‘Helping hands’ make Cornelius an asset to his community


Editor’s Note: This October, we will celebrate our 30th class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Each week in 2022, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia will highlight one of our 2021 40 Under Forty honorees leading up to the announcement of our milestone class this fall.

At 6-foot-6, Cody Cornelius is tough to miss.

The former offensive lineman who played his college ball at ETSU still looks like he could clear a path for a running back, even in a suit and tie. Despite the fact he’s been out of the game for a while, Cornelius still brings a lineman’s approach to his job as a video production specialist at Bristol Essential Services – he’s slow to give himself credit and quick to talk about the team effort that has allowed him to excel in his professional career.

“None of us do anything in a vacuum,” Cornelius said. “We’re extraordinarily team-oriented. It’s almost interesting to be highlighted in this way, because everything I do, I’m just one set of hands that helps organize it.

“It’s such a massive team effort, which I’m comfortable with because of the experience I had playing sports.”

It’s only when you hear from those around Cornelius on a day-to-day basis that you begin to appreciate the magnitude of what he does at BTES. Dr. Mike Browder, CEO of BTES, will tell you that Cornelius is solely responsible for three regularly airing television show and also plays a large role in “Gridiron Gameday,” the organization’s largest production.

“Cody Is proficient in every position of the production trailer including technical director, graphics, replay and camera shading,” Browder wrote in a nomination letter on Cornelius’ behalf.

The set of hands Cornelius contributes to projects at BTES are also helping hands that get quite a workout in the community. Cornelius said his faith in Christ compels him to help those around him.

“My faith is pretty central to who I am, included in that faith is the desire to be as helpful as I can be to as many people as I can be,” he said.

In his recommendation letter, Robia Turner – president of the Rotary Club of the Tri-Cities – told how Cornelius has spearheaded efforts to help grow, retain and sustain membership for the 80 clubs in the district while traveling far and wide to help marketing efforts.

“Cody has worked to capture video footage for a marketing campaign to raise awareness of Rotary and our work,” Turner wrote. “His work has been featured across the District from Winchester, Virginia to Greeneville, Tennessee.”
Additionally, Cornelius is on the board of directors for the Bristol Regional Speech and Hearing Center. He also has done landscaping and built a fence at the Isaiah 117 House so kids would have a safe place to play. Cornelius also gives to those in need and pitched in to help countless regional organizations such as the Kingsport Miracle Field, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the United Way of Bristol.

With all that on his plate, Cornelius said his biggest priority is building his family and instilling Christian values in his children. “I just want to have a happy, healthy successful family that has a reputation of wanting to help people,” he said.

Next week we will profile Fuller Cridlin, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Lee County, Virginia. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the 2022 class of 40 Under Forty, visit 40under.com and follow the instructions.

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