Mentor Image

Business Mentor Program

At the Joseph F. Decosimo Success Center in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, we are providing resources for our students to become “Business World Ready” as they launch their careers.  One of those resources is the Business Mentor Program available to sophomore, junior, and senior students. Undergraduates engage in the program for academic credit through BUS2900.

The mentors who make up the Business Mentor Program are experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge with upper level students to help develop life skills for success. The mentor acts as a coach and role model to support a student with his/her personal and professional growth. The program provides a great opportunity for professionals to counsel and influence the next generation of business leaders. Being a mentor provides personal satisfaction as well as the ability to increase the workforce readiness of future recruits. Mentors rotate every semester.

The objectives of the mentor/mentee relationship are to help students:

  • Bring career goals into focus
  • Become ready for the workforce
  • Increase business connections  and network strategically
  • Enhance professional development
  • Open doors of opportunity for future internships, jobs  and career success

Business Mentor Bench

Brittany Fulmer Ennen

Erlanger Health System - Business Development Manager

After moving from her home town of Maryville, TN to Chattanooga 5 years ago- Brittany Fulmer Ennen has focused on family and business.  She has flourished in the sales atmosphere for 10+ years now.  Brittany started her career in membership sales.  After gaining experience, she moved to the medical device industry for 7 years.  Currently, she is in the business development role for Erlanger Health System.  After graduating as a student- athlete, Brittany advanced with her Masters in Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.   While obtaining her Masters, she enjoyed teaching public speaking, and has continued mentoring students throughout her career.   Professionally her passions include teaching individuals how to be a resource in a sales/business development atmosphere through networking and building quality relationships.  In her spare time, she also enjoys strategic planning and sales consulting with small organizations in the local area.   

Brittany currently lives on Signal Mountain with her husband and two children. 


Work philosophy: Respect yourself and others, Learn to be a Great Communicator, Don’t just work Hard, Work Smart. Listen, Learn, and Communicate Effectively.

Best Advice for Students: Understand the industry:  the positives and negatives, how to advance, and what your competition is doing- BEFORE YOU GET THE JOB.   

Type of student I hope to mentor: I look forward to working with any student who is motivated and driven.  I remember not being sure of what I wanted to do.  If you are willing to network, and ask the right questions we will get you on the right path.  

Melissa Crane

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - Senior Service Manager, Transmission Solutions, Information Technology

Melissa Crane is the Senior Service Manager of Transmission Solutions within the Information Technology organization at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  In her role, she is responsible for providing Information Technology solutions and support for her business partner, Transmission Power Supply.  Melissa and her team regularly interact with all levels of the business to provide real-time support of applications that allow Transmission Power Supply to provide reliable services to local power providers and directly served customers across the valley. 

Melissa has worked for TVA for over 15 years, starting in their intern program.  Melissa previously served in multiple leadership roles for the agency, leading successful cross organizational teams.  As Senior Manager of Enterprise Services, she was responsible for services supporting the enterprise including enterprise information management and solutions, software architecture and data integration, enterprise content management, and enterprise collaboration solutions.   As Senior Program Manager for the Office of the CIO, she provided expert advice and strategic direction to the CIO and IT senior leadership on a wide variety of business, technical, and organizational effectiveness matters.  Melissa has also served as Manager of Business Analysis in Enterprise Solutions Delivery where she built a team of IT business analysts to support development and documentation of business requirements for IT projects, and established consistent management approaches for the entire TVA business applications portfolio.  Under Melissa’s leadership, increased demand from business partners led to the team growing ten-fold. 

Melissa was raised in Chattanooga and graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a BS in Marketing and MBA.  She enjoys spending her free time travelling to Disney with her two children and husband.  Melissa also enjoys ballet and running and is training for her tenth half-marathon.

Work Philosophy:  Don’t spend all your time worrying about that next step in your career, that next big opportunity, and lose focus on your current role.  Of course have thought around your future plans, but do your best in your current role.  Give your current role focus, time, and energy and the opportunities will come.

Best Advice for Students:  Don’t allow your degree to confine you.  You’re not limited to a specific profession just because you may have a major in a certain business area.  Think creatively and be open to new opportunities as you start your career.

