Celebrating Three 2023 Retirees’ Legacies at UT Center for Industrial Service

This year, we bid farewell to three exceptional employees at the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS) who have played a pivotal role in the organization's mission. Keith Ridley, Walter Idol and Beth Philips are retiring after years of dedicated service, leaving behind a legacy of commitment, expertise, and impact.


Keith Ridley

Keith Ridley most recently served as the Director of Health, Safety & Emergency Preparedness as well as Energy Efficiency & Environmental Management. Keith has been part of the UT CIS team since the late 1980s and worked his way up to become the Director of Environmental Health & Safety and Government Procurement Programs in 2008. Keith's lifelong passion for public service took root when he started his internship at the UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). Like UT CIS, UT MTAS is an agency of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service.


Walter Idol 

Walter Idol managed the Emergency Preparedness program at UT CIS while serving as a Safety Consultant. His tasks included developing and delivering safety and emergency response training programs and audits to manufacturers, first responders, public works, and healthcare organizations. As an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer, he specialized in training responders for confined spaces, trench and structural collapse, and machinery rescue in compliance with OSHA regulations. Idol’s background consists of 40 years in emergency response with additional experience in Company Officer and Chief of Department roles. 


Beth Philips 

With over 30 years of experience in economic and community development, Beth Phillips, the previous Director of our Economic Development Program, has engaged in projects across the state to attract new jobs and investment, support existing business, and enhance community economic competitiveness. She specialized in helping regions leverage their unique assets to grow jobs and investment and developing effective partnerships and strategies for these communities. Beth’s work was integral in establishing the Tennessee Certified Economic Developer (TCED) Program at UT CIS. Furthermore, the TCED program was the first state-focused training program of its kind in the nation.                                  


As Keith Ridley, Walter Idol and Beth Philips embark on this new chapter of their lives, they leave behind a legacy of dedication, expertise, and service. The impact of their work at UT CIS will be felt for years to come, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for their commitment to strengthening Tennessee’s communities.


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