Meet Featured Member Ann Hansen (by Jenny Hines)

Meet Featured Member Ann Hansen (by Jenny Hines) - Ann Hansen at the Great Wall of China.
Ann Hansen at the Great Wall of China.

I had prepared several questions, but I really didn’t have to ask them.  Our conversation flowed freely as we started with that first question---“How did you end up becoming a nuclear engineer?”

Hearing about Ann’s early years growing up in Kingsport, where neither of her parents worked for Eastman, it was easy to see how and why she pursued her career path.  Both of her parents worked for the United States Post Office.  Her mother was the first ever woman supervisor, and her father was Chief Accountant.   But it was from her father’s second job that Ann found her passion for all things science and her entrepreneurial bent.

Ann’s grandmother ran a bait shop and, as a child, Ann’s first job was counting worms.  And as part of this operation, her father expanded the bait business to selling boats and motors.  As she trolled on the lake and fished with her dad, they would come across the occasional fisherman with a boat motor that had quit running.  Her dad would assist the stranded sportsman and tell him to come to the shop when he needed a new boat or needed the motor fixed again.  This form of retail marketing worked very well for Ann’s dad and the business thrived.

Ann’s childhood was in every sense of the word nontraditional.  Instead of dolls, she chose chemistry sets, doctor kits and guns for toys.  On vacations, unlike other children who identified the various states represented by the license plates they saw, Ann’s game was to add the numbers on the license plates.

After a few years, Ann’s father became the largest Mercury motor dealer for boats in the Atlanta region.  It was from her father that Ann learned the true meaning of entrepreneurship and the value of delivering outstanding service.

Ann attended undergraduate school at Florida Southern College where she met the love of her life, Grant Hansen, the son of an Ohio Methodist minister.  It was there that she received a B. S. in Math and Physics. (Because of my lunch with Ann, I’ve placed FSC on my top list of places to visit because it is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the world.)  From there she was recruited to pursue a PhD in physics at VPI & SU.  However, because of a lack of jobs in nuclear physics, she chose to get a Master’s degree and switch careers to nuclear engineering. 

Her career began with the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington working on fast breeder reactors where she was the first female intern.  As part of the AEC intern program, the AEC sent her to Carnegie-Mellon University for a second Masters in nuclear engineering.  By then, the AEC had decided to open a project office for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, and Ann transferred to Oak Ridge.   

Ann ran a very successful engineering consulting business for many years and is now the Licensing Manager for Asia Products with Energy-Solutions.   

All of this work has not kept Ann from having a little fun along the way.  She and Grant have enjoyed international travel to some fascinating destinations including Bhutan, Machu Picchu, Russia, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands and they also enjoy rail travel throughout the United States and Canada.  They are holding off on traditional European vacations for when they are older and less energetic.  Ann is also an avid gardener, reader and rower.  In fact, she is a U. S. Rowing Official.  And she’s not just a gardener---her specialty is orchids.

I asked Ann if she had any plans for retirement and she looked at me as if I had three heads.  “Why would I give up doing something I love?”  Currently, she is a licensing manager for getting low level waste containers certified in China as well as approval of water treatment equipment supplied to Chinese nuclear power plants which requires frequent travel to China.

Giving back to the community is something that was encouraged by both of her parents.  Her father taught her that those who are blessed with abilities and success should always give back, and she’s made it a point to do that by serving on the boards of her old alma mater, Florida Southern College, Chair of East Tennessee Foundation, facilitator for Leadership Knoxville, and Metropolitan YMCA Past Chair among others.         

As we were winding down our lunch and looking at our watches, thinking about the backlog of work on our desks, I asked, “What advice would you offer young women today entering your career?”  Her response: “Be articulate in written and spoken word.  Be fearless.  And work harder than anybody else.” 

Ann, who was president of EWA in 1985 and 1986 after becoming a member in 1981, says it was easy to succeed in her field.  She says there are very few women in nuclear engineering so men tend to be hypercritical of other men, but listen to and treat her with respect.  I suspect that’s because they sense her power.  I certainly did.

Mintha Roach, Junior Achievement of East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame 2015

Meet Featured Member Fay Bailey (by Beth Hamil)

Meet Featured Member Fay Bailey (by Beth Hamil) - Fay Bailey
Fay Bailey

Fay Bailey describes herself as “a little dull,” but she is anything but!  As a child she was inquisitive and bright enough to skip the third grade.  She admits, though, she was also a little bit of a trouble maker. 

