Emory Valley Center Announces New Building and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Emory Valley Center is happy to announce a ribbon cutting celebration for their new building, scheduled for Friday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m.  Everyone in the community is invited to attend.

The capital campaign for a new building began eight years ago when Emory Valley Center was informed of plans by the owners for probable demolition of the building the organization utilized for some of its services to people with disabilities.  Capital Campaign co-chairpersons, Dr. Gene Caldwell and Ms. Dottie Thompson, led the fundraising efforts for this project until this past March when Dr. Caldwell passed away.  Through their efforts and others helping with securing funds, business and individual donors and grant awards for the project, the dream of a new building is becoming a reality.

“We are incredibly grateful to our community advocates who worked so hard and have continued to contribute to make our new building a reality,” said EVC President Jennifer Enderson. “This has been a significant undertaking led by Dr. Caldwell and Ms. Thompson and supported for several years by many in our community.  We’re looking forward to sharing our building with everyone at the ribbon cutting celebration and opening it up to community partnerships in the future.”

Hickory Construction began the building project for Emory Valley Center last April and has been steadfast in their partnership for its timely completion.  Hickory Construction built its first project in Maryville in 1977, launching one of the most respected general contractors in East Tennessee.  Having recently celebrated their 40th Anniversary, Hickory and its professional staff have built customers’ trust based on performance and management of their residential, commercial and industrial projects with attention to every detail.  The company prides itself on excelling in the areas of personal service, accurate estimating, schedule commitment, financial security and a safe workplace.

“We join our client team at Emory Valley Center in celebrating this momentous occasion,” said Hickory Construction Vice President of Commercial Operations Chris Duncan. “It’s been a privilege for Hickory to be involved in a project so widely supported and valued by the regional community. We honor the labor of love that the late Dr. Caldwell, Ms. Thompson, Emory Valley Center’s employees and countless volunteers and donors made toward making this project a reality. We feel proud of how this new facility will serve community neighbors with disabilities for many decades to come.”

Emory Valley Center has been meeting the needs of people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities in the East Tennessee community for more than 62 years and currently provides a wide variety of services including:  Community Based Day Enrichment, Employment and Community First Services, Supported Living, Residential Habilitation, Family Model Residential, Semi-Independent Living, Vocational Training, Supported Employment, Personal Assistance, Transportation, Nursing, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Adult Day Services, Family Support, In-Home Day, Early Intervention Program, Inclusive Early Learning Center (preschool), and Representative and Payee services.  This support reaches more than 1,300 adults and children on a monthly basis located in 16 East Tennessee counties.

Hickory Construction and Tipton Builders Offer Pool Maintenance Tips to Jump into Swim Season

ALCOA, Tenn. – With summer quickly approaching, swimming pools can provide refreshing relief from the heat of the season. But, as with any part of a home, pools require upkeep.

Pool owners often find maintenance to be challenging. East Tennessee general contractor Hickory Construction finds that with the right tools and practices, pool maintenance can be easy. The firm has served the area for 40 years constructing both commercial and residential swimming pools and other outdoor spaces. For these types of projects, Hickory collaborates with local contractors such as Tipton Builders, Inc., a pool builder that has served the custom pool and pool maintenance needs of Knoxville and East Tennessee for over 30 years.

“We want our customers to enjoy the pools and outdoor areas we create for them, and one of the best ways to do that is through routine maintenance and upkeep,” said Hickory Construction Vice President of Marketing John McMillan. “Hickory typically works with individuals proven to provide an exceptional product along with exceptional customer service. When it comes to pools and outdoor projects, Hickory creates some beautiful spaces for our customers by partnering with folks who meet those criteria.”

Sara Tipton, service manager at Tipton Builders, said there is a checklist pool contractors recommend homeowners follow to ensure the best summer swim experience possible.

  1. Always have the essentials.

As with other aspects of a home, there are essential pieces of equipment each pool owner needs.

Every pool owner should have a telescopic pole, brush, leaf net, vacuum and vacuum hose, leaf net and water test kit,” Tipton said. “All of these pieces will be very important in the maintenance of your pool.”

A telescopic pole is a pole that attaches at multiple places in order to extend as long as needed. It is often used with attachments to maintain various parts of a pool. One attachment often used with a telescopic pole is a brush used to scrub the inside floors and wall of a pool. Another common telescopic pole attachment is a leaf net, used to skim the surface of the pool water and retrieve any leaves that may be floating on it.

A pool vacuum can be manual or automatic and is used to gather debris on the bottom of a pool. The vacuum hose attaches to the vacuum to transport the debris to the pool’s skimmer.

