Alumni Spotlight: Terry Rowell
On December 31, Volunteer football fans from around the country will be watching their beloved team fight Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. For College of Business Administration alumnus Terry Rowell, the game hits a little closer to home than for most—since he has been part of the Chick-fil-A family for over 30 years.
Rowell began working for Chick-fil-A as a part-time employee when he was in high school. After graduating from UT in 1988 with a B.S. in business administration, he immediately went to work for Chick-fil-A's corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia, as a business intern. He traveled across the country, "troubleshooting" the chain’s restaurant locations that were not profitable or not reaching their full potential. His responsibilities progressed, and he became the grand opening coordinator for several units across the U.S., assisting with the opening of new units and training new franchisees. He married Whitney Miller in January of 1989, whom he met while they were both students at UT.
In 1989, the Rowell’s purchased a Chick-fil-A franchise in Asheville, North Carolina, in order to be closer to "Big Orange Country.” They stayed in Asheville for 10 years while they raised their two children, Tanner (now 14) and Will (now 11). Rowell became a firefighter/EMT during his time in Asheville, and he worked for the Skyland Fire Department (as a lieutenant) and for Mission Hospital (with the helicopter aero-medical ambulance program). He helped found the fire department's dive rescue team and served on the board of directors. His accomplishments were recognized when he was named "Firefighter of The Year" in 1994.
In 1998, the Rowell’s relocated to Sevierville, Tennessee,--again, in order to be closer to family and the “Big Orange!” The family purchased another Chick-fil-A franchise in the area, which they still operate today. Their location has won numerous awards, including the Chick-fil-A chain’s "Symbol of Success" award in 2004. The family works together to continue their success, and they have celebrated over 20 years as Chick-fil-A franchise owners. Whitney serves as the store’s unit marketing director.
In addition to keeping busy with his store, Terry and his family are active members of their church (First Baptist Church of Sevierville), and he enjoys watching UT athletics, scuba diving, public service, helicopters, and learning Spanish. Look for Rowell as you watch the Vols play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve—he’ll be the one in orange.
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