Stories @ TCAT

Article reprinted courtsey of Johnson City Press.

The man who led the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Elizabethton through one of its greatest periods of growth, and also led the school through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced he will be retiring.

Dean Blevins announced he would be retiring as president in June. He made the announcement in a letter to the faculty and staff written on Tuesday.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve as president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology for the past 12 years and 10 months,” Blevins said in the letter. “I believe we have set the college on a path of prosperity with a state-of-the-art main campus and plans for extension campuses within the service area to provide workforce development training for the citizens of Northeast Tennessee now and into the future.”

Blevins has presided over the school, which has the easternmost campus in the TCAT system, during the time when three new buildings were constructed, giving the TCAT location in the Watauga Industrial Park a true campus feel and providing adequate room to expand programs in such areas as diesel mechanics, pipefitting, millwright, health sciences and other areas.

Blevins led the school through the pandemic, adhering to the health and hygiene requirements set by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While keeping the priorities on the health and safety of the students, faculty and administrators, Blevins also ensured the students were still successfully learning the skills and knowledge their chosen curriculum required, even during the period of remote classes.

Blevins has also worked with Carter County on the recent plans to expand the school’s programs to the county-owned Workforce Development Complex, working jointly with Northeast State Community College to provide new educational opportunities and dual enrollment for high school students.

Blevins is the sixth head of the school, stretching back to its founding in 1965. The six are:

• Tommy Neece, 1965-76.

• Lonnie Hyder, 1976-85.

• Kelly Yates, 1986-97.

• Bruce Blanding, 1996-99.

• Jerry Patton, 2000-09.

• Blevins, 2009-present.