TAUD Staff

Bob Freudenthal
Bob Freudenthal Email Me
(615) 896-9022

Executive Director

Bob Freudenthal has been appointed Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts effective June, 2008. Mr. Freudenthal recently served as Deputy General Manager for the Hendersonville Utility District. Prior to his appointment as Deputy GM Bob served over twenty years as a Public Works Director for the cities of Hendersonville, TN and Paducah, KY. Mr. Freudenthal was responsible for the successful delivery of water and wastewater services to approximately 38,000 residents within the HUD region. Included in his duties were operational management, personnel management, budgeting, and capital project management. HUD serves an area within middle Tennessee that is experiencing rapid growth. Current projections indicate the current population of the region could double within ten years thus creating a significant demand on existing infrastructure. Since 1999 HUD has allocated over $30 million toward improved service and is projecting a similar investment over the next five years. Mr. Freudenthal has served on the APWA Board of Directors for eight years serving as President in 2006. During his service on the Board of Directors Mr. Freudenthal served as Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, Membership Committee Chair, Executive Committee member, and Nominating Committee member. He has also served on numerous charitable, civic, and community boards in the Hendersonville and Paducah areas. Bob currently serves as Chairman of the Hendersonville Regional Planning Commission. Mr. Freudenthal has BS in Business Management from Mid-Continent University.
Beth Blackwell
Beth Blackwell Email Me
(615) 896-9022

Member Services

Beth Hardiman serves as Member Services/Meeting Planner for TAUD. She is a Rutherford County native and resides in Murfreesboro. Beth is responsible for member services, public relations, event planning, Commissioner Training, TAP training, conferences, and basic office tasks. She has been with the Association since 2002.
Vanessa Solis
Vanessa Solis Email Me
(731) 352-8256

Publications & Advertising

Vanessa Solis is TAUD's Publications & Advertising Coordinator and has been with the Association since 2012. She is the Managing Editor & Art Director of TAUD's quarterly magazine, the Tennessee Utility News, the annual TAUD Membership Directory and Training Station Wall Calendar. In addition, Vanessa is responsible for the design & publication of various promotional and conference materials. She also serves as the Administrative Assistant of the Cross Connection Control Management Program for Tennessee Utility Assistance (TUA), LLC.
Vanessa was raised in the Navy and has lived in a number of states across the US, as well as in Bermuda. In 2006, she moved from the Washington, DC metro area to Tennessee to be closer to her family. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys hiking, fishing, photography, and collecting vintage National Geographic magazines.
Tony Wyatt
Tony Wyatt Email Me
(731) 415-9101

West Tennessee Circuit Rider/Field Supervisor

Tony has been the Water Circuit Rider for TAUD since 1991. He also serves as the Field Supervisor for the association. Prior to joining TAUD, Tony worked with the Huntingdon Utility Department for 10 years. As circuit rider, he provides technical assistance and training to water systems in West TN and the western portion of Middle TN that includes water treatment, distribution, compliance issues, computer skills, certification and other related areas.
Brent Ogles
Brent Ogles Email Me
(615) 556-6002

Education Manager

Brent is Education Manager with the Association. He is responsible for developing and coordinating the technical training and assistance activities. Before coming to the Association in August 2008, Brent was Director of Tennessee’s Fleming Training Center and was responsible for water and wastewater operator certification and the training conducted by the State.
JW Griffin
JW (Justin) Griffin Email Me
(731) 819-2679

Source Water Specialist

A resident of Dickson County, J.W. has many certifications that include: Grade 4 Water Treatment, Grade 4 Wastewater Treatment, Grade 2 Collection Systems and a Level 2 Voluntary Pretreatment. To aid in the operations of water and wastewater systems, he has a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science. J.W. enjoys hiking, fishing and camping. It is the love for the outdoors that sparked his interest in water and wastewater treatment. He welcomes the opportunity to provide on-site technical assistance with any issues or concerns a system may develop.
Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker Email Me
(931) 261-5826

