The staff at Evins Mill is a diverse lot. Some are quite young, while others are reaching that Medicare age. Some were born right here in good ol’ Dekalb County, while others hail from as far away as Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio and Michigan. Some can prepare a most delicious meal, while others can build a deck or fix a dryer. We may be an eclectic set of folks, but we’re united by a shared affection for Evins Mill and by a shared mission that is embodied in our service ethic: “invisible service anticipating every need.” All of us hope you experience that ethic during your stay.
Jason Evans, Operations Manager & Executive Chef ~ September 2002
Born and raised in Smithville, Jason graduated from the National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan College in Louisville, KY. Following a six year stint with Clipper Cruise Line, Jason joined Evins Mill. He draws culinary inspiration from his world travels, rural southern roots & an excitement for finding the best local & fresh ingredients available. Jason & wife Sharon have two children. He is active in the community, coaching a youth soccer team and teaching culinary classes.
Tina Clark, House Manager & Event Facilitator ~ September 2000
Tina grew up in Overton County, Tennessee. Before coming to Evins Mill, she worked at her family’s business. As Event Facilitator and House Manager, Tina wears a lot of hats, preparing meals, welcoming guests, addressing special requests and overseeing housekeeping – just to name a few. Guests will notice in Tina that rare combination of professionalism and sweetness. She enjoys “being able to meet and take care of all the new and returning guests.”
Alison Harris, Chef-de-Camp ~ April 2012
Alison moved to Tennessee in 1994 and ten years later started helping out with large events at Evins Mill. In 2012, she accepted the position of sous-chef. She enjoys the room for personal creativity in the kitchen, using locally grown produce, and the "staff's ability to mesh and provide seamless service to our guests." Alison is an environmental conservation enthusiast and enjoys horses and caving in the natural beauty of DeKalb County.
Dorothy Knipfer, Chef-de-Camp & Guest Attendant ~ April 2006
Dorothy was born and raised in Smithville. After working at Evins Mill in the late ‘90s, she later graduated from Sullivan University with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Returning to Evins Mill in 2006, Dorothy loves its peaceful surroundings and its “sweet and spirited” staff. She has three sons and works with one of them at Evins Mill – Executive Chef Jason Evans. Her husband Steve is also a chef.
Darla Guess, Guest Attendant ~ July 2002
Darla grew up in Old Zion, just east of Smithville. She joined Evins Mill in July 2002 as a Guest Attendant. Guests will note her kind and down home disposition as she serves them breakfast, lunch and dinner. She comments that staff members at Evins Mill are "more like family than co-workers." She enjoys “meeting guests, who seem to come from all walks of life,” and "helping them with their needs and requests."
Ketha Smallpage, Guest Attendant ~ January 2015
Keetha is native of New Orleans, where for many years she worked in the education department of the Audubon Zoo, connecting kids to wildlife. She moved to Tennessee in 2010 and joined Evins Mill a few years later. She is the mother of three boys and has four grandkids. She enjoys family, cooking (New Orleans style), gardening, observing wildlife (especially insects & reptiles) and dabbling in art.
Justin Tisdale, Guest Attendant ~ January 2015
Justin originally hails from the big city of New Orleans, but has been in the area since 2013 and at Evins Mill since 2014. She loves the slower pace and constant beauty of country living and enjoys hiking in the woods and swimming in the many creeks and lakes. She feels lucky to have found Evins Mill here in rural Tennessee because she feels right at home. At Evins Mill she performs a variety of duties, from serving to bartending. Her highest goals in her job are “to serve others with a pure heart” and “to make sure guests don’t get too drunk.”
Teri Endres, Guest Attendant ~ April 2015
Teri grew up in rural Ohio, spent most of her youth in the country and so feels quite at home in middle Tennessee, especially so on her farm in Sparta. She has worked as a teacher as well as in the food service industry, though she spent a good portion of her life focused on raising her two daughters. She loves gardening, learning about beekeeping, raising her flock of chickens, weaving baskets and reading. In her words, she is "living the happy dream."
