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.”