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Our Founders: Jarious Bush, Josh Outsey, Stan Johnson, & Jerome Johnson  

Our Founders: Jarious Bush, Josh Outsey, Stan Johnson, & Jerome Johnson


About Us

SEEED is a green community development non-profit focusing on creating and sustaining jobs for Knoxville’s urban young people, and ensuring clean energy and conservation technologies are available for low income residents. Our vision is for a sustainable city and sustainable careers for all of Knoxville’s residents. Ours is a movement that grew out of kitchen table conversations in 2009, where residents (a mix of young people and adults) of Knoxville’s Empowerment Zone talked about the opportunities that were developing with green jobs and how these opportunities could be used to transform the community. Young and old alike developed the idea of SEEED.

Our Mission

"SEEED provides young adults pathways our of poverty through job readiness training, while equipping communities with environmental literacy skills."

Our Staff

Executive Director: Stan Johnson//s.johnson692@gmail.com

Program Coordinator: Lee Owen// seeedvista1@cnvista.org

Social Media Coordinator & Event Planner: John P. Gough//seeedvista2@cnvista.org

Greening the City from the Inside Out

SEEED is preparing the heart of Knoxville to become the center of our emerging green economy by increasing access to sustainable, clean energy technologies and a sustainable food supply for low to moderate income residents. The resulting green job opportunities associated with these programs create pathways out of poverty for our youth.

Growing a Green Future

SEEED pursues prosperity that is sustainable and respectful of the Earth, and our community, through five interconnected strategies:

  1. Increasing access to green energy efficiency technologies for low to moderate income residents
  2. Preparing the city for a sustainable and healthy food supply
  3. “Green collar” job development and training for youth from urban communities
  4. Social, cultural, and spiritual development through a community service program and youth mentoring
  5. Advanced mentoring for green entrepreneurship

What We Do

Our Program

The SEEED's Job Readiness Program (JRP), also known as the Pre-Apprenticeship Program (PAP) serves Knoxville's young adults between the ages of 16-28 years-old. The program offers training in resume-writing, goal-setting, cover-letters, job application, and various other job ready skills. The goal of the JRP is promote development and employment sustainability, while instilling environmental knowledge in our future leaders. Our program values economic develop and self-sustainability, which is our sole inspiration for wanting to train young adults to gain and keep long-term jobs. By enrolling in this program, young adults are given an opportunity to have an equal foothold in the job market as their peers who have received further and/or additional training.


Home energy workshops

As part of our "Greening the City from the Inside Out," we partner with The City of Knoxville, Knoxville Utility Board (KUB), and Community Action Committee (CAC) to host home energy workshops in low income communities. We discuss ways to lower utility bills as well as easy ways to weatherize your home. Before the workshops, SEEED takes the streets, going door to door to take surveys and listen to the homeowner's needs and wants. We can then tailor the workshop to that specific community. 





Edible Garden

Our edible garden is our student's answer to the food desert issue in inner city Knoxville. We have 52 fruit trees and plants and 6 raised garden beds. We encourage the community to use our beds to plant their own food. The idea is to inspire people to then grow their own fruits and vegetables from their own yard. 










Make a difference in a young person’s life. Our youth are highly motivated to get out of the poverty cycle, get out of the streets, and find sustainable careers. A few hours a month can make a lot of change!

Ways to get involved:

