Senior Vice President of Chamber Development Mark Field leads a discussion with the 2018 Pinnacle Business Award winners.


The nine 2018 Pinnacle Business Award recipients were invited to an exclusive luncheon on May 30 at Regions Bank, the presenting sponsor of the annual awards gala.

The lunch served as an opportunity for this year’s winners to network and take part in an informal Q&A session with Knoxville Chamber representatives to discuss the regional business climate.

Sharon Miller Pryse, CEO and founder of The Trust Company of Tennessee and the 2018 James A. Haslam II Chairman’s Leadership Award honoree, said, “Finding the best employees that can adapt to change is what will help the businesses in our community continue to grow.”

“Also, retaining the talent we have,” added Christine Bell of BGT Recruiting & Consulting and winner of the Woman-Owned Business Excellence Award. She continued, “It’s not hard for us to sell Knoxville. Great out-of-town talent choose Knoxville because it’s a great place to live.”

Jill Green, also with BGT Recruiting & Consulting, added, “Being from outside Knoxville makes us strong ambassadors for the area. We chose to raise our kids here and grow our business here, and we couldn’t have done it without the Chamber.”

Bill Malkes, co-founder and CEO of Innovator Award winner GRIDSMART Technologies, said, “You couldn’t create GRIDSMART in another part of the country. You can’t recreate the spirit that’s here.”

Attendees of the luncheon included: Mike Edwards, Rhonda Rice Clayton, Mark Field and Michelle Kiely of the Knoxville Chamber; Rob Stivers and Rob Chadwell of Regions Bank; Dan Hurst of Strata-G, LLC; Bill Malkes and Lauren Jochum of GRIDSMART Technologies; Thomas Cambron of Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling; Kenneth Robinson of MBK Wellness of Knoxville; Chrstine Bell and Jill Green of BGT Recruiting & Consulting; Doug Lloyd and Jay Lloyd of Lloyd’s Electric Service, Inc.; and Sharon Miller Pryse of The Trust Company of Tennessee.

Watch each of the award winners’ acceptance speeches from the 14th Annual Pinnacle Business Awards on the Chamber’s YouTube channel.