From Floppy Disks to Dynamic Hub for Industrial Services: Celebrating 60 Years of UT CIS with Keith Ridley, Director of Environmental Health & Safety
In a world of industrial growth, support, and innovation, the UT Center for Industrial Services (CIS) stands as a successful leader in innovation and evolution. As CIS marks its 60th anniversary, we have been celebrating and reminiscing on how far CIS has come since its founding in 1963.
In honor of our organization’s 60th anniversary, we asked Keith Ridley, Director of Environmental Health & Safety and Government Procurement Programs, about his time at UT CIS. Keith has been part of the UT CIS family since the late 1980s and worked his way up to become the Director of Environmental Health & Safety and Government Procurement Programs in 2008. When Keith first joined CIS in 1987, the organization was vastly different than it is today;
"CIS was an organization with an administrative staff, 5 Field Engineers (now Solutions Consultants), a state environmental contract program, a federal procurement program, a communications manager, and a librarian—yes, a librarian - who conducted research before the days of the internet and google," Keith said.
The early days of UT CIS were marked by a highly collegial environment. Throughout the decades, UT CIS has evolved while sustaining its culture of teamwork. Keith recalled, "UT CIS now has a multi-generational workforce that remains collegial. Collegiality is one of the multi-decade mainstays."
From an early focus on manufacturing and government procurement, UT CIS’s service offerings have expanded to encompass a broader spectrum of services including health and safety services along with economic development assistance to industries and communities. Keith highlighted, "The organization has evolved to serve more customers by improving its partnership with more federal grantors to offer no-cost or competitively-priced services." This evolution speaks volumes about UT CIS's adaptability and its commitment to staying relevant in an ever-changing landscape.
As UT CIS celebrates 60 years of excellence, we are excited to embrace the innovative paths we’ll take in the years to come. Guided by the wisdom of experience and fueled by the energy of the next generation, we are enthusiastic to continue making an impact on industries and communities alike in the great state of Tennessee.