Featured Staff Member

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.

For a more detailed narrative of Jason's life and contributions to Evins Mill, click here.

"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 at that Medicare age. Some were born right here in good ol' Dekalb County, while others hail from as far away as Mexico. 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."


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.


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.
Derek Driver, Chef-de-Camp ~ June 2023

Derek is a Smithville, Tennessee native, born to a family with deep ties to the culture and history of the local community. He loves cooking and creating delicious meals for people, confident that it brings us all closer together. In his free time he enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his children, family and friends. He is grateful and excited to be a new addition to Evins Mill and hopes to thrive professionally, while exceeding  guest expectations along side his fellow chefs and co-workers - all in the spirit of providing guests the best experience possible.

Dining Room

John Prater, PM Dining Room Manager ~ 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, AM Dining Room Manager ~ 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.
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.
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.  
Suzzeth Martinez, Guest Attendant ~ June 2021

Like her sister Laiza and brother Edgar, Suzzeth was born in Mexico and came to the states with her parents, grandparents and two siblings in the 1990s. She grew up in Smithville and found out about the position at Evins Mill from her older sister. This is Suzzeth's first job! Hobbies include reading and going for long walks and runs in nature. Speaking of nature, what she enjoys most about Evins Mill is its natural setting. 
Brooke Farmer, Guest Attendant ~ April 2022

Brooke was born in Murfreesboro, TN but has lived in Smithville since she was a child. She is the oldest four siblings. During her free time, she enjoys painting, drawing, reading, and spending time with her two dogs. She is currently enrolled at the Whitson-Hester Nursing program at Tennessee Tech. She learned about the position from an Evins Mill staff member with whom she played soccer in high school. The thing she likes most about Evins Mill is the opportunity to serve people and show them kindness.
Serenity Patterson, Guest Attendant ~ May 2022

Serenity was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee in the third grade. In high school presently, she wants to be a chiropractor or a band director. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends and playing music. She plays drums and bass guitar in her high school band. Serenity has three sisters, one of whom told me about the position at Evins Mill. Her favorite things about working at Evins Mill include the leftovers, the atmosphere and the people.
Karly Vickers, Guest Attendant ~ March 2023

Born and raised in Liberty, Karly now lives in Smithville. and is a senior at Dekalb County High School. Her hobbies include drawing, tattooing, and playing guitar. She also enjoys playing baseball and trivia with friends. Karly's first job at Evins Mill was as a dishwasher, though she she later "graduated" to the position of guest attendant. That said, she still helps out with the dishes when needed!


Cheyenne Walker, Head Housekeeper ~ 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.
Edgar Martinez, Housekeeper ~ 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, Housekeeper ~ 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."
Kaylee Liggett, Housekeeper ~ June 2022

Kaylee was born in Lebanon, Tennessee but grew up in Smithville, where she lives with her parents and brother. Her hobbies include shopping and hanging out with friends. What she enjoys most about her work at Evins Mill is the beautiful setting, making new friends and meeting lots of new people.
Lilly Waggoner, Housekeeper ~ June 2023

Lilly was born and raised in Smithville Tennessee, has three siblings, and is a high school senior. She heard about the position at Evins Mill from friends (and now fellow staff members). She's glad she took the job because of the great people who work at Evins Mill. Her hobbies include drawing, reading, and playing musical instruments. Speaking of instruments, she also played flute in her high school band.

Physical Plant

Todd Guess, Plant Manager ~ 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 resort since 2002. In addition to overseeing grounds maintenance, 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.
Mel Oakes, Head Groundskeeper ~ May 2022

Mel was born in McMinnville, grew up outside Sparta, and moved to Smithville five years ago. From an early age, Mel was a basketball phenom and later started as guard for the White County Warriorettes, which ranked 17th in the country her senior hear. So well-known for her three point shot, she was recruited by and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After college, she unintentionally started her own successful landscaping business. After recuperating from an injury, Mel joined our team as head groundskeeper, a position she learned about as many Evins Mill staff members do - from a family member, and now a fellow staff member. She was attracted to the position in part because she has another great love in life beyond basketball - being outdoors and in nature. Beyond its setting, Mel also enjoys her job as she learns something new and meets new people almost every day.

Support Staff

Nicolle Meadows, Reservation & Office Manager ~ October 2021

So enchanted with Evins Mill after celebrating her anniversary with us, Nicolle made a career change and joined our staff when the opportunity arose. A Nashville native, she spent fourteen years in property management in both Nashville & Franklin and now lives in Bellevue with her husband Dave and two kids Elizabeth and James. Responsible for individual room reservations as well as corporate events, Nicolle also manages our Nashville reservation office and performs a variety of bookkeeping tasks as well. She is a most welcome and talented addition to the Evins Mill 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.


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.