Kingsport Chamber News Release - New Lifetime Members Announced
Friday, December 1, 2017
For Immediate Release
Miles A. Burdine
President & CEO
Office: (423) 392-8807
Mobile: (423) 956-1988
Kingsport Chamber honors Lynn Johnson and Dr. Brenda White Wright with distinguished Lifetime Member Awards
NOTE: Attached please find Lynn Johnson photo, Dr. Brenda White Wright photo, Kingsport Chamber logo and State of Your Kingsport Chamber Holiday Breakfast logo.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Chamber honored longtime Kingsport business and community leaders Lynn Johnson and Dr. Brenda White Wright with its prestigious Lifetime Member Awards during its State of Your Kingsport Chamber Holiday Breakfast Friday morning at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.
The event was sponsored by Alpha Natural Resources; Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union; Appalachian Power; AtWork Personnel Services; BAE Systems; Bank of Tennessee; Benchmark Home Loans; Chef’s Pizzeria; Citizens Bank; Cooper Standard; Creekside Behavioral Health; East Coast Wings & Grill; Eastman; Eastman Credit Union; East Tennessee State University; Elmcroft Senior Living of Kingsport; First Tennessee Bank; Food City; GRC Construction Services/CainRashWest Architects; Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Homes; Holston Valley Medical Center; Honda Kingsport; Indian Path Medical Center; J.A. Street & Associates; Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union; News Channel 11/ABC Tri-Cities; New Peoples Bank; Phil’s Dream Pit; Rodefer Moss & Company; Santa Fe Mexican Grill; Spectrum Enterprise; Tele-Optics; The Regional Eye Center; and WorkSpace Interiors.
Johnson and Wright are the award’s thirty-first and thirty-second recipients respectively.
Both will also be recognized at the Kingsport Chamber 71st Annual Dinner on Friday, February 2, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the MeadowView Marriott.
Tickets for that event go on sale in January.
“It’s hard to find two harder-working and committed leaders to this community than Lynn Johnson and Brenda White Wright,” said Stephen LaHair, 2017 Kingsport Chamber chair and co-owner of Chef’s Pizzeria and KAOS Investments. “Just take a look at their bios and you are quickly amazed at the long and impressive list of everything they have done for this community. The impact they have made and the lives they have touched will last for many years to come.”
“What a great pleasure to honor two great community advocates and leaders in Lynn Johnson and Brenda White Wright with this huge accolade,” said Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber president and CEO. “Both in their own unique ways and leadership styles have made a lasting impact on this organization and this city and on many who call Kingsport home. Congrats to both on such a much-deserved achievement.”
The Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member Award goes to an individual who has made an enormous contribution to the Kingsport Chamber and the community throughout his or her lifetime.
With the award, Johnson and Wright receive complimentary memberships to their Kingsport Chamber for life.
Other Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member recipients include Wallace D. Alley, John W. Andersen, Sam H. Anderson, Jr., Frederick Henry “Pal” Barger, Jr., E. B. “Jitney” Blankenbeckler, Jeanette D. Blazier, William C. Bovender, Frank B. Brewer, Frank M. Brogden, A.B. Coleman, Betty W. DeVinney, John F. Douglas, William D. Dudney, C.B. “Boots” Duke, IV, Eleanor Eason, Rodney D. Irvin, Farris Jackson, J. Lane Latimer III, Leland C. Leonard, Dr. William W. Locke, Kenneth H. Maness, G. Payne Marshall, Ronald G. McMasters, Robert L. Miller, Charles Edward Moore, Mike O. O’Neill, Dennis R. Phillips, Darrell W. Rice, James P. Rogers and Keith D. Wilson.
D. Lynn Johnson
A native of Scott County, Virginia, Lynn Johnson graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1958 and the University of Tennessee in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He was also a three-year baseball letterman at the University of Tennessee and was team captain in his senior year. After active duty in the U.S. Army, he received a master’s degree in economics in 1968 from East Tennessee State University.
Johnson joined Eastman in 1965, doing sales forecasting and econometric modeling for Eastman’s businesses. He was responsible for developing and implementing input/output technology in Eastman’s forecasting process and for developing the company’s first price and production indices.
