Two Northeast State employees earn 40 Under Forty honor

Northeast State employees Jessica Barnett and Jennifer Puckett have earned The Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty honor for 2016.

The honor celebrates area professionals for noteworthy career and civic accomplishments. The group was honored at an Oct. 14 gala in Johnson City. The publication’s December issue will feature the honorees.

Barnett has worked at Northeast State since 2013. She started as events coordinator for the Kingsport Center for Higher Education and is currently the learning and development coordinator for the College’s Human Resources department.

She plays a role in fall and spring convocations, the Targeted Leadership Development Program, Leadercast, and the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership. She was instrumental in staging the recent Educate 4 Success conference that brought noted educator, Ron Clark, to campus.

Barnett earned her B.A. in Communication from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2004 and her M.B.A. from Averett University in 2013. She also worked from 2008-2013 at King University as a student support specialist. Barnett also chairs the PUSH! Film Festival, a three-day event held in downtown Bristol that brings diverse films to the community and showcases the region’s best filmmakers.

“To be nominated for 40 Under Forty was a surprise and honor. Everyone works so hard across the College to play a part to ensure student success. And, everyone has been so nice and helpful to me since I started three years ago,” Barnett said.  “It’s a great place to work and I’m very proud to work for Northeast State. I really appreciate the recognition.  It means a lot to me.”

Jennifer Puckett (left) and Jessica Barnett.

Puckett assumed the role of interim site coordinator for Northeast State at Bristol in 2015, taking over the role of director in 2016.  She has increased security measures on campus and also created severe weather and evacuation points for the facility.

She has increased marketing for the site by increasing site awareness, installing signage and increasing Northeast State at Bristol’s social media presence.  Prior to her position in Bristol, Puckett worked for Northeast State at Kingsport at the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and as the event coordinator for the Kingsport campus. She worked as director of Tourism for Scott County, Va., before joining the Northeast State in 2012.

Puckett earned her B.S. in psychology from East Tennessee State University in 2007.  She completed the accelerated online M.B.A. program at King University in 2016.

Puckett volunteers on the Scott County, Va., tourism committee. She is a current member of the LEAD Bristol class, a member of PEAK, and a TN Promise mentor. During the spring 2016 season, Puckett volunteered to coach a recreational soccer team for FC Dallas TRI.

“It is an honor to represent a successful, innovative institution such as Northeast State that provides quality education and services to its students to make them industry ready,” Puckett said.

According to the Journal, this year’s class of 40 Under Forty honorees will be inducted into a highly respected group that includes previous winners David Davis, Ron Ramsey, Jason Mumpower, Steve Smith, Tommy Greer, Miles Burdine, Vance Cheek, Jr., April Eads, Robert Feagins, Jeff Fleming, Jon Lundberg, Ben Mallicote, Sam Messimer, Timothy Siglin, David Temple and Tony Treadway, to name a few.

All honoree nominations were accompanied by letters of recommendation from places of employment and service organizations. Nominees are 39 years old or younger as of October 14, 2016, live and work in East Tennessee or Southwest Virginia, are involved in their communities and show the potential to be a leader in the business community during the next decade.

In the December 1993 edition of The Business Journal of Tri-Cities, TN/VA, the magazine showcased the region’s first class of the next generation of movers and shakers, many of whom have risen to leadership positions in the community today. The Journal promotes young talent through this program — one that has become the top honor for Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia businesspeople under the age of 40.

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