Dan Hurst

expert professional quality assurance knoxvilleDan Hurst is the Founder and CEO of Strata-G, LLC; a team of more than 200 technical professionals providing stewardship of client resources in the federal, public utility, and commercial sectors. In 2018, Strata-G won the national US Chamber of Commerce Veteran Owned Business Award. They have also won 4 business-of-the-year awards from Department of Energy prime contractors, and the 2018 Pinnacle Impact Award from the Knoxville Chamber. Dan was recognized in 2011 by the Tennessee Veterans Business Association as the first recipient of the Bravo- Zulu Award, and by Business Week Magazine for his values-based leadership style. Dan received the 2015 ETEC Muddy Boot Award for contributions to the prosperity of East Tennessee. In 2017, Strata-G earned the TN Center for Performance Excellence Achievement Award and the National Safety Council Leadership Award.

Dan has M.S. and B.S. Degrees in Engineering from the University of Tennessee, and an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School. He has served on the UTK Alumni Council, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Board of Advisors, and the UTK Chancellor’s Associates. Dan received the 2007 Biosystems Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award.

Strata-G’s outreach program won the Innovation Valley Navigator Award for Community Service, the Dave Thomas Foundation Award for Adoption Friendly Workplaces, and the Employers Supporting Guard and Reserve Above and Beyond Award. Dan is a veteran officer of the U.S. Navy, where he received commendations as a Division Officer and Instructor in the Naval Nuclear Power Program.

Dan has chaired the Boards of the West Knox Utilities District and Knox Area Rescue Ministries, and has served on other boards including the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council.

Darrell Daugherty, PE
Senior Engineer

Darrell has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee.

Darrell has more than thirty years experience of safely and compliantly administering waste characterization, certification, generator services, and acceptance programs. Darrell began his career at the Y-12 National Security Complex and he has supported the development and implementation of the waste management program at ORNL for the last 20 years.

In keeping with Strata-G’s commitment to Community Outreach, Darrell is heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity as well as other Strata-G interests through Knox Area Rescue Ministries, the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair, and the Adopt-a-Highway program. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Aid to Distressed Families in Appalachian Counties.

John Patterson

John leads Strata-G business development and technical work across the DOE Complex including support to DOE Headquarters in Washington DC. John has a BS degree from the University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University where he graduated with Commendations.

With more than thirty years of experience in the nuclear, petroleum, and environmental fields, John’s expertise is in providing strategic regulatory, clean up, and waste management consulting. His career started with Chicago Bridge & Iron working refinery turnarounds before becoming a DOE Federal employee in the new DOE Environmental Management Program. John provided programmatic and technical support to the Fernald, Weldon Spring, and FUSRAP Programs. John developed CERCLA and NEPA decision documents at Jacobs Engineering Group then became the Waste Management Strategy and Integration lead with Bechtel Jacobs Company. He has served as the Waste Acceptance Criteria Manager for the Oak Ridge CERCLA disposal facility, and supported projects in Oak Ridge, Paducah, Portsmouth, Hanford, and various commercial and academic institution sites.

Elliott Barnett
Chief Executive Officer

Elliott is a graduate of the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at the University of Tennessee. He has worked as a Project Manager in high value environmental and energy projects for the past 25 years. His experience includes working as an Environmental and Process Engineer at the Y-12 National Security Plant in Oak Ridge, TN, where he performed Clean Water Act permitting, wastewater treatment, and solid waste management. Elliott also served in key roles performing the defense missions at Y-12 to maintain our nations’ nuclear stockpile safely.

Recent projects include management of the University of Tennessee’s 5 Megawatt Solar Farm, serving as owners’ representative of gas utilities with the design and construction of compressed natural gas fueling stations, and the management of the Strata-G Infrastructure Division overseeing teams performing construction oversight and project management of complex energy grade projects.

Management Team

Leah Berry
Division Manager, Business and Information Services

Leah is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a former Senior Manager for the Domestic Ground Operations Division of FedEx Express.

