Previous Episodes

EPISODE 29: Jerry Boyd, Putnam County Schools Superintendent

jerryboydAfter moving to Cookeville as a pre-teen, Jerry Boyd spent many of his formative years in the Putnam County school system. After exploring several opportunities in education, Boyd returned to the Plateau and was eventually appointed Superintendent of Schools. In this episode, Jerry shares his protocol for determining snow days (and how it feels to have his very own hashtag), his zeal for education, his heart for families, and what drives him to be better every day. Looking at the school system as a business, one could draw a lot of wisdom from this podcast about how to effectively communicate with a large operation, how to grow at a healthy rate, and the importance of considering the needs of all involved before making a decision.

EPISODE 27: Allison Clark, Assistant Basketball Coach, Tennessee Tech University and Published Author

AlliBorn and raised just down I-40, Allison Clark came to Cookeville to play basketball for Tennessee Tech University. After a storied playing career that eventually landed her in the TTU Hall of Fame, Allison ventured into coaching the game that she loves. A published author and a true exhorter and encourager, Coach Alli sees basketball as her avenue to mentor and empower young girls in more than just sports. From teaching leadership and character building to running the point and shooting the 3, Clark uses her influence on and off the court to be an asset to both the team she coaches and the community that has embraced her. In this episode, Coach Clark talks to us about how she sells TTU to new recruits, how she dealt with her parent’s divorce at a pivotal age, and how fortunate she feels to be a part of the Cookeville community.

EPISODE 26: Resa & Crystal Roberts, Owners of Luxe Boutiques & Momtrepreneur Extraordinaires

robertsWhile advisers might argue against going into business with a family member, Resa and Crystal Roberts have found it to be a wise and successful business model. They are sister-in-laws and have six children between them which has fostered a sense of family in their business as a whole. Luxe Boutique began in Cookeville out of a dream they had to build a business together, and has since been expanded into the Chattanooga market with two additional stores. The Roberts Girls see Luxe Boutique as an opportunity to mentor the next generation of strong women and teach their own children the wonderful world of entrepreneurship. In this episode, Resa and Crystal talk about the joys and challenges of being Momtrepreneurs, employers of millennials, and the lessons they have learned in the retail game.

EPISODE 25: John Bell, Director of the Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation


Having a background in the non-profit sector coupled with growing up in Cookeville, it seemed a natural fit for John Bell to serve as the Director for the Charitable Foundation at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. The Foundation has multiple arms of benevolence that reach all across our region. In this podcast, John touches on many of the different programs that Foundation provides to meet the practical and medical needs of our community. From free CPR training and the patient assistance programs, to the Pet Therapy program and remote area medical clinics, learn about all of the amazing things that the CRMC Charitable Foundation is doing in the Upper Cumberland.


EPISODE 24: Eddie Farris, Sheriff of Putnam County


After a diverse and storied career in law enforcement, Eddie Farris was elected as the Sheriff of Putnam County in 2014. Sheriff Farris immediately went to work assembling a team of dedicated officers who have been instrumental in the heaping strides that have been made in the Sheriff’s Department under his leadership. In this episode, Farris talks about how his career was a natural progression to where he is now, what has happened over the last four years, the struggles that our law enforcement face, and what every day life as the Sheriff looks like. It’s great to hear from the heart of the leaders in our community!

EPISODE 23: Natalie Stout, Owner/Realtor at The Realty Firm


Natalie Stout is a born and raised Putnam County native. A Tennessee Tech alum, she began a career in real estate and within five years opened her own brokerage, The Realty Firm. Natalie’s upbeat personality, can do attitude, and tireless work ethic have propelled her to the front of the pack in Upper Cumberland real estate. In this podcast, Natalie talks about business development, the influences that have shaped her, and how she swore she would never sell real estate. Down to earth and matter of fact, Natalie’s episode holds great insight for both new and seasoned business owners alike.

EPISODE 22: Mark Wilson, Athletic Director for Tennessee Tech University

Mark WilsonMark Wilson has had a love for athletics and administration from an early age, which made a career as an AD a natural fit. Wilson moved to Cookeville in 2004 to take on that leadership role for TTU athletics. Since then, he has led the way on numerous improvements across the board, focusing heavily on academic achievement and facility enhancements. In this episode, Mark shares the story of his road to Cookeville, the mentors who have shaped the man that he is, and the exciting things on the horizon for TTU athletics.

EPISODE 20: Beth Thompson, Museums Manager

BethBioBeth Thompson moved across the country to Cookeville with her mother and quickly acclimated and grew Upper Cumberland roots. A vibrant member of the local theatre community, Beth is a fantastic advocate for the arts and serves this community as the Museums Manger for the Cookeville History Museum and Cookeville Depot Museum. In this episode, Beth tells a little bit about working on the west side, her passion for local history, and some of the fun events the museums have planned in the near future.

