Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) Board of Commissioners voted today at its monthly meeting to appoint Art Cate as executive director of the public housing and redevelopment agency for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Cate has served as KCDC’s chief operating officer since 2001.
“Art’s decades of experience working in local public housing and redevelopment have thoroughly prepared him for a transition to a new leadership role,” said David Hutchins, chairman of the KCDC Board of Commissioners. “Over Art’s 35-year tenure at KCDC, the agency has become a regional model of operational efficiency and strategic vision.
“We are confident that Art has the experience within both KCDC and the public housing industry to maintain the high standard of affordable housing choices in Knoxville and move forward existing and new redevelopment initiatives.”
KCDC’s executive director is charged with overseeing the operation and maintenance of KCDC’s 3,575 public housing units and 4,000 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, as well as advancing the redevelopment initiatives in partnership with the City of Knoxville.
In January, the Board of Commissioners, based on succession planning already in place, embarked on the selection process of a new executive director. Surveys of KCDC commissioners and staff showed that maintaining momentum on key projects in accordance with the agency’s strategic plan was the top priority. This fact, coupled with national research indicating that internal candidates have the highest success rate when companies seek new leadership, led the board to accept a recommendation to promote from within the agency for the executive director position.
“KCDC is a regional model for its progressive strategies and efficient operation, and it is important to continue the strategic initiatives that have allowed us to be successful,” Hutchins said. “The board believes that Art will provide the consistency in leadership and knowledge required to continue the positive momentum on key projects, such as the ongoing Five Points revitalization and the expansion of downtown Knoxville redevelopment.”
Cate has worked at KCDC for more than 35 years and has been COO since 2001. As chief operating officer, Cate oversaw maintenance and operation of KCDC’s 20 public housing properties and 4,000 Section 8 vouchers and ensured that the organization’s strategic objectives were implemented.
“I am grateful to the Board of Commissioners for this new opportunity,” Cate said. “I have been fortunate to work alongside KCDC’s experienced, talented staff for the past 35 years. With their support, KCDC will continue to provide quality affordable housing and transform neighborhoods in Knoxville and Knox County. The leadership transition will be a smooth one as we continue our strategic plan to transform our affordable housing stock and to assist the city and the county on housing and redevelopment activities.”
In addition to his work at KCDC, Cate also has served as a consultant for several public housing agencies in the region. After the Chattanooga Housing Authority (CHA) ran into financial difficulties, Cate served as acting COO of CHA for several months to improve the agency’s financial situation and increase operational efficiency. CHA now is in good standing. Cate and KCDC currently are consulting with the Lenoir City Housing Authority and Harriman Housing Authority.
Cate is a founder and past chairman of the Tennessee Housing Authority Risk Management Trust and a founder and former president of Emphasys National User Group (ENUG). He also has served as president of the Tennessee Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (TAHRA) and Chairman of the Administrative Practices Committee of SERC-NAHRO (Southeastern Regional Council-National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials).
In 2013, Cate was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to the Tennessee Workforce Development Board. He currently serves as president of the North Knoxville Business & Professional Association (NKBPA).
Cate graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human resources management and personnel administration in 1973 from the University of Tennessee. Cate resides in Fountain City with his wife, Cammie. They have three grown children.
He will assume his responsibilities as executive director of KCDC on April 1.