The 30-year-old Leadership Blount County has announced its Class of 2021 — 36 people who will learn about virtually every aspect of the community.

They will join more than 900 Leadership Blount alumni who have pledged to dedicate themselves to the county’s welfare.

Despite the unique challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Leadership Blount’s board of directors said it is committed to an impactful and memorable class for 2021.

“We are living in unprecedented times where leadership is critical and building on the foundation of prior Leadership Blount classes is vitally important,” said board Chair Tony Thompson.“The safety of the class, partners and staff is our foremost concern.”

Here is the class of 2021:

Lisa Atkinson

Lisa Atkinson

Lisa Atkinson

Company/Organization: United Way of Blount County

Title: community resource coordinator

Hometown: Hendersonville, North Carolina

Education: Hendersonville High School; bachelor’s degree in sociology, Wake Forest University; The National Center for Paralegal Training; Med Curriculum and Instruction, Lincoln Memorial University

Affiliations: Connect.Lead.Serve. Club; Trauma Informed Community advisory board; Domestic Violence Task Force; Community Health Initiative; Rotary; Autism Speaks; St. Jude’s Heroes; Be Aware Blount; Blount County Homebrewers; Tennessee Winter Beer Fest; Wake Forest University Student Union; National Honor Society; Girl Scouts; Young Life; First Farragut UMC; Foothill Striders

Ari Baker

Ari Baker

Ari Baker

Company/Organization: Blount County Public Library

Title: education services manager

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Heritage High School; bachelor’s in sociology, and Nonprofit Management Certificate, Maryville College; master’s in information sciences, University of Tennessee

Affiliations: program coordinator for Blount County Recovery Court Life Skills Program; Cormac McCarthy Literary Festival coordinator; Arconic Global Manufacturing internship coordinator; Blount Pride organizer; steering committee member, The Stay Together Appalachian Youth Project; Public Libraries Roundtable chair, Tennessee Library Association; board member, Adult Education Foundation of Blount County.

Sarah Calkin

Sarah Calkin

Sarah Calkin

Company/Organization: Express Strategic Services

Title: business development manager

Hometown: Powell, Tennessee

Education: Powell High School; bachelor’s in communications, Carson Newman College

Affiliations: president, Junior Service League of Maryville; Leadership Monroe County; Faith Promise Church member; Junior Service League of Maryville sustainer board member

Jennifer Coffin

Jennifer Coffin

Jennifer Coffin

Company/Organization: SmartBank

Title: branch sales manager\vice president

Hometown: Louisville

Education: Alcoa High School; bachelor’s in criminal justice, East Tennessee State University

Affiliations: board member, United Way of Blount County; board member, Community Food Connection; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; NAACP; SHADES of HOPE; St. John Missionary Baptist Church; ALCOA Foundation board

Donnelle Curran

Donnelle Curran

Donnelle Curran

Company/Organization: Simmons Bank

Title: retail branch manager

Hometown: Texarkana, Texas

Education: Pleasant Grove High School, Texarkana; BBA, Southern Arkansas University; MBA, Southern Arkansas University

Affiliations: United Way Campaign cabinet; Blount County Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Committee; Blount Partnership Ambassador Program; Kingdom Design Ministries board of directors; United Way Champion program; Women Supporting Women in Business Partners in Business East TN; Junior Achievement

Caitlin Darras

Caitlin Darras

Caitlin Darras

Company/Organization: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Title: senior public relations specialist

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; bachelor’s in communications, University of Tennessee Knoxville; MBA, University of Memphis

Affiliations: board member and Executive Committee, United Way of Blount County; opresident, Volunteer Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

Art Douglass

Art Douglass

Art Douglass

Company/Organization: Tennessee Air National Guard

Title: deputy mission support commander

Hometown: Seymour

Education: Seymour High School; U.S. Air Force basic military training; associate’s in information systems technology, Community College of the Air Force

Affiliations: member, Oak City Baptist Church; deputy commander, 134th Mission Support Group; president, Seymour High School Baseball Booster Club; National Guard Association of Tennessee; 134th Security Forces Sergeants Association; Reserve Officer Association

