Melissa Ashburn : Legal Consultant, MTAS

Melissa Ashburn

Legal Consultant, MTAS

865.974.0411 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921



Macel Ely : Director of Organizational Improvement, IPS

Macel Ely

Director of Organizational Improvement, IPS

865.974.9830 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Dr. Macel Ely serves as the Director of Organizational Improvement for the Institute for Public Service. Most recently he served as Executive Director of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL) at the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service.  The purpose of the NCEL is to provide training and professional growth to leaders at all levels, from the emerging supervisor to the experienced senior executive.  Prior to coming to serve in this role, Dr. Macel Ely, served as training manager for the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS).  During that time, Dr. Ely oversaw multiple training programs including the Municipal Court Clerk Program, Elected Officials Academy, Municipal Management Academy, Municipal Administration Program and the Certified Municipal Finance Officer programs. 

Dr. Ely has earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lee University and Kentucky Wesleyan College and a master’s degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification through the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and also has professional certificates in the areas of coaching, leadership program development and training management.  Recently awarded the 2015 Robert S. Hutchison Outstanding Public Service Professional Award, Dr. Ely has also authored a book entitled Ain’t No Grave which has been featured in such media outlets as CNN Headline News, National Public Radio, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. This literary work was nominated for best historical research by the Association of Recorded Sound Collections. Dr. Macel Ely also serves on charitable boards across the country.  He and his wife, Jamie, reside in Walland with their son, Silas and daughter, Elizabeth. 



Elisha Hodge : IPS Consultant III, Legal, MTAS

Elisha Hodge

IPS Consultant III, Legal, MTAS

615.532.6827 | 226 Ann Dallas Dudley, Suite 606, Nashville, TN 37219
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. 

Erin Ketelle : Program Manager, CIS

Erin Ketelle

Program Manager, CIS

615.532.4926 | 193 Polk Ave., Suite C, Nashville, TN 37210

Erin Ketelle is the Program Manager for the DRIVE Initiative.

Erin has her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Public Administration and Urban Planning from the University of Tennessee.

Erin began her career with IPS during graduate school while working an internship at the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). Immediately following graduation, she accepted a job in Nashville as the Legislative Assistant with the County Officials Association of Tennessee and soon thereafter became the Research Coordinator for the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS). After several years of conducting research projects for county governments, she was promoted to Assistant to the Executive Director of the Center for Industrial Services. Before joining IPS, she worked as a legal clerk at Sheppeard, Swanson, & Mynatt, PLC.

Erin is a native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but she now proudly calls Nashville home. 

Kelley Myers : Municipal Codes Coordinator, MTAS

Kelley Myers

Municipal Codes Coordinator, MTAS

865.974.0425 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Kelley joined MTAS (Knoxville) on November 4, 2013, as the Codes Coordinator.  Prior to this, she worked as a paralegal in a private litigation law firm, focusing primarily in the areas of insurance defense and plaintiff personal injury/medical malpractice.  She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UTK in 1990.  To compliment this, she obtained her paralegal certification in 2005, as well as her advanced certification in 2006.  She is very active in, and past president of, the Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association, and co-instructs the certified paralegal exam prep course through SMPA.

Stephanie Allen OHara : Legal Consultant, MTAS

Stephanie Allen OHara

Legal Consultant, MTAS

865.974.0411 | 1610 University Ave., Knoxville, TN 37921-6741

Stephanie Allen OHara joined MTAS staff in the Knoxville office as a legal consultant on January 1, 2010. Stephanie graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a bachelor’s in business administration. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she interned with the U.S. Congress and Philip Morris USA. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence and Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While in law school, Stephanie interned with Oak Ridge National Labs; Former Judge James Beckner, Third Judicial District Criminal Court; Chancellor Telford Forgety, Jr., Fourth Judicial District; Judge Benjamin Strand, Jefferson County General Sessions; as well as several law firms. Prior to joining MTAS as a legal consultant, Stephanie served as a judicial clerk to Justice Sharon Lee on the Tennessee Supreme Court and Tennessee Court of Appeals. 

Rick Whitehead : Assistant Director, MTAS

Rick Whitehead

Assistant Director, MTAS

865.974.9853 | 1610 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Rick Whitehead is the assistant director for MTAS and works in the Knoxville office.  Before being appointed to the assistant director position in November 2012, Rick served as a municipal management consultant for MTAS.  As a field consultant, he worked an assigned territory in southwest Tennessee that included all of the cities located in Chester, Hardeman, Haywood, Fayette, Humphreys, Perry, Shelby, and Wayne Counties.   Rick has been with MTAS since February of 2004.

Prior to joining MTAS, Rick served as a city manager in Tennessee and as a city attorney and city manager in Alabama. In addition to his experience in municipal government, Rick has professional degrees in public administration and law from Auburn University and the University of Alabama. He is a member in good standing of the Alabama State Bar and is currently licensed to practice law in Tennessee.