Board of Directors

Shaping policy, identifying solutions, and implementing programs

Our Board

The Board of Directors governs the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. The duty of the Board is to shape policy, identify solutions, and implement programs. Members of the Board of  Directors are elected by the membership and should be a fair representation of retailers, manufacturing, service providers and other categories of membership.

Board meetings are open to all members. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every other month from 8:00 a.m.—9:00 a.m. at Jefferson Memorial Hospital. The date, time and location of meetings are subject to change, as required, with board approval. The dates are posted on the Chamber website or can be confirmed by contacting the Chamber office.

Members are invited to contact the Chamber staff to be scheduled to address the board or to add items to the agenda and should do so one week in advance of the meeting. Board minutes and agenda are kept in accordance with the Chamber by-laws.


Fifteen direcotrs from the membership, five of whom will be elected annually to replace the directors whose regular terms are expiring.

Service Terms

Board terms are for a three-year period, or until their successors are elected and qualified.  Board terms begin on January 1 of each year. 
The Chairman can serve a 4th year as Past Chairman as nominated.

Nomination Process

Nominations for the Board of Directors are sought in September and these nominations are sent to the membership for approval in October. Additional names can be nominated as candidates by petition only. The petition process is identified in Article IV, Section C of the Chamber by-laws.


Include but are not limited to:

  • A commitment to a three-year term
  • Attendance at Chamber board meetings as called
  • Serve in a leadership role
  • Serve on one or two additional committees during each year of term
  • Participation/attendance at Chamber sponsored events

2019 Executive Directors

Ron Lawrence | Chairman

Darby House Retirement and Vol Magic Wash (Jefferson City)

Ronald (Ron) Lawrence, born in Knoxville Tennessee, graduated from Farragut High School and the University of Tennessee.  In addition, he attended Carson-Newman prior to transferring to the University of Tennessee. 

His initial management position was with Continental Grain Company in St. Louis, Missouri.  After four years in the U.S. Air Force, Ron “retired” with the rank of Captain and joined Champion Papers, now part of Georgia Pacific.  Ron accepted the role of Operations Planning Manager with the South Carolina State Ports Authority and spent five years in Charleston.  During this time, he received his M.B.A. from The Citadel. After graduation, he accepted a position with the Giant Portland and Masonry Cement Company, a company on the NYSE.  Ron left that company as a Vice President and moved to the Knoxville area to begin his career in health care.  In 1981, Ron acquired a nursing facility near Knoxville. Within three years, he built another facility in Farragut, Tennessee. 

Since those early days, he has opened a pharmacy, a physician practice, employs over 30 registered dietitians state-side, an independent living in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and an automated car wash company with locations in Jefferson City and Sevierville.

On a personal note, Ron is married to his wife Carolyn; together they have five children and 16 grandchildren.  His interests include showing Tennessee Walking Horses and he has won world championships at the Walking Horse Celebration.  Other interests include travel, motorcycles, and living on a small farm with both Walking Horses and black angus cattle.  Ron prides himself in being community minded and operating businesses with integrity and high levels of quality service.

Debbie Stepp | Treasurer

Atlantic Capital Bank
Business Development Officer and City President                                                                                                              

Debbie Stepp is a native of Jefferson County and a graduate of Jefferson County High School. She attended Walters State Community College and Carson-Newman University. Debbie has been a banker in Jefferson County for over 33 years and currently serves as the Business Development Officer and City President in Jefferson County for Atlantic Capital Bank.

Debbie is a past graduate of Jefferson County Adult Leadership. She is a current board member of Mossy Creek Foundation and a former board member of Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity.

Debbie and her husband, Mark have four sons and several grandchildren. They reside in New Market and attend Mill Springs Baptist Church.

Julie Rex | Vice-Chair

First Tennessee Bank
Vice President – Community Banking

Julie joined First Tennessee in 2006 as a small business banker.  Prior to that Julie and her Husband, Steve owned a small business in Baneberry TN for over 6 yrs.

