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PYA Ballard Innovation Award
November 30, 2020 | Tom Ballard

COMMENTARY: Importance of the “PYA Ballard Innovation Award” is about helping our region succeed

PYA Ballard Innovation AwardWhat a wonderful way to celebrate my 74th birthday!

If you read yesterday’s edition of and many of you did based on emails and texts that I received, you are aware that PYA, my employer in career #3 for just one month short of nine years, has bestowed on me the most significant recognition in my professional life that now spans more than 50 years with The University of Tennessee System (35 years), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (7.5 years), and PYA since January 1, 2012.

To say that the “PYA Ballard Innovation Award” was totally unexpected when I was told about it in early November would be a gross understatement. To say that I was blown away and unable to personify my mother’s description of me as a youngster – “He just talks like a victrola” – would be so true. I was literally speechless. There’s truly no way to express how honored I am.

The real significance of the award, however, is the statement that PYA’s owners, led by President and Chief Executive Officer Marty Brown, are making about the importance of the region where the firm was launched 37 years ago next week. From two Co-Founders (Ed Pershing and Doug Yoakley) and, as I recall, one other employee, the firm now has clients in all 50 states and offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, Nashville and Tampa. PYA is also consistently ranked by Modern Healthcare as one of the “Top 20” healthcare consulting firms in the U.S. and by INSIDE Public Accounting as one of the nation’s “Top 100” largest accounting firms.

So, even with such a dynamic footprint, PYA has not lost sight of its heritage and the importance of early clients in East Tennessee who helped the firm grow and prosper. More businesses need to get off the sidelines and in the game, helping innovative companies succeed in their communities, and I am so honored to be associated with PYA which is doing its part to help grow the technology, innovation and entrepreneurial assets of this region.





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