John T. Manion

Reflection Riding adds renowned curator to staff

John T. Manion, a renowned curator at the Kaul Wildflower Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, is the new Arboretum Curator at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center in Chattanooga. As Arboretum Curator, Manion will work to establish Reflection Riding as a leader in botanical knowledge, native plant advocacy, invasive plant management and overall habitat restoration across the region.

Manion brings nearly two decades of public and private gardens leadership to his new role at Reflection Riding. During his tenure at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Manion developed the native plant collection into the largest documented in the state of Alabama.

"John brings a wealth of knowledge about native plants—from propagation and planting to the fun stories of how they were named and how they have helped shape human culture. He's a talented communicator who will help Reflection Riding tell the stories behind the plants we grow and study," said Mark McKnight, CEO of Reflection Riding.

Manion holds a Master of Professional Studies in Public Garden Leadership from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science from State University of New York at Cobleskill. He completed year-long curatorial internships at Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College and another year-long internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.

"Being able to inform and inspire people about the countless attributes of plants, gardens and natural areas – particularly those native to our area, is why I followed my passion for plants," Manson said. "I'm thrilled to be in Chattanooga and at Reflection Riding, which has such an exciting future."

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Justin Wilkes

Dr. Wilkes joins CHI Surgical Associates

Justin Wilkes, a surgical oncologist, has joined CHI Memorial Surgical Associates.

Dr. Wilkes earned his medical degree from the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, IA. He completed a general surgery internship and residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Wilkes then completed a complex general surgical oncology fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery, and is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Oncology.

At CHI Memorial Surgical Associates, Dr. Wilkes joins John Gwin, Jr., MD, Daniel Heithold, MD, J. Andrew Lovette, MD, Christina Parkhurst, MD, Walter B. Rose, MD, and Rishabh Shah, MD.

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Contributed photo / Stephany Pedigo

Chambliss law firm adds Pedigo for estate planning

Attorney Stephany Pedigo has joined the estate planning section of the Chattanooga law firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.

Pedigo is licensed in both Tennessee and Georgia and has more than two decades of legal experience to assist clients from diverse backgrounds and provide estate and trust-based solutions to her clients. Pedigo provides estate and trust-based solutions to her clients.

Focusing on asset preservation, she drafts wills, powers of attorney, trusts, and incapacity documents, and advises clients throughout probate and trust administration. Pedigo also guides clients how to effectively utilize tax credits and provides solutions for minimizing estate taxes. In addition, she represents clients in litigation, mediations, adoption matters, juvenile proceedings, judicial commitment hearings, and conservatorship cases.

"Stephany brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our talented team," said Greg Willett, estate and tax section chair at Chambliss. "She is joining us at an exciting time of growth, and I am confident she will positively impact our holistic client services and capabilities."

Pedigo is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and Chattanooga Bar Association. She graduated cum laude from the University of Tennessee and magna cum laude in the top 2% from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law.


Ten recognized as Women of Distinction

The annual Women of Distinction awards program has evolved since its creation in 1985 from a fashion-focused showcase to a broad philanthropic effort that recognizes the achievements of area women in their careers and communities. Last week, 10 local women were saluted for their contributions and careers during a luncheon fundraiser that helped raise $89,500 to support Dolly Parton's Imaginary Library. The 2021 Women of Distinction are:

* Dr. Valerie Boaz served as the Hamilton County Health Department health officer and Tennessee Department of Health regional health officer and medical director for 32 years.

* Sandy Brandt Chambers Dittus has worked in banking and finance in Chattanooga since 1986, and is past president of the Estate Planning Council, Chattanooga Tax Practitioners and the Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance.

* Becky Fuller Hansard, head of school at Silverdale Baptist Academy, has been an educator and advocate for families for 35 years, and is a past winner of Teacher of the Year for Hamilton County.

* Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste is professor and vice provost for academic outreach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and has been teaching at the secondary and college level for 20 years.

* Donna Fitch Lawrence served more than a decade on the alumni board for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, rising to the role of president, and was recently invited to represent UTC on the University of Tennessee's statewide Alumni Association Board of Governors.

* Daisy Maurya-Ballard spent almost two decades in the health care industry as a medical device sales specialist and national sales trainer before shifting her focus to real estate with the Uptown Firm as well as co-owning two investment and development comapnies.

* Dr. Cathie Smith is an educator and pediatric physical therapist who has worked internationally as well as mentoring young professionals from multiple disciplines in her work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Erlanger's Children's Hospital.

* Anne Marie Stone served as secretary and vice president of Friends of Special Children before serving as president from 2015 to 2018, and she helped the organization raise $1 million in 2015 for Signal Centers, which serves children and adults with special needs.

* Amy S. Walden is chairman and CEO of Walden Security, which has established a $1 million endowment for the University of Tennessee Veterans Entrepreneurship Program.

* Caroline McGuire Walker has worked in development for Girl Preparatory School and McCallie School, as director of marketing for Torch and as a commercial banking officer.

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