NFL kicking guru Doug Blevins keynotes Disability Awareness Week

Northeast State will host former NFL kicking coach Doug Blevins on Oct. 26, at the Blountville campus. Blevins’ appearance highlights the College’s celebration of National Disability Awareness Week with a series of events from Oct. 24-28.  He will lecture in the Auditorium (A202) at 10:30 a.m.

An Abingdon, Va., native, Blevins refused to let a physical disability stand in the way of his dream to coach in the NFL. Afflicted with a mild form of cerebral palsy and unable to walk, Blevins fell in love with the sport and was determined to forge a career in football. He has taught the art of kicking at the high school, college and professional levels for more than 25 years.

doug-blevins-artA graduate of East Tennessee State University, Blevins started his coaching career as a student assistant while at the University of Tennessee under the legendary coach Johnny Majors. He spent two years in Knoxville before being named kicking coach at Emory and Henry College.

Blevins went on to serve as kicking coordinator for the World League of American Football from 1995-1997. He was kicking coach for the Miami Dolphins from 1997-2003. He also did consulting work with the New York Jets and the New England Patriots where a free agent named Adam Vinateri had just been signed. A Blevins disciple, Vinateri ranks as one of the greatest kickers in NFL history winning two Super Bowls for the Patriots with field goals. Fellow NFL kickers David Akers and Justin Tucker among many others have studied under the tutelage of Blevins.

October is National Disability Awareness Month. The month was designated by Congress as a time to increase public awareness of the contributions and skills of people with disabilities.

For more information, contact the CSD at 423.279.7640 or 423.354.2476.

Northeast State commemorates Disability Awareness Week Oct. 24-28

Northeast State commemorates Disability Awareness Week Oct. 24-28 focusing on individuals who have battled and triumphed over disabilities.

The Northeast State Center for Students with Disabilities is sponsoring a weeklong series of events where students and guests will discuss how they overcame challenges associated with their disabilities.

csd-week-fall-2016The week’s keynote speaker Doug Blevins, former NFL kicking coach and placekicking guru, will share his story on Oct. 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Auditorium (A202) at the Blountville campus.

A student panel discussion entitled, “In Our Shoes” brings together Northeast State students and faculty to discuss their own challenges with the disabilities that changed their lives and how they learned to manage them. This event begins at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 25 in the Auditorium.

The week opens with Movie Day on Oct. 24 and features screenings of the films “Inside Out” and “Concussion.” The week closes on Oct. 27 with the screenings of the films “Inside Out,” and “The Blind Side.” All films will be screened in the Auditorium and include free popcorn and drinks.

Informational displays about disability services at Northeast State are available at all the College’s teaching sites.  For more information, call 423.279.7640.

Johnson City Community Concert Band plays Northeast State Oct. 24

Step back in time to the age of the big bands when the Johnson City Community Concert Band takes the stage for a free concert at Northeast State Community College on Monday, Oct. 24.

Conducted by Dr. Christian Zembower, the band will present “War Horses” featuring time-honored wind band classics. The performance will be held in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater located on the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The performance begins at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The performance continues the celebration of Northeast State’s 50th Anniversary. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Johnson City Community Band, here playing in the Amphitheater at the Blountville campus, performs at Northeast State Oct. 24.
The Johnson City Community Band, here playing in the Amphitheater at the Blountville campus, performs at Northeast State Oct. 24.

Founded in 1983 by faculty members from East Tennessee State University, the Johnson City Community Band is made up of more than 50 members and associate members who have diverse backgrounds in music. Over the years the band has had several directors, assistant directors and has rehearsed in several locations in the Johnson City area. One thing remains the same – the band has grown and improved each year in the quality of members and quality of performances. Dr. Zembower is Director of Bands and associate professor of Music at East Tennessee State University.

The Johnson City Community Concert Band is an all-volunteer, non-profit, concert band whose members are from all over the region. Band members range from professional band directors to music professionals of all ages that want to continue the joy of playing music and performing. The band also features several associate members who taken up playing challenging music.

For more information, visit or contact 423.279.7669 or

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.

Northeast State Theatre presents No Exit Oct. 20-22

Where is our eternal destination? What does the bright light of the hereafter  hold in store? What compromises will we make to rationalize the irrational and hopeless?

The Northeast State Community College Department of Theater proudly presents No Exit by French existentialist writer Jean Paul Sartre. Performances are Oct. 20, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium (A202) of Northeast State at Blountville next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Directed by Northeast State’s Aaron Bradley, this claustrophobic, intense play tells the tale of two women and one man locked up together for eternity in one hideous room in hell.

“I wanted the play to be a serious, full-fledged dramatic production,” said Bradley who directed NST’s production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo last fall. “It asks a lot of tough questions about humanity and what people either add or subtract from overall human existence.”

noexit_theatreposterBradley said the play’s existential bent operated on the notion of “good faith vs. bad faith” in human identity. Bad faith represents an individual pretends to be something he or she is not living as an imposter. Good faith human knows his or her self and lives honestly whether they are right or wrong.

“The basic idea comes from Sartre’s line in the play, ‘hell is other people,’” said Bradley. “If you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t find that truth in other people and it will drive you crazy.”

Caitlin Haltom plays the role of Estelle. Haltom is a three-time Kennedy Center American College Theatre festival nominee for her work in acting and stage management. She has performed in five shows and served as stage manager in last semester’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Some of her favorite roles include Fenris Ulf in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias.

Northeast State Theater alumna Rachel Nicole Lawson portrays the character Inez. A past KCACTF Irene Ryan acting nominee, she has delighted audiences with her roles of Zombie Grandma in Night of the Living Dead, Peggy in Godspell, and Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias.

Playing the role of Cradeau is Jonathan Proctor, an experienced theater performer at the LampLight Theater, Trinity Arts Center, and Drifting Theater. He has performed with Northeast State Theater in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and The Laramie Project.

The play is being stage-managed by Eli Kistner who also serves as master electrician. The production features several accomplished theater veterans including Russ Onks as Scenic Designer, Ashley Guy as Costume and Mask Designer, Todd Burris as Lighting Designer, Lily Gibbons as Assistant Stage Manager, and Edgar Bowlin III as Properties Master.

Director of Northeast State Theater, Elizabeth M. Sloan, is producing the play. Fellow Northeast State Theater professor Brad McKenzie is serving as Technical Director.

“I just hope audiences have a response to it. Like it, love it, hate it; just think and respond,” said Bradley. “As long as we can do this, we’ve still got hope. And hope is what makes us human.”

No Exit is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. Tickets are $5 and admission is FREE to Northeast State students with valid identification. The play runs approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.

For tickets, visit or contact the Northeast State Box Office at 423.354.5169.