By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
A little over four years ago, I was entrusted with leading the creation of future content for the UCBJ. Before I got my first byline, I was an enthusiastic reader who had thoroughly enjoyed the UCBJ since its launch. Taking the role as editor was a big task, but I was up to the challenge.
Over these past four years, I have had a front row seat at meetings on exciting new businesses and resorts that are coming to the region, as well as watching our government at work. And I can absolutely state that it was an amazing period of my life. I have spent countless days – and nights – researching stories and current events. But through it all, I have expanded my horizons and hopefully yours as well.
I joke that I served a council term at the UCBJ because I started there just before the August 2018 election, and I am leaving just after the 2022 election. My tenure at the Biz Journal has seen this community go through many changes. New councils, new county commissions, new corporate headquarters, the list goes on.
The two biggest events that impacted me and the publication were the 2020 Cookeville/Putnam County tornado and the COVID pandemic, which seemed to hit the region in a one-two punch.
The tornado was tragic with the loss of 19 lives and the destruction of miles of homes and businesses, but watching this community come together in the aftermath was incredible. Just the thought of it still brings tears to my eyes.
COVID was another story altogether. While the country shut down, the business of keeping people updated on the pandemic went into overdrive. The news was coming fast and furious resulting in the increase from one weekly eBlast bringing news to your inbox to twice weekly newsletters. This was a change that stuck, and the eBlast just keeps getting bigger and better.
Sadly, after four years, this is my last eBlast as the UCBJ’s managing editor. Leaving is bittersweet, but I have already begun a position with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as the editor, and I will forever treasure the time that I have spent at the helm of this great publication.
Although I have changed jobs, I will still live in Cookeville. You will still see me at city council meetings and at Chamber events. I love my region and will continue to do everything in my power to support it and its businesses. Just hit me up, and we can do lunch. Everything is off the record now.
I have many people that I need to thank. I want to thank all the readers for your kind words and encouragement. You will never know how much the many casual comments and emails meant to this novice journalist. Mike McCloud, thank you! Thank you for trusting me with your vision for the UCBJ and for all the guidance and support you provided. It will never be forgotten. Jay Albrecht, you taught me the paper business, and I will be forever grateful. Your patience and leadership were truly a godsend.
To the readers, please support the new editor, Ron Moses. Send in your business news to firstname.lastname@example.org or just drop him a line of support.
Thank you to all who have read my stories and to all the business owners who have given me the privilege of taking a glance into your businesses and your lives. Thank you for entrusting me to tell your stories. There are many more to come.