Be sure to register for FREE access to the 2020 TVC Virtual Summit.

Session 5: Meeting the TVC’s Workforce Challenges

August 13th | 1pm ET / Noon CT

An educated and motivated workforce is the major challenge facing business and federal partners in the TVC. Hear discussions about workforce strategies creating local, state and federal partnerships.

Session Sponsor:

Session Co-Sponsor:

Convene & Welcome
Greg Vital, President, Morning Pointe Senior Living

Sponsor Remarks
Mark Cox, Senior Vice President, Eastman Chemical Company

Keynote Address
Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commissioner of Education

Introduction of Panel
Mark Cox, Senior Vice President, Eastman Chemical Company

Mark Cox, Senior Vice President, Eastman Chemical Company [Moderator]
Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commissioner of Education
Dr. Stacey Patterson, Vice President, Research, Economic Development, University of Tennessee
Lottie Ryans, Director, Workforce & Literacy Initiatives, First Tennessee Development District
Heath McMillian, Executive Director of Economic and Workforce Development, Northeast State Community College; Director of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM)
Tanya Foreman, Education Manager, Eastman Chemical Company

Introduction of the 2020 Corridor Champion Award
Bill Tindal, TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Co-Chair

2020 Corridor Champion Award Presentation
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District

2020 Corridor Champion Award Acceptance
Remarks from the 2020 Corridor Champion Award Recipient

Introduction of Special Guests
Bill Tindal, TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Co-Chair

Special Message
Randy Boyd, President, University of Tennessee
Donde Plowman, Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Closing Remarks
Bill Tindal, TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Co-Chair

In order to meet security guidelines set forth by several of our federal partners, the Tennessee Valley Corridor is using Webex Events to host the 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Series. The software has a few limitations that can hinder user experience. However, these can be overcome with a few simple tips and tricks. Review our Webex tips and tricks to learn the very best way to experience this year’s Virtual Summit.

Speaker Bios

Tennessee Commissioner of Education

Dr. Penny Schwinn was sworn in as Tennessee’s education commissioner on February 1, 2019. As commissioner, Dr. Schwinn is committed to building on Tennessee’s momentum over the last decade, and plans to continue to accelerate growth through excellence in achievement, empowerment of students and teachers, and engagement of all stakeholders.

Coming from a family of educators and committed to increasing access to an excellent education for all children, Commissioner Schwinn began her work as a high school history and economics teacher in Baltimore. Her early career also includes experience as a new teacher coach in south Los Angeles and time in the private sector, where she supervised work in operations, marketing and information management.

Prior to joining the Tennessee Department of Education, Commissioner Schwinn served as the Chief Deputy Commissioner of Academics at the Texas Education Agency.Commissioner Schwinn also previously served in other state and district roles as an Assistant Secretary of Education in the Delaware Department of Education and as Assistant Superintendent of Performance Management for the Sacramento City Unified School District. She is also the founder and former superintendent of Capitol Collegiate Academy, at the time one of the county’s highest performing charter schools serving low-income students from a region of Sacramento where she grew up.  She also served as an elected Trustee for the Sacramento County Board of Education.

Commissioner Schwinn earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California-Berkeley, her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD in Education Policy from Claremont Graduate University in California. She is the proud parent of two daughters in Tennessee public schools, and a son not yet school age.

Senior Vice President, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Engineering, Eastman Chemical Company

Mark has responsibility for Eastman’s global manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering and construction operations. He was previously Vice President, Worldwide Engineering & Construction, and prior to this was Vice President – Chemicals, Fibers & Performance Polymers Technology. During his career at Eastman, Mark has served in a variety of management positions, including various leadership roles within the Commercial, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Technology areas. Additionally, he has held responsibility for Eastman’s Corporate Six Sigma program. 

He is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a licensed Professional Engineer, and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Mark currently serves on the FM Global Board of Advisors and the University of Tennessee College of Engineering Board of Advisors. He holds both U.S. and international patents associated with process technology developed by Eastman. 

Within his community, Mark has served as a volunteer with Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, Meals on Wheels, and multiple church-related mission efforts. He has also held several leadership roles within the United Way of Greater Kingsport Board of Directors and Leadership Kingsport. 

Mark holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

President, Morning Pointe Senior Living

Greg Vital founded Morning Pointe Senior Living over 20 years ago. Today, Morning Pointe Senior Living owns and operates more than 30 senior care and Alzheimer’s care centers in 5 Mid-South states employing over 1500 associates. He currently resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Vice President, Research, Outreach and Economic Development, University of Tennessee

Dr. Stacey Patterson joined the University in 2006 in a joint role as a licensing associate for the UT Research Foundation (UTRF) and a research scientist in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB). At UTRF, she was responsible for managing a broad portfolio of intellectual property for licensing and commercialization to the private sector. Her research at CEB led to significant external funding and the launch of a startup company developing biological cell lines for optical imaging applications.

