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Advisory Board Members

Alexia Poe photographAlexia Poe, a 1995 graduate of the College of Communication and Information, is a public relations consultant for the Nashville-based Ingram Group. She has previously served as director of communications for Governor Bill Haslam, director of economic and community development for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and communications director for Senator Lamar Alexander.


Tom Smith photographTom Smith, a 1980 graduate of the Haslam College of Business, is chairman of Smith/Hallemann Partners, a Nashville-based real estate firm. He was previously chairman of Mission Property Company and served on the board of directors of Highwoods Properties Inc.


John Tickle photographJohn Tickle, a 1965 graduate of what is now the Tickle College of Engineering, is chairman of Strongwell Corporation, a manufacturing firm based in Bristol, Virginia. He was president of the company from 1972 to 2011 and served on UT’s Board of Trustees from 2015 to 2018.


Syreeta Vaughn photographSyreeta Vaughn, a 2005 and 2013 graduate of UT with master’s degrees in geological sciences and engineering and industrial management, is a facilities safety engineer in Consolidated Nuclear Services at the Y-12 National Security Complex, where she leads sitewide safety. She is president of the Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals.


Tim Williams photographTim Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and an MBA in 1993, both from the Haslam College of Business. He is president and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corporation, the nation’s largest manufactured home lender. Williams received the college’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014.


Louis Gross photographLouis Gross is a Chancellor’s Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics and director of the UT-based National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. Gross earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Drexel University and his doctorate in applied mathematics at Cornell University.


Johnelle Simpson portraitJohnelle Simpson II, a second-year student in the College of Law, graduated from the University of Georgia in 2016 with a BA in business administration. He served at UGA as president of the Student Government Association in his senior year and was a student member of the Board of Trustees. Since coming to UT, Simpson was elected a first-year representative to the Student Bar Association and serves as a Graduate Student Senate representative.