LIS Admin Team Provides Advice for Administrative Day 

LIS Admin Team Provides Advice for Administrative Day

Administrative Day is a national holiday that recognizes the men and women working diligently behind the scenes in a clerical or support role, ensuring that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) has a diverse administration team, each of them playing a valuable role within the business. Without them, LIS would not be the company it is today.  

To showcase the importance of their positions within the company, we asked each team member to describe their role and provide a piece of advice that may be beneficial for those interested in perusing an administrative career in the future.  

Amanda Perry, Billing Specialist: Can you share a bit about your role within the administrative team and what it entails daily?

My role includes invoicing and accounts receivable, expense management, budget management, and accounts payable. I generate and send invoices to clients, while processing and tracking clients’ payments. I manage the company’s expenses by verifying receipts and ensuring compliance with company expense policies. I monitor the organization’s budget by tracking expenses for the different departments and ensuring adherence to budgetary constraints. I am also responsible for accounts payable, which includes managing vendor invoices, processing payments, a maintaining accurate records of outgoing payments. By compiling financial data, preparing reports, and providing analysis, I provide the financial data to help the administration team make important decisions.

Angela Dortch, Project Administrator- Survey: Can you describe a particularly challenging situation you’ve encountered in your role and how you handled it?

No matter where a person is employed, challenging situations arise. It is simply inevitable. The situation might involve the work environment, a co-worker, a client, a lack of supplies, etc. The way in which a person handles a challenging or stressful situation is key. It is a reflection of the individual as well as the company as a whole. We are not always going to address a situation in the best way possible all the time. However, whether the situation involves a person or not, I try to maintain composure and professionalism.

Ashley Horn, Vice President of Marketing and Communications: How do you maintain a positive attitude and morale, especially during busy or stressful periods?

No matter where you work, things will get busy and stressful from time to time. In order to maintain a positive attitude, I like to step away from the situation at hand and take a moment to myself. If possible, I like to take a walk around the square to get some fresh air. This allows me to reflect on the situation and make a plan to move forward.  

Working in marketing and communications, specifically, it is our responsibility to present a positive face, even during difficult times. When stressful situations arise, it is important to keep in mind that we are representatives of LIS, and as such, we play a major role in how the public perceives the company.  

Caleb Orr, Project Administrator- Construction: Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your time working in administration?

Being able to be a part of conversations and planning that will have an impact across our state and improve transportation for so many people has been the most memorable and rewarding part of what I do.

Carolyn Dotson, Human Resources Officer: What are some qualities or skills you believe are essential for success in administrative roles? 

Organization is one of the most important skills for an administrative role. Being organized helps minimize frantic searches for items, helps prioritize tasks, and maintains confidential information. This is essential in every department of a company. Another required skill is communication. While it is important to convey information so that others understand it, it is equally important to learn to listen so that you can process the information and respond appropriately to the situation. If you are organized and communicate effectively you can easily incorporate other skills and qualities that contribute to your success not only at work but in your personal life.

Chris Mills, Project Administrator- Engineering: What strategies or tools do you find most helpful in staying organized and efficient?  

There are many helpful strategies and tools to help us stay organized and work efficiently. Personally, I create daily ‘to-do’ lists to prioritize tasks and keep track of what I have and have not completed. Utilizing today’s software also helps me stay organized, whether it is simply using the calendar in my email or using more sophisticated time management apps. I find that having multiple methods to time and track tasks helps me stay focused and up to date on items I need to complete. I also believe that regularly reviewing your progress and reflecting on what is working well and what is not is a great method to incorporate into your daily functions.

Madison Bickerstaff, Communications Specialist: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in administrative work?  

Seek out opportunities to job shadow each specific role you’re interested in! Every administrative role looks different and even though every company may have a “Marketing Department”, that department will look different at each company. For example, some Marketing Departments may be more consumer focused, while others are mission focused. The responsibility of the role truly depends on the company. Other than job shadowing at various companies, take a quick look at current job descriptions for open administrative positions and become familiar with the tasks that you see correlate among different positions.

MJ Hooper, Marketing and Communications Intern: How do you handle unexpected challenges or changes in workload?

When I am faced with an unexpected challenge or change in workload, I make sure to prioritize my tasks first. If there are multiple deadlines that I need to meet in a short time, I always get those done quickly and efficiently to ensure those deadlines are met. I also make sure to reach out to other people on the administrative team if I need a helping hand with tasks because it is better to ask for help rather than make your work a mess!

Steve Isbell, Technology Administrator: In what ways do you feel your role contributes to the overall success of the organization?

My role in Information Technology (IT) plays a crucial role in the success of LIS in various ways. For example, IT systems can facilitate the automation of tasks, streamline our processes, increase productivity, and improve efficiency. Additionally, I am also able to enhance LIS’ communication with tools such as email, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms, which further enables seamless communication among our employees, teams, customers, and partners and fosters teamwork and innovation. By leveraging IT effectively, it can give us a competitive advantage by implementing innovative technologies, allowing us to quickly adapt to changes, and delivering our products and services more efficiently than our competitors.

