helping to promote Tri-Cities Crossing now and this venture takes up a great deal of Stewart Taylor’s time and energy. He is working hard to bring more jobs to the area and to enhance the quality of life for everyone with world-class shopping, dining, and theater experiences. The centrally located Tri-Cities Crossing has the potential to bring large city shops and dining to this area, while leaving the small-city way of life in tact. “It’s a slower pace around here and I love that. That is something that I don’t want to change. I just want to make life better for others, because living in this area doesn’t mean anyone should go without.” How the next few years plays out with Tri-Cities Crossing remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Stewart Taylor loves this region of the world and wants nothing but the best for everyone who lives here. His dedication to the community is well known and his work ethic is to be admired. He will continue to work tirelessly in order to ensure that the Tri-Cities region is one that generations will enjoy for years to come. Persistence is something that he believes will pay off in the end and if he had to offer advice for anyone interested in starting a new business in this area it would be to, “keep on going. Don’t throw in the towel just because things might not work right away. Stick with it and give your business time to get going and grow.” That is advice that works well for this region as well and that many of us could heed: stick with it because there are great things to come for this area of the world that we call home.


men and women doing all they can to try and provide for their families while barely making ends meet. I wish I could do more.” He is heavily involved in the development of Tri-Cities Crossing and hopes to bring large businesses to the area at the I-26 and I-81 interchange.

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TEAGUE Jud Teague remembers how

much his father helped in the

community when he was growing up. “My father was always helping or volunteering somewhere and I guess I learned by watching him.” It feels natural to help others and it is a part of his job that Teague looks forward to on a continual basis. “It is awesome to see some of the young participants in our sporting events. I love to see a four or five-year-old just get so into their sport and strut around like the big dog of the pack. It’s just great.” 160 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ud Teague is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee as is much of his family. Like many people who go to school and are eventually employed, thought, Jud moved away and he has his wife and children relocated to Kissimmee, Florida in 1999. He had been offered a position with Amateur Athletic Union and was brought on as the Senior Manager to recruit and oversee several events at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports. In 2002, Teague took a position with United States Specialty Sports Association as Director of Development and continued his work developing and hosting sporting events, meetings, and seminars both at Walt Disney World and at locations throughout the country. A love of sports is in Jud Teague’s blood and it certainly shows both in his office décor and his work at the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Disney developed a program called “created events” and these were sporting events that Disney created that were specific and so that they didn’t have to compete against other markets for the rights to host these events. We have created a similar program of “Kingsport Created Events, which means that there is no bidding against other cities for the rights to bring sporting events here.” Teague tells me that through his work as Executive Director of the Kingsport Visitor’s Bureau he, and others who work with him, are tasked with attracting people to the area for events both involving sports and other activities such as conventions and group tours. “We look at attracting people here for association and corporate events as well. Not everything involves sports, although we have lengthened the year for the sporting events. It used to be four to six weeks in the summer but we have stretched it out to about ten months.” The Visitors Bureau works to attract business and visitors to the region for events such Fun Fest, Race weekend events, Racks by the Tracks and dozens of other happenings over the year.

