Moderator and Panelists
Matthew Murray, Ph.D., holds a joint appointment with the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and the Department of Economics at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is Associate Director of CBER, Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Ball Corporation Professor of Business in the College of Business Administration, and Program Director for the Public Administration Major in Economics. He served as Department Head of Economics from 1997 to 2002 and Director of Graduate Studies from 2002 to 2007. His research interests include state and local tax policy, education finance, tax compliance, and regional economic development. Dr. Murray is a member of the National Tax Association and the American Economics Association.
Dr. Murray's work in CBER includes maintenance of the state econometric forecasting model that supports the annual Economic Report to the Governor and the quarterly Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook. He has worked closely with state and local governments on a wide range of public policy issues including economic development incentives, economic/fiscal impact analysis, tax policy analysis, education finance reform, and transportation infrastructure finance.
Presenting Elected Officials
Mayor Tom Beehan has served on the Oak Ridge City Council since 2001. He served as Mayor Pro Tem for his first six years and became mayor in 2007. He has continued to serve as mayor since then and was re-elected in 2012.
Mayor Madeline Rogero was elected the 68th Mayor of the City of Knoxville on November 8, 2011. She is the first woman to hold the office. Mayor Rogero is dedicated to promoting a vibrant local economy, strong neighborhoods, a high quality of life, a thriving downtown and a greener Knoxville. She believes Knoxville’s strength comes from the diversity of its people and the beauty of its natural resources. During the past 31 years, Mayor Rogero has served Knoxville as a community development director, county commissioner, non-profit executive, urban and regional planner, community volunteer, and neighborhood champion.
Mayor Tom Taylor was first elected to the Maryville City Council in 2001, serving as Vice Mayor from 2003-2008. He was elected Mayor by a Council vote in 2012. He is a native of Maryville and is an owner of Commercial Cutting Equipment, Inc, which sells and services commercial lawn equipment through dealerships in Maryville and Knoxville. Mr. Taylor has served on numerous boards including acting as Chair of the Great Smoky Mountains Association, Fort Loudoun Regional Library System, Tennessee Advisory Council on Libraries and as an Executive Member of the Great Smoky Mountains Council Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.
Matt Gallaher is the chef and owner of Knox Mason. Prior to opening his restaurant, he honed his skills at Blackberry Farm in Blount County, traveled as “Rock and Roll” touring chef with big musical acts, and served as personal chef for Governor Bill Haslam. His rigorous pursuit of local ingredients, have earned him the distinction as “one of the most important ambassadors for Pick Tennessee Products.” This connection to Southern farms and purveyors and commitment to simple, Appalachian cuisine are the cornerstones of his downtown Knoxville restaurant, Knox Mason.
Stephanie Myers is a community relations liaison for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) at the Knoxville, TN facility. Her focus is on building community partnerships and increasing employee engagement through GMCR’s sustainability programs, including volunteerism, grantmaking and product donation. The GMCR Knoxville facility has been recognized for their community involvement with awards from Second Harvest (Volunteer Team of the Year, 2010), Knoxville Chamber of Commerce (Impact Pinnacle Business Award, 2012), and the Knoxville Area Urban League (Corporate Leadership Award, 2013).
Buzz Thomas is President of the Great Schools Partnership. He is also a member of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and Co-Chair of the Public School Forum of East Tennessee. Before coming to Knoxville, Mr. Thomas co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Niswonger Foundation. He is also a minister, attorney, author, teacher and community leader.