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Marsh Wealth Management

Is Your Financial Team Playing in Harmony?

At some point in our life, we all need the advice of a professional – whether it is seeing a doctor for a health problem or hiring a lawyer to write your will.  You know you need some specialized help.  The same can be said with needing financial advice – especially when you are faced with a transition in life such as an approaching retirement, a change in marital status, or a sudden inheritance.  But it can be challenging to know who to turn to for financial advice.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to bring you this interview with Yvonne and Mike Marsh, co-owners of Marsh Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Tennessee.  Unique among their peers, Marsh Wealth Management has brought together a team of licensed professionals to address all areas of financial planning, including income planning, tax services, wealth management, insurance services, and estate planning. By working together under one roof, they create a holistic, complete service experience for their clients.

EK: Why is it important for people to understand that your firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

Yvonne: It all comes down to one word, and that is “fiduciary.”  As an RIA, we are held to a fiduciary standard of duty, which means we are required to act in our clients’ best interest.  In comparison, a firm registered as a broker/dealer is held to a suitability standard, which means they have to recommend a suitable investment, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in their clients’ best interest.  There has been a lot of press about the DOL Fiduciary Rule that was set to take effect on April 10 but has been delayed.  This was an effort to bring all advisors providing investment advice for retirement accounts up to a fiduciary standard of duty.

EK: How can a person know if their current advisor is a fiduciary or not?

Mike: The easiest way is to simply ask them.  It’s a yes or no question.  The other way is to look at your statement and see how your advisor is being paid – if it is a flat-fee based on the size of the account, they are most likely a fiduciary. If you are invested in Class A or Class C mutual funds, for example, then the advisor is being paid by commissions and marketing fees, and that is not a fiduciary fee structure.

EK: So it sounds like it is important for consumers to understand how their advisor is getting paid.

Yvonne: It is very important.  We all need to make a living, and no one is begrudging anyone their due compensation.  But if I were a consumer, I would like to know that the investment advice I receive is free from conflicts of interest.  As an RIA, we don’t receive commissions or marketing fees from trades.  In our fiduciary, flat-fee based world, if the client’s account balances grow, we grow – it’s as simple as that.  I just read in the Wall St. Journal where Morgan Stanley is weighing whether to have its advisors stop using Vanguard funds because Vanguard will not agree to a revenue sharing arrangement with them. That’s actually one reason I love Vanguard funds – they keep their costs as low as possible and refuse to do any side deals with brokerage houses.

EK: While we are on the topic, how much does your firm charge for asset management fees?

Mike: Our fees range from 0.9% for households up to $500,000, 0.8% for households between $500,000 and $1 million, and 0.7% for households with more than $1 million in assets under management.  We use an independent custodian, TD Ameritrade, and create portfolios using diversified, low cost mutual funds tailored to fit with clients’ existing holdings.

EK: Yvonne, both you and Mike are CPAs.  How have you been able to combine your experience as a Certified Public Accountant with your skills as a Certified Financial Planner™?

Yvonne: The investment process begins with a plan – we can’t give advice on how to invest assets until we know “purpose” and “timeframe.” Being a CFP® gives me the expertise to create a solid plan, while being a CPA allows me to frame my investment advice with a tax-efficient overlay.  I like to say “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep.”  Tax efficiency is important in the investment world, and investment advisors who are not CPAs are prohibited from providing tax advice.   

EK: You spend a great deal of time asking questions of, and listening carefully to, your clients.  Why is this so important in creating a financial plan for your clients?

Mike: You have heard that saying about people having two ears and one mouth for a reason.  That is especially true in the financial world.  Understanding what is important to a client, both factually and emotionally, is paramount.  We also talk about their desires, their fears, and their personal risk tolerance for investing.  No two plans are alike, just as no two people are alike.

EK: I know that you are excited to introduce a new and totally innovative tool called Everplans™ that you provide to your wealth management clients.  Tell our readers about Everplans™.

Mike: Everplans™ are a secure, digital archive of everything your loved ones will need should something happen to you. It contains such things as legal documents, financial information, insurance policies, passwords, and information about your home (bills, vendors, etc.). It also includes health and medical information, advance directives, final wishes, and funeral preferences. We set it up, and then our clients grant access to whomever they choose – it breaks down the geographic boundaries if an executor lives in another state.

EK: For a person who loses a loved one, how can Everplans™ be of assistance to them?

Yvonne: Having an estate in good order is the last gift we give to our loved ones left behind. I have seen executors struggle through an estate closing process where no planning was done, and I have seen executors sail through the estate process when prior planning was done.  Our job is to make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed for our wealth management clients.

EK: It would seem that your introduction of Everplans™ complements the planning, tax, money management, and estate planning services offered by Marsh Wealth Management perfectly.

Mike: We had previously been using a paper copy Family Estate Organizer binder, but stepping up to Everplans™ brings a higher level of service for our firm.  And we are hearing from adult children that Everplans™ is giving them a tool to start the dialogue with their parents and make sure everything is in order.

EK: For individuals or couples that would like to take that next step to learn more about Marsh Wealth Management’s planning process and fiduciary wealth management services, what is the best way to proceed?

Yvonne: We always offer a complimentary hour meeting for us to get to know each other and learn what is on your mind.  There are several ways to set up a meeting: Through our website at, by phone at 865-622-2162, or by email to

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Yvonne: We’ve built our firm by putting our clients first. We focus our efforts on serving, not selling. In fact, we begin our initial meetings by acknowledging that after the hour we spend together, one of three things will happen: You’ll be ready to move to the next step of working together, or (2) you’ll need some time to think about it, or (3) we’ll part as friends.  No pressure, no confusing talk.  Just solid financial advice.

Marsh Wealth Management

1341 Branton Blvd, Suite 105

Knoxville, TN 37922


Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC (“MWM”), an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee.  Yvonne Marsh and Mike Marsh are Investment Advisor Representatives of MWM.  Marsh Professional Group, LLC, is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at

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Sunbelt Business Brokers

Introducing Sunbelt Business Brokers of Knoxville

For many entrepreneurially minded individuals, owning and operating a small business is the centerpiece of their American dream. The economic powerhouse of the U.S. economy, small businesses today create two out of every three new employment opportunities in the United States and represent the bedrock of our nation’s economy.

Small business ownership is an exhilarating experience requiring entrepreneurs to react to a wide range of issues on almost a daily basis. Successful owners surround themselves with experienced and trustworthy associates, as well as a small group of mentors who help guide them.

Nowhere is the experience of seasoned advisers more crucial than when buying or selling a small business. Many investors consider the purchase of an ongoing business with an existing customer base and cash flow preferable to launching a new business. Conversely, existing small business owners, perhaps contemplating retirement, are overwhelmed with all of the many responsibilities involved in selling their business.

Sunbelt Business Brokers, helping business sellers and buyers for more than 30 years, sells more businesses than anyone else in the world. In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to introduce to you Blake Henry and Tim Varney, owners of Sunbelt Business Brokers of Knoxville. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur considering a small business opportunity or an existing business owner with an eye on a new venture or possibly retirement, this interview with Blake and Tim might very well provide you with the successful outcome you hope to achieve.

EK: First of all, provide our readers with some insights into Sunbelt Business Brokers of Knoxville.

Blake: Sunbelt Business Brokers is a privately held business brokerage, merger, and acquisition firm. Its mission is to serve Knoxville area business owners to confidentially market their businesses for sale on a nationwide basis to ensure maximum exposure and to sell for the highest possible price. Sunbelt has more combined experience than any other firm in full-time business brokerage. We handle transactions of all sizes and types – from main street businesses to multi-million dollar, mid-sized corporations. No one in this marketplace is more committed and has more resources to attract buyers, both inside and outside the Knoxville area.

EK: Owning and operating a small business is a full-time endeavor. What mistakes do business owners frequently make when trying to sell their own businesses?

Tim: Two common mistakes come to mind:

  1. Small business owners typically wear many hats, including operations, sales, marketing, and administration, to name a few. Because day-to-day operational activities take precedent over strategic planning for selling a business, the sale process can suffer. Take too much time away from operations and the business suffers, which can impair its sale price. Sunbelt Knoxville eliminates this dilemma by offering strategic vision and insight to attract the ideal buyer for their business.
  2. Selling a business is extremely time consuming and complex, because most businesses are unique. Therefore, business owners don’t typically have the necessary skill sets or resources required to value, price, and aggressively market their business. We offer a proprietary combination of data points, national comparable research, and business financial restatement to realize the full value of the business.

