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NWTEDC celebrates Don Ridgeway's retirement

After 20 years with the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council, Don Ridgeway has retired. His staff celebrated with a surprise retirement party, with nearly 50 family members, friends, staff, board members, and local officials taking part, either in-person or virtually.

Former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell, a longtime legislative friend from Don’s days serving in the Tennessee legislature, roasted Don via Zoom. Paul Dole, president and CEO of KCEOC Community Action, Bart Herbison, Head of Nashville Songwriters Association, and one of Don’s longtime mentors, and Mark Herbison, director of the HTL group who has been instrumental in the acquisition of the Ford Blue City project in Brownsville, also participated virtually.

Prior to joining NWTEDC, Don served for 18 years as a state representative, serving residents of Henry, Carroll, Benton, Stewart, Houston, and Dickson counties. In 1996, the Tennessee Association of Human Resource Agencies named him Legislator of the Year. During the retirement event, State Rep. Tandy Darby (76th district) presented Don with a proclamation that read in part, "Whereas, throughout his estimable career, Don Ridgeway has demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the respect and admiration of his colleagues and the citizens of the state."

County Mayor John Penn Ridgeway presented Don with the Loyal Patriot Award of Henry County for his service to the state and the community. The Loyal Patriot Award is the highest award that can be bestowed on a Henry County citizen.

In tribute to their retiring friend, manager, mentor, and counselor, Don’s staff composed the following:

  • 20 years of service

  • Endless problems solved

  • Countless projects completed

  • Lots of meetings and phone calls

  • many life-changing experiences

  • Everlasting friendships

  • So many people’s lives changed forever

  • A leader, a mentor, and a friend

During retirement, Don will, no doubt, continue to live up to his favorite saying—"Always be humble and kind.” He’ll also continue with his favorite pastimes, including, singing, exploring history, golfing, and enjoying gardening and music.

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