In 1972, he was named to Eastman’s general management staff. Johnson was named vice president of government relations in 1996. After his retirement from Eastman in 2002, Johnson spent eight years as a government relations consultant for King Pharmaceuticals.
Johnson served a six-year term on the University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees, during which he originated and promoted naming Tennessee’s basketball floor for legendary head coach, Pat Summitt. He also served on the University of Tennessee Athletics Board. He currently serves on Dr. Joe DiPietro’s President’s Advisory Council.
Johnson started the Kingsport Chamber’s Government Relations Committee, where he served as chair, and created the annual Regional Legislative Breakfast. Under Johnson’s leadership, the committee was responsible for photos being placed on Tennessee Drivers Licenses and worked to get the Postmaster General to designate a regional postmark.
During his time as chair of the Kingsport Chamber’s economic development committee, he led the effort to purchase the Gillenwater, Steadman and Garland properties.
Johnson has also been responsible for a number of road projects in Kingsport, including widening of Wilcox Drive from John B. Dennis Highway to Sullivan Street, the widening of Moreland and Jared Drives, and the building of the I-26 and Meadowview Parkway interchange.
He has also served on the Kingsport Economic Development Board for a number of years and where he currently serves as vice chair.
In 1977, Johnson was elected to the Kingsport Board of Education and served for nine years, seven of which were as president. In 1984, he served as president of the Tennessee School Board’s Association. He was chair of the Tennessee Chemical Industry Council for 15 years. He is past chair of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.
He formerly served as member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Business Roundtable. He is the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency which approves or denies applications for Certificates of Need for hospitals, surgical treatment centers, nursing homes and home health care agencies. He also chaired the Tennessee Council on Economic Education.
Earlier in his career, Johnson was president of the Kingsport Jaycees and is one of the local group’s life members. He also started a local Toastmasters group at Eastman in 1968 and the organization continues to exist today, 49 years later. He was president of the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club and currently serves on its Board of Directors. He also chaired the organization’s $3 million building campaign. Johnson recently completed a two-year term as chair of the Boys and Girls Club Alliance of Tennessee.
At the national level, Johnson has served as chair of the American Chemistry Council’s State Affairs committee, chair of the Federation of State Chemical Industry Councils and as chair of the State Government Affairs Committee of the American Plastics Council. He was the chair of the American Chemistry Council’s Issue Review Team, a vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers Public Affairs subcommittee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Business-Government Relations Council and the Public Affairs Council, both of which are headquartered in Washington, D.C.
A huge University of Tennessee fan and alum, Johnson has attended several White House visits with the Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball teams. He has also coached Babe Ruth League Baseball for 16 years and Connie Mack League Baseball for five years.
Johnson is married to the former Barbara Nickels of Kingsport and they have two daughters, Beth and Brooke, and two grandchildren, Bailey, 16, and Drew, 6. They are members of First Broad Street United Methodist Church.
Dr. Brenda White Wright
A native of Rome, Ga., Dr. Brenda White Wright is the owner of The Wright Approach, where she is a motivational speaker, storyteller and trainer with more than 40 years of experience in business management, board and organizational development, human resources, multicultural issues, race relations, youth initiatives, community relations, resource development, radio and television.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and communications, a master’s degree in reading and storytelling, and a doctorate in educational leadership from East Tennessee State University.
For over twenty years, she served as president and CEO of Girls Incorporated, a United Way agency. In that capacity, she was named by The Business Journal Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia as one of the region’s “Twenty-Five Powerful Female Executives.”
Wright currently serves on the Kingsport Centennial Celebration commission and is chair of the Centennial Park Project. She is a Founding Member of the Boards of Directors of TriSummit Bank (now HomeTrust Bank) and served for 23 years on the board of directors of the Children’s Hope Alliance of North Carolina (formerly Grandfather Home for Children).
