The College of Communication and Information’s 2020 school/program alumni of the year were honored during the fall CCI Board of Visitor’s meeting on Nov. 6.
This year’s award winners include: Advertising Alumnus of the Year Brad Jacobus (BS/AD ’06), Communication Studies Alumnus of the Year Curt Maggitt (BA/CS ’14), Information Sciences Alumnus of the Year David Johnson (MSIS ’93), Journalism and Electronic Media Alumna of the Year Teresa Walker (BS/JEM ’87), and Public Relations Alumnus of the Year Jamie Lonie (BS/PR ’10).
They accepted awards alongside Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Lelan Statom.
CCI has been honoring alumni in each academic department since 2013.
Advertising Alumnus of the Year
Brad Jacobus (BS/AD ’06)
Chief Marketing Officer & Founder, JRW Partners
Brad Jacobus is an experienced marketing executive who has a passion for positioning brands and teams to be successful within complex business environments. He’s a strategic brand builder, creative minded, ROI-driven marketing executive that can develop both the strategic and tactical framework that drives proven sales and traffic success within multiple industries. He has a deep understanding of organizational development to create “best in class” teams while developing processes to be the most efficient under high-pressure situations.
His most recent experience spans from national to regional brands, mainly in the restaurant/hospitality sector. However, his skillset is highly transferrable to other business sectors that seek brand clarity and want to drive short and long-term sales.
He currently owns his own business, along with two executive partners, which focuses on helping businesses develop their overall business strategy even to fractional department support needs. Most recently, he led the rebranding efforts as Chief Marketing Officer for Logan’s Roadhouse, reenergizing the brand to positive consecutive quarterly sales for the first time in multiple years. This turnaround centered on reinventing the brand strategy, product quality, sales initiatives, and culture alignment.
Prior to Logan’s Roadhouse, he held multiple brand positions at Cotton Patch Café, O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar, Ruby Tuesday, and media advertising sales.
Communication Studies Alumnus of the Year
Curt Maggitt (BA/CS ’14)
Manager, TooMagitt LLC/HCB MBA Student
Former football linebacker Curt Maggitt is pursuing his MBA from the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, focusing his studies on entrepreneurship and supply chain management. He currently serves as a procurement analyst intern with Honeywell and will join their Supply Chain Leadership Program, ISC PACE, after graduation.
In 2019, he held a charity fundraiser called “A Night to Remember,” which raised more than $10,000 for children in east Knoxville. Since returning to UT, has served as a consultant with the athletic department’s programs for professional development. He gained experience in leadership development while working as an instructor with The Program LLC.
He owns his own photography studio, TooMaggitt LLC, which specializes in weddings, portraits, and events. He also holds a Florida real estate license and a freediving certification.
Maggitt was an All-Southeast Conference linebacker for the Vols from 2011-15. He was signed as a free agent and played nine games in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts in 2016. He also played the 2018 season in the Canadian football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Information Sciences Alumnus of the Year
David Johnson (MSIS ’93)
Executive Director of the Fayetteville (Ark.) Public Library
David Johnson has served as the executive director of the Fayetteville Public Library in Arkansas since 2012 and is currently guiding a massive renovation of the facility. The Fayetteville Public Library, which won the Library Journal and Thompson/Gale Publishers’ 2005 Library of the Year Award, has long been the growing city’s hotspot for learning, special events, and community gatherings.
Johnson’s proposal for the 80,000-square foot library expansion includes: A teaching kitchen that will allow high school students to earn an associate’s degree through a partnership with a local culinary institution, a 700-seat auditorium for concerts and author talks that can convert into a 500-seat banquet hall; a virtual reality lab; a full-size audio recording studio; a video studio; a robotics lab that will feature a program for workforce development through a partnership with a local computer training center; a simulation lab that will allow people to simulate flying airplanes, learning how to drive a fork lift, and using it as a way for people to earn trucking licenses; and doubling the size of the youth services department.
Prior to working at the library, Johnson spent 15 years at Tyson Foods as a project leader. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from the University of Arkansas.
Journalism and Electronic Media Alumna of the Year
Teresa Walker (BS/JEM ’87)
Tennessee Sports Editor, Associated Press
Teresa Walker is a three-time Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year and was elected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame in the 2020 class. Upon graduation from the University of Tennessee in June 1987, she went to work as a news reporter for The Daily Times in Maryville. She joined the Associated Press in Nashville in December 1989, and became Tennessee sports editor for AP in June 1992.
Walker has covered five Olympics, four Super Bowls, a handful of Southeastern Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, several NCAA Tournaments and regional finals and the 2014 Women’s Final Four in Nashville. She won an APSE award for a feature from the Masters in 2015. She also covers the NHL’s Nashville Predators, including the 2017 Stanley Cup Final; Vanderbilt football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball; the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Tigers.
She became beat writer for the now Tennessee Titans in Nashville in July 1997 and is one of the AP’s Pro Football Writers helping cover the NFL. She is a two-time president of the Pro Football Writers Association’s Nashville chapter and a past president of the TSWA.
Public Relations Alumnus of the Year
Jamie Lonie (BS/PR ’10)
Founder, Amplifi Digital
Coupling public relations and digital marketing expertise with classroom experiences, Jamie Lonie has worked for nearly a decade to address the global learning crisis and amplify the education experiences of students around the world.
Lonie began his career as an elementary school science teacher as a Teach For America corps member. As a result of his classroom experience and subsequent Master’s of Education degree, he founded his company Amplifi Digital to support digital communications at education nonprofits. Lonie develops online marketing campaigns for mission-driven organizations that aim to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality and inclusive education for all. In this capacity, he has served global organizations like the Education Commission and the Global Business Coalition for Education, managing digital content across these organizations’ websites, blogs, email campaigns, and social media channels. Previously, Lonie helped develop Teach For America’s national social media strategy as Director of Social Media Community and supported local communications for the organization’s Houston region as Director of Communications and Marketing.
Lonie is a proud graduate of CCI who continues to support UT students through his service as a member of CCI’s Board of Visitors and as the President of the UTK New York City Alumni Chapter. Under his leadership, the NYC chapter has raised thousands of dollars in scholarships for freshmen coming to UTK from the Tri-State area and has been named Outstanding Chapter for three consecutive years. At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, Lonie established a first-of-its-kind virtual internship, focused on nonprofit social media and digital communication. The inaugural VOLs Remote Internship Program paired five national and global nonprofits with rising CCI seniors and recent graduates for a remote summer job and scholarship funded through alumni donations.