EK: How does a business owner understand if their business has value on the open market?

Tim: Many business owners fail to recognize the intrinsic value they have created within their business and often elect to cease operations rather than marketing their business for sale. If the business has provided a living for the owner for a sustained period of time, it can likely do the same for someone else and thus has value. We will happily review your business and give an opinion as to the ongoing value of your business.

EK: Many would-be entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that launching a business is far less expensive than buying an existing business. How important is an existing cash flow and customer base to an investor?

Blake: Statistically, nearly 80-90% of all business start-ups fail. Stepping into an existing successful business provides the necessary reassurance that the business can succeed, as well as provide enough cash flow to earn a living, service financing costs, and continue to grow the business. Further, people forget to account for the “start-up” costs associated with a start-up. There are many one-time expenses incurred when launching a new business, including equipment, furniture and fixture purchase, lease space finish out, and office infrastructure, for starters. In an existing business purchase, most of these items have already been paid for. Everything considered, buying an existing business is usually the best solution offering the reassurance of an established cash flow and far fewer start-up headaches and expenses.

EK: How does Sunbelt achieve higher sales prices than the typical business owner selling on their own?

Tim: According to, Sunbelt has the “highest volume of businesses for sale, highest closing ratio, and highest average sale price.” We achieve this by understanding how to value the business, market the business, and leverage our 38 years of relationships working with business buyers across the country. Also, the power of the Sunbelt Network should not be underestimated. Our Businesses For Sale listings can be viewed and accessed by qualified buyers and our national broker network, thus offering unparalleled exposure. We simply attract and have access to more buyers. All of these factors contribute to the reason that Sunbelt is able to sell for more. 

EK: Business owners attempting to sell their own businesses often fail to maintain the confidentiality of their sales efforts. How can that impact them?

Blake: Maintaining confidentiality is perhaps one of the most important aspects of successfully selling a business. Tim and I understand this and specialize in marketing and selling businesses while maintaining a high level of confidentiality for the business owner. In the absence of this confidentiality, competitors may attempt to capitalize on the instability that can occur during this period of transition, not to mention the uncertainty that can result among employees. In most instances, a buyer desires to maintain the current employee structure, and changes to that structure could ultimately impact the price a buyer was prepared to pay.

EK: Business owners often lack the ability to find qualified buyers. How can Sunbelt help?

Tim: As the recognized leader in business brokerage, Sunbelt is the go-to organization for new prospective business owners. While working with buyers, we review their financial capabilities, interests, and goals prior to any meeting with business sellers. This ensures that business sellers are not inundated with buyers that are not genuinely interested or who do not possess the financial resources required to purchase their business.

EK: How do you maintain buyer and seller confidentiality?

Blake: We develop 100% of our marketing material for each client with confidentiality in mind. Once created, the seller approves every detail, word, and avenue of distribution. With Sunbelt’s natural ability to attract buyers, we then ask each prospective buyer to sign a non-disclosure agreement, as well as disclose their financial data demonstrating their ability to purchase the business. By the time a buyer/seller introduction occurs, a buyer has been through a multiple step process to better determine suitability and maintain confidentiality.

EK: What is the current environment for buying and selling a business?

Tim: The Greater Knoxville area is a great place to buy, sell, or operate a business based on a variety of factors, including the region’s stable economy. The local economy is diversified into a variety of sectors with recent substantial growth in trade, utilities, transportation, and financial activities. The economy is also buoyed by an unusually high number of business incubator facilities and a labor force with one of the lowest turnover and absenteeism rates in the country. Additionally, Knoxville’s overall cost of living is among the most affordable in the country, combined with lower than average nationwide housing prices, low taxes, no state income tax, and low utility bills. Lastly, pent-up demand after the 2008-2009 economic crises and increased financing availability make the current environment excellent for buying and selling a business.

EK: How can people with an interest in buying or selling a business contact you?

Blake: Tim and I are always excited to speak with anyone who is considering buying or selling a business. To further assist business owners in this decision making process, we are happy to provide a FREE BROKERS OPINION OF VALUE to the readers of Everything Knoxville. We can be reached by phone at 865-964-7786 or 865-951-3651 or by email at or to discuss this or any other questions you may have.

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to add?

Tim: Blake and I thoroughly enjoy working with business owners that in many cases have invested a large portion of their lives building a successful business. We look forward to guiding each of our clients through the process achieving the maximum value for their business, both for them and their families, and to help oversee a successful transition that allows their business legacy to continue in the future.

Sunbelt Business Brokers of Knoxville

Blake Henry

Tim Varney

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Decorating Den Interiors

Decorating Den Interiors

The Kozar Design Team

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, it is our distinct pleasure to feature award-winning residential and commercial interior designer, Sandy Kozar, owner of Decorating Den Interiors.  Sandy and her multi-talented design group have been featured on HGTV as a Pro Network Designer, Best of Houzz in 2016 and 2017 for customer service, and Dream Room Winner.  Well known and respected throughout the Greater Knoxville area for her creative planning and design of both residential and commercial spaces, Sandy’s designs are featured in the popular “The Kitchen Bible” book by Barbara Ballinger, now in its second printing, as well as in several Knoxville Parade of Homes entries.

Sandy’s commitment to each client is to transform the conventional design process into an enjoyable one, while at the same time offering outstanding quality and close attention to detail while remaining within each client’s budget.

EK: Sandy, what would you say sets you and your design team apart from your peers?

Sandy: We are a degreed professional design team with both the education and experience required to design beautiful and functional spaces for our clients.  We typically do not sell design hours, focusing instead on the products and services each client desires in order to provide them with the greatest impact for their individual budget.  This unique approach allows us to spend the time necessary to design a complete and beautiful design for our clients and not be focused on the clock.  Because we are part of an established and well respected international franchise, we can offer our clients the largest selection of case goods, upholstery, custom window treatments, accessories, art, and more in Knoxville, with access to more than 200 vendors nationally and internationally. We provide good, better, best, and even luxury lines for our clients alongside all of the latest trends for today’s lifestyles.  Clients also appreciate that we offer a complimentary consultation to all new clients, which is a great opportunity to discover a little bit more about how we work.

EK: What is included in your complimentary consultation?

Sandy: We tour the home with the homeowners and conduct a detailed question and answer period in order to understand what the client is looking for and considerations to include in the recommended design of their home.  We like to know their personality, their needs, their likes, and dislikes so we can custom create their design to be one-of-a-kind and unique for them.  We also help establish the homeowner’s budget to determine the project’s scope, after which we schedule the design appointment and start making the magic happen for the client.

EK: How long does it take for the magic, as you have described it, to happen?

Sandy: If you truly want a beautiful room, it takes time, but it’s always worth the wait.  After the initial consultation, it takes five to 10 business days to present a complete design to the homeowners. Our comprehensive design plans include three-dimensional space plans, renderings, and elevations, as well as finish and fabric samples, customized for each project.  Once the client makes a decision, we then order the selections.  The furniture, window treatments, and other custom products generally require a six to eight week lead time.  Then we install it all in one day, just like you see on HGTV.  We find that revealing the transformation this way really makes a statement.   

EK: You recently began a Discover Series feature in Everything Knoxville. Tell our readers what you hope to achieve with this new series.

Sandy: We are really excited about this new Discover Series that we feature each month in Everything Knoxville.  Each month we focus on a different interior design topic and then delve into a variety of recommendations related to the subject that we trust your readers will find both helpful and inspiring. Actually, we launch each monthly topic in Everything Knoxville and continue with helpful email tips throughout the month, as well as host an interactive workshop on the third Thursday of the month. This month our topic is “Outdoor Living,” with the interactive workshop scheduled for 10:30 am on Thursday, April 20th .  If you would like to attend, we ask you to RSVP today, as space is limited.  You can call our Design Studio at 865-982-6368 or email us at We always have a fun interactive quiz, light refreshments, and fun and easy tips you can try at home yourself.

EK: What topics do you plan on covering in your Discover Series in the future?

Sandy: Our topic for April is “Outdoor Living.”  We will also be exploring “Dining Rooms” and more in the coming months.

EK: Share with our readers how they can benefit from your Discover Series.

Sandy: Our Discover Series is actually reader directed. While we suggest monthly topics, our readers direct our monthly narrative by asking questions. Our responses to their questions will hopefully help all of your readers.

EK: If you don’t mind, give us an example.

Sandy: Gladly. Here are a few questions submitted and our responses to our “Outdoor Living” feature for April.

Reader: I like the look of upholstered outdoor furniture, but won’t the fabric mildew and fade?

