Source: ETEC | Release | December 8, 2017

2017 ETEC Muddy Boot Award winners (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

The Muddy Boot Awards and Postma Young Professional Medals were presented at the ETEC’s Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration held today at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Ridge. Tennessee Deputy Governor Jim Henry keynoted the event.

Scientists, business leaders, government officials and a man who has done a little of everything over his career are the 2017 winners of the East Tennessee Economic Council’s Muddy Boot Awards.

The winners are:

  • Tom Ballard, who has had three careers—with the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and now Pershing Yoakley and Associates, and still finds time to spread the gospel of innovation with his daily newsletter.
  • David Bradshaw, another multi-tasker who has worked at the Y-12 National Security Complex, Technology 2020, and most recently Pinnacle Financial Partners; has also served as the mayor of Oak Ridge and chairs of dozens of community causes.
  • Sue Cange, whose career with the Department of Energy saw her rise from a new employee in the environmental management program to the acting head of that same program before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt this fall, she in many ways over the years enabled the reindustrialization program of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) site.
  • David Millhorn, senior vice president of the University of Tennessee and a leader in the revitalization of both the university system and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • And Ken Rueter, president of URS | CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR), a relative newcomer to East Tennessee who brings energy to everything he does, whether it be the environmental stewardship programs at ETTP or his work building hiking and biking trails while supporting the Foothills Land Conservancy and the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

The winners of the Postma Young Professional Medals are Derrick Hammond, pastor at Oak Valley Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, and Travis Howerton, senior director of transformation at Consolidated Nuclear Security.

“The one common trait all of these individuals,” says Jim Campbell, president of ETEC, “is the passion they bring in their own way to the work they do. Their dedication is infectious, and it makes everyone around them better. Clearly each person has made East Tennessee a better place to work, to play, and to thrive.”

A full list of recipients and more information about the awards can be found on the ETEC website, at

The Muddy Boot Award…

The Muddy Boot Award was created in the 1970’s 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. Over 80 people have received the award.

Tom Ballard

Cortney Piper, Piper Communications presents the Muddy Boot Award to Tom Ballard, PYA (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

Tom Ballard spent more than four decades building business connections between two major entities in East Tennessee and public and private organizations throughout the region, state, and nation before joining PYA in 2012 as Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives. For two years after joining PYA, Tom also served as Chief Operating Officer of PYA Analytics, LLC. He was named PYA’s Chief Alliance Officer in April 2015.

Tom was the inaugural Director of Partnerships for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory. Prior to joining ORNL, Tom was with the University of Tennessee for 35 years, retiring as Vice President for Public and Governmental Relations in 2004.

Tom joined the UT staff in 1969 as Director of Alumni Programs and moved to the 18-month old Institute for Public Service in early 1973. Through his careers at ORNL and UT, Tom built a network of business, governmental and non-profit executives.

David Bradshaw

Ray Smith presents the Muddy Boot Award to David Bradshaw, Pinnacle Financial Partners (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

David Bradshaw was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He graduated from Karns High School and attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While an undergraduate, David worked at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge as a Co-Op student. David graduated from UTK with a degree in Industrial Engineering and with a Master of Business Administration. David worked as an Industrial Engineer at Y-12 in the Work-for-Others program, working with skilled machinists, welders, sheet metal workers and other crafts people to build prototype Seawolf components for the United States Navy.

In an effort to assist with the movement of technology from the facilities in Oak Ridge to the private business sector, David became a loaned executive to Technology 2020. In this position, David was an integral part of the development of Southeast Community Capital, a non-profit community development financial institution whose mission is to provide capital to start-up and early-stage companies. David served as Chief Operating Officer for SCC and then was recruited as the Anderson/Roane County President for SunTrust Bank. In 2011, David accepted the position as Executive Vice President and Oak Ridge President for CapitalMark Bank & Trust (now Pinnacle Financial Partners), a position he currently holds.

David also serves his community. From 1995 until 2001, David served as mayor pro tem in Oak Ridge; from 2001-2007, David served as mayor. Currently, he serves on many boards of community and civic organizations.

Sue Cange

Cathy Hickey presents the Muddy Boot Award to Sue Cange (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

Sue Cange is currently appointed as a visiting scholar in civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, she is to establish a nuclear environmental engineering curriculum and internship program.

Sue is a former manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. She most recently worked at U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C. She then was named principal deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, or EM. She had previously been interim principal deputy assistant secretary.

Over the past 29 years, Sue has held various leadership positions within the federal government including at Department of Energy in the offices of Environmental Management, Nuclear Energy and Assets Utilization. In addition, Sue was one of the founding members of the Reindustrialization Program in Oak Ridge which transfers underutilized assets to the private sector to accelerate cleanup and promote economic development.

Sue holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University

David Millhorn

Thomas Zacharia, ORNL presents the Muddy Boot Award to David Millhorn, UT (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

David Millhorn is the University of Tennessee’s senior vice president emeritus and Oak Ridge National Laboratory relations advisor.

Previously, he was UT senior vice president and vice president for research, outreach and economic development since 2016; president of the UT Research Foundation; and a member of the UT president’s staff with system-wide research oversight.