Type of student I hope to mentor: I don't have anything firm in mind, but I hope we enjoy each other's company!

Ken Jones

EPB - Manager, Fiber Design and GIS

Ken was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN and always enjoyed tinkering with things growing up.  He would take things apart to see how they worked and, for the most part, put them back together.  In high school, Ken studied electronics and learned how to repair PCB (printed circuit board), however he never finished high school, obtaining a GED instead.  As an electronics technician, Ken was very proficient and was introduced to the telecommunications field in the 1990s.  This is where Ken really found his passion.  Working in infrastructure cabling for computer networks, phone systems, cable TV systems, and fiber optics networks provides him with a great sense of purpose. 

Ken started working for EPB in 2000, starting as a network technician and quickly promoted to senior network technician, and then again to supervisor, and once more to Project Consultant where he managed projects for EPB’s fiber optics network.  In 2005, Ken realized how important it was to pursue a college education.  Ken attended Chattanooga State Technical Community College where he obtained an Associate Degree in Electrical Electronics Engineering in 2007.  He later pursued an undergrad degree in Entrepreneurship.  Ken enrolled in UTC’s College of Business in 2014 and completed the degree in 2017.  In 2015, the midst of pursing his undergrad degree, Ken was promoted again to manager of EPB’s Fiber Optics department.  Ken is a proud alumnus of UTC and is currently pursuing an MBA in business analytics through UTC Professional MBA program. In September 2017, EPB created a GIS department under Ken’s leadership.

Work Philosophy: Find something you are passionate about!  We have enough things in life to think about so let’s make sure, when we are spending our time at the office, it’s something we are drawn too and enjoy!

Best Advice for Students: Make your contacts count.  Do prejudge people base on any bias you have.  You never know who you are talking to when you meet someone.  Furthermore you never know who you will help with just something as simple as a smile.  Get to know people and their story.  Don’t look at where they are and think they woke up at that point in their life.  There’s a story behind it.

The type of student I hope to mentor: I enjoy mentoring anyone who has a desire to make a difference.  It doesn’t matter where they come from, where they been, or the challenges they have faced.  If they are willing to get even 1%, then the options are limitless.

Jenelle Hawkins

Vision Hospitality Group - Corporate Training & Development Manager

With over fifteen years of experience in the hospitality industry, Jenelle joined Vision Hospitality in 2017 as an expert in identifying, developing, and conducting unique training programs and professional courses. Jenelle studied Music Education at the University of Tennessee. Though she enjoyed her field of study, she was attracted to the interactive environment hospitality offered, and in 2006, she accepted a position with the Sheraton Read House Hotel, a 241 room historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, TN. Within the Read House, she transitioned to several management positions in which she facilitated numerous training sessions that enhanced company culture and best practices. Jenelle’s passion to help others become stronger workers then led her to accept her most previous position as Training and Development Manager for Stokely Hospitality Enterprises, one of East Tennessee’s largest employers in the hospitality industry. 

Currently, Jenelle is responsible for the management of all training initiatives, which includes maintaining and implementing Vision’s digital training program, Vision University. In addition, she designs and develops learning materials and curricula based on identified needs, ensuring that all training procedures are aligned with Vision’s core values and business objectives. 

Work Philosophy: No matter what career field you find yourself in, focus less on tasks and more on people.

Best Advice for Students Develop relationships with trusted professionals so they can advise you and open doors of opportunity.

Type of student I hope to mentor:  Anyone who is willing to accept some self-awareness and have an open mind.

Samuel Riggan

BlueCross BlueShield TN - HR Project Manager

Samuel Riggan is a Human Resources Project Manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.  Sam has over 10 years of experience in a variety of HR disciplines and companies which prepared him for his current role.  His primary interest in HR is Training and Development such that he believes having strong academic foundations can provide valuable insights to companies in a variety of industries.  Sam most recently completed his MS degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the UTC program in May 2014 however he previously received his MA degree in Research Psychology from Northern Arizona University earlier in his career.  As a continuous learner, Sam believes that making higher and continuing education a priority is important to success at a professional level. 

