Occupation: engineer, mayor of Townsend
Family: Married to Mary K. Jenkins. They have three adult children: Joshua, Melissa, and Wesley; and a 7-year-grandson, Cody.
Townsend Mayor Pat Jenkins and his wife, Mary, moved to East Tennessee in 1988 when he took a job with Robert Shaw designing automotive parts. They initially moved to Farragut, but were drawn to Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains whenever they wanted to escape.
The Jenkins bought property on the Little River in Townsend in 1992. In 1995, they started building a second home themselves. Three or four years ago they had their home finished and were splitting time between Knoxville and Blount County. It was then that Jenkins said they decided to move to Townsend full time.
In November Jenkins was elected to the Townsend town commission. The commission chose him to be the mayor of Townsend.
“When you get elected, you are getting elected to serve people. Different people have differing levels of expectation and satisfying all those levels of expectations simultaneously is nearly impossible. You end up having to do what you think is right more than anything else.”
Jenkins said he and his wife love riding bicycles several times a week on the bike path through Townsend. “Every time we go bicycle riding, the scenery is always different because cloud formations are different. It is so much different than where we lived in Illinois,” he says. “It was flat and all you saw was corn and soybeans. Just seeing the scenery and knowing you can ride your bike freely without worrying about traffic is a real luxury. It’s one of those intangibles.”
25 Random Things about Pat Jenkins
1. I am employed by Robert Shaw Industrial Products in the Blount County Industrial Park in Maryville. We manufacture and sell a wireless remote tank monitoring system under the Centeron® name.
2. I became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14. Several months earlier I got to spend two weeks backpacking at Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.
3. I graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation I landed a job, in the middle of a severe recession, working for BorgWarner Corporation designing Automotive Emission Control Devices. I learned a lot at BorgWarner about engineering, manufacturing, the automotive business and delivering good customer service.
4. My wife and I really enjoy the relaxed pace of life in Townsend. We try to ride our bikes around town at least three times a week. The scenery is always relaxing.
5. I served for five years on the Board of Directors of the Little River Watershed Association. The Little River is the most important asset that Townsend has. We must take care of it.
6. I have been awarded six U.S. patents on various industrial and automotive controls.
7. One of the tourism industries in Townsend that continues to grow is the arts and fine craft business. I believe this growth is being accelerated by the Townsend Artesian Guild.
8. When the Mazda Miata was introduced, my wife and I attended several Miata conventions in Indianapolis. At these events, we both got to drive laps in our Miata on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We also attended a International Miata Convention in Paris, France, where 175 European Miatas “drove” thru the streets of Paris.
9. My wife and I built our two-story cabin in Townsend ourselves. When I say “ourselves,” I mean that we cut every board and drove every nail. It took several years and all our spare time, but our restricted financial budget left us no other choice. Installing the metal roof was the most death-defying of all the tasks.
10. The fastest that I have ever driven is 130 mph on the German Autobahn. I was able to cover 43 miles in 20 minutes. I was not late for my meeting at GM-Opel.
11. I became a licensed professional engineer by taking an eight-hour open book exam in Chicago in 1978. I used one book, finished the test in five hours, and left. I needed to be in southern Indiana for my brother’s rehearsal dinner by 7 p.m.
12. There are over a dozen restaurants in the City of Townsend. My wife and I like the variety of dining experiences they offer to residents and tourists.
13. Once, on a business trip to Lotus Car Company, I was able to visit my father’s WWII B17 airbase, Framlingham, in Parham England. It is hard to explain, but it was very meaningful to tour the remaining buildings and walk the same “ground” as my father, a 20-year-old flight engineer on a B17 flight crew.
14. I became mayor of the City of Townsend in September. I ran for a seat on the Board of City Commissioners. It was a hotly-contested campaign with three guys running for three seats. We were sworn in and took our seats on Sept.2. The first order of business was to elect one of the commissioners to serve as mayor. I was truly honored to be selected.
15. My favorite musician is John Mellencamp. I love the stories painted by his songs.
16. In high school, my part-time job was working in a downtown shoe store called Stein’s. I was a stock boy during the week and a shoe clerk during weekends. I learned a lot about business and customer service from Mr. Stein. I also learned about the decay of downtown shopping in America.
17. My wife and I are supporters of an organization called Casting for Recovery-Tennessee. This organization provides retreats in East Tennessee for women who are in any stage of breast cancer.
18. My first job was as a newspaper carrier for the New Albany Tribune. I worked hard to grow this paper route. My first year’s effort won me a trip to the time trials for the Indianapolis 500. This trip may have solidified my love of cars.
19. When I became mayor, we set into motion several beautification efforts. We have completed the planting of trees and shrubs along the first ¼ mile of U.S. 321 as you enter the city. This combination of redbuds and dogwoods will become more beautiful with each passing year. We are installing thirty-five banners along the main road through Townsend.
20. I was born and raised in a small southern Indiana town, New Albany. In fact my wife and I graduated together from New Albany High School.
21. In 2007, a commercial recreation business decided to use the residential property next to our cabin in Townsend for an inner tube take out. My appeals to the city of Townsend failed. Eventually, I was able to get specific wording added to the zoning rules that prevent a commercial recreation business from operating on residential property. This experience caused me to run for city commissioner.
22. The first political event that I attended was when I was 16 years old. Bobby Kennedy was running for the Indiana democratic presidential nomination in 1968. He stood on a flat bed truck on Market Street in New Albany and delivered a crowd-stirring speech. In a matter of a few weeks, he was dead. At that moment, my world view changed. I began to realize that violent death occurred in the U.S.A., not just on the television nightly news from Vietnam.
23. The City of Townsend is supporting the 75th anniversary celebration events in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We will be attending the Governors’ Proclamation Ceremony at Clingmans Dome on April 24. We plan to be at Newfound Gap to shake President Obama’s hand on behalf of the citizen’s of Townsend on Sept. 2. We sure hope he decides to attend.
24. My wife and I are parents of three adult children and a 7-year-old grandson.
25. Fly-fishing is a sport that my wife and I really enjoy. We have a tradition that on our wedding anniversary, May 25, we go fly fishing together. My wife is a much more accomplished fisherman than I am. She even hold’s a women’s fly-fishing world record, a 30 lb. redfish.