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TIA: Tennessee Inventors Association in Knoxville Tenn and Oak Ridge TN
Oak Ridge and Knoxville, TN  

November 2011 Elections and manufacturing at the Michael Dunn Center

Meeting Date: 
November 19, 2011

The agenda for the November 20 TIA meeting included our annual elections. Our featured speakers were from the Michael Dunn Center. Mike McElhinney, the President and CEO of Michael Dunn, spoke about overall operations, and Melanie Harmon spoke about assembly, packaging, and the other things the Center does.

The TIA invited Michael Dunn Center’s President/CEO Mike McElhinney and Sales Executive Melanie Harmon to talk about their operations and the services that the center provides.

Mike said the organization was established in 1971 in the basement of a church. Michael Dunn Center has grown to serve over 300 children and adults with disabilities. The organization provides many levels of support and services. They provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.  Each and every child or adult that receives any level of service from Michael Dunn Center is supported based on their own individual needs. Individualized care and support is the common denominator among the many services provided by Michael Dunn Center.

Mike described what the center offers both day-time and night-time activities & services from Monday to Friday for all ages and twenty four hours a day all year long. Many service recipients are members of more than one program. Michael Dunn Operates 19 houses in Rhone County. The activities are as follows:

A) Day time services:

The Henry Center – Child Care Services and Early Intervention Services
They have 100 disability children on site with the ages from 0-5 yr old.  Each child's individual needs are assessed and a specifically designed curriculum is implemented to meet those needs. Children with special needs are supported in a specialized environment designed for optimal growth and development.

Michael Dunn School – Providing education for children with disabilities
A Special education school for children that was in normal school before, but not successful.  The Michael Dunn School provides an array of services at no cost to the parent.  They have 2 Master Degreed teachers on staff.

Adult Day Program – Providing supportive care and a social network for adults with disabilities
This program is for severe physical disability or retardation individuals. They are taught basic life skills so they can lead an active daily life. As simple as tying shoes laces and button a shirt is being taught in the program.

Work Programs – Providing job opportunities in the community and at the main campus.

  • Shredding services – $3.50 per Grocery bag of paper
  • Yard work
  • Curb side recycling services - $5 per container. Use your own container or buy 2 for $20.00
  • Manufacturing – Carmel Tent uses Michael Duns work program to produce 40% of their product. The manufacturing capabilities would be well suited for inventors who need limited manufacturing for startup ventures.

Their clients include DOE, Energy solutions, etc

b) Night time services:

Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) - Two of these houses and each has an LPN on duty. There are 8 people live in each home. All of the individuals served within these homes require a significant amount of health related cares.

Supported Living (SL) - Nine of these houses and they are all integrated into the community located in subdivision through the area. The individuals served by the supported living staff and management team are given opportunities to be contributing members of their communities through Michael Dunn Center's Work Programs or through the Michael Dunn Center Adult Day Program. Service recipients also have the choice of participating in a Community Participation Program rather than work at a job or attend the Adult Day Program.

Residential Habilitation – Six of these houses, nine people live in each house. Each home is located in different subdivisions in the Roane County area. Staffs are responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment to supports each individual's choices to lead the lives they desire. All individuals that reside in a Residential Habilitation home are functioning people that have regular jobs in the day time.

Family model Residential Services - There are fifteen of these homes. There are twenty-two people in each home.  This service offers the continued progression toward independence for an individual receiving service.  It is like a foster home for the disability people.  The home that accepts the disability person will receive a monthly check for Food and Logging.

All the Programs cost $11M to operate. $10,200,000 comes from State of TN, $300k from fund raising, and the rest is self generated. There are 300 Employee and 300 recipients.  Michael Dunn Center is the single largest United Way recipient for Roane County and Anderson County. 200 out of 300 employees are on minimum wage.

Election Information

Elections! were held during the November meeting, which is our Annual Meeting. The following table shows the incumbents and the newly elected officers and board members.


Officers Incumbent Elected
President Tom Kulaga (term limited) Carl Papa
Vice-President Igor Alexeff (2nd of 2 years) Igor Alexeff
Treasurer Ann Alexeff (2nd of 3 years) Ann Alexeff
Recording Secretary Mike Campbell (2nd of 3 years) Tom Kulaga
Corresponding Secretary Martin Skinner (2nd of 3 years) Martin Skinner
Board of Directors: A Arnold (AJ) Beal (up for election) Arnold (AJ) Beal
A Gordon Campbell (up for election) Gordon Campbell
B Carl Papa Rainer Riffert
B Holly Shaw Holly Shaw