EPISODE 19: Highlands Impact Club


What is Impact Club? In this episode, Amber and Zach talk a little bit about this organization that they both are super passionate about. In a nutshell, Impact Club can be thought of as crowd funding for non-profits. If I give you $100 for your charity, you will be super grateful, but in all honesty, $100 doesn’t go very far nowadays. However, if we get together with 100, or now 200, friends, we can turn small donations into large impact, and give away $20,000!! Listen in to hear more about Impact Club and the difference we can make when we give as a community!


BMagura headshot 2012.jpg__180x271_q85_subsampling-2Becky Magura: President and CEO, WCTE-TV

A lifetime Cookeville resident, Becky Magura has been a vital part of growing the Upper Cumberland’s only TV station for nearly 40 years. Beginning as the station’s very first intern and now serving as the GM and CEO, Becky has worked in every facet of public television. Her passion for extending the classroom and impacting children with early education in the home is evident in all she does. Becky also serves on the national board for PBS, bringing fresh perspective and first hand input for rural communities. In this incredible episode, Becky shares her background and the behind the scenes stories that have made her who she is. This one is must listen!


08673a8Melissa Parks: Development Director, Putnam County Habitat for Humanity

Melissa Parks moved to the Upper Cumberland area just a few years ago when her husband took a new job. She searched for awhile to find the right job for her, but certainly found her niche at Habitat for Humanity. Melissa currently serves as the Development Director helping the non-profit raise funds, strengthen community relationships, and maintain their healthy local presence. In this episode, you will hear the conviction in Melissa’s voice as she shares about the incredible work that Habitat for Humanity is making across the globe and in the Upper Cumberland region.


sam_brooks_cookevilleSam Brooks: Personal Learning Supervisor for Putnam County Schools and CSA Prepstar Co-owner/ Regional Scouting Director

Sam Brooks has found the magic place where passion and skill set intersect. Growing up as talented athlete both at Cookeville High School and at Tennessee Tech University, Sam learned a lot of valuable lessons about hard work, teamwork, and leadership. He carried those teachable moments into a career in coaching and education where he now serves Putnam County Schools as the Personal Learning Supervisor heading up the VITAL program that oversees virtual learning in our area. In this episode, Sam shares with us his personal story about growing up as an athlete who is now raising one and the challenges and advantages therein.



Jeff Brown: Entrepreneur and Executive Director/President of Biz Foundry

With roots in neighboring Cumberland County, Jeff Brown has been involved in the business world of the Upper Cumberland for all of his life, including five business that he has personally started and managed. His passion for innovation is palpable and he serves as an evangelist for entrepreneurship. In this episode, he shares the role of The Biz Foundry in our community and their mission to assist local innovators in bringing business dreams to fruition. Jeff and his team are constantly looking for ways to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Upper Cumberland.



Mandy Perhay: CEO of Putnam County Family YMCA

A Jackson County native with an background in accounting, you don’t have to talk with Mandy Perhay very long to hear her heart for people and the place our local YMCA has in this community. Mandy is full of energy and optimism, and brings that energy to her role of running one of the largest fitness centers in our area. From youth soccer programs and Learn to Swim, to Go Pink and Open Doors (an income based rate scale program), the YMCA is more than just a workout facility. This is where Mandy’s true passion shines. In this episode, she shares all that the Y has to offer, her favorite (and not so favorite) parts of her job, and why she doesn’t take herself too seriously.



Dr. Phil Oldham: TTU President

Serving as only the 9th President of Tennessee Technological University, Dr. Phil Oldham knows the delicate balance of building on a strong foundation to further an organization. Dr. Oldham has both a science background and long list of achievements in collegiate academia, but his true passion is innovation and creating new opportunities. In this episode, Oldham shares about his roots in the Upper Cumberland, his views on entrepreneurship, and the role that Tennessee Tech plays in our area. Not only do we get to pick Dr. Oldham’s brain on university advancement and upcoming changes to the campus, we also get to know him a little more as a person and member of our community.



Cigi England: Owner/Operator of Cigi’s Boutique

Moving here from Whitwell, TN to attend TTU, Cigi England never imagined that Cookeville is where she would eventually move back to establish her business and start her family. After obtaining a degree in Fashion Merchandising, Cigi traveled the southeast working in the fashion industry and for America’s Mart in Atlanta. In this podcast, she shares how she felt impressed to make Cookeville her home just a few years ago and how her boutique was born. This episode is a great encouragement to pursue your dreams, to remember that “nothing is permanent”, and inspiration on how to be the agent of change for your own life. Full of class and spunk, Cigi brings a contagious joy to this podcast that we know you’ll enjoy!


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Zach Ledbetter: Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce Cookeville-Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Growing up in Cookeville, Zach Ledbetter has watched this town grow and now works to spotlight our community to visitors and potential future Cookevillians. In this podcast, Zach covers everything from overcoming health struggles from a young age, to stints in the radio business and at TTU, to what he loves about what he calls “the most fun job ever” at the chamber. Ledbetter also shares some insight into what we can expect with the upcoming Solar Eclipse from a tourist perspective, calling it quite possibly the biggest national AND international draw to our community. Finally, Zach offers a fresh Millennial viewpoint to local business and the perks our area has to offer.


