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"The Evins Mill staff were attentive, kind and went above and beyond to makes sure we were taken care of."
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 Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Colorado and Michigan. Some can prepare a most delicious meal, while others can build a deck or fix a dryer. Some are quite conservative, while many are most liberal. 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."

Management

Tina Clark, House Manager & Event Specialist ~ 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."

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.

Kitchen

Kubby Barry, Chef-de-Camp ~ February 2016
Kubby started her professional culinary arts adventures in 1996. Moving to Dekalb County in the autumn of 2015, she soon thereafter joined the growing culinary team at Evins Mill. She finds her co-workers friendly and appreciates the creativity involved in working with food. She enjoys the outdoors, reading, writing and occasionally drawing comics.

Jesse Kingsbury, Chef-de-Camp ~ September 2016
Though born in Michigan, Jesse grew up in Dekalb County and counts himself a native. Following high school, Jesse explored various careers before entering the culinary arts. After working at the popular City Cafe in Nashville for seven years, he returned to Smithville in 2016 and soon joined the culinary team at Evins Mill, where he enjoys the open-minded and collegial work environment. Outside work, he loves to fish, camp and eat great food.

Elisabeth Saylors, Chef-de-Camp ~ March 2019
While Elisabeth was born in nearby McMinnville, TN, she has lived in Smithville most of her life. She has three brothers and one sister and most enjoys designing and baking cakes & cupcakes. Besides her "supportive and kind" co-workers, Elisabeth loves her job because there she gets to do what she loves – baking and cooking.

Dining Room

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."

Dorothy Knipfer, 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.

Ketha Smallpage, Guest Attendant ~ January 2015
Ketha 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.

Kayla Edwards, Guest Attendant ~ September 2018
Kayla was born and raised in Smithville and has two children. She found Evins Mill by word of mouth and enjoys the beautiful scenery, the sound of the waterfalls, the peaceful environment and the family-like atmosphere. Her hobbies include spending time with her kids and family, swimming and being outdoors.  

John Prater, Bartender ~ February 2019
John was born in Detroit, Michigan, but fortunately for us and those who patronize our bar eventually found his way to Smithville. John is the proud father of two children and two cats and takes the lead in their home school education – the kids, not the cats. His hobbies include hiking, gardening and cooking. He also enjoys making drinks, creating some new ones and meeting new people along the way, which his role as chief barkeep gives him ample opportunity to do.

Liaza Martinez, Guest Attendant ~ October 2019
Laiza was born in Sonora, Mexico and came to the states with her parents, grandparents and two younger siblings in the 1990s. She enjoys reading novels and watching documentaries of ocean life. Laiza is what you call a clutch player – while her main job is taking care of guests in the front of the house, she can double as a housekeeper when called upon. What does she like about her job at Evins Mill? That she learns something new every day.

Sylvia Evans, Guest Attendant ~ May 2021
Born and being raised in Smithville, Sylvia is daughter to Executive Chef  Jason Evans and granddaughter to Guest Attendant Dorothy Knipfer, making her a third generation participant in the Evins Mill project. Sylvia enjoys listening to music - and playing it too. She plays piano and is teaching herself guitar. What she enjoys most about her job, other than working with her father (yea, right), are the left-overs.  

Housekeeping

Cheyenne Walker, Housekeeping ~ February 2016
Cheyenne was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, lived in Florida for a very brief stint, and then as a young child moved to Smithville, where she has lived ever since. Fellow housekeeper Janet Ashford introduced Cheyenne to Evins Mill, where she enjoys the company of her co-workers, as well as the chance to meet new people. Outside work, she loves to fish, swim and spend time with her family.

Sandra Culwell, Housekeeping ~ September 2019
Sandra was born in Smithville and was raised and has lived in the area most of her life, save for a brief stint in Lovington, Illinois. She enjoys hiking, spelunking, reading fantasy books and watching fantasy movies, painting and making jewelry. What she enjoys most about her position at Evins Mill is the wholesome, caring work environment, the beautiful scenery, and the flexibility. She is mother to Damien and wife to Scott.

Edgar Martinez, Housekeeping ~ November 2020
Edgar found out about his job from his sister Laiza, who has worked at Evins Mill since 2019 and who keeps a protective eye on her young brother. Like his big sister, Edgar was born in Sonora Mexico and moved to the states with his grandparents, parents and siblings in the 1990s. Edgar enjoys drawing and playing board games. As far as what he enjoys about his job, probably the same thing that a lot of guests like about Evins Mill – "the calmness of the woods."

Tiffany Culwell, Housekeeping ~ April 2021
Tiffany was born in Lebanon, Tennessee but has spent most of her life in Smithville. She learned about the position at Evins Mill as many staff members do - from family and fellow staff members. In Tiffany's case, it was Cheyenne Walker and Sandra Culwell, both family members and Evins Mill housekeepers. Tiffany likes to read and play basketball. She also enjoys "being able to give someone a nice clean room to stay in."

Physical Plant

Todd Guess, 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.

Josh Dyal, Groundskeeper ~ July 2019
Josh was born in Brantley County, Georgia and lived in that neighborhood until his young adulthood. After vacationing in the Center Hill Lake area a few years back, Josh decided to move to Smithville soon thereafter, and who can blame him? Josh enjoys fishing and watching football. As far as his tenure at Evins Mill, he enjoys being part of a team. Together with Todd, Josh keeps our grounds in good order, sets up for special events, and also triples as a bellhop when needed.

Support Staff

William Cochran, Jr., Ringleader & Staff Lackey ~ 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.

Emeritus

Gary "git 'er done" Wince, Plant Manager Emeritus ~ November 1995 (retired 2021)
Gary, our former furry-faced plant manager since 1995 recently retired. Gary was responsible for improvement projects at the resort and also ensured the repair and maintenance of our equipment and fixtures. He will be sorely and dearly missed - both professionally and personally, though he will serve as a consultant and be invited to future staff parties!

In Memoriam

Janet Ashford, Head Housekeeper ~ October 2006 (retired 2019 and passed away 2021)
Janet was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee but lived in Smithville most her life. Janet was drawn to work at Evins Mill for its beautiful work environment and the peaceful and quiet setting. At the time of her retirement in 2019, Janet was the most tenured housekeeper since we opened in 1994. A woman of few words, she was also among the most dedicated and reliable of all staff members. She is missed by all who knew her.

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