In 2012, Julie obtained her securities and insurance licenses and her role changed to Community Banker.  As a Community Banker, she handles both Business Banking and Private Client Banking including commercial and consumer lending and cash management. She strives to provide prompt, friendly and professional service for all manners of banking needs. But beyond that, she makes it her mission to help her clients in every way that she can. She realizes that banking can be confusing and it’s generally not fun to deal with so she tries very hard to keep banking simple and friendly! She works with many very busy professionals that appreciate her flexibility to meet wherever and whenever it is convenient for them.

Julie has served the communities of Hamblen and Jefferson County by participating in the following non-profit organizations:

  • MATS Executive Board and Board President
  • United Way of Jefferson County Advisory Board
  • Encore Theatrical Group Board
  • Carson Newman College Department of Family and Consumer Science Board
  • Lakeway Regional Hospital Advisory Board
  • United Way of Hamblen County Loaned Executive

Julie has completed Morristown Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class and she has recently graduated the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class. She has been married to her husband, Steve over 20 years and they have two awesome kids! Their eldest child, Jacob is a sophomore at Middle Tennessee State University and their daughter Halie is a recent graduate of Jefferson County High School. Both Jacob and Halie participated in the Youth Leadership Program offered by JCHS and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

David Longmire | Vice-Chair

Jefferson County Facilities and Safety Director

David Longmire serves as Jefferson County Facilities and Safety Director in the County Mayor’s Office.

He has worked faithfully for Former County Alan Palmieri and continues in that same capacity for current County Mayor Mark Potts. Having worked for Jefferson County for a total of 13 years overseeing the entire Counties’ facilities and property.

Born in Tribune, Kansas David’s family moved back to Tennessee in 1963. His first public job was at Berkline in Morristown, TN and then later Jeffery Chain Manufacturer. He found his real passion when at the urging of Paul Jarnagan, owner of Jarnagin Motor Company to come work for him in retail automotive sales. David was instrumental in the Dealership winning Ford Motor Company’s Coveted President’s Award for 7 years in a row.

David is a former Board Member of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce having served from 2015 thru 2017 and is eager to serve a second time.

David is a member of Jefferson City Assembly of God where he serves as a Board Member and Praise and Worship Leader. David’s wife Nancy is employed at First Peoples Bank. They have one daugher, Amy (Eddie) Hogsten and three grandchildren, Ezekiel, Sawyer ,and Colt.

Scott Schroeder | Vice-Chair

Board Member Scott Schroeder

Bush’s Beans Visitor Center

Scott E. Schroeder was born and raised in rural Ohio. Attended Ohio Northern University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. In 2004, Scott with his family relocated to Jefferson County to work at Bush Brothers & Company. Scott is married to his wife Jennifer and they have two children Jaycee and Dominic. Jaycee and Dominic both attend Jefferson County High School where they are honor students and active in athletics. Scott and his family attend Dandridge First United Methodist Church.
Scott has worked at Bush Brothers & Company for 14 years. During this time Scott has had many responsibilities. Scott is currently the General Manager of Bush’s Visitor Center where he focuses on tourism and the community relations.
Scott enjoys BBQing, relaxing on the lake, woodworking, and supporting his children in their respective sports.

Roger Mynatt | Past Chairman

Jefferson Park at Dandridge

Roger Mynatt is presently the Administrator for the Jefferson Park at Dandridge in Dandridge, TN; a position he has held since January 1992. Prior to his service with JCNH, he served as Supervisor of Health Information at U.T. Medical Center in Knoxville, TN.

Roger holds an extensive list of accomplishments including earning his Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Administration and Planning from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Care Administration from East Tennessee State University, and an Associate of Science (AS) in Political Science from Walters State Community College.

His list of community service credentials is as impressive. He has served on the Board of Licensing for Health Care Facilities for the State of Tennessee as appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Chairman of the Jefferson County FEMA, board member for the Jefferson Memorial Foundation and the Tennessee Health Care Association and the Finance Council Chair for Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Jefferson City. He has earned the honor of Fellow for both the American College of Health Care Administrators and the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a member of the American Health Information Management Association.

Roger currently resides in Dandridge, TN with his wife, Kristine, and daughters, Jessica, Jenna, and Julianna. Jessica is currently a senior at East Tennessee State University. His wife, Kristine, is presently working to attain her Master of Arts in Teaching at Carson-Newman University.

