New officer building better communication systems for EMA

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, July 26, 2022

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By Angela Cutrer
Mark Riding has been in his new position as Carter County’s Emergency Management Agency’s communications officer since June, and he’s excited about the possibilities.
“I hope I can help the people of Carter County through building relationships and doing the work of implementing a new radio system for better communications throughout the county,” he said. “I [also hope] to share my expertise with anyone I can help.”
Ridings’ job will be engineering and coordinating a fluid communications system between all departments of first responders at local, county and state levels. He hopes to coordinate and build better communications between all departments in the county, including law enforcement, emergency management services, fire services and others at local, county and state levels.
First up is coordinating the purchase, design, procurement and installation of the new radio system and the radios to work with the radios system. “I am also here to share knowledge and answer questions about the radios,” he said.
Ridings has a long history of love of technology. “I started installing radios immediately after college,” he said. “I worked with different radios communications shops [during] the last 25 years and worked as a computer and network technician for a couple of years.
“I have worked on small radio systems that cover a small office building, manufacturing facilities, large 400-acre farming operations, law enforcement, EMS and fire department radio systems and National Park Service radios systems. I also worked closely with the engineer implementing design changes for communications applied technologies on ICRI radio interoperability units.”
Ridings and his wife, Christina (“Chris”), are both from southern Illinois. He graduated from DeVry Institute of Technology in Kansas City, Mo., near the top of his class and the couple had been seeking employment in eastern Tennessee for a few years. “We have family not too far south in Athens and wanted to be closer to them,” Ridings said.
They currently live in a small place in Johnson City until repairs are done on their house in Harpers Ferry, W.V., and they can put it on the market for sale. After the sale, they are planning to move to Carter County.
“We are blessed the children are all grown and out on their own,” Ridings said of his extended household. “We have a blended family of seven between us; and we have one grandson, at 4, he’s at the fun age.” The couple has three “furbabies” — a Maine Coon cat, an Akita and an Australian Shepherd.
“Our family has a lifetime of experience and knowledge we hope to share with new friends in our new hometown,” Ridings said. “We would love to be helpful in any way we can and build relationships with the great people of Carter County.”

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