NASHVILLE — Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. has announced the appointment of Chris Eaton as Assistant Commissioner for Administration and Grants.
As the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) chief financial officer, Eaton will be responsible for budgeting, forecasting, and analyzing, preparing, and reconciling financial statements. He’ll have an active role during legislative sessions and budget hearings where he will be responsible for evaluating effects of newly proposed legislation and TDA responses to budget questions. Eaton will also serve as the liaison to the Comptroller’s office.
“Chris brings a combination of extensive financial and accounting knowledge as well as public service skills,” Commissioner Hatcher said. “I’m thankful TDA attracts talent like his and the fiscal leadership before him. I’m confident Chris will easily assess our financial strengths and challenges and be able to advise us on strategy moving forward.”
Eaton replaces a respected member of TDA’s senior staff, Shannon Klonowski. Klonowski joined the department in 2007 and worked as auditor and accountant in the Regulatory Services Division for five years before being named Internal Auditor. She later became the Fiscal and Administrative Services Coordinator and was then promoted to the Assistant Commissioner role. Her expertise in budget preparation and tracking along with her audit experience are reasons TDA is one of the most fiscally responsible government agencies in Tennessee.
Eaton comes to TDA from the Tennessee Public Utility Commission where he served as Chief Financial Officer for eight years. He implemented the agency budget, monitored federal grants, managed contracts, and was responsible for all financial reports. He previously served on the Fiscal Review Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly and before that, Eaton was a research analyst for the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Research Division.
“TDA’s staff are making my transition effortless,” Eaton said. “I am ready to get started working with the budget and financial planning for the department and learning more about how it connects to the vast work we do in agriculture and forestry.”
Eaton graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance. He earned an associate of science degree in Natural Resource Management and Policy from Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn.
Eaton and his wife, Meredith, live in Hermitage, Tenn. with five family pets. They have a son, Sam, in middle school and a son, Caleb, attending the University of Tennessee. Eaton is a sports enthusiast, enjoys foraging for mushrooms, ginseng, and native medicinal plants, and tending to his garden.