Burnette, Carasso, Hill, Richards, Russ apply for Town’s open alderman post

Six candidates, whose ages range from 9 to 90, have applied to fill the Farragut South Ward II alderman seat left vacant when Ron Williams was sworn in as mayor Aug. 23.

Since the search was announced Aug. 23, Drew Burnette, Tony Carasso, Robin “Bob” Hill (age 90), Leilani Johns (age 9, see related story beginning on this page), Joanna Richards and Scott Russ have applied for that post.

The South Ward II term will expire in August 2020, when the seat will be placed on the general election ballot, stated a press release from Town of Farragut.

Current Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen will conduct interviews of each applicant before the Board meeting Thursday, Sept. 27, when candidates will have an opportunity to make a final statement to the Board. During that meeting, it will select a new alderman.

Drew Burnette

Burnette, a Farragut native, is regional vice president and medical device sales representative with Olympus Surgical in Knoxville.

He is a graduate of and former football player for Farragut High School, and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human exceptionalities in 2003 from Carson-Newman College, where he played football for four years, lettering for three years.

He also has served as board member for Feeding the Orphans; was a team leader for Habitat for Humanity projects in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina; head coach of Knoxville Ambassadors Middle School junior varsity team; was a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group leader; participated in two-week mission trips to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for three consecutive years; and coached youth sports teams.

“The open alderman seat is an exciting opportunity for me,” he said in his submitted résumé. “This would allow me to combine my love for the Town with the chance to serve in it and continue to see it grow.

“Whether through commercial or residential development, I will work to continue making Farragut a wonderful place to raise a family by ensuring our developments fit our core strengths and values,” Burnette said. “By offering strategic leadership, backed by the voice of younger families in the community, I can help further our Town’s visions and goals.”

Tony Carasso

Carasso, who moved to Wentworth subdivision in 2003, is president of Citizens Bank in Knoxville, where he has served since 2015. He started in the banking business in 1989 as a branch manager with Union Planters Bank in Memphis.

“My 29 years of business/banking experience could be an asset with the Town’s budget process and future business decisions,” he said in his application. “My interest in filling the open alderman position is driven by my gratification of raising a family in the Town of Farragut and ensuring future families are afforded the same experience.”

He is married to Debbie Carasso and they have two sons, one a FHS Class of 2007 graduate and the other attending FHS.

He said his vision is to “continue the course we are now on.

“The current Town leadership has this ship headed in the right direction,” Carasso said. “As a banker, I am impressed with the conservative approach the (Board of Mayor and Alderman) takes toward finances and fiscal responsibility.”

He envisions supporting building more parks and expanding and improving existing park facilities; expanding biking and walking trails; developing a Town Center; and “through my involvement with Farragut Knox County Education Relations Committee, I am involved in getting our youth engaged in Farragut government,” and he plans to continue his support.

Besides serving on the FCERC, he served on Knoxville Opera board of directors’ development committee and Second Harvest Food Bank development committee. He was president of West Knoxville Sertoma Club and Tusculum College President’s Advisory Council; director of God’s Good Pantry; March of Dimes steering committee and YMCA board of directors; member of Rotary Club Somerset, Kentucky; and member of Murfreesboro Philharmonic Orchestra board of trustees.

He also served as president of First Priority Rutherford County, coached Upwards Basketball and is a ministries trainer and Sunday school teacher for First Baptist Concord.

Robin “Bob” Hill

Hill, a Mountain View Road resident, has lived in Farragut since the Town’s founding in April 1980 and currently serves on the Town’s Stormwater Advisory Committee.

“This Town is my life,” he said. “This Town and my church are the key external organizations that I work with.”

Hill said he wasn’t sure anyone else was going to run for the alderman seat, he has time to take on the role and has had experience as a former chairman of Farragut Municipal Planning Commission to bring to the position.

He is a retired engineer, having worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratories from 1956 to 1994. Hill started as a design engineer and later project engineer, and then he worked his way up to restoration program manager.

From 1995 to 2000, he was a principal investigator for Performance Development Corporation in Oak Ridge.

Prior to working at ORNL, he worked at L & N Railroad from 1950 to 1956.

He also was a 5th District Knox County Court member and Knox County Commissioner, for which he served from 1970 to 1980 and was assigned to finance and environment committees.

Hill served on FMPC from 1982, when he was appointed by then Mayor Bob Leonard, and as its chairman until 2010. Hill also served as a representative for development of TCA Chapter assignment 1101 Growth Policy Plan.

In 2005, he served on a committee to study how FMPC could be changed to operate more efficiently.

Joanna Richards

Richards, a registered nurse, study coordinator and research associate with University of Tennessee Department of Nutrition, has lived in Concord Hills subdivision for the past 40 years.

On her application, she said she has “a strong interest in the continuing growth and well-being of our Town.”

Richards’ objective is to “participate in the oversight and positive leadership of the Town of Farragut using my experience, skills and knowledge of this community.”

She brings to the table her leadership experience as a unit representative for Concord Hills subdivision, former vice president of Woodlands of Knoxville Condominiums and regional supervisor for three TennCare Managed Care organizations.

She had volunteered in various roles at Farragut schools while raising three children.

She also was Appeals and Complaints manager with Department of Healthcare Solutions, Appeals and Complaints Resolutions Unit supervisor with Tennessee Health Partnership and former quality improvement supervisor with TennCare I John Deere Health Care.

Scott Russ

Russ has lived in the Knoxville area for the last 33 years, having lived in East Knoxville, Cedar Bluff and Maryville before moving to Farragut.

He has participated in the Knoxville Leadership Program, Introduction in Knoxville and is “pleased to be able to carry forward the ideology of becoming involved and engaged in making our communities great places to live.

“In an ongoing effort to become involved in my community, I am currently participating in the Introduction Farragut program to further understand the history, the politics, the offerings that my community possesses,” Russ said.

For the last four years, he has been a global business manager with Radio Systems Corporation, working primarily with domestic sourcing.

Before that, he was involved with sourcing at Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and getting Forks of the River plant off the ground and running.

Russ spent most of 2016 taking and becoming certified in a Supply Chain Professional certification course.

“I am actively involved in the East Tennessee chapter of (Association of Production and Inventory Control Professionals) based in Knoxville,” he added.