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NETWORKS reorganizes with new board, schedule

Rick Wagner • Aug 22, 2014 at 12:37 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership officially has a new board, bylaws and meeting schedule.

The streamlined 13-member group, which serves both as the Executive Committee and full Board of Directors, met for the first time Wednesday as an Executive Committee in closed session and set up its meeting schedule after approving the bylaws changes.

The former board was larger, and the former executive group a smaller subset of the larger one. In the new system, both are the same membership.

Clay Walker, chief executive officer of NETWORKS, said the Executive Committee decided to set up the quarterly meetings of the board for the second Wednesdays of January, April, July and October, meaning the next meeting will be Oct. 8, likely at the Northeast State Community College library. The Executive Committee meetings will be the second Wednesdays of the other eight months of the year.

However, he said future full board meetings likely would be held at locations across the county — Kingsport, Bristol, Tenn., and Bluff City.

"Four times a year we will be meeting as a full board," Walker said, adding that future meeting locations could include places like the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in downtown Kingsport or the Bass Pro Shops in Bristol.

"People in Bristol don't always get a chance to see things in Kingsport, and people in Kingsport don't always get a chance to see things in Bristol," he said.

Walker said the Executive Committee meetings will be at the Northeast library, and all 12 meetings a year will be at 8 a.m. instead of the 11:30 p.m. luncheon meetings the board has had since it was formed a decade ago.

The publicly funded board operates the joint economic development efforts of Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City. The following people are voting members of the full board and committee, as appointed by local governments:

  • Michael Browder, chief executive officer of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services
  • Jerry Caldwell, general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway
  • John Campbell, former Kingsport city manager, former Johnson City city manager
  • Bristol Councilwoman Michelle Dolan, former Bristol mayor
  • Carolyn Ferrell, vice president of human resources and community relations at The Robinette Company
  • Jeff Fleming, Kingsport city manager
  • David Golden, senior vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Eastman Chemical Co.
  • Dennis Phillips, mayor of Kingsport
  • Lea Powers, mayor of Bristol.
  • Mitch Walters, president/CEO of Friendship Ford
  • Irene Wells, Bluff City mayor
  • Eddie Williams, Sullivan County commissioner
  • Keith Wilson, publisher of the Kingsport Times-News
  • Ex-officio members are:

  • Dr. Lyle Ailshie, superintendent of Kingsport City Schools
  • Jeffrey Dykes, president and CEO of the Johnson City Power Board
  • Isaac Webb, manager of distribution system for AEP
  • Michael Browder, chief executive officer of BTES (also a regular member).
  • Gary Lilly, director of Bristol Tennessee city schools
  • Jeff McCord, vice president of Northeast State Community College at Kingsport
  • Jubal Yennie, director of Sullivan County schools
  • Bill Sorah, Bristol city manager
  • Jim Street, president of J.A. Street & Associates
  • Walker, CEO of NETWORKS
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