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business briefs

• SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. was ranked highest in customer satisfaction in a recent study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates that evaluated the top national mortgage lenders on their origination process for first mortgage loans.

• Nikki Hickman has been named branch manager of Highlands Union Bank’s new full-service branch at 1824 Veterans Blvd. in Sevierville. The office is scheduled to open Nov. 17. 

• Gables & Gates, Realtors recognized Debbie Holloway, agent of the month for September. Holloway chose The Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad as her charity of choice. Susie Lash, owner and president of Gables & Gates, presented a check to Kevin and Ed Cate, representatives of Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad.

• The Newport Walmart Supercenter unveiled the results of a nine-week remodel project during its grand-reopening celebration Wednesday, Nov. 5. Improvements to the store include wider aisles, lower shelving, an updated layout, renovated pharmacy and restrooms and a new color palette inside and out.

• First Tennessee Bank has awarded a $5,000 contribution to the Knoxville Area Small Business Development Center. The donation marks the 18th such award in as many years to the center. The Knoxville area TSBDC, which is administered by Pellissippi State Technical Community College, provides counseling and training to small-business owners and managers and those interested in starting a small business.

• Knoxville Women’s Connection will hold a fall festival at 10:45 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, at Buddy’s Bearden Banquet Hall. Event also will feature shopping, bluegrass music, food items and holiday crafts. Linda Wright will speak; complimentary childcare is by reservation only. Cost is $10.

• FirstBank recently announced the addition of Micheal Burt, founder of consulting firm Maximum Success, to the bank’s leadership team as FirstBank’s leadership coach to help maximize associates’ professional growth and improve the FirstBank customer experience.

• The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at The University of Tennessee celebrated the opening of its new facility with a fireworks-capped ribbon-cutting, Friday, Oct. 31. In addition to the ribbon-cutting at the new building, which featured remarks by Gov. Phil Bredesen, U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, and U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., grand-opening events included a public lecture by U.S. Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Sandra Day O’Connor and an open house at the new building. The 53,000-square-foot center, 1640 Cumberland Ave., was built at a cost of $17 million..

• Oak Ridge Associated Universities employees gave the largest amount of money to United Way and Community Shares in ORAU’s campaign participation history. Although the total ORAU employee giving participation percentage was 87 percent for 2008 as compared with 91 percent last year, the total amount given increased by more than 6 percent, from $82,368.05 to $87,831.81. Employee contributions combined with a corporate donation of $15,000, brought this year’s ORAU giving total to $102,952.81, marking the first time ORAU’s contribution has exceeded $100,000.

• Food City announced the return of its Fuel Bucks saving program. Food City ValuCard shoppers will be able to earn fuel and pharmacy bucks from Nov. 2 to Jan. 3, 2009. For every $10 in Food City Exclusive Brand purchases in a single visit, shoppers will receive a $1 fuel or pharmacy buck.


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