McNabb Center partners to provide outpatient behavioral health care to uninsured children


McNabb Center partners to provide outpatient behavioral health care to uninsured children

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services expanded the state’s Behavioral Health Safety Net program to include uninsured children, and the McNabb Center is proud to partner with the state on this initiative.

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“The Behavioral Health Safety Net is a foundational program to meet the mental health needs of uninsured Tennesseans, and we are so grateful to Governor Lee and the General Assembly for investing and expanding this program to our children,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “Uninsured children in any county will have the ability to get services through our community mental health

providers, and that is amazing.”

The McNabb Center will provide outpatient mental health care to uninsured children through the Behavioral Health Safety Net program in eight East Tennessee counties and surrounding areas: Anderson, Blount, Cocke, Hamblen, Hamilton, Knox, McMinn and Sevier. Children and their families will have access to services including, assessment and evaluation, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, case

management, transportation, family support services, medication management and pharmacy assistance and coordination.

“It is essential to provide behavioral health care to uninsured children and we know this expansion will make a tremendous difference in the lives of kids and families,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center president and CEO. “We are proud to be a community mental health center and provide care through this program.”

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind, Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

Powerhome Solar responds to Tennessee’s call for green energy with second office

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – POWERHOME SOLAR, one of the fastest-growing American companies specializing in solar energy and efficiency services, is opening a Knoxville-area office, located at 860 Lakemont Dr. in Louisville, and plans to hire up to 100 employees. In April, POWERHOME SOLAR opened its first Tennessee office in Nashville and is quickly expanding within the state.

Even without net metering incentives for customers in the state, POWERHOME SOLAR has found Tennesseans very receptive to adding solar energy. Solar energy accounts for only 0.59 percent of electricity generated in Tennessee, making the Volunteer State one with untapped potential.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that homeowners across the state are interested in owning their power and maintaining a consistent energy payment,” said Jayson Waller, CEO, POWERHOME SOLAR. “The cost of solar power in Tennessee is increasingly affordable, and our panels are financed for roughly the same cost as an electric bill. When the financing ends, so does the payment for solar energy. Based on consumer interest, we need to open a second office to accommodate for our growing customer base.”

POWERHOME SOLAR plans to fill positions for solar panel installers and warehouse personnel. No prior experience is necessary, as POWERHOME SOLAR will offer on-the-job training. Walk-in interviews will be held at the new office location between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6 through Thursday, Oct. 8.

Those interested in joining the Knoxville team also can visit http://powerhome.com/solar-jobs or send an email to [email protected]

POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,500 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America – the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 of this prestigious list. For more information, visit www.powerhome.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Centriworks earns CompTIA Security Trustmark+

Knoxville, TN: Centriworks, East Tennessee’s oldest and largest business technology company, announced today it has received the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ from CompTIA, the non-profit association for the world’s information technology (IT) industry.

The CompTIA Security Trustmark+ validates that Centriworks uses the security processes identified by the IT industry as generally accepted best practices and has been evaluated by an independent third-party assessor as meeting the criteria established by the CompTIA Security Trustmark+. Based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ is a comprehensive review of the security posture of any IT business, applicable across multiple industries and compliance regulations.

“The CompTIA Security Trustmark+ signifies that Centriworks adheres to our industry’s highest standards for security practices and business processes in critical components of identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery as related to data security,” said Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president, industry relations, CompTIA. “Earning the Security Trustmark+ demonstrates a true commitment to address the challenges of security compliance facing our industry today.”

“I am very proud that our Centriworks team earned the CompTIA Security Trustmark+. It confirms our commitment to quality. It also assures our clients that we can help them meet their industry and government compliance obligations,” said J. Mark DeNicola, CFO /CSO of Centriworks.