Lastly, a typical water-test kit contains reagents, testing strips and sample tubes used to test chlorine, pH, bromine and alkaline levels in a pool’s water. This information tells the owner which chemicals to add to keep the water safe for swimming. A test kit is essential to the next item on a pool owner’s checklist.

  1. Maintain your chemistry.

Maintaining the chemistry of a pool’s water keeps the water clean and safe to use. Chemicals in the water must be kept at certain levels, and the materials in test kits are used to check these levels.

“Pool owners need to check their pool water once a week,” Tipton said. “They should make sure to get their water sample for testing 18 inches below the surface of the pool’s water and away from any returns. They also need to check their reagents to ensure they are not expired. Reagents are the substances located in a test kit used to measure the presence of different chemicals in pool water, and expired reagents will give you incorrect results.”

Tipton also said pool owners need to follow a three-step program for maintaining their pool’s chemistry: sanitizer, shock and algaecide.

Sanitizer must be added to pool water to kill bacteria and other organic matter that can contaminate a pool. A commonly used sanitizer is chlorine.

Shock is also used to maintain the level of sanitizing agent in a pool to ensure contaminates are continuing to be killed. Tipton said a pool should be shocked once every two weeks and always after sundown.

Algaecide should be added the morning following a shock treatment. Algaecide works together with a pool’s sanitizer to kill algae growing in a pool. Different algaecides are used to treat different kinds of algae.

  1. Keep it clean.

Keeping up with the routine of cleaning a pool is also very important to the maintenance, especially when first opening a pool for the season.

“Before opening your pool for the summer, pool owners should be sure to brush and vacuum the pool walls and floor,” Tipton said. “This should also be done routinely for general pool maintenance as well.”

Tipton said pool owners also need to check sand filters routinely to keep them rinsed and keep the pool’s pump and skimmer baskets clear of debris for good filtration.

  1. Maintain your equipment.

Lastly, maintain the pool’s equipment. This effort can be the most expensive part of owning a pool if equipment is not properly kept up throughout the season.

“Check over your heaters, pumps, cleaners, chlorinators and filters to ensure proper operation and for any leaks that may pop up,” Tipton said. “Leaks are common in the equipment, especially for pumps, and finding one quickly will be the difference in spending a few dollars and hundreds of dollars.”

As a former pool owner, McMillan said he understands pool maintenance can be difficult to stay on top of, and that is why Hickory Construction wants to help educate its customers and hopefully make keeping up their pools and outdoor living areas easier for them.

“If possible, hire your pool maintenance out to someone like Tipton,” McMillan said. “If that is not possible, using these tips in the upkeep of a swimming pool will ensure our customers’ pools and equipment last as long as possible, and that’s what we want. Hickory strives to provide living, working and playing spaces that our customers can enjoy for years to come.”

To learn more about Hickory Construction, visit www.hickoryconstruction.com. For more information about Tipton Builders, Inc., visit www.tiptonpools.com.

Hickory Construction Launches “Hickory-Built Careers in Construction” Scholarship at Pellissippi State to Drive Renewed Interest in Construction Careers

$40,000 over Four Years in Celebration of Hickory’s 40th Anniversary

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Hickory Construction celebrated its 40th year in business Wed., May 17, 2017, with an announcement at Knoxville’s Jackson Terminal that the company hopes will give local construction workforce development a much-needed boost in the career-consideration mindset of Blount and Knox counties’ Millennials and rising “Generation Z” high-school graduates.

The company announced “Hickory-Built Careers in Construction,” a $40,000 investment of scholarships – including the start of a permanent endowment – at Pellissippi State Community College’s Engineering Technology program, which includes numerous construction-related course offerings among its associate’s degree options, as well as certificate programs such as “Construction Business Principles.”

“Hickory-Built Careers in Construction” will provide $10,000 in funding to Pellissippi State over each of the next four years – with $4,000 per year invested in immediate scholarships and $6,000 per year set aside to build a permanent endowment. Funds invested in the Hickory Construction Scholarship Endowment will be matched one-for-one by the United States Department of Education Title III Challenge Grant. This special grant opportunity will build capacity for scholarships for years to come.

“In this industry, we can’t simply build buildings – we have to build people, because people are the ones who build our business,” said Hickory Construction Chairman Burke Pinnell. “As anyone working today in a construction-related business knows, our industry is facing some serious challenges in its ability to recruit a large enough workforce that will meet the market demand for construction services. This challenge is nationwide, and it’s getting serious. We at Hickory want to do something about it.”

According to statistics from Go Build Tennessee – a statewide industry workforce recruitment initiative – the urgent demand for construction services is far outpacing the necessary in-flow of skilled workforce.

