Gosh, this week I feel like a mother bird whose little chick has all of a sudden flown out of the nest. The little chick is Amanda Shell Jennings who started working at Moxley Carmichael as an intern in 2009 when she was just a teenager.
After two internships, she came to work full time with us in 2011. We watched her mature into a beautiful, intelligent and poised young woman with more grit than a seasoned drill sergeant. We all went to her wedding in 2014 and welcomed her husband, Mark, into the Moxley Carmichael family. (He already was a friend, having dated Amanda for five years.) She mourned with us that year when a colleague of ours suddenly passed away. She went through grief counseling with us.
And we have been through scores of exciting work projects together. Some memorable times:
- She and Alan Carmichael had to have a police escort to get out of the Jefferson County Courthouse one night after a particularly rowdy meeting about a proposed megasite. (The crowd was not in our corner!)
- She and other staffers turned our office upside down one night looking for a $1 million bond check that had to be turned in with an RFP (request for proposal) response the next day. After hours of searching and panic, the check turned up in the client’s briefcase.
- She pulled another all-nighter once putting the finishing touches on an RFP while the client sat in our conference room watching “Duck Dynasty.”
- And then there was the Canstruction near disaster. With only a few hours before seven teams were set to build huge structures out of unopened cans at the Knoxville Convention Center, Amanda and other Moxley Carmichael team members noticed that the delivery of cans from Kroger’s warehouses was several thousand cans short. The crew divided up and drove like bats out of hell to various Kroger stores, some of which were not open 24 hours and were closing soon. Each had a list of what cans were needed. Amanda went to the Kroger on Cedar Bluff Road and threw all the Luck’s pinto beans they had into three shopping carts, racing to the checkout in the nick of time. (PR work is so glamorous!)
Amanda has been key to several very serious and important client projects for us. She helped Priority Ambulance make announcements as it expanded its footprint across the country. She helped Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation deliver its messages as it redeveloped neighborhoods and transitioned through two CEO changes. She helped U.S Nitrogen start up its Greene County plant despite significant activist opposition. (I guess that’s one way to meet actress Park Overall.) She helped SMG announce the great goings on at the Knoxville Convention Center, and then the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park, as well. And she helped the Tennessee Theatre share its reams of good news over the years.
But now, one of those great clients has made Amanda an offer she couldn’t refuse. She has accepted a job as director of marketing and communications for Priority Ambulance. It’s a national job. Priority operates in eight states — and it’s continuing to expand. But, thankfully, Amanda’s office will be here in Knoxville. Moxley Carmichael will continue to work with Amanda, but in a different role — she will be our boss! We think Priority’s CEO Bryan Gibson has made a brilliant decision in hiring Amanda for this role, and she goes to Priority with our blessing.
We had a fun send-off for her last week. That’s where these photos were taken. Good luck, Amanda. We look forward to continuing to be involved in your life. But, at least for this week, the nest feels a little empty.