From 2011 to 2015, she was on the Board of Trustees at Appalachian State University and served on the executive committee, academic affairs committee, endowment fund board, chancellor’s commission on diversity and the university planning and priorities council. She’s a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Her numerous volunteer and leadership affiliations have included Leadership Kingsport (inaugural class of 1983), Junior League of Kingsport, Rotary Club of Kingsport, Kingsport Tomorrow, NAACP, and the Sullivan County Alliance to Stop Adolescent Pregnancy. She has also served on the Boards of Directors of the Kingsport Chamber, the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership, Volunteer Kingsport, Leadership Kingsport, Junior League of Kingsport, Rotary Club of Kingsport, Red Cross, Holston Valley Hospital, Kingsport Tomorrow, Kingsport Community Foundation, Regions Bank, Safe House, Crime Stoppers, Junior Achievement, Fine Arts Council, Women’s Center, Private Industry Council, the National Board of Girls Incorporated and also as a charter member of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission.
Wright has spoken to and trained thousands of students, educators, parents, professionals and volunteers across the country. Her numerous clients have included United Way of America, The Association of Junior Leagues International, The Points of Light Foundation, Association for Continuing Higher Education, Virginia Community College System, Wytheville Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, Catholic Charities, Bristol Motor Speedway, Barter Theater, Bristol Youth Leadership, Tennessee and South Carolina Departments of Education, University of Kentucky, Oklahoma Departments of Mental Health and Human Services, Holston Home for Children, Head Start, Job Corps, 4-H, Northwest Network for Youth, Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Memphis City Schools, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Child Welfare League of America, Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth, Johnson Controls, Junior Achievement, YWCA, Eastman, Symphony of the Mountains, State Farm Insurance Company, American Cast Iron Pipe Companies of Texas and Alabama, National Resource Center for Youth Services, McDonnell Douglas, Sprint and numerous other corporate and non-profit educational, civic, leadership, social service and religious organizations. She was a commencement speaker for Kingsport City Schools, Northeast State Community College, East Tennessee State University and Appalachian State University. She was also a cultural exchange visitor to Moscow, Russia.
Wright received a Kingsport Times-News Award for Distinguished Community Service, a national YWCA Racial Justice Award, a Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, a Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award and the Kingsport Chamber/Leadership Kingsport “Distinguished Leadership Award.
She received a gubernatorial appointment to the Citizens Advisory Commission on Ethics in State Government and was recognized as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow for “service above self.”
In recognition of her long-term service to providing leadership and diversity training for its students, East Tennessee State University initiated the Dr. Brenda White Wright Emerging Leaders Academy for students who have demonstrated outstanding character, leadership potential and a commitment to campus involvement.
Wright and her husband Charles, an Eastman retiree, have lived in Kingsport for 45 years and have three children, Tamala Wright, Jamil Wright and Shana Q. Wright-Avery (husband Jeffery), and three grandchildren, Christopher, Jaisan and Sean Avery. For more than 40 years, Wright has attended a Home Bible Study Fellowship with The Way International.
The Kingsport Chamber is composed of two non-profit organizations: the Kingsport Chamber Foundation (501(c)(3)) and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce (501(c)(6)).
The Kingsport Chamber Foundation manages, promotes, supports and assists a number of charitable, educational, environmental, leadership, quality of life and wellness programs that have a tremendous impact on the Kingsport community.
Programs of the Kingsport Chamber Foundation include: Communications & Development; Downtown Concert Series; Education & Workforce Development; Fun Fest; Healthy Kingsport; Keep Kingsport Beautiful; Kingsport Leadership Programs (Leadership Kingsport and S.H.O.U.T.!® Youth Leadership); Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE); Move to Kingsport; Santa Train; STREAMWORKS; Tennessee/Virginia Scholars; and Visit Kingsport.
The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to utilize resources and focus efforts on enhancing a strong and viable business environment for the Kingsport area.
Programs of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce include: Communications & Development; Government Relations; and Membership. The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce has nearly 1,000 members.
For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, go to KingsportChamber.org or call (423) 392-8800. We’re social too; follow us on our Facebook page, Your Kingsport Chamber, and on our Twitter account, @kptchamber.