Brandon Everhart

Brandon Everhart

Brandon Everhart

Company/Organization: LeConte Realty

Title: Realtor

Hometown: Maryville

Education: William Blount High; University of Tennessee; Tennessee real estate license

Affiliations: Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America; volunteer and staff, Young Life; United Way of Blount County; Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home; Alabama Baptist Children’s Home; Victory Health Partners

Charles Garner

Chuck Garner

Chuck Garner

Company/Organization: Blount County Sheriff’s Office

Title: administrative lieutenant

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Heritage High School: associate’s, Pellissippi State Community College; Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy

Affiliations: Blount County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy and Alumni Academy; Blount County Sheriff’s Office STAND (Sheriff and Teens Against Negligent Driving) camp; Shop with a Cop Blount County; Blount County Republican Executive Committee; Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge #9 executive board; Blount County United Youth Academy; Blount County K9 Association

Greg Hathcock

Greg Hathcock

Greg Hathcock

Company/Organization: Blount County Schools

Title: educator

Hometown: Seymour

Education: bachelor’s in elementary education, Wingate University; master’s in elementary education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Affiliations: board member, TN Secret Safe Place for Newborns; board member, Maryville-Alcoa Flying Dolphins Swim Team; planning board, Greater Blount Aquatics; deacon, Sunday school teacher, camp volunteer, musical drama performer and Upward Basketball coach, Mount Lebanon Baptist Church; parent volunteer coordinator, Heritage High School Swim Team; Turkey Trot for Education; Goggled Gobbler; Marine Mud Run; Wet and Wild Challenge; Knoxventure Race for Big Sisters, Big Brothers; Hold On Be Strong; McGhee Tyson Airport Aviation Academy; Blount County 4-H advisory board

Griffin Hipple

Griffen Hipple

Griffen Hipple

Company/Organization: Alcoa TENN Federal Credit Union

Title: vice president of marketing and community relations

Hometown: Johnson City

Education: Science Hill High School; bachelor’s in history, East Tennessee State University; MBA, Lincoln Memorial University

Affiliations: board member, Haven House; soccer, basketball, baseball and flag football coach; JR Achievers; Special Olympics; Arthritis and Alzheimer Walk; DECA; Samaritan’s Purse; Knoxville Area Credit Unions; Whittenburg Estates Property Owners Association

Amanda Horn

Amanda Horn

Amanda Horn

Company/Organization: SmartBank

Title: vice president\residential lender

Hometown: Etowah, Tennessee

Education: Central High School; Cleveland State Community College; Tennessee mortgage loan originator license

Affiliations: board member, Bounty County Habitat for Humanity; Maryville Alcoa Home Builder Association; Discover Blount; loaned executive, allocations committee, and Gas Day volunteer, United Way of Blount County; president, Hearing and Speech Foundation; BB& T Lighthouse community projects; Girls’ High School Sunday school teacher, Awana leader, and youth leader, Forest Hill Baptist Church; Junior Achievement volunteer; Blount Partnership membership drive

Tracy Jenkins

Tracy Jenkins

Tracy Jenkins

Company/Organization: state of Tennessee

Title: Assistant district attorney

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Alvin C York Institute, Jamestown, Tennessee; bachelor’s, University of Tennessee; JD, University of Tennessee

Affiliations: legislative intern, Nashville; Republican Party; Law Women, University of Tennessee College of Law; Law Review, University of Tennessee College of Law; Sevier Heights Baptist Church

Jeff Jopling

Jeff Jopling

Jeff Jopling

Company/Organization: Country Manor Acres

Title: manager

Hometown: Townsend

Education: Heritage High School; bachelor’s in music, Maryville College

Affiliations: Blount County Commission, District 8; pianist and member, Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church; Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority; Blount Partnership; Blount County Planning Commission; Jeff Jopling Band; Blount County I.T. Committee; Townsend Community Choir; Maryville College Community Choir; Knoxville Opera Company

