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ESC Representatives






Choose your area from the list below:

Nathan McKinney

GIS Lab Manager, Geography

Term ends in 2025

I joined UT in 2016 to develop and manage the Department of Geography’s geospatial infrastructure including teaching labs, research facilities, data collection equipment, software, and expertise in applying GIS and remote sensing technologies.

I’m excited to represent the College of Arts and Sciences to the ESC because staff deserve a voice in policy that reflects the importance of our roles in university operations.

LaShel Stevens

Business Manager, Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB)

Term ends in 2026

I have been at UT 27 years, as the Business Manager in BCMB. I supervise the office & personnel. Manage all things financial to include the departmental budget as well as gift accounts. I do various HR related items. I process all proposals from creating the budgets to post-award once we receive funding. Help with grad recruiting, manage departmental events, equipment inventory and the space survey. In general I am the “office” mom for many of our students.

As a member of the ESC; I hope to provide insight when needed. I am looking forward to learning from other ESC members. My main objective is to help our UT family any way I can.

Marcus Hilliard

Senior Associate Athletics Director/Chief of Staff, Athletics

Term ends in 2024

I oversee our department’s human resources and NIL efforts while working closely with Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White on strategic planning and other special projects. Also, I serve as the sport administrator for the track & field and cross country/distance programs and am also part of our Tennessee Athletics executive leadership team. I’ve been at UT since Feb. 2021 and am a 2009 graduate.

I’m excited to be part of ESC as I enjoy serving this institution. Exempt staff members play an important role on our campus and I’m committed to doing anything I can do to help bring our issues/challenges to the forefront in effort to make our professional experience better.

Beth Kurtz

Project Manager, Office of Communications & Marketing

Term ends in 2024

I joined the UT community in December, 2019 and love it! Our office tells stories and shares news/information to advance the reputation of this flagship campus. We also partner with other campus communicators to provide brand and marketing support. I’m a project manager working mainly with the video team and collaborate with all teams within the department.

I am honored to be a member of the Exempt Staff Council and value the different perspectives shared in our meetings. We strive to get answers and make improvements for all staff members so that UT, Knoxville will continue to be a great place to work.

George Drinnon

Executive Director, Undergraduate Programs, Haslam College of Business

Term ends in 2024

I’m a two-time alum of UTK and have worked in academic advising and programing in Haslam, and been involved in many campus initiatives, for 20 years.

I love the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville campus has been my “home” for many years. My favorite part is the people that I’m so privileged to work with. Serving on the Exempt Staff Council is a small opportunity to serve those people who have given so much to me.

Lauren Hatcher

Senior Academic Advisor, Office of Advising and Student Services

Term ends in 2026

Lauren is in her fourth year working at UT and advises students across all CEHHS majors on course selection, curriculum requirements and post-graduation planning. She works most closely with students pursuing teacher licensure and the faculty who oversee those programs. In addition, Lauren teaches FYS 101 each fall.

Lauren is excited to serve on the ESC because of the unique opportunity it gives her to help make positive change for her colleagues. She can’t wait to learn more about how the UT system operates and collaborate with fellow ESC members.

Amanda Middleton

Special Programs Coordinator, Tickle College of Engineering

Term ends in 2023

I’ve been at UT for 11 years, and with the Tickle College of Engineering for almost a year and half now. In my role as Special Programs Coordinator, I plan and execute a wide range of events from staff appreciation to student game nights to all-day board meetings. I’m also a resource for our college staff when planning their own department events.

I’m excited to be a part of ESC to continue being that resource for our exempt staff, as well as a mouthpiece when they have concerns or questions. The information I learn in our ESC meetings will allow me to provide more opportunities for our staff to be involved in the greater UT community.

Leslie Wereszczak, MS, LVMT, VTS(ECC)

Director of Emergency Care/Critical Services, UT Veterinary Medical Center Small Animal Hospital

Term ends in 2025

Leslie is the Director of Emergency/Critical Care Services at the Small Animal Hospital of the UT Veterinary Medical Center. She oversees the day-to-day operations and nursing staff of the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Service. She has been at UT in a full and part-time capacity for 30 years.