Hickory Construction President Ben Pinnell – Burke Pinnell’s son and a past Greater Knoxville Business Journal “40 Under 40” honoree – agrees.

“Too many people – whether students, parents, school advisors or other points of influence – view construction through an extremely narrow and limited lens of actual career potential,” said Ben Pinnell. “Many people don’t realize how construction has evolved over time to integrate technology skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, creativity, management and solid upward mobility. Construction careers pay – and they pay well. And you can’t replace the feeling of satisfaction from being part of a tangible, built space – one that will stand for generations in service to other people.”

While many new high school graduates attend Pellissippi State through the Tennessee Promise scholarship, the cost of textbooks and other learning materials are not covered.  In addition, many non-traditional students who are 19 to 24 years of age don’t qualify for Tennessee Promise funding or Tennessee Reconnect for adult students.

Hickory’s scholarship program will aim to bridge some of these funding gaps and provide financial aid to students who show professional interest in a construction career.

“Hickory Construction’s initiative not only helps students afford the cost of college tuition; it also positively influences a known workforce need in East Tennessee,” said Pellissippi State President Dr. Anthony Wise.  “We truly appreciate Hickory Construction’s choice to honor its 40th anniversary with this investment in Pellissippi State students and in the local community. We are excited to work with Hickory Construction in this partnership.”

Students or prospective students living in Blount or Knox counties interested in scholarship support will need to apply directly to Pellissippi State, which will oversee all recipient selections. The first round of scholarships will be granted in January for the spring 2018 semester. The application deadline will be announced later this summer.

Pellissippi State will seek applicants with 1) successful completion of one or more technology / industry / construction-related courses who demonstrate an interest in the construction field, 2) previous instructor or advisor recommendation, 3) financial need, and/or 4) any noted prior work experience in construction-related employment / summer jobs, volunteer experiences (like Habitat for Humanity job site work) or other work that demonstrates the applicant’s interest in a construction-related field.

In addition to plans for Hickory Construction to join the advisory board of Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology program, the company plans to engage with school systems in Blount and Knox counties to speak to classes about career opportunities in construction and provide guidance about career preparation, whether working in the tradesperson capacity with a unique specialization or in seeking project management or, ultimately, management-level roles in a construction firm.


About Hickory Construction

Celebrating 40 years in business, Hickory Construction, Inc. is a licensed general contractor headquartered in Alcoa, Tenn., offering services for commercial, industrial and residential projects. For more information, visit hickoryconstruction.com.

About Pellissippi State Community College

Founded in 1974, Pellissippi State Community College is the largest community college in Tennessee. The College continues to support and develop career-path associate’s degrees, associate’s degrees for transfer, certificates, and continuing education opportunities for the citizens of Knox, Blount, and surrounding counties. Pellissippi State offers credit courses to high school students as well. In partnership with the community, the College sustains the effort toward an ever-improving quality of life for residents of East Tennessee. For more information, visit pstcc.edu.

About Tennessee Promise

Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship and mentoring program that covers two years of tuition and fees for community or technical college students across the state. For more information, visit tnpromise.gov.

John Sevier Pool Restoration Complete, Dedication Ceremony Announced

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Just in time for warmer weather, Blount County residents will make a splash this summer.

Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Tennessee Parks and Recreation Commission announced the completion of restoration work on the John Sevier Pool located at 1998 Sequoyah Avenue in Maryville.

Built in 1970, the pool was in need of significant renovations, bringing the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In July 2014, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced a $250,000 grant for the John Sevier Pool Renovation Project. The grant came from the Local Park and Recreation Fund (LPRF) of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). This grant was also met by a matching contribution by the City of Maryville.

Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission Executive Director Joe Huff expressed the upgrades to the building could increase the usage of the Maryville pool.

“This building is just the beginning,” said Huff. “This is a really big improvement that will draw more residents to the pool and enable us to accommodate a larger capacity. We’re grateful for the grant from TDEC that made these important renovations possible.”

A dedication ceremony and celebration for the pool will take place Friday, May 26 at 11:15 a.m. at the John Sevier Pool, with the pool opening to the public at 12:00 p.m.

Alcoa-based general contractor Hickory Construction, Inc., who in 2006 performed renovations to the Springbrook Pool in Alcoa, was selected for the restoration. The company added roof ventilation, increased the restroom facility and shower size, and created a new place for the lifeguards and an improved concession area. A new roof, doors and windows were affixed. LED lighting, epoxy floors and paint were added to the entire structure with accent stencils. Exterior work included a new drainage system and removal of the deck area leading from the facilities building to the pool, providing additional access. The building is now approximately 4,400 square feet.

