Two titans of East Tennessee’s business community were honored Friday with the Muddy Boot Award, given by the East Tennessee Economic Council in an ongoing tribute to individuals who, through their work and activities, build a better community.
This year’s honorees are Jim Henry, deputy governor of the State of Tennessee, a former businessman, legislator, and mayor of Roane County; and Dan Hurst, founder of StrataG, an East Tennessee entrepreneurial company and activist in numerous organizations across the region.
The Council also presented the Postma Young Professional Medal to Ann Weaver, a facilities engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Anne Harrington, deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, keynoted the event, which was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Ridge.
“The Muddy Boot Award is given to people who get things done, and this year’s winners clearly have gone above and beyond to make this region prosper,” ETEC President Jim Campbell said. “It’s been a pleasure working with these two gentlemen over the past decades, and we wish them greatest success in the years to come.”
Jim Henry was a state representative representing Roane County and the Republican leader during Governor Lamar Alexander’s administration. Now a senator, Alexander credits Henry with many of the positive reforms education, economic development, and children’s services in state government during that time.
A former mayor of Kingston, Henry started Omni Visions, the largest provider of in-home care for special needs children in Tennessee and North Carolina.
This summer, Governor Bill Haslam asked Henry, then serving as the head of the state Department of Children’s Services, to be his next top adviser.
“Over the past four years, Jim has led two departments in state government that handle some of our most difficult work concerning our most vulnerable citizens,” Haslam said. “Along with his experience in DIDD and DCS, he has been a mayor, a legislator, and businessman. I appreciate his willingness to serve in this capacity and bring his knowledge and expertise to our office.”
Dan Hurst is the founder and CEO of StrataG, a science and engineering firm devoted to stewardship of energy and the environment. A four-time small business of the year, StrataG has grown to 140 personnel during the past decade, and is focused on hiring extraordinary people who are dedicated to solving complex energy and environmental problems. A former nuclear navy officer, he has also won the Tennessee Veterans Business Association Bravo Zulu award for business excellence and community service.
Hurst’s leadership extends into the regional organizations he supports with his work as well as financial resources—Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and the East Tennessee Historical Society, among others.
The Muddy Boot Award was created in the 1970s to honor individuals who have gone above the call of duty—like those who served the nation during the Manhattan Project—to make the community, the state of Tennessee, and the nation a better place to live and work. More than 70 people have received the award. A full list of recipients and more information about the award can be found on the ETEC website, www.eteconline.org.
The East Tennessee Economic Council is a nonprofit membership organization that focuses on bringing people together to create new opportunities for federal research, national security and environmental programs, and to support technology transfer and economic development.
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