City of Knoxville special events director Mickey Mallonee is recognized by the Knoxville City Council during its Dec. 28 meeting, as she is retiring from the city after 10 years in her position. (Photo by J.J. Kindred)
By J.J. KINDRED
For almost every major event in the city of Knoxville during the last 10 years, Mickey Mallonee may have been responsible for it.
Mallonee, 68, retired after serving that length of time as the city’s special events director. She was honored by the Knoxville City Council during its Dec. 28 meeting with special recognition for her accomplishments, recommended by Councilwoman Brenda Palmer in a resolution.
A native Knoxvillian, she returned to Knoxville in 1994 after living in different parts of the country and abroad. She served at the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville, was appointed as executive director and served in that position until she was hired on Jan. 30, 2000, as the special events director for the city.
Mallonee also served as special events director for the council, and was responsible for coordinating and implementing events, including the ArtFest Celebrations and the mayor’s Art Gala.
She worked for many years for the U.S. Air Force, serving as president of the Officer’s Wives’ Club, and coordinated visits for national and foreign dignitaries.
She is currently a member of several boards, including the University of Tennessee School of Art Community Advisory Board, Leadership Knoxville, Blount Mansion and James White’s Fort.
Mallonee was responsible for expanding the annual “Christmas in the City” celebration, and worked on bringing new festivals to the city.
She conducted a brief phone interview with The Knoxville Journal Dec. 29 to talk about her retirement.
The Knoxville Journal: When did you decide to retire?
Mickey Mallonee: In the fall of this year. There were other things I wanted to do — I wanted to travel and visit with my children more, and I wanted to spend time with my sister.
TKJ: How did you get the special events director’s job?
MM: At the time I was hired, I was working as the director of the Knoxville Arts Council. When the job became open, I sent a resume, I had an interview and they decided they liked me, so they brought me in.
TKJ: What would you say was your proudest accomplishment?
MM: The fire engine that we raised money for and sent to New York after 9/11. We thought if we could raise $300,000, we could get a fire truck, and we ended up raising just over a million dollars. We were able to purchase a 30-foot ladder truck.
TKJ: In all the events you coordinated over the years, what stands out the most?
MM: I think every year it’s “Christmas in the City,” because it looks pretty and it makes everyone happy.
TKJ: What was it like working under Bill Haslam and the city council?
MM: Very good. He’s been a wonderful boss and was very good at letting me do what I thought was best. He was very generous at letting me do what I wanted to do as far as decorating and organizing an event. I didn’t do a lot with the council, but they have been very supportive. They’re a great group.
TKJ: You mentioned spending more time with your family. What else are you going to do?
MM: That’s basically it. I don’t have plans to work. I might do some consulting, but as of yet, I don’t have anything planned.
TKJ: Lastly, what advice do you have for whomever replaces you?
MM: Make sure you take care of the people who take care of you. Address those folks that make you look good — the police, fire department — it’s important you recognize them for what they do and that everyone knows it.