Frances Adams-OBrien' : Information Resources Manager, MTAS

Frances Adams-OBrien'

Information Resources Manager, MTAS

865.974.9842 | 1610 University Ave., Knoxville, TN 37921-6741

I am always looking to connect people with the information and assistance they need.

Whether it is people inside MTAS or Tennessee city staff or elected officials, I am here to assist through research, reference, and knowledge management.  


Master of Science in Information and Library Science, 1989, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and Psychology, 1986, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC

John Chlarson : Public Works Consultant, MTAS

John Chlarson

Public Works Consultant, MTAS

731.425.4785 | 605 Airways Blvd. Suite 109, Jackson, TN 38301

Jackson IPS Office Manager (former)

Secretary, Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association

Secretary (ad-hoc), Tennessee Stormwater Association

Former Fleet Chair, Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association

Former Education Co-Chair,Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association

Former Branch President, West Tennessee Branch, Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association

B.S., Civil Engineering, Tennessee Technological University

John Chlarson has over 30 years’ experience in a wide variety of engineering applications, having worked for government, industry, and private consulting. He established and ran a materials testing laboratory approved by the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy.  He has also been the engineer in responsible charge for engineering offices for firms in both Tennessee and Kentucky. Mr. Chlarson was also a City Engineer, responsible, among other things, for a comprehensive Storm Water Management Program.  He has had extensive experience in the design, review, and implementation of storm water control structures and measures.

John Chlarson was the lead in MTAS’s role as the prime contractor for the Tennessee Department of Environments and Conservation’s  EPA Construction Stormwater Initiative Grant to develop selection criteria and training programs for stormwater Qualified Local Programs. John assisted Robert Haley, (former) Assistant Manager of the Permit Section of the Division of Water Pollution Control, in developing Tennessee’s first Phase II Permit and NOI, and the Annual Report.  John also worked with Sidney J. Hemsley, J.D., in co-authoring a statewide Model Stormwater Ordinance and a statewide Model Stormwater Utility Ordinance for municipalities in the State of Tennessee.  John has also assisted in the presentation of several previous Phase II classes across the State of Tennessee.  He is actively involved in monitoring developments in the NPDES Phase II permit regulations, and is the lead contact on Phase II for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

Trent Clagg : Training Specialist, NCEL

Trent Clagg

Training Specialist, NCEL

865.974.6627 | 1610 University Ave., Knoxville, TN 37921

Trent Clagg serves as a Training Specialist of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL) at the University of Tennessee's Institute of Public Service.  Originally from Idaho, Trent Clagg has been involved in service and leadership for several years.  He is the product of three generations of leaders and speakers.  He is a graduate of Lee University earning a degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Telecommunications.  Later on he received his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. He married Mary Hamilton in 2000, and they moved to Lenoir City, TN.  In 2002, he accepted the position as the Manager of the Clayton Performing Arts Center at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN.  After serving almost ten years, Trent accepted a position at Lincoln Memorial University to work in the Assessment department and successfully aided the Carter and Moyers School of Education in attaining the honorable National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Accreditation (NCATE).  Trent has served in multiple leadership capacities in his career including a local non-profit where he has served as a motivational speaker since 2006.  He has been a featured speaker at several camps in the Pacific Northwest as well as many venues in East Tennessee.   He enjoys spending time with his family, discovering the outdoors, and horseback riding.  Trent and his wife Mary have three beautiful daughters, Abby, Annabeth, & Amelia. 

Kim Denton : TCED Director, CIS

Kim Denton

TCED Director, CIS

865.974.8464 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Kim Denton serves as the Tennessee Certified Economic Developer (TCED) Director for the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.  The TCED Program provides quality training, continuing education and professional development opportunities for economic and community development practitioners and community leaders.

Denton came to the university in 2014 as Associate Director in the UT Office of Corporate & Foundation Engagement, which connects industry and foundation partners to opportunities in research, innovation, technology and economic development.  Denton also served as Associate Director of Corporate Relations in the UT Haslam College of Business, where she built a corporate engagement program and managed corporate partnerships.

Prior to coming to UT, Denton spent 15 years as President/CEO of the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership leading the economic development efforts for greater Oak Ridge.  She previously served as Marketing Director for Tennessee’s Resource Valley (now ETEDA) and as Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications for PHP Companies (now Humana).

Denton is past chair of the Tennessee Economic Partnership, past president of the Tennessee Economic Development Council and currently sits on the CDFA Tennessee Advisory Committee and Blount Mansion Board of Directors.  

Denton earned her B.S. in Marketing Communications from the University of Florida and is a Certified Economic & Community Developer.  She is married to Dennis Denton, an account manager with WW Grainger, and enjoys sports, travel and antiques.

Liz Gossett : E-Media & Information Specialist, CTAS

Liz Gossett

E-Media & Information Specialist, CTAS

615.532.3555 | 226 Anne Dallas Dudley Boulevard, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219

Liz Gossett, E-Media and Information Specialist, joined CTAS in September 2012. Prior to joining CTAS, Liz was a research associate for the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Long Range Planning Division. She is originally from the Atlanta area and received a bachelor of science in 2007 in urban policy studies and a bachelor of arts in sociology in 2005, both from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Liz received her Master of Science in Information Science from The University of Tennessee in May 2015.

