Source: The Oak Ridger | Darrell Richardson | December 8, 2017

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia presents a Muddy Boot Award to David Millhorn. (Credit: Darrell Richardson, The Oak Ridger).

A longer-yet-no-less-interesting Muddy Boot Awards presentation was held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.

An expanded number of Muddy Boot award winners recognized at the luncheon, sponsored by the East Tennessee Economic Council, included (in alphabetical order):

‒ Tom Ballard, who’s had three careers — first with the University of Tennessee, then the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and, now, with Pershing Yoakley and Associates — and yet “still finds time to spread the gospel of innovation” with his daily newsletter, according to an ETEC release;

‒ David Bradshaw, “another multi-tasker who’s worked at the Y-12 National Security Complex, Technology 2020 and, most recently, Pinnacle Financial Partners,” the release noted — adding that Bradshaw has served as the mayor of Oak Ridge and either currently chairs or has chaired “dozens of community causes”;

‒ Sue Cange, whose career with the U.S. 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 facility at Vanderbilt this fall,” according to the ETEC release, which added that Cange, “in many ways over the years, enabled the reindustrialization program of the East Tennessee Technology Park site (or ETTP)”;

‒ Dr. 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,” the ETEC release stated. Rueter also supports the Foothills Land Conservancy and the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Created in 1973 by the founders of ETEC — then known as the Roane Anderson Economic Council — the “Muddy Boot” Award takes its name from the Manhattan Project founders of the once-Secret City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Referred to as “muddy booters,” these early Oak Ridge workers weathered adverse conditions to build a unique community that would ultimately bring an end to World War II.

During Friday’s ETEC presentations, the annual Postma Young Professional Medal also was presented to two recipients this year: Derrick Hammond, pastor of Oak Valley Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, and Travis Howerton, senior director of transformation at Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS).

“Created to honor the accomplishments of young professionals who’ve made an impact and fostered a community culture in the region,” these medals are named for the late Herman Postma, a former ORNL director who “epitomized this spirit during his life,” and his wife Pat, who “continues the tradition of service today through her involvement in the Oak Ridge community,” a press release stated.

Look for more photos and more information on the recent recipients of both the Muddy Boot Awards and Postma Medals in upcoming print editions of The Oak Ridger and online at

Darrell Richardson is publisher of The Oak Ridger and can be contacted at (865) 220-5510.