Tennessee Aquarium announces new senior leadership team additions

Tennessee Aquarium president and CEO Keith Sanford has announced the addition of two new positions to the aquarium's senior leadership team. Micheal Floyd was recently hired as the aquarium's vice president of guest experience, and Melanie King was promoted to vice president, chief development officer.

Technically, Micheal Floyd is returning to the aquarium. Most of his career has been in service to guests under the iconic glass peaks of the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings. He was previously employed as the assistant manager within the admissions department and later served as manager of the aquarium's gift shops. Floyd served as the Aquarium's store director until the riverfront institution entered into a partnership with Event Network in January 2020.

"Micheal is passionate about the Tennessee Aquarium, its mission, and providing guest interactions that go above their expectations," Sanford said in a news release. "He has expressed excitement to work hand in hand with admissions and visitor services to ensure employees and guests have the most satisfying Aquarium experience moving forward."

Floyd holds degrees in technology management and business administration from Dalton State College, and a computer support specialist diploma from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

Melanie King was hired as the aquarium's senior development officer in June 2017. A year later, she was promoted to director of development. In this role, King has been very successful in fundraising and building strong relationships with the Aquarium's network of donors and community partners.

"Melanie believes strongly in the Aquarium's mission, especially regarding the conservation challenges we tackle every day," Sanford said in the same release. "The success the development department has seen under her management speaks to the passion and commitment Melanie has demonstrated toward cultivating support for our animal care, freshwater science, and education programs. Her team helps ensure the Aquarium will continue to have a profound impact on the broader community."

Prior to joining the Aquarium, King served as vice president of business development at the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, where she worked for almost 12 years. Other previous roles include director of development positions with the National Wildlife Federation and the Georgia Conservancy.

King holds a B.A. in English Literature from Stony Brook University in New York.


Miller-Motte College's Barbara Kitchens named president of Tennessee Association of Surgical Technologists

Miller-Motte College-Chattanooga Surgical Technology Program Director Barbara Kitchens, a 40-year surgical technology veteran who "loves serving others," according to a news release, was recently elected and sworn in as the next president of the Tennessee Association of Surgical Technologists.

some text
Contributed Photo by Miller-Motte College/ Barbara Kitchens

"I believe in what we do as a profession. As president, I promise to continue to work hard at making Tennessee the best assembly in the nation," said Kitchens in the same release. "I believe in encouraging others to get involved so they may share their time, gifts and talents. We are stronger together."

Surgical technologists assist surgeons by preparing patients and the operating room for surgical procedures. Over the span of her career, Kitchens has worked across many surgical specialties and served as the private technologist for four different surgeons.

Kitchens has been a surgical technology instructor and program director at Miller-Motte for 15 years. As leader of the surgical technology program, Kitchens is responsible for all aspects of the program from teaching and advising to review and analysis of program data and outcomes.

"We are so proud of Barbara and the impact and contributions she has made and continues to make in the surgical industry. She is an amazing educator and leader in her field and we look forward to seeing all of the great things she will accomplish as President as the Tennessee Association of Surgical Technologists," said Miller-Motte College-Chattanooga Executive Director Jay Frank in the release announcing her new role.

— Compiled by Brandi Dixon

Information about new hires, promotions and business awards should be sent to