Tami Winston, Receptionist: What do you enjoy most about being part of the administrative team?

My role is to create a positive first impression, provide customer service, offer administrative support, and enhance the overall efficiency of our team, and it keeps me on my toes. Being part of the admin team is rewarding because of the opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving, and my contribution to the success of LIS.

Terri Hendrix, Project Administrator-Survey: How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines or competing demands?

One of the most valuable tools for me is a prioritized task list. Given the numerous projects I manage on a daily basis, each with distinct priorities and deadlines, I find it essential to reconstruct my list every morning to reflect the tasks that take precedence for the day. As I progress through this list, I systematically mark off completed tasks, providing a visual representation of the progress made and instilling a sense of achievement. Any incomplete tasks are promptly reassessed and reprioritized, and clients are promptly apprised of their project statuses. Keeping clients informed serves to underscore their significance and assures them of our unwavering commitment to completing their projects diligently.

Tips from the Team on National Marketing Operations Appreciation Day


In today’s digital world, marketing professionals serve as an integral part of any successful business, no matter the size or industry. National Marketing Operations Appreciation Day, celebrated annually on April 11th, is a national holiday that recognizes these talented individuals as well as the extensive work required to run successful marketing teams. 

Marketing professionals are often tasked with not only leading and executing advertising campaigns, but they also work in content creation, public relations, sales, event planning, social media, brand management, and design, only to name a few areas of focus. Strategic thinkers, these professionals work diligently to manage brand identify and send clear, cohesive messages to target audiences.  

At L.I. Smith and Associates (LIS), our marketing department got its start in 2021 when, now Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Ashley Horn was hired as Marketing Coordinator. The department of one quickly grew into a comprehensive department, covering a wide variety of roles and responsibilities and is composed of two full-time employees and a part-time intern. Now, in 2024, the team is proud to create all marketing materials such as photos, videos, graphics, and print materials in house, while also managing social media, staff relations, internal communications, and community relations efforts.  

In celebration of National Marketing Operations Appreciation Day, we asked each member of the team to take a moment to reflect upon their current careers as well as how they got to where they are today. Each staff member was asked a series of questions.  

  • What is one marketing resource that you think every business should utilize?  
  • Why did you decide to go into Marketing and Communications?  
  • What is one piece of marketing advice that you would give your younger self?  

Ashley Horn, Vice President of Marketing and Communication

  • What is one marketing resource that you think every business should utilize? 

Utilize your creativity! Don’t feel obligated to continue the status quo or copy the marketing strategies of other companies. Your business is unique, and as such, your marketing strategies and tactics should be too. Try something new, while always keeping your mission and values in the forefront.  


  • Why did you decide to go into Marketing and Communications?  

I initially chose to pursue a career in communication because my greatest strength was writing, and I hoped to find a career in which I could directly apply this skillset. After beginning the program at the University of Tennessee at Martin, I quickly found that I also enjoyed the media design element that goes along with telling a brand’s story. Having the opportunity to express my creativity through the development of marketing and public relations materials is something that I truly enjoy.  


  • What is one piece of marketing advice that you would give your younger self? 

Always take the time to network! Through networking, you can uncover new opportunities for both your organization’s success as well as your own growth and professional development.

Madison Bickerstaff, Communication Specialist

  • What is one marketing resource that you think every business should utilize?  

I believe every business, big or small, should have some form of social media to share their mission, what they do best, and how others can benefit from their services. You’d be surprised how much traction a company can get by sharing their characteristics through a social media outlet.  

  • Why did you decide to go into Marketing and Communications?  

I always loved the art of Communication and how information is shared through our society. It is an ever-growing field and I wanted to be a part of it.  

  • What is one piece of marketing advice that you would give your younger self? 

RE-READ everything. And after you’ve reread it once, reread it again. It’s always best practice to double and triple-check everything you write.  

Martha Jane (MJ) Hooper, Marketing and Communication Intern

  • What is one marketing resource that you think every business should utilize?  

I think one resource that every business should utilize is networking! Over the past two years, I have watched LIS grow tremendously just because of networking. You never know what will happen and what the outcome will be just by reaching out or going to events. 

  • Why did you decide to go into Marketing and Communications?  

I decided to go into Marketing and Communications after I changed my major from meteorology in my freshman year of college. Over a break, my aunt told me about her degree, which was communications with a focus in public relations, and what all she could do with it! I liked the versatility of it and knowing that every business needs a communications and marketing person helped with my decision. 

  • What is one piece of marketing advice that you would give your younger self? 

One piece of advice I would give my younger self is to be patient when you are learning. Being in the field versus learning in the classroom are two different things and it is a learning process. Every business has different marketing criteria, and it is okay it will take some time getting used to and learning the ropes of it! 