With more than twenty years of transportation and logistics experience, Leah has provided technical consulting to the Department of Energy and commercial clients in the area of logistics. She also provides clients with GSA and STARS contract consulting and manages Strata-G’s administrative and human resources group.

In addition to participation in Strata-G’s community outreach programs, Leah is a member of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2020, a Past President and Foundation Chair of the Farragut Rotary Club, a graduate of the Rotary District Leadership Academy, a former UT Chancellor’s Associate, a supporter and guardian for World War II veterans on Knoxville’s Honor Air Flights to Washington, D.C., a member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair, a member of the Board of Directors for Bridge Refugee Services, and a Mentor and Editor for the Hand Up For Women program.

Kevin Mitchell, P.G.
Division Manager, Compliance Services

Kevin received a Master’s Degree in Geochemistry from the Colorado School of Mines and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Millsaps College.

Kevin is a registered Professional Geologist with over twenty years of diverse technical and management experience in public and private sector industries providing expertise in environmental compliance, hazardous and radiological waste management, characterization, profiling, certification, remedial actions, quality control, and geological services. Kevin has also supported alternative energy and energy efficiency projects including carbon footprint assessments.

Kevin joined Strata-G in 2003 and now lives in Oxford, MS, where he manages the Strata-G Oxford office. Kevin has served as the President of the Rotary Club of Oxford-Ole Miss, advisory committee member for the Upper Tallahatchie River Watershed Education Initiative, and he currently serves as the Secretary of the Mississippi Biomass and Renewable Energy Council.

Jenny Freeman
Communications Manager

Jenny leads the Strata-G communications team to develop and maintain communication tools, including social media sites, an internal employee newsletter, and an active blog site. The network is designed to connect our employees to each other and to pull external traffic towards our brand. Jenny believes that a strong communications strategy helps our employees take pride in their company, helps retain staff, and creates an awareness and understanding of how special Strata-G is to potential partners and customers.

Jenny also networks and builds community bridges for Strata-G. She co-founded the Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership in 2004, Safety Fest TN in 2012, and the Oak Ridge Partnership in 2012. She is active in numerous community organizations, including the Energy, Technology, and Environmental Business Association (ETEBA), of which she was the first Executive Director for 6 years; United Way of Anderson County; East Tennessee Quality Growth; Knoxville Opera; Foothills Lands Conservancy; and the East Tennessee Economic Council.

Susan Blackburn
Safety and Health Manager

Susan serves as the Strata-G Corporate Safety and Health (S&H) Manager, responsible for ensuring the proper implementation of safety practices for more than 200 employees and dozens of ongoing environmental and engineering projects.

Susan has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Her 30 years of safety and health experience includes working as the S&H Operations Manager for one of the Department of Energy’s largest decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) projects located on the Oak Ridge Reservation.  She has developed and implemented DOE/OSHA compliant safety and health programs for multiple DOE and general industry clients.

Susan received a National Safety Council Safety Service Award for her work as the Voluntary Protection Program Coordinator for a VPP Star site. She previously served on the Executive Board for the Tennessee Valley Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and has participated in various activities that help students learn about safety and health as they enter the workforce.

Grace Kihm
Outreach Coordinator

Grace has been educated across the globe, from Stanford University in sunny California to Seoul National University in South Korea. After several years away from home, she graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  

One of the many reasons Grace is thrilled to be a part of Strata-G is its sincere and unique culture of giving back. Strata-G’s Outreach Program focuses on providing food, shelter, and education for the less fortunate in our community, as well as supporting environmental stewardship throughout East Tennessee. As Strata-G’s Outreach Coordinator, Grace encourages all employees to get involved and support those in need through the variety of area partnerships Strata-G has created and fosters for this purpose.

Finally, Grace is also an avid violinist who enjoys sharing her musical gifts wherever she goes, including several Strata-G functions as well as church services and weddings across the state.


Board of Advisors

Harold Conner, Ph.D.