In 2009, Patterson joined UT System administration as director of research partnerships for the executive vice president office. She served as lead author of a proposal for research infrastructure that won a $24-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among several statewide initiatives Patterson has led is the $62.5-million Volunteer State Solar Initiative. In 2012, she was named assistant vice president and director of research partnerships, and in 2015 she was promoted to the dual roles of UT associate vice president for research and vice president of the UT Research Foundation.

Patterson has bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology from UT Knoxville and a master’s degree in environmental health sciences from East Tennessee State University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida and returned to UT Knoxville with a joint appointment in research and technology transfer in 2006. Patterson has secured research funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the U.S. Army, NSF and the National Institutes of Health, and she has been a contributor on discoveries achieving several U.S. patents in sensor development and cancer imaging.

Director, Workforce & Literacy Initiatives, First Tennessee Development District

Lottie Ryans is a 1978 graduate of Science Hill High School and a graduate of the University of Tennessee.  Lottie’s professional history includes a 32-year telecommunications career. She retired in 2015 after serving as Vice President and General Manager for CenturyLink’s Western North Carolina/Tennessee Division.  She was also a partner in Perfectly Planned, an event company serving Northeast TN and Southwest VA from 2015-2018. Her civic history includes being a three-term elected member of the Johnson City Board of Education including service as Board Chair and being a TSBA Master Board’s Member. 


 She served two years on the State Workforce Board in a position appointed by Governor Haslam and as chair for the Johnson City Chamber and the Washington County Economic Development Council. Ryans still helps set high benchmarks for Johnson City Schools and other districts in the region as she has served as the Director of Workforce and Literacy Initiatives for the First Tennessee Development District since April 2016.  In this role, she develops creative partnerships and programs to ensure a strong workforce pipeline. She also works with school systems and community partners to address literacy issues in an eight-county region. She served on the organizing team for the Holy Friendship Summit, a gathering of medical, community and faith-based leaders to address the opioid crisis in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and now serves as Vice-Chair for the Holy Friendship Collaborative, an offshoot of the summit.  


She has been serving as the Director of Workforce and Literacy Initiatives for the First Tennessee Development District since April 2016. In this role, she develops creative partnerships and programs to ensure a strong workforce pipeline. Ryans frequently serves as a speaker for professional development workshops and as a panelist for community engagement forums. She is a recent graduate of the 2018/19 Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute cohort and is a member of the 2019/20 Leadership Tennessee cohort.  Lottie is also an active member, deacon and mission team leader at Calvary Church.

Executive Director, Economic and Workforce Development, Northeast State Community College; Director, Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM)

Heath serves as the Northeast State Community College, Executive Director of Economic & Workforce Development, and as the Director of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM).  He has served in numerous industrial maintenance and manufacturing capacities. In his current assignment at Northeast State, he is actively involved in workforce development and the Northeast Tennessee Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP).

Education Manager, Eastman Chemical Company

Tanya Foreman is the Education Manager at Eastman Chemical Co. Her education consists of a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from The University of TN Knoxville. Tanya Foreman has led many teams within the organization and external teams with participation from education and community entities.

TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Site Manager

Bill Tindal serves as the site manager at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and has worked at Y-12 since 1995. He oversees daily operations at the plant to sustain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, is the management and operating contractor for Y-12 as well as the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Tindal brings 28 years of experience in highly hazardous nuclear facility operations to his current role, where he manages the daily integration of nearly 5,000 employees across the site to ensure that production deliverables meet requirements for safety, security, quality, schedule, and cost.

In addition to day-to-day operations, Tindal is responsible for overall site transformation efforts. He oversees a robust aging-facility management program to ensure continued, safe operations while managing long-term efforts to transform Y-12’s essential national assets and capabilities. He also has been instrumental in engaging the talented workforce in the site’s critical national security mission.

Before assuming his current role, Tindal served as manager of the production facilities department, manager of enriched uranium production, and, most recently, vice president of production. He led development of the facility operations plans and consolidated project list, a National Nuclear Security Administration–designated benchmark for risk-based infrastructure prioritization. He also has experience leading implementation of productivity improvement projects to optimize the use of personnel and facilitate production.

Tindal holds B.S. in nuclear engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in engineering management from the University of Tennessee.

Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann is a conservative Republican who represents the 3rd District of Tennessee. The District comprises 11 counties: Anderson, Bradley, Campbell, Hamilton, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Roane, Scott and Union.

Chuck earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois. He received both Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors. He then went to the University of Tennessee law school where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence.

