Haslam College of Business Honors Outstanding Alumni and Corporate Partner at Annual Gala

James I. Newsome III, Jordan Mollenhour, Megan Turner and PYA received awards at the 14th annual event

November 7, 2023

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business recognized the achievements of three alumni and one corporate partner at its 14th annual Alumni Awards Gala on Friday, November 3, at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Approximately 400 alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the college attended the gala, which included a cocktail reception followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Proceeds from the event benefit the College Fund for the Haslam College of Business.

Honoring Business Leaders of all Career Stages

Representatives of the college presented awards to this year’s esteemed recipients, as detailed below.

2023 Distinguished Alum Award – James I. Newsome III (HCB, ’76, MBA ’77)

James I. Newsome III began his career by climbing the ranks at a small shipping agency in Houston, Texas. Between 1987 and 2009, he worked for two major European container shipping companies, Nedlloyd Lines and Hapag-Lloyd. At both companies, he was the first American to serve as president for the Americas region.

Newsome served as president and CEO for the South Carolina Ports Authority from 2009 until his retirement in 2022. During his tenure, he spearheaded numerous improvements to the Port of Charleston, leading it from 700,000 pier containers and $38 million in operating cash flow in 2009 to 1.6 million pier containers and $190 million in operating cash flow in 2022. Newsome continues to be active in retirement, consulting on supply chain visibility and industrial real estate and serving on Haslam’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

2023 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award – Jordan Mollenhour (HCB, ’04, MBA, ’06, Law, ’10, EMBA ’18)

Jordan Mollenhour entered the world of real estate in his teens. While studying accounting at Haslam, he met future business partner Dustin Gross (UT, ’04). Together, they expanded their real estate interests to include businesses related to construction, brokerage, land development, building management and mortgages.

The pair’s business ventures struggled following the 2008 financial crisis, but Mollenhour and Gross rallied to start several new businesses, eventually shifting their focus toward investing. Today, Mollenhour Gross is a holding company that includes an e-commerce logistics business, a company that services hotel HVAC systems throughout the U.S., a company that designs and manufactures aircraft parts and a real estate development and management firm.

2023 Outstanding Corporate Partner – PYA

Founded in 1983 and led by several Haslam alumni, including president and CEO Marty Brown (HCB, ’85), PYA is now one of the top 100 largest CPA firms in the nation. The Knoxville-based company consistently ranks as one of the country’s top healthcare consulting firms and top auditors of the nation’s largest health systems. 

PYA has invested time and financial resources in Haslam for several years. Firm representatives have advised on curricula and programs, invested in capital improvements, led giving for the Richard Townsend Endowment, hosted students from the college’s summer high school programs and provided many internships for undergraduate and graduate students. PYA also recruits many Haslam graduates — more than 30 percent of PYA employees are UT alumni, most of those from Haslam.

2023 Outstanding Young Alum Award – Megan Turner (HCB, ’05, MAcc, ’07)

During and after her time at Haslam, Megan Turner completed five separate internships before accepting a full-time position with EY. She has worked with the firm in Atlanta, Memphis, New York and Charlotte over the past 15 years, first as an advisory staff member and later as an advisory services manager. She became a partner in 2020.

In part, Turner credits her career success to her strong family and spiritual foundation. She is also proud of the authentic approach she has taken to her work life and advises young professionals to remain true to themselves throughout their careers.

More details about the gala and the awardees will appear in the winter 2024 issue of Haslam Magazine.


Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, sestep3@utk.edu


Photo, L-R: James I. Newsome III, Marty Brown, Megan Turner, Jordan Mollenhour, Haslam Dean Stephen L. Mangum