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Karen McMurray - Lifetime Achievement Award
Karen McMurray came to East Tennessee State University twice. When she returned and completed her degree, she was a married student with small children.
After her earning her bachelor’s degree in 1980, McMurray began her career at Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, PLC (BCS). In 1992, she became a partner with the firm and, over the years, she has seen the business grow from nine employees, three of them partners, to a staff of more than 90, including 10 partners.
Among her duties, McMurray provides accounting, tax and assurance services and specializes in audits of governmental and nonprofit entities with other assurance services to financial institutions and health care organizations. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Certified Internal Control Auditor (CICA) and a Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
McMurray currently serves on the board of the Appalachian Christian Camp; as treasurer of the Johnson City chapter of Kiwanis International; and on the Accounting and Auditing Committee for PKF, a national network of accounting firms. In addition, she assists with Sunday services in the nursing wing at Appalachian Christian Village, and she has served in various capacities at her church, including treasurer.
After a mission trip with family members to Kenya in 2011, McMurray helped found a lunch program at Southern Cross Academy in a camp for internally displaced persons in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. The program currently feeds lunch to approximately 300 elementary school children.
At ETSU, McMurray served on the Accounting Advisory Board and participated in the “Alumni Return to the Classroom” program. Along with her BCS partners, her leadership has been instrumental in establishing the BCS Faculty Fellowship in Accounting and the BCS Accounting Scholarship Endowment.
McMurray and her husband, Stan, reside in Johnson City. They have three sons and daughters-in-law with five ETSU degrees among them. Their oldest grandson is currently in the MACC program.
Charles Byrne - Excellence Award
Charles Byrne, native of Wake Forest, N.C., is the son of former New York Yankee pitcher Thomas Joseph Byrne and Mary Susan Nichols Byrne.
During his childhood, Byrne played golf at a local course and loved the game. He entered East Tennessee State University in 1977 on a golf scholarship and played under Coach Hal Morrison. While he was an ETSU student, the university’s golf team was ranked as high as twelfth in the nation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Recreation/Administration, and he met his future wife, Betsy.
Byrne moved back to the Wake Forest area and played golf professionally for two years before landing a sales job in the packaging and design industry.
Byrne’s 29-year career in the industry began at South Carolina Box, a division of Pratt Industries, where he became the sales representative for Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, allowing him to move his family to Johnson City.
In 2000, Byrne was hired by Triad Packaging Design and Display in Bristol. For over 13 years, he has played a significant role in Triad’s success through his responsibilities in developing and managing major accounts.
A member of the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters, Byrne is active in his community, including volunteering as coach for youth programs including the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Little League Baseball, Johnson City Babe Ruth Baseball and Fall Topper Baseball. He is an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church and tournament chairman of the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate Golf Tournament.
In 2012, Byrne was recognized by the university with an Alumni Award of Honor, and he has been a member of the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association for over 27 years. He and his wife are members of the ETSU Distinguished President’s Trust for their lifetime of support for the university through the ETSU Foundation.
Byrne and his wife of 26 years reside in Johnson City. Three of their children have graduated from ETSU, with the fourth currently in the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.
Phil Carriger - Excellence Award
Phil Carriger is a native of Johnson City and graduated from Science Hill High School. For four years after high school, he served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He attended the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, graduating in 1971 with a degree in economics, and went on to the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware, graduating in 1989.
Johnson City’s former vice mayor and city commissioner, Carriger began a long career in banking in 1972 as an assistant national bank examiner with the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau within the United States Department of Treasury.
Beginning in 1976, Carriger turned to private banking. He started as a senior loan officer in the Knoxville office of First American Bank (now Regions Bank), and continued as chairman and chief executive officer of Hamilton Bank (now SunTrust Bank). In 1995, he organized and opened Peoples Community Bank, serving as chairman and CEO until the bank was acquired by First Community Bank.
Currently, Carriger serves on the board of directors of the Bank of Tennessee and as an outside consultant.
Carriger is past director of the Tennessee Bankers Association and was a member of the State of Tennessee Building Finance Committee for four years. He is a member of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church and was recognized by Milligan College in 2010 as a “Leader in Christian Service.”
Among Carriger’s many civic involvements are Johnson City/Washington County Economic Development Board, Johnson City Power Board and Junior Achievement of Johnson City. He has also served on the Veterans Administration Community Advisory Council and the City of Johnson City Health and Education Facilities Board.
A faithful friend of East Tennessee State University, Carriger has served on the ETSU Foundation board of directors, the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board and the Center for Banking Advisory Board.
Married for 46 years, Carriger and his wife, Karyn, are Johnson City residents and the parents of two adult children and two grandchildren.
Lottie Fields Ryans - Excellence Award
Lottie Fields Ryans is a life-long resident of Johnson City and a 1982 cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, with a bachelor’s degree in business with a marketing emphasis.
In 1982, she served as a management intern with United Telephone and remained with the company, progressively assuming more responsible positions as the company changed from United to Sprint to Embarq and now CenturyLink.
During her career, Ryans has held positions as director of customer service, director of network services, director of consumer sales and service, and currently, vice president and general manager for Western North Carolina and Tennessee.
A member of many boards of directors, she is chair of the Washington County Economic Development Council and Frontier Health board of directors, as well as chair-elect of the Chamber of Commerce serving Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County.
Elected for three terms to the Johnson City Board of Education, Ryans is a newly appointed member of the State Workforce Development Board by Governor Bill Haslam. In addition, she serves on the Washington Co. Tennessee board of directors for Mountain States Health Alliance, as well as the Northeast State Community College Foundation Board and the Milligan College President’s Executive Council.
At East Tennessee State University, Ryans is a member of the ETSU Foundation Board, the Roan Scholars Leadership Program Advisory Board and the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board.
