What is your vision for Knoxville 10 years from now?
I would like Knoxville to be an energetic, growing, and welcoming community that has stayed true to its roots, has leveraged the region’s technological and educational assets to create next generation job opportunities, and has maintained an affordable, high quality of life for its residents.
What is Knoxville’s Best Kept Secret?
While they’re hardly a secret, the natural elements of Knoxville and our greater East TN region (mountains, rivers, lakes, etc) are truly unmatched. Aside from that, it is the approachability of the community that really stands out to me. Knoxville tends to have many of the amenities and cultural offerings that are typically found in much larger cities, yet is small enough that it still feels safe, welcoming, and approachable for natives and newcomers alike.
What would you do to strengthen Knoxville?
Knoxville is a very strong community at present. As our community continues to grow, we will need to form creative partnerships to build more owner occupied affordable housing options within the City of Knoxville and undeveloped areas of Knox County. Developing a long term plan for traffic congestion on our Interstates and expansion of our metro mass transit system will also be critical. Other ideas include working with UT to expand its campus/presence to other areas of Knoxville outside of the main campus, engage ORNL, UT, and TVA to position Knoxville as a top location for new advanced technology jobs, and provide greater public access to Knoxville’s many miles of shoreline (especially downtown/near UT).
What is your favorite Knoxville memory?
My most recent favorite memory has to be watching UT defeat Alabama last October with my 10-year old son in the stands next to me. Days spent on the river or one of our nearby lakes with family and friends are always special as well. A nice dinner out on Gay Street, Market Square, or the Old City before catching a show at the Tennessee or Bijou Theatres ranks right up there too.
What is your favorite book or what book is currently on your nightstand?
Currently on nightstand: “Spare” by Prince Harry
What is the best advice you have received from a mentor, and who was that mentor?
A couple of previous bosses gave me very similar advice at different times throughout my career that have always stuck with me. That advice can be summed up as follows. 1. Listen twice, speak once; 2. Even if you know the right answer, you may end up wrong if you don’t allow others to engage in the process.
What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
Relax and enjoy the moment, develop a regular exercise routine, and experience new things, places, and cultures as often as you can.