He and his family are active members of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Jefferson City, TN.

2019 Board of Directors

John Ballinger | Total Property Management

John was born and raised in Jefferson County and is a graduate of Jefferson County High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Carson-Newman University in 2004. John currently owns and operates Total Property Management along with his brother, Chad. He has completed the Chamber’s Leadership Program, and in 2016 Total Property Management was awarded the Chamber’s Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Service and Contributions in Business and Industry in Jefferson County.

Outside of work John enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He and his family like being on the family farm either working cows or playing on the river. Mountains of any kind have a special calling to John, and he enjoys every opportunity he gets to be out in them. John is also a member and deacon at Jefferson City Christian Church where he has attended for over 20 years.

Mark Bissell | Nella Constructors

Board Member Mark Bissel

Mark Bissell is a lifelong native of Jefferson County. He is a graduate of Jefferson County High School and has a BS in Business from Carson-Newman University.

Mr. Bissell served 25 years with UPS in various positions in operations and operations management. During his career at UPS, he was an active member and served as Chair and Co-Chair for various committees including local and district business development, community service, and safety committees. He also earned his Master Safety Trainer Certification and was a trainer and first responder for UPS Designated Hazmat Responder Program. Mr. Bissell currently serves as Director of Business Development for Nella Constructors, where he is responsible for all business development and sales activities. Nella Constructors is a national commercial general contracting company. Mr. Bissell is also an affiliate broker and realtor with Realty Executives Associates. He serves both the commercial and residential markets in the greater East Tennessee area. He served on the Board of Directors with Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson County and is a member of Leadership Jefferson County and the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association.

Mr. Bissell is married to Melanie Bissell, Bookkeeper for Jefferson Middle School. They have two sons Bryce and Nolan. Bryce is a sophmore at East Tennessee State University and Nolan is in 8th grade at Jefferson Middle School. He and his family are members of New Market Baptist Church. in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, hunting, fishing and playing golf.

David Gaut | Jefferson County Sanitation Department

David Gaut is the Solid Waste Director for Jefferson County. He oversees the day-to-day operations as well as the budget and state regulations. He has been with the sanitation department for five years. 

David has lived in Jefferson County for the last thirty-one years. He is devoted to the prosperity of the county. He and his wife Angie are blessed with four children and three grandchildren. 

David was a successful general contractor for twelve years here in Jefferson County. He then took the Jefferson County Building Inspector’s job in 2011 before moving to the sanitation department. 

He was elected as District 2 County Commissioner in 2014. He enjoys serving his community and speaking for the people in this position.

David is passionate about his faith and his family. When you don’t find him on the job you will often find him building playhouses for his younger children and grandchildren. He also enjoys woodturning and is gifted in a variety of handiworks. 

Cindy Holt | Tennova Healthcare

Board Member Cindy Holt

Cindy Holt has been the Director of Professional Outreach and Physician Recruiter for Tennova Healthcare since 2013. As DPO she works locally with Jefferson Memorial Hospital and Newport Medical Center. Cindy has been successful in recruiting many specialists to Jefferson County and the surrounding area. Cindy went back to college as an adult and completed her Bachelors of Business Administration from King University.

Originally from Houston, Texas she has made her home in East Tennessee for 30 years. She is married to Michael Holt and together they have three married children and three grandchildren. Cindy spends her free time traveling, camping and with her grandchildren.

Claude Key | The Chocolate Ladies

Claude Key is a retired Mechanical Engineer with over 40 years of experience in the nuclear industry. His experience encompassed the design, construction, modification and operation of nuclear facilities in the Southeastern United States. Claude’s experience includes 27 years as an employee for the Tennessee Valley Authority and approximately 16 years as a consulting engineer for utilities in the Southeast. 

Prior to entering the field of engineering Claude served in the US Army from 1966 to 1969. Claude’s educational background includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering (1972) and an MS in Engineering Administration (1977) from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Currently Claude is assisting his wife Rita and daughter Susan in their chocolate business (Chocolate Ladies) located in Talbott, TN. The business specializes in custom made chocolates. The Chocolate Ladies also offer many chocolate favorites including chocolate dipped strawberries, grapes, cherries and truffles. 