Industrious at the early age of 14, Fay decided she wanted to get a real job at the Cain-Sloan department store.  Fay dressed up in ladies stockings to convince the hiring manager that she was 16, the minimum age required to work. This determined young lady landed a job in the gift wrap department and soon worked her way up to cashier.

Fay married Hop Bailey, Jr. and moved to Knoxville where she has lived for the past 45 years. She joined the family business, Hop Bailey Co., Knoxville’s oldest real estate firm that was founded in 1922 by her father-in-law. The business continues to prosper and now has third generation family members among its ranks.  

Fay has thrived in the real estate business and says she loves helping each client find the perfect home. She is known for giving her clients Cricket Boxes which bring good luck to a home.

In addition to a busy career, Fay has always taken leadership roles in both professional and civic organizations.  Fay is a Certified Real Estate Residential Manager and holds memberships in both the Knoxville Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She has also been involved with the Knoxville Opera, Junior Achievement, The Helen Ross McNabb Foundation Board and The University of Tennessee Medical Center Pastoral Care Development Committee.

This hardworking and enterprising woman has received many honors.  In 2002, she was a winner at the annual Tribute to Women for Volunteer Community Service.  In 1996, she earned a Community Service Award from the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter of National Society of Fundraising Executives, and in 1996 was awarded the Visionary Award by the Baptist Health System Foundation.

Fay perfectly embodies the spirit of EWA.  This pioneer busted a glass ceiling by being the first woman asked to join the Chamber.  

Finally, Fay is delighted to share the news that she is engaged to marry Willard L. Carr of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He is a CPA with his own practice.  

Meet Featured Member Lillian Mashburn (by Jeannie Dulaney)

Meet Featured Member Lillian Mashburn (by Jeannie Dulaney) - Lillian collects and distributes recent magazines to UT Hospital waiting rooms.
Lillian collects and distributes recent magazines to UT Hospital waiting rooms.

“I never bought into the notion that ‘Women aren’t supposed to...’” Lillian Mashburn will tell you. “My mother and grandmother were both eldest daughters and felt strongly that women should be educated and able to take care of themselves.” Her grandfather agreed with them and also fostered a strong interest in history and politics. Her great grandfather, W.A. Davis, was mayor of Park City and a member of the Knoxville City Council .This was the culture in which Lillian grew up and the beginnings of her lifelong passions for women’s rights and politics.

Interestingly, another lifelong passion has been technology. She hung out with “techies” in college, one of which was her future husband, John. Over the years, her interest in technology, networking and government relations and his work at TVA and Oak Ridge melded their career interests.

Those three lifelong interests laid the foundation for an impressive series of jobs throughout her professional career. She originally taught at an elementary school, then ran for Welfare Commissioner of Knox County in 1974, losing to John Beeler. She volunteered as Community Involvement Coordinator during the 1982 World’s Fair and continued that role when she took a job in Public Relations at United American Bank. Many of her customers were high tech firms.

She eventually opened her own PR and Advertising company named LTM Consulting, serving several start up high technology firms, which she ran until recruited by UT to oversee industrial relations for the College of Engineering. Recognizing her technical and political capabilities, she eventually began to work with UT’s Office of Government Relations and Office of Research, ultimately heading Federal Relations.

Along the way, Lillian has served on numerous boards such as Child and Family Services, Technical Society of Knoxville (first woman president), ETEC, and Planned Parenthood. While at UT, she was very active with national educational associations such as the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Currently, she serves on the board of the Knox County Friends of the Library and is chair of the Board of Visitors for the UT Department of Religious Studies as well as several committees for her church Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalists.

Looking back over her career and life, Lillian is most proud of raising two wonderful children both of whom live in Knoxville. She also is proud of the inclusive, community-strengthening legacy left by the World’s Fair and the successes achieved by the research groups at UT.

To young female professionals today, she would advise “network, network, and network.” That has been one of Lillian’s great strengths and a continuing theme among her series of jobs. She will also tell you that it was the main reason EWA was started over 30 years ago – the need for a more effective mechanism for women executives and professionals to create a supportive and dynamic network in Knoxville.

She would also advises, “Always look their best. People treat you differently based on how you present yourself.”

In addition to her children and grandchildren, Lillian hopes her legacy includes being remembered for having a role in helping to make Knoxville a more vibrant and open community. She thinks we should celebrate that more…and wishes the state would follow suit!