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• The Farragut Leadership Initiative and the Farragut Education Foundation will host a Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce breakfast networking at 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, at Farragut High School. The event will include a short presentation, tours around the high school and door prizes.

• The Tennessee Small Business Development Center Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership office will conduct a free small business start-up seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 9 at the partnership office, 17 Market Square, Suite No. 201, in Knoxville. The seminar will cover basic forms of business organization, tax requirements, business licenses and planning and financing. For more information or to register, call 865-246-2663 or e-mail

• The Tennessee Department of Revenue will hold a free bimonthly new business workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Knoxville regional office, located at 531 Henley St. The workshop is to be held on the seventh floor in conference room B. This free workshop is designed to assist those encountering business-related taxes for the first time. Tax specialists from various local and state agencies will provide the basic information needed to comply with registration and tax requirements. During the session, attendees will have the opportunity to listen to these tax specialists, ask questions, and receive materials explaining tax responsibilities and providing contact information. Areas of discussion will include business tax, sales and use tax, unemployment tax and tax enforcement procedures. Interested individuals may call 865-594-6100 to register for the program.

• The University of Tennessee has just earned the Best Workplaces for Commuters designation from the EPA.. The Best Workplaces for Commuters program recognizes employers whose commuter benefits reach the National Standard of Excellence. Participating companies earn the designation “Best Workplaces for Commuters” — a mark of excellence for environmentally and employee-friendly organizations. To earn the designation, employers must provide at least a $30 per month transit or van pool benefit in addition to participating in a commuter program, such as the Knoxville Regional Smart Trips program. The University of Tennessee provides its employees, both faculty and staff, with the opportunity to purchase semester KAT bus passes for only $35 for spring and fall semesters and $20 for the summer semester. Students are also eligible for the same inexpensive semester bus passes as faculty and staff. The University of Tennessee is one of two area employers with the Best Workplaces for Commuters designation.

The Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission has also recently received the designation. Smart Trips has been working with the university over the past year to provide an employee commuter program that focuses on the more than 6,200 faculty and staff that work in the Knoxville area. The Smart Trips program is offered in conjunction with the KAT services already provided throughout the UT campus and the Knoxville area. Smart Trips works with employers throughout the East Tennessee non-attainment region to help develop commuter programs for employees. These programs encourage employees to use alternative transportation to get to work, such as carpool, van pool, taking the KAT bus, bicycling or walking. By using alternative transportation, commuters can help to reduce the number of drive-alone miles, which saves them money and helps to lessen air pollution. For general information or if you are interested in becoming a Smart Trips employer, visit or call 215-2916.

• Eric Bellah has been named Maryville College’s new director of annual giving. Bellah, as director of annual giving, is responsible for planning and implementing a variety of fundraising components, including direct mail, phonathon, community campaigns, the college’s faculty/staff campaign and the annual fund scholarship programs. His office is located in Willard House on the campus. “We are excited to have Eric join our team and believe that he has both the aptitude and attitude to continue to grow the Annual Fund,” said Jason McNeal, vice president for development. “With his past experiences in constituent relations, he brings a service-minded approach that will serve our college well.” The Knoxville native earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1994 and his Master of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., in 1999. Bellah has experience in service management for non-profit organizations, having worked for two YMCA branches, Young Life and the seminary where he was enrolled. Prior to coming to the college, he was member service director at the James J. Harris Family YMCA in Charlotte, a $9.5 million operation based in a 100,000 square-foot facility with more than 300 staff members. His responsibilities included leading the annual staff community outreach campaign; recruiting volunteers to assist in fund-raising efforts; directing the supervision and training of more than 40 front-line staff members; and coordinating corporate outreach efforts, including recruitment, retention and corporate member services. Under his leadership, the YMCA branch collected 100 percent of the department’s goal for staff and community gift divisions; celebrated 10,000 family-unit memberships; and retained 80 percent of its membership in winter of 2004, surpassing national averages for the non-profit organization. He created a “Putting Mission into Motion” workshop for YMCA training seminars and organized the annual Good News Reviews event, a formal event attended by more than 200 people to recognize staff performance. Bellah is the recipient of two YMCA awards. These include the Rose Award, which recognizes service excellence; and the Mark Hollowell Award, given to the person who best exemplifies integrity in the workplace. He was twice nominated for the Harry Brace Spirit Award, which annually recognizes the person in each YMCA branch who best models Christian mission in the work environment.


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