Haslam’s former campaign managers team in consulting firm

Jeremy Harrell, who was Gov. Bill Haslam’s campaign manager in 2014, has joined Mark Cate, who was Haslam’s campaign manager in 2010 and later served as the governor’s chief of staff, in a consulting firm. They’re partners in Stones River Group with Stephen Susano, who was executive director of Tennessee Business Partnership, the group that provided most of the funding in the 2014 efforts to pass a judicial selection constitutional amendment favored by the governor.

The first publicly-disclosed client of the firm was the Tennessee State Museum Foundation, which is paying Stones River Group $10,000 per month for coordinating efforts to build a new museum and raise money for it. (Previous post HERE.) (A spokeswoman declined to name any other clients in a quick phone call today.)

Here’s the news release:
NASHVILLE – Stones River Group Co-Founders Mark Cate and Stephen Susano today announced that the business is expanding to meet the needs of its growing client base. Jeremy Harrell will be joining the group as a principal, and Jennifer Triplett will serve as an associate.

“We have hit the ground running, and it is exciting that we’re able to strengthen our resources to better serve our clients,” Stones River Group President Mark Cate said. “Jeremy and Jennifer are great additions to our team, and I appreciate the work ethic, skills and experience they bring.”

A graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Harrell is the former executive director of Tennesseans for Student Success and campaign manager for Gov. Bill Haslam’s historic 2014 re-election.

Before the election, he served as a member of the Haslam administration, where he oversaw the governor’s appointments to boards and commissions and the office of constituent services, along with working on key legislative and policy initiatives. Prior to that, Harrell served as deputy campaign manager for Haslam’s 2010 campaign and managed Sen. Lamar Alexander’s successful 2008 re-election.

Harrell, 36, and his wife, Michelle, live in Franklin with their son, Wesley.

“I’m very excited to join Stones River Group,” Harrell said. “Over the past several years I have been humbled by the opportunity to serve Governor Haslam and the people of Tennessee and to help make our state an even better place. I am looking forward to this next chapter.”

Jennifer Triplett is a graduate of Maryville College. Prior to joining Stones River Group, she served as an international marketing specialist at Radio Systems Corporation, the manufacturer of the PetSafe and SportDOG brands. Triplett has also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA focused on grant writing and donor relationship management.
Triplett, 30, and her husband, Aaron, live in Hendersonville.

Stones River Group also announced the launch of the firm’s website: www.stonesrivergroup.com. The website provides additional information about the firm, services provided and more detailed biographical information about the Stones River Group team.

About Stones River Group
Stones River Group specializes in helping clients devise comprehensive strategies and solutions, manage projects and initiatives, expand and leverage relationships, and complete complex business transactions. Combining our many years of collective experience in business, government service, and politics, we provide comprehensive solutions to complex issues resulting in success for our clients.

Our Team
Mark Cate is a co-founder and president of Stones River Group. Cate formerly served as Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief of staff where he was his top advisor, strategist and negotiator. He has developed an extensive network of relationships in Tennessee with business and political leaders and a network of relationships with a variety of national organizations.

Stephen Susano is a co-founder and principal of Stones River Group. He formerly served as executive director of Tennessee Business Partnership, a non-profit issue advocacy organization he co-founded with an alliance of some of the state’s top business leaders to promote policies that foster economic growth and enhance Tennessee’s competitiveness.

Jeremy Harrell is a co-founder and principal of Stones River Group. He has an extensive network of political relationships statewide and has been at the center of many important political campaigns in Tennessee during the last decade.

Jennifer Triplett is an associate of Stones River Group. Most recently, she was an International Marketing Specialist at Radio Systems Corporation, a pet product manufacturer known for the PetSafe and SportDOG brands based in Knoxville