Highlighting Heroes: Kingsport Sign Technician with Special Talents

Tony Dingus

Tony Dingus – Sign Technician for City of Kingsport

Tony has the experience and expertise to take his talents anywhere in the nation, but he chooses to stay in Kingsport.

Throughout Kingsport, Joel, known to most as Tony or “Doc,” has a special role in keeping the city running smoothly. Doc is a Sign Technician in the Traffic Department, and has worked for the city for nearly 30 years. Not only is Doc a dedicated employee, but he also has a hidden musical talent that makes him a true treasure for the city.

Introduced to music at the age of 13, Doc quickly grew and developed his musical talents into what they are today. He started out playing the bass guitar, which eventually evolved into him learning how to play the mandolin and the dobro. By the time he was 16 years old, he was playing the steel guitar.

Although he knows how to play many instruments, his true passion lies in the dobro. The dobro is a wood-bodied acoustic guitar with a metal resonator built into the body. In recent years, Doc’s skill has evolved into teaching students how to play. He teaches classes at East Tennessee State University when he is not working for the city. He’s been presented with many opportunities to work with professional musicians and travel to play his music, but he continues to stay in Kingsport.

“I love the city I work for,” said Doc. “I place a high value on the job I do and the wonderful people I work with.”

Doc’s city job entails striping the roads, helping with traffic patterns during events, and keeping signs throughout the city up-to-date. He has witnessed a lot of change over the course of time he has worked with the City of Kingsport. The equipment he uses every day to paint the roads, for example, has been consistently upgraded and improved. The equipment upgrades for his department have made painting the roads an easy and convenient process, for both motorists and equipment operators alike.  The newer painting equipment also allows the distribution of hot plastic to be used in place of regular paint, preventing the lines from fading and having to be repainted as often.

According to Doc, the biggest change he has seen with the city has been growth. Doc is constantly impressed and loves to think back to what the city used to be like compared to its impressive size today.

“When I first started working here, Lynn Garden wasn’t even a part of Kingsport. The city has just grown so much over the years, and it’s pretty amazing to be a part of that growth.”

Tony is a one-of-a-kind hero for Kingsport. The City of Kingsport is his home, and there is nowhere else he’d rather be.