Melanie Emerson Gravitt to manage new Olive Garden

Melanie Emerson Gravitt to manage new Olive Garden


November 13th, 2011 by Staff Reports in Business Diary

Gravitt to manage new Olive Garden

North Chattanooga resident Melanie Emerson Gravitt has been appointed general manager of the new Olive Garden Italian Restaurant at 4499 Keith St. N.W. in Cleveland, Tenn., which will open Nov. 28.

Gravitt brings extensive restaurant industry experience to her new position. She has been with Olive Garden for five years, most recently as general manager of the Olive Garden in Hixson.

Gravitt is one of more than 1,200 managers who have participated in Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany program in the Tuscan village of Riserva di Fizzano, which serves as the source of inspiration for some dishes on Olive Garden's menu.

Each year, at least 100 managers spend a week in Tuscany getting immersed in Italian culture, learning the time-honored traditions of Italian cooking and working side-by-side with Italian master chefs.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to lead the Cleveland restaurant and the great team at the Olive Garden," said Gravitt.

Brexler wins THA service award

Jim Brexler, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System, won the top honor for 2011 presented by the Tennessee Hospital Association.

Brexler, who has headed Chattanooga's biggest hospital since 2004, received the distinguished service award at THA's recent annual meeting. Brexler has more than 30 years' experience in hospital management and served as chairman of the state's hospital association from 2009 to 2010.

Brexler was recognized by THA for "providing invaluable leadership and administrative expertise in the delivery of health care at Erlanger and throughout the state of Tennessee."

Meller joins Unum to head IT

Steve Meller has been named vice president of administration and shared technology in the global delivery center for Unum Corp. In his new job, Meller is responsible for application development support for several different business areas throughout the company.

Meller began his career at Unum in 1996 as a software development consultant. He previously served as assistant vice president in enrollment technologies and managed the development and roll out of applications.

Meller graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor's in computer information systems. He stays active in the community by serving on the board of the Chattanooga Technology Council as vice president of membership and sponsorship.

Varner joins local law firm

Christopher T. Varner has joined the Chattanooga law firm of Evans Harrison Hackett, PLLC, as a member.

Varner graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1996 and focuses his practice in civil litigation, including business and contract disputes and insurance defense. He currently serves on the Tennessee Bar Association's Board of Governors and is the president-elect of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Evans Harrison Hackett, PLLC, is a focused, business law firm that represents a diverse portfolio of businesses, financial institutions and individuals in the surrounding tri-state area and nationwide.

Eubanks named to Hutton Co.

Buddy Eubanks has joined the Hutton Co. as an acquisitions partner.

He returns to Hutton after working for ReMax in Fort Oglethorpe for six years. He has also been a private business owner and understands the importance of business locations and acquiring and recognizing profitable sites.

He graduated with a bachelor's in mass communications from West Georgia College in Carrollton, Ga.

Estate Planning Council officers

The Estate Planning Council of Chattanooga has announced officers for the 2011-12.

Named were W. Barton Close, president, Classic Wealth Advisory of Raymond James; Jeffrey M. Turner, vice president/programs, Capital Financial Group; Jennifer Kent Exum, secretary, Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams; and Sarah H. Ross, treasurer, Joseph Decosimo & Co.; Barbara J. Marter, past president.

Board members are Shelton Swafford Chambers, Husch Blackwell; and Gloria S. McConnell, Neal, Scouten & McConnell.

Directors are Richard L. Cox Sr., Cox Wealth Management; Teresa L. Whitton, SunTrust Banks; and Gregory D. Willett, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel.

Administrative assistant is Robin Holcomb, Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams.

The council is an interdisciplinary organization for professionals involved in estate planning

CPA Holliman certified analyst

Jason Holliman, a certified public accountant for the Chattanooga firm of Hazlett, Lewis & Bieter, PLLC, has achieved the designation of Certified Valuation Analyst, issued by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). The certified valuation analyst is the premier accreditation for CPAs who provide business valuation and litigation consulting services.

Holliman is a 2002 graduate of Tennessee Technological University and serves in the audit area of the firm. He and his wife, Julia, have a son and reside in Hixson.

White certified as ABCS diplomat

Dr. James E. White, MD, of Advanced Surgical Concepts has attained board certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. By the successful completion of required board examinations, Dr. White is now named a diplomate of the ABCS.

In order to be eligible for certification, a physician must have completed core board certification by the American Graduate Medical Education and completed more than 1,000 cosmetic surgical procedures with exceptional result reviews by the board review committee physicians.

