Forget the suits

Business Network International adds hand to Habitat build

Blount County members of the Business Network International opted to forego their weekly Ryan’s lunch meeting on Nov. 3 to spend the day helping build a Habitat for Humanity home.

Denise Evans, president of the BNI chapter that meets each Tuesday, said that when the 23 members learned about the chance to help someone, they rescheduled their day and made time to volunteer. The house they worked on was in Norwood Village, the subdivision that Habitat is developing with Foothills Development Corporation just off Morganton Road in Blount County.

Evans said Sue Walls, owner of Independence Title, was sponsoring the build and called Evans because they needed more volunteers at the worksite on a particular day. The BNI president contacted the members and got an overwhelming response.

“Within 30 minutes everyone was saying ‘Absolutely, we’d love to help.’ We had 19 show up, and we loved it,” said Evans.

BNI has been in East Tennessee for 17 years and there are chapters in countries around the world. There has been a BNI chapter in Blount County 15 years, Evans said.

“We build trust, and promote each other’s business and help generate referrals,” explained Evans.

The individuals who participated included: Denise Evans, owner of LaNese’ Salon and Spa; Jack Woods, owner of Glenstone Gallery and Gifts; Gary Hitson, owner of Hitson Insurance; Rebekah Hilgraves, owner of SheTech; Dr. Steven Watts of Watts Chiropractic; Theresa Saxon, owner of Images Coterie Photography; Angela Harshbarger, Charter Communications; Linnie Peak, owner of Ridgewood Construction; Jay Baker, owner of J. Baker electric; Lee Brooks, manager of Auto Pro’s; Stephanie Stieler, owner of Manna from Heaven; Mike Walkup, owner of Creekside Property Service; Sue Walls, owner of Independence Title; Darla Bush, realtor, Realty Executives; Kathy McGee, beauty consultant, Mary Kay, Inc.; Paul Davis, loan officer, Sun Trust Mortgage; and Debbie Davis, mortgage assistant, Sun Trust.

Anyone interested in joining BNI, the afternoon group meets every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Ryan’s in Alcoa and the morning group meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at the M.L. King Jr. Community Center, 209 E. Franklin St., Alcoa. For more information, visit or contact Denise Evans at 865-233-1035.

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