Jud Teague understands that the more people who come to the Tri-Cities region the better. “More business is always better, because the Visitor’s Bureau is considered a net tax generator.” In other words, for every one dollar that the bureau spends on marketing the area, thirty to forty dollars ends up being brought back to the region. This is a great return on such a small investment and Teague admits that he would not be able to do what he does without the help of those who work with him. “I come to work because I love what I do and I love promoting this region. Bear in mind, though, that I would not be able to do any of what I do without the help of the dedicated staff here at the Visitor’s Bureau.” Giving credit where credit is due is a trait of Teague’s that has helped him to be successful over the years because he understands that it is only through cooperation that anything gets done. Kingsport and the Tri-Cities have been ranked by Golf Digest Magazine as one of the Best Places to live in the U.S. for golfers and Kingsport has been named as one of the Top Ten Cities in which to walk by Walking Magazine. Kingsport’s popular Greenbelt is a ten mile walking and biking trail that extends from one end of the city to the other, winding its way along the Holston River and through beautiful open meadows, marshlands, historic sites, flower gardens, quaint neighborhoods and even shopping and eating destinations. Kingsport is also home to the historic Netherland Inn, the nation’s only registered historic landmark that was both a stage stop and a boatyard. The historic 200-mile Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail started in Kingsport and blazed the pathway to the western frontier for hundreds of thousands of settlers. Kingsport is home to Bays Mountain Park, a 3,500-acre nature preserve with 22 miles of hiking and biking trials, a 44-acre reservoir lake, nature center and museum, planetarium and native wildlife habitats. Bays Mountain is the nation’s largest municipallyowned park. “We have so much to offer here and in such a huge world with so many competing places there are many people who would wonder ‘Why Kingsport’ and I ask them ‘Why not?’” He has a point because, as anyone can see, there is so much going on in this area that even those who live here may not know about. It is the job of the Visitor’s Bureau to show others what they are missing out on by not visiting Kingsport and the Tri-Cities area. Because of its legendary hospitality and first-rate amenities, popular attractions and visitor accommodations, Kingsport continues to be selected among cities nationwide to host numerous Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Championships and other amateur sports tournaments. Thousands of dollars from tournament proceeds are given to area schools each year. “The people of this region are fantastic. I was considering a job offer in 2006 from both Kingsport and Louisville and my wife and I chose to come to Kingsport because of its proximity to our family in Knoxville and the excellent school system. I feel so welcome and at home here and that is due in large part to the citizens I meet every day.” With that I leave Jud Teague to go about his job of attracting others to this region by letting them in on the secret that we already know: this is a phenomenal place to live.


Competitiveness is what drives Teague to work so hard at what he does with the Visitor’s Bureau, that, and a desire to see the region become a beacon for visitors both regular and new. “I grew up playing baseball and I played in high school and college. I do not like to be on the losing side of things.” He gives me a slight smile and I know exactly what he is talking about. Teague believes that more partnership is needed in the region in order for the Tri-Cities area to continue to grow in a positive direction. The Visitor’s Bureau and the MeadowView Marriott sales team work closely together in order to attract various events to the convention center. Teague hopes that attracting others to the area that some of those who visit will end up staying. “We have diversified the events that are offered so that we can lure a greater number of people to the region. We live in a great place.” His hope is that he, and those he works with, can create a memorable experience for anyone who is new to the region.

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VENABLE Richard Venable recently won the Republican

nomination for Sullivan County Mayor. He will

be unopposed in the August election and could be considered Mayor Elect. Venable debated whether or not to run again, but decided to once he saw how much the public had lost confidence in the leadership in Sullivan County. Once he decided to run, Venable knew he had to ask the opinion of someone close to him: his wife Phyllis. “We talked at length about the decision to throw his hat in the ring to run again for county mayor. She knew how much I enjoyed being mayor the first time, and she knew the things we were able to accomplish.” Venable does what he does out of personal commitment to others both in the community and his family, because he knows that the support of both is why he has been so successful. 162 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


ichard Venable was born and raised in Gate City, Virginia and has spent his adult life in Sullivan County. His work life started out as an apprentice electrician at Holston Defense Corporation before he left that job for an entry level position at the Mason Dixon Line: a local motor carrier. His final position with Mason Dixon Line was a Director of Pricing and Traffic when the company was sold in 1984. Venable worked for several years in assisting several local businessmen in starting a new trucking company before venturing out and starting his own business in 1989. After failing to win an eleven candidate primary race for the Republican nomination for Congressman for the First Congressional District of Tennessee in 2006, Venable became President of the Networks Sullivan Partnership. The Partnership was created during his term as Mayor of Sullivan County (2002-06). “Extensive meetings between myself, Bluff City Mayor Bob Thomas, Bristol Mayor David Shumaker, Kingsport Mayor Jeanette Blazier led to the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee of community business and government leaders.” This Committee recommended the creation of the joint Economic Development Agency today know as Networks. The aim of Networks is to assist government and business in creating an environment in which existing businesses can thrive and new businesses can develop. With a nearly one hundred year record of providing an outstanding workforce for the manufacturing segment of our industry, Sullivan County and Northeast Tennessee are the preferred sites to locate your new business in Tennessee. “Sullivan County is committed to providing an educated and trained workforce as demonstrated by the


