Phyllis Nichols wins top recognition at last Friday’s “Pinnacle Awards”

The Knoxville Chamber presented its top recognition – the “James A. Haslam II Leadership Award” – and eight others at a noon ceremony Friday.

Like so many other annual events, this year’s “Pinnacle Awards” was held virtually for the first time. It is normally a Black-tie optional event, but this year was turned into a fast-paced, less than 45-minute pre-recorded production.

The top award was presented to Phyllis Nichols, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Knoxville Area Urban League. In a short but powerful acceptance speech that came on the heels of the murders of three Black teenagers in the city, two in the span of days, Nichols talked about her love of Knoxville and the challenges that it must address.

“Knoxville is a great place to live, work and raise a family . . . for some,” she said. To reach its fullest potential, Nichols noted that the city must be a great place for all with the same opportunities available to everyone.

The other winners by category are:

  • “Impact Award” – Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security.
  • “Innovator Award” – Integrity Laboratories, a Knoxville-based healthcare company serving its clients by providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art clinical laboratory testing with the highest standards of honesty, transparency and integrity. We spotlighted the company and CEO Christian Clevenger (pictured here) last August in this article.
  • “Small Business Excellence Award” – Big Slate Media, one of Knoxville’s top content creation agencies that helps brands produce consistent, relevant content that makes a lasting impact.
  • “Woman-Owned Business Excellence Award” – Barre Skinny LLC, dba Neighborhood Barre. Founded by Katy Richardson in 2011, the fitness studio now has 15 brick-and-mortar studios across the Southeast with two more locations slated to open in 2021.
  • “Minority-Owned Business Excellence Award” – Boston Government Services, LLC, an engineering, technology and security firm supporting missions of national importance across the U.S., including research laboratories, security facilities, nuclear operations, environmental cleanup and government programs. We spotlighted the company and Founder Harry Boston (pictured here) in this 2020 article.
  • “Mid-Sized Business Excellence Award” – The Trust Company of Tennessee, founded in 1987 and currently managing more than $3.5 billion with more than 75 employees.
  • “Large Business Excellence Award” – The Christman Company, founded in 1894, now has more than four billion in dollars in construction across a variety of markets and is ranked No. 88 in the Engineering News-Record’s list of top national contractors.
  • “Young Entrepreneur Award” – Bobby Haines of Haines Structural Group, originally the Knoxville branch of a Memphis-based company that he acquired and rebranded in 2017.

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