Katie Kerr

Katie Kerr

Katie Kerr

Company/Organization: Blount County government

Title: purchasing director

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Anderson County High School; bachelor’s in political science, University of Tennessee; JD, Thomas M Cooley Law School

Affiliations: National Institute of Public Procurement; board for Diversity Business Enterprise; East Tennessee Purchasing Association of NIGP; Tennessee Association of Public Purchasing of NIGP; chair, Legislative Committee for TAPP; board of directors, Keep Blount Beautiful; board of directors, Great Smoky Mountain Association; Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing; Experience Your Smokies, Class of 2014; Experience Your Smokies coordinator 2014-16; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee; member of the Tennessee and Florida bars

Trey Klatt

Trey Klatt

Trey Klatt

Company/Organization: Arconic-Tennessee Operations

Title: capital project and engineering leader

Hometown: Long Grove, Illinois

Education: Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois; bachelor’s in civil engineering, Purdue University; MBA, University of Tennessee; Indiana State Board of Registration Certified Engineering Training

Affiliations: Our Lady of Fatima; Wesley Day School; swim team, Green Meadows Country Club; assistant coach, Alcoa Youth Sports; Boy Scouts of America — Pack 88; Alcoa Elementary School PTO; Prime Aquatics; Girls Inc.; Arconic, Inc. STEM Council; Royal Metal Powders Inc.; Smoky Mountain Metals Inc.; Carlex Glass America LLC

Daniel Klingensmith

Dan Klingensmith

Dan Klingensmith

Company/Organization: Maryville College

Title: vice president and dean

Hometown: Beckley, West Virginia

Education: Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, West Virginia; bachelor’s in history, Harvard University; master’s in history, University of Chicago; doctorate in history, University of Chicago

Affiliations: Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, Executive Leadership Institute; Council of Chief Academic Officer, Appalachian College Association; American Historical Association; Southeastern World History Association; American Society for Environmental History

Joy LaForce

Joy LaForce

Joy LaForce

Company/Organization: LaForce Insurance Agency LLC.

Title: owner/agent

Hometown: Greenback

Education: Greenback High School; Pellissippi State Community College

Affiliations: Blount County Animal Center; Blount Partnership; Discover Blount; Haven House; owner of LaForce Lawn Care

Adrienne Lamon

Adrienne Lamon

Adrienne Lamon

Company/Organization: Lamon Jewelers

Title: owner

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; BA, Emory University; graduate gemology degree, Gemological Institute of America

Affiliations: National Association of Jewelry Appraisers; Starlight Gala, Maryville City School Foundation; Hope Gala, American Cancer Society; Women’s Coalition Against Cancer, charter member; Blount County Chamber of Commerce; board member, Knoxville Symphony League; Blount County foster Parent; Habitat for Humanity; Friends of the Smokies; JSE and CGIS PTO; Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries; New Hope

Lakshmie Napagoda

Lakshmie Napagoda

Lakshmie Napagoda

Company/Organization: Compassion Counseling

Title: executive director

Home country: Sri Lanka

Education: high school in Sri Lanka; bachelor’s in psychology, Christian Brothers University; MSW, University of Tennessee; clinical social work license; leadership certificate for nonprofit chief executives via BoardSource

Affiliations: DeNeuville Learning Center for Women, Memphis; COMPASSion Counseling; Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Brian Nix

Brian Nix

Brian Nix

Company/Organization: Alcoa City Schools

Title: teacher/football coach

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; bachelor’s in political science, Maryville College; master’s, University of Tennessee, Martin; EDS, Nova Southeastern University; EDd, Liberty University

Affiliations: director, Alcoa Youth Summer Football Camp; High School Boys Small Group leader, Foothills Church; Alcoa Little League; Youth Basketball Alcoa; Parks and Rec youth girls basketball; speaker, University Of Tennessee Football Coaches Clinic

Scott Nolan

Scott Nolan

Scott Nolan

Company/Organization: CTC Network Group

Title: owner

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Farragut High School; Pellissippi State; University of Tennessee; professional designations: CLCS, commercial lines coverage specialist