Trevor Teague Earns Second License at 27 Years Old 

Trevor Teague, PE, PLS


In February of this year, Trevor Teague officially earned his Professional Engineering License (PE). This feat marked a spectacular accomplishment as he now holds two professional licenses at the age of 27. Before earning his PE, Teague also received his Professional Surveyor License (PLS) in 2021. 

“Professional licensure is the highest honor that an engineer can achieve,” stated LIS President Patrick Smith. “It represents to the public that the engineer has satisfied the academic requirements and earned the trust of their colleagues. Trevor has achieved this honor as a surveyor and now as an engineer. He is the youngest person that I know to have done both.” 

With a background in surveying and extensive experience in different departments, Teague is a key member of the L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) team, bringing skills that benefit both the company and our clients. He is the third professional engineer on the LIS staff and specializes in stormwater design and subdivision design. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM), he also holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.   

Teague has proven himself as an invaluable mentor for engineering staff members and our summer interns, teaching valuable lessons and procedures which allow our team to be successful in the field. 

“Trevor has quickly become one of my favorite colleagues that I have ever worked with. The value that he adds as an engineer, mentor, and overall representative for L.I. Smith is immeasurable. I look forward to continuing to learn from and work with Trevor as our company grows,” commented Chris Mills. 

Teague began his career with LIS almost five years ago as an Engineer in Training (EIT), which is essentially an apprenticeship prior to becoming a professional in the field. As he assumes his new role as a PE, he will take a more distinguished leadership position within LIS’ engineering department. Teague will also take on more responsibility for projects while also managing and mentoring the team of EITs and engineering personnel.    

Already planning for the future, he plans to earn a PE licensure in Alabama and join more professional development organizations. Teague is currently a member of Tennessee Associations of Professional Surveyors (TAPS) but plans to join the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE). By participating in organizations like these, Teague will have the opportunity to network with other professionals and promote his professional development. 

“I am excited to have earned my engineering license. This has been a goal of mine since graduating college. I look forward to continuing my career as an engineer and hopefully putting my license to good use,” Teague remarked.  


LIS Announces UT Martin Scholarship Recipients


Two students from the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) were selected as the 2024 recipients of L.I. Smith & Associates’ (LIS) Larry Isham Smith Civil Engineering Scholarship and the Lucile D. Smith Land Surveying Scholarship. The students are the inaugural recipients, as the program was established in February of this year.

“These students are the future of the industry. There is no doubt the recipients will each make a tremendous impact on the field as they enter the workforce,” remarked LIS Vice President of Marketing and Communication Ashley Horn.

The LIS scholarship program aims to recognize and support outstanding, local students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and a commitment to making a positive impact in the civil engineering and land surveying fields. After a rigorous selection process involving careful review and evaluation of numerous applications, LIS was thrilled to announce Estefania Silva and Will Gallimore as the first recipients of the LIS scholarships.

Estefania Silva

Silva, who received the Larry Isham Smith Civil Engineering Scholarship, is a senior majoring in civil engineering. She is a Weakley County native, having grown up in Martin, Tenn. A dedicated student, Silva has maintained an impressive grade point average (GPA) throughout her time at the university and was encouraged by the department chair, Dr. Tim Nipp, to apply for the scholarship.

Nipp commented, “In a pool of outstanding UTM Engineering students, Steffie exemplifies hard work and results. She is very deserving of this scholarship from L. I. Smith. Upon graduation, Steffie will be a successful engineer who will make a positive contribution to the engineering world. We are honored to have our Engineering students recognized for their efforts.

After graduation, she hopes to become a senior structural engineer and gain experience leading other engineers in the workplace. Silva is an emerging leader, serving as treasurer for the local collegiate chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and as a head coach for Martin Elite Gymnastics Academy (MEGA).

Will Gallimore 

Gallimore was awarded the Lucile D. Smith Land Surveying Scholarship and is a junior farm and ranch management major from McKenzie, Tenn. In conjunction with his chosen major, he is also pursuing the land survey certification. As a student leader on campus, Gallimore is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Cattleman’s Association, as well as a student worker on the university’s farm. He has served in multiple leadership positions within his fraternity including vice president and recruitment chair.

“Will is an outstanding young man who has a promising future as a surveyor. I am thrilled he has received this scholarship and the opportunities it provides to further his career. I know he will be a great representative for the surveying profession,” stated UTM professor, Sandy Mehlhorn.

In the future, Gallimore plans to work toward earning his professional land surveying license (PLS). To accomplish this goal, he will first take his fundamentals of surveying (FS) exam and work under the direct supervision of a licensed professional for two years. Gallimore is confident that the field of surveying will be a great fit for him, as he enjoys being outside and working with his hands.

Silva and Gallimore were awarded the scholarships at the 2024 Celebration of Generosity and Gratitude Gala hosted on March 7 at the university. The event recognized the accomplishments of the student recipients as well as the donations of local organizations and individuals in developing scholarships through partnerships with the university.

“Through the implementation of a scholarship program with UTM, we are eager to make a small impact on the collegiate experience of hardworking, local students by providing financial assistance,” commented Horn.

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