Commissioner Kevin Triplett
Kevin Triplett was appointed in April 2015 to the cabinet of Governor Bill Haslam as commissioner of Tourist Development. Tourist Development is Tennessee’s No. 2 industry, bringing $19.3 billion in economic impact to the state, and more than $1.7 billion in state and local sales tax revenue. Prior to joining Gov. Haslam’s team, Triplett served Bristol Motor Speedway as vice-president of public affairs, overseeing government and community relations, special initiatives such as tourism and community relationships, and development. Before joining BMS in January 2005, Triplett worked for NASCAR, the sport’s sanctioning body from March 1994 until June 2003, beginning in the public relations department, overseeing several of NASCAR’s 50th Anniversary projects. He ended his tenure with NASCAR as managing director of business operations. The East Tennessee State University graduate previously managed media and public relations for several NASCAR sponsors, teams and drivers, including Dale Earnhardt. Triplett and his wife Jill have two children - Lucas William and Sarah Grace.
In June of 2014 David Belote retired after 38 years of service with the University of Tennessee at Martin. He retired as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and has devoted his professional experience to the development of students at the collegiate undergraduate level. At UT Martin he was responsible for the overall management of student services and activities, directed the Leaders-in-Residence program, and co-directed the University’s First Year Initiative Program. He has served on the staff of the University of Tennessee System’s Leadership Institute since 1990. Currently he is serving UT Martin in post-retirement leading the First Year Initiative Program. David is also highly involved in the community having served for the last sixteen years as the Tennessee Soybean Festival’s Executive Director and as an Alderman for the City of Martin. Also, he served as the Executive Director for the WESTSTAR Regional Leadership Program from 2006 to 2009. He and his staff have provided numerous leadership workshops for the various organizations and businesses throughout Northwest Tennessee. David is married to Dawne Damron Belote and they have six children and seven grandchildren. Dawne serves as a Speech Language Pathologist in Weakley and Obion Counties in Tennessee.
Gloria S. Christy
Gloria S. Christy received her BS degree from Middle Tennessee State University. Gloria was Director of Uncle Dave Macon Days from 1984-2014. In 2014, Gloria continued as President of the Board of Directors. Gloria continues to serve as an advisor to the Committee and a fundamental player in the outreach program of the festival which is Macon Music Education. As a former classroom teacher and educator, Gloria continues to promote the mission, “Preserving Yesterday’s Music for Tomorrow”, through Macon Music Education and the Uncle Dave Macon Days festival.
Erika R. Burnett
Erika R. Burnett is the founder and principal trainer for The Burnett Group, LLC whose mission is to inspire professionals, deepen impact, and challenge the status quo of service delivery in Middle TN and surrounding areas. She enjoys serving as a master trainer, consultant, and facilitator across a variety of topics including volunteer management and engagement, youth development, team building, leadership exploration, and generational differences. Most recently, Erika leveraged her capacity as the Affiliate Director for Communities in Schools of TN at Nashville (CISTN) supporting a team of direct service providers working to eliminate barriers for our most vulnerable scholars within Metro Nashville Public Schools. Prior to joining CISTN, Erika served as Senior Director of Programs with Hands On Nashville supporting volunteer engagement and nonprofit partnership program. Under her leadership, the curriculum-based youth and urban agriculture programs deepened skill, knowledge, and behavior outcomes of participants through service learning. Previously, Erika worked at the Oasis Center as a Youth Engagement Program Coordinator, overseeing a city-wide coalition for the reduction of youth violence and increased civic engagement of marginalized youth. Nationally, she has lent her expertise towards supporting community organizing programming for current and former teachers across the country with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). Erika received her B.A. in English Education from Tennessee State University and her M.Ed. in Community Development Action from Vanderbilt University. She is a proud AmeriCorps and Nashville Emerging Leader Alum who has been committed to Nashville’s nonprofit community for over 13 years. She enjoys facilitating restorative justice circles in Metro Nashville Public Schools and co-leads a ministry-based creative arts company.