Affiliations: ReStore volunteer, Blount County Habitat for Humanity; Family Promise of Blount County; Community Food Connection of Blount County; Great American Shake Our; Slim Fest volunteer; Shop with a Cop; Foothills Fall Festival, children’s adventure area

Vicki Odum

Vicki Odum

Vicki Odum

Company/Organization: Blount Memorial Hospital

Title: director health information\privacy officer

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; Pellissippi Community College; bachelor’s in health information management, University of Alabama, Birmingham; certified in health care privacy compliance, Health Care Compliance Association

Affiliations: Relay For Life; Alzheimer’s Association; American Heart Association; American Health Information Management Association; Tennessee Health Information Management Association; American Academy of Professional Coders; state of Tennessee Notary; board of advisers, Roane State Community College; Second Harvest Food Bank; United Way; Habitat for Humanity; Brownie’s and Girl Scout co-leader and cookie coordinator; Journey of Hope, National Alliance on Mental Health; International Order of Rainbow for Girls, Eastern Star\Masons; candy-striper, Blount Memorial Hospital

Richard Rice

Richard Rice

Richard Rice

Company/Organization: Blount Title Agency Inc./ Costner & Greene, Attorneys

Title: attorney

Hometown: Punta Gorda, Florida

Education: Charlotte High School, Punta Gorda; associates, Manatee Community College; bachelor’s in criminology, University of South Florida; JD, Stetson University College of Law; specialized training: CPR, lifeguard, FAA licensed drone pilot, SCUBA, mediator

Affiliations: Blount County Bar Association; Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games; Discover Blount; Tennessee Land Title Association; Committee to Reelect Phyllis Lee Crisp, Blount County Register of Deeds; Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Saturday Bar volunteer; Rob and Ruby Roberson Foundation 501(c)(3); Maryville Police Department Citizens Police Academy and Alumni Association; Blount County Sheriff Citizens Academy; Hardin Valley Youth Sports volunteer; Blount County Emergency Management Agency TEMA Disaster Response Team training; Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA) Aviation Academy; Medic Regional Blood Center; Society for American Baseball Research; AYSO coach; Blount Partnership; Knoxville Bar Association; Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association; Hardin Valley Academy volunteer; Knoxville Chamber; Little League Baseball coach; Hands and Feet Car Care Ministry; Maryville Alcoa Home Builders Association; American Bar Association; Friends of the Library; Knoxville Area Association of Realtors

David Rule

David Rule

David Rule

Company/Organization: Church and Charles

Title: executive chef

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; Hiwassee College

Affiliations: Leadership Blackberry Farm; Boys and Girls Club of Blount County; Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society

Megan Seaton

Megan Seaton

Megan Seaton

Company/Organization: First Horizon Bank

Title: private client relationship manager

Hometown: Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Education: Clements High School; Northwest Shoals Community College; bachelor’s in exercise science kinesiology, Auburn University; First Horizon East TN Retail Development Program; life insurance and fixed annuity license; FINRA Series 7 & Series 63 license

Affiliations: First Horizon Quality Council member; United Way champion; Blount County Chamber ambassador; Discover Blount; board member, Girls Inc.

Karla Sells-Gourley

Karla Sells-Gourley

Karla Sells-Gourley

Company/Organization: Keller Williams

Title: broker associate\Realtor

Hometown: Maryville

Education: William Blount High School; Pellissippi State Community College; University of Tennessee; state licensing for affiliate broker

Affiliations: board member, County Recovery Court; board member, Haven House; Kingdom Design Ministries; Agent Leadership Council, Keller Williams

Jeremy Stephens

Jeremy Stephens

Jeremy Stephens

Company/Organization: Managing Results LLC

Title: vice president of development and operations

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; bachelor’s in business administration, University of Tennessee; bachelor’s in history, University of Tennessee; MBA in marketing and logistics, University of Tennessee

Affiliations: Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church; University of Tennessee Extension; certified master beef producer, Tennessee Cattleman’s Association; beef quality assurance producer

