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Darrell Cole - Lifetime Achievement Award
Darrell Cole, a native of Russell County, Va., earned an associate’s degree at Southwest Virginia Community College, followed by a bachelor’s degree from Bluefield State College in West Virginia. When he was growing a business and had a wife and children, he returned to school, taking classes at night until he earned his M.B.A. degree at East Tennessee State University in 1993.
With his bachelor’s degree in hand, he was recruited by a bank in Buchanan County, Va. After a year at the bank, he was hired by United Supply Co., a small start-up company in need of young employees.
The company began in 1976. Through judicious acquisitions and mergers, the start-up has become the largest provider of products and services to energy-related businesses in North America.
Today, Cole is president and chief executive officer of Bristol-based United Distribution Group, a distribution services company focused on the gas, oil and mining industries, with over 2,100 manufacturing partners and 170,000 line items. The company has subsidiaries in 81 locations, with 850 employees throughout North America.
In addition, the company was ranked 24th on Modern Distribution Magazine’s 2013 Market Leader List and 22nd on the Industrial Distribution Magazine 2013 Big 50 List.
Cole is a director of the Eastern Coal Council and a former director of the Virginia Mining Association.
Recently, Cole joined the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board.
A Bristol resident, Cole and his wife, Judy, are the parents of two adult sons, Darrell H. Cole Jr. and Nicholas Cole.
Judy Morrell Flynn - Lifetime Achievement Award
Judy Morrell Flynn graduated from ETSU in 1973 with a degree in business education. During her time at ETSU, she was a charter member of the Sweethearts of the Cross and Crescent, a little sister affiliation with Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
After graduation, she began teaching in the business department at Virginia High School in Bristol, Va. She also was a sponsor of the Future Business Leaders of America.
In 1981, she returned to her hometown of Knoxville, began working in the court system, and married her late husband, Frank L. Flynn, Jr., a partner in the law firm of Pryor, Flynn, Priest and Harber.
Now, 33 years later, she is still working as a Judicial Administrative Assistant in Circuit Court Division I for Knox County and the 6th Judicial District of Tennessee.
Flynn is a past member and board member of the Knoxville Bar Auxiliary.
A firm believer in giving back to the university, Flynn is a member of the Distinguished President’s Trust and the ETSU Legacy Circle. She is a new member of the ETSU Foundation and has established a trust to benefit the College of Business and Technology.
Flynn resides in Knoxville.
Randal R. Greene - Lifetime Achievement Award
Randal R. Greene graduated with a B.B.A. from East Tennessee State University in 1984 and entered a career in banking.
From 1996 to 2008, he was president and chief executive officer, director and founder of State of Franklin Savings Bank and chairman of its executive committee.
From 1997 to 2008, he was also president of State of Franklin Real Estate, expanding the company to 100 agents and to number two in the local market share. In addition, he was president of State of Franklin Leasing Company.
Concentrating on banking, he became regional president of State of Franklin Bank,
a division of Jefferson Federal Bank in Johnson City.
In the fall of 2011, he turned his attention to Virginia, becoming president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Lancaster and of Bay Banks of Virginia, and he also serves on the banks’ boards of directors. In addition, he is vice chairman and director of Bay Trust Company.
During his first year with the Virginia banks, revenue and expense reduction initiatives exceeded $2.5 million. The company has also aggressively improved asset quality.
The improvement in the bank’s earnings positioned the bank to complete a $9.4 million private placement of its common stock.
Active in civic and community affairs, Greene has had a lifetime involvement in the Boy Scouts of America, served as president of the Sequoyah Council in East Tennessee and now serves on the board of the Heart of Virginia Council. In addition, he serves on the board of the Rappahannock General Hospital Foundation and was elected to the board of the Virginia Association of Community Bankers. He is also involved in LEAD Northern Neck, a component of LEAD VIRGINIA, devoted to building a network of leadership for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Also, Greene is a member of the ETSU Foundation.
Greene’s wife, Kate, is also a graduate of ETSU. They are the parents of a son and daughter and reside in White Stone, VA.
Lt. Col. Daniel Bishop - Excellence Award
Lt. Col. Daniel Bishop is well known on campus as the chair of the ETSU Department of Military Science from 2012 to 2014.
In 1996, Bishop graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara and was commissioned through that school’s ROTC program.
After completing basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., he served as Tank Platoon Leader and Company Executive in Friedberg, Germany, from 1997-2000. He next transitioned to the Military Intelligence Corps and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, in 2001 and was deployed as a company commander to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from 2004-2005.
Returning to the United States, Bishop attended graduate school at Columbia University as part of the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program, earning a master’s degree in organizational psychology, followed by studies at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
In 2007, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he assumed increasing responsibilities in the Joint Operations Command, including overseeing human intelligence, counterintelligence and detention operations. During this time he was deployed to Iraq multiple times.
Bishop’s next assignment was his service leading the Army ROTC program at ETSU. He has since taken command of the 308th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Meade, Maryland, responsible for Army counterintelligence across the continental United States.
Bishop, his wife Kristen and their two children reside in Ellicott City, Md.
Tammy Hawes - Excellence Award
Tammy Hawes left her home in Mississippi and entered East Tennessee State University when she was only 17 years old. She graduated in 1983 as one of the first female computer science majors at the school.
She began a successful career that focused primarily on the health care industry. Her executive expertise grew as she moved from chief information officer of Central Parking Systems to president of Axis Accounting and chief information officer-chief technology officer of Paradigm Healthcare.
Eventually, she became vice president of Smith Seckman Reid engineering firm, and, in 2011, she was deeply involved in spinning off a new software product to Primex Wireless, built using the salesforce.com platform.