Sam has held positions in a variety of industries ranging from insurance to manufacturing and retail sales to the non-profit sector.  At a professional level, Sam has held Talent Acquisition and Project Management roles at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee where he has been able to recruit for positions across the company and coordinate projects involving all facets of HR – including but not limited to: analytics, compensation, diversity, and organizational development.  Prior to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Sam held roles at Shaw industries, Park Center Inc., and Harry & David.  At Shaw Industries, he served as an intern to develop training metrics, conduct employee investigations, and create/implement an employee development program.  At Park Center Inc (non-profit mental health center), he held the role of an employment specialist and primarily trained members of the center on employment skills, educated community and business leaders on mental illness, and advocated for members throughout the Metro-Nashville area.  At Harry & David, he worked in a supervisory capacity focusing on cultivating relationships in his assigned region to rank in the top 10 of 150 locations in business-to-business sales.  Furthermore, he partnered with corporate trainers to evaluate and draft a training program that was implemented at our locations throughout the country.

Work Philosophy: As a professional, I strive to facilitate a culture of collaboration in the projects that I manage daily.  The benefits of facilitating a culture of collaboration are evidenced anecdotally and supported by research.  As a project manager, this strategy is key to the success of my day-to-day tasks but can foster innovation, organizational commitment, and continuous improvement in order to better the organization as a whole.

Best Advice for Students: As a student not too long ago, I would encourage future professionals not to be afraid to take risks which may come in the form of a nontraditional career path.  Personally, I have worked in a variety of industries with diverse groups of individuals which can provide valuable perspectives and experiences that can guide your career path.  Furthermore, it is important to understand that a linear path to your goal might not be the most valuable route. 

The type of student I hope to mentor: My experience in HR affords me the benefit of being able to speak to a variety of disciplines so I don’t necessarily need a mentee with a defined direction/discipline, but I am hoping to work with someone eager to learn.

Morgen Rose

Signal Centers - Accounting Coordinator

Morgen is originally from Chattanooga and has both her Bachelors and Masters in Accounting from UTC.  She has worked in Financial Accounting and Internal Audit for 10+ years, first at Life Care Centers of America in Cleveland, followed by Covenant Transport in Lookout Valley, and then at EPB in downtown Chattanooga. 

Currently, she works on multiple grant program accounting, and supervising the accounting department of Signal Centers, a non-profit that serves local children and families. She deeply believes that having a job where you can make a difference and feel like you are giving back is far more rewarding than filling out spreadsheets and tossing them into the abyss.

Morgen is a Certified Internal Auditor but is excited to use more of her people skills in the supervisory position she has recently moved into. She enjoys the “people” part of accounting and internal audit, translating numbers into useful information for management and improving processes.  Accounting has always felt like organization more than math, and new office supplies are a constant source of excitement.

Work Philosophy: You spend more time at your job than you do during the rest of your day anywhere else, so make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, the people you work with, and the company you represent. If you don’t, decide what needs to change, and take the steps to make those changes.

Best Advice for Students: Take every opportunity you can – participate in clubs, go on job shadows, apply for internships, work a part time job, go to speakers and ask questions. Any information you can piece together about the world you’re about to enter with your degree will help you to decide what will and will not work for you. Sometimes you learn the most about yourself when you figure out what you do NOT want to do.

The type of student I hope to mentor:  Proactive student who takes ownership and makes an effort to get involved.

Tyler Baldonado

Ken Garner Manufacturing - HR Manager

Tyler was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and moved to Chattanooga, TN in 2011. In college she was a dual sport athlete in volleyball and tennis and received her Bachelor’s degree in Business from Piedmont College. In her current role, she is the Human Resource Manager for Ken Garner Manufacturing. KGM is a company that manufactures counterweights for heavy industrial equipment for companies like Komatsu, Caterpillar, and John Deere.

In addition to Manufacturing, she has spent time in the fields of Transportation, Staffing, Construction, Chemicals, and Insurance.

Tyler is currently in the Young Professionals of Chattanooga Protégé Program through the Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the YPC Professional Development committee. In this position Tyler works with a group of individuals to create and execute events that will help mold future leaders in the community. 

Outside of work, Tyler enjoys spending time with her golden retriever, Scout (5).  She also enjoys hiking, biking, paddle boarding and spending time visiting new places.