creation of the Educate and Grow Scholarship at Northeast State Community College for graduating Sullivan County high school students.” Venable is also quick to reiterate that businesses and new businesses can take advantage of customized training available at the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing at the Kingsport campus of Northeast State. “The creation of a strong growing manufacturing and commercial base and an area with abundant natural resource has been combined to provide a Quality of Life in Sullivan County second to none making this the best place to live, work, and raise your family.” Richard Venable never set out to be involved in politics, but he got involved in Lamar Alexander’s 1978 campaign for governor and things just snowballed from there. “In 1982 I was Governor Alexander’s Sullivan County Campaign Manager when he ran for re-election. I became the Republican candidate for State Representative for the Third District in 1984 and lost the general election. I was then elected to two terms as Chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Organization, beginning in 1985.” By 1990, however, Venable had been elected to the Tennessee General Assembly as the State Representative for the Third Legislative District where he served as the Republican Whip until he retired in 1996. In 2002 he left his business, ran for, and was elected to the Office of Sullivan County Executive (later change to Mayor), where he served 2006. Bringing good jobs to the people of this region is a project that Venable holds close to his heart. “I got a really hot email one morning from a gentleman in Bristol,” Venable said. “We had announced jobs, and he was venting to me and said, ‘I have never seen any of these jobs. I can’t get a job.’” A year and a half later, while Venable was touring a new facility, a man who worked there introduced himself. The man said he had sent Venable the email and recently landed a job with the firm, one that Venable had helped to recruit. “He came to me and acknowledged that maybe we do, do some good here,” Venable said. “That is fulfilling for anybody, not just me.” Venable credits others with being proactive in the region as well because he understands that bring jobs to the Tri-Cities is not just the work of one person or one corporation. Venable is modest when talking about his accomplishments at Networks, an organization he helped found while he was serving as the Sullivan County mayor. Networks has assisted in adding 4,280 jobs in Sullivan County and has played a part in $284 million in business investment. “While at Networks, we worked to obtain $8 million in economic development grants and acquired 383 acres for development. I am focused on the future and not the past and the projects that I am most excited about are the ones that we have not even completed yet.” He is proud of the gains that have been made with worker training in the county. Networks has played a role in the establishment of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the increased capability of Northeast Community College in worker training initiatives. In every position he has held, Venable’s greatest desire was to provide opportunity for an individual or business to succeed. Each position has required collaboration and compromise and the trait that he most attributes to his success is the right attitude. “Each person must prepare themselves with the proper training, education, and desire so that they can be prepared to meet the standards required by any employer or customer.” It is clear that Venable has a soft spot for the people who reside in East Tennessee and this is reflected in his work ethic and his dedication to bringing jobs to the area. The more jobs in the area then the more people will want to come and make the Tri-Cities region their home. “Economic development is becoming more competitive and states are competing against each other. Companies are looking for more than raw land to develop a business: they want infrastructure.” To that end, Networks has worked hard to construct buildings and to participate in speculative building, but the organization that Venable helped start was deigned to survive without any of its original founders.

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Webb is certain that most others would

not think of him as hardworking, because he loves so much what it is that he does for a living. He is positive that caring so

much about his job does not qualify him as a person who is forced to work hard, but it does mean that he counts himself lucky. “I have worked for AEP for over thirty-four years now and I am just as proud and happy in my work today as I was when I started.” He believes that this happiness stems in large part from the communities that he works in on a daily basis. “You need to remember that, no matter how big the community feels, we are still just a small town at heart.” 164 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014


