2011 is a year of transitions. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons I haven’t written anything lately. On the other hand, it could be the tsunami of information from my social networks, email and other things distracting my attention, but it’s almost time to change that too.

Earlier this year,  the Kingsport Times-News challenged our organization to transform into a “Digital First” media company. After more than a decade of managing a small group of talented digital architects, it was obvious the newspaper, entrenched in its history of print had to adopt a new strategy to succeed into the future of desktop and mobile computers.

Our decision meant merging our interactive group in Downtown Kingsport with the staff at the main offices and printing facility. The effort will include the directive to cross-train the skills at the print edition into a new digital team. Although it was a down-sizing of my own staff, it also gave me an opportunity to re-examine our strengths, get out from under the weight of a successul online operation and move back into a more focused career path – developing emerging technologies and beginning the path down the road toward a full-service digital media agency.

This evolution meant re-examing all aspects of our business – including our office.

Five years, ago, we moved from the glass buildings on East Stone Drive to Downtown Kingsport. We chose the old Bank of Kingsport building which was anchored right on the corner of Main and Broad. My own office was uniquely positioned on the “corner of Main and Broad” in a historic location built in 1912 at the corner of the early Kingsport downtown.

I’ll never forget the first day we moved in either. I commented then that it smelled like a bunch of money – change that is. Our offices with about 2100 sq. feet on the the second floor is where they counted all the change almost 100 years ago. Over time though, the room developed kind of a musky smell and despite our attempts to find the source of the odor, we eventually assumed it was the aging building and mold in the ceilings.

Nevertheless, it was a great location to watch downtown activities. From my desk, I could watch the old Kingsport Train Station clock tower click away moments of Kingsport’s history. At random times in the day, the Clinchfield trains would blare their horns and rumble the streets as they lynched up their cars in the switching yard outside my window.

Some of my favorite moments included watching the Christmas Parade or Fireworks from the corner office, but most of all, I enjoyed the large picture windows that cast a bright sunlight each day as the Sun set in the west and heated up the window along Broad Street.

This was our third location for TImes Digital Group. We started the business co-locating with TriCon in 1997 – the region’s first Internet provider. In a few years we moved into the glass buildings on Stone Drive, built by Wayne Basler and Fred Cason.

Basler and Casler also renovated the Bank of Kingsport location back in the eighties and when ZFX closed shop around 2005, we leased space in the old Bank and have been there until March of 2011.

It’s the first step in a lot of important changes for me this year, but I’m thankful for the experience in this location and even more excited about the possibilities that are just beginning in our new location which is just down the street at 217 Broad Street.