To earn the CompTIA Security Trustmark+ Centriworks successfully passed an independent assessment of their security policies, capabilities, practices, and processes against industry best practices in areas such as:

  • Security technologies, including firewalls, anti-Virus/ malware/ spyware, and intrusion detection
  • Vulnerability assessment detection
  • Data encryption
  • Technical employee knowledge/expertise
  • Security clearances and background checks
  • Physical and hardware security
  • Permissions, passwords, and other security requirements

Centriworks is East Tennessee’s largest and oldest business technology company offering Cybersecurity, Managed IT Services, IT Consulting & Software, VOIP Phones, and Hardware to enable clients to focus on their core business. In its 56th year, the company has more than 60 employees at offices in Knoxville and Johnson City. For Centriworks’ complete range of products and services, visit www.centriworks.com.

South College School of Pharmacy receives $8,000 from Walgreens to promote diversity

South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy.

The purpose of the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship is to recognize student pharmacists who represent a diverse group or underrepresented minority and have an interest in community pharmacy.



a group of people posing for the camera: South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy. Pictured from left are Keith Ford, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor; Jill Brehmer, director of admissions for the South College School of Pharmacy; Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy; and Scott Leslie, Walgreens district manager.


© Submitted
South College recently received an $8,000 donation from Walgreens to fund a diversity and inclusion student scholarship that promotes programs to attract diversity to the School of Pharmacy. Pictured from left are Keith Ford, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor; Jill Brehmer, director of admissions for the South College School of Pharmacy; Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy; and Scott Leslie, Walgreens district manager.

“We are grateful to Walgreens for its support of diversity in pharmacy education and honored to be chosen as a recipient of these funds,” said Dr. William Gentry, dean of the South College School of Pharmacy. “Having a diverse and inclusive student population is vital to positive outcomes for all of our students both while they are at South College and when they enter the professional ranks as pharmacists.”

South College School of Pharmacy students in their second year are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship, funded by the Walgreens donation. The remaining funds will be used to expand and promote outreach programs to attract diverse students to the school. Minorities currently represent 30 percent of the South College School of Pharmacy student population, and 22 percent were born outside the United States with 27 countries represented.

The donation comes as a result of achievements that the School of Pharmacy has accomplished in striving to serve a diverse population, including its programs.

Each year since 2008, Walgreens has donated more than $1 million in support of diversity in pharmacy education, with approximately half going to students in the form of scholarships and the remainder being provided to accredited pharmacy schools in the United States and Puerto Rico. The funds have increased the enrollment of and provided educational assistance to students in underrepresented communities.

For more information about South College, visit https://www.south.edu.

About South College

South College is a private institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of South College. For more information, visit https://www.south.edu.

YMCA offers free, six-week STRONG Challenge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 5, 2020) – Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The YMCA of East Tennessee invites the community to participate in a free six-week STRONG challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.

“Now, more than ever before, we need to recharge and refocus,” YMCA of East Tennessee President and CEO Jim Dickson said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. Let’s stop letting life go by and get back to living the life we’ve been given.”

Opt in to the free challenge by texting STRONG to 855-717-9622. Follow the prompts to sign up, and you will receive three texts a week filled with motivation, challenges, workouts and more. The program runs Oct. 19-Nov. 28.

Everyone in the community is invited to work out wherever you are, taking free YMCA online classes like Boot Camp, Yoga and Barre. The challenge also encourages you to take advantage of local outdoor amenities, like the greenway system and Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. But the Y’s STRONG challenge focuses on more than just physical activity, encouraging you to play, rest, connect with your support system, and serve your community. Visit the website https://myy.org/strong/challenge to learn more about the STRONG challenge.

“It’s the perfect time to take back our lives, reenergize, achieve goals, feel better and get stronger together, as individuals and as a community,” Dickson added.

McNabb Center receives Tennessee Community CARES grant

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The McNabb Center is proud to expand access to care thanks to

a grant award through the Tennessee Community CARES Program. The Center

received $380,200, which will be used for personal protective equipment (PPE)

expenses that have been incurred and will need to be replenished.

This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee and the

funds will also be used to provide support to students and families in local schools.

Youth and families in Knox County, Blount County, Maryville city, Lenoir City, Oak

Ridge city and Newport/Cocke County schools will be provided access to resources

to manage issues related to COVID-19, such as anxiety, depression and responding to

positive cases within their communities.

