Charley Sexton: Solid community, business leader

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders, Powell

Powell resident Charley Sexton is one of four new owners of Knoxville’s go-to public relations and marketing firm. Moxley Carmichael’s client list is legendary: Pilot Company, Covenant Health, KUB, uscellular, Priority Ambulance, KCDC, Highway Transport, Summit Medical Group, South College and many more.

The firm was founded by Cynthia Moxley in 1992. She was an aggressive journalist for the daily Knoxville Journal and the paper’s first female city editor. In 1998, her husband, Alan Carmichael, joined the firm. A proud native of the Fulton High School area, Alan had been a reporter and editor at The Tennessean in Nashville and had served as senior vice president of communications for Tennessee Valley Authority.

The firm grew steadily. moved to the old Miller’s Building and assembled a strong team of professionals. (Note: Moxley has been this writer’s friend since her days at the Journal. She is the best I know at never-quit client advocacy. She will take the first bullet and always return fire. When I launched in 2017, my first call was to Moxley. The firm designed and continues to maintain this website.)

And Cynthia says she and Alan are not going anywhere. “We are under contract to keep working for Moxley Carmichael. Working for clients, doing government relations, getting new biz and being visible in the community.” She will continue to write The Blue Streak.

Sextons at the beach: Haley, Linnie, Charley and (front) Riley.

Charley Sexton came from Sevier County to attend UT, taking his degree in graphic design. He met Linnie Rudy, now his wife, and has worked for MoxCar for almost 22 years. “I’ve worked here all my life,” he said, “and now it’s all I’ll ever do.”

But don’t cry for Charley. Instead, color him happy … proud … excited to be co-owner of Moxley Carmichael. “It’s a solid partnership,” he says. “We will lean on each other to be an expert in our own wheelhouse.”

Charley has worked with virtually all of the firm’s clients in graphics and as creative director. Now his title is partner/CCO (chief creative officer).

Sexton serves on the board of directors of the East Tennessee Community Design Center, and he is a founding member and past president of Young Professionals of Knoxville and is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). He is a graduate of the 2021 class of Leadership Knoxville. He also is a founding member of Zoo Knoxville’s Circle of Friends Leadership Council and was recognized as ambassador of the year in 2015. In 2016, he was recognized in the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.

He was an early member of Enhance Powell and has worked with projects such as construction of Powell Station Park and the disc golf course.

Let’s meet the team:

Lauren Christ Miller is the chief executive officer, specializing in sales, customer service and strategy. Married to John Miller with two small kids, Lauren is not shy about sharing her story. On the day after the public announcement, she posted: “Yesterday was the third anniversary of my dad’s death. When I was offered the (intern) job at Moxley Carmichael 15 years ago, I got cold feet and told him, ‘All my friends are taking jobs at big companies in big cities where they meet lots of people, and there’s no one else at this firm who just graduated like me.’ My dad (the late John Christ of Oak Ridge) said, ‘Good. Someday, you’ll be left to run the place.’ Thanks, Dad! Love you and miss you terribly.”

Scott Bird is president and chief operating officer. He joined the firm in 2006 and represents clients including The Trust Company of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, Johnson Architecture and Knoxville Utilities Board. Bird earned his bachelor’s degree in 1992 and MBA in 1994 in marketing from the University of Tennessee. He holds a certificate in professional fundraising from Boston University.

Shaun Fulco is the chief financial officer. She has more than 30 years of managerial and accounting experience. In 2016, the Knoxville chapter of Financial Executives International and the Greater Knoxville Business Journal selected Fulco as small business CFO of the Year. Before joining Moxley Carmichael in 2007, she was CFO for Space Walk Interactive LLC, a New Orleans-based company with worldwide manufacturing facilities and more than 200 branch stores across the United States.

Charley Sexton is the chief creative officer.

Veteran journalist Maria M. Cornelius posted: For 30 years, Cynthia Moxley and James Alan Carmichael set the standard for public relations in East Tennessee (and beyond). And they exit – though as consultants to the company because neither can ever fully stop their passion for advocating for clients and bringing in new ones – by making sure the company is led by four people whose combined experience at Moxley Carmichael is 67 years. That’s how you sell a company and make sure your legacy and your people will be OK.

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