Chattanoogan: Amanda Carmichael – From A Carhop To Her Own Company

Monday, January 7, 2013 - by Jen Jeffrey

Okie-born Amanda Carmichael not only grew up on Sonic food, but it was her very first job. Her father Brent Tevebaugh has been in the Sonic business since 1978. “I was weaned on French fries,” she teases while adding, “and now I am a vegetarian.”

Brent moved his wife Janet and his three children to Sparta when Amanda was in the fifth grade.

Her parents didn’t suggest Sonic as a job choice; Amanda had actually dreamed of being a carhop and at age 14, she donned a pair of roller skates and joined the Sonic Company for nine years.

Amanda didn’t decide to go into PR until she went to college at MTSU. “I wanted to go into broadcast journalism, but mom had the idea for me to go into PR and I am glad I listened to her,” she insists.

At sweet sixteen Amanda met Lee Carmichael, the man with whom she would spend the rest of her life.

The couple moved to Chattanooga eight years ago when Lee was hired by TVA. “I have always loved Chattanooga. My husband’s Aunt (Betsy Carmichael) lives here and she is the art director at Baylor School. I just always thought this would be a great place to end up,” Amanda says.

In 2005 Amanda worked as an account executive at Waterhouse Public Relations – and had mostly worked on the Mayfield Dairy Farm account. She moved onto Unum before forming her own company with friend Amy Mace in 2010.

Mace Carmichael currently serves many national and local business and non-profit organizations.

“It’s something I am very passionate about. Amy and I had worked together at another agency in town. We did projects on our own for a while and then we did a couple of projects together. It just made sense to start our own company. You never know what your day is going to be like – it is always changing,” Amanda declares.

Able to provide many services for their clients, Mace Carmichael has become a full-service agency to bring people full circle, from branding to marketing/PR and now even to advertising.

“We are really excited! We are working with Jackson Furniture and Catnapper on their advertising campaign. It’s hard to get bored doing this job, it is always fun and there are always new challenges,” Amanda says.

Having her own agency has helped Amanda in developing relationships.  When coming to Chattanooga, she became involved in various organizations.

Amanda was a founding board member of the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga and a graduate of Leadership Chattanooga as well as serving on the Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association board.

Serving on event planning committees, Amanda enjoys attending the events or parties and has thrown quite a few themed-parties herself.

“I love themed-parties! I plan them for charities and I plan them for fun at my own house. We used to have them so often that our house was dubbed ‘Club Carmichael’,” she laughs.

Last year, one party was called ‘Wig Out’. Other themes have included Guitar Hero, a British-themed party for friends moving to the UK, and an island party complete with a live band for a fundraiser that she hosted for friends who were adopting children from Haiti.

Amanda also handles the publicity for Wine Over Water and is involved in several non-profits.

“I end up doing PR for most of the projects I am helping with. I’ll be running in my first 5K Color Run with Signal Center on April 6.. All proceeds go towards the Signal Centers to help build another building for their adult program. They have programs for children and adults. Right now they are in a double-wide trailer and they can only fit so many people in there. There is a waiting list and the need is there,” Amanda upholds.

“I heard that they blast you with color. It’s also going to be a party with a live band and great exercise for you too,” she says.

The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Amanda. She has also served on event planning committees for the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the Creative Discovery Museum, Cornerstones and On Point.

She served as co-chair of the American Cancer Society's “Summer in the City” fundraiser in 2011 and 2012; currently serves as a trustee for the Unfoundation and is on Cornerstones Inc.’s board and development committee.

“It’s great to have so many good relationships with people,” she says. “This is a great community. Everyone just takes each other under their wing; there is a strong camaraderie among those who live here and I find inspiration in all sorts of people,” Amanda says. 

Barely into her thirties, Amanda has been around the block(s) of Chattanooga a few times, but feels as if there is still more to be a part of.

“I come by it naturally. My grandfather, Jim Amerson, is 82 and he is still involved in many things. You can’t make him stop! I have been like this all of my life. I was in every club you can imagine in high school … and elementary school too,” she says.

Amanda was on the newspaper staff and a member of 4H and had entered speech contests and other various things all while in elementary school. “You name it I did it. It’s who I am and what I do,” she insists.

“I like working with non-profits because I get to meet so many people and learn new things.”


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