  • Street Event Planning Assistance – We are looking for young people and older folks to help us mobilize the community to get involved in the city’s weatherization planning process.
  • Mentors – Adults 25 years and up. Once a week phone calls/texts, one meeting a month with your young person, and one meeting with your mentoring group is all it takes. We mentor in groups (3-5 mentors per mentee) so you have a great support system and are never alone.
  • Instructors for our Pre-Apprenticeship Program – Most classes are one hour and you can sign up for whatever you have time and the knowledge to teach. Classes range from “how to dress for an interview”, “how to fill out a job application”, “resume writing”, to coming and talking about green jobs.
  • SEEED Volunteer Coordinator – Help us recruit volunteers and contact each regularly to provide assistance and make sure they are getting things done. This is a great job if you want to work from your home. Mainly it is making phone calls on a weekly basis.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Service Coordinator – Find volunteer opportunities for our pre-apprenticeship program and put them on the schedule. This is another great job if you want to work from home and just make phone calls. You’ll get a list of time slots and just need to fill them. We already have a great list of service opportunities, so you mainly need to set the schedule.
  • Mentor Coordinator - Help recruit mentors and contact each weekly (mainly through email) to see if there are problems and to make sure they are contacting their mentee. Make sure each mentor group has a lead mentor and that person is setting a monthly meeting for that group. Track mentees and meet with them monthly. Keep log of mentee progress on performance measures. Schedule quarterly trainings. May help with training if desired.
  • Crew Leaders – Must be 25 or older. Drive students to volunteer opportunities, supervise them on the job, fill out soft skills evaluation checklists, and make sure students feel out weekly evaluations.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Program Coordinator – Help recruit young people for the program. Schedule instructors and make sure they show up. Pick up young people as needed and keep track of attendance and volunteer hours. Make sure that Pre-apprenticeship Service Coordinator has filled the volunteer opportunities schedule. Make sure crew leaders show up for leading volunteer opportunities and make sure all skill checklists are turned in.
  • Administrative Help – Are you handy with a computer? Most of these jobs take only a few hours per month and all of them can be done whenever you have time (you set your own schedule). The following tasks are needed. You may volunteer for one or several:
    • Update mailing list – add new people, correct contact information. Can be done at home.
    • Send text messages to our board and volunteers a few times a month.
    • Call board members on the phone once a month to remind them of board meetings.
    • Compile and send out a monthly newsletter. You will need to call board members and staff for updates. Write the newsletter and send it out.
    • Keep list of volunteers and board members updated.
    • Update website. It’s a WordPress site, so you don’t need to know html. We’ll train you how to do it. Contact staff weekly to get an update and write a blog post based on their update. Might involve internet research.
    • Tweet and update our Facebook and Linkedin groups. Monitor Facebook wall and Linkedin posts, answer questions and delete spam. Call staff for updates and ideas on what to post. This needs to be done weekly. Twitter updates can be set up once a week to automatically tweet several times a day.
    • Public relations – Keep in touch with our media contacts monthly. Keep up with Facebook causes and send out reminders to use the service.
    • Graphic design – Help us create flyers, brochures, and other marketing materials.
    • Video editing – Edit footage for posting on YouTube and for creating DVDs.
    • Photo posting – Take photos of our pre-apprenticeship students and during events and post them on Flickr, Facebook, and keep an archive on a computer.
    • Man booths at volunteer fairs and community events. We’ll give you handouts and help you with what to tell people. This is a lot of fun if you like to meet new people and are interested in sustainable energy.
    • Grant writing – We will identify the grant and provide you with the information on how to write it.
    • Foundation phone calls – We have a list of foundations that we need to establish personal contact with. You would call monthly and start talking to the administrative assistant, working up eventually to talking to the executive director and board chair. We will coach you.
    • Help plan events. It could be as simple as posting flyers, or it could be coordinating the entire event.

Interested in any of these areas? Leave a reply below!

(None of your information will be published)

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Board of directors

  • President: Jarman Watts

 Serves through January 2017. Elected to board January 16, 2014.

  • Vice President: Sterling Henton

Currently owner Straitline Entertainment since 1995, which works with BET, MTV, and VH1 on various projects and television shows; Attended UT on a football scholarship and was a freshman All America Quarterback in 1987, with 2 Southeastern Conference champion wins and  4 bowl game wins; played professional football; received MBA from Columbia University in 2002; VP Marketing Southeast Region Warner Brothers; Senior Business Analyst for International Profit Associates. Serves on the board through December 2015. Elected to board on February 5, 2010. Renewed for three years on January 17, 2013.

