Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn., Business Digest column

Chattanooga Times Free Press |

--FirstBank names Lusk as Hixson branch manager

Hixson native and 30-year banking veteran Lisa Lusk has been named vice president and Financial Center manager of FirstBank's Hixson branch office. In her new role, Lusk will oversee financial center operations, spearhead new customer acquisition and manage the customer experience.

"Lisa's varied and extensive background in banking makes her the perfect fit to lead our Hixson Financial Center," said Jim McKenzie, Chattanooga city president. "She is a strong leader in sales and communications, which will lead to an expanded customer base and enhanced customer experience in Hixson."

Prior to joining FirstBank, Lusk was the vice president and branch sales manager for Regions Bank, where she worked in positions such as mortgage loan originator to marketing director. Her sales performance and branch management earned her numerous awards.

Lusk is a graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tenn., where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in finance, business management and human resource management.

Hammontree joins Food Bank

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank has hired Melanie Hammontree as its Northwest Georgia development officer. Hammontree, a third generation Daltonian, will be based out of the Food Bank's Dalton office.

With prior experience in the banking industry at Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo), Hammontree has spent the past 13 years working with various nonprofits in the Dalton area.

Most recently, she worked at Dalton Arts Project and the Dance Theatre of Dalton, as well as served as president of the Dalton Middle School Booster Club.

"Combining Melanie's expertise and dedication for our mission with her passion for serving her friends and neighbors in the Northwest Georgia community will allow the Food Bank to support our nine counties more effectively and efficiently," said Gina Crumbliss, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

Hammontree attended Dalton public schools, earned an Associate of Science degree from Dalton State College and a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in psychology from Kennesaw State University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and serves as a committee member for Dalton Arts Project.

Siskin therapist earns therapy certification

Siskin Hospital announces that Vickie Blalock, PT, has recently completed all the requirements for Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy.

This certification is awarded by the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy.

Blalock is a physical therapist in Siskin Hospital's Outpatient NeuroRecovery Program who specializes in amputee and lymphedema. She is certified in LSVT BIG therapy, a specialized treatment protocol for patients with Parkinson's disease, and during her 33 years of clinical experience has treated many patients with CVA and Multiple Sclerosis diagnoses.

BlueCross names Hocking chief actuary

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has selected Jeff Hocking as senior vice president and chief actuary.

In this new role, Hocking will be responsible for oversight, strategic leadership and analytical best practices for all actuarial functions supporting all lines of business at BlueCross. He also will provide strategic counsel and analysis for decision support related to pricing and rate negotiations, claims reserves, forecasting, and other budgeting and reporting needs.

Hocking joined BlueCross in 1999 as an actuarial assistant and has held several leadership roles throughout his 18 years with the company.

Most recently, Hocking served as vice president of commercial pricing and analytics, where he led commercial market pricing, forecasting and financial analysis efforts.

"As a leader, Jeff has consistently demonstrated his expertise and ability to work for and across all areas of the company," said John Giblin, executive vice president and chief financial officer at BlueCross. "His skills and experience have strengthened our organization in ways that enable us to more fully achieve our mission of providing peace of mind for our members."

Hocking earned a Bachelor of Science in actuarial studies from Southern Adventist University. He has been a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and an associate in the Society of Actuaries since .

Todd heads development for Real Estate Partners

Real Estate Partners Chattanooga LLC has named Chris Todd its director of professional development. In this newly created position, Todd is director and facilitator of the new Partners Work2Win agent career development program.

The new Work2Win program will join the ongoing core curriculum courses taught by veteran real estate educator Pam Duffy, director of training and the popular agent collaboration "Mornings with Mary" workshops facilitated by Mary Sanders.

"Chris brings energy, structure, accountability and a great record of success in working with both new agents to jump-start their careers and experienced agents to attain higher levels of sales production," said Darlene Brown, president of Real Estate Partners.

Todd is a certified trainer with a strong career performance history in pharmaceutical, industrial and tech sales before embarking on a real estate career shortly after relocating to Chattanooga. Todd, his wife, Kay, and their two children live on Signal Mountain.

The Work2Win program also offers "transparency" to new agents working to build their real estate business, according to Ryan May, business resource and development director for the company.



"To be successful and productive in the real estate industry, a strong work ethic must be the foundation. We are giving our real estate professionals the tools to work to win in their business and in our profession as well," May said.

