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Weekend edition May 20, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

Events and a prestigious award make up this week’s Knoxville business 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

Harold T. Conner receives prestigious award from AIChE

Harold T. Conner, former Director of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant and until recently a Senior Advisor to the UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer, has won the prestigious “2022 Management Division Award” presented by the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He is the second UCOR senior manager to receive the award. It was presented to UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rueter in 2016. The annual award recognizes an outstanding individual who has made a substantial contribution to the management and leadership of engineers involved in the field of chemical engineering.

Conner recently retired as Senior Advisor to the President of UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs responsible for the cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) and other parts of the Oak Ridge Reservation. He is currently Senior Engineering Advisor for Strata-G Corporation, a UCOR small business partner, and serves on the company’s Board of Directors as well as the Board of Advisors of the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Visit Knoxville announces digital passport for Knoxville’s Ale Trail

Visit Knoxville announced earlier this week that it had released a digital passport of the Knoxville Ale Trail in partnership with the Knoxville Area Brewers Association (KABA). Similar to the existing passport and map, the digital version allows users to digitally stamp their passports with codes from the breweries. People can get a pass from A passport will be delivered to them via text.

The announcement coincides with the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the 1982 World’s Fair and Knoxville’s Craft Beer Week, happening May 20-29.

“Knoxville craft beer has seen such tremendous growth in the past few years, and Knoxville Craft Beer Week is a perfect showcase for the local industry,” said Davis Cranford, President of the KABA. “All the hard work and sweat equity our craft brewers put in every day is a passion project that deserves to be recognized. Without them, our beer scene wouldn’t exist, so this is their week to shine.”

A full schedule and more details on Craft Beer Week can be found here.

Denark Construction announces completion of Anderson County Higher Education Center

The new Anderson County Higher Education Center was a $13 million project. It totals 48,000 square feet and is a partnership between Roane State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville. It is located in the I-75 Industrial Park in Clinton.

The facility will be used for classes in mechatronics, robotics, automation, plastics injection molding, welding, diesel-powered equipment technology, auto technology, industrial maintenance, building trades, and other customized workforce development training, according to a newsletter from Denark. See a video of the construction project here.

Knoxville Chamber seeking input on annual “Endeavor Young Professionals Summit” event

The Knoxville Chamber will be hosting the “Endeavor Summit” in person this year and has put together a survey to learn what topics young professionals would find most relevant. The annual event “motivates the area’s emerging leaders to engage in their community and take ownership of their personal growth,” according to the Chamber. Last year’s event was held virtually and included talks on diversity, equity, and inclusion, an entrepreneurial panel, and work-life balance. Read more in this article.

Take the Chamber’s survey for the “Endeavor Summit” here. The survey closed on May 23.

Staff Changes

Maryville College announced several staffing changes earlier this week in a news release. Effective June 1, the role of Vice President for Finance and Administration will become two different roles after Jeff Ingle announced his retirement from the post. Maryville College President Bryan F. Coker announced that two current staff members have been promoted to fill the roles. John K. Berry has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer, while Kelly Leonard has been promoted to Vice President for Finance.

“This new model will permit the Vice President for Finance to comprehensively focus on strategic management of our financial resources, within a competitive and evolving landscape for higher education,” Coker said in a memorandum to faculty and staff. “The Chief Operations Officer will then be tasked with bringing a coordinated, integrated and strategic approach to college operations, recognizing the importance of how all students, faculty, and staff experience the College.”

Read more here.

New Business and Development

Loyal’s Barbershop will be the first commercial business in the Mews II building once it officially opens. Owner Nick Kitsos told Inside of Knoxville that he will start working alone in the shop but hopes to eventually have a couple of partners. Eventually, he would like to have six barbers in the space. Kitsos said he is hoping to have the space ready by mid-June. Read more in this Inside of Knoxville article.

The properties at 304 and adjacent 308 South Gay Street sold to Ephant Group for $7.3 million, in what Inside of Knoxville reports may be one of the largest transactions in downtown Knoxville’s history. Ephant Group bought the property from Josh Smith, who is connected with a few other Knoxville developments. The development group plans to build a 10-story building which will include a hotel and restaurant. Learn more in this Inside of Knoxville article.

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