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Michael Detwiler: Field Representative for Congressman Diane Black and Cookeville Weather Guy

Michael Detwiler works in 11 Upper Cumberland counties on behalf of Congressman Diane Black, but as a long time Cookeville resident, it is evident that his roots run deep here at home. Known locally as the ‘Cookeville Weather Guy’, Michael has become quite the social media celebrity and go to weather guy. In this episode, Detwiler shares about his work background and upbringing, his current position and calling in statewide politics, and the present battle that his family is fighting in faith. Michael has a great perspective on life and an out of the box mindset that makes this episode both encouraging and intriguing.


mike and trace

Mike & Tracey Franklin: Owners and Operators of Loxx Salon & Spa

With two individual journeys that diverged into one, Mike and Tracey Franklin share their story about how their backgrounds prepared them to be partners in life and business. In this podcast, Mike and Tracey discuss their drive for investing in their employees, their focus on accountability, and their commitment to education and training. They also share some of their personal journey of overcoming challenges, learning to believe in the impossible, and conquering fears that we all can relate to. Now open in a new incredible location, Mike and Tracey share how Loxx Salon and Spa has stretched them as business owners and as individuals, while simultaneous being their avenue to give back to our community. Full of quotable bits of wisdom, this episode is a must listen for any budding or struggling entrepreneur!



Dee Prince: Senior HR Generalist at Ficosa and Community Advocate

From three rap albums to seven years of semi-pro football to a career in Human Resources at one of Cookeville’s largest employers, there’s not much Dee Prince hasn’t done. He has a big family and a huge heart, passionate about community and diversity. Leading by example, Dee shares his incredible story of growth, influence, and self awareness. With a spirited sense of humor, a quick wit, and a positive spin on life, Dee brings a hilarity and contagious vibe to this podcast that you won’t want to miss!


randy porter

Randy Porter: County Executive

As the County Executive, Randy Porter essentially serves as the CEO and CFO of Putnam County. With his usual calm and steady demeanor, Randy talks to us about the daily responsibilities of his job, the things he sees on the horizon, and how serving as the EMS Director for 30 years prepared him for what he’s doing now. In this episode, Randy also shares about his faith, his family, and his values. It’s not often that we get to communicate with our elected officials on a personal level, but in this episode, we got to hear the core of our County Executive and why he feels privileged to serve our community in this capacity.



Brandon Smith: 911 Assistant Director and EMS Public Safety Coordinator

Brandon Smith is a born and raised Cookeville native. Working within the Emergency Medical Services field means he’s on call for a wide variety of tragedies, resulting in his seeing a different side of this community. One of Brandon’s passions is education and youth outreach, and he was recently been awarded the SADD Advisor of the Year. As crazy busy as life is, in this podcast, Brandon gives us some great advice to “be where you are” and live intentionally. He talks to us about everything from his brief stint on the pageant stage to the core values that shape his life. This episode is a must listen!



Ryan Williams: Director of Business Development at J&S Construction, State Representative for the 42nd District and Majority Caucus Chairman.

Ryan Williams has played many different roles in this community, currently serving the 42nd district as our State Representative. A man committed to faith and family, Ryan has served in both the private and public sector for many years. In this podcast, Ryan shares how life in the business world prepared him for public service and his journey to the capital. From sharing insights like the mentors that have shaped who he is or a word of advice he would share with his younger self, this episode gives you a glimpse into the heart of Ryan Williams.


11018773_358121604371278_6045572090787884214_oThomas Cox: Entrepreneur, Husband, Father, Psycho CrossFitter

After establishing MealFit in 2013, Thomas Cox has quickly diversified his business to offer multiple product lines and a variety of services. A consummate learner and practitioner, in this podcast, Thomas shares his journey of going from the football field to the daily grind of entrepreneurship. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, this episode is for you.


rickyRicky Shelton, Cookeville Mayor

A Cookeville Native, Ricky Shelton has loved this community from day one. With a passion for service and a vision for development, Ricky has been an asset to our city for years. In this podcast, he shares his story of life in public sector and a little about what it looks like to be Mayor of Cookeville, TN.


IMG_1076Zach Buckner: VP of Development and Communications for the Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, and Tribe Leader.

A born and raised Cookevillian, Zach and his beautiful wife, Bethany, are doing their part to grow our community – one Buckner at a time. Father of five fun kiddos, Zach has his hands in multiple businesses and has a passion to see other entrepreneurs reach their full potential. In this podcast, he shares his story of growth and reconciliation in a way that is relatable and refreshing.


Amber Fly1426381_10153527963305022_1033624825_nnn-Jared: Realtor, Business Owner, Wife, Mom (and now a Lolli!!), and lover of Jesus and good wine.

An Air Force brat, Amber has lived pretty much everywhere. She made Cookeville home in 1997 and put down roots fast and deep! Real and transparent, in this podcast, Amber shares her story of going from stay-at-home mom, to broke divorcee, to business owner and entrepreneur.