  • Secretary: Gary L. Emerson

Gary currently is a Regional Vice President for Primerica, the largest diversified financial services company in North America. Primerica is a company that focuses on helping families become properly protected, debt free, and financially stable. Gary obtained his B.S. (Chemistry) degree from Alcorn State University. Gary managed laboratories 6.5 years and 10 years respectively for two companies. He obtained his Series 6, 63 and 26 investment, insurance, variable annuity and legal licenses in April 1989. He opened his Primerica office in January 2001 and manages 17 agents and 4 investment specialists. Gary serves as a board member for two non-profit, community service organizations, Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development (SEEED) and Locked Down on the Outside (LDO). His hobbies include fishing, hunting, gardening, basketball, travelling, and deep study of the Bible. Gary is married to Laschinski and has one son in his first year of college. Serves on the board through December 2015. Elected to board on January 8, 2011. Renewed for three years on January 17, 2013.

  • Greg Gilbert

Greg is a 12 year veteran of the real estate industry beginning after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He began in the residential sector and progressed from resale to new construction representation. He partnered in his own full service brokerage company, which specialized in development. Mr. Gilbert was responsible for the company’s operations and deliverables, including product development, sales strategy, marketing management, market research, and training. His ability to anticipate trends and develop business growth strategies has made him a leader in the industry. Mr. Gilbert is active in many local charitable organizations as well as the National and Tennessee Association of Realtors. Serves on the board through December 2015. Elected to board on March 8, 2011. Renewed for three years on January 17, 2013.

  • Jeffery Carter

Jeffery is the Architectural Designer/Owner at Residential Design Source, LLC. He has over (20) years of residential and commercial design experience producing construction documents for a variety of projects. Prior to establishing his own design company, he worked as an Architectural Designer for (15+) years with Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon, Inc. a multi discipline engineering, architectural, and planning firm. Jeffery also has a background in interior and mechanical design with previous employment at Designers Alliance, Inc., Gleman Engineering Co., and Gee and Jenson, E.A.P., Inc. Jeffery holds an A.S. degree in Computer Integrated Drafting and Design from Pellissippi State Community College. He attained the designation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) with the United States Green Building Institute in 2009.
Serves on the board through December 2015. Elected to board on February 8, 2011. Renewed for three years on January 17, 2013.

  • John Cockerille

Co-owner Tenant’s Choice, which is renovating deteriorating homes in urban Knoxville; Licensed contractor; Instrumental in getting Step Up on a firm foundational basis – it is a highly successful Florida program to provide construction job training for low-income people.
Serves on the board through December 2015. Elected to board on March 25, 2010. Renewed for three years on January 17, 2013.

  • David Gaston

Biography unavailable. Serves through 2016.

  • Omar Jackson

Omar currently works as an International Accounting Manager for Accenture Inc.  Accenture specializes in consulting and providing financial outsourcing practices to its clients that help to increase business growth on a global scale.  Currently his portfolio of clients include the JW Marriott Cancun, Marriott Hotel Resort Casa Magna, and Courtyard San Salvador.  He oversees approximately 350M worth of monthly balance sheet reconciliations for these properties. A native of metro Atlanta, GA, he moved to Knoxville in 1998 to attend the University of Tennessee.  He also runs his own youth leadership organization called The Esquires and Lady Esquires.  He mentors approximately 40-60 high school age teenagers from various Knox County high schools.  He also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated in which he joined the Mu Iota Chapter while attending the University of Tennessee. Serves through August 2016. Elected to board on August 22, 2013.

  • Executive Director: Stan Johnson

Bachelor of Science from Knoxville College in 1995. Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity since 1992. Completion of Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness Program by the College of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee in 2014. Owner and operator of Stan Johnson Super Auto Center from 2001 to 2006. Member of Masonic Lodge Great Light 300 since 1993. Served as Metropolitan Planning Commissioner from 2004 to 2012. Co-founder of SEEED in 2009 and currently serves as Executive Director. Married to Viola Johnson and has four children. He loves fishing, gardening, and is an active member of Overcoming Believers Church.

Contact Us

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(865) 766-5185


1617 Dandridge Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37915