Keith Groves : Solutions Consultant, CIS

Keith Groves

Solutions Consultant, CIS

731.425.4779 | 605 Airways Blvd., Suite 109, Jackson, TN 38301

            Keith Groves, Resource Program Manager, joined The University of Tennessee, Institute for Public Service – Center for Industrial Services in March of 2005.  The Center focuses on strengthening manufacturing in Tennessee to secure jobs for the citizens of our state.

            Prior to joining the Center for Industrial Services, Keith worked in retail sales for 11 years and in manufacturing for 16 years.  During the 16 years in manufacturing, he became involved in Lean Manufacturing and has worked extensively in Lean Manufacturing since 1995.  In 2006, Keith worked in the development of a new program for the center called Business Transformation. This is a holistic approach to moving businesses into the future with the tools to increase their ability to compete in a global market and improve profitability.

            In 2011 Lean for Government was a program implemented in State Government to focus on improving processes and to train state employees on Lean Methodologies, Keith has been the core deliverer for this process.

Hannah Holder : Information Specialist, CIS

Hannah Holder

Information Specialist, CIS

865.974.1548 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Hannah supports the Institute for Public Service and its six agencies in the strategy, brainstorming, creation, production and implementation of graphic design and digital resources. She helps promote the mission and statewide impact of the Institute for Public Service through strategic electronic and print communication. Hannah graduated from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2014 with BFA in Graphic Design. 

Brett Howell : Communications Specialist, CTAS

Brett Howell

Communications Specialist, CTAS

615.532.3555 | 226 Anne Dallas Dudley Blvd, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219

Brett Howell, communications specialist, holds a master's degree in public administration from Tennessee State University and a bachelor's degree in English/journalism from Tennessee Technological University, where he also received a minor in history. Since joining CTAS he has been responsible for public policy and fiscal analysis, particularly as it relates to how the state budget and proposed legislation impacts county governments statewide. At CTAS, he is the managing editor of Tennessee County News. Prior to joining CTAS in August 1995, Brett was a newspaper editor with experience in university public affairs. 

Kristy Keel-Blackmon : Multimedia Creative Manager, IPS

Kristy Keel-Blackmon

Multimedia Creative Manager, IPS

8659741548 | 1610 University Ave., Knoxville, TN 37921

Kristy Keel-Blackmon joined IPS in January of 2022 as the multimedia creative manager. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's School of Visual Arts and Design, Kristy brings over a decade of experience in graphic design, photography and communications to the Institute. 


She is a published author with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and her photography has been featured across the UT System and with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Center for American Progress, the Department of Energy, and beyond. Her design work can also be found across the UT System and at a local and national scale.  


Kristy is passionate about creative problem solving in written, verbal, and visual communications and about serving her community. When not at work, she can often be found volunteering with her local nature center, animal shelter, or graphic design groups. 


Susan Robertson : Information Specialist III, IPS

Susan Robertson

Information Specialist III, IPS

865.974.8518 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Susan joined the Institute for Public Service in January 2008 after spending three years serving as a communications manager with Scripps Networks. A native of Roanoke, Va., she graduated from East Tennessee State University with a bachelor's degree in communication (journalism). She also worked as a reporter with The Mountain Press newspaper in Sevierville, account executive with two Knoxville public relations agencies and as public relations director/assistant general manager with a minor league hockey team. She received her master's degree from ETSU in 2015.


Janice Rodriguez : Executive Director, TLC

Janice Rodriguez

Executive Director, TLC

615-741-7579 | 220 French Landing Drive, Suite B, Nashville, TN 37243

Dr. Janice Snow Rodríguez is the Executive Director of the TN Language Center (formerly the TN Foreign Language Institute). She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and M.A. in Spanish Literature. Dr. Rodríguez has been employed by TLC (formerly TFLI) since 1999, and is credited with researching and recommending a certification program for court interpreters for the State of Tennessee, adopted by the TN Administrative Office of the Courts. She is the Title VI Coordinator for the Institute, works on the TN Supreme Court's Access to Justice Committee for Interpreter Issues, and is a board member for the Metro Nashville Police Department's El Protector Program, and recently completed a six-year commitment as a Commissioner and Chair for the Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission. 

Holding a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and certified as a Cross-Cultural Health Care Program Trainer, she has conducted numerous cultural awareness and diversity seminars for social services, medical and law enforcement agencies.  She also serves as adjunct faculty for Tennessee State University's (TSU) College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, teaching Human Resources, Organization Theory & Assessment, and Employment Law.  She serves on TSU's advisory committee for International Education. 

She is member of or professionally affiliated with a variety of organizations and associations including Sister Cities Nashville, the Japan-America Society of Tennessee, TN Latin American Chamber, Nashville Hispanic Chamber, Global Nashville Project, the Global Chamber of Nashville, Williamson County Chamber and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. 

Previous professional experience includes serving as an Information Specialist with the Voice of America's Radio Marti Program in Washington, DC; Information Services Director with an intellectual property law firm in Alexandria, VA; software support for a legal business software company in Brentwood, TN, and adjunct Spanish faculty for Lipscomb University. 

A native Nashvillian, she has two children, Javier and Claudia, and resides in North Nashville.  She enjoys traveling, gardening, pottery classes, singing, and listening to live music.  She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has studied Italian and Arabic.