Murray wins award as Contractor of the Year

Lee Murray, president and owner of Competition Athletic Surfaces in Chattanooga, has been honored by Tennis Industry Magazine and the American Sports Builders Association with the Tennis Court Contractor of the Year Award for 2017.

Murray received the national honor for his company's outstanding construction projects, his contributions to the ASBA Newsline and his attendance at technical meetings.

Murray began working in the seal coating and paving industry after graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1975 with a degree in industrial engineering. Later, the company migrated into tennis and track. Today, after 40 years in the business, Competition Athletic Surfaces focuses on indoor and outdoor courts, running tracks and other recreational surfaces.

"I'm the kind of person who likes to stand back at the end of the day and see what I accomplished," Murray said. "I can measure what I got done and whether I think it was good. You also know you're creating spaces for people to go outside and do something healthy."

Chattanooga law firm joins Rainey, Kizer firm

Rainey, Kizer, Reviere and Bell, PLC announce the opening of its Chattanooga office, continuing the firm's expansion across Tennessee.

The new office will be staffed by the attorneys of the Chattanooga firm of Baker, Kinsman, Hollis & Clelland, P.C., founded in 1984, as the entire firm joins Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC.

With the addition of Baker, Kinsman's attorneys, Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC will have more than 40 attorneys serving its clients from its five offices across Tennessee.

Attorneys joining the Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC firm are N. Mark Kinsman, Joe Hollis, Wilfred "Fred" Clelland, and Stephany Pedigo.

Tech Council adds Phillips and Ying

Chattanooga Technology Council (ChaTech) has hired Melissa Phillips as office administrator and John Ying as event manager and marketing coordinator.

Phillips joins ChaTech from Life Care Centers of America, where she worked as a corporate accountant for 13 years. Phillips graduated from UTC with an accounting degree and MBA.

Ying will manage all ChaTech's events, ranging from monthly networking meetings to fundraising events. He also will double as the marketing coordinator, amplifying ChaTech's mission. Ying is a graduate of University of Maryland and is a 2016 Leadership Chattanooga alumni.

"I am excited about the skills and experience that John and Melissa bring to ChaTech," said executive director Carla Askonas. "Their expertise will take ChaTech programs and services to the next level as a membership organization serving technology-related and tech-enabled businesses across the region.

Amador team joins Signature Brokers

Husband and wife team Walter and Vanessa Amador have joined BHGRE Signature Brokers, Ooltewah. The duo comes from Florida. Walter brings his 19 years of experience from Nestle Waters North America, where his teams were always recognized among top performers in the industry.

Vanessa began her journey in real estate 15 years ago and says she is very excited to serve the people of North Georgia and Chattanooga. Together, the team brings more than 20 years of customer service, sales and real estate experience.

Crash Creative adds staff, relocates office

Local web development and marketing team Crash Creative rang in the new year in a new office space with a growing team.

With the addition of a content specialist and new project manager assistant, the now 15-person strong team had outgrown its former space in The Edney. Now located on the second floor of the Loveman's Building, Crash Creative is ready and excited for growth opportunity, said founder Brian Chaney.

Crash Creative added content specialist Gabrielle Chevalier, who previously worked as a writer and assistant editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and its various publications, including Chatter and Get Out magazines.

"Online marketing is always evolving, and keeping a finger on the pulse of those changes and knowing how word choices factor into the success of a campaign or website are my focus every day," Chevalier said.

Kristjan Grimson joined the Crash team from another successful Chattanooga start-up: Bellhops Moving.

"Stepping into this new role as project manager assistant couldn't be a better fit," he said. "With so many ongoing projects and balls to juggle, I get to make sure our team isn't just meeting but exceeding client expectations."

Dr. Bozzone certified in lifestyle medicine

Dr. Suzannah Bozzone, an Erlanger Family Medicine physician, is one of only two Tennessee doctors and PhD/masters-level health clinicians to be certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM)/American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

After participating in a rigorous board certification process, only 240 physicians and health care clinicians became the first medical professionals in the world earning board certification in the new field of lifestyle medicine.

Lifestyle Medicine, defined by the ACLM, is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, tobacco cessation, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse chronic disease.

Business News is published each Sunday. Information about new hires, promotions and business awards should be sent to onthemove@timesfreepress.com.

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