Welcome to the Sweat Tea & Strategy podcast produced by Ackermann Marketing & PR. We speak with business and community leaders about challenges in their industry and communication strategies to take on those challenges over a glass of sweet tea.

1. President and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, Mike Odom

Former President and CEO of the Round Rock, TX. Chamber, Mike Odom, has moved to Knoxville to take over as the new President and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. Earning the Chamber of the Year Award for 2018 in Round Rock, Mike is no stranger to successful organizational management and community partnerships. His fresh perspective is sure to drive our city’s economic growth. “Our future is extremely bright,” said Mike. “Our mission is to drive regional economic prosperity, for the entire region. We have to make sure that we are communicating effectively, and that we are doing a lot of listening because communication is not a one-way street.” Mike has already started meeting with Knoxville leaders, including Interim President of the UT System Randy Boyd and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, to talk about Knoxville’s economic growth. They all agree that now is Knoxville’s time to reach its full potential. Oh, and he knows a little about good jambalaya and donuts the size of your head. Listen below.

2. Interim President of the University of Tennessee, Randy Boyd

This week, Cathy Ackermann, President and CEO of Ackermann Marketing and PR, sat down with Interim President of the University of Tennessee System Randy Boyd, to talk about his journey to becoming Interim President and the challenges he faces in that role. The native Knoxvillian knew it was his time to step up. “For me, it was about giving back to my alma mater,” said Boyd. “This university has given so much to me and my family and my community and if I have the opportunity to give back to that then this was my opportunity to do so.” Before stepping into his role of Interim President, Boyd ran for Governor of Tennessee in 2018. He is the founder of Radio System’s Corporation and owner of Boyd’s Sports LLC, which owns or operates the Tennessee Smokies, Johnson City Cardinals, Greeneville Reds and Elizabethton Twins. Randy Boyd learned the ins and outs of business at a young age, and with hard work and hustle, he has become one of the best leaders in Tennessee. Listen below for some of his insights.

3. CEO of Avertium, Jeff Schmidt

Jeff Schmidt is the newly appointed CEO for Avertium- a new cybersecurity company here in Knoxville that focuses on supporting mid-to-large enterprises security efforts. Jeff has over 30 years of experience, and has worked with some noteworthy clients like Cisco, Paramount Pictures and BT Counterpane. Tommy Smith, Vice President of Marketing Strategy at Ackermann, sat down with Jeff to talk about the importance of cybersecurity. “Security isn’t as spooky as everyone thinks it is,” said Jeff. “Whatever you do in your physical life to protect yourself, whether it be how you protect your valuables in your home, your family, these things are really important, do the same thing in business.” When most people think of cybersecurity, they that its complex or even confusing at times; but Avertium has the ability to manage businesses cybersecurity in a simple way that provides all around protection. At its core, Avertium is a customer-centric company that wants businesses of every kind to feel protected. “We want to make our customers world safer,” said Jeff. “And that’s our mission. We want a team that’s passionate about cybersecurity. We live and breathe this.” Jeff is just as passionate about cybersecurity as he is about Chick-fil-A sweet tea. Listen below.

4. UT Medical Center CEO, Joe Landsman

Since 2005, Joe Landsman has served as the President and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) and University Health System (UHS), Inc. Having been with UHS since 1999, prior to being named CEO, Landsman served as the system’s Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President. As the region’s only academic medical center, Magnet® recognized hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center, UTMC serves as a major referral center for East Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. UTMC has a three-fold mission of healing, education and discovery. Under Landsman’s leadership, UTMC has earned recognitions and awards nationwide – including honors from U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Joint Commission, Becker’s Hospital Review, Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, and BlueCross BlueShield, among others – for its commitment to excellence and medical care. Landsman credits UTMC’s physicians and team members for their commitment in collaboratively providing excellent patient-centric care and remaining at the forefront of research, technology and treatments. “Being a healthcare provider…it’s a hard lifestyle and it’s a commitment to serve,” explains Landsman. “I could not value our team members more than I do, and our physicians. They really are a group of individuals that collectively care about the work they do.”

5. President and CEO of SmartBank, Billy Carroll

Billy Carroll is the President and CEO of SmartBank and has been with the bank since its beginning. Billy is a graduate of UT and served on the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, so he is no stranger to what it takes to be successful in our market. SmartBank is constantly recognized for its successes and this year received a 1st place mid-size business award. But for Billy, the culture of SmartBank is just as important as the deals.

“The culture that we’re building is probably the thing I’m most proud of that we’ve built in this company. We have a culture team that meets on a monthly basis and we talk about how you continue to build the culture as we grow.”

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