Hickory Construction’s Vice President of Commercial Operations Chris Duncan led the project.

“We’re pleased to see the John Sevier Pool open back up for the community,” said Duncan. “The pool is a valuable asset for Blount County residents. Hickory Construction is honored to have worked on this project that will provide a place people can come together, enjoy and stay active. We’re excited to share these renovations with the public at the dedication ceremony.”

The public is encouraged to attend the dedication ceremony and celebrate the opening of the pool. To RSVP or find out more information, e-mail Debbie Caughron at dpcaughron@maryville-tn.gov.

Visit the Parks and Recreation Commission website at https://www.parksrec.com/john-sevier-pool.html to view pool hours, rules and regulations and admission fees.

Hickory Construction Announces 40th Anniversary Celebration

ALCOA, Tenn. – The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Ruby Tuesday corporate headquarters, High Ground Park and scores of private custom homes have one thing in common: They are all landmark and legacy projects  built by general contractor Hickory Construction, Inc.

This year, Hickory Construction celebrates 40 years in business — a feat few businesses can claim given the average business’ lifespan is 10 years, according to Fortune Magazine.

With a motto of BUILDING TRUST ON PERFORMANCE, the company’s name has been synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship and value, client-friendly service and on-schedule construction over the last four decades.

In celebration of its time-honored reputation and service to the community, the company will host a 40th anniversary celebration on Wed., May 17, 2017, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Jackson Terminal located at 213 W. Jackson Avenue in Knoxville.

Hickory invites friends, colleagues and members of the community to attend and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as the company shares milestones and future plans.

Maintaining a front-row seat for the history and growth of the company, Hickory Construction Chairman of the Board Burke Pinnell works to ensure every Hickory project receives the company’s commitment to service.

“For 40 years, we have built our reputation to live up to our promises,” Pinnell said. “We’re proud of our customer and community relationships and the accomplishments we’ve achieved together. We encourage members of the community to celebrate this achievement and to recognize many projects that have positively impacted our region.”

Hickory has been proud to build many notable projects. Most recently, the company completed the Blount County War Dead Memorial honoring the county’s fallen heroes. In 2017, Hickory will complete Emory Valley Center (EVC). Located in Oak Ridge, EVC provides a variety of services for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities — aiding 850 individuals on a monthly basis.

Hickory’s impact goes beyond construction. The company has a heart for charity and community service. During the holidays, Hickory participated in the Second Harvest Food Bank Canstruction contest, taking home the “Best Execution and Concept” award, and sponsors many events like the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes, Alcoa Kiwanis Club Annual Pancake Breakfast and Smoky Mountain Council Boy Scout Sporting Clays. The company’s team members take a personal interest in these events, as many of the team members serve these organizations year-round.

“We’re extremely proud of businesses, like Hickory, that help shape the community. People are benefiting from these advances. Hickory Construction has grown the construction sector and brought jobs to the area. We congratulate them on their wonderful accomplishment,” said Blount Partnership President and CEO Bryan Daniels.

As the construction industry grows and the company seeks to meet demand, Hickory continues to seek top talent. At the 40th anniversary celebration, the company plans to unveil a compelling workforce development initiative, further advancing the local economy.

More information on the 40th Anniversary Celebration can be found by visiting the event on Facebook or by contacting Hickory Construction, Inc.

Construction Firm Helps Clients Make the Most out of Their Outdoor Spaces

Following one of the most temperate winters in recent history, East Tennessee homeowners are preparing to bask in the warm spring weather. But they aren’t the only ones getting ready to enjoy the outdoors this season.

Alcoa’s Hickory Construction crafts innovative outdoor entertaining spaces to appeal to a wide array of residential clients, constructing areas that blend beauty and functionality.

“If a client can think of it and an architect can design it, we can build it,” said Hickory Vice President of Marketing John McMillan. “We enjoy working with our clients to build outdoor spaces they will love.”

Hickory constructs a wide variety of outdoor areas for clients, including swimming pools, patios, cabanas, covered living rooms, outdoor kitchens and more. The firm collaborates with clients throughout the construction process, from design to completion.

To that end, Hickory encourages anyone interested in an outdoor construction project to understand that great spaces don’t happen overnight.

“Folks will often call after the first warm, sunny day of spring and want to be swimming by Memorial Day,” McMillan said. “Pools and other projects require plenty of lead time, and folks should keep that in mind when planning their timelines.”

In order to have a pool ready to go by the beginning of summer, McMillan recommends contacting Hickory in early-to-mid fall. That will allow time to set goals to design, estimate and construct the project.

