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Weekend edition July 15, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

Big Ears team expansion leads this week’s business news roundup

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region. If you have some business news that you would like to be included in Teknovation Weekend, please email us at

Big Ears adds two full-time staff members

The Big Ears festival announced earlier this week that it had added two team members to its ranks: Tom Welsh as Managing Director and Rachel Milford as Director of Community Arts.

Welsh previously worked at the Cleveland Museum of Art for the last 15 years. According to the announcement from Big Ears, Welsh developed an acclaimed performing arts series at the museum that brought it to international stature. Milford previously worked with Big Ears, playing a central role in community outreach during the 2022 festival. She is a local artist and cultural organizer, as well as Founder and Director of Knoxville’s Cattywampus Puppet Council.

“After several years of steady organizational growth, the 2022 festival this March was transformative in many ways. It was an extraordinary experience for those who participated, and its success signals remarkable potential for the future,” said Big Ears Artistic/Executive Director Ashley Capps. “We’re bringing Tom and Rachel to the team so that we can fully explore and realize that potential.”

Learn more here.

MoveBuddha shows Knoxville still a top destination for new residents

MoveBuddha, a website focused on long-distance moving, recently released its “2021-2022 Tennessee Migration Report,” which ranked Knoxville as #3 (tied with Nashville) for its ratio people moving in vs. moving out. The site estimated that for every 100 people leaving Knoxville, 181 people move to the city. The state’s top city for movers was Chattanooga, followed by Johnson City. Memphis is on the opposite end of the spectrum, and sees more residents leaving than moving in.

Tennessee ranked #8 in the nation for increased popularity from 2020 to 2021, according to the report, which found a 14.2 percent increase in move interest. Californians make up the bulk of movers, representing 22 percent.

Read the full report here.

The Christman Company makes top 100 in national contractor ranking

The Engineering News-Record ranked The Christman Company at #87 in its national ranking of the “ENR 400” list of top contractors. The publication covers the construction industry. The rankings wee calculated based on 2021 construction revenue, according to a news release from Christman.

In addition to its “ENR 400” ranking, Christman placed #51 on the “Top 100 Construction Management-at-Risk firms and #85 on the list of “Top 100 Contractors by New Contracts.”

“Our team of experts, leaders and partners has worked hard to provide our clients with facilities the whole community can be proud of in our region,” said Marty Gibbs, Senior Vice President and General Manager at the Knoxville office. “We are grateful to maintain our status as a top construction firm and look forward to a prosperous 2022.”

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