Governor Bill Lee announced the $150 million in Coronavirus Relief funds in July. The

goal of the Tennessee Community CARES Program is to provide funding to nonprofit

organizations to allow them to respond to health and economic needs

stemming from the impacts of COVID-19. The funding, provided through the

Tennessee Department of Human Services, is administered by the United Way of

Greater Knoxville.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on all aspects of our society,

and non-profit organizations are no different,” Governor Lee said. “Non-profits play a

vital role in ensuring Tennesseans’’ needs are met in times of crisis, and it’s

imperative these organizations receive financial support to continue their work.”

The McNabb Center has been able to continue serving individuals with the most

need and fewest resources during the pandemic thanks to grants and community

donations. At the onset of the pandemic, programs across the McNabb Center saw

an increased need for personal protective equipment, telehealth supplies and other

items to ensure services could continue uninterrupted.

“We are thankful for local, state and federal funders, as well as individual and

organizational donors who help us achieve our mission of improving the lives of the

people we serve,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center president and CEO. “The

Tennessee Community CARES funding will go a long way to positively impact

individuals who are suffering because of the pandemic.”

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health,

substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind,

Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy

through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the

most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to

more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more

information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

Four ORNL technologies win R&D 100 Awards

Four research teams from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their technologies have received 2020 R&D 100 Awards.

In lieu of the traditional in-person event, this year’s R&D 100 winners were announced in online events Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, as part of the R&D 100 Conference and Awards.

Established in 1963, the R&D 100 recognizes new commercial products, technologies and materials from around the world for their technological significance. These new wins bring ORNL’s total R&D 100 Awards to 225 since the award’s inception.

“I am extraordinarily proud of the creative and dedicated teams behind these innovative technologies,” said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. “Being named among the R&D 100 is a reflection of the caliber of our staff’s work.”

ORNL researchers and technologies that have been named winners include:

Amanzi-ATS, submitted by Los Alamos National Laboratory and co-developed with ORNL.

This powerful and adaptable simulation software provides an avenue for holistic analysis of complex environmental systems.

Environmental systems are immensely intricate collections of interdependent subsystems that ebb, flow, and interact with each other, with small changes in one part impacting other factors as well. Amanzi-ATS provides a flexible, comprehensive open-source software solution that can be quickly adapted to model environmental systems across scales, addressing problems ranging from climate change impacts to contaminant mitigation.

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research Program, the DOE Office of Environmental Management and laboratory directed research funds from ORNL and LANL.

ORNL’s Ethan Coon, Ahmad Jan and Scott Painter contributed to the development along with David Moulton and Rao Garimella at LANL and the broader Amanzi-ATS team at LANL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Biomacromolecule Engineering by Soft Chain Coupling Technology, developed by ORNL.

Polylactic acid, or PLA, is a commonly used bioplastic and its biocompatibility, biocompostability, high strength and stiffness make it ideal for use in biomedical devices, films, packaging and 3D printing. However, its brittle nature limits its use in many applications.

ORNL researchers have developed a biomacromolecule soft-coupling technology that improves the ductility and toughness of PLA through a melt-phase process that creates droplets in the polymer microstructure, increasing its toughness up to 20 times compared to the original polymer. This process gives PLA the properties of ductility and super-toughness without sacrificing its tensile strength. 

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Soydan Ozcan led the ORNL development team which included Halil Tekinalp, Kai Li, Yu Wang, and Xiangtao Meng.

ChemSitu Microfluidic Technology for In Situ Mass Spectrometric Characterization of Microfluidic Devices, developed by ORNL.

The convergence of microfluidics and biology has produced numerous “biology”-on-a-chip devices that mimic organs, vascular networks and plant-microbe systems, enabling exploration of dynamic biochemical processes. But current devices provide only limited spatial and chemical information.

ORNL’s ChemSitu analysis approach allows in situ quantifiable chemical characterization at any location within the microfluidic device. Analyte is extracted into a flowing solvent probe and characterized by mass spectrometry – allowing for measurement of hundreds of molecules simultaneously.