She is happy to be a part of the ESC to be an advocate and voice for exempt staff on issues that are important to them and to have new ideas brought forth to be heard by those who can implement change through fair representation.

Allyson Graves, CRA

Assistant Director, Office of Sponsored Programs

Term ends in 2026

I have been with UT for a total of 8 years, and with UTIA for almost 3 years. I was previously in the division of research administration at UTK. My team negotiates, approves, and processes all sponsored programs contracts, agreements and subawards for UTIA. We also advise faculty and staff on federal regulations and guidelines, as well as University policies with regard to research related agreements.

I am excited to be on the ESC because I am interested in meeting people from all departments across campus and serving the UTIA Ag Research constituents. I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in order to address constituent issues and provide the most accurate information based on the committee’s discussions.

Chris Binkley

County Director, UT Extension Van Buren County

Term ends in 2025

UT Extension County Director/ANR Agent- 7 years

Excited to serve my coworkers on ESC, stay up to date on the changes/challenges at UT and be their voice.

Michele Atkins

County Director/Extension Agent, Henry County (West Tennessee)

Term ends in 2026

I serve as the county director and Family and Consumer Science Agent in Henry County. I have worked for UT Extension for a total of 27 years in the same county! I served the first 15 years of my career in Extension as a 4-H agent.

I am extremely excited and honored to serve on the Exempt Staff Council representing the Western Region. I look forward to working with this group and helping better serve our university.

Tanya Washington

Training Specialist, Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership

Term ends 2025

Since May 2019, I have been empowering effective leaders by modeling and delivering high quality and innovative leadership development practices through training.

I am excited to serve on the Exempt Staff Council because we discuss issues and ideas that are important to staff.

Norma Wilcox

Solutions Consultant for the North Central Region of Tennessee, Center for Industrial Services

Term ends in 2025

I am based in Nashville, Tennessee. For over 30 years I have been responsible for promoting the resources of UT CIS to business and industry. My mission is to help businesses succeed, grow and create high quality jobs.

I enjoy being on the Exempt Staff Council because it gives me a sense of belonging and connection to the UT campus.

Kim Raia

Environmental Consultant, County Technical Assistance Service

Term ends in 2025

Kim has been with UT CTAS since 2000 and has worked in environmental services since the early 1980s. She works with state and local officials on environmental issues related to GIS and land use planning, solid waste management, water quality, and environmental compliance. Kim holds three degrees from the University of Tennessee —bachelor’s degrees in biology and geography and a master’s degree in geography. She is a certified GIS Professional (GISP) and a certified drone pilot, with advanced training in Solid Waste Management and Public Administration.

I am happy to serve a term on the ESC. I’m looking forward to learning more about how the UT System operates and representing my colleagues on the Council.

David Moore

Police Management Consultant, Municipal Technical Assistance Service

Term ends 2025

He has been with MTAS since January 2019. David’s Career has been in law enforcement and law enforcement related fields for approximately 33 years.

“I hope to be an effective conduit of information between MTAS Exempt Staff and critical partners for the purpose of clear communication and information sharing.”

Hillary S. Meeks Tune

Communications Specialist, College of Communications & Information

Term ends in 2025

I’ve been at UT for five years as a communications specialist creating content such as articles, newsletters, and copywriting. I graduated with my Master of Science in Information Sciences in summer 2022, and I now am also responsible for all user experience (UX) research and design, and website design for the college.

I believe in elevating the interest of staff and ensuring equitable measures of resources and support for staff on the UT campus. Digital accessibility, as well as diversity and inclusion, are a particular concern of mine for everyone at UT.

Shane Colter

Senior Project Manager, OIT

Term ends in 2025

I’ve worked in the Project Management Office since it was created in 2008, previously spending eight years in educational technology and three in a marketing services group. I’ve been a volunteer instructor for UT Employee & Organizational Development (half-day PM workshop) and the East TN PMI chapter (PMP® exam prep), and I facilitate the Knoxville-area UT Community of Practice on project management.

I love the opportunity in the ESC to connect with the larger Knoxville-area UT community and share valuable information with my colleagues and am happy to return after serving as a rep and the chairperson almost a decade ago.

