Governor Bill Lee has appointed United Cleanup Oak Ridge’s (UCOR) Darris Upton to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Upton is UCOR’s Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.
The Commission enforces the state’s anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and age. It also coordinates compliance with provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
State Senator Becky Duncan Massey of Knoxville endorsed Upton for the position. He will begin his official duties at the Commission’s next bi-monthly meeting in May in Nashville. “The Human Rights Commission is an important organization in our state. Its primary mission is to safeguard individuals from discrimination through education and enforcement,” Upton said. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the Commission and represent UCOR, a company that understands that everyone has value and should be treated fairly.” The appointment comes on the heels of Upton receiving the Peggy Wilson Volunteer Alumni Award from Pellissippi State Community College. He serves as Vice Chair of PSCC’s Foundation. At UCOR, Upton works to strengthen the company’s commitment to promoting a diverse workforce that embraces people from all walks of life. His focus is on helping UCOR be more intentional about creating diversity in the workforce, including recruiting more talent from minority groups in East Tennessee.
Before joining UCOR, Upton was Diversity Director for Knox County under Mayor Glenn Jacobs. While working with Knox County, he concentrated on building relationships within the community through initiatives like Project Grad, where he served as a member of the board of directors. Project Grad serves disadvantaged students in the inner city who experience poverty, issues with food security, and other challenges.
A Navy veteran with 12 years of service, Upton is a 2015 graduate of Pellissippi State Community College, where he received an associate degree. He went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Tennessee. Upton also serves on the boards of directors of the YMCA of East Tennessee and Muse Knoxville. United Cleanup Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) is the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s lead environmental cleanup partner. The company is removing unused, contaminated facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, while continuing remedial actions at the East Tennessee Technology Park. UCOR is a partnership between Amentum, Jacobs, and Honeywell.