business briefs

• Cathy Ackermann recently joined SmartBank’s board of directors. Ackermann is founder/CEO of Ackermann Marketing and PR, headquartered in Knoxville. The 40-year-old firm is recognized as one of the Top 100 Independent PR firms in the United States by PR Week magazine and earned a place on Forbes’ Top 100 PR firms in 2021.

• For the fifth consecutive year, Jeff Thode, managing director/investment officer with Wells Fargo Advisors in Knoxville recently was recognized on the 2022 Best in State Wealth Advisors list by Forbes magazine. Thode has more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

• Ijams Nature Center opened its new Ijams Nature Playscape with a ribbon cutting at Grayson Subaru Preserve May 9.

Ijams Nature Playscape is specifically designed for young children to play in a creek, climb hills, dig, build, crawl and engage with nature in an organic, unstructured way.