Local Inspiration

There is room to nurture and grow your passion in Unicoi County. Whether your vision is to build a business based on the county’s unmatched place in nature, to leveraging the fiber connection to the world to grow in the e-economy, there are no limits to life.

From art to engineering, history to filmmaking, there is a heart following its passion around every corner. Here are only a handful of examples of people following, and creating their own inspiration:


Rick Murray, Wood Turner

Rick Murray

Wood Turner
A pioneer in recognizing the potential of Unicoi County’s outdoor tourism trade, Rich turned to another passionwood turning. Salvaging driftwood and fallen trees along the Nolichucky River, Murray’s creations are sold at his Unaka Woodworks Galley and at art stores and festivals nationwide. Visit Rick at his gallery and home at his Nolichucky Gorge Campground, and you will meet an extraordinary person who is following his passion.

AJ Rose, Filmmaker, Screenwriter

AJ Rose

Filmmaker, Screenwriter
AJ began as a news director at a local radio station, then followed her inspiration of bringing Appalachian stories to life, right where they began. Underfoot Films fulfills that inspiration with a film studio in Unicoi County and production underway on the studio’s creations.

David Ramsey, Conservationist, Mountain Man

David Ramsey

Conservationist, Mountain Man
When rumors of a resort developer about to gobble up the largest remaining tract of Southern Appalachian wildlands in Unicoi County, David Ramsey was inspired by a better idea.
Ramsey, whose family in the county dated back to the Civil War, launched a major advocacy campaign to raised $40 million dollars for ownership of the land by the Conservation Fund and its eventual formation into the Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park. The wildlands will be preserved forever.

Paul Farnor, Serial Entrepreneur

Paul Farnor

Serial Entrepreneur
Paul grew up in his family’s trading post in the county where customers were as likely to trade a fox pelt as cash for their groceries. It inspired Paul to become a serial entrepreneur who built multiple multi-million-dollar enterprises whose addresses remain in Unicoi County, providing jobs to hundreds of people living here.

Trey Hensley, Guitar Picker, Bluegrass Star

Trey Hensley

Guitar Picker, Bluegrass Star
Trey Hensley loved bluegrass from his early days and followed his passion as a graduate of nearby ETSU’s College of Bluegrass and Country Music. Along the way, he helped inspire students to form their own Bluegrass bands at Unicoi County High School. Today, you’ll hear his licks on chart topping bluegrass songs worldwide. While his address is now Nashville, his heart is in his Tennessee mountain home.

There are hundreds of extraordinary people following their own passion and benefiting our people with their local inspiration. What inspires you? We have a heritage of fostering creativity and passion for a great path forward.

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