Work Philospohy: Have a strong work ethic.

Best Advice for Students: As a former recruiter, I can’t emphasize how important it is to network. And 90% of networking is just showing up. Get involved in things you enjoy doing – whether it’s joining a sports league, signing up for a school club, volunteering in the community, just show up and be seen! Chattanooga is a small enough city that knowing the right people can be a huge asset. My boss is someone I previously recruited!

Type of student I hope to mentor: Anyone who is interested in aspects of HR and business. I didn’t know HR existed when I was in school. I had an amazing boss that gave me the opportunity to try something new which eventually led me to my dream job.  If you are open to learning new things, I would love to be your mentor!

George Todd

Enel X-  Senior Energy Analyst

George is a Senior Energy Analyst at Enel X in the Advisory Solutions organization. In his role, he is responsible for analyzing energy market fundamentals, summarizing customer portfolio performance, and assisting with customer-specific strategic planning. He works with customers across all industries and geographies, but is the lead analyst supporting two Fortune 100 customers. George works with the rest of the Advisory Solutions organization team members to deliver industry-leading products and services to support and optimize customer operations.

George started his energy career at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as an intern in the Structuring and Portfolio Management group. Upon completion of his internship, he started his analytical background as an Energy Marketing Strategist supporting TVA’s Natural Gas Origination and Power Marketing groups. He worked with many other analytical functions across the organization to help deliver commodity purchase decisions to support TVA’s $3B commodity portfolio. At the beginning of 2015, George pursued an opportunity in the retail energy industry at small retail supplier based out of North Carolina. As a Senior Pricing and Structure Analyst, George was responsible for maintaining pricing for over 500+ electricity and natural gas products, supporting Mid-Market Commercial sales, and working with a cross-functional team to launch Alberta and Ontario operations. In late 2017, he joined Enel X as a Senior Energy Analyst. Through the experience he gained at TVA and in retail energy, George provides analytical insights to customers with annual energy spends ranging from $3M to over $150M.

George is an East Tennessee native, growing up in Oak Ridge, TN. He currently resides in Ooltewah with his daughter and dog. George attended UTC for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees, earning a B.S.B.A. in Finance and a Master of Business Administration. While at UTC, he served on the College of Business Student Leadership Council and was the President of the Financial Management Association. George is an outdoorsman, avid runner and athlete, and a proud father.

Work philosophy: Never pass up an opportunity to learn something new. With increased automation and higher expectations, showing initiative to learn something new and adapt to changing environments will increase your value. Perfect examples: at TVA I learned to code using VBA and MATLAB; at my second career stop I learned SQL; today I leverage all of that knowledge to optimize my work load. Work smarter, not harder – this leads to a better work/life balance.

Best advice for Students: Every class you have, every relationship you have, all experiences you have, good or bad, are preparing you for your future.

Type of student I hope to mentor: I want to mentor someone who is humble and eager to learn. I struggled for a few years with self-confidence and presenting in front of people, but I’ve learned how to become a leader, take roadblocks in stride, and break out of my shell. Now I want to help someone else break out.

Gil Milton

Crye-Leike Realtors - Managing Broker

Gil Milton is the Managing Broker for the Signal Mountain Office for Crye-Leike Realtors.  Gil has been with Crye-Leike Realtors since March 2006.  He has been a Multi-Million Dollar Producer for Crye-Leike Realtors in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 achieving Life Time Multi-Million Dollar Producer Status.  He has been the Managing Broker at Signal Mountain since February 2017. Areas of expertise include: marketing, management, and sales. 

Gil graduated from UTC in May 1993 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing.  While at UTC he was President of the Marketing Club for one year.

Gil serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board at Notre Dame High School.  He has also served on the Board of Deacons at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, and as Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Memorial Golf Tournament for Jim Phifer in 2006 and 2007.  Gil lives on Missionary Ridge with his wife Julie.  They have five children Joseph Romeo (UTC ’19), Nicholas Romeo (UTC Student), Ally Romeo, Sophie Romeo, and Colin Milton.

Work Philospohy: Treat others as you want to be treated, work as smart as you do hard, have a plan.