Chambliss, Bahner among best firms

A study conducted by U.S. News & World Reports and Best Lawyers has named the top law firms and attorneys from across the country, and local law firm Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel has been named a leading law firm in 21 different practice areas.

Three Chambliss attorneys also received the Lawyer of the Year award by Best Lawyers. E. Stephen Jett was awarded Health Care Lawyer of the Year; Michael N. St. Charles was awarded Real Estate Lawyer of the Year; and Jay A. Young was awarded Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year.

Riggs is certified financial planner

Jody B. Riggs, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., in Chattanooga, has achieved the certified financial planner certification after she successfully completed the course work and exams in financial planning, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning.

Riggs is a a financial adviser with Riggs & Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial.

Big River beer wins top honor

Big River Grille & Brewing Works was awarded for its excellence in brewing at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Rocket Red Ale, the flagship hoppy, amber ale brewed by Kent Waugh of Big River Disney, took home the bronze medal in the "American-Style Amber/Red Ale" category of the competition.

This same ale won the brewery restaurant the gold medal at the GABF in 2003. Since its founding year in 1993, Big River has been awarded 5 medals at the GABF and 4 medals at the World Beer Cup.

"It is always exciting when we win at he Great American Beer Festival," said David Sharpe, regional brewer at Big River Grille & Brewing Works.

The GABF is America's longest running and largest gathering of breweries in the United States.

10 local lawyers on Mid-South list

Eighty-one attorneys with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, have been named to Mid-South Super Lawyers.

A total of 10 of the firm's Chattanooga attorneys were named to the list: Kenneth C. Beckman, Joe A. Conner, Richard B. Gossett, Russell W. Gray, Carl E. Hartley, Thomas O. Helton, James H. Levine, Virginia C. Love, Ross I. Schram III and Jerry Stauffer. Virginia C. Love was also named among the top 50 female attorneys in the Mid-South.

The publication also honored 23 Baker Donelson attorneys in its 2011 list of Mid-South Rising Stars, including Justin M. Sveadas from the firm's Chattanooga office.

The selections for this list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers, which is a service of Thomson Reuters, legal division.

Brogdon joins Keller Williams

Sarah Brogdon, a Signal Mountain native and alumna of Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences, has joined Keller Williams Realty as an affiliate broker in their downtown office.

Brogdon grew up in Chattanooga and earned a bachelor's degree from Roanoke College and a master's degree from Virginia Tech. She has lived and worked throughout Virginia and in Washington, D.C., and returned to Chattanooga five years ago.

"I love Chattanooga and knew I wanted to start my family here," Brogdon said. "I believe our homes say a lot about our lives, so I take my time to really understand clients' needs."

Tencarva buys Georgia firms

Tencarva Machinery Co., which has a Chattanooga branch office, recently acquired two companies in Georgia, adding 44 new employees to the Greensboro, N.C.-based equipment distributor.

The new acquisitions include GPM Industries is in Macon, Ga., and GPM Environmental, located in Alpharetta.

The two acquired entities have become the GPM Division of Tencarva and its first locations in Georgia.

Tencarva recently was ranked 40th in the 2011 "Big 50" list of Industrial Distribution magazine. The company is a distributor specializing in pumps, liquid process, vacuum equipment and custom-designed systems for the industrial and municipal marketplace.

Cate joins firm as senior consultant

Matheney Stees & Associates, PC, a certified public accounting and advisory services firm in Chattanooga, has added Meredith P. Cate as a senior consultant.

Cate most recently served as a cost report specialist with Crown Medical Management Group, LLC. Her previous experience includes working with Riverbend Government Benefits Administrator, a large Medicare contractor, for nine years and NHC, a large skilled nursing facility chain, for two years.

She is a magna cum laude graduate of Middle Tennessee State University earning a BS in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Sarine president of medical group

Craig Sarine, administrator of University Surgical Associates, was recently installed as president of the Chattanooga Medical Group Management Association.

Other officers include: Linda Maxey, of Chattanooga Urology Associates, vice president; Robin Elrod, of the Center for Pulmonary Sleep Disorders, secretary; Cathy Faulkner, of Peerless Pediatrics, treasurer; Misty Hickman, of the OB/GYN Center of Excellence, membership; Bill Gotschall, of Excel Graphic Services, associate member representative; and Rae Bond, the Chattanooga-Hamilton Medical Society, liaison.

The Chattanooga Medical Group Management Association (CMGMA) was formed in the spring of 1983 as an organization whose primary mission is to improve office practices and procedures in the medical field.