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Weekend edition November 18, 2022 | Shannon Smith

News Roundup | Business expansions, appointments, and Christmas fundraisers

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

Jonathan Oates

Knoxville native named 2023 Rhodes Scholar

Yale University senior and Knoxville native Jonathan Oates is one of 32 students chosen for the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2023. He was selected from among 840 applicants for the prestigious award.

Jonathan is majoring in Political Science. His academic work engages questions of democracy, justice, and equality, and he has completed recent internships in the office of Representative Jim Cooper and at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Jonathan has served in numerous positions in student government at Yale and received multiple campus awards in recognition
of his leadership. At Oxford, the Webb School of Knoxville graduate intends to do the ‘M.Phil. in Politics.’

RTG president to retire, Chad Simpson to take top role

After more than 24 years of service to clients across the healthcare and life science industries, Realty Trust Group (RTG) President Greg Gheen is transitioning to a support role for the firm’s next generation of opportunities and leaders.

Current Executive Vice President Chad Simpson will assume Gheen’s role as President beginning January 1, 2023. Simpson joined RTG in 2000 and has been essential to the firm’s significant growth, including expansions in Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Simpson has broad experience in healthcare real estate, including portfolio management, project development, advisory, and transaction services for major healthcare systems.

“Continuing to pursue our motto of ‘real estate follows strategy,’ we remain dedicated to helping RTG clients navigate the multi-faceted aspects of their real estate portfolios so they can focus on what matters most–patient care,” said Simpson.

Gheen will continue on the board and maintain ownership in the company with a focal point on life sciences.

The Trust Company of Tennessee hires new VP

The Trust Company of Tennessee has hired Dalia Matthias as a vice president and senior trust officer.

“Dalia has a deep passion for service and advocacy combined with excellent experience that will help her determine the needs of clients while building trusting relationships and providing outstanding service,” said Daniel Carter, president of The Trust Company of Tennessee.

Matthias has more than a decade of trust and wealth management experience, most recently working at Ameris Bank as vice president and trust advisor, administering trust accounts, building client relationships, and performing annual regulation and compliance reviews.

Credit: Yassin’s Falafel House.

Yassin’s Falafel House opens third location

People who live in Alcoa now have the ‘Nicest Place in America’ in their neck of the woods.

Yassin’s Falafel House opened its third location, this one in Alcoa at 212 Hamilton Crossing Drive. The store also has locations in Downtown Knoxville and Cedar Bluff.

“Knoxville, they’re love and family for me. I’m looking for a bigger family right here. I’m not coming only to make falafel, chicken — that’s an easy way; anybody can do it,” The Daily Times reports owner Yassin Terrou said at the grand opening on November 11. “I’m coming here to make my family bigger.”

Second Knoxville Crumbl Cookies location to open in Turkey Creek

Less than six months after opening its first Knoxville location, Crumbl Cookies opened a second store Friday.

The first location is off Clinton Highway, while the newest is in Turkey Creek. WATE reports a release from the company said the new location will create more than 50 job openings.

The Utah-based cookie chain has a cult following of fans who come for the store’s weekly rotating cookie flavors, often served warm and big enough to split. The business has expanded across the country since opening its first store in Logan, Utah in 2017. Crumbl Cookies now has over 500 locations in 40+ states.

Fantasy of Trees returns next week

The biggest annual fundraiser for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital returns to Downtown Knoxville next week.

Fantasy of Trees presented by Axle Logistics will run from Wednesday, November 23 through Sunday, November 27 at the Knoxville Convention Center. Tickets range from $4 – $8.

The annual event attracts nearly 60,000 people during the week of Thanksgiving. Travel through a forest of more than 350 beautifully designed trees, holiday accessories, storefront windows, door designs, table centerpieces, and an Adopt-a-Tree forest decorated by local school children. All are priced to sell.

Fantasy of Trees raised more than $518,000 in 2021, enabling the hospital to purchase life-saving medical equipment for East Tennessee’s youngest patients.

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