Pools and patios aren’t the only outdoor areas in which Hickory specializes. The latest trend in outdoor entertaining is tree houses and play areas for children.

Lately, tree houses are becoming more popular, as people want play areas for their kids. Some have all the amenities of a home, with electric, lighting and heating, and some are old-fashioned and rustic. All of them, however, are built with safety requirements in place, just as a home would be.

Outdoor spaces of any kind can also boost a home’s perceived value in the eyes of prospective buyers, according to Village Real Estate Realtor Sara Dudley.

“Pools and other outdoor spaces make a home much more inviting and appealing,” Dudley said. “If it’s a well-maintained entertaining space, there is more curb appeal anpool 2d it will draw more potential buyers to the home.”
In addition to a wide array of residential outdoor living areas, Hickory has also mastered outdoor projects on behalf of commercial clients. It has built and renovated pool areas for neighborhoods and parks and even constructed a park, High Ground Park in Knoxville.

For more information about Hickory’s outdoor projects, visit HickoryConstruction.com. To view a photo gallery of the firm’s outdoor portfolio, click here.


Hickory Construction Vice President Celebrates 30 Years at Company

Hickory Construction Vice President of Marketing John McMillan is celebrating his 30th anniversary at the company, a tenure that has helped grow the East Tennessee firm, which was founded 40 years ago.

“I’ve enjoyed spending the last 30 years helping Hickory develop into one of the largest and most respected builders in East Tennessee,” said McMillan. “One of my joys working here is telling our story of who we are, where we came from and how we got to where we are today.”

In his role, McMillan helps enhance Hickory’s marketing efforts, elevate its customer service and build company culture. He worked alongside colleagues to develop and refine the firm’s extensive estimating database and helped fuel Hickory’s growth from a small niche firm to a regional leader in commercial and residential construction.

“John’s impact here is a big part of why the company is the way it is today,” said Hickory Chairman of the Board Burke Pinnell. “He has worked hard to grow Hickory’s culture and serve our clients.”

Among McMillan’s other contributions is the creation of Hickory’s customer service division. McMillan currently manages public relations and advertising campaigns, brand management and the firm’s online presence and oversees the company’s estimating department.

McMillan started at Hickory as a general laborer in 1987 and proceeded to serve in a variety of construction roles before stepping into his current position in 2000.

McMillan was born in Knoxville but lived most of his life in Blount County. He now resides in Oak Ridge with his wife, Lora, and their 15-year-old son, Ethan. McMillan plays an active role in the communities where he lives and works, volunteering his time with organizations like Kiwanis, for which he will begin serving as the Alcoa chapter’s president in 2018.

McMillan is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Tennessee Army National Guard.

Hickory Construction Takes Advantage of Thriving Market, Adds New Talent

As East Tennessee’s construction market continues to grow, local construction leader Hickory continues to seek top talent.

Hickory Construction, an East Tennessee-based contractor performing both residential and commercial projects, uses the growth as an opportunity to add quality personnel to meet the demand.

“We are thankful to have hired so many gifted workers who can meet the demands of our growing client base,” said Jim McMillan, Hickory’s executive vice president and director of human resources.

Hickory recently welcomed several project managers to its growing team. Bryon Haun, a licensed contractor, has been awarded several Parade of Homes honors from Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville throughout his 20-year building career. Ron Dorsey brings over 30 years of experience to Hickory Construction. John Knight also joins Hickory’s team as a project manager.

The company has also recently hired five new field managers. Chris Jinks, a former United States Marine Corps infantry squad leader, has significant experience in leadership and in the construction industry. Anthoney (Tony) Cagley joins the company with over 20 years of experience in the industry, serving as a superintendent for 10 of those years. Kelly Littrell joins Hickory Construction as a field manager after operating a construction business for over 20 years. Timothy Fox brings applicable experience as a business owner and contractor to the company. Gabriel Ratcliffe, who has worked as a contractor and construction manager, also joins Hickory Construction as a field manager.

Hickory continues to seek project managers, foremen, estimators and specialists to satisfy its growing project pipeline.

Any individuals interested Hickory’s job openings should visit http://hickoryconstruction.com/hickory_career/ or contact Mary Rice at mary@hickoryconstruction.com for more information.

2017 Home and Building Maintenance Checklist

As we begin a new year, it’s the perfect time to plan a home or building maintenance checklist to accomplish throughout the year. Regular inspections, checks and maintenance can prevent future costly repairs. For 2017, this comprehensive list is a helpful place to start.

For more information on how to protect your building investment, or if you are interested in a renovation or new build, please contact us (www.hickoryconstruction.com).

Plan now. Contact us today.