Shark Tank draws familiar Knoxville faces

The chance of landing a spot on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank is slim – 150 of 40,000 who applied last year got on the show – but that didn’t stop nearly 180 people from giving it a try.


There were many who drove hundreds of miles to Knoxville to make their one-minute pitch on Thursday to casting members, but amongst the crowd were some familiar faces.

Here are a few Knoxvillians I spotted:

Lisa Wiles of Fan-e Shaker – an adjustable pom-pom skirt designed to snap on pompoms that can be traded out for different colors to support fans’ favorite teams. I wrote about Lisa’s efforts back in 2014. She said she decided at the last minute to come make her pitch to the Sharks’ crew.

Mike Robinson of HeatSeeker – a technology developed as part cooling devices used by firefighters and student athletes. I wrote about Mike in 2012 when he was just getting his business off the ground. While sold in other countries, Mike said he hopes to take his business to the next level with the help of Shark Tank.

Randall Mitchell of Smoky Mountain Beer Cheese – a versatile cheese-based food product developed in October 2009. I wrote about Randall in 2011. His products are found in grocery stores as far as Arkansas, but with Shark Tank, he hopes to expand nationwide.

Mark Arnurius of Tarp Tow – a device that attaches to your riding lawn mower that uses plastic sheeting to carry away debris. The News Sentinel featured the University of Tennessee graduate last fall. Mark hopes to get the mentoring help of a Shark to take his business further.