U-Haul has unearthed a newly discovered ancient red panda species and brought the striking creature back to life on the sides of more than 1,900 U-Haul moving vans. The ancient red panda now can be seen traveling across its native Tennessee and throughout North America.
On Saturday, August 28th, 2010, the "Venture Across America" SuperGraphics Campaign continued the long-standing tradition of honoring states and provinces when the latest SuperGraphic honoring the state of Tennessee was unveiled at the Natural History Museum and Gray Fossil Site in Gray, Tennessee. This graphic, which features a striking rendition of what the ancient red panda is believed to have looked like more than 4.5 million years ago, surprised and amazed everyone in attendance.
The U-Haul Media and Public Relations Department and the U-Haul Company of Knoxville (Co. 774) teamed up with the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and General Shale Brick (GSB) Natural History Museum Visitor Center and Gray Fossil Site to unveil the newest SuperGraphic during the three-year-anniversary celebration for the Natural History Museum.
Scientists have uncovered more than 10,000 specimens at the Gray Fossil Site, including rhinos, elephants, alligators and camels…all preserved in an ancient sinkhole created by an underground cave that collapsed more than 5 million years ago. Known for being the largest Miocene fossil site in Appalachia, Tennessee's Gray Fossil Site also is home to the largest number of tapir fossils found in the world. U-Haul chose the Gray Fossil Site to represent the state of Tennessee because Gray is home to the world's most complete red panda (Pristinailurus bristoli) fossil, at more than 80 percent complete.
Marketing Company President (MCP) Clay McQuade, U-Haul Company of Knoxville, spoke to a crowd of more than 100 spectators during which time he had the honor of presenting plaques to dignitaries representing the state of Tennessee and individuals who helped with the creation of the SuperGraphic. Recipients included Dr. Blaine Schubert, director, ETSU Center of Excellence; Dr. Steven Wallace, associate professor, Department of Geosciences; Tennessee State Representative Tony Shipley, Tennessee State Representative Dale Ford, Tennessee State Representative David Hawk, Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, assistant commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; Claudia Moody, chief executive officer, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association; Jeanne Zavada, director, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site; Jessica Evans, marketing exhibits manager, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site, and Shawn Haugrud, assistant preparatory, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site.
After the truck was unveiled, everyone had fun trying to find Sammy U, the official U-Haul mascot hidden in the SuperGraphic. Then, to make the unveiling official, MCP McQuade invited everyone presented with a plaque to sign the SuperGraphic on the truck and pose for photographs.
Back Row Left to Right – Shawn Haugrud, assistant preparatory, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site; Dr. Blaine Schubert, director, ETSU Center of Excellence; Jeanne Zavada, director, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site; Dr. Steven Wallace, associate professor, Department of Geosciences; Tennessee State Representative Tony Shipley, MCP McQuade (Co. 774), Area District Vice President (ADVP) District 8 Ray Smith.
Front Row Left to Right – Dr. Bert Bach, vice provost, ETSU; Tennessee State Representative David Hawk; Claudia Moody, chief executive officer, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association; Dr. Phyllis-Qualls Brooks, assistant commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourism Development; Jessica Evans, marketing exhibits manager, Natural History Museum at Gray Fossil Site.