EPB promotes Ryan Keel to head technical operations and more Chattanooga-area career moves

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Ryan Keel explains EPB’s Smart Grid to students from Tyner’s Future Ready Institute in the EPB control center conference room.

EPB promotes Ryan Keel to head technical operations

EPB has promoted Ryan Keel to senior vice president of technical operations with responsibility for all business systems, technical operations and facilities for both EPB Energy and EPB Fiber Optics, according to a news release. In his new role, he will lead efforts to more fully align EPB’s technical expertise, information systems, fiber optic network and smart grid electric infrastructure with every aspect of EPB’s effort to deliver world-class customer experiences.

“We’re seeing the emergence of a new phase of rapid technical innovation and increasing convergence between the energy and connectivity industries,” said David Wade, president and CEO of EPB in the same release. “As part of EPB’s mission to enhance the quality of life, we’re focused on translating all these technical possibilities into products and solutions that substantially benefit the people we serve. Ryan Keel has proven his tremendous ability to lead our team of technology experts as we work to keep our community on the cutting-edge while delivering strong value for our customers.”

Keel played a critical role in the initial design and build out of EPB’s Smart Grid, which is widely considered to be one of the most advanced and highly automated power distribution systems in the United States. In 2014, he was promoted to vice president of technical operations for both EPB Energy and EPB Fiber Optics. In addition to leading efforts to utilize Chattanooga’s Smart Grid to reduce the incidence and duration of outages by as much as 55% each year, Keel is leading a major upgrade of EPB’s fiber optic system to next-generation network technology.

Keel is a native Chattanoogan who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He began working at EPB in 1997 and has held positions in engineering, operations, and leadership.


Carman, Coker, Goodman, Malone named partners in HHM CPA firm

HHM CPAs, a full-service accounting and consulting firm with locations in Chattanooga and Memphis, has promoted four senior managers to partners in its Chattanooga office. The four new partners — Brittany Carman, John W. Coker, III, Chad Goodman, and Robert Malone, III — are among 22 partners in the firm, including 18 partners in Chattanooga.

“This group of leaders not only demonstrates the depth of talent being developed within our firm, but also our continued organic growth,” said Donnie Hutcherson, Managing Partner. “These talented individuals have greatly contributed to the success of HHM and each brings specific expertise, putting us in a better position than ever to serve our clients.”

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Brittany Carman

Carman, CPA, has been with HHM CPAs for three years and has over 15 years of public accounting experience. She focuses on the accounting and assurance needs of privately held companies in various industries, including construction, nonprofit, and manufacturing and distribution. Carman also leads audits of employee benefit plans. Internally, Carman oversees the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, is involved with the Campus Recruitment Committee, as well as the firm’s training and development initiatives. Active in the community, Brittany is the Board President of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, Chattanooga Chapter, Board Secretary for Chattanooga Room in the Inn, finance committee member for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute. Brittany graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Management with a concentration in Accounting.

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John Coker III

Coker, ICPA, joined HHM in 2014 after 12 years of automotive and professional service accounting. Since then, John has focused on providing tax and consulting services to HHM business clients. While at HHM, he has supported and trained CFOs and controllers for some of the firm’s largest clients. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Management.

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Chad Goodman

Goodman, CPA, joined HHM CPAs in 2011 when he began his accounting career. Now, Chad spends his time as an advisor, providing tax compliance and planning services as well as assistance with strategic planning and complex mergers and acquisitions for his clients. Goodman is involved in the firm’s Campus Recruitment Committee and heavily involved in the firm’s training and development initiatives. A native of Chattanooga, Chad gives back to the community by actively serving the Northside Neighborhood House as a board member and on various committees. Chad is a graduate of Lee University, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

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Robert Malone III

Malone, III, CPA, has been with HHM CPAs for 10 years. He serves the audit and tax needs of auto dealerships across the country, and also works with clients in other industries, including construction and real estate. His tax experience includes preparation and review of federal and state tax returns for multi-state entities and addressing complex tax issues.


Santellan leads local offices for Teach For America

Teach For America Nashville-Chattanooga has named Stephen Santellan as the new executive director. Santellan joins the region from South Carolina, and he plans to continue advancing academic gains with students and growing the organization’s impact through collaboration with schools across Nashville and Chattanooga, according to a news release.

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Stephen Santellan

Santellan previously served as the chief of staff for Teach For America’s South Carolina region. For more than 20 years, he has dedicated his personal and professional life to the support of organizations that create opportunities for equitable educational and economic advancement, especially in communities with the greatest need. Santellan succeeds Benjamin Schumacher, who led Teach For America Nashville-Chattanooga for five years as executive director.

“As a non-profit leader with a track record of action and results, Stephen Santellan’s breadth of experience and ability to thought-partner and foster collaboration will dynamically serve our growing Nashville and Chattanooga communities,” said Crystal Rountree, senior vice president and regional field executive of Teach For America in the same release.


Jewish Federation of Chattanooga adds Lipski as social services head

Lorraine (Lorri) Lipski joins the staff of the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga as the director of social services.

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Lorri Lipski

With a background in case management, Lipski has worked for the Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System, Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services, and Sound Mental Health in Tennessee and Washington respectively. Lipski has also worked with youth at risk youth and adolescents in North Carolina and Mississippi.

With offices located at the Jewish Cultural Center, the Jewish Federation’s social services department provides case management, delivered meals, transportation and additional support services primarily to seniors and families after individual receive a care plan, according to a news release.


Greene named a Fellow in American Bar Foundation

Attorney Zac Greene, member and litigation attorney with the Miller & Martin Chattanooga, has been elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundatio, according to a news release. Membership is limited to just 1 percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Members are nominated by their peers and selected by the American Bar Foundation Board.