Among her many honors are inclusion in the inaugural Tri-Cities Business Journal “40 Under Forty” list and in the publication’s 2008 choice of “Top 100 Business Leaders.” In addition, she was presented with the 2010 Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Leadership Award and, earlier, with the ETSU Black Faculty and Staff Award for Outstanding Leadership in Education.
Ryans resides in Johnson City. She and Eric, her husband of 31 years, are the parents of three daughters.
Rick Storey - Excellence Award
Rick Storey was born in Kingsport and attended East Tennessee State University and Steed College. During the Vietnam War, he was drafted and served as a platoon sergeant with the 1st Cavalry Division.
In the spring of 1969, Storey received combat injuries requiring surgeries in Vietnam, Japan and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was awarded a Purple Heart and, in the fall, he received a medical discharge as a staff sergeant.
Next, Storey launched a successful career in the field of finance. He began at what is now First Tennessee Bank as a lender and manager. During that time, he entered graduate school at Louisiana State University.
After a brief stint at SunTrust Bank, Storey was employed for 16 years at Bank of America, becoming senior vice president and the consumer market executive for the South Tennessee market. He was also named Market President of Tri-Cities.
In 2004, Storey became senior vice president for commercial lending at Citizens Bank Tri-Cities, a position he currently holds. He is also president of Diversified Veterans Services, LLC.
In the community, Storey is president of the Appalachian Fair association and a board member of both AccelNow (Northeast Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator) and Mountain States Health Alliance. He serves on the board of the Northeast Tennessee Economic Development Corporation and is past chairman of the Johnson City Development Authority as well as past president of the Chamber of Commerce serving Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington Co.
Named an Honorary Alumnus of ETSU in 2011, Storey is a member of the ETSU Foundation, the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association, and serves on the board of the ETSU Center of Banking Advisory Board. He and his wife are members of the ETSU Distinguished President’s Trust for their support of the university through the ETSU Foundation.
Storey and his wife, Diana, live in Jonesborough. They have a daughter and a son, a granddaughter and three step-granddaughters. Their daughter is a member of the ETSU Class of 1992.
April L. Eads - Horizon Award
April L. Eads holds an associate degree in electrical technology from Northeast State Community College, a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from ETSU and a master’s degree in engineering technology, also from ETSU.
In addition, Eads is a Certified Economic Developer and has taken over 120 hours of economic development courses through the Economic Development Institute.
An employee of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), Eads has risen from a position as a customer service representative to engineering assistant to her current status as business development manager.
Among her projects at BTES, Eads participated in the Cable, Phone, Internet Start-Up Feasibility and Business Plan Committee, the All Electric Home Initiative, the State of Tennessee Three-Star Program and service on the BTES Continuous Improvement Committee.
Eads was named in The Business Journalof the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia “40 Under Forty” list. She received the BTES Personal Service Award and the Bristol Morning Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test Award. Northeast State Community College presented her with an Outstanding Alumna Award.
Eads sits on the boards of the Junior Achievement of Tri-Cities Bristol chapter and United Southeast Federal Credit Union. She is past president of the Bristol Morning Rotary Club and active with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and the Appalachian Colleges Community Economic Development Partnership.
As a faithful ETSU alumna, Eads served on the ETSU at Bristol Advisory Council and on the Roan Scholars Regional Selection Committee.
Eads is married to ETSU alumnus Tim Eads. They reside in Bluff City with their two sons.
Jason Fleming - Horizon Award
Jason Fleming, a native of Southeastern Kentucky, is a summa cum laude graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting in 2002. He continued at ETSU and received a Master of Accountancy degree in 2003.
While at ETSU, he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi honor society for financial information students and professionals, Beta Gamma Sigma honorary for business students, and the Golden Key International Honour Society.
After working as a consultant for a large regional CPA firm with headquarters in Knoxville and as a partner of a multi-office mergers and acquisitions firm in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, he became a founding partner of Trinity Valuation Consulting Group, PLD, located in Johnson City.
In addition to being a CPA, Fleming is accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and is a Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
Fleming is active in the community and in the advancement of his profession. He is a member of the Business Valuation, Forensic and Litigation Task Force of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Tri-Cities Estate Planning Council. He also serves as the chairman of the board of directors of Summit Leadership Foundation and vice chair of the ETSU College of Business and Technology’s advisory board.
In addition, Fleming serves as a mentor for entrepreneurs in the AccelNow program and is a member of the Rotary Club of Johnson City.
In 2012, Fleming was recognized as a “40 Under Forty” honoree by The Business Journalof the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia.
Fleming and his wife, Kim, reside in Johnson City with their four children.
Ben Rhoda - Horizon Award
Ben Rhoda received both a Bachelor of Business Administration from East Tennessee State University in 2005 and a Master of Business Administration in 2007. During his undergraduate years, he was a member of the men’s basketball team and then was a graduate assistant coach for the team.
Rhoda became a sales representative for MSK products within Eli Lilly, a global pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. He was selected to the Mid-Atlantic Directors Council in 2011.
In late 2012, Rhoda became a senior associate in the MSK business unit. He is responsible for the effective and efficient management and deployment of sales force information, business processes and resources in support of the sales force. He manages an MSK sales force budget of roughly $26 million annually.
Among his MSK projects, Rhoda created multiple comprehensive reports and trackers that have become part of the MSK Musculoskeletal unit’s monthly protocol, and he developed a tailored implementation plan of the P.L.O.T. profitability tool for the MSK Osteo sales force as a member of the P.L.O.T. pilot team.
Rhoda serves on the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board.
Rhoda and his wife, Sarah, reside in Zionsville, Ind. Sarah graduated from ETSU in 2006 with a degree in marketing.