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• Catholic Charities of East Tennessee announced Freddi Birdwell has been named as the new community relations and development director. Birdwell received her bachelor’s degree in English education and speech communications from the University of Memphis and completed additional coursework in public relations communications at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Formerly the Tennessee director of health initiatives for the American Cancer Society, Birdwell has 15 years of experience in non-profit management.

• Business Machines Company of East Tennessee has expanded its sales staff. Mark Dennis will serve West Knoxville. BMC has been in business since 1982 and has a 32-member staff.

• This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Ultimate Drive for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a nationwide program that conducts test drives to raise money for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. For each mile driven in one of The Ultimate Drive branded vehicles, $1 is contributed to the Komen Foundation. Grayson BMW on Parkside Drive will host The Ultimate Drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 15. There is no pressure to buy from this event.

• April M. Fugate of Kingston, was promoted to branch manager for the West Knoxville Cedar Springs branch of K-25 Federal Credit Union at 9210 Kingston Pike following the transfer of Suzie Warren to the North Knoxville branch. Fugate joined K-25 Credit Union in 1998 as a teller in the Kingston office. Since joining the credit union Fugate earned the distinction of Certified Credit Union Executive, Certified Financial Services Provider and was voted Employee of the Year in 2005.

• Tastefully Simple is celebrating its 11-year anniversary. There are currently 16 members on the Knoxville area team. For more information, call 865-671-3083.

• Image Matters was recently honored for its outstanding contribution to Muratec’s Success.  Bob Lovelace attended the  Muratec Imagemakers Club in Hualalai, Hawaii, in May. Image Matters, locally owned and operated by Bob Lovelace and J.D. Sullivan, received  this award in its first year carrying the Muratec multifunction equipment line. Image Matters is the only Knoxville dealership to receive the award.

• United Community Banks, Inc. recently announced record financial results for the first quarter of 2006. Compared with the first quarter of 2005, United Community Banks achieved a 21 percent increase in total revenue, a 19 percent rise in net income and a 15 percent gain in diluted earnings per share. For the first quarter of 2006, net income rose to $16 million compared with $13.4 million a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share increased to $.39 from $.34 a year ago. Total revenue, on a taxable equivalent basis, was $68.0 million compared with $56.1 million for the first quarter of 2005. Return on tangible equity was 17.66 percent and return on assets was 1.09 percent, compared with 19.86 percent and 1.06 percent, respectively, a year ago.

• A taste of authentic Mexico is coming to Knoxville this spring with the opening of a new Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy Restaurant, located at 11299 Parkside Drive in Turkey Point. The new restaurant, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in June, will be Abuelo’s second location in Tennessee and the company’s 36th site nationwide. Abuelo’s also has a restaurant located in Bartlett, outside of Memphis. The new 7,700-square-foot restaurant will include seating for approximately 240 guests and will employ a staff of approximately 100. The decorative interior features an open-air courtyard atmosphere complete with hand-carved statues and hand-painted murals depicting the history of Mexico. The exterior finishes of the building will include brick and cantera stone trim. Abuelo’s, which blends the best of Mexico through art and fine dining, is respected for its creative, made-from-scratch Mexican dishes and superior service. House Specialties are made using beef tenderloin, jumbo shrimp, mahi-mahi, salmon and other top-quality ingredients with unique, homemade sauces and side dishes. Abuelo’s restaurants, which were recently listed in Restaurants & Institutions’  “Top 400 Sales Growth Leaders” annual ranking, are owned and operated by Food Concepts International of Lubbock, Texas. Abuelo’s also recently ranked number 18 in Restaurant Business’ “Top 50 Growth Chains” listing.

 • Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, has added LaSheryl Jones-Hall, Terri Ott and Machelle Anderson to its Brentwood office. Jones-Hall, previously a trainer at Valley Forge Life Insurance, has been hired as a learning coordinator in the human resources department. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Science degree from Tennessee State University. Ott, previously a senior tax associate with Kraft CPAs, has been hired as a staff accountant in the Family Office Department. Ott will be working closely with high wealth families and entrepreneurial businesses. She earned Bachelor of Science and master of accounting degrees from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Anderson, previously a senior accounting clerk with Old Time Pottery, Inc., has been hired as a staff accountant in the internal accounting department. She received her associate of applied science degree from Motlow State Community College.

• Business and Community Services at Pellissippi State Technical Community College is offering an eight-hour ServSafe food handlers course that meets the requirements for manager certification in the food service industry. It will be offered at the Pellissippi Campus on Hardin Valley Road from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m., June 17. The course provides food safety information that can be used in the food service industry, day cares, schools and other facilities. Certification is achieved by passing an approved multi-choice exam and a ServSafe certificate, and is attained upon successful completion. Those who complete this course will receive recognition from the International Food Council and permanent registration in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s National Registry. The ServSafe training and certification program is recognized nationally by public health departments in 95 percent of American jurisdictions with training requirements. It provides the resources to help keep food safely. as an essential ingredient in every meal. The instructor is Kashi Farmer, owner of White Glove Restaurant Solutions. The fee for the course is $125 plus books. Participants must register 10 days before the class begins by calling Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services at 865-539-7167 or 539-7166.

• The Farragut Chapter of Business Network International (BNI), a national business referral organization, meets 7:30 to 9 a.m. every Wednesday at Ruby Tuesday’s on Lovell Road.  For more information, call Aleex Conner at 865-691-6083.


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