New Phipps Bend TCAT director starts full time Nov. 1

Jeff Bobo • Oct 23, 2019 at 9:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Phipps Bend Industrial Park's TCAT campus lost decades of experience in June with the retirement of Director John Burdine, but his replacement has dedicated the past 25 years serving students at the Morristown TCAT.

Jerry Young, who is president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) in Morristown, informed the Hawkins County Industrial Board on Tuesday that Michelle Davenport has been chosen to replace Burdine at the Phipps Bend campus.

Davenport, who has served as Morristown TCAT's student services coordinator for the past 15 years, is expected to start at Phipps Bend on Nov. 1, Young said.

“She's been going up a couple of days per week since John retired, but she'll be taking over on Nov. 1 and will be up there full time,” Young told the IDB. “I expect that the services will continue exactly the way that they are. We've got a great campus there. Last I heard there were over 30 high school kids there in dual enrolled, so things are going well and I think she will be a good addition to the campus.”

Young added, “She's very, very student-centric and has a real heart and passion for helping students in any way she can.”

Aside from serving the past 15 years as the Morristown TCAT student services coordinator, Davenport is also the school certifying official for military veteran students.

Davenport holds BS and MS degrees in business administration from Tusculum University, and she said her favorite aspect of working at TCAT-Morristown is knowing she helps make a difference in students’ lives by helping them to achieve their academic and technical training goals.

“It is our job to help smooth the transition from the scary part of entering college to entering the workforce with the confidence and tools needed for success,” Davenport told the Times News on Tuesday in a written statement.

Aside from training students and factory employees, the Phipps Bend’s TCAT campus plays an essential role in Hawkins County’s industrial recruitment program.

“We certainly wish her well,” said IDB Vice Chairman Tommy Young. “She has some big shoes to fill.”