saac Webb, chair elect for the Kingsport Chamber, has worked for Appalachian Power since 1980 and all of his assignments have involved the power company’s distribution system. “That is,” he tells me, “the system that takes electricity from our transmission systems and substations and delivers it to individual houses and businesses.” After obtaining his degree from Virginia Tech in Electrical Engineering, he started with the company in Roanoke and has since held positions in Gate City, Virginia, Bluefield, WV, and Logan, WV before transferring to Kingsport in 1996 as the Kingsport District Manager. He was always interested in the power system and initially worked designing power plants and relaying systems. He settled, pretty quickly into the distribution side of the business however it is easy for him to see his work’s impact on individual customers. “The work we do here every day matters, because there are very few long term deadlines.” Immediacy is the name of the game when it comes to electricity, because no one likes to be without power long. Webb enjoys what it is that he does and he most especially loves the fact that his work is something so integral to the region. “When you work for the power company, you tend to work in the background of everyday life, because people generally don’t want to think about our product, they just want it, and that’s okay. For me, I feel fulfilled when we have accomplished something that I know is truly significant; it is extra special when the fine folks in my organization accomplish that with minimal direction from me.” At work, Webb is most fulfilled when the entire team is able pull together to get big things done. Those “big things” could be recovering from a major storm, completing a needed training course or just going a long time without an injury in a field where the hazards are extreme and always present.


“I like trying to accomplish things that really positively impact people and it can be things like helping to build a Habitat house or helping with a community event or working with our legislators to pass legislation critical to the community.” His desire to better the community is a trait that keeps Isaac Webb working tirelessly both in his position at Appalachian Power and as a community volunteer. One cause near and dear to Webb’s heart is his work with NETWORKS: governing body that serves as the Joint Economic & Community Development Board for Sullivan County. The combination of three separate economic development agencies has created a strong, synergistic partnership which has increased interest in Sullivan County at the state, national and international levels. “I appreciate the strong work ethic of the people in this area. I am privileged to work with a hardworking group of individuals who work hard every day to serve our customers better and to make our work practices better. They do this without having to be asked and that makes my job very rewarding and enjoyable while at the same time it assures that our customers get the best experience possible.” Asked about the Tri-Cities area and Webb has nothing but great things to say. “This area is just full of folks who have pride in their community and a real giving spirit. I think the nicest thing about the area is that it is large enough to have just about anything a person might need, but it is small enough that it still feels like a neighborhood.” He loves living in an area where he see and can talk to people he knows while out at the store, where folks miss him when he isn’t present at an event, and where folks care about the genuine well-being of each other. Webb feels, though, that despite being such a great place to live that the region has the potential to be even better than it already is. “I would really like to see the local economy continue to diversify. I think we have made significant strides in the last few years, but I would love to see this place as a community where folks who are willing can find a good, stable job that provides a wage that they can live comfortably on.” There are many jobs like that here now, but he believes that there is room for many more and that if prospective employers could really understand just how exceptional the workforce is in this region, they would be beating down our doors. Webb admits that he is a person who is pretty persistent and that this trait tends to get himself in over his head. “I have a habit of having ideas and committing to them before I really understand what is involved. Then I go and get a lot of other people to help me work on my idea and while we are working to realize that idea, I often use my sense of humor to help out in difficult situations, but it can also be a liability.” He really just wants to create a place to work where people really enjoy what they do and where they leave work every day having worked another day without an injury. In the community, he strives to do everything he can to make the TriCities a great place to live, work, and raise a family. “That starts with doing everything I can to keep our customer’s rates as low as possible, but after that it is giving time to worthwhile community projects both in Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.” Many of us do not think about power or the power company until, of course, we don’t have any and Webb is right in this respect. Our communities take for granted the hard work that those who work for many of our region’s organizations do on a daily basis just to make sure that our lives are more comfortable.

