Gene Haas Foundation awards scholarship grant to support RCAM Academy

Northeast State Community College received a generous donation Wednesday to fund manufacturing education programs from the largest CNC machining manufacturer in the nation.

Bill Walsh of the Haas Factory Outlet, a division of Phillips, presented a $6,000 scholarship grant to Jeff Frazier, dean of RCAM, to assist dual enrollment students pursuing machining-based training. Haas Factory Outlets represents Haas Automation, Inc., the largest CNC machine tool builder in the nation.

The RCAM Academy at Northeast State in Kingsport expands the College’s technical training capabilities and dual enrollment opportunities for high school students around the region. The RCAM Academy features a large Machine Tool/CNC laboratory with new machining technology critical for world-class instruction.

Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation operates as a billion dollar manufacturing company based in Southern California. The Foundation has awarded more than $75 million to more than 8,000 charitable organizations and schools since 1999. Haas’ commitment to the importance of U.S. manufacturing has compelled him to direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships and other support for CNC machinist training.

Bill Walsh (far right) of Haas Factory Outlet presents a scholarship grant to Jeff Frazier (center), RCAM director and Daniel McMurray (far left).

The Haas commitment to the importance of American Manufacturing incited Gene Haas to start and grow his personal foundation to over $200 million dollars focused on funding manufacturing education programs via scholarships for CNC machinist training.

The Gene Haas Foundation grants over $10 million dollars annually to manufacturing education programs in North America. The Foundation is very proud of the technical education programs offered by Northeast State and the opportunities the RCAM Academy will provide to dual enrollment students in our region.

The RCAM Academy represents Northeast State’s dedication to educating the next generation of skilled technical workers who are prepared to move America forward through the 21st century. RCAM’s academic program-related enrollment has grown over 3.5 times since the facility opened.

For information about the RCAM Academy or Northeast State’s academic programs visit or  For more information about the Gene Haas Foundation or Haas Automation, visit or

Open auditions for The Neverending Story set Jan. 23 & 24

The Northeast State Community College Department of Theatre announces open auditions for its spring production of The Neverending Story.

Actors are invited to two open auditions scheduled Jan. 23 & 24 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The production seeks to cast adults in the character roles. The play is being presented by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

Based on the novel by Michael Ende and adapted for the stage by David S. Craig, The Neverending Story stretches the limits of epic adventure and childhood imagination. Young Bastian Bux steals away to read a mysterious new book in the library of his school. The book transports him into the magical land of Fantastica where the warrior boy Atreyu has been chosen for a heroic quest to save the land from the Nothing. On his quest, Atreyu meets the friendly dragon Falkor and faces the werewolf Gmork. As the adventure unfolds, Bastian realizes that his imagination is the key to changing the fate of both Fantastica and his own world.

Performers are asked to gather in the lobby of the WRCPA Theater. All actors should be familiar with the story and are asked to prepare a one-minute monologue to be read at the audition. Callbacks will be made on Jan. 25 between 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and posted on the Theatre Department’s Facebook page. The play’s production dates are April 12 to April 15.

For more information, contact Northeast State Theater at 423.354.2479 or e-mail

First Tennessee Foundation makes $40,000 contribution to NeSCC Foundation

First Tennessee Foundation has announced a commitment to Northeast State Community College Foundation in the amount of $40,000 as a pledge to the 50 for 50 Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence Capital Campaign. This gift will support a new state-of-the-art technology center and will be used as a challenge to raise the additional funds needed for the project.

“Northeast State deeply appreciates the generous gift from the First Tennessee Foundation,” said James D. King, president of Northeast State. “First Tennessee has long been an advocate of Northeast State, and we are grateful for its commitment to helping our students realize their goals and dreams.”

“First Tennessee Foundation is honored to be able to provide this $40,000 contribution to Northeast State Community College for a new state-of-the-art student technology center, and we invite others to join us in supporting this worthy project,” said Gerald Hallenbeck, First Tennessee Northeast TN Market President.

First TN check presentation 1
Pictured left to right: Brian Kennedy, First Tennessee VP for Commercial Banking;
Gerald Hallenbeck,  First Tennessee Market President for Northeast Tennessee; and
James D. King, Northeast State President.

Recognizing the critical shortage in Tennessee’s high-tech workforce and with area institutes of higher education able to only meet 0.4% of the current demand, in 2015 Gov. Haslam endorsed a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) capital outlay award to Northeast State for a new technology center. The funds are earmarked to replace the college’s oldest technical education laboratory and classroom facilities.

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is Tennessee’s largest higher education system, governing 40 post-secondary educational institutions with over 200 teaching locations. The TBR system includes 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs to students across the state, country, and world.

File your FAFSA by Jan. 16!

Northeast State reminds area high school seniors to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal and state aid by Jan. 16.

The FAFSA must be filed to make a student eligible for the Tennessee Promise scholarship.
Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program which provides students a last-dollar scholarship. The “last-dollar” means the scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or the Tennessee Student Assistance Award.

For more information visit


Miles Burdine appointed to TBR board

Kingsport Chamber President and CEO Miles Burdine was recently appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents by Gov. Bill Haslam to fill the 1st congressional district seat.

Miles Burdine
Miles Burdine

Burdine, a native of Kingsport, Tenn., has long been an advocate of education and worforce development. He has worked on projects such as Educate and Grow, the creation of the higher education academic village in downtown Kingsport, and increasing academic and graduation expectations—all of which have aided Kingsport’s growth and success.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and is a graduate of the national management program for chamber of commerce executives, administered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  His education also includes many military-based efforts.

He is active in his community and serves or has served in many leadership capacities with many community and state organizations.  Some of them include Board of Judicial Conduct, Governor’s First to the Top Advisory Council, Governor’s Commission on Judicial Nominations, State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Governor’s Energy Policy Task Force, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Board of Directors, Tennesseans for Quality Early Education, and the Tennessee Economic Development Partnership Board.

Also, Burdine served 30 years with the United States Marine Corps and the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Now retired at the rank of colonel, Burdine has extensive training and experience in tactics, security, civil affairs, and the challenges faced in the Middle East.  He has led, trained and served with units from countries such as Kenya, Iraq, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, and England. Three of his deployments have been to combat environments

The TBR board consists of 18 members: 12 lay citizens appointed for six-year terms by the governor, with one each from the state’s nine congressional districts and three grand divisions; one faculty member from among the system institutions appointed by the governor for a one-year term; one student from among the system institutions appointed by the governor for a one-year term; and four ex-officio members–the Governor of Tennessee, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, who is a non-voting member.