During the agencies’ annual meeting, eight employees of the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) and Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) selected as departmental employees of the year were recognized for their efforts. Two employees were recognized by Executive Director Mark Farley for their outstanding work during the 2021 calendar year. An additional two employees were recognized for having served 35 years with the agencies. 

“The last two years have been challenging for the employees of the Development District and Human Resource Agency,” Mark Farley, Executive Director. “I am proud of the work that our team does every day and what we have been able to accomplish despite those challenges. It is an honor to recognize these men and women for their tremendous contributions to our region.” 

At UCDD, the following employees were recognized as being named their department’s 2021 employee of the year: 

  • Ann Pangle, Finance & Administration
  • Nathan York, Aging/Area Agency on Aging and Disability
  • Jill Osborne, Economic Development
  • Marcia Riddle, Housing/Relative Caregiver Program
  • Marcie Ackerman, Planning and Community Development. 

The following UCHRA employees were recognized as being named their department’s 2021 employee of the year: 

  • Pam Sanford, Community Intervention
  • TaShana Hooks, Community Services
  • Sandra Grace, Public Transportation 

Two specialty awards presented by UCHRA were also presented. The UC Spirit Award and the Rebecca Harris Diamond Award. The UC Spirit Award recipient is representative of the region and people we serve; displaying a true Volunteer spirit, tenacity and steadfastness, and a heart for serving others. Established in 2020, this award recognizes the most loyal of employees. The 2021 recipient is Carrie Baker, UCHRA Warren County Coordinator. 

Also established in 2020, the Rebecca Harris Diamond Award recipient displays grace under pressure, exemplifies servant leadership; leading by example. They are a friend and mentor to all, a problem-solver, and make work more enjoyable. The 2021 recipient is Steve Lancaster, Mobility Management Specialist for UCHRA Public Transportation.

Stacy Cummings, Finance Assistance Director, and Mary Harris, Administrative Services-UCHRA Putnam County Office Receptionist were both recognized for having achieved 35 years of service with UCDD/UCHRA. 

In addition to recognizing staff members, the agencies also recognized South Carthage Manor in Smith County as the 2021 Housing Complex of the Year. This HUD 202 complex houses 14 tenants aged 62 and older. 

McMinnville-Warren County Senior Center was named the 2021 Senior Center of the Year; providing outstanding response to the hardships created by COVID-19. Although the center was closed due to the pandemic until mid-April, they continued to serve the community with carryout and home-delivered meals, home-delivered commodities, food boxes, telephone reassurance, coordinating flu and mobile vaccine clinics at the senior center and residential complexes, and coordinating with other clinics such as eye health. 

Meanwhile, the City of Baxter has been named the 2021 Community of the Year after receiving a total of more than $2.9 million in grants from federal, state, and private funding sources in 2020 and following the announcement of Brazillian ceramic tile manufacturer, Portobello America, Inc., would locate its first U.S. production facility in Baxter; creating 220 jobs and investing approximately $150 million in Putnam County.

Finally, Farley recognized the region for securing more than $46.8 million in grant funding from local, state, and federal funding sources, with the assistance of UCDD, since 2014.