Response: Not necessarily. There are a variety of specially designed furniture and fabrics just for outdoor applications.  Outdoor fabrics like Sunbrella®, which are perfect for both indoor and outdoor spaces, resist stains, sun fading, and rain. This means far less maintenance and more family fun in the sun this season.

Reader: I already have outdoor furniture, but my patio feels incomplete.  How can I create more of a balanced feel?

Response: Rugs are a wonderful way to ground and balance any space, whether indoors or out.  Many of our lines have beautiful heavy duty rugs that are made for outdoors that dry fast and resist fading.  Remember to get an outdoor rug pad so there is ventilation under the rug for maximum efficiency and longevity.

Reader: My family and I love our outdoor living spaces. How can I give our outdoor spaces more of a homelike feel?

Response: Adding accessories and accents like mirrors and lamps really help add that final touch to outdoor spaces.  Some of our favorite recommendations are to reflect the light in darker corners with a starburst mirror or showcase that perfect view with tall plants.  Many of our clients also have outdoor kitchens and TVs, allowing them to spend as much quality family time out-of-doors as possible.

Reader: Our family likes to eat outdoors, but the angle of the sun shines right into our eyes. Any suggestions?

Response: Blocking the intense rays of the sun at certain times of day can make a huge impact on the comfort of a space.  Outdoor window treatments add a great layer of coziness, as well as control over the sun during certain times of the day.  Whether full length Sunbrella® drapery panels or woven shades from Hunter Douglas®, window coverings are the perfect touch to add to outdoor living and the perfect solution to the glaring sun.

EK: I know our readers will continue to look forward to your continuing Discover Series feature in future issues. In closing, is there anything you would like to add?

Sandy: As the days are getting warmer, and with families anxious to begin enjoying their home’s outdoor living spaces more, we would like to offer your readers a 20% discount on select outdoor furniture and accessories, good through April 30th.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful clients for both their past encouragement and support.

Sandy Kozar & The Kozar Design Team
Interior Design Professionals

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CertaPro Painters of East TN

Experience Award-Winning Results from Award-Winning Painters

Few home updating projects can transform your home’s interior and exterior surfaces faster and more cost effectively than painting. With literally thousands of colors to select from, you’re guaranteed to discover colors for your every mood, every space, and every project in your home or business.

While important, selecting a paint brand, paint type, and colors take a backseat to the selection of a painter. The entire outcome of your project rests on the selection of a painter. So how do you know if your choice of a painter is the right choice?

In this month’s issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to feature CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee. Delivering award-winning results to each of their residential and commercial customers, CertaPro is the proud recipient of numerous honors awarded annually among their 400+ peers nationally. It is our privilege to bring you this interview with local entrepreneurs, husband and wife team, and CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee founders and owners, Jeff and Joann Brown.

EK: First, congratulations on winning a total of five nominations and awards in 2016 for your expertise in the fields of residential and commercial painting. You have now won National Painting Company of the Year three of the last six years! We understand several of your management team members were also honored recently. Tell our readers just how they benefit from your achievements.

Jeff: As we celebrate 14 years since we started our business, it is very heartwarming to watch our team grow individually and earn regional and national awards. On one level, it is rewarding to watch our staff members grow, achieve goals, and flourish. The next level is knowing that when so many individual awards are earned, you know that it can only happen when our entire business functions well. The best part about achieving all those results is that we know we are meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations through our service product. We call it hitting on all eight cylinders!

EK: CertaPro Painters embraces an entirely different philosophy as it relates to residential and commercial painting. You don’t paint houses – you paint homes. You don’t paint commercial businesses – you paint people’s livelihoods. Why is this approach not only unique, but also important to your customers?

Joann: From an interior perspective, color can add so much warmth to your home or business. We spend a lot of time in our homes and offices, and color can add so much comfort and personal expression. It is truly amazing to watch houses become homes by adding color to the interior of homes and businesses! Regarding exterior painting, it is mainly used to protect and beautify homes and businesses. It adds curb appeal and shows that people want to protect what typically is their largest investment. Homes and businesses typically need to be repainted every four to eight years to ensure proper protection, and we enjoy helping people do just that.

EK: You understand better than most that selecting a contractor can be a daunting task for home and business owners. Your nearly 98% customer retention rate is no doubt reassuring to your customers. But the fact that almost 60% of all your new clients come from existing customers’ referrals speaks volumes. What do you feel that prospective new customers should take away from these achievements?

Jeff: I think one of the big reasons home and business owners don’t engage in more improvement projects is because they don’t want the “hassle.” We work very hard to ensure that we are easy to do business with, and at completion, our customers say, “We got what we paid for, and they were in and out when they promised.” We think that if we do that, they will feel good about referring us and calling us again! Our customers typically describe us as professional, efficient, courteous, dependable, and excellent!

EK: You offer an uncommon yet totally comprehensive approach to painting that places customer communications at the forefront. Why is this so important?

Joann: We call this our Certainty Service System. We feel it is very important to have a written, coached, and reinforced process to ensure that we are consistent in meeting and exceeding our customers’ needs. We constantly train and follow up to ensure we continue to improve our process. Our goal is to deliver an extraordinary project every time.

EK: Your written estimates are likely the most detailed that clients can expect to receive. How important is that? 

Jeff: It is very important that we go to great lengths to provide and explain a detailed and written proposal for every project. We work hard to ensure there is little to no confusion on projects through our proposals. We review them at the time of the estimate and the start of the project to ensure that at completion, the home or business owner has no surprises on what is included, type of products, costs, etc.

EK: Tell us about the security that your painting clients experience with CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee.

Joann: We are the only painting company that we are aware of that has a written warranty with every project. Additionally, we have been in business for almost 15 years and have a physical office in Knoxville where, in addition to administrative activities, we also conduct routine team teaching and training. CertaPro Painters is fully licensed and insured. We attempt to cover every base to ensure that our customers feel secure when they choose CertaPro!

EK: In closing, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

Jeff: We are a full-service painting and home improvement company. We are very experienced in interior/exterior residential, commercial, industrial painting, and related services. We have a well-trained and professional team of painters and carpenters who have been with CertaPro for many years and are anxious to help with customer projects. We hope that if folks have a painting or improvement project, they will call us to consult and provide a free estimate!

CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee

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Driven Technologies

Driven Technologies

When Tennessee Urology Associates IT Manager/Compliance Officer, Scott Hawkins, undertook the challenge of identifying a new IT managed service provider, little did he know that his investigation would lead him to Driven Technologies, a sister company of Chattanooga-based MSA Digital, which was founded in 1974 solely as a copy machine sales and servicing dealer. Having recently relocated from Indianapolis, Scott was unfamiliar with the area’s managed service providers. But after interviewing a number of providers, he found himself intrigued with Driven Technologies. Although smaller than other providers, Driven Technologies appeared both more agile and responsive to the growing computer network requirements.

Tasked with the responsibility of maintaining a network system that supported a large staff of medical care providers in seven separate offices, Driven Technologies has exceeded the expectations of Scott and Tennessee Urology Associates’ many users. Cost-effective, secure, and predictably reliable, Driven Technologies proved to be the ideal solution for Tennessee Urology Associates.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, We are pleased to provide this interview with MSA Digital’s Knoxville-based Technology Consultant, Yvonne Malewski.

EK: Tell our readers just what a managed service provider is and what critical services they provide.

Yvonne: From individualized services to full-scale managed solutions, Driven Technologies helps businesses manage their technologies better and more efficiently. With a truly holistic approach to partnership, we’ve built our company on keeping the business goals of our customers in mind while constantly adding value through all phases of projects and across all major technology verticals. This can range from your one-person operation to 1,000+ employees.

EK: Some businesses with larger networks, often spanning multiple locations, rely on their own internal resources to provide these computer network services. Describe the recent trend for a growing number of companies to outsource these responsibilities to an independent managed service provider like Driven Technologies.

Yvonne: We are definitely seeing a trend in IT now towards innovation, utilizing various tools and alternative strategies such as cloud and managed services. The cloud can be utilized for many things, including application as a service and data center/network resources. Managed services can be utilized to support and augment the existing IT organization and, in some cases, provide additional cost savings.

The reasons for the shift towards managed services specifically starts with a simple question: Can we benefit from IT support provided by individuals located outside of our organization, and if so, is there a cost benefit to doing this as well? That’s a great question, but to frame it properly, let’s first talk about what business trends are pushing IT employees and how IT staff is facilitating the trend.

