River City Company President and CEO, Kim White lives and breathes downtown Chattanooga. In fact, you could say that she is downtown’s biggest ambassador. Not only does she talk the talk about how fantastic this city is, she walks the walk (literally)...working, living and playing in the heart of the city.
Whether it's her morning walk with her truffle dog, Bella, to Bluff View or an end of the day dinner at one of her favorite downtown restaurants with her husband of 25 years, Joe Dan, there's no doubt that this is her home. A Chattanooga native who moved away for over 20 years, Kim will tell you she is amazed at how far her city has come since she left in the early '80s. What's even more amazing is the fact that for the past 5 years, she has gotten to put her passion into practice leading an organization responsible for so many of the positive changes in downtown Chattanooga.
Dr. Hill Craddock is the Robert M. Davenport Professor in Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. He grew up in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, son of a marine biologist father and an emergency room nurse mother, and went to sea for the first time at age 16, working summers on commercial fishing boats. He grew his first chestnut tree from a seed he planted at age 15, and he is still a chestnut enthusiast.
Nathan Bennett Adams was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland. At the age of four, Nathan was diagnosed with a severe form of dyslexia, titled "Auditory Processing Learning Deficit." This learning disability shadowed much of his childhood, which was filled with a frustration towards learning and feeling mastered by words while reading. Though learning was always a battlefield, soccer quickly became an avenue for Nathan to excel. His skill in the sport soon landed him opportunities to play with professional teams in Brazil, Argentina, Holland, and Germany, as well as join the teams of West Virginia University, Bryan College, and the Chattanooga Football Club. Over the last few years, Nathan's struggle with language began to morph into a newfound love of studying: communication, philosophy and words.
As a computer science major at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Jackson Stone has many opportunities to develop his talents and explore his interests in technology and its role in our lives. He earned a prestigious internship to study and develop software at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and afterward has used his skills to develop apps.
His interest extends beyond how the technology works and into making technology work for people. His latest app, Color Locks, was developed with a team of fellow students and encourages users to channel their inner artists in a series of color matching and mixing challenges.
James graduated from Bluefield College in 2008 with a bachelor's of arts in Communications with a concentration in Marketing. Previously a workforce development professional responsible for program development with the Southeast Tennessee Development District, James was named a member of the inaugural class of Protégé Chattanooga—a mentoring program sponsored by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to advance the leadership skills of young professionals. He was also named 2013 Young Professional of the Year by the Young Professional Association of Chattanooga. One of the newest members of Sandbox, a society of the world's most extraordinary game changers, he has emerged into a high impact leader.
Lesley Stiles Scearce is a sought-after speaker and trainer in non-profit leadership and youth development arenas. As the President / CEO of On Point: Direction for Life, Lesley has led a growing organization to reach 240,000 Chattanooga area youth with the skills and support they need to avoid risky behavior and be prepared for life.
In her 14 years of leadership, On Point's research and curricula are being replicated in 30 states and 13 foreign countries. Lesley states this is wholly "due to a passionate and high impact team" which she is humbled to serve alongside.
Kevin Bate moved to Chattanooga in 1994. He had flirted with a career in art a few times (bought it drinks, took it out on Valentine’s Day, etc.) but was never quite able to commit to it.
In 2011, all of that changed. Married with a newborn, Kevin decided (for some crazy reason) that this was the perfect time to attempt another launch of his art career. One afternoon while his infant son was sleeping, Kevin snuck out to the shed to look for art supplies. What he found instead was plywood, house paint and one inch brushes.
Understandably, his first paintings were quite large. This is probably why he jumped so quickly to murals. Since then, his works have appeared everywhere from the Southside, MLK Blvd, the North Shore and venues such as Track 29.
Kevin, who abhors the traditional art-speak artist’s bio, is currently curating The McCallie Walls Project, a neighborhood beautification and paying-artists-a-living-wage-for-their-work project near Highland Park. Lately, he has sent fan mail to Chuck Close and received props on Instagram from reluctant Chattanooga native, Usher.
Dr. Miles is the co-editor of two books on primate intelligence, Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, and The Mentality of Gorillas and Orangutans, and is currently working on Chantek: The First Orangutan Person. She is an editorial associate for Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and Anthropogeny, and is a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association. She has over 200 publications and papers, and her research with Chantek is featured in two exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution, and over 25 international film documentaries on her work, most recently, The Ape Who Went to College in the 2014 PBS series, My Wild Affair. She is an original member of the Great Ape Project to declare great apes to be persons under the law, and works to promote conservation through interspecies communication.
Marcus Ellsworth is a spoken word artist and emcee working in the Chattanooga area. He hosts and organizes Wide Open Floor, a monthly open mic performance art showcase at Barking Legs Theater. He is also the president of Tennessee Valley Pride and co-chair for Tennessee Equality Project’s Hamilton and Bradley County Committee.
Marcus has spent much of the past eight years honing his skills as an artist and working to help build community around art and issues of social justice.
Victoria M. Bryan is a tenure-track English faculty member at Cleveland State Community College and a doctoral candidate in American literature at the University of Mississippi. She has taught English for six years in universities and community colleges. For the past 14 months, she has been involved with the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative, a Nashville-based nonprofit that provides for-credit opportunities for college education to incarcerated learners. During that time, she has been teaching composition and literature courses and advocating for the implementation of higher education programs in prisons in Tennessee.
Robert Fisher, a Brock Scholar and Student Government Association President at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was named a 2014 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and a 2015 Rhodes Scholar.
Among his many public service appointments, Fisher currently serves as the UT Student Representative to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, as well as a member of the UT Advocacy Council (UTAC) Executive Oversight Committee.
Recently he was appointed by Mayor Andy Berke to co-chair the Downtown Revitalization Taskforce of the Chattanooga Forward Initiative—a committee of civic innovators who will lead Chattanooga's downtown through its next phase of growth.
Fisher's awards and honors include being named an Institute Scholar at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.
Jason Michaels, better known as “The CardShark,” is a dynamic and engaging speaker and entertainer with astounding expertise in the arts of deception. He has been a student of sleight of hand, illusion, and theater for almost 25 years. A storyteller by heart, Jason loves to blend impossible mysteries with unforgettable tales of adventure, danger and romance.
Diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age six, Jason has battled the neurological disorder and its uncontrollable “tics and twitches” his entire life. However, at age 16, he experienced the impossible when he first stepped onto the stage in a high school play. While Jason performed the tics and twitches associated with his Tourette’s vanished. He discovered a passion for live theater and, after wandering into a magic shop later that year, Jason’s path in life was set. In 2005, Jason became an international award-winning entertainer after competing in several international magic competitions.