Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks, we will be honoring our local members of the 28th annual 40 Under Forty class, selected by our sister publication, The Business Journal of the Tri-Cities. A full list of the honorees can be found in the December edition of the Business Journal.
Every year since 1993, the Business Journal has held an event to honor the rising stars of the region’s business community. More than 200 celebrants have come together to be inspired by the incoming class of honorees and to meet the leaders who in coming years will be showing the region how to accomplish things we’d never dreamed of before.
Because of COVID-19, holding the gala last year was impossible. Holding the gala in a virtual environment was untenable. But, writing off the entire 40 Under Forty program for the year would have been unforgivable. At a time when innovation is mandatory, when vision is necessary and when hope and inspiration are precious, this program became more important than ever.
Derek Adkisson is one of the youngest members of the K-VA-T Food Stores (better known throughout the region as Food City) senior staff team, which consists of 43 of the company’s top executives. As director of Continuous Improvement, he is responsible for company forecasting, budgeting and scheduling to ensure exceptional customer service and cost savings throughout a 133-store chain of retail supermarkets. Adkisson is also an active member of his community, having served on the Jonesborough Area Merchants and Services Association and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee Boards of Directors and having been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, and various Niswonger Children’s Hospital events.
Sara Baldwin joined Food City in 2008 as a cashier. In 2016 she became a financial analyst for the corporate headquarters. In 2017, Baldwin was promoted to financial planning and analysis supervisor and in 2019 to her current position of finance senior manager. She is responsible for supervising the finance and treasury teams, performing financial modeling and analysis, analyzing performance, designing and implementing enhancements to forecasting and reporting processes, assisting with strategic plan development and annual budgets, preparing financial information for the ESOP plan, and hiring and training financial staff. Her most recent accomplishments include serving as the finance lead to develop and implement a new Oracle forecasting, budgeting and reporting system, developing detailed labor reporting, and serving as the “Opportunity Stores’ Project Manager, which improved the bottom line by nearly $1.5 million.
Brandy Bradley, tax manager at Blackburn, Childers & Steagall, PLC, brings a servant’s heart to tax accounting. She describes herself as having been one of those students who always had good grades but never had a good feel for what she wanted to do with her life. But, she knew and trusted two people who worked at BCS and told her that between her personality and her desire to serve others, she might fit in well there. So, after interning at BCS and graduating summa cum laude, she caught on full-time. She appreciates that BCS allows her to use her job as a ministry, she said, and this year convinced the partners to give a $100 bill to each employee at the firm, with the mandate that the money be spent charitably.
The Co-Founder of ReFrame Association, a national network of home repair nonprofits that includes Appalachia Service Project, Holston Habitat, and Eastern Eight, Davis has helped bring together members who have repaired 35,000 homes in 43 states in the last seven years. She previously served as the chief ministries officer at Appalachia Service Project where she managed the field operations for 15,000 volunteers completing emergency home repairs for low-income people in 30 communities in five states. Davis is also the Founder of “100+ Tri- Cities Women Who Care”, an affiliate of the global 100 Who Care Alliance that empowers women to become philanthropists. She recruited women to join a giving circle in five months and organized events that resulted in $76,000 in collective giving for Tri-Cities area charities.
As executive director of the East Tennessee State University National Alumni Association, Goetz faces the charge of turning a worldwide class of 90,000+ alumni into a force for growth during a time when higher education institutions face unprecedented challenges. Her diverse professional background allows her to appeal to others on a variety of levels. She served in marketing and nurse recruitment for Mountain States Health Alliance for five years before moving to Washington to work in the office of then-United States Senator Bob Corker. While working in Nashville, Goetz learned of the ETSU Alumni position and agreed with her husband that the opportunity to raise their children in northeast Tennessee was too good to pass up. Said one nominator, “Whitney respects tradition, while at the same time looking to effectuate changes that make a difference.”
Check back next week for more profiles on our local 40 Under Forty honorees.