The American Bar Foundation Fellows is a global honorary society that recognizes attorneys, judges, law faculty and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities. Fellows hail from nearly 40 countries and hold a wide variety of influential roles.

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Zac Greene

Greene represents individual and corporate clients in business disputes and white collar criminal matters. He represents companies and individuals in internal investigations and government investigations and enforcement proceedings. His experience includes guiding clients through interactions with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, federal inspectors general, and state agencies. He has represented clients in prosecutions charging mail fraud, wire fraud, healthcare fraud, immigration violations, and public corruption, and in investigations involving those areas as well as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), environmental regulation, nuclear power regulation, and antitrust.


Hassevoort named director of UTC men’s chorus

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Performing Arts: Music Division announced that Darrin Hassevoort has been named the new director of the men’s chorus.

Hassevoort currently serves as the chorus master for the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, artistic director for Choral Arts of Chattanooga and director of music and worship at First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga.

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Darrin Hassevoort / Facebook.com photo

His professional resume also includes serving as dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at Chattanooga State Community College, where he was a tenured associate professor of music.

Hassevoort has also soloed with Choral Arts of Chattanooga and with the renowned Atlanta Sacred Chorale.


CBL Properties names Meshel senior vice president of redevelopment

CBL Properties announced in a news release that Jon Meshel has rejoined CBL as senior vice president – redevelopment after spending the last three years overseeing mixed-used redevelopments at Centennial.

Prior to joining Centennial in 2019, he spent 20 years at CBL working on all aspects of regional mall and mixed-use projects.

“As we ramp up our redevelopment program and focus on more mixed-use projects, Jon’s institutional knowledge of CBL, his recent experience at Centennial and his skill set developed over the course of his more than 20-year career will be incredibly valuable,” said Stephen D. Lebovitz, chief executive officer, CBL Properties in the same release. “We are pleased to welcome Jon back to the team and look forward to his contributions to CBL’s future growth.”

During his time at Centennial, he acted as a project leader handling project visioning, master planning, public incentives, entitlements, and joint-venture deal structure to deliver outstanding overall project execution. His projects included Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, Illinois; Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois; and Connecticut Post in Milford, Connecticut.

In his prior role at CBL, he served as vice president – redevelopment and led the execution of over 20 anchor box redevelopment projects. Between 2013-2019, he was responsible for more than 3.5 million square feet of large format retail transactions. Prior to that, he had direct involvement in over $800 million of ground-up development projects.


Miller & Martin adds three local attorney

The Chattanooga-based law firm of Miller & Martin announced it has added three experienced attorneys in the firm’s Chattanooga office: Jennie Brooks Corley, Russ Swafford and Evan Sharber.

“One of our strategic priorities for 2022 is to continue to add depth and experience in our high-demand practice areas,” Miller & Martin’s Chairman Scott Parrish said in the release. “By adding these highly qualified attorneys, the firm’s platform will be strengthened, and we will continue to be able to service the complex legal needs of our clients with the expertise and skill with which they are accustomed.”

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Jennie Corley

Corley, a business and regulatory lawyer with 10 years of experience, joined the firm’s Corporate group as an associate. Prior to joining Miller & Martin and relocating to Chattanooga, she was a public policy advisor with the Nashville office of Bass, Berry & Sims. She focuses her practice on state legislative and regulatory issues and general corporate matters. She advises clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, utilities, financial services, agricultural services, distilled spirits and others. Corley also advises clients with respect to federal and Tennessee campaign finance laws, with a special focus on the formation and governance of political action committees.

She holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She is licensed in Tennessee.

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Russ Swafford

Swafford is a litigation associate with six years of experience as an attorney, including previously serving as Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida and as a law clerk for two federal judges of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, U.S. District Judge Pamela L. Reeves and U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher H. Steger. Swafford concentrates his practice in the areas of civil litigation, labor and employment, government investigations and white-collar criminal defense.

Swafford is also a Captain in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps., serving as an assistant staff judge advocate for the 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida providing a full range of legal services to the U.S. Air Force, its mission partners and service members of all military branches.

He holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and Accounting from Lee University. He is licensed in Tennessee and pending admission in Florida.

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Evan Sharber

Sharber is an associate in Miller & Martin’s Commercial group and previously practiced with Baker Donelson in Chattanooga. He concentrates his practice on real estate development and financing, commercial finance and economic development transactions. Sharber has experience in representing both lenders and borrowers in HUD-insured loans in the multifamily and senior housing industries. He has closed dozens of loans insured by HUD, handled hundreds of interest rate reduction loan modifications under the LEAN program and represented HUD lenders in various asset management matters.

Sharber previously served as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Bob Corker in Washington, D.C., and interned with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Suzanne H. Bauknight. He holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and an undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University. He is licensed in Tennessee.


Friends of the Festival board adds Freeman and Mincy

Friends of the Festival, the umbrella organization for Riverbend Festival, Riverfront Nights, and other local events, announced EPB’s Evann Freeman and local attorney Chrissy Mincy have been added to their board.

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Evann Freeman

Freeman joined EPB as director of government relations in 2019 and leads government relations and economic development efforts for the utility. Prior to that time, Freeman spent a decade in government relations working for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who brokered the deal that lead to the Music Modernization act, according to a news release.

Freeman sees his role at EPB as an opportunity to focus his public policy efforts on community benefit and coalition building in his hometown of Chattanooga.

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Chrissy Mincy

He is joined as a new member of the board by Chrissy Mincy, founding attorney of Mincy Law, PLLC. Mincy is known for her capable and compassionate advice and counsel to families, specializing in divorce and child custody litigation.

Prior to her legal career, Mincy worked extensively in live music production, including working for multiple venues across the Southeast and a major record label, and has remained passionate about live music.

— Compiled by Brandi Dixon

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