June 2018 Around Town 3

Merchant & Gould Names Chris Leonard CEO, John Winemiller Knoxville Managing Partner

National intellectual property law firm Merchant & Gould has named Christopher J. Leonard, managing partner of the Knoxville office, as CEO starting July 1. He will succeed Brian H. Batzli as the firm’s CEO, managing director and chairman of the board.

John Winemiller has been named managing partner of the Knoxville office.

Christopher founded and managed the firm’s Atlanta office for eight years and then founded the Knoxville office in 2008. He also served on the firm’s executive committee for seven years, and he served as chair of the firm’s Electrical and Software Practice Group twice.

Christopher began his career as an intellectual property attorney in 1994, and his practice is focused on counseling clients on matters relating to software, electronic commerce, health care data management systems, telecommunications, and traditional electrical and mechanical technologies. His practice currently encompasses U.S. and international patent prosecution, patent infringement and validity analysis, and licensing counseling. 

John joined Merchant & Gould in 2008. He focuses his practice on patent, trademark, trade secret, unfair competition and copyright litigation, as well as intellectual property licensing issues and trademark, patent and copyright counseling and prosecution.

Gerdau Supports Medical Research in Memory of Former Knoxville Mill Leader

Representatives of steel recycler Gerdau’s Knoxville mill donated $6,000 to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for medical research in memory of Arlan Piepho, former Gerdau Knoxville vice president and general manager. 

The funds, raised through two golf tournaments, were donated to research seeking to find better treatments for primary amyloidosis, a rare and devastating disease that took Arlan’s life at age 63. Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal proteins known as amyloids build up in organs such as the heart and kidney, which can lead to organ failure.

The Tennessean Hotel hires new chef with luxury resort experience

Anthony Ploof, the new executive chef for The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel, brings 15 years of culinary excellence to its kitchen.

He previously served as chef de cuisine at The Essex Resort & Spa in Essex, Vermont, and as executive chef at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree in professional studies, hotel and restaurant management, and an associate degree in hospitality management from Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. He also earned an associate degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

East Tennessee Purchasing Association hosts
 Business Matching and Tradeshow

Small and midsized businesses interested in working with local governments can meet with about 20 municipalities plus many tradeshow vendors in one stop at the East Tennessee Purchasing Association’s 13th Annual Business Matching and Tradeshow event on Wednesday, June 6.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St., in Chattanooga.

Attendees will be able to connect with cities, counties and other agencies to get information about their processes and available contracts. In addition to the tradeshow, a lunch session with governmental procurement agents is available and starts at noon.

“This is a unique networking and relationship-building opportunity,” ETPA President Terry McKee says. “Small businesses are able to meet many potential government and corporate customers in one stop instead of traveling all over East Tennessee.”

Registration is free for attendees. Meals, tradeshow booths and sponsorship opportunities are available. To register, visit ETPANews.org

Spencer Ratliff with Old North Designs

Custom furniture designer and cabinet maker Spencer Ratliff opened Old North Designs five years ago, a decision that turned his passion into a career. He’s a third-generation designer and builder who crafts unique projects out of wood, metal and leather—from toilet paper holders to rustic, luxury dining room tables and bar tops. He loves the challenge of creating pieces to fit a specific space or aesthetic, particularly when the customer is open to his artistic flair.

“Lately, I’ve been loving a combination of walnut—a rich, dark wood—with brass and bronze,” he says. “They complement each other very well. I also love working with copper and leather. I incorporate them as much as I can.”

Maria McHale joins Moxley Carmichael as account executive

Maria McHale has joined Moxley Carmichael as an account executive.


Maria develops nontraditional marketing and innovative digital solutions to ensure clients keep a competitive edge in their industries. She will work with clients in multiple sectors, including nonprofit, health care, consumer products and professional services.

She worked in product design and branding for five years after graduating from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s in commerce. After a trip to Singapore to explore international brands, she found her niche in branding and strategic planning.

Originally from Northern California, she resides in Knoxville with her husband and 1-year-old daughter.