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WILSON W in the community and has given an

Wilson has been enormously influential

immense amount of his time, talents, and leadership to a number of organizations. He has served as chair or president for the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce; Kingsport Tomorrow Board of Directors; Kingsport Regional Education Association Steering Committee; Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association; Renewal! The Spirit Campaign; Northeast State Community College Foundation Executive Committee; and the Kingsport Chamber’s Communications program, Education program, Fun Fest program and Leadership Kingsport program. 166 | VIPSEEN | JUNE 2014

hen Keith Wilson graduated from Indiana University he started working right away in the newspaper business, but not for the reasons that most of might think of. “I needed a job and they offered me one,” he says laughing, “it’s really as simple as that.” Nothing in life, however, is a simple as many of us imagine it to be and what turned out to be a job of convenience ended up being a lifelong pursuit. “I found that I really enjoyed the daily deadlines and work and that I was actually pretty good at it.” Wilson came to Kingsport as the Advertising Director for the Kingsport TimesNews in 1986 from Indiana by of Kentucky. He was looking for a great place to live, and like most people who relocate for quality of life, he had his kids in mind when he started looking for a place to reside. “Kingsport had a great school system for my kids. Add that to the close proximity of the mountains and rivers and my love of the outdoors and I was sold.” Wilson is the publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and president of the Northeast Tennessee Media Group, which includes the Kingsport Times-News, the Johnson City Press, the Herald and Tribune in Jonesborough, the Erwin Record and The Tomahawk in Mountain City. He serves as a member of the Kingsport Higher Education Advisory Board.  In 2012, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and was recently chosen to represent the First Congressional District on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. His work with the Kingsport Times-News is something that Wilson does not consider work at all. “Work is doing what you don’t enjoy.

Wilson wants to see a lot of things for this area, but one things that he especially wants to see is reflection on the part of each city in the Tri-Cities region. “Each city probably needs to take a step back for a moment to reflect on what’s next and how to get there. I think this is particularly true of Kingsport, a city that has been driven by change it started in the early 1990s. We need to refresh the vision and engage a new generation of leadership.” He believes that one sure way to usher in change is for those who live here to get more involved in the community that they live in. Wilson urges others to get involved in community work and to not wait at home for things to just happen. “Go out the door. Meet your neighbors and volunteer yourself to help. Join the Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs or Civitan and meet the good people of the community. I think that many people will be surprised how rewarding something like this can be.” The opportunities that Wilson knows are in this area are benefits that can offer something special to anyone in this region so long as they are willing to take advantage. His giving spirit is something that Keith Wilson believes is a result of both nature and nurture. “I was taught that we are on this Earth to serve, but I also saw this truth early on from watching both my parents and grandparents. There really is no substitute for good parenting.” He understands that business play a large role in giving to the community as well, because a healthy business cannot be run in an unhealthy community. “Businesses that want to really thrive need to become involved their respective communities simply from a self-preservation standpoint.” The relationship between a business and a community is a reciprocal one, so that each acts and reacts to other and to what the other entity does. No business is successful without a great community and no community is successful without great business. For someone who started out working in jobs that required work with his hands, Keith Wilson has come a long way in the newspaper business. In 2012 he was named president of the Northeast Tennessee Media Group, a newly formed organization operating the Kingsport Times-News, Johnson City Press and all their associated digital operations and supporting entities. His work today continues to put him in contact with the community and this is something that is absolutely fine with him. “I want the people of this region to have choices in what they do. I want others to love this region as much as I do, but without the opportunity for gainful employment and a great quality of life they will not. Wilson has found Kingsport and the Tri-Cities area to be an ideal place for him and his family and he strives to make it somewhere that others will love as much as he does.


I wouldn’t say I work hard, because I love what I do and if you love your work then it isn’t hard to do.” His candor and willingness to put any task ahead of personalities are two things that Wilson attributes to his success in working with others. “Let’s just get the work done and everything else will work itself out.” His belief that personalities should not get in the way of progress is something that sets him apart and has allowed him to be so successful in areas in which others have failed. It is the improvements in the area that make him the happiest and it is these improvements that keep Keith Wilson striving to do more. “Seeing our collective work payoff is exciting. The amenities and opportunities in this region, compared to a few years ago, are immensely different and the direction we are headed in is wonderfully positive.” The downtown area of Kingsport has transformed itself through community involvement and investment in educational facilities. There is no better investment for a region, Wilson believes, than that of a solid educational system for its citizens. “I hope that Kingsport is proud of itself because it should be. Some of these investments are hard to make because they don’t provide an immediate return. It takes diligence because community investments of this magnitude rarely give immediate return since communities change slowly.”

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