Enabling mass spectrometry to characterize living biology in microfluidic systems for the first time, ChemSitu’s location-specific chemical profiling may prove invaluable in studying molecular transport across biological interfaces, which is important in toxicology and pharmacology.

Funding for the project came from the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research, Bioimaging Science Program.

The ORNL team was led by John Cahill and included Vilmos Kertesz and Scott Retterer.

Cobalt-Free Li-ion Battery Cathode Material, developed by ORNL and Sparkz.

Cobalt is a rare, costly and difficult-to-access metal that increases the performance but reduces the safety of lithium-ion batteries found in consumer electronics such as mobile devices and in electric vehicles. The metal is used in a battery’s cathode, the positively charged end that determines much of a battery’s performance.

ORNL researchers have developed a cobalt-free cathode material for use in lithium-ion batteries made with nickel, iron, and aluminum (NFA) in the place of cobalt. The material exhibits electrochemical properties similar to cobalt and demonstrates comparable performance. NFA cathodes can replace cobalt-containing cathodes at a lower-cost, while maintaining performance and creating minimal disruption to the lithium-ion manufacturing process.

Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office.

Ilias Belharouak led the ORNL portion of the development team which included ORNL’s Nitin Muralidharan, Rachid Essehli, Jagjjt Nanda, Mohammad Khaleel; and Sparkz’s Sanjiv Malhotra.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

490 BioTech wins Innov865 Alliance’s Startup Day; Dr. Peter Tsai is recognized for Global Pandemic Support

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The startup 490 BioTech, which developed bioluminescent human cells to show changes in cellular health, won the Innov865 Judges’ Choice Award at Startup Day 2020 with a pitch that explained how its technology can improve development of pharmaceuticals.

“Healthy happy cells are bright, sick cells go dim, and dead cells go dark,” 490 BioTech co-founder and CEO Dan Close said. “Our product provides continuous information about a drug’s effect on human health so pharmaceutical companies can operate more efficiently.”

As winner, his company will receive a $7,000 cash prize that they will use to develop its business further. 490 BioTech was named among several winners during Innov865 Week, which celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation in Knoxville and the region.  He and others pitched their businesses on Startup Day, Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Winners were named in an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 2 that included the judges’ choice, 490 BioTech; the Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by BB&T and SunTrust Bank, now Truist, was given to Quantum Lock; and the first recipient of the Innov865 Impact Award, presented by Verizon, was named – N95 mask developer Dr. Peter Tsai.

The look and feel of Innov865 Week may have been a little different, but the excitement of the eighth annual Startup Day was woven throughout the a week of virtual events designed to introduce investors to burgeoning startups in the process of gaining traction in the market.

The festivities started with a discussion from University of Tennessee President and entrepreneur Randy Boyd during a Facebook Live segment on Monday morning, followed by the Spark Innovation Center Showcase on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday nearly 200 attendees heard from Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and then were introduced to six investable pitchers in what was deemed by judges as the closest Startup Day to date. The virtual “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition included previously taped pitches and virtual question and answer sessions hosted on the local startup virtual platform Lunchpool.

Quantum Lock, co-founded by Erica Grant, won the $3,000 Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize as voted on by viewers of the competition on Startup Day.

Quantum Lock creates random, untraceable combinations for locks that prevent hackers from doing things such as creating a master key for hotel rooms, among other safeguards. Later plans for Quantum Lock’s technology include securing the energy grid, hospitals, homes, smartphones and personal security.

“Encouraging entrepreneurs to creatively solve problems and build businesses is one way Truist delivers on its purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities, said Christian Corts, regional president for BB&T | SunTrust now Truist, East Tennessee. “We appreciate the hard work and ingenuity of all of Startup Day’s participants, and congratulate Quantum Lock and Erica Grant as the crowd favorite award winner for Startup Day 2020.”

The inaugural Innov865 Impact Award, presented by Verizon, was given to Peter Tsai, University of Tennessee researcher who developed the N95 mask material.