Best Advice for Students: After Graduation, be humble and rely on the experience and the advice of others.  You have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. 

Type of student I hope to mentor: A student who has a plan to graduate, a desire to listen, learn, and make others around them better.

Bryce Thomas

Northwestern Mutual -  Managing Director (Chattanooga)

Bryce joined Northwestern Mutual as a financial advisor in 2006. He played baseball and graduated magna cum laude from Carson Newman college with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Political Science. As a financial advisor, he helps clients accomplish their short, mid, and long term financial goals. In 2011, he was appointed Managing Director. The managing director role is designed to be a “player-coach”. He continues to help his clients achieve their goals and also attracts and mentors new advisors in Chattanooga and surrounding cities. He owes his success to God, parents that had high expectations of him, an amazing wife, and a great team.

Work philosophy: Most people determine their success by how they are doing compared to their past and compared to their peers. What if we approached life based on our potential?

Best advice for Students: Every class you have, every relationship you have, all experiences you have, good or bad, are preparing you for your future.

Type of student I hope to mentor: Motivated, committed, and eager to grow.

Melody Peace

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - Senior Manager, Regulatory Assurance

Melody is a TN licensed CPA with a career spanning audit, tax, forensic investigations, risk, treasury, and project and change management.  After joining TVA in 2009, Melody supported Power Supply and Fuels, Coal and Gas Operations, Information Technology, and Nuclear Operations as a manager in the Financial Operations and Performance organization in TVA Financial Services.  In 2017, Melody transitioned to the role of Senior Manager of Regulatory Assurance and Compliance under TVA’s Office of General Counsel.  In her current role, she has the opportunity to fulfill TVA’s mission to serve the people of the Tennessee Valley by influencing Local Power Companies to charge the lowest feasible rates and ensure compliance with TVA’s wholesale power contract.  Melody holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Tennessee Technological University.  She currently lives in Georgia and works in Chattanooga, but her favorite place to be is camping and cooking outside in Lodge Dutch Ovens with her three kids and husband in the mountains of Northeast TN.

Work Philosophy:

  • Maintain a strategic focus to ensure you are working on the issues that make the greatest positive impact to your customers and the people you serve.
  • Always seek ways to make your product, your team, and the world around you better. Never stop improving.
  • Leaders should serve those people who follow them by finding ways to remove barriers to getting the work done.
  • The greatest leaders do not give people what they want. They give them what they need.

Best Advice for Students: Put your focus on building your foundation, not on climbing a ladder. The broader the foundation, the stronger the foundation.  Ladders fall easily.  Picture your career as a lattice with moves up, sideways and down, allowing you to focus on learning about all aspects of the business.  You will become a more valuable resource for any employer.

Type of Student I Hope to Mentor: Enthusiastic, diligent learner who seeks answers by asking questions and recognizes they don’t know everything but who continues to strive for continuous self improvement. Personality type doesn’t matter, but I would prefer an accounting or finance major.

Jim Ledbetter

Hanover Properties - Owner/Operator

Jim Ledbetter is a small business entrepreneur, who founded Barcom, Inc in 1991.  Barcom is a Chattanooga based technology company focused on data collection, factory automation and supply chain automation.  As President of Barcom, Jim lead a 20-person team of sales, programmers, technicians and support staff.  Jim sold the company in 2007.  Currently Jim owns and operates Hanover Properties, a property management company. 

Jim attended UTC, graduating in 1980 with a BS in Business and a concentration in Marketing.  After graduation, Jim went to work for Burroughs (now Unisys) as a Sales Account Representative, selling mainframe computers and software in the Healthcare industry.  In 1986, he went to work for Wang Labs in an Account Representative role, selling Computers and Applications to select large accounts.  At both Burroughs and Wang, Jim was consistently a top performer and achieved President Club (or equivalent) on numerous occasions.    

Work Philosophy: A quote attributed to Confucius and many others drives my thinking about work “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”.  Though it would be far reaching to say I enjoyed every single day, the days I loved far outweigh any ‘work’ days.  Doing something that you enjoy is the difference between wondering where the day went and looking forward to the next day versus watching a clock and waiting for Friday to arrive.  It’s the difference between feeling proud of your accomplishments and collecting a paycheck. 

