steve hightower
steve hightower

Mechanic to Manager: A Lesson in Change

Loyalty is what Steve Hightower knows. Leadership is what he does.

From his roots as a mechanic to his past twenty years as a manager, Steve knows that change is a must. For Kingsport, Steve creates positive change that yields efficiencies, time and time again.

Steve is the Fleet Maintenance Manager for the City of Kingsport. This department keeps fire trucks, police cruisers, snowplows and all of public works’ vehicles running smoothly.

With 37 years on the job, Steve continues to find innovative ways to increase productivity in his department.

During his time as manager, the fleet department received these recognitions:

  • Top 100 Green Fleets Nationwide – given to those who use alternative fuels for city vehicles
  • Emissions Reduction Award – given by the Governor for the State of Tennessee,
  • 1-star certified green fleet award – also given by the State of Tennessee

In order to receive these recognitions, Steve and his department works hard to improve all city vehicles. “These awards shows us, and the tax payers, that we are going in the right direction,” explained Hightower.

The “green” fleet is now over 40 vehicles, which has reduced fuel costs 34% in the last year. Currently, the city is saving $1 per gallon by using propane instead of gasoline.

Steve’s dedication to his job allows him to feel a sense of pride in what his department has accomplished through this recognition and others like it.

From his early days as a mechanic, Steve understands the importance of his job. When asked what his department does, Hightower responded, “It’s our job to make sure all of the departments can provide services to the city.”

Often Steve and his team’s work is not seen by the public. However, their role in the community is undoubtedly important.

Inspiring Steve is simple. “The opportunity to make sure that any fire truck or police car is getting where it needs to go at any time to ensure safety. They can get their job done because of the work we do.”


Jim Clark Hero Shot

Jim Clark

Kingsport Police Officer Serves For Others

Officer Jim Clark protects communities through strong communication channels.

Since 1992, Clark has been serving as Direct Patrol for the Kingsport Police Department. He loves his job because it allows him to become involved and connect with residents. He strongly believes communication between the police department and the residents they protect is the most important aspect of community safety.

Clark has seen first-hand the positive effect communicating with residents has on his job. After working closely with Kingsport communities and getting to know the residents, he created trusting relationships. These relationships allowed Clark to connect with residents and instill that he was there to keep them safe.

Once communication flowed more freely, residents started reporting things they saw to Clark. Eventually, these communities slowly because a more safe and secure environment for residents.

“What we do is sometimes social work, or we’re a preacher or law enforcement,” said Clark. “We see people at their worst sometimes so we have to be able to do it all.”

Through his efforts, he’s helped residents and other officers understand how important trust, communication and safety is for everyone.

Highlighting Heroes - Bill Donoho

Highlighting Heroes - Bill Donoho

Kingsport Firefighter Follows In Father’s Footsteps

Bill Donoho has been working for the City of Kingsport for 27 years. Donoho is a fireman, engineer, and paramedic. At a young age, Donoho was inspired to become a firefighter by his father, who helped start the first responder program in the state of Tennessee. Donoho got involved with the medical side, started taking fire training classes, and fell in love with the job.

Donoho risks his safety every day, but still has a strong love for his job. “My favorite part of the job is to be able to help people in need,” stated Donoho in a recent interview.  While the scariest part, according to him, is most obviously going into a fire, but maybe not for the obvious reason. He described going into an active fire as nerve-racking because “you never know what is going to happen, you don’t know what’s there. Most of the time it’s like running in with blinders on. You never know what you’re going to run into.” Donoho states he’s had many close calls while on the job, and has even fallen through floorboards and had debris fall on top of him. Donoho, however, just considers this all part of his job, and easily accepts these risks every day that he goes to work.

While he enjoys his work, certain parts are harder than others. Donoho describes the toughest part of his job as the physical and mental fitness required to deal with the job itself. Firemen need to maintain their physical fitness to be able to do their job, but according to Donoho, the mental fitness aspect is even harder. He stated that, for many, the job doesn’t stop when they leave the station; many firefighters take the job home with them. Being a fireman requires not just physical strength, but mental strength as well.

Bill Donoho is a firefighter, engineer, and paramedic for the City of Kingsport, and he is a true hero within his community. Donoho works hard both on and off the clock to help make Kingsport a better, safer place. He not only values his job, but believes in the difference he is making to improve his community and to help those in need.

Rodney Dye - Highlighting Heroes
Melanie Adkins - Highlighting Heroes