Uber, the world’s largest taxi service, doesn’t own any taxis. Airbnb, the world’s largest hospitality group, doesn’t own a single hotel. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, doesn’t create content, and Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. These innovations are fantastic and create new opportunities for organizations to go to market and engage with their customers in many new and exciting ways. Technology innovations are also allowing organizations to conduct business internally in new ways, as well allowing 61% of the work force today to work remotely. Providing mobility on campus through ubiquitous wireless coverage and allowing individuals to bring their own devices to work are now expected by employees, guests, and contractors.

So how are IT organizations keeping pace with supporting far more devices, providing access to more robust applications, preparing for disaster recovery and back-up solutions, and defending against cyber threats, all while being asked to reduce cost? The answer is difficult and unique to each organization and requires many things, including additional training and research, use of centralized management tools, improved network and data center design and architecture, use of automation, and a great support structure.

The problem is that in smaller organizations (a couple of hundred desktops or less), you’re talking about a one to three man IT shop where each person wears many hats and is already maxed out in time and day-to-day responsibilities. Where are they going to get the time to learn all of these new skills, where’s the budget for all of the new tools and classes, and what happens if one of these key employees gets frustrated and leaves, taking their knowledge about the environment with them? Filling that gap and losing that knowledge base can be detrimental to the business. In many cases, the answer is to partner with a managed services provider to manage a piece of the IT infrastructure so the team can be more strategic and focus on the more difficult and meaningful projects like virtualization, network and data center upgrades, re-architecting the current network or DC for optimization. In other cases, an IT organization might say “we have expertise in some areas like desktop management, network and data center implementation, and support; however, we require assistance in designing and supporting our wireless infrastructure and security.”

There is no one answer, as every organization is unique in the skills that they currently have and strategy that they employ, but utilizing an outside service to fill the gaps in personnel where needed can help add additional expertise where needed, provide relief to an already overstressed and overburdened organization, and be a fall back plan for a business and a receptacle for knowledge transfer in the event that they lose a key IT employee.

EK: Driven Technologies provides an extensive list of critical services necessary to meet the growing needs placed on your clients’ growing computer networking demands. Describe several of the most important services that you provide.

Yvonne: Driven Technologies has a number of services we provide. We classify each in its own Technology Vertical and provide managed service, proactive monitoring, and support, as well as project related services. These range from SECURITY (firewalls, policy, social engineering and penetration testing), DATA CENTER (server storage, disaster recovery, load balancing/application delivery), NEWTORKING (routers, switches, design, SDN/SD-WAN), WIRELESS (AP’s, Per/Post mapping, security configuration), and MANAGED SERVICES (support account all verticals, custom support agreements, patch management).

EK: How has the growing public concern for security and privacy, not to mention liability, changed the manner in which you address these issues with your clients?

Yvonne: Security is on the top of everyone’s radar these days. Cyber hackers are getting more sophisticated, targeted in their attacks, and professional in their approach every day, and it is very difficult and likely impossible to prevent a well-funded cyber attacker from breaching the walls of their target.

If an organization is interested in optimizing their security dollars and partnering with someone who focuses on security solutions as a whole and not just selling hardware and software to provide security solutions, they will often employ the services of a security based managed services provider. When choosing a managed security provider, it is important to choose one that understands the security lifecycle process, the layered approach necessary to provide optimal security solutions, and one that is able to provide more than just one manufacturer’s security products.

EK: With the need to provide routine performance monitoring, preventative maintenance, optimization, and security backup management, it would seem that many businesses might lack the capacity internally to provide these services. Your thoughts?

Yvonne: That is correct! We talk to customers all the time that have some or all of the tools to facilitate some or all of these functions but don’t have the time or personnel to provide the care and feeding that these tools require. Sometimes we find that the tools that they have are outdated or were never really installed and integrated properly, so they’ve not been useful to the organization in a meaningful way. In other words, the systems are there, but the human resources required to operate them are not, or vice versa. This is where a managed service partner can provide a tremendous amount of value by delivering a current relevant tool set or personnel to support these needs.

EK: What size networks does Driven Technologies support, and how can a company or organization that might have use of your managed services learn more?

Yvonne: Driven Technologies provides services to businesses from 20 desktops to Fortune 500 companies. Some of our customers require remote support only, and others require a combination of full-time or part-time on-side support. We provide project related services, managed services, and sell hardware and software solutions to help our organizations achieve their business goals. Driven Technologies can often save a customer a tremendous amount of money, provide additional expertise and support to their current IT team, and facilitate business growth through technical solutions while protecting the organizations from cyber threats and increasing uptime and availability.

To learn more, you are encouraged to visit or contact Yvonne Malewski at Driven Technologies of MSA – Knoxville at 865-323-2459. Additional offices include Chattanooga, Atlanta, Dalton, and Houston.

Driven Technologies of MSA – Knoxville

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Southeastern Dermatology

Medical • Surgical • Cosmetic

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are especially excited to feature Southeastern Dermatology and their team of compassionate and caring medical professionals. First launched by board certified dermatologist, Dr. Matthew Doppelt, in 2003, Southeastern Dermatology has become one of East Tennessee’s most recognized leaders in the treatment of skin disorders and the enhancement of the skin with their state-of-the-art cosmetic dermatology services. Selected by working physicians in Knoxville’s medical community as one of Cityview Magazine’s Top Docs for 2016, Dr. Doppelt and his highly trained team of conscientious medical caregivers have earned Southeastern Dermatology a reputation for providing a level of care that you might have thought no longer existed in today’s medical marketplace.

Providing patient-focused treatment for all their patients, Southeastern Dermatology offers an extensive array of services in the fields of medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. To help you become better acquainted with Southeastern Dermatology, we bring you this interview with Dr. Doppelt.

EK: Dr. Doppelt, tell our readers a little bit about your background, education, and training.

Dr. Doppelt: I was born and raised in central Illinois. My father was a pharmacist, which is how I was introduced to the healing power of medicine. I graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. From there, I completed a special masters in physiology program at Georgetown University before earning my doctorate degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to my dermatology residency, I completed an internal medicine residency through a major teaching hospital affiliate of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, as well as Nova Southeastern University. It was during my internal medicine residency that I realized my true medical passion was for the practice of dermatology. To pursue this goal, I completed my dermatology residency through NSU and the North Broward Hospital District in Fort Lauderdale, where I had the honor of serving as Chief Resident during my third year.

Because fields of medicine, including dermatology, advance rapidly, I keep up to date with these advances by maintaining an active membership as a Fellow of the American Academy Dermatology and the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, in addition to regular participation in continuing educational seminars and hands-on training classes. I am also frequently accused of “geeking out,” as you are as likely to see me reading a medical journal as you are to see me reading Car and Driver (another passion).

EK: Many of our readers may not know the requirements to become a board certified dermatologist. You completed a three-year residency in dermatology after earning your medical degree, and you were also required to pass a board examination to become a board certified dermatologist. For individuals seeking dermatological treatment, why should your level of expertise be so important to them?

Dr. Doppelt: To become a board certified dermatologist, one must first complete four years of medical school. After medical school there is typically at least one year of a medical internship followed by three additional years of a dermatology residency. After completing an approved residency, a candidate must then sit for a certifying board exam. As you can see, there is extensive training after medical school required to obtain this specialty degree. This is precisely why individuals with dermatologic conditions should seek out a board certified dermatologist.

EK: Your patients repeatedly describe you as a compassionate and caring healthcare provider possessing an excellent “bedside manner.” Tell us about your passion for both medicine and your patients.

Dr. Doppelt: What first attracted me to medicine was the ability to serve people by helping to heal people. The knowledge that you can help relieve suffering or discomfort in patients brings me and my team a great deal of personal satisfaction. The practice of dermatology allows our team to do this while building relationships with each of our patients and their families. In a way, dermatology is unique in that the diseases we treat are often visible for others to see. For instance, it is both gratifying and humbling when you can treat a depressed psoriasis patient who is too embarrassed by their disease to go out in public. Working together with the patient, we help to restore not only their health, but their self-confidence as well, as they can once again enjoy going out in public in shorts and a t-shirt. They say thank you with their smiles. It’s more gratifying than I can express in words. We have instilled a unique culture of excellence at Southeastern Dermatology, where you will never be treated like a mere number, but rather as a member of our extended family.

EK: You recently became an adjunct professor at Lincoln Memorial University – Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. What does that mean for your patients?