For 24 years Chuck and his wife ran a small business together in Chattanooga after they both graduated from law school at the University of Tennessee.

Chuck has served on the board of the National Craniofacial Association and on the board of the Cherokee Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. He has also served as the president of the Chattanooga Bar Association and chairman of the Chattanooga Lawyers Pro Bono Committee.

Since taking office, Chuck has a 100% pro-life voting record and continues to support legislation that  protects the Second Amendment rights of East Tennesseans. 

Chuck serves on the Appropriations Committee which is vitally important to the residents of the 3rd District.  Within the Committee he serves on two crucial subcommittees:

  • Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies
  • Homeland Security

Chuck’s role on the Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee allows him to fight for funding for the Chickamauga Lock, a key East Tennessee infrastructure project. In addition, this subcommittee assignment is of paramount importance to the northern region of the Third District which is home to Oak Ridge National Lab, Y-12 National Security Complex, and a large environmental cleanup mission, all of which rely on funds appropriated by this subcommittee.

In the 116th Congress, Chuck was named Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Subcommittee. As the Ranking Member, or top Republican, Chuck leads the charge to provide funding for the government agencies that secure our homeland including the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Chuck and his wife, Brenda, live in Ooltewah, Tennessee and have three boys: Chuckie, Jamie and Jeffrey.

President, University of Tennessee

Randy Boyd was appointed president of the University of Tennessee by the UT Board of Trustees March 27, 2020, following a sixteen-month period as interim president. Boyd took office Nov. 22 following the retirement of UT President Joe DiPietro. As UT’s 26th president, Boyd serves as the chief executive officer of a statewide university system. The flagship campus in Knoxville includes the Space Institute in Tullahoma and the statewide Institute of Agriculture. The UT System also includes campuses in Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center in Memphis; and the Institute of Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership.

Boyd is the founder of Radio Systems Corp., a Knoxville-based business. They have more than 800 employees, offices in six countries and produce pet related products under the brand names PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDOG. He also serves as chairman of Boyd Sports and is the owner of the Tennessee Smokies, Johnson City Cardinals, Greeneville Reds and Elizabethton Twins.

Boyd served as chairman of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. He was a founder and co-chair of the Governor’s Rural Taskforce, which exists to help state government and industry leaders find solutions to the biggest challenges facing rural Tennessee.

Boyd also served as Gov. Bill Haslam’s special adviser for higher education. He was the architect for Tennessee Promise and Drive to 55 and was the founder and chairman of Tennessee Achieves—all initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary degrees to 55 percent by 2025 and decreasing financial hardship for Tennesseans pursuing degrees.

Through his philanthropy, Boyd also supports the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Boyd Venture Challenge seed grant program for student entrepreneurs, both through the Haslam College of Business at UT Knoxville.

Boyd is the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis on industrial management from UT Knoxville. He also earned a master’s degree in liberal studies with a focus on foreign policy from the University of Oklahoma.

Boyd and his wife, Jenny, live in Knoxville. They have two children and one grandchild.

Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Donde Plowman became the ninth chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on July 1, 2019. Under her leadership, the university has placed renewed focus on its land-grant mission as the state’s flagship public institution.

In her first year as chancellor, Plowman oversaw the creation of the Oak Ridge Institute and the merger of the Knoxville campus with the adjacent Institute of Agriculture. She appointed the university’s first vice chancellor for diversity and engagement as well as a new provost, vice chancellor for research, and vice chancellor for student life. She also mobilized an extensive institution-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic while celebrating the university’s 225th anniversary.

Plowman returned to Rocky Top last year after nine years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she served most recently as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. In that role, she oversaw academic affairs, student affairs, the Office of Research and Economic Development, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She earlier served for more than six years as the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of UNL’s College of Business Administration.

Before going to Nebraska, Plowman was on the management faculty at UT, where she served for two years as head of the Department of Management in the Haslam College of Business. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor of management and advanced to the position of professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research, where she was responsible for the creation of the university’s doctoral degree in business.

Plowman has a doctorate in strategic management from the University of Texas at Austin, an undergraduate degree with a major in English from Southern Methodist University, and an MEd in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.

Plowman is married to Dennis Duchon, a UNL professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Management at UNL. They have two grown sons.

Thank you for making the 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Series a success!

When the decision was made to move the TVC’s 25th Anniversary National Summit to a virtual series back in May, we did not know the future course of COVID-19 in our country or exactly how we would pull off this transition to a virtual event. We thank each one of you for continuing to show up week-after-week and to our amazing sponsors, guest speakers, and panelists who have remained committed to bringing you the very best Summit possible.

Thank you to our 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Sponsors:

A Special Thank You to the TVC Leadership Council:

Bridge Public Affairs