BLOUNTVILLE — The board of directors for the Northeast State Community College Foundation has named Lottie Ryans as its chair. Ryans, who serves as director of workforce and literacy initiatives for the First Tennessee Development District, was nominated and confirmed at the board’s annual spring meeting.

The board also chose Jeff Dykes, president, and CEO of BrightRidge, as vice-chair. Both Ryans and Dykes will assume their posts on July 1.

In her role with the development district, Ryans develops creative partnerships and programs to ensure a strong workforce pipeline. She also works with school systems and community partners to address literacy issues in an eight-county region. She has been with the development district since 2016.


Ryans’ professional history includes a 32-year telecommunications career. She retired in 2015 after serving as vice president and general manager for CenturyLink’s Western North Carolina/Tennessee Division. She also was a partner in Perfectly Planned, an event company serving Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia from 2015-2018.

Her civic history includes being a three-term elected member of the Johnson City Board of Education, including service as board chair and as a member of the Tennessee School Board Association’s Master Board.

She is a trustee for Milligan College, vice-chair of the Northeast State Foundation Board, and a member of East Tennessee State University’s College of Business & Technology Dean’s Advisory Council. She also serves on the boards of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the ACT State Council, and the Northeast Tennessee Workforce Development Board.

Ryans served on the organizing team for the Holy Friendship Summit, a gathering of medical, community, and faith-based leaders to address the opioid crisis in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and now serves as vice-chair for the Holy Friendship Collaborative, an offshoot of the summit.

She is a graduate of the 2018/19 Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute cohort and is a member of the 2019/20 Leadership Tennessee cohort. Ryans is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

“I am excited to work with Dr. Bethany Bullock, Megan Almaroad, and all those associated with the foundation and the college,” Ryans said. “NSCC is an important partner in workforce development for our region and beyond. Staff, faculty and administration work to ensure graduates are ready to make a difference in our region. I am proud to be associated with NSCC and look forward to an exciting future.”


Dykes, a native of East Tennessee, has held his BrightRidge post since January 2013. He has more than 30 years in the power industry, having worked for Westinghouse Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., for 13 years. While at Westinghouse, he received qualifications in all areas of electrical generation, transmission, and distribution, as well as water and wastewater operations certifications.

He has served as vice president and general manager of Veolia Kansas City Energy and Veolia Missouri Energy, as general manager of Newport Utilities, and as general manager of the Elizabethton Electric System.

Dykes has served on various local, state, and federal boards and committees, as well as community organizations throughout his career. He has made presentations on subjects such as energy, leadership, and other topics to professional groups, community organizations, schools, churches, and conferences across the country.

He is a graduate of Milligan College with additional course work at the University of South Carolina.


In other business, the foundation welcomed Tina Shillito Hogue, account manager for Pratt Industries, as a board member. She is the daughter of the late Lee Shillito, who served on the board for 13 years.

Hogue has 23 years of experience in the corrugated packaging industry and manages a $10 million book business. She has earned two Pratt Pinnacle Club awards for outstanding sales growth and achievement. She holds an accounting degree from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School of Business.