Dr. Doppelt: In 1993, I was given the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a physician. I credit much of my success to the physicians who dedicated a portion of their time to teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians. I feel a sense of responsibility to continue this fine tradition. The enthusiasm for learning that the medical students bring to both the classroom and our medical office is contagious. What this means to my patients is that from time to time, a medical student will be shadowing me in our office and the exam rooms. The staff always informs the patients when this is the case and asks for their permission for the student to participate. This offers both our team and our patients the opportunity to invest in the futures of these aspiring medical students. And no, our students are not offended if a patient declines.

EK: There are three distinct areas of dermatology services that Southeastern Dermatology offers – medical, surgical, and cosmetic. Briefly describe each.

Dr. Doppelt: One of the things I love about the practice of dermatology is that I never get bored because of the variety of conditions that I can treat. At Southeastern Dermatology, I have tried to create three centers of excellence – medical, surgical, and cosmetic. The medical center of excellence focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. Conditions may be as common as acne, rosacea, eczema, or hair loss, but they may also be uncommon and require a dermatologist to properly diagnose and treat the ailment. The evaluation of skin lesions for cancer is another important aspect of medical dermatology. The surgical center of excellence focuses on the excision of both cancerous and non-cancerous lesions with skillful reconstruction to minimize the appearance of scars. The cosmetic center of excellence focuses on providing customized treatments using the latest technological advanced treatment devices, procedures, and products. Because no two patients are alike, we avoid the “cookbook” approach to treatment which seldom provides optimal results, choosing instead to develop a treatment plan as unique as the patient.

EK: Let’s examine cosmetic dermatology more closely. What makes the cosmetic services offered at Southeastern Dermatology unique? You appear to be unique in that you are the only cosmetic dermatologist in the Greater Knoxville area. Why is that important, and how does that differentiate you from other practitioners offering cosmetic services?

Dr. Doppelt: Dermatology and plastic surgery are really the only two specialties of medicine that have aesthetics at the core of their training. As a cosmetic dermatologist, I have honed that requisite core training through years of experience, advanced training courses, and being mentored by some of the most respected cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons in the nation. I have also assembled a talented, compassionate aesthetic team to support me in this endeavor. We have a full-time product educator and cosmetic coordinator, as well as a highly capable aesthetician. At Southeastern Dermatology, careful individualized treatment planning, skillful, artful, and precise execution, and continued engagement through followup combine to provide superior results and the greatest patient value.

EK: Is it true that you personally perform all cosmetic injections?

Dr. Doppelt: It may come as a shock to your readers, but there are more than 1,000,000 individuals who could legally perform cosmetic injections in the U.S. The question that individuals should ask is, “Who will be performing my injections?” It is because of my passion for cosmetic dermatology that I personally perform all of the cosmetic injectables in my office. I don’t believe that someone seeking cosmetic injections should select their treatment options based solely on price. In the field of cosmetic medicine, we call this “commoditization.” Looked at another way, we all have access to paint, but it takes an artist to create a masterpiece.

EK: Cosmetic dermatology is an area of medicine that is evolving rapidly. Talk about some of the newest technological advancements and state-of-the-art services and procedures you offer.

Dr. Doppelt: New tools for aesthetic enhancement are continuously being developed and brought to the marketplace. I consider it my responsibility to thoroughly research each of these opportunities and only provide those that I feel offer the greatest value and results to my patients. We now have a large variety of injectables available to our patients, and the understanding of their unique properties and characteristics is essential in recommending the appropriate products to achieve optimal outcomes for each patient. Some of the newest injectable products available include Volbella for fine lines and wrinkles and Kybella, which permanently destroys fat under the chin. Southeastern Dermatology is proud to have been selected as the exclusive provider of the Picosure Laser, which has revolutionized the process of tattoo removal. We are also the preeminent provider of Ultherapy in East Tennessee. This non-invasive procedure utilizes ultrasound to lift, tone, and tighten the skin on the face, neck, and chest. We also offer non-invasive body sculpting in the form of SculpSure, as well as minimally invasive laser assisted liposuction, better known as SmartLipo and SlimLipo. We offer many other medical devices and treatments as well to assist you in addressing any of your cosmetic concerns.

EK: Whether a patient is seeking a medical, surgical, or cosmetic procedure, having all of these service available through a single provider would appear to be in that patient’s best long-term interest.

Dr. Doppelt: I whole heartedly agree. There is considerable overlap between the various facets of dermatology. Many of my medical patients go on to become surgical and cosmetic patients. Conversely, I have had numerous patients come in for a cosmetic procedure and during my assessment discover a skin cancer. I have even found two melanomas on BOTOX® patients. Fortunately, they were both early melanomas, which I was able to excise. We can now joke with the patient that “BOTOX® may have saved their life.”

EK: Provide our readers with some details on your new facility.

Dr. Doppelt: I moved to Knoxville in November 2003 and started my practice on the campus of Baptist Hospital in downtown Knoxville. As Baptist initiated consolidation plans, we elected to move our practice to its current location. I remember moving into the current location thinking that was all the medical space that we would ever need. However, the response from our patients to our unique approach of the practice of dermatology has led to growth that exceeded our most optimistic expectations. The opportunity to build a new office with about twice the square footage of the current office presented itself last year, and we should be able to relocate in to our new home in April 2017. The new office, which is adjacent to our existing facility, will be even more technically advanced, yet remain warm and inviting. We are already making plans to expand our centers of medical, surgical, and cosmetic excellence.

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to add or say to our readers?

Dr. Doppelt: It is a great privilege to serve the dermatologic needs of the people of Knoxville. The growth of Southeastern Dermatology is really in thanks to our patients. The majority of new patients coming into the office are through personal referral. I often tell patients that the best compliment they can pay our team is to refer a family member or friend. If you have any medical, surgical, or cosmetic dermatology needs, I would like to personally invite you to discover the caring difference we offer at Southeastern Dermatology. Have a happy, healthy New Year!

Southeastern Dermatology
1924 Pinnacle Pointe Way, Suite 300
Knoxville, TN 37922

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Genuine Amish Excellence from the Heart

Genuine Amish Excellence from the Heart


Although her career as a Human Resource Administrator in the medical field spanned nearly three decades, this Tennessee native turned entrepreneur discovered that her true passion laid elsewhere.

“I was always confident that the positive decisions I made as an HR professional had an impact on the quality of care that the healthcare organizations I represented delivered to our patients,” said Angie Carroll, Amish Excellence owner. “But like so many career professionals, I began to explore that entrepreneurial spirit that seems to exist within so many of us today.”

Angie pursued her inner calling to become a member of Knoxville area’s self-employment community when she launched Amish Excellence, offering the finest Amish, hand-crafted furniture at affordable pricing that surpasses most of her customers’ expectations.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to introduce to you one of East Tennessee’s newest woman entrepreneurs, Angie Carroll, and to help you, our readers, gain a fuller appreciation of just what genuine Amish Excellence furniture is.

EK: Before diving into Amish Excellence, first tell us about your self-employment journey. After nearly three decades in the human resources profession, you no doubt surprised many members of your family and friends.

Angie: My family and friends weren’t surprised at all. They wondered what took me so long to start my own business! Throughout the years, I’ve enjoyed helping friends decorate their homes, sewing window treatments and bedding, making flower arrangements, and decorative painting. I’ve also planned and decorated for several weddings and special events. Using creativity to make things pretty has always been my passion.

EK: Why did you choose Amish Excellence?

Angie: This time last year I was doing a lot of soul searching and praying about how I should spend the rest of my life. The corporate world wasn’t where I found happiness any longer, so I started looking at a number of different business options. None of them inspired me. I sought the advice of my long-time friend, Brad. He introduced me to Guy Irwin, the owner of Amish Excellence in Franklin, Tennessee. After a few visits and several conversations with Guy, I decided that opening an independently owned Amish Excellence retail location in Knoxville was the right thing for me to do.

EK: You’ve had the opportunity to visit many of the Amish craftsmen in their homes and in their workshops. Tell us a little bit about their culture and why their commitment to genuine quality successfully differentiates themselves in the furniture industry.

Angie: Yes, I have met most of our craftsmen and speak with them on a regular basis. Their culture is very different from “the English” culture, as they refer to us. These are people with strong values and firm beliefs. They communicate these values and beliefs not just through words, but through their way of life. The Amish people are not a reminder of what once was, but a clear statement of how a community of people have been successful in creating and maintain a way of life – a way that has proven over time to be right for them. They give the modern world a clear example of how a strong faith can provide in ways the modern world seems to have forgotten. The communities are prosperous and lively, rooted in faith in God, family, tradition, and hard work.

EK: Let’s dispel some rumors. Not all Amish manufactured furniture is created equal.