“Verizon is proud to present the inaugural Innov865 Impact Award, and pleased to announce the winner, Peter Tsai,” said Thomas Green, Managing Partner for Government and Public Safety at Verizon. “As the architect behind the essential technology in N95 masks, his work is essential to the global response for fighting the pandemic. This is the kind of life-changing technology that the Innov865 Impact Award presented by Verizon is meant to highlight.”

The Innov865 Impact Award recognizes an inventor who has made a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19. Tsai, a research faculty member at the University of Tennessee Department of Material Science and Engineering, used a method called electrostatic charging to develop the N95 mask material, which filters out 95 percent of particles from air that wearers breathe through the mask. Front-line healthcare workers and others use the N95 mask as part of the essential personal protective equipment they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tsai then participated in a fireside chat with Lonnie Love of ORNL, moderated by Jon Sheiber with TechCrunch, in which he explained his work.

“I did not expect this. It’s just happened by chance,” Tsai said. “My invention is an ordinary invention.”  However, Tsai’s invention has had an extraordinary impact. Dr. Tsai retired two years ago, but the global pandemic caused a shortage of N95 masks. Earlier this year, he worked with labs and manufacturers to teach others how to make the materials and safely reuse N95 masks.

About the Startup Day winners

Innov865 Judges Choice: 490 BioTech – The Knoxville-based 490 BioTech makes bioluminescent human cells capable of continuously producing a visual light signal that adjusts in real-time to represent changes in cellular health. The company’s glowing cells can be used by pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to develop safer, more effective, and less expensive medicines. 490 BioTech serves the academic, commercial, industrial, and government research community by providing high quality bioluminescent cell lines that don’t require external luciferin treatments to function.

Their patented genetic architecture allows their cell lines to produce their own luciferin internally, allowing for continuous light production throughout the life of a culture.

Cofounder and CSO: Dan Close

Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by BB&T and SunTrust Bank, now Truist: Quantum Lock – Quantum Lock is developing a smart lock system that is more secure than many current smartphone-based key systems. Quantum Lock’s technology uses quantum physics to generate keys that are random and untraceable. Quantum Lock’s premier product, Gamma Lock, is a smart phone or key fob based smart lock which is built to secure guests at Bed and Breakfasts and hotels.

Cofounder: Erica Grant

About the Innov865 Alliance and Innov865 Week’s Startup Day

Innov865 Week is a weeklong series of events that celebrates Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit by bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm, and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit http://innov865.com/.

Helen Ross McNabb Center announces name change to McNabb Center

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) Helen Ross McNabb Center, the region’s leading provider of

behavioral health services, announced that it has changed its name to

McNabb Center, effective immediately.

“Mrs. Helen Ross McNabb founded the organization in 1948 and it has since evolved

to serve individuals from infancy through adulthood,” said Jerry Vagnier, president

and CEO of the McNabb Center. “Mrs. McNabb left a legacy of compassion that

continues to inspire us to serve those with the most need in our community.”

The McNabb Center is undertaking a brand refresh to become more identifiable

within the communities it serves. Over the next year, the Center will roll out its new

logo, highlighting its focus on “Well Mind, Well Being.”

“The McNabb Center provides mental health, substance use, victim and social

services across East Tennessee,” Vagnier said. “The focus of ‘Well Mind, Well Being’

speaks to the whole person approach to the care we provide.”

While the logo and name are changing, the Center’s dedication to delivering the

highest quality care is not. The Center’s mission has been and continues to be;

improving the lives of the people we serve.

In addition to the name change, the Center has refreshed its website to provide

clients with easier access to care: www.mcnabbcenter.org.

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health,

substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind,

Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy

through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the

most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to

more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more

information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

Y-12 conducts successful emergency exercise during pandemic

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – The Y-12 National Security Complex successfully conducted its first full-scale emergency exercise since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Y-12 regularly conducts emergency exercises and drills with various scenarios to ensure it can effectively respond to potential emergencies, but the September 1 exercise was the first to include the pandemic safety protocols established by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), which operates the site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Approximately 290 personnel were directly involved in the exercise as responders and exercise control personnel, and all successfully implemented COVID-19 controls.