Middle Tennessee Circuit Rider

Johnny graduated from Monterey High School in 1981, and from Tennessee Technological University in 1985 with a B.S. Degree in Geology. He currently holds certifications for Water Treatment 4, Cross Connection Control, and Utility Management. Johnny retired from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 2017 after a 31-year career providing regulatory oversight in different Divisions within the Department. Various positions he held included Environmental Specialist, Geologist, and Environmental Field Office Manager of the Division of Water Supply Cookeville Environmental Field Office to which he was promoted in 2005 and the reorganized Division of Water Resources in 2013. Johnny’s work with public water systems was the most rewarding of his TDEC career and TAUD offered an excellent opportunity to continue doing what he truly enjoys. He has a positive customer service focus and sincere desire to assist public water systems ensure safe drinking water is delivered to their customers. From many years of working throughout the Upper Cumberland Region, Johnny has an excellent network of highly experienced water system contacts for which he routinely relies for insight and expertise. In his spare time Johnny enjoys spending time with his family, as well as hobby beekeeping, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and timed endurance motorcycle rides. He has completed several certified long-distance rides and became a member of the Iron Butt Association in 2006.
Larry Lewis
Larry Lewis Email Me
(731) 234-0360

Special Projects

Larry Lewis is the former Source Water Protection Specialist for the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts and has been employed by TAUD since 1997. Larry is a native of Jackson, Tennessee and he currently resides there.
Kevin Gilliam Email Me
(931) 636-1671

TAUD Training Station Instructor

Kevin is a native and resides in Sewanee, Tennessee, located in Franklin County. A graduate of Franklin County High School, Kevin began his career in 1986 at the Sewanee Utility District as a water treatment plant operator and progressed to General Manager before leaving in 2006. As the General Manager of the Sewanee Utility District he was responsible for the finances, water treatment, distribution, collection and wastewater treatment for the customers of the District. From 2006 to October 2008, he was the Utility Supervisor for the Town of Monteagle where he later became the Utility Director. Kevin joined the Sewanee Fire Department in 1981. He currently is a Captain and assists with the training of the Fire Department personnel with fire, vehicle extrication and high angle rescue. Kevin has been a licensed emergency medical technician with IV therapy (EMT-IV) in Tennessee since 1992.
Kevin enjoys spending as much time as possible with his children.
Don Scholes
Don Scholes Email Me
(615) 579-7569

General Counsel

Don Scholes became General Counsel of TAUD on March 27, 2017. Before coming to TAUD, Don was a partner in the firm of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC where he practiced utility law for 30 years. Before joining that firm, he was Assistant General Counsel of the Tennessee Public Service Commission (now Tennessee Regulatory Authority). Don has represented utility districts and municipal and county utilities across the State of Tennessee and has served as outside legal counsel for TAUD for many years. He was recognized by Best Lawyers in America as the 2013 Lawyer of the Year for Municipal Law in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a frequent presenter at TAUD seminars and conferences on legal issues affecting utilities and is well-known by TAUD members.
Penny Funk
Penny Funk Email Me
(615) 896-9022

Office Manager

Penny Funk serves as TAUD’s Office Manager. Responsible for overall management of office and administrative functions of the Association, oversees all conference and meeting planning, financial monitoring, maintaining relationships with outside interested parties, vendors and all public relations and problem solving associated with membership, and oversight of Board of Directors meetings. Also assist Executive Director with special projects. She is a Dekalb County native and resides in Alexandria Tennessee. Penny has been employed with TAUD since 1988 and the first employee in TAUD’s history to reach 20 years of service.
Carol Mims
Carol Mims Email Me
(615) 896-9022


Carol Mims is the Accountant/Bookkeeper for Tennessee Association of Utility Districts and has been employed by TAUD since 2006. Carol is a Los Angeles, California native and has lived in Williamson County since 1995.
Ali (Stephens) Hite
Ali (Stephens) Hite Email Me
(615) 896-9022

Education Assistant

Ali Stephens is the Education Assistant at TAUD and has been apart of the family since May of 2015. She is in charge of keeping up with the training classes and is your main contact for class registration/ training questions. Ali is from Mt. Juliet, TN and lives in Hermitage now after graduating from Tennessee Tech University in May 2015.
John Shadwick
John Shadwick Email Me
(615) 804-4069

Training Specialist

John Shadwick is Training Specialist for TAUD. John is responsible for the NRWA/EPA Training Program, Technology Conference, Board Basics Conference, and has oversight of TAUD's Certification Cram Sessions. He is a Certified Instructional Technologist and Certified Environmental Trainer. He is a native of Chattanooga and a resident of Rutherford County for over thirty years. He has served TAUD since 1989.
Mike Keeton
Michael Keeton Email Me
(865) 660-6454

