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Weekend edition December 02, 2022 | Shannon Smith

News Roundup | Appointments, acquisitions, and openings

By Shannon Smith, Teknovation Assistant Editor, PYA

Here’s your weekly roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region.

If you have any business news or updates you’d like to feature in Teknovation Weekend, please send us an email at

Pilot Company hires DEI Officer

Pilot Company announced Angie Cody as its Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity.

“We’re proud to employ nearly 30,000 team members who come from amazingly diverse backgrounds and experiences,” said Paul Shore, Chief People Officer of Pilot Company, in a release. “Our company’s success is driven by the strength of our team, which is why this position is central to delivering an exceptional, inclusive, and well-rounded experience.”

Cody will oversee and expand upon opportunities to create a more inclusive workplace, joining Pilot Company’s Team Member Experience (TMX) department. She will manage current inclusion, diversity, equity, and awareness (IDEA) efforts, craft strategic action plans for the advancement of an accessible, equitable, and inclusive work environment, and help increase the company’s diversity recruitment pipeline.

Under her leadership, Pilot Company recently launched five new business resource groups – Emerging Leaders, Building Relationships in Diverse Group Environments (BRIDGE), Pride of Pilot, Women of Pilot, and Veterans of Pilot – to help educate and inform diversity change efforts across the company. Cody brings to the company more than a decade of experience in building and leading global inclusion, diversity, and equity initiatives, including co-founding the St. Louis Diversity and Inclusion Consortium.

City of Knoxville Finance Department recognized with budget award

The City of Knoxville has again been recognized by its North American peers for leading by example and effectively and openly presenting its budget.

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has presented the City’s Finance Department with its 35th Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The City has received the prestigious award 34 years in a row, dating back to 1989.

In receiving the award, Knoxville satisfied established peer-reviewed guidelines that are designed to assess how well a budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide, and a means of communication.

“The GFOA is hardly a household name, but to me and my staff, this award means a lot,” City Chief Financial Officer Boyce Evans said. “It’s a testament to the professionalism of the Finance Department staff, but also, it speaks volumes about the City’s culture and our commitment to transparency.”

Knoxville billboard operator acquired by Georgia company

Link Media Outdoor (Link) announced the purchase of the outdoor advertising assets of Elevation Outdoor Advertising, based in Knoxville. Elevation Outdoor operates over 265 billboard faces including eight digital displays in Knoxville and East Tennessee. These assets add a geographic expansion into new territory for Link.

Scott LaFoy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Link, said in a release, “Link is excited to enter the Tennessee market, as we expand our service to advertisers and prospective customers in Knoxville and the East Tennessee area. Elevation Outdoor is a well-built and successful business founded in 2002 by Martin Daniel, a respected Knoxville businessman, former state representative in the Tennessee legislature, and co-founder of the Tennessee Outdoor Advertising Cooperative trade association. Martin has done a wonderful job building and leading the company and has been a pleasure to work with on this transaction. Elevation Outdoor has done an excellent job developing this impressive inventory.”

Link plans for Martin Daniel to remain involved in an advisory capacity. The transaction is Link’s largest acquisition of 2022.

Abridged Beer Company opens third location

Knoxville brewpub Abridged Beer Company has opened its third location off North Peters Road.

Abridged first opened in Bearden in 2017, then opened The Oak Room in Happy Holler in 2019, a food truck at the end of 2021, and now are the new occupants of what used to house K Town Tavern at 320 North Peters Road in the Cedar Bluff area.

Owner Jesse Bowers said every table was full at last weekend’s quiet opening. After touring dozens of locations across the city, he said West Knoxville and the K Town Tavern building were the best places to expand. The new location will serve as a new headquarters, where the company will start prepping food for all locations in the large commercial kitchen.

The new location is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 12 noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The Spice and Tea Exchange of Knoxville opens downtown

What’s become a rotating storefront on South Gay Street is now home to a new business. The Spice and Tea Exchange of Knoxville opened this week at 522 South Gay Street. This was the former home of Kopita and most recently Fai Thai Kitchen.

The Spice and Tea Exchange is a national chain with Tennessee locations already established in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Chattanooga, and Nashville. Knoxville will be the fifth in the state.

The shop sells a variety of teas, olive oils, spices, dry rubs, gift sets, and more. The Knoxville location is open seven days a week.

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