“Conducting a full scale exercise during the COVID-19 epidemic was a huge challenge as the primary consideration was the health and safety of personnel during the exercise,” said Jon Pack, Emergency Management Program Manager. “An exercise safety plan is always utilized for an exercise, but this exercise plan addressed the new hazard of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Throughout the exercise “there was excellent adherence to the COVID-19 controls,” said Susan Morris, NNSA Production Office’s Assistant Manager for Environment, Safety, Health and Quality.

Independent observers from the Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessments agreed, concluding in their field notes that “NPO and CNS demonstrated that Y-12 can effectively respond to an Operational Emergency while operating under COVID-19 pandemic protocols.”

CNS had already implemented safety protocols, such as mandatory mask usage and social distancing, for the site. Exercise participants adhered to those measures “with some additional actions such as placing Plexiglas shields in some areas of our emergency centers where maintaining six feet social distancing was problematic,” Pack said.

“The most important thing for the general public to understand is that by continuing to perform complex Emergency Management exercises during the COVID-19 epidemic, the Y-12 Site demonstrates the ability to effectively respond to an operational emergency while operating under COVID-19 epidemic protocols in order to ensure that appropriate response measures can be taken to protect the worker, the public, the environment, and national security.”

The previous month, the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, completed its successful full-scale emergency exercise, the first this year in the DOE Complex to be held with COVID-19 pandemic protocols in place. CNS manages both Y-12 and Pantex and had established pandemic protocols at both sites.

Merchant & Gould receives Mansfield Certification for 3.0 Version, boosting diversity efforts

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 29, 2020 — Merchant & Gould P.C., a national intellectual property (IP) law firm with a Knoxville office, has achieved Mansfield Certification status for 2020, after completing a 12-month self-study designed to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in firm leadership.  Created by Diversity Lab, a data company that leverages research and behavior, the Mansfield Rule certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities — at least 30 percent of the candidate pool — for recruitment, governance roles, equity partner promotions, and inclusion in formal pitch presentations to clients. 

“More than ever, it’s important to reaffirm our commitment to each other and to our legal community.  We continue the dialog about diversity, inclusion and equality, and we continue to boost diverse leadership and representation,” said Christopher J. Leonard, Merchant & Gould’s Managing Director, CEO, and Chairman of the Board.  “The data we have collected during the Mansfield Certification process has been informing new policies and outcomes, benefiting our firm, clients and industry.”

Merchant & Gould was one of 100 law firms completing the certification program, a designation meant to ensure representative promotion processes at law firms — moving toward a larger goal of diversifying industry-wide leadership as inclusively and effectively as possible.   The Mansfield Rule aims to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these roles and opportunities.

“We’ve participated for two years and have already seen changes in more diverse client teams and hiring.  We have also opened our firm’s leadership to reflect a broader coalition of attorneys having various backgrounds.  It’s more than an initiative to us; these actions are part of our firm’s culture and core values,” added Andrew L. Jagenow, Merchant & Gould’s Diversity Committee Chair. 

Merchant & Gould participated in the previous iteration of the Mansfield Rule and achieved Mansfield 2.0 Certification in 2019, in addition to the Version 3.0 just earned.  The firm continues its work to advance diversity throughout the legal industry.

Recognized on the Forbes list of “America’s Top Trusted Corporate Law Firms 2019,” Merchant & Gould P.C. is a national intellectual property (IP) law firm with approximately 100 attorneys in offices in Knoxville, Tenn.; Minneapolis; New York; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; and Denver.  Founded in Minneapolis in 1900, the firm has grown to become one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, representing the worldwide intellectual property interests of clients in diverse industries and technologies.  www.merchantgould.com

Merchant & Gould helps sole inventors, emerging and established companies, universities, venture capitalists, and Fortune 500 and 100 companies stay ahead of the curve to gain leverage in new and existing markets.  The firm handles every phase of IP prosecution and enforcement, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, as well as licensing, due diligence, opinions and counseling, in all areas of technology.   As the pace of global innovation surges, intellectual property has become an increasingly integral and valuable part of business.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: McNabb Center partners to provide outpatient behavioral health care to uninsured children

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