Dr. Conner has five decades of experience with the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration and is a career veteran of multiple nuclear projects. His career has taken him to DOE sites across the country – including the Paducah and Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plants, Y-12 National Security Complex, Idaho National Laboratory, Savannah River Site, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has received the prestigious University of Tennessee Knoxville Alumni Professional Achievement Award and the Secretary of Energy Award of Achievement. In 2017, Conner was named a Fellow by the American Society for Engineering Management and in 2018 was named a Fellow in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Conner serves on the University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering Board of Advisors and the Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation Board.

A registered professional engineer in Tennessee and South Carolina, Conner received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Joan Cronan

Joan Cronan is the University of Tennessee’s Women’s Athletic Director Emeritus, having served the university for 35 years in a variety of roles focused on strengthening UT and its student athletics. Ms. Cronan is the recipient of numerous national and local awards, and she has been inducted to five Halls of Fame, including the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Hall of Champions. A gifted leader, Ms Cronan is deeply accomplished in development activities. She expanded the UT Women’s Athletics Program from 7 to 11 sports, while leading an academic initiative which has resulted in a 98% graduation rate; and she instituted an endowment scholarship program at UT which today represents approximately $5 million.

Ms. Cronan has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Pat Summit Foundation Board, East Tennessee Foundation Board, the Leadership Advisory Board for UT Law School, and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She earned an M.S. in Administration and Supervision and a B.S. in Physical Education and Mathematics from Louisiana State University.

John LaBine

Mr. LaBine earned a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the Ohio State University, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

John has over 30 years of experience serving industries as diverse as construction, software development, building products, and agribusiness as a CFO and operations leader, and raised over $25 million in venture capital.

In 2000, LaBine joined the founding team at PerfectServe, a Knoxville-based, venture-backed technology start-up. As COO/CFO, he helped PerfectServe create a market for intelligent, unified healthcare communication services, develop software-as-a-service solutions, and built an organization to deliver those solutions to hospitals and physician practices throughout the US.

Prior to PerfectServe, John managed production and distribution planning, led enterprise software implementations, and managed quality and performance improvement initiatives for companies including Deloitte LLP and Formica Corporation.

Today John focuses on nurturing entrepreneurs and teams considering startups/acquisitions, and committed to early-stage businesses, both as a founder/owner, and as a mentor and consultant.

Willis W. Bixby, Jr., Ph.D.

project management knoxville tn
Dr. Bixby has more than 40 years of experience in the private and public sectors.

Dr. Bixby retired from the federal government in 1996 having spent 20 years with the Department of Energy and 4 years with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dr. Bixby served in DOE Headquarters as a Deputy Assistant Secretary under the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management. Prior to his Headquarters assignment, he served as a Deputy Manager of the Department’s Richland Operations Office. He also served as the Federal Project Manager for the cleanup of the only commercial US reprocessing plant in West Valley, New York including the design, development, and testing of systems resulting in the SP of 600,000 gallons of high level waste. Prior to that assignment, he established and managed DOE’s Office at Three Mile Island Unit 2 immediately following the March 1979 accident and was responsible for the implementation of the DOE’s activities in support of the cleanup.

Dr. Bixby has a Ph.D in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Reinhold Mann, Ph.D.

Dr. Mann recently served as Associate Laboratory Director for Environmental, Biological and Computational Sciences at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), where he was responsible for R&D programs in biology, biotechnology, climate science, and computational science. Before joining BNL, Dr. Mann was the Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Battelle Science and Technology Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after leading the Biological and Environmental Sciences Directorate and Program at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Dr. Mann’s research has been at the intersection of the physical and computational sciences with the life and environmental sciences, leading several R&D efforts in intelligent robotics, human-machine interactions, advanced information processing, computational biology, bioinformatics, systems biology and bioenergy. Dr. Mann served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the DOE Bioenergy Science Center in 2007 and 2008, and was a Senior Consultant to the Director of the ORNL from November 2008 through June 2010. Dr. Mann was a member of the Board of Directors for the NASA National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

Dr. Mann has a doctorate from the Physics Department at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.


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