Park Celebrates 2019 Employee of the Year

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pleased to announce that Steve Spanyer was chosen as the 2019 Employee of the Year. Recognition of the Employee of the Year has been a tradition in the Smokies since 1984. Although the format of this recognition has changed over time, the park is pleased to continue to acknowledge one employee each year who’s work goes above and beyond. Steve was nominated and selected for this award by his peers, based on his outstanding performance; his innovative improvement to job practices; and his mentoring attitude.  

“Steve has been a supportive and pioneering force in the Smokies,” stated Resource and Visitor Protection Division Chief Lisa Hendy. “Steve has often taken on challenging details to further the progress of the law enforcement and emergency services operation. His willingness to step up and help for the greater good is a mark of his stellar leadership. However, it is the grateful testimony of his subordinate Rangers that best describes his value to the division, the park, and the entire National Park Service as he has mentored dozens of the next generation of Rangers.”     

Serving as a Supervisory Park Ranger in the Visitor and Resource Protection Division, Steve has led the Cades Cove Rangers through high-profile incidents, including search and rescue operations and criminal investigations. For over a year, Steve has been filling the position of acting Law Enforcement Specialist. Steve has had a large role in the development and deployment of the park’s new computer aided dispatch (CAD), which helps track both people and the resources available to them in the park.

“Steve exemplifies what a Ranger should be; hardworking, dedicated not only to the mission, but to supporting his coworkers,” said Superintended Cassius Cash. “He leads by example and motivates his staff to maintain high standards of performance.”

Originally from Louisville, KY, Steve attended Xavier University where he received his B.S. in Natural Sciences in 1988 before joining the Peace Corps. Steve lives in Maryville, TN with his wife Jaquie, a teacher in Maryville City Schools. They have three children: Haven (age 25), Jake (age 22), and Siena (age 19). When Steve isn’t working, he enjoys woodworking, painting, and spending time with his family.

The Employee of the Year recognition event was celebrated with Steve and other park employees at the Twin Creeks Pavilion on Wednesday June 17, 2020. Superintendent Cash presented Steve with his award and Steve’s coworkers were able to share stories about his time and impacts in the Smokies.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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