As the founder and president of Treat ‘em Right, Phil Bruno has more than 37 years in experiential marketing management. Bruno works with organizations to stage on-brand experiences that routinely exceed customer expectations. As a trainer and consultant, Bruno has created the industry’s first customized e-learning destination awareness and hospitality skills certification program with more than 30,000 graduates. As a top speaker, Bruno has been invited to present at numerous U.S. and international travel conferences. For more information visit www.treatemright.com or call 314-846-9139
Camille graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a BA in Communications with a minor in Political Science. Camille works directly with the Tennessee Soybean Festival committee managing events, ticketing, social media, marketing, graphic design and printing. She received the Soybean Service award in 2017. Camille has gained much experience working with small businesses, community members and students, which is an asset she brings to the TN Soybean Festival. Camille is a member of the Weakley County Young Professionals, Weakley County Prevention Coalition Board, and the Anna Kate Fight Foundation Committee. She is currently in the 2018 class of Leadership Weakley County. Camille is married to Daniel Noe, and they are proud parents of their two-year-old daughter, Aurora, and their rescue dog, Bear. When Camille is not working, walking the dog or busy chasing a toddler, she enjoys gardening.
Benton Wilson, Volunteer State Community College, Jackson State, and Middle Tennessee State University
Ben Wilson has worked as a volunteer for Uncle Dave Macon Days since a teenager. He became the official director of the event in 2014-2015. Ben has brought the festival to new levels with such ideas as the “Concerts After Dark” with named artists in bluegrass, old-time and Americana music. Ben’s skill as an agent and manager for Moonstruck Management gives him a front row seat to the genre. He manages such formidable groups as the Soggy Bottom Boys, Love Canon, Lonesome River Band, Russell Moore and Third Tyme Out, and The Cleverly’s.
Ben has a variety of experiences which includes Head Coach of Middle Tennessee Christian School baseball as well as a Board member of the Optimist Little League Baseball in Murfreesboro.
Greg has been helping clients understand their market through research for more than 25 years. He has managed studies for a number of national brands, but his passion is in travel & tourism and festivals & events. Greg has managed studies for over 130+ destinations across the US and Canada and conducted numerous economic impact studies for festivals and events. Greg and the ChandlerThinks team recently won the first ever Power of Research Award given by the Southeast Travel and Tourism Research Association. Greg is actively involved in the Southeast Tourism Society and is a 3rd year STS Marketing College student. He serves on the board of directors of the Southeast Festivals and Events Association and speaks on a regular basis on the topic of Economic Impact of Festivals.
Anne Savarese is the principal and founder of Composure Communications based out of Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Her expertise is promoting confident and effective communication. Anne helps her clients enhance their natural style through positive feedback and practice tips designed to overcome their challenges. As a communications expert for the last eleven years, Anne has worked with clients from a variety of domestic and international industries including logistics, defense, banking, financial services, telecommunications, education, health care, and ministry. Anne has spoken at the North Carolina Association of Festivals and Events, Showfest, in Charlotte during January 2017 and many other charity events. Prior to her work in the communications field, Anne was a professional educator and coach with national certification in adaptive physical education. She holds postgraduate professional licenses in North Carolina and Virginia. She has taught and coached high school, middle, and elementary school students. Anne has received numerous grants and awards for teaching to further enhance her students’ learning experiences. From 1981 through 1998, Anne ran her own business, PE2GO, providing sports and fitness instruction to students and adults. Anne’s degrees include a Master of Science from George Mason University in Virginia and a Bachelor of Science from Springfield College in Massachusetts. She is passionate about teaching and helping others reach their full potential.
Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
(SA) Adriaan Valk has been with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 20 years. After completing New Agent’s Training at the FBI Academy in 1997, SA Valk was assigned to the Nashville Resident Agency, working white collar crime and health care fraud. In April 2001, SA Valk was transferred to the squad that later became the Joint Terrorism Task Force after the 9/11 attacks. During his sixteen years on the JTTF, SA Valk has worked domestic and international terrorism investigations, weapons of mass destruction cases, and bombing matters. SA Valk is currently assigned as the JTTF coordinator and a relief supervisor. SA Valk is an assistant Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator for Middle Tennessee and was a member of the Memphis SWAT team for seven years. In 2006, SA Valk attended the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School and was certified as a Special Agent Bomb Technician. Since then, he has worked multiple explosive investigations and provided training to state and local bomb technicians and first responders on a variety of explosive-related subjects, including improvised explosives, post-blast investigation and large vehicle bombs.