Skip to content

September 21


06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Click to Register:

PRSA Volunteer Chapter


College of Communication & Information

1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37916

Knoxville, TN, US, 37916

Travis Parman will discuss the role of chief truth teller in a crisis and share lessons learned on how to and how not to handle a scandal.

Leveraging real-life example ranging from bankruptcy to border jumping, Travis Parman will discuss the role of chief truth teller in a crisis and share lessons learned on how to and how not to handle a scandal.

General Motors bankruptcy. Heated labor campaigns. GMAC rebrand to Ally Financial. Pulte Homes during foreclosure crisis. Renault emissions cheating allegations. Nissan executive misconduct and C-suite overhaul. Start-up to IPO forging a new sector in sustainable food. Travis Parman has built an international communications career managing these challenges as chief truth teller for companies when they need it most. Beyond working multi-nationally, he is a culturally agile, globally mobile professional with expat assignments in Europe and Asia—each during tumultuous and transformative periods.

Presented in partnership between PRSA Volunteer Chapter, PRSSA @ UTK, and the Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations. Beverages and hors d’oeuvre will be available. Parking is free and you will be mailed a parking pass to use.

Speaker: Travis Parman, Chief Communications Officer, AppHarvest (Nasdaq: APPH)

Travis joined AppHarvest, a leading AgTech company, in 2020 to help take the pre-revenue start-up public. With a mission to redefine agriculture by making it more sustainable, the company is leading a charge to develop a network of massive high-tech indoor farms that blend sunlight, rainwater and AI to produce crop yields up to 30X that of open-field agriculture. As a public benefit corporation, the company is working to deliver on a social mission to establish an AgTech capital in Appalachia, creating jobs for some of the most distressed areas in the region.

Prior to AppHarvest, Travis worked across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance from 2012 in multiple roles building discipline in the communications function to align communications to support business objectives. He managed the chaos that enveloped the company following the arrest of its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, and the resulting governance overhaul and significant leadership changeover. His work in Japan leading the global communications organization of about 300 focused on upgrading the team, establishing a global corporate narrative and setting new metrics to prioritize improved audience targeting and message penetration versus a longstanding share-of-voice model. He then joined an international turnaround team dispatched to address performance issues in the North America market while maintaining global responsibilities.

Previously, Travis served as VP, International Communications and Global Performance at Renault based in Paris. Travis worked with the team to help expand storytelling efforts beyond western Europe as the group underwent expansion efforts particularly in China, India, Latin America and northern Africa. He also led an Alliance-wide metrics RFP and implemented a new dashboard to drive better decision-making and investment decisions.

Travis also has held leadership positions at national homebuilder, PulteGroup, where he established the first consumer communications function working with the CEO and CMO; at Ally Financial where he created the first consumer PR program for Ally Bank and reinvented the CSR program focusing on modern financial literacy; and at GM where his leadership supported multiple areas including manufacturing, the CIO, Chevrolet brand, expansion of consumer, lifestyle and diversity PR, an upgrade of the national media relations team in NYC and ultimately GM bankruptcy. His career began at Lockheed Martin supporting Department of Energy initiatives around technology transfer, energy research, environmental remediation and nuclear weapons management.

Travis is a member of Arthur Page Society. He holds an M.S. in communications management from Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a B.S. in communications from University of Tennessee. He is a PR Week “40 Under 40” winner and a founding sponsor of Nissan’s LGBTQ+ affinity group.


Parking will be provided to professional attendees. Parking passes will be mailed five days before the event to attendees along with parking instructions. Parking is being provided in the G10 garage.