Angie: That’s right. The furniture available from Amish Excellence is not manufactured in a large, modern facility as with online purchases or “big box” stores. None of the builders we work with are employed in a factory. All shops are guaranteed 100% Amish ownership. These are individual families with shops on their farms where a few other family members build the furniture. We ONLY sell furniture made by Amish craftsmen with American solid hardwood. Each piece comes with a lifetime warranty against any defects in material or workmanship at no additional cost to the customer. Each piece is created when the order is placed and is not part of a large “off the shelf” inventory.

EK: Another misconception is that all Amish made furniture is Shaker or Craftsman in style. What furniture styles are available?

Angie: We do offer these styles, as the clean lines of Shaker and Craftsmen furniture continue to be very popular. Many customers are surprised to find contemporary styles and fresh, new stain colors and finishes available. Our furniture options appeal to anyone who appreciates genuine quality, value, and pieces they won’t have to replace in a few years. Our craftsmen can build furniture that will beautifully complement any home or office space.

EK: All of your Amish Excellence furniture is custom made. Why is that important to your customers?

Angie: Our customers enjoy knowing that they have a piece of furniture that is uniquely theirs. While every piece is beautiful and very well made, the choice of wood species, stain and finish, size, shape, and edge profile makes their furniture special. Our craftsmen aren’t limited by what can be mass produced in a factory. They can customize almost every aspect of the design. The natural beauty of solid hardwood contributes to the warmth, uniqueness, and character of each piece. We don’t offer any furniture that is made of computer-generated images that are laminated, veneers, MDF, pressboard, or cardboard. Additionally, our furniture is sustainable, environmentally-friendly, more durable, and long lasting. These are all important to our customers.

EK: Explain to our readers how you help them design their own custom pieces.

Angie: I try very hard to connect with my customers and understand how they intend to use the furniture. This helps me offer suggestions and designs ideas. There are a variety of furniture pieces in our showroom that shows the craftsmanship, quality, various stain colors, and fabric options. From there, we may browse through several catalogs for design inspiration. I also encourage our customers to bring in pictures of items they like. We may even sketch the design and dimensions on to graph paper. My service also includes in-home consultations that are free of charge.

EK: Perhaps the greatest surprise to your customers is that your higher quality, custom made, 100% Amish hand-crafted furniture is often less than what they would pay for a similar furniture piece in area retail furniture stores. Would you care to comment?

Angie: Yes, it’s important that our furniture be affordable for the majority of our customers. Our showroom is smaller than most furniture stores, and we don’t carry a large inventory. Being a custom furniture maker allows us to do that without a lot of expensive overhead. Because the furniture can be made at any time, some customers choose to start with a few pieces and add to it throughout the year. We’re working with a young couple now that recently purchased a bed and two nightstands, and they plan to add the triple dresser and chest next year.

EK: How can our readers learn more about Amish Excellence?

Angie: Come by the store! We’re open Monday through Saturday and always closed on Sunday. You can also visit us online at

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to add?

Angie: I believe our service statement best sums up our priorities and the business model for Amish Excellence: Dedicated to Things that Last. God, Family, Integrity, Thrift, and Simplicity.

Amish Excellence
613 N. Campbell Station Road
Knoxville, TN 37934

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Greatness Fitness

Greatness Fitness
Where Your Journey to Achieve Your Personal Best Begins

When then 16-year-old Bassamba Sao left his native Mali in West Africa with a meager $427 in his pocket, destined for the United States, little could he imagine the journey that awaited him. Mali, where approximately half the population subsists on less than $1.25 per day, was an unlikely backdrop for young Bassamba, whose passion it was to pursue a career in the NBA. He possessed the required height to succeed in basketball and, strangely enough, he also possessed the dream and the desire to succeed that towered above his 6’7” frame. Bassamba’s dream to play in the NBA was cut short with a career ending injury, but his passion to succeed and indomitable spirit were undeterred.

Since earning undergraduate degrees in Computer Science, Political Science, and Business Administration and two master’s degrees, Bassamba has combined the teaching, training, and motivational skills learned as a professional athlete to help others achieve their highest fitness, nutritional, and lifestyle goals. Founder and owner of Farragut-based Greatness Fitness, Bassamba and his team of experienced and dedicated fitness experts have helped many people from all walks of life achieve their personal best.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to feature Greatness Fitness and its founder, Bassamba Sao.

EK: It would appear that so many of your life’s experiences prepared you and were requisites for your success at Greatness Fitness. Explain.

Bassamba: It has not been an easy road but nonetheless a blessing for being fortunate to experience so much at an early stage of my life. Being able to use that experience as an asset in the present is what I call a miracle from the heavens. Before responding, let me start by saying that we are grateful for this opportunity to help people learn more about Greatness Fitness. Personally, my life has been a series of blessings sometime disguised in hardships. I am fortunate to have been raised by an amazing woman who believed in me so much that she dedicated her entire life to teaching me what’s important in life and what to stand for no matter what the circumstances. That woman was my dear grandmother, Kadidia Tamboura. She taught me this in her own words: If you help everyone to be in the light and help them all shine, your life will never be in darkness again, ever. It’s the art of serving genuinely while being mindful that things won’t be as easy as you may wish in the journey called life. Life can be hard; we will occasionally fall on our faces, but it’s the process of getting up and facing your challenges, stronger and wiser, that will make the difference. Adversity is inevitable, but I chose not to let mine become an excuse. I wouldn’t be who I am today if my journey didn’t include unfortunate events. It’s not what happens to you in life that determines where you will end up, but rather how to respond to your personal challenges.

EK: How have you been able to successfully instill into others your passion to succeed and to become their personal best?

Bassamba: It’s a work in progress. Genuine passion is contagious. Our dedication to greatness is a commitment we hope to instill into everyone we serve at Greatness Fitness. We are passionate about your well-being. Like the insights my grandmother shared with me as a child, it is my desire to help brighten the lives of others. We are a family at Greatness Fitness, and we take our dedication to you very seriously. At Greatness Fitness, we have seen miracles happen in the lives of people who have tried unsuccessfully to achieve their well-being goals in the past.

EK: How does Greatness Fitness differ from other fitness venues?

Bassamba: It’s our underlying philosophy and the fact that we had to be different if our clients were to succeed. We embrace a variety of characteristics not often experienced in our industry, including humility, knowledge, honesty, integrity, consistency, and a commitment to hard work combined with love and laughter. We make it a point to know each of our clients personally and to offer them the level of encouragement that they will need to succeed. We celebrate each of your successes as a family. We have clients that have lost more than 100 pounds. Others couldn’t run 1/4 of a mile and now run marathons. We have two clients that have lost 40 pounds in 90 days in a very healthy way and are off all their medications.

EK: One only has to watch your members for a few minutes to observe the relationships that exist between them. How important is this to their and your success?

Bassamba: Thank you for mentioning that. It warms my heart to experience the unity that exists within our team. Relationships are our key to lasting success. The journey to an improved well-being isn’t always easy or simple. The mutual trust and respect we inspire within our membership group provides the encouragement and energy needed to help you achieve your personal best. At Greatness Fitness, we provide the success driven environment that you’ll need to succeed at a pace that you’re comfortable with.

EK: Your members pay only $29.99 per month but are not required to sign any long-term agreement. Explain.

Bassamba: After doing our in-depth market research to learn how to best serve the needs of our community, we came up with a highly competitive pricing system that met our clients’ needs. Our pricing structure offers our clients everything they will need to succeed without requiring any long-term commitment. We know that if we deliver the results our clients expect, they will remain members. We know that if we exceed your expectations, our and your successes will be assured.

EK: Greatness Fitness is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Tell our readers how you differ.

Bassamba: We are a resource for complete well-being. When your body is healthy, your mind performs better. We offer a range of experiences specifically designed to help you achieve your individual fitness and health goals. From gaining weight to losing weight, maintenance to toning up, building muscle mass, becoming faster, stronger, leaner, or simply being able to walk the stairs without losing your breath, Greatness Fitness offers you the comprehensive training program and experienced trainers necessary to help you achieve your personal goals.

EK: You seek to attract people from all walks of life, from teens to one woman in her 80s. Why?

Bassamba: The sky is no longer your limit at Greatness Fitness. Everyone deserves the opportunity to become the best that they can be. At Greatness Fitness, we offer the opportunity to succeed to everyone – from the very young to 80 and beyond.

EK: What many people don’t know is that you support a variety of initiatives to not only help lift the people of Mali out of poverty, but also to offer them the hope for brighter futures. Tell us more.