East Tennessee Circuit Rider

Michael Keeton comes to TAUD from the Oneida Water Department where he was the chief water plant operator for the past 9 years. Prior to that he was a water plant operator at First Utility District of Knox County for 6 years and he began his water career at Huntsville Utility District in 1991. Mike holds a grade 4 water treatment license, a grade 2 distribution license and cross connection certification. He was the TAUD water operator of the year in 2014. He is a 1985 graduate of Scott County High School and a 2017 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a BS in communications. He has been an assistant high school football coach since 2011 and is currently the director of football operations for Oneida High School. In his spare time Mike enjoys working out, golf, good, friends, good food, and good music.
Dewayne Culpepper
Dewayne Culpepper Email Me
(931) 607-6981

Wastewater Circuit Rider

Dewayne Culpepper has been employed by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) since 1990 as a wastewater technician providing on-site assistance for wastewater operators and managers. Dewayne was awarded the Wastewater Technician of the year from the National Rural Water Association in 1992. Prior to TAUD, Dewayne was the General Manager of Monteagle Utilities. Dewayne was also employed by Tullahoma Utilities Board as a Grade IV wastewater operator and then promoted to Water and Wastewater System Engineering Aid. Dewayne is a native of Tullahoma and resides in Estill Springs.
Greg Baker
Greg Baker Email Me
(731) 225-5240

Information Systems Technician

Greg has worked for TAUD since 1997. Prior to that, he worked 8 years for the Town of Huntingdon Water and Wastewater System. As a IT person for the association, he assists in designing and coordinating the development of integrated information system databases. He maintains the association website and assists other staff with computer issues. He also assists utility systems with computer issues and with the experience of working at a water and wastewater system can assist them with any related issues.
Kirk Smith Email Me
(615) 243-6490

Director of Business Development

Kirk Smith serves as the Director of Business Development for TAUD and TUA, LLC. A Hendersonville Tennessee native with a diverse and extensive business background in both the marine and agriculture retail industry. Kirk served as Managing Principal Partner of Sumner County Tractor Inc., a John Deere Ag & Consumer Products Dealership in Hendersonville for 19 years. After college, Kirk spent 2 years with Nashville Boat Manufacture Hydra Sports and later founded SCT Marine. Prior to joining TAUD, Kirk worked for a pipe, valves and fittings distributor and an Insurance Pool Program. Kirk holds a Tennessee Insurance License.
Kirk has served on numerous boards and committees in and around the State of Tennessee. A past President of the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce, a founding Member of the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club, a past Vol State College Trustee and served on the Sumner Regional Hospital Foundation. Currently, Kirk serves as a Vol Rep. and District Chairman for the UTK Tennessee Fund Scholarship Program. In his spare time, Kirk serves as the Public Address Announcer for Football and Basketball for Hendersonville High School. Married for 30 years, Kirk and his wife Janet have 2 children, Bailey & Jake.
Melanie Sain
Melanie Sain Email Me
(615) 896-9022

Accounting Specialist

Melanie Sain is the Accounting Specialist for TAUD. She is responsible for maintaining municipal advisor filings, multi-state insurance producer applications, complex compliance issues, procedures and checklists, deadlines and continuing education requirements. Prior to working at TAUD, Melanie was a Senior Auditor with a CPA Firm in Nashville, TN for 17 years performing auditing, bookkeeping, consulting and tax services to many Utilities and Not-for-Profit Organizations in Tennessee. She has been a member of Tennessee Society of Association Executives and participated in Chamber of Commerce activities. Melanie is involved in specialized training for all aspects of running a Utility. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a BA in Accounting, Melanie resides in Murfreesboro, TN. She volunteers with various organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, going to baseball games, reading, swimming and traveling!
Mark Butler
Mark Butler Email Me
(615) 557-5780

TUA Financial

Mark L. Butler is the Finance and Compliance Specialist for TAUD. While in the financial industry for the past 18 years, he conducted audits, financial planning, investments, retail and commercial lending, project manager, and facilitation. He has managed a bank, working with mortgages, private and commercial lending, securities and investment planning and mergers and acquisitions. A member of Municipal Securities Rule Making Board, he acts as a Municipal Advisor and assists members with re-financing and new debt structure. As an advocate for our members, he aids members with State legislation. Mark is involved in specialized training for all aspects of running a Utility. A graduate of Tennessee Technological University with a BS degree in finance and a BS degree marketing, Mark is originally from Cookeville, TN. He volunteers with various organizations. He enjoys music, reading, weightlifting, hiking and camping!