New Leadership Assumes Role for the MKAA’s Board of Commissioners

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – During a Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA) Board of Commissioners’ meeting held on January 20, 2021, Brian Simmons, President and Founder of Simmons Property Group, LLC, assumed his role as the board’s new chairman.  Simmons supersedes State Representative Eddie Mannis who will remain on the board as a commissioner. Jeff Smith, Executive Vice President for Operations for UT‑Battelle LLC, will serve as Vice-Chairman.

Brian Simmons, Chairman
President and Founder, Simmons Property Group, LLC.
During his real estate career, Simmons has played an integral part in acquiring and financing over 40 commercial real estate properties throughout the Southeast, with a concentration in affordable housing communities.  

Simmons has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Georgia Tech, a Master’s degree in Finance from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Georgia Tech.

Since being appointed to the board in 2011, Simmons has held a variety of leadership positions, most recently serving as Vice-Chairman.  His experience on the airport board well as in his past chairmanship of the Knoxville Transit Authority make him well versed in the transportation needs of our region.

Jeff Smith, Vice-Chairman
Executive Vice President for Operations for UT-Battelle LLC
Deputy for Operations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In this position, Smith coordinates the overall operations and support functions, including facility operations, environmental compliance, safety and health, business operations, security, human resources, communications, and technology transfer and economic development for the largest and most diverse of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) science laboratories.

Jeff also serves on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board, a position held since January of 2018.  He is also a private pilot, holds an FAA repairman’s’ certificate, and member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

Smith has served on the airport board since 2005 and has been a strong voice for corporate, military and recreational aviation as Chair of the General Aviation Committee for 13 years.

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The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority owns and operates both McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) and Downtown Island Airport (DKX). For more information, visit

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