Bassamba: After undergrad and grad school and the beginning of life without basketball, I knew that I wanted to do something that I was passionate about – to become financially independent but to serve others as well. Launching Greatness Fitness empowers me to help clients get off medications, gain self-confidence, and enjoy life more. It is so rewarding to have spouses call, in tears, thanking us for helping to change their partners’ lives. We are also very proud of our non-profit organization Meant to Be Up to Me. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, it’s primary purpose is to help fight and eradicate poverty around the globe. We focus mainly on empowering the powerless, helping women in third world countries to enhance their self-esteem, creating a source of income for them by helping them to read and become fully independent. We build recreation centers for the elderly and young alike. I was born in an area of the world where an education, water, and clothing were a privilege. I am blessed with this opportunity to bless the lives of those who are less fortunate and often forgotten.

EK: How can people learn more about Greatness Fitness?

Bassamba: You can stop by anytime. We are located at 11139 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Walk-ins are always welcome. Call us at 865-671-6073 during our normal business hours or visit our website at

EK: In closing, would you like to offer some words of encouragement to those who might be struggling in achieving fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle objectives?

Bassamba: First of all, thank you for this opportunity to introduce our Greatness Fitness family. I love and am so proud of our team. They truly believe in each of you and your vision for improving your personal well-being. To everyone out there that needs help, has hit a personal wall, or feels trapped, come see us. Rediscover your full potential at Greatness Fitness. With God in your heart, success in your mind, your eyes on your goal, and an amazing support team and system, nothing is impossible. We created Greatness Fitness just for you and to be difference makers in fitness and health industry, where so many people have given up on themselves. Our name says it all! Greatness Fitness… come get fit with us in mind, body, and soul and be all that you can be.

Greatness Fitness
11139 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37934

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Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center

Even before the inception of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, Dr. Kamilia Kozlowski, a Clinical Breast Radiologist, launched Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center, or KCBC as it is commonly known.  Recognizing the challenges that women with breast related health issues faced, Dr. Kozlowski founded KCBC in 1983.  A woman friendly, vertically oriented, streamlined, and cost-effective alternative to the fragmented and inefficient system of breast health care then in existence, Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center has been at the forefront of providing women with the dedicated education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment resources needed to combat breast cancer.  A pioneer in her field, Dr. Kozlowski and her team of 73 compassionate and caring team of health care professionals have served as an inspiration of other independent medical centers across the country dedicated exclusively to women’s breast health.

During the month of October and the 32nd anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is indeed our pleasure to feature Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center.

knoxville-comprehensive-breast-centerEK: Dr. Kozlowski recognized early on in her career that women’s breast health care was being delivered in a fragmented and inefficient manner.  How was that impacting women with breast related health issues?

KCBC: In the late ’70s or early ’80s, modern mammography began with the development and use of mammographic machines with better resolution and lower radiation doses than the general radiology machines that were being used for breast imaging at the time. These machines were located in the general radiology department at the hospital, so women had to sit with other patients having all types of x-ray procedures. There were no breast centers in Knoxville at the time, and less than 10 independent centers existed across the United States. In those early years, women with an abnormal mammogram report were referred to a general surgeon for further evaluation. Generally, a physical exam was performed and they were scheduled for surgery. The period of time between their appointments and the period of time for women to get the results of their testing could sometimes take weeks.

Dr. Kozlowski realized there was a better, more vertically oriented way to provide breast healthcare to women and established KCBC in May of 1983 in order to provide it to the women of Knoxville.  Dr. Kozlowski found that if there was an indeterminate mammographic finding, breast ultrasound was very useful in evaluating whether it was benign or suspicious enough to warrant a fine needle biopsy. If the biopsy was essential, she performed it at the time of the initial visit. Women received the results of their breast imaging studies before leaving the office. This placed breast health care in the hands of the clinical breast radiologist, who was then responsible for examining the patient, communicating their negative results, and making the diagnosis of breast cancer. The previous way of referring the woman from one doctor’s office to another with a delay in diagnosis only increased the patient’s anxiety.

Dr. Kozlowski was one of the first dedicated clinical breast radiologists in the country who took on the role as the primary doctor for the diagnosis of breast disease. These clinical breast radiologists were no longer just sitting in the reading room; they were also examining patients and interacting with them, taking care of their breast health needs and questions.  Breast cancer diagnosis was no longer a surgical specialty, but rather an imaging specialty for breast cancer diagnosis with the clinical breast radiologist accepting the role of the patient’s primary care breast doctor.

EK: How has KCBC’s concept of combining education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment within a single medical center dedicated to women’s breast care helped further women’s breast health in our community?

KCBC: Within 18 months of opening KCBC, the hospitals in the area updated their own mammographic equipment to state-of-the-art mammographic machines available at that time. Soon afterwards the hospitals began to move their mammographic equipment into a specified area separate from the general radiology department. Dr. Kozlowski was the primary agent in changing breast health care delivery in Knoxville not only with the development of KCBC, but also by indirectly influencing change in the surrounding hospitals.

EK: There are a variety of other area medical facilities that offer similar health related services.  At KCBC, however, you are dedicated 100% to women’s breast health care.  Why should your commitment to remaining focused exclusively on breast health be important to women?

KCBC: Of all the cancers that afflict women, breast cancer is the most emotionally charged cancer. It is closely interconnected with a woman’s physical appearance and her sensuality and intimacy. It is a very sensitive issue for women to undergo yearly imaging and possibly be faced with being told she has indeterminate findings or, worst yet, that she has breast cancer. At KCBC, although we offer similar services to other medical facilities in our area, we offer a much better experience in the delivery of those services. Our clinical breast radiologists specialize in, and read, only one type of imaging all day long. We specialize in breast health care and we are not distracted from that… ever. Women are treated in a kindhearted manner from the moment they open our doors and enter into our “spa-like” setting. At KCBC, patients are treated compassionately throughout every stage of their visit.

KCBC will always be dedicated 100% to women’s breast health care. Because we are exclusively devoted to this field and remain an independent breast center, we are, and always have been, free to incorporate the newest technology and treatments in the realm of breast health care. Through the last 34 years, KCBC has led the way in Knoxville with being the first to institute the latest improvements in breast health care.

EK: Many of our women readers delay (or ignore altogether) the need for screening.  What encouragement would you offer them?

KCBC: It is so very important for them not to delay in having their yearly breast imaging studies. Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the number one cancer that affects women. More than 200,000 women are diagnosed every year in the United States. What they often do not know is that 80% of all breast cancers diagnosed every year afflict women who have no family history of breast cancer! What is also not commonly known is that our chances of getting breast cancer increase as we get older. One in 227 thirty year olds get breast cancer, one in 68 forty year olds, one in 42 fifty year olds, one in 28 sixty year olds, one in 26 seventy year olds, and up to one in eight eighty year olds. The best screening interval is one year as the average doubling in size of a breast cancer is one year. It is best to find and treat a breast cancer when it is small, thus giving women more options to have conservative breast surgery and reducing adjuvant treatments.

EK: KCBC offers its patients a variety of screening technologies, including screening mammograms, ultrasound, and MRI.  Tell our readers a little about each of these diagnostic tools.

knoxville-comprehensive-breast-center2KCBC: A screening mammogram uses special x-ray technology specially designed for breasts to detect abnormal growths or changes in breast tissue. It is currently the best defense against breast cancer, as the x-rays can detect tumors and growths in early stages.

A breast MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, involves a specially-designed machine that provides high-resolution imaging while maintaining breast sensitivity and comfort. The MRI technology takes several images throughout the breasts at less than 1mm of thickness. Those images are combined to generate detailed pictures. MRI machines do not use x-ray but rather a combination of radio and magnetic waves. A magnetic field is put around you while radio waves are directed at specific areas of your body. In the AURORA® Dedicated Breast MRI machine that we have in-house at KCBC, both breasts are scanned simultaneously. The machine also allows for feet-first entry, which can alleviate some of the anxiety associated with having an MRI.

Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make images of the breast. Breast ultrasound is non-invasive and is often used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding on a mammogram, breast MRI, or clinical breast exam. Studies have shown mammography combined with breast ultrasound finds more breast cancers than mammography alone in women with dense breasts.

EK: Why is it important that KCBC have clinical breast radiologists on your staff?