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas

Company/Organization: Clayton Homes

Title: regional talent manager

Hometown: Maryville

Education: William Blount High School; BBA, East Tennessee State University; MBA, East Tennessee State University

Affiliations: River Oaks Community Church: board member, The Gate; volunteer coach, William Blount High School; Bible study fellowship

Tim Threatt

Tim Threatt

Tim Threatt

Company/Organization: DENSO

Title: director

Hometown: Dover, Tennessee

Education: Stewart County High School; bachelor’s in electrical engineering technology, University of Tennessee, Martin; bachelor’s in electrical engineering, University of Tennessee; master’s in electrical engineering, University of Tennessee; DENSO individual and regional leadership training

Affiliations: DENSO Cultural Change lead; soccer coach, AYSO; president, University of Tennessee IEEE student chapter

Michael Torano

Michael Torano

Michael Torano

Company/Organization: Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Title: donor relations

Hometown: Dallas

Education: high school and some college credits

Affiliations: Maryville Kiwanis; volunteer, Blount County Schools; Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Highland Games; United Way of Blount County; Salvation Army; board member, Marble City Opera; Rossinis Festival International Street Fair; Arts & Cultural Alliance; Arts Build Communities; board member, American Advertising Federation, Knoxville Chapter; Big Kahuna Wing Festival; Wine on the Water, Cystic Fibrosis; Special Olympics Texas

Abhijit Verekar

Abhijit Verekar

Abhijit Verekar

Company/Organization: Avero LLC

Title: president\CEO

Hometown: Goa, India

Education: bachelor of commerce, Goa University; master of commerce, Goa University; MBA, Cleveland State University; project management professional

Affiliations: United Way of Blount County; Tom Hatcher Charity Golf Tournament; Boys and Girls Club of Blount County; Susan G. Komen; Shoot for a Cure; Santa and the Elf; Keep Blount Beautiful; IT Workforce Advisory Committee, Blount Chamber

Tamra Walker

Tamra Walker

Tamra Walker

Company/Organization: Blount County Circuit Court

Title: chief of staff

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Walland High School; Heritage High School; State Technical Institute of Knoxville; University of Tennessee; certified public administrator; chiropractic therapy assistant

Affiliations: board member, Tom Hatcher Charity; Piney Grove Baptist Church; board member, Chilhowee View Community Club; Campaign for Tom Hatcher; Foothills Alzheimer’s Walk; Statewide Purple Out, Alzheimer’s Tennessee; Boys and Girls Club of Blount County; United Way of Blount County; Piney Grove softball; Race Across the State; Bible drill leader; PTO, Montvale School

Kesha Waters

Kesha Waters

Kesha Waters

Company/Organization: CASA

Title: executive director

Hometown: Knoxville

Education: Oak Ridge High School; associate’s in business management, Roane State Community College; T.R.E.E.S. Real Estate School; Haslam College of Business-Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness Program, University of Tennessee

Affiliations: president-elect, Altrusa International; Rotary Club of Oak Ridge; United Way of Blount County; Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley; Girls Inc.; Shoes for School; Freedom School of Knoxville; Women’s Fund of East Tennessee; Women in Business; Leadership Oak Ridge, Class of 2020

Brad White

Brad White

Brad White

Company/Organization: Maryville City Schools

Title: assistant principal, Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School

Hometown: Clinton, Tennessee

Education: Clinton High School; bachelor’s in multidisciplinary studies in human learning, Tennessee Technological University; master’s in curriculum and instruction, Lincoln Memorial University; EdS administration and supervision, Lincoln Memorial

Affiliations: Blount Community Church; Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development; Maryville Little League; Parks and Recreation

Leslie Wilkerson

Leslie Wilkerson

Leslie Wilkerson

Company/Organization: Clayton Homes

Title: digital sales and marketing manager

Hometown: Maryville

Education: Maryville High School; communications, East Tennessee State University

Affiliations: Junior Service League; Toys for Blount County; Junior Service League sustainer board; Maryville Little Rebs cheerleading coach; Maryville Little League coach

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