Business Digest: Thomas to head Collier Construction

Business Digest: Thomas to head Collier Construction

February 9th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Diary

Thomas to head Collier Construction

Local general contractor Collier Construction has appointed Gabe Thomas as the company's new CEO. Thomas came to Collier in September 2013 with experience in construction finance and development, as well as corporate leadership.

"Gabe initially joined our team in a business management role, and it became clear to me very early on that his knack for innovation and critical thinking would make him an asset to the growth of this company," said Ethan Collier, president and founder of Collier Construction. "I am extremely confident that having Gabe in this role is necessary not only to maintain our current business model but also to achieve our growth trajectory."

A Chattanooga native, Thomas said the Scenic City "always seems to be a few years ahead of what every other city is doing.

"That's my goal for Collier as well--to be ahead of the curve," he said. "I want this company to keep building great projects that our city is recognized for and that Chattanoogans can be proud of."

Middleton named Kenco IT head

Frazer Middleton

Frazer Middleton

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Kenco, a leading provider of integrated logistics solutions, has appointed Frazer Middleton to the position of chief information officer (CIO).

Middleton will direct the technology strategy of the company, and lead the IT team to enhance performance and functionality. Middleton will also focus on opportunities to expand Kenco's technological capabilities.

"Frazer brings strong leadership experience to Kenco, and he will support the development of innovative solutions for our customers," said Jane Kennedy Greene, chairwoman of Kenco. "He will be our strategic liaison with other senior management to ensure implementation of best-fit solutions for both customers and Kenco operations staff."

Middleton has nearly 20 years of experience in the IT field. He was most recently with Recall Corporation, where he was senior global director. Middleton has an undergraduate degree from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England, and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Decosimo adds two tax managers

Decosimo, a public accounting and advisory firm, has added Victor DeMaise and Joshua Moore as tax managers in the firm's investment entities practice. DeMaise and Moore join Decosimo's niche services team which serves a client base with a wide range of funds from startups to funds with total assets exceeding $2 billion.

Prior to joining Decosimo, DeMaise served as the managing director of taxation for Bank of New York Mellon Alternative Investment Services and PNC Global Investment Servicing, Inc. He has managed the tax process for a variety of hedge funds, mutual funds, mezzanine funds, venture capital funds and off-shore funds.

Moore has built a track record of success in working with closely-held companies and pass-through entities. A certified public accountant, Moore also has experience in the areas of mergers, acquisitions and dispositions for international and multi-state consolidated corporations in manufacturing and distribution as well as serving venture capital and investment entities.

"Vic and Josh have the type of expertise and depth of knowledge that can exceed the complex needs of our clients and their investors. I know our clients will enjoy working with them," said Karl Jordan, a Decosimo principal and investment entities practice leader.

Moore holds a bachelor's degree in business and has continued his education at UTC by earning a Master of Accountancy degree. Moore is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants. He currently serves as treasurer for the Chattanooga Tax Practitioners.

DeMaise earned a tax certificate from Widener University's School of Business Administration. He is a graduate of Drexel University with a dual bachelor's degree in economics and accounting.

Walldorf earns NAR Green award

Nathan Walldorf with Herman Walldorf & Co. Realtors, Inc. has been awarded the National Association of Realtors' [NAR's] Green Designation, the only green real estate professional designation recognized by NAR. Walldorf was trained in understanding what makes a property green, helping clients evaluate the costs and benefits of green building features and practices, distinguishing between industry rating and classification systems, listing and marketing green homes and buildings, discussing the financial grants and incentives available to homeowners and helping consumers see a property's green potential.

"Designees have the necessary resources & relationships to effectively work with you on your next green project," said Kristen Short, executive director of NAR's Green Designation. As an NAR Green Designee, Walldorf has gained the knowledge and tools necessary to become a trusted green resource for Chattanooga. He also offers a free resource to the public for "greening" their homes at

Vischetti joins CPA firm

Matthew Vischetti

Matthew Vischetti

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Matthew Vischetti has joined Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, PLLC, a 33-year-old local accounting firm, as a staff accountant.

Vischetti will be responsible for accounting and tax work with clients, including planning, preparing and consulting.

"Matt is highly analytical with very strong research skills," said Ladell McCullough, CPA, and HHM member. "We look forward to having him on our team."

Vischetti earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is also earning his master's degree of business administration from UTC. He was a Hope Scholar from 2008-2012, and a Golden Key International Honor Society member from 2009-2012. Previous to HHM, Vischetti worked as an operations intern for US Xpress.

Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough, PLLC, is a full-service CPA and consulting firm in Chattanooga.

Gray on boardof Baker firm

Russell W. Gray

Russell W. Gray

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Russell W. Gray, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson's Chattanooga office, has been elected a member of the firm's board of directors. Gray was elected by Baker Donelson's shareholders to a three-year term as a member of the board.

Gray is a member of the firm's Labor & Employment Department and concentrates his practice in litigation and labor and employment issues. He has more than 15 years of experience in commercial and business litigation, including litigation involving contractual matters, trade secrets, stock valuation and real property. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and in Mid-South Super Lawyers since 2011.

A graduate of the American University Washington College of Law, Gray is a member of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, American and Federal Bar Associations and is an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Jackson publishes teacher's textbook

Former Chattanooga school teacher, Dr. Horace Jackson, has self-published a teacher's manual and student handbook entitled "Using Ethnography to Explore Culture in the Natural and Built Environments" while the accompanying student handbook is entitled "Student Ethnography Handbook: Using Ethnography to Explore Culture in the Natural and Built Environments." The teacher's manual and handbook were published on, an company. The titles can be searched for and obtained by searching for them on Amazon.

The texts serve as an enrichment program for the middle school grades and home schooled students. Students are provided classroom and field experiences to develop skills used by anthropologists and ethnographers to research culture. The program focuses on strengthening intercultural awareness by demonstrating the relationship that exists between humans and their environment.

Jackson is a Chattanooga resident and has master's and PhD degrees in social studies curriculum research from Washington University in St. Louis.

First Tennessee expands to Florida

First Tennessee Bank has opened another office outside of its home state. The Memphis-based banking giant has added an office in Jacksonville, Fla., to serve private client banking, wealth management through FTB Advisors, commercial banking and commercial real estate. First Tennessee previously opened offices in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, outside of Tennessee.

To be included, send information to Business Editor Dave Flessner at or call 423-757-6340.