Ben Russell, Guest Attendant ~ April 2015
Ben was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. In the spring of 2008, he moved to middle Tennessee from Los Angeles and began working at Evins Mill in the spring of 2015. A novice to the restaurant industry, he says he enjoys working with people, especially in a beautiful, serene setting like Evins Mill. And people, guests and staff alike enjoy working with him!
Faythe Levine, Guest Attendant ~ October 2015
Faythe Levine is a filmmaker and artist who recently relocated from the Midwest to Middle Tennessee, which she now calls home. Levine has 20+ years of diverse experience in the service industry. The experience shows.
Nick Hale, Back-of-the-House Logistics ~ May 2014
Nick grow up in Liberty, Tennessee, just a few minutes west of Smithville. He is a student at Motlow State Community College where he studies chemistry and biology. He enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and practicing martial arts. He appreciates the sense of community among the staff, the atmosphere and not surprisingly, the food at Evins Mill.
Janet Ashford, Housekeeper ~ October 2006
Janet was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee but now lives in Smithville. Janet loves the beautiful work environment and the peaceful and quiet setting. In her words, "it's a place I would love to go to get away from the busy life of home and city."
Alicia Taylor, Housekeeper ~ January 2013
Alicia was born in Nenderland, TX but moved to Smithville, where most of her family now lives. She has two sons ages 9 & 11. About her job, she enjoys meeting new people and when it rains at Evins Mill, as in her words it makes you feel like you're "in a rain forest." Alicia enjoys spending time with her boys and riding horses.
Crystal Brown, Housekeeper ~ March 2014
Crystal was born in Tulsa, OK, but has roots in the area and moved to Smithville in 2011 to be near family. Crystal has five children, three girls & two boys, ranging in age from 10 to 22, two of whom have helped at Evins Mill in a pinch. About her job, she loves meeting new people and working with a great staff. In her words, she also enjoys farming, going to sales and making "that green!"
Gary "git 'er done" Wince, Plant Manager ~ November 1995
Gary, our furry-faced plant manager, has been with Evins Mill since 1995. In this capacity, Gary is responsible for improvement projects at the resort. As Plant Manager, he also ensures the repair and maintenance of our equipment and fixtures. In his words, “this means having to unstop commodes when needed, etc., etc. Please take this into consideration on your next visit.” Even so, Gary contends “I love my job!” He should. Gary met his wife Kim, a co-worker at Evins Mill, whom he married there a few years later.
Todd Guess, Chief Groundskeeper ~ July 2010
Todd grew up in Virginia but found his way to Smithville. He later found his way to Evins Mill in 2010 by way of his wife, Darla Guess, a Guest Attendant at the Inn since 2002. In addition to maintaining the grounds - a daunting job for one man - Todd is responsible for all set-ups and break-downs for the many special events the resort hosts throughout the year, whether it be a meeting room or a wedding ceremony. Todd loves the outdoors, and as such his job, which keeps him there most of the time.
Deno Rainey, Assistant Groundskeeper ~ April 2015
Deno grew up in Michigan but moved to Smithville when he was 17. He has two children. He enjoys working outside, fishing and "tinkering." He is instrumental in maintaining the grounds, is a hardworker and extremely friendly. In his words, he "is a man who loves his job."
William Cochran, Jr., Ringleader ~ October 1994
With no business training and less business sense, William opened Evins Mill in 1994 with his father Bill. Save for the two years he spent at Vanderbilt’s Graduate School of Business, he has remained actively involved in the resort’s day-to-day operations. Today, he oversees the accounting, reservations & sales office. Though responsible for the operation at Evins Mill as well, he is in practice the staff’s head cheerleader. William is a native of Nashville, where he lives with his wife Eden, whom he met at Evins Mill, and their daughter Ivy.