Best Advice for Students and Pending Graduates: Test the waters as much as possible and as early as possible.  I firmly believe that students should enter their selected careers with a thorough understanding of what they should expect when they enter the work force.  Before graduating (the earlier the better) the student should do as many career-based activities as possible.  Activities such as:  Internships, Meeting and Networking, Researching, attending career related events, talking with recent graduates and joining career related organizations. 

Type of student I hope to mentor: Someone who has a general idea of their direction and goals but who has not fully formulated their approach on getting there.  Because of my background and experiences, a mentee with aspirations toward Entrepreneurship, Sales or Management would be ideal. 

Sean Slaughter

Enterprise Holdings, Inc. - Area Manager

Sean Slaughter is the Area Manager for Enterprise Holdings, Inc, the parent company for Enterprise, National, and Alamo Rent-a-Car.  Hired in 2010 into the Management Trainee program, Sean quickly moved up the corporate ladder due to his goal-driven mentality and passion to be successful.  Since 2014, he has been tasked with running the Chattanooga and North Georgia rental car markets, spanning from Dalton, GA to Cleveland, TN.  With revenue numbers regularly eclipsing $2.5 million/month, Sean manages eleven independent stores as well as the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport locations, with a combined fleet of over 2800 rental cars and a staff of over 100 employees.

The best way to define his current role would be as a coach.  On a daily basis, he is tasked with increasing all business-necessary KPIs, but his most important responsibility is developing his leadership team to be the best in the industry.  Most recently, his team has been ranked in the top five of the most balanced Areas in the state when measuring customer service, sales, growth, and employee retention (Dec 2018).

In addition to his role at Enterprise, Sean is the co-founder of a start-up company called Watcep, LLC.  Watcep is a retention solutions company tasked with helping local businesses streamline their hiring process through international recruiting.  Sean co-founded this company to increase awareness of the community’s need for diversity while simultaneously solving Chattanooga's high turnover rate in entry level positions.

In May 2018, Sean graduated from the Young Protégé Mentorship Program through the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.  He was chosen as the Program’s speaker for the class’s commencement ceremony.  He is a member of the Emerging Leaders of Chattanooga through the United Way.  Additionally, he is a committee member  for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Chattanooga.  Most recently, he was selected as the Director of Professional Development for Young Professionals of Chattanooga.  YPC’s mission is to create opportunities for young professionals to connect and grow into future leaders of the city.  As Director, Sean is charged with creating professional development events that cultivate the growth of the future community leaders and the organization.

Sean is a graduate of UTC where he majored in Sport and Leisure Service Administration and Entrepreneurship while also playing football for the Mocs.  He and his wife Leisl are non-Chattanooga natives, but now call the city their home.  They have a six month old daughter named Harmon.  In his free time, Sean enjoys hiking, climbing, canoeing, and networking.

Work Philosophy:  You have to enjoy what you do.  If you don’t, go do something else.  Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate.  When you find your passion, excel in your role.  Learn the intricacies of your business, and know it inside and out.  Did I go to school to rent cars for a living?  No.  I went to school to run a business.   Renting cars is a small piece of the giant business that I operate.

Best Advice for Students:  Get involved in anything and everything when first starting your career.  Think of your post-graduate professional career as a funnel:  start very broad and work your way down.  Chattanooga is an awesome place to get connected both personally and professionally.  Join kickball leagues.  Become a member of a club, Greek organization, or YPC.  Attend social happy hours.  I have made some fantastic business connections through recreational activities.  Most importantly, put yourself out there and get noticed.

Type of student I hope to mentor:  Someone who is lost, confused, or timid about embarking on the adventure of life.  I am a great connector, networker, and all around positive guy, and would love to help!

Tim Sorrell

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - Senior Manager, Enterprise Forecasting

Tim Sorrell graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelors in Nuclear Engineering and a Masters of Mechanical Engineering. He went on to complete an MBA from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tim has built a successful career within the energy industry and has served at both TVA and Southern Company to manage nuclear fuel energy purchasing. In his management role, Tim plans for system generation needs and develops long-term forecasts for economics, electricity usage, fuel process and company revenue.