KCBC: It is important to have clinical breast radiologists on staff who are solely engaged in breast imaging because it has been proven in the medical literature that dedicated breast radiologists have the highest sensitivity for breast cancer detection. Additionally, by being clinical, our radiologists interact face-to-face with our patients, addressing all their breast concerns and also explaining in a clear way what may or may not be of concern when reviewing their images with them. This is not a common practice in breast centers, as the quality of service varies from breast center to breast center. Dr. Kozlowski truly believes that it is an important feature of a breast center to educate women in breast health care while alleviating their fears of having breast disease.

EK: In addition to those services you’ve already described, what other services do you offer in-house?

KCBC: For the past 16 years, we have also offered genetic high-risk counseling and screening services. Genetics has become increasingly more important in cancer prevention, as well as in alleviating the concerns of those patients who were once overwhelmed with the thought they were at high risk. In addition to detecting breast and ovarian cancers, the hereditary cancer panel also tests for other mutations for cancers such as gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, melanoma, endometrial, and prostate.

KCBC also has the Unique Boutique, which is located in our main lobby. We have a mastectomy fitter who will fit patients for prosthetics and assist them in obtaining the products they need. The Unique Boutique also provides the latest products for women who have had breast surgery or are currently having breast surgery such as an array of lotions, post-mastectomy garments including swimsuits, and head coverings such as scarves and wigs. We also offer a wide variety of other retail items and gifts such as jewelry, clothing, candles, and more.

EK: Education and outreach are important components of Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center’s overall mission to our community.  Tell us about your upcoming 12th Annual Mission Mammography.

KCBC: One of KCBC’s missions to our community was to provide mammography screening to all women who needed it. We discovered that many women had difficulties in finding access to quality mammography services due to their busy schedules, work duties, lack of transportation, and family responsibilities, so in 1986, we started our mobile screening program, which was the first such program in Knoxville and one of only a few nationwide. While traveling to provide services to women, we realized that a number of them lacked insurance coverage or had a very limited means with which to pay for screening mammography or diagnostic services.  The Kim Rowden Breast Cancer Memorial Fund was established by KCBC to help these women.

Every year we hold a “Mission Mammography” event where we provide mammograms for free to women in Knoxville and surrounding communities who don’t have health insurance. This year we will be hosting our 12th Mission Mammography starting with a kickoff event on October 4th from 7 am to 1 pm. Women without insurance can come at any time during the kickoff event or any time throughout the month of October, and we will provide them with a mammogram funded by the Kim Rowden Breast Cancer Memorial Fund. We encourage uninsured women to take advantage of these free mammograms during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

EK: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Kozlowski: It has been a special, and at times a difficult journey, which all started in 1983 when I had the passion to find early breast cancer and believed it was time to change the delivery of breast health care. It has been personally gratifying for me to accomplish this goal.  In closing, to try in an endeavor is to risk failure, but to risk and succeed is most rewarding with a peaceful sense of fulfillment and gives encouragement to others to risk pursuing their dreams.

Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center

1400 Dowell Springs Boulevard, #200
Knoxville, TN 37909


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Knoxville’s Only Plastic Surgery Center

Knoxville Plastic & Craniofacial SurgeryConsider This Scenario: After years of thought and research, you (or your spouse/significant other) have decided to have plastic surgery.  You asked a few close friends about good surgeons in the area and chose the one you felt the most comfortable with.  Very few people know about your surgery – most of them know you’re going to be out of work for a week or two, but you have been vague about the reasons.  You don’t want the world to know about your private business.

Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am at one of the local hospitals.  You asked people about the hospital when you were making your surgical plans, and one of your neighbor’s friends knows someone who works there.  They reassure you it’s a “good” hospital.  The night before surgery you go online for some last minute research about your chosen procedure and review the information from your surgeon.  Since you have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am, you pull up the map on your phone and figure it will take 35 minutes to arrive, which means you have to leave home at 4:55 am.

You’re equal parts excited and nervous about the following day.  You can’t sleep well and get up after a very short night of sleep to leave for the hospital.  Arriving the dark, the main entrance to the hospital is difficult to find – there are three or four to choose from, and none are very well marked.  Entering the hospital, you don’t know where you are supposed to go to check in. You look around a mostly empty lobby until you find someone to direct you to the surgical check-in area, all the while looking at your watch.  You don’t want to be late.

Then you remember your neighbor’s friend.  What if the friend is working and runs into you?  What if the friend sees what you’re having done?  You compose yourself to find the check-in, arriving a few minutes late.  There you have to fill out 20 minutes worth of paperwork before being taken to the pre-operative area, where you spend the majority of the next hour sitting around waiting, nervous and uncomfortable, before final preparations for surgery begin.  After surgery you are wheeled through the hospital in a wheelchair and back to another busy entrance, where your ride home has been instructed to meet you.  After again waiting outside (in public) you are helped into the car and are on your way home.

This is the experience many patients who undergo plastic surgery in a hospital or hospital-affiliated surgery center have.  As you can see, there are many aspects of this experience that compound an already stressful situation and can make the surgery experience unpleasant.  However, there is an alternative to this experience that patients of mine have.

What many people in Knoxville do not know is that the only dedicated outpatient plastic surgery center in East Tennessee sits 10 feet below my office off of Cedar Bluff Road.  Built by Dr. Steven Smith in 2008, the Parkwest Plastic Surgery Center is the only fully-accredited, state-of-the-art surgery facility dedicated ONLY to plastic surgery in this area.

Having a private surgery center is a benefit to my patients for the following reasons:

» Privacy: Knoxville is a little big city.  It’s tough to go somewhere without running into someone you know or without running into someone who knows you.  I think it’s one of the things about living here that is wonderful – you rarely meet a stranger.  However, when you are choosing to have plastic surgery, running into someone who knows you on the day of surgery can be anxiety producing, especially if, like most of my patients, you want to keep a low profile.  At my office and in our surgery center below, the chance “run-ins” are unlikely. My patients who work in healthcare (or whose family members work in healthcare) find this particularly comforting.

» Convenience: On the day of surgery, patients are understandably nervous. By the time that the surgery date arrives, however, most patients have been to my office at least twice.  They know where it is located.  They know how long it takes to get there from home.  They know where to go when they arrive.  By being familiar with the surgery center and the office, there is a significant decrease in stress on the day of surgery.  Also, from the parking lot, it’s only 20 feet before you are standing in the lobby.  Contrast this to any other surgery center or hospital in the area: Circle the parking lot or the parking garage, looking for a place to park, and when you finally find one, you have to find your way from there to the front door, then from the door through the hospital to the surgery check-in desk.  Not only is it time consuming, but it adds stress to an already stressful time.

» Safety: Nothing is more important than safety, especially when you are having surgery.  Surgery is often compared to the aviation industry when it comes to safety checklists and the concept of the “team” approach to care.  A coordinated team that works together every day is probably one of the most important factors in making the operating room a safe environment.  At our surgery center, the team approach to surgery is something we practice every day.  We have the same team – from anesthesia, to the operating room staff, to the preoperative and postoperative recovery staff – day in and day out.  All they do is plastic surgery, every day. Everyone knows each other and what to expect both in and out of the operating room.  This allows us to function as an efficient team instead of each of us putting our head down and having “tunnel vision,” where something important can be overlooked.

» Cost: We’ve all heard the news stories of hospitals charging $50 for an aspirin or handing someone a $10,000 bill for a two-hour ER visit. One of the biggest problems in medicine today is that the costs of everything are hidden until after you receive care.  We do things very differently – you know exactly what things will cost before anything is done, including the charges for the operating room and anesthesia.  In fact, we have these prices published on my website and encourage you to visit our site and see for yourself.  There are lots of reasons that healthcare is expensive, but the main drivers of the rapidly increasing costs are the government and the insurance companies.  With them out of the picture, our center can provide high-quality, state-of-the-art surgical care at a fraction of the cost of most hospitals.

» Luxury: What good is all this if the experience is lacking?  Our surgery center is, modestly put, beautiful.  It is a serene environment that is clean and inviting.  You feel this from the moment you arrive through the front doors until you leave through a private exit after your procedure.

If you are considering plastic surgery or non-surgical cosmetic treatments, we would love to hear from you.  You can visit my website at to see more photos of both our office and the only dedicated outpatient plastic surgery center in East Tennessee, to research procedures and treatments, and to search for pricing information.

Dr. Jason Hall is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who completed his surgical training in Texas, followed by a fellowship in facial surgery at Stanford. In 2015, he established his practice in his hometown of Knoxville after practicing in Houston, Texas, for five years. He is married with two daughters. 

Knoxville Plastic & Craniofacial Surgery
Jason J. Hall, MD
9239 Park West Blvd, Suite 202
Knoxville, TN 37923

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