Claude Key lives in Talbott with his wife Rita. They have been married for 45 years and have two children, four grandchildren and two-great-grand children. 

Dr. Tony Miksa | Walters State Community College

Dr. Tony Miksa has been president of Walters State Community College for almost two years now. He came to Morristown after 21 years in higher education serving at several colleges in Illinois. He began his career in higher education as a mathematics instructor and assistant basketball coach. Dr. Miksa has also worked as an admissions counselor, dean of Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Health Programs, and a vice president of student and academic affairs. With master’s and undergraduate degrees in mathematics, Dr. Miksa holds a doctorate of Education and Community College Leadership from National Louis University in Chicago. In addition to continuing academic and campus growth projects at Walters State, Dr. Miksa has spent his first years at Walters State actively engaging with students, business leaders and communities within the college’s 10-county service area. He and his wife have two children.

Dr. Hal Morrill | Drs. Morrill and Diamond Eyecare

Hal Morrill grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee. After graduating from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, he was the chief optometrist for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He and his wife, Patricia, moved to Jefferson City in 1979 and began his solo optometric practice. He was a very active member of the Rotary Club for over 33 years, serving as president and being honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. He also founded the JCHS Interact Club (a high branch of Rotary) and helped guide them to be an award-winning club for over 18 years.

Always very active in his church, Holy Trinity Catholic, he and Patricia were on the original parish council in forming the church in 1991 and he chaired the building committee for the church construction. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians and the Tennessee Academy of Optometric Physicians.

They have three daughters, Allison, Andrea and Meredith and six grandchildren. In January 2014, he joined with Dr. Jeremy Diamond to form the Drs. Morrill and Diamond Eyecare practice. This allowed him to be semiretired and able to pursue his hobbies and they especially enjoy traveling.

Brandon Otto | Perkins Restaurant

Brandon Otto is the Operating Partner of Perkins Restaurant in Dandridge.  Born in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, he moved to Dandridge in 2005.  Brandon is engaged to Jefferson County native Emily Walker and will be married in April.  Since making his home in Tennessee, Brandon has been active with many local groups including the Dandridge Community Trust.  He was the recipient of 2016’s Patriot of the Year by Jefferson County High School. .

Vickie Ownby | Holy Smoke BBQ & Catering

Vickie is a Jefferson County native, and graduate of Maury High. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee. In 2013 she retired from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee after working twenty eight years as an Account Sales Executive in the East Tennessee area. Shortly after retirement she went to work for Chandler House Assisted Living and memory care in Jefferson City. She currently is still employed there part-time. 

Vickie and her husband, Steve, own and operate Holy Smoke, LLC. Holy Smoke provides catering services to business and individuals in East Tennessee, as well as markets their own line of BBQ sauces, rubs and pickles. 

Vickie enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, traveling, cooking and participating in community events. She is a member of First Baptist Church, Dandridge and a director on the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. She is also a lifetime member of the Kansas City BBQ society where she serves as a Certified Master BBQ Judge.

Aaron Porter | Carson-Newman University

Board Member Aaron Porter

Aaron K. Porter is a native of Tennessee and loves all that his home state has to offer from good fishing, family reunions, southern cooking, and baseball.

Mr. Porter has spent his career devoted to enrollment management and was Director of Admission as Tusculum College, Director of Admission at Bryan College, and currently serves as the AVP for Enrollment Management at Carson-Newman University. Aaron is passionate about Christian Higher Education, and over the past eleven years, he has helped over 5,000 students gain access to a transformational experience at four-year private institutions.

Mr. Porter is known for his excellent counsel on office structure and scales of efficiency, data-driven decision making, database management techniques and reporting, and strategic planning. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King University and his Masters of Arts degree in Education from Tusculum College.

In his spare time, he loves to travel, spend time at the beach, and create memories for his wife and their two daughters. Professionally, Aaron particularly enjoys mentoring and coaching others to meet their professional aspirations and create dreams they hadn’t even imagined.

more than a membership