This blog, website or future book would not be possible without the insight and assistance from a number of co-workers and friends.
Let me begin with Nancy Proffitt. Nancy was my immediate supervisor at what was then Pickens Technical Institute. As Vice President of Economic Development she was the initial inspiration for this project. And in spite of my incessant need for her wise counsel and encouragement, she ultimately became President of what eventually became Appalachian Technical College. It was her concept to use the resources of the Institute to help those that needed an extra boost to develop the skills needed to get to work and become a productive member of the workplace. My staff was merely the implementers of her vision.
Brandy Gephardt helped with the initial course called “Forging Ahead” which was designed to help individuals whose life skills didn’t prepare them to be productive in the workplace or had difficulty relating to family and friends. I owe Brandy, who has left us to go with the Lord, a major debt of gratitude for keeping the project, and especially me, focused on the needs of our audience. My experience working either in or with the corporate world for many years exposed me to individuals who were blessed with the knowledge and skill to perform their duties competently. Working with this new population was new and challenging to me at the time. Brandy facilitated my transformation to listen, understand, and develop methods to help and respect the hidden talents of those individuals with the desire to become successful.
Rhonda Lindsey was not only a very talented Administrator, she was the conscious of the project. Rhonda’s ethics and ability to communicate with management, instructors, and students kept our program on target. She kept pristine records that allowed us to continue to get grant after grant to keep the program afloat. After exhibiting an unnecessary doubt in her own abilities, she became an unsurpassed believer in the process, a top notch instructor, and fine tuner of the curriculum.
Steve and Angie Byrd-Abrams were two of our initial students. Their dedication to following the process and their special insight into what individuals needed to do to successfully complete the program and then to be a positive outcome for the program by either becoming gainfully employed and/or getting additional education by attaining their GED or taking advanced courses at the institute. They were both the epitome of our No Excuses philosophy. They carried the heavy load of individual counseling (sometime referred to as arm twisting). They also were very instrumental in modifying the written curriculum and designing computer based training to augment our methodology and enhance the learning process. Computer Based Training was a novel concept at the time.
Caroline Laur-Long wasn’t an official member of our staff but was very instrumental in critiquing the subject matter. As one of the top sales representative for Coastal Training, a leader in Computer Based Training, Caroline was the personification of the consultative sales person.
Let me finish with Mervyn Paz, my life partner, encourager, and just a darn good friend. She critiques my content and proofreads my stream of consciousness. I depend on her insight and recommendation to keep me on track, which sometimes manifests itself in her gentle prodding. Oh boy, do I need that.