Occupation: Assistant City Planner, incoming president of 2011-12 Keep Blount Beautiful
Family: Married to Regina with one son, McCray, 6 months old.
Jeremy Pearson is assistant planner for the City of Alcoa. He’s also the incoming president for Keep Blount Beautiful. But the title he loves the most is “Dad.”
Pearson and his wife, Regina, have a 6-month-old son named McCray. Jeremy said that becoming a father changed everything.
“People talk about how once you have children, it changes you. You think there are so many things you want to do before you have kids, and then it happens and nothing else matters,” he says. “It changes the way you look at things. Things that seemed so important are not so important any more.”
A Madisonville native, Pearson graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in landscape design and ornamental horticulture in August of 1999. He earned a Master’s Degree in Planning from UT in 2001.
“I’ve always loved design or anything visual. I’m a very visual person, and landscape architecture is my passion. I went on to further my education and moved into planning in order to get that comprehensive focus,” he says. “It is very multi-disciplinary. You work with engineers, landscape architects, developers and citizens.”
Pearson started his career in the Sunshine state. After interning at Disney World in the landscaping program, Pearson took a job as a planner in the Tampa area in the city of Temple Terrace. But life called him back to Tennessee. “So much of my life was in the Knoxville area and my girlfriend at the time - now my wife - was here, so I realized East Tennessee was where I wanted to be,” he says. “I got this job, and I’ve been here 10 years in November.”
Pearson says every day is different as a planner. “Planning is always evolving, and communities are always changing, and you’ve got to be on the front end of that change. There is always something new to bring to the job in ways we think about how we’re growing,” he says. “It can be challenging, but also rewarding.”
Pearson says Keep Blount Beautiful is a good fit for him in terms of his interests in planning and beautification and landscaping. “Litter prevention, waste reduction and community beautification are three things that fit well with what I do as a planner,” he says.
Here is Jeremy Pearson:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“Hasta la vista baby.” Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Terminator 2.”
What are you guilty of?
“Running ‘what if’ scenarios. Maybe that’s the planner in me. It is like, ‘What if I do this and that happens?’ I tend to get too ‘What if?’ on things.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My camera, a Cannon Rebel. I like photography and capturing moments in time. I particularly like taking pictures of unique buildings and landscapes.”
What are you reading currently?
“The last book I read was Jane Jacob’s 1961 publication of ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities.’”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“Walking into a glass door and chipping my front tooth. It was dark outside, and the light from the inside gave the illusion that the front door was open.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Visit the Grand Canyon and the Acropolis of Athens and learn to fly a plane.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Perfectionist. I tend to want things to look and be done a certain way.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“To stop running those ‘what if?’ scenarios in my mind.”
What is your passion?
“Anything design oriented where I can use my imagination. I love architecture and landscapes.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“I have two special ones, my grandmother “Meme” Jo Ann Wilson and great- grandmother “Dana” Flora Hicks. They were each influential in my life.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The early 1970s with its cool cars and music.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“I have two: A grandfather clock and a ring of my mother’s, both have sentimental value. My sister and I each got a clock as a Christmas present from our father. My mother gave me the ring, which was given to her by my father.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“To be persistent and keep a balanced competitive nature. ”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“God, my wife Regina and son McCray. Life is a journey, and I truly want to live it that way and learn to put more of my faith in God’s will for my life. My wife is one of the most caring and organized people I know, a best friend, and she keeps me balanced. As for my son McCray, he has changed my life for the better.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Cleaning a piece of timber excavating equipment on a job site, I was 17 and had oil on me from head to toe.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
‘“The Smurfs.’ They fueled my imagination and always captivated me as a child.”
What irritates you?
“When I call someone, and they don’t call me back.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Cades Cove. Riding the loop on a bike at sunrise is a great way to enjoy it.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Don’t rush time, or sweat the little stuff. Enjoy every moment of your youth.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Failing at something new.”
I still can’t quite get the hang of …
“Loading the dishwasher.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“Get on a plane to New York. To me, New York is like an urban playground, and I love Manhattan’s unexplainable vibe.”