Millhorn began serving as a member of the UT president’s staff as vice president for research and economic development in 2005, and held both the offices of executive vice president and vice president for research from 2007 to 2017. Millhorn’s achievements have included two five-year extensions – both without having to re-compete – of the U.S. Department of Energy’s contract for the University to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) through the UT-Battelle partnership (with Battelle Memorial Institute).

Ken Rueter

Danni Varlan, ETCH presents the Muddy Boot Award to Ken Rueter, UCOR (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

Ken Rueter is UCOR’s President and Cleanup Project Manager for the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

Under Ken’s oversight, UCOR has experienced an unmatched record of success – not only finishing major projects ahead of schedule and under budget but doing so safely as demonstrated by the Department of Energy’s awarding UCOR Star status in its Voluntary Protection Program. During more than 25 years of industry experience, Ken has led all aspects of site cleanup and remediation, radioactive waste treatment and project integration, including construction, risk management as well as cost and schedule development. Previously, Ken served as President of Savannah River Remediation LLC and as Project Manager for the Savannah River Liquid Waste Project.

Ken served as Chief Operating Officer for the Hanford Tank Operations Contract in Washington State and as Director of Project Integration for Washington River Protection Solutions at DOE’s Hanford site.

In Oak Ridge, Ken is an active community leader, representing UCOR as a member of many local organizations that promote economic development, entrepreneurship, outdoor recreational opportunities and civic pride.

The Postma Young Professional Medal…

2017 ETEC Postma Young Professional Medal winners (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

The Postma Young Professional Medal was created by the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC) to honor the accomplishments of young professionals who have made an impact and fostered a community culture in the region. Former Oak Ridge National Laboratory director, Herman Postma, epitomized this spirit during his life; and his wife, Pat, continues the tradition of service today through her involvement in the Oak Ridge community.

Pat Postma and Ted Sherry made the award presentations.

The Postma Medal, however, is about more than outstanding work.

Derrick Hammond

Pat Postma presents the Postma Young Professional Medal to Derrick Hammond (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

Hammond, as an example, is not your ordinary pastor. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University. He also completed the dual Master degree program at Samford University, earning a Master of Divinity and a Master of Business Administration. Derrick has published work with the National Baptist Convention, the African American Pulpit, Our Daily Bread, and the Union Gospel Press. In 2013, he received national accreditation as a Certified Church Administrator (CCA) by the National Association of Church Business Administration.

In addition to his pastoral duties, Derrick is heavily involved in local and surrounding community affairs. He is a graduate of the Chamber’s Leadership Oak Ridge program and serves as an active member of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation Board, Emory Valley Center Board, Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, East Tennessee Economic Council and Beeson Divinity School Alumni Advisory Board.  He also serves as the Finance Commissioner for the Knoxville District Baptist Association, and an adjunct instructor for Tennessee Technical University and the Institute of Continued Learning of Roane State Community College.

Derrick and Davyda, his wife of eighteen years, moved to Oak Ridge in August of 2014 when he accepted his call to the pastorate. He has two children attending Oak Ridge School High School, Ruth, who is currently a junior and Alexis, who is a sophomore.

While he has only been in Oak Ridge a short time, Hammond has shown outstanding leadership to bring different Oak Ridge communities together to dialogue, understand one another, and bridge gaps. He has played a very active leadership role in the Pathways program to assist at-risk youth with workforce experience to encourage their educational and professional development. He serves on several boards, including the Emory Valley Center Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the United Way of Anderson County, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, and the Beeson Divinity School Advisory Board. In addition, he supports our local higher education institutions by serving as an adjunct instructor for Tennessee Technical University and the Institute of Continued Learning of Roane State Community College.

Travis Howerton

Ted Sherry, CNS presents the Postma Young Professional Medal to Travis Howerton (Credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE)

Travis Howerton, a Knoxville native, is the senior director for Transformation within the Business Management and Transformation organization at Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, which is responsible for the management and operation of the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

In this role, his duties include line management of the Merger and Transformation organization, leadership of the CNS Cost Savings program, management of the Booz Allen Hamilton support staff, line management of the Information Solutions and Services organization, and responsibility for the Business System Modernization project and Enterprise Resource Planning consolidation.

Travis is a community leader as well. He is involved with the East Tennessee Economic Council and Leadership Oak Ridge. He is a board member of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation and the Cyber and Information Security Consortium.

Before joining CNS in 2016, Howerton served as the deputy director for the Information Technology Services Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and was responsible for day-to-day IT and cyber security operations. There he ensured efficient programmatic execution for cyber security operations, the application portfolio, research and development support systems/applications, networking, infrastructure/data center operations, library capabilities and enterprise architecture. He also was the line manager for ITSD, with 200 employees and an annual budget of more than $50 million.

Previously, Howerton served as the chief technology officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration. In that role, he provided technology strategy and direction for the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex, with an annual technology budget of nearly $1 billion.

Howerton began his career as a software engineer and has held various roles in the Department of Energy, including security program manager for the Y-12 Site Office, YSO chief information officer, director for the Cyber Sciences Lab and chief technology officer.

Howerton holds a B.S. in organizational management from Tusculum College (Greeneville, Tennessee) and an M.S. in computer information systems from Boston University.

Travis and his wife Beth and their two daughters reside in Oak Ridge.