Bryan F. Coker

Bryan F. Coker

Maryville College


Hometown: Rutherfordton, NC

What is your vision for Knoxville 10 years from now?

My vision is that Knoxville will continue to emerge as a vibrant and opportunistic city, gaining the recognition and reputation it truly deserves, while attracting an increasingly diverse population. Smart growth and investments in people and our future must continue to be made, especially when it comes to education, safety, infrastructure, and preserving the environment.

What is Knoxville’s Best Kept Secret?

Ijams Nature Center.

What would you do to strengthen Knoxville?

Much progress has been made over the past 20 years; however, we must intentionally work to attract and support a more diverse population in the city and region. This will add to the cultural vibrancy of the region, as well as enable us to continue attracting new business.

What is your favorite Knoxville memory?

Working with the Forest Heights Neighborhood Association in the late 1990s to ensure the neighborhood bridge over I-40 was not rebuilt, thereby eliminating “cut-through” traffic and preserving the historic neighborhood for future generations.

What is your favorite book or what book is currently on your nightstand?

(On my nightstand) Learning from the Germans: Race & the Memory of Evil

What is the best advice you have received from a mentor, and who was that mentor?

From Dr. Grady Bogue: Treat the janitor as well as, or better than, the CEO.

What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

Be your true self, and realize it’s all going to work out just fine in the end.

Bryan F. Coker