Sensing the time was right to start her own business, Hawes founded Virsys12 as a consulting firm and worked from her kitchen table.
By January 2013, Hawes had acquired a team of eight certified Salesforce consultants, a partner, and a suite of offices in the health care corridor of Maryland Farms in Brentwood, just outside Nashville.
In late 2013, Virsys12 was awarded the NEXT Award as Startup Company of the Year, presented by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, in recognition of the company’s triple-digit growth. Over the past year, Virsys12 has grown another 100 percent. In addition, Virsys12 was nominated this year for the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best in Business Award,” while Hawes was nominated as a 2014 “Woman of Influence.”
With a strong belief in giving back to the community, Hawes adopts a non-profit each month and provides pro bono assistance, as well as reduced rates on ongoing services. She also acts as a mentor for start-ups through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Hawes and her husband John reside in Brentwood and are the parents of a blended family of six children.
Clem Wilkes, Jr. - Excellence Award
Clem Wilkes, Jr. received his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University in 1975.
He is co-manager of Citizens Investment Services, a subsidiary of Citizens Bank, with over 30 years of experience as an investment manager and financial advisor.
In 1985, Wilkes and a partner established the first office in Tennessee of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., then known as Robert Thomas Securities, Inc. The firm offered full-service investment services to clients on a discount basis.
The business prospered, rivaling businesses in larger cities in level of production and number of financial advisors. In 1999, the partners sold the business to Citizens Bank, but they continue to serve clients while also managing the investment platform for Citizens Bank, clearing through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
Wilkes has received recognition for his work over the years, including the Mountain States Foundation Spirit Award for his service to the community, a place on the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Wall of Fame and the Milligan College Leader in Christian Service Award.
The Johnson City Lions Club named Wilkes the Lion of the Year, Lion of the Decade and a Melvin Jones Fellow. In addition, he was included in the Top 20 Program Managers list by Bank Investment Consultant magazine in 2009 and 2010.
At ETSU, Wilkes is a member of the ETSU Foundation and a past member of the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association board.
Wilkes has been married to his high school sweetheart, the former Tonya McCall, for 40 years. They are parents of a son and daughter and have one grandchild. The couple resides in Jonesborough.
Kanishka Biddanda - Horizon Award
Kanishka Biddanda started his first enterprise, designing websites, when he was a 16-year-old high school student in Knoxville. After two years at the University of Tennessee, he decided he needed a change and came to East Tennessee State University, with the new Advanced Visualization Laboratory, while keeping his company going.
After graduation in 2001, he and a partner began an ad agency and made a list of 15 clients they would like to sign—a goal they reached in nine months.
Eventually, the client list became so large that Biddanda pared it back to a “boutique” agency with 20 clients.
In addition, Biddanda and two partners began assisting with the revitalization of downtown Kingsport by renovating buildings from the early 1900s and founding two restaurants. Bone Fire Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant with a gourmet twist, entered a national contest to find the best ribs recipe in the nation. When the restaurant won the competition, it was featured on Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa’s morning television program and a 300 percent growth occurred overnight.
The other venture, Kingsport Grocery Company, featured 210 craft beers. That led to Racks by the Tracks, the first craft beef festival in the Tri-Cities, an event designed to raise funds for Second Harvest food bank. In 2014, the seventh year of the fundraiser served 12,000 guests and raised $45,000 for local non-profits.
Biddanda recently stepped down as executive director of AccelNow, one of nine business accelerators established across the state by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Soon, Biddanda will move to Nashville, without a plan, for once, to see what, among the many opportunities in that city, he would like to pursue next.
Casey Hammontree - Horizon Award
Casey Hammontree received a B.B.A. degree in finance from East Tennessee State University in 1998. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, president of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership society, a Student Government Association senator and a member of the College of Business and Technology Dean’s Advisory Board.
In 2004, he earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has also received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Hammontree began his career with Wellington Management Company, a Boston investment firm. He has also been employed by Decosimo Finance of Chattanooga.
In 2005, he joined Tenth Street Capital at its inception and became a partner in 2007. He is responsible for deal sourcing, underwriting and portfolio management. To date, the company has raised over $350 million across six private equity funds.
In addition, Hammontree is a founding partner of Solas BioVentures, a biotechnology and medical device venture capital fund.
Hammontree is a member of the ETSU Foundation.
Hammontree and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of three young children and reside in Signal Mountain.
Peter Raber - Horizon Award
Peter Raber earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory and Henry College in 2003. While he was an undergraduate, he played baseball for the school for four years and served as team captain his senior year.
He added a Master of Business Administration degree from East Tennessee State University in 2006, by taking classes at night, and was named the Outstanding M.B.A. Student.
Raber began his career when he was 10 years old by helping out around his father’s office after his father established Aldebaran Financial in 1991. He worked for the company every summer locally, or as an intern in Charleston, W.Va., with one of the primary service providers. He began as a full-time employee immediately after his graduation from Emory and Henry. He is now senior vice president of operations and chief compliance officer.
Raber has attained Series 65 certification, allowing him to serve as an investment advisor. He is also a Dale Carnegie graduate and, last year, he was named to the Business Journal of Tri-Cities, TN/Va’s “40 Under 40” list.
In addition to guiding clients through the financial markets to meet their goals, Raber is active in the community. He has served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport and is treasurer and upcoming president of Meals on Wheels.
He serves on the ETSU Foundation’s investment and executive committee, as well as committees providing financial guidance to Northeast State Community College and the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Raber and his wife, Katie, are the parents of a 5-year-old son and have recently added twin boys to the family. They reside in Kingsport.