Work Philosophy: Always focus on helping others, get better every day, do not procrastinate.

Best Advice for Students: Be humble, be prepared and be bold.

Type of student I hope to mentor: Someone who cares, can think critically, is curious, and works to improve.

T. Dee Smith

Walden Security - Director, Human Resources

Dee directs a team of HR professionals as they plan, develop, advise, and administer human resources policies and programs for the Commercial Services Division. Dee brings 12 years of comprehensive Human Resources experience. She has a proven track record of building trusting relationships using sound judgment in matters of confidentiality, taking appropriate risks and leading with integrity.

Dee has worked in human resources for several organizations in the area, including: Chattem (now Sanofi), Shaw Industries, BlueCross BlueShield TN, Five Start Food Service, and Southern Health Partners. She has also served in community development as a Management Operations Specialist at the Chattanooga Housing Authority. 

Dee graduated from UTC with a bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management and General Management. She also earned an MBA from University of Phoenix.

Work Philosophy: Always maintain my integrity in all that I do, and to lead by serving others.

Best Advice for Students:  Always be true to you and never give up on your dreams.

Type of student I hope to mentor:  Open.

Corey Hughes

Unum - Manager, Absence Management Center/Short Term Disability

Corey Hughes was born and raised in Chattanooga and graduated from UTC in 2001 with a Sports Administration degree. While at UTC, Corey worked internships with the Golf Channel and PGA Tour. These were important cornerstones to his professional career.

Corey worked in the golf industry in many roles prior to working for Unum where he has been employed since 2002.Corey is currently a manager in the Absence Management Center at Unum. His team of 13 is focused on a healthcare strategy in which they process Short Term Disability claims for hospital and physician groups.

Corey never grew up wanting to work in the insurance industry, but he truly enjoys what he does every day. He works with some great people, Unum takes good care of their employees, and Corey gets to see the impact of his work as the team helps their customers every day.

Corey is married to his wife Deanna of 10 years and they have one son named, Lincoln (9). Outside work, he is heavily involved in the ministries of his church: driving a bus to pick up congregation members, supporting children’s ministries, and assisting with sounds ministry. Corey also facilitates a Boy’s Club in the summer teaching young boys without male role models some life skills such as playing sports, building outdoor skills, and using common tools. Corey also coaches at Lookout Valley Rec and Elementary School year-round through basketball, baseball and soccer seasons. The remainder of his time is spent on the golf course, playing, practicing, teaching, and as a First Tee of Chattanooga Volunteer.

Work Philosophy: My management philosophy is simple. Show up, do what you have been trained to do to the best of your ability and go home. My team is focused on efficient quality work while helping each other and having fun. I enforce a work/life balance and work should not be your sole purpose in life.

Best Advice for Students: A question I ask everyone who joins my team is, "What are you five most important things in your life?" If work is one of them, we talk about changing that to incorporate other things like family, community, helping others. Don’t let your job dictate who you are and how people perceive you. Give back, helps others, have fun.

Type of student I hope to mentor:  Someone who is driven is easy to mentor and you can fuel their fire. But I was not a driven person early in life and was somewhat of a recluse, so I really enjoy mentoring those types of people, too.

Zack LeQuire

First Tennessee Bank - Treasury Management Sales Officer

Zack LeQuire is a Treasury Officer at First Tennessee Bank where he works with regional companies to advise and provide resolution of treasury issues. Before working at First Tennessee, Zack started his career as an intern at U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc. and worked his way up through the company holding positions in finance and treasury.

Zack graduated from UTC with a Bachelors in Finance as well as an MBA.  He holds a Certified Treasury Professional designation, is a member of YPC, and in 2018 graduated from the Protégé Mentorship Program.  He is a native of Chattanooga along with his wife, child and two dogs.  In his free time, he enjoys going to they gym, boating, and taking in live music.

Work Philosophy: Focus on helping others, put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to ask questions, never stop growing.

Best Advice for Students Ask questions and learn as much as you can - your first job will not be your last, so step out of your comfort zone and always be open to new opportunities.

Type of student I hope to mentor:  One that is hungry to learn and grow, but possibly unsure of what direction to go in. One that will ask questions and challenge me, but will also listen.