Coming to a Christmas parade near you: J.P. and the Aviation Tech chopper

J.P. getting festive.

Let’s celebrate the holiday season when Northeast State joins four area Christmas parades beginning tonight in Bristol. The college rolls out for parades in the cities of Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City as well as the Town of Jonesborough. Parade dates and start times are as follows:

The Bristol Christmas Parade / Dec. 5 at 7:00 p.m.

The City of Johnson City  Christmas Parade / Dec. 7 at 10:30 a.m.

The City of Kingsport Christmas Parade / Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6:00 p.m.

The Town of Jonesborough Christmas Parade / Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6:00 p.m.

The parade float features college’s new Aviation Technology helicopter. Say hi to our mascot J.P. Bear. Yes, candy will be given out as it lasts and where permitted by parade organizers.

The college’s new Aviation Technology helicopter.
A great new technical training tool for Aviation Tech students.

New Internet of Things curriculum goes live this spring

The smart sensors on your car. The doorbell with a camera. The fitness watch on your wrist. If it comes with a data chip or telemetry, the Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses the technology of devices connected to the cyberworld.

A new degree concentration at Northeast State aims to train the next generation of smart tech types to keep the 21st-century technology operating and innovating. The Computer Information Technology/Internet of Things (IoT) concentration, goes live as an associate degree program in spring 2020 under the auspices of the college’s Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) division.

“IoT technology touches everything that we see,” said David Blair, dean of Advanced Technologies and head of the CIS department. “Any telemetry data you can imagine from sports watches to medical devices to smart cars now use this technology to function.”

The new IoT degree provides new opportunities for Information Technology students.

From smart refrigerators to dolls to home security and automotive sensors, IoT tech data systems operate through a network of sensors. IoT deals with the enormous global network of connected things and people – all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and the environment around them.

The new concentration creates another avenue for the CIS department to stay current on new technologies and offer students new opportunities. The IoT curriculum pathway awards the associate of applied science degree based on 62 credit hours. The course includes a broad selection of information technology courses and a CIS capstone.

Students learn how to implement sensors, microcontrollers, cloud-based storage, and learn how to program embedded devices with serious considerations on security. Students will develop strong critical-thinking skills and learn within a hands-on lab environment.

“We are very excited to be at the forefront as the first college or university to offer the IoT program,” said Dr. Donna Farrell, associate professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Northeast State. “Our first class starts with Introduction to IoT first offered in the spring semester.”

The associate of applied science degree prepares students for employment in the field of computer science as entry-level IoT technicians. The college’s new Technical Education Complex at the Blountville campus establishes a classroom dedicated to IoT laboratory training.

The Internet of Things technology connects the modern world.

Students enrolled in IoT course laboratories get experience with tech tools of breadboards, LEDs, resistors, and motors that operate devices. Students learn how to build these IoT devices to transmit data to a collectible database.

Blair said the department began working to establish the IoT curriculum approximately one year ago. The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the IoT degree curriculum in November. The approval marked another milestone for Northeast State’s innovative instruction ideas. Farrell said faculty members had several projects in development that would test students’ creativity and critical thinking skills in the new concentration.

Blair noted an IoT project in Holland where IoT system sensors gathered data on livestock. The sensors used culled the animals’ movement patterns, weight, and sleeping habits, among other things. Researchers learned they could predict when a cow could become sick based on the data collected from its behavior. The data helped them treat the single animal and prevent the entire herd from getting sick.

The college’s Computer and Information Sciences Department administers associate degree programs in the curricula of programming, cyber defense, systems administration, networking, and IoT. The department and its programs renewed full accreditation earlier this year through the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). Faculty expect the IoT curriculum to earn accreditation in the next ATMAE accreditation cycle.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Christmas show set Dec. 7

Northeast State welcomes music legend Doyle Lawson with his band Quicksilver to campus for their annual Christmas show on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Lawson and Quicksilver will perform their Christmas concert at the Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the College’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Airport. Lawson will perform beloved holiday and spiritual favorites as well as original works. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $25 and can be purchased online now at or at the Box Office on the Blountville campus.

Lawson and Quicksilver (DLQ) have nearly 40 albums to their credit. DLQ’s recent albums In Session and Burden Bearer received nominations for Grammy Awards as Best Bluegrass Album of the Year for 2016 and 2017. Their newest release Live in Prague, Czech Republic just earned a 2019 Grammy nomination in the Best Bluegrass Album category.

The current incarnation of Quicksilver features Josh Smith on dobro; Joe Dean vocals/banjo; Jake Vanover vocals/guitar; Jerry Cole; and Stephen Burwell on fiddle. Lawson and Quicksilver remain smoking hot on the Gospel and Bluegrass music scenes. DLQ won Vocal Group of the Year award for 2018 from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards ceremony.

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. (Photo courtesy of Doyle Lawson)

The Live in Prague, Czech Republic album brought the bluegrass sound to Europe. The album was recorded live in January at the Dlabacov Hall – Pyramida theatre before a sold-out crowd in Prague in the Czech Republic. Lawson and the band perform some of their previously recorded work, such as the hit “Little Girl,” the often-requested Gospel classic “On the Sea of Life” and the ever-popular “I’ll Be True While Your Gone”. The live album includes new arrangements of never-before recorded songs including “Living Like There’s No Tomorrow,” “Leaving On Her Mind,” and “Shenandoah Breakdown” among others.

For his contributions to as a musical trailblazer, Lawson received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship award in 2006. Lawson was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2012 at the Ryman Auditorium. He has won and been nominated for multiple awards including the IBMAs, Grammys, Dove Awards, Inspirational Country Music Association, and numerous other industry awards.

The Regional Center for Performing Arts Theatre seats an audience of 500 guests. The Northeast State Box Office opens Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., two weeks prior to an event. The Box Office opens 90 minutes prior to an event the day of the show, to sell any remaining seats at the door.

For more information, visit or call the Box Office at 423.354.5169.

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (Photo courtesy of Doyle Lawson)

Guitarist Ed Gerhard performs Dec. 4 at the RCPA Theatre

The unmistakable sounds of the Christmas season carry a recognition of delight to music lovers of all ages. Northeast State welcomes back one of our favorite artists to perform what has become a holiday tradition.

The renowned guitarist Ed Gerhard favors Northeast State with a Christmas concert happening Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m., in the Regional Center for Performing Arts Theatre on the college’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Airport. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Gerhard will perform instrumental Christmas and holiday favorites as well as selected original works. Admission is FREE and open to all.

Ed Gerhard

Based on the quality of his work, Gerhard built his considerable reputation beginning with his debut album Night Birds in 1987. His subsequent albums Counting the Ways and On a Cold Winter’s Night cemented Gerhard’s status as one of the top guitarists of the modern era.

Gerhard released his ninth CD There and Gone in 2012. He was awarded a Grammy® for his inclusion on the CD Henry Mancini; Pink Guitar. Warner Brothers, MelBay and Hal Leonard have all released Ed Gerhard’s music in books. His guitar work can be heard on recordings by Arlo Guthrie, Jorma Kaukonen, Bill Morrissey and in the Ken Burns films Mark Twain and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Join us for this very special evening with one of the country’s finest acoustic guitarists. For more information, contact 423.354.2449 or visit