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VOL. 127 | NO. 115 | Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Evans Joins MERI As Finance Director

By Kate Simone

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Devonya Evans has joined the Medical Education & Research Institute as director of finance. Evans, a licensed certified public accountant, will be responsible for heading MERI’s finance and information technology departments.


Hometown: Memphis

Education: Master’s degree in business administration, Union University; bachelor of science degree in business administration – accounting and finance, University of Tennessee

Work Experience: Prior to MERI, senior accountant, Pfizer Inc.; senior auditor, Thompson Dunavant PLC (now CBIZ Mayer Hoffman McCann Thompson Dunavant); accounting assistant, Valocity; financial sales adviser, National Bank of Commerce

Family: Mother, Patty Evans; father, Tony Rucker.

Favorite quote: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Last book read: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett

Favorite music: Gospel, R&B, rap, jazz (Well, I guess you can say I love it all.)

Favorite movie: “Grease” (I absolutely love musicals.)

Sports team: University of Memphis Tigers – Go Tigers Go!

Activities you enjoy outside of work: Church and exercising

What talent do you wish you had? I really wish I could sing. I have a great love for music. I hold my best notes in the shower.

Who has had the greatest influence on you? God, my grandmother and my mother. My grandmother (deceased) taught me faith, love and tenacity. My mother taught me strength and sacrifice. They are my greatest cheerleaders, and I love them dearly.

What attracted you to the Medical Education & Research Institute? While employed at Thompson Dunavant, the MERI was my audit client for several years. Through this relationship, I gained in-depth knowledge of the MERI. I always admired the MERI and the contribution that it made to prolonging life through advancing medical science. I feel truly blessed to be part of the team.

What are your goals as director of finance? Maintain and strengthen efficiencies by streamlining processes.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments? Having an organization such as MERI recognize my talents and then offer me the opportunity to become part of their team.

What do you most enjoy about your work? Although I am not one of the actual doctors/students that participates in the advancement of medical science, I still feel that I am making a contribution to society by performing the accounting/finance functions. I will also get to participate in some of the courses, and I think that is awesome!

What words of advice do you have for budding CPAs looking to enter the medical field? My advice is to always to put God first. Obtain all the knowledge that you can, and welcome new opportunities to learn and improve your skills.


Marshall Talley has been promoted to executive vice president and senior credit officer at Paragon National Bank. Talley will be responsible for overseeing the bank’s compliance and loan operation areas, among other things.

The Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers recognized Linda K. Oxford with the Social Work Lifetime Achievement Award. Pam Tucker was named Social Worker of the Year. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen was named Public Official of the Year, and Leslie Lindsey received the MSW Student of the Year Award. In addition, the West Branch of NASW recognized Dr. Rich Scott with the local Public Citizen of the Year Award and named Letitia “Tish” Clay the local BSW Student of the Year.


Bramlett Dyles, support team leader for The Eclectic Eye, has earned state certification as a licensed dispensing optician. The certification required a three-year apprenticeship under The Eclectic Eye’s lead optometric physician, Dr. Michael Weinberg, as well as three examinations.

The Tennessee Department of Education has named Allyson Chick and Melinda Keller among its 2013 Teacher of the Year finalists. Chick, a teacher at Richland Elementary School, is a finalist in the preschool through fourth grade category. Keller, a teacher at Germantown High School, is a finalist in the ninth through 12th grade category. Winners will be announced this fall.

Rhodes College has recognized the following employees with 2012 Outstanding Staff Awards: Linda Anderson, housekeeper, outstanding administrative services staff; Michelle Hammontree, departmental assistant, outstanding administrative staff; and both Rob Dove, director of student counseling, and Caley Foreman, senior desktop specialist, outstanding administrators.

Kendall Haney has earned the Certified Home Selling Advisor designation from the National Association of Expert Advisors. Haney is a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty’s Kendall Haney Group.

Dan Goodspeed has joined Verified Person Inc. as controller. Goodspeed most recently served as director of accounting and finance at Games Workshop PLC.

Mary Adams has joined Sullivan Branding as accounting manager. Elise Dillingham has joined as public relations coordinator. And Brandon Corely has been promoted to account executive.

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115