Justin Heskew re-joined the Tennessee Historical Commission in April as Historic Preservation Supervisor & Coordinator for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program. He replaces Holly Barnett, who was promoted to Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and Assistance Director for Federal Programs. Prior to holding his current position, Heskew served as the Historic Preservation Supervisor for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. He has a combined fourteen years of historic preservation experience in state and local government, including previous experiences at the Tennessee Historical Commission, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the City of Hattiesburg, MS. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Studies as well as Foreign Languages and Literature.
Laura Ragan joined the THC staff in April as our Grants Administrator. She is a native Nashvillian, but recently moved back to Tennessee after her husband retired from his military service. Ragan brings an extensive background in accounting, having served as the Budgeting and Cash Manager for a Nursing Home Corporate office and as an Accountant for Central Parking Systems in Nashville. More recently, Ragan served as an Information Systems Security Specialist for Air Mobility Command and US Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Belmont University focusing on Accounting and Information Systems Security (2001). Ragan is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, General Jethro Sumner Chapter and an associate member of the Captain William Edmiston Chapter. Currently, she and her husband own Ragan Gourmet Popcorn in Clarksville and in Southern Illinois. She enjoys her “Ragan Ranch” where she cares for the farm and celebrates life with parents, children, and grandchildren.
Caty Dirksen joined the Tennessee Historical Commission staff in July as the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act and Outreach Coordinator. A native of Franklin, Tennessee, she holds a Master of Arts in Public History from Northern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education: History from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Prior to her arrival at the Historical Commission, she worked at Belmont Mansion and Vanderbilt University’s Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Dirksen has a passion for house museums, with her favorite being Van Cortlandt House in the Bronx.