Tonya Sartin

UT System Administration – Department of Technology Solutions

Term ends in 2026

Tonya Sartin is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville and has been with the UT System Administration’s Department of Technology Solutions since 2021. Before moving to the UT System, Tonya worked for Maryville City Schools as a computer technician. She enjoys providing technical training and recommending technical solutions to improve workflow and efficiency. Tonya looks forward to serving on the Employee Relations Advisory Organization to support our Core Values: Be One UT.

Mary Beth Burlison

Associate Director, Transfer Center, Division of Enrollment Management (Undergraduate Admissions Transfer Center)

Term ends in 2026

I have over 10 years of service with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In my current role, I am responsible for overseeing transfer articulation policies and procedures and maintaining and executing new operational tasks related to transfer articulation and equivalency. I also work closely with our transfer recruitment team and the admission process.

My time as an ESC representative is new; however, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to engage in conversations with the other ESC representatives as well as with colleagues throughout Provost (UTK) area.

Melissa Jenkins

DRA Senior Contract Coordinator in the Office of Research, Innovation & Economic Development (ORIED), Research

Term ends in 2025

In my (almost) 7 years at the University, I have the privilege of working with a variety of smart and talented people and with offices across multiple UT’s campuses in support of the University’s research goals. I strive to provide high-level support to all of those involved when reviewing and negotiating the various agreements that come through our office, as well as award actions that are needed throughout the term of the project.

Being part of the Exempt Staff Council is another way that I am able to interact with an even more diverse group and I get to know my University and colleagues a little better. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of a group that works to improve our workplace through communicating and sharing information with its employees.

Jamie Cyphers

Learning Consultant, Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (College of Social Work)

Term ends in 2026

I’ve been with UTK since late July 2022. As the Learning Consultant for SWORPS, I work with K-12 faculty and staff as well as nonprofit organizations who are involved in the state of Tennessee’s Extended Learning After-school Program (or ELAP). I provide software training, Help Desk Support, and website development and maintenance to name just a few things. This year, I also became an instructor of First Year Studies and I’m looking forward to getting back into the classroom.

I’m excited to serve on the ESC not only to help serve my colleagues, but also to get to know other folks on the council and in the UTK community at large. I look forward to learning more about campus policy and procedure and discussing ways that they can be improved, in support of my Division and the University.

Bonnie Johnson

Director, Pride Center, Division of Student Life

Term ends in 2024

Bonnie has worked at UT since 2017 and serves as Director of the Pride Center, the LGBTQ+ resource center at UT.

She is happy to serve as Student Life’s representative to the ESC in order to amplify the voices and concerns of staff within the Division.

Matt Ward

Budget and HR Coordinator, Office of Budget and Finance

Term ends in 2024

I have been at the University of Tennessee for 23 years. In 1999, I started my career in Human Resources for the Knoxville Campus, working first in Recruitment then Compensation. I transferred to the Office of Budget and Finance, where I have been in my current position as Budget and HR Coordinator, since 2014.

I have been on the Exempt Staff Council since 2021. I enjoy being on the ESC because I can be a resource for my constituents when they have issues, or questions. I also like being a part of the Exempt Staff Council because, as a group, we work to improve the work life of the employees we represent.

Blake Reagan, J.D.

Executive Director of Policy, UT System Administration, Office of the Chief Financial Officer

Term ends in 2024

I’ve been at UT since July 2008, and I’ve worked in multiple roles over my career. I’m a licensed attorney and I have a “green belt” in Lean Six Sigma. My current role involves managing UT’s fiscal policies, rewriting all current fiscal policies, reviewing “non-delegated” contracts as the final legal approver, and engaging in special projects as needed.

I am glad to be part of ESC so that I can stay current on issues related to staff and so that I can provide support to UT System employees, as needed.

Deanna Flinchum, Ex-Officio – Elections

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Ex-Officio – UT Knoxville Office of Ombuds Services

Mary Lucal, Associate Vice Chancellor

Darrell Easley, Director of L&OD & ER

Julie Roe, ER Manager

Jon Chandler, Senior ER Consultant

Jessica Cantu, ER Consultant

Sam Smith, ER Specialist