Aquarium names Jamie Gross as finance director and other Chattanooga-area career moves


  photo  Jamie Gross

Aquarium names Jamie Gross as finance director

The Tennessee Aquarium has hired Jamie Gross to be the nonprofit organization’s director of finance, overseeing the day-to-day business operations of three of Chattanooga’s top attractions.

Gross will be responsible for the Aquarium’s finance department, where he will manage daily financial operations, cash control, tax filings, financial auditing, accounting and recordkeeping, and fiscal policy compliance. His responsibilities extend to the Creative Discovery Museum and Hunter Museum of American Art, which share business services with the aquarium.

Gross, a certified public accountant, previously served as director of finance and administration for the Chalmers Center at Covenant College and was formerly chief financial officer of Bryan College and was controller of Covenant College.

“The Tennessee Aquarium has played a vital role in Chattanooga’s tourism economy, helping to drive more than $4.88 billion in local spending since the facility opened its doors in 1992,” Gordon Stalans, vice president and chief operating officer for the Tennessee Aquarium, said in a statement. “We are excited to add Jamie to our team, providing the strong financial stewardship that will be essential for the continued success of our mission to connect guests with water and wildlife as we look ahead to our next decade on Chattanooga’s riverfront.”

Gross earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Westminster College and certificates in not-for-profit accounting from the Association of International CPAs. He serves on the finance committees of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Woodland Park Baptist Church.

Brock Oliver named partner at HHM

HHM Certified Public Accountants, a full-service CPA and consulting firm with locations in Chattanooga, Memphis and Cleveland, has added CPA Brock Oliver as a partner in the firm’s Chattanooga office.

  photo  Brock Oliver

Oliver brings over a decade of accounting experience to the firm and played a key role in launching his former firm’s Nashville office where he helped lead the higher education practice in the Southeast.

A native to Chattanooga, Oliver lettered four years (2008-2011) on the football team at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga while earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in accounting. He is a member of Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants.

“We are honored to welcome Brock to our firm as partner,” Donnie Hutcherson, managing partner of HHM CPAs, said in an announcement. “His unique skill set and expertise in auditing will bring immense value to our firm. We look forward to working with Brock to continue providing exceptional service to our clients and drive the growth of our firm.”

Alma Estrada joins Cempa board

Alma Estrada, a vice president and financial sales manager at First Citizens Bank, has joined the board of directors for Cempa Community Care.

Estrada has more than 20 years of experience in the banking and financial industries and is currently an ambassador for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and previously served as an ambassador for the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce. She also has served on the Lift Youth Center board of directors. Estrada is also a 2020 graduate of Leadership Catoosa.

“Cempa makes such a significant and valuable impact on our community, and I look forward to helping the organization reach more of our friends and neighbors across the Chattanooga area,” Estrada said in a news release about her joining the Cempa board.

William Kent elected partner of Holland & Knight

William Kent, a member of the business section of the Holland & Knight law firm in Chattanooga, is one of 46 attorneys elected to partnership with the law firm, effective Jan. 1.

Kent advises privately held companies, long-term holding companies, private equity sponsors and venture capital firms in a broad range of transactional, corporate and securities matters.

Holland & Knight is a global law firm with approximately 2,200 lawyers and other professionals in 34 offices worldwide.

Thrive adds Rhett Bentley, trustees to its team

Thrive Regional Partnership, which tackles growth issues in the 16-county tri-state area, has added to its team.

Rhett Bentley has rejoined the group as chief communications officer. She brings 10 years of marketing and communications experience, including brand and digital media strategy, as well as public relations, according to Thrive. In the role, she will lead communications initiatives across various media championing the brand across local, regional and national audiences.

Also, the nonprofit welcomes nine new trustees reflecting regional growth in leadership and representation. The newly elected board trustees are April Cameron, Carol Eimers, Chuck Hammonds, Craig Bock, Dan Merriman, John Squires, Kelsey Keener, Mark McKnight and Pete Conroy.

“As Thrive continues to advance programs and investment in sustainable initiatives in local communities, it is critical that the work is guided by leaders from across the region,” Bridgett Massengill, president and CEO of Thrive, said in a statement.

Will Stansell named to Ingersoll Rand Champion’s Club

Will Stansell, an account manager for Ingersoll Rand for the past three years, has achieved the Champion’s Club for his sales achievements in 2023. This award is given to the top 10 sales professionals each year from across the country.

Stansell’s territory spans across a handful of counties in North Georgia. Stansell is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Ingersoll Rand is the market leader in industrial compressed air systems, services and controls.

Information about new hires, promotions and business awards should be sent to [email protected].

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