Occupation: Self-employed organizational trainer and consultant
Family: Married to Denia Lash, director of Business Health at Blount Memorial Hospital. The family includes a daughter, Jennifer Anders, 34, and her husband, Brad, and 2-year-old daughter, Addie; son Adam Henry, 27, of Knoxville; and son Aaron Henry, 24, a graduate student at LSU in engineering.
South Knoxville native Bob Lash moved to Blount County 20 years ago to be closer to work. One thing that kept him and his family here is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“First and foremost for me, the National Park is just a very unique and special place, unparalleled anywhere else in world,” says Lash. “We’re fortunate to have it in our back yard to enjoy. I do some volunteer work for the Park Service and have been involved with Experience Your Smokies since its beginning.”
When he’s not hiking in the Smokies, Bob is busy with a variety of community activities. He is active with the Rotary Club of Maryville and has been an active member of the Experience Your Smokies board since it was formed. He is a 2005 Leadership Blount graduate and a 2010 East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association graduate. Bob also served on the board of the Adult Education Foundation in Blount County and was board president.
Bob runs his own company, Strategic Resources. He designs and presents training programs for employees and managers and different types of organizations. “I specialize in leadership development, team building, communications skills and personality types,” he says.
Bob and his wife, Denia, met in the mid-1980s when they both worked at Blount Memorial Hospital. “I got a job offer at another medical center and left. We crossed paths a year or so later, and I asked her out to dinner. As they say, the rest is history.”
While both Bob and Denia are busy with work and volunteering in the community, family is a big part of their lives. Now that they have a granddaughter, Addie, they have been known to organize their schedule around her. “We pick her up from school on Wednesdays and keep her that night, and she is here all day on Thursdays,” says Lash. Here is Bob Lash:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“You know what your problem is, Hawkeye? You think you can change the world and you can’t. You can only make a ripple in your little corner.” It is from the psychiatrist, Dr. Sidney Freedman, to Hawkeye Pierce in the TV show “MASH.”
What are you guilty of?
“Being too cynical, skeptical and sarcastic at times. It is often meant as wry humor, but unfortunately not always taken that way.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“We have a small cabin in Townsend. When we are able to spend time there, life is simpler, slower and easier even though it’s only 15 minutes away. It’s an entirely different way of life. It also mystically brings us closer to nature, our family and friends, and sense of priorities.”
What are you reading currently?
‘“Fade Away,’ by Harlan Coben and the assignments for my next Southern Appalachian Naturalist certification class at Tremont.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“I was doing a presentation before 200 people and had a lapel microphone with a long cord attached to speakers on the stage. There were also a couple of flip charts and other displays on stage. As I talked, I walked. By the end of the presentation I had wrapped the cord around all the items behind me, and, as I took my final step forward for what I thought would be a dramatic conclusion, the items began toppling like Dominos. It was certainly dramatic, and I received a standing ovation, not for the presentation, but the special effects.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Hike all the trails in the Smokies, visit every National Park in the U.S., and travel the Caribbean.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“It depends on who you ask. My siblings would say ‘Boring.’ They think I think too much. My children would say ‘Different.’ They wish I’d act more my age. My in-laws and other relatives would say ‘Reserved.’ They can’t easily get me to talk. My students and clients would say ‘Provocative.’ They are challenged to discuss the tough issues. My peers and colleagues would say ‘Analytical.’ Nothing is safe from scrutiny and dissection. My friends would say ‘Philosophical.’ I see multiple shades of grey and all kinds theories in any situation. My enemies would say ‘?@!#,’ and I don’t know why they’d say that.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would like to have some kind of innate artistic talent - sing, dance, musical instrument, painting, writing, sculpting, wood carving, tattooing or ventriloquism - anything.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Probably my maternal grandfather, Jack Pleune. The story goes that he once worked as a driver for Al Capone. I’d like to discuss that.”
What is your passion?
“It’s more like a personal mission statement: To never stop learning and growing in all dimensions of my life and to challenge, encourage and support the same in others.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“Around the 1840s in the days of the mountain men. I admire their independence, self-reliance and sense of adventure.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“Actually it was a present to both Denia and me -- a flat-screen plasma television from our son as a way of showing his appreciation for ‘feeding and housing’ him after graduation from college until he found a job.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My daughter when she was a child and my granddaughter today. They helped me see and experience things from an innocent and fresh perspective. Also my wife, Denia, my totally opposite personality type, who shows me that different is not a matter of right or wrong, just different, and in some cases, better.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Trying to take down wallpaper with Denia. This is one case where different was not better.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“I preferred Mr. Wizard, Mr. Toymaker, Commander Cody and the Westerns like ‘Lash Larue.’”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“The section of the Appalachian Trail between Spence Field and Thunderhead.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Not completing my ‘Bucket List,’ and becoming unable to care for myself physically or mentally.”
I still can’t quite get the hang of…
“Ironing, folding a fitted sheet, vacuuming, cleaning a bathtub, dusting or anything domestically challenging.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“Spend time investigating paranormal activity with The Ghost Hunters.”