Category Archives: CareerTech Champions

CareerTech Champions

Trevor Hughes – Meridian Technology Center, FFA, HOSA

FFA taught Morrison High School student a $60,000 lesson about hard work.

THEN: His father once told him, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re Hughesin the wrong room.” So,Trevor Hughes found a different room. The high school junior said he needed more challenging math and science classes than his small high school was able to offer him, so Hughes enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s biomedical sciences program. There, the Morrison High School standout was able to take anatomy, physiology, precalculus and biomedical sciences.

Already a member of FFA, Hughes enrolled in HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. At Meridian Tech, he said he learned about

  • Lab safety and procedures.
  • The body’s reactions to everything from diseases to open wounds.
  • The importance of homeostasis.

After a year at Meridian, Hughes took college and high school classes concurrently. Hughes said he knows the value of hard work, and he attributes that to his membership in FFA.

“I am forever in debt to the FFA,” he said. “I am thankful for every person who pushed me to better myself, and I hope to carry on the values of the organization for the rest of my life.”

In addition to classwork and involvement in CareerTech student organizations, Hughes played baseball, football and piano.

Still, he said, he found time to apply for numerous college scholarships, and one of those paid off in a big way. Hughes received the OG&E Positive Energy Scholarship. If he keeps his grades up, that scholarship will be worth $60,000 throughout his college career.

NOW: This fall, Hughes will major in engineering at Oklahoma State University. After graduation from OSU, he hopes to travel the world and inspect above-ground oil storage tanks.

“A life full of service rather than self-absorption is a life well lived.”

Trevor Hughes

 

CareerTech Champions

Hunter Poston – Meridian Technology Center and Central Technology Center

Paramedic chose CareerTech and higher ed in crafting his career plan.

THEN: A Perkins Tryon High School student whose CareerTech experiences began in HunterPostonhigh school and continued after college.

Hunter Poston started down his health care career path by enrolling in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-nursing program. He loved it enough to enroll in Northern Oklahoma College’s health services technology program after high school. Hunter left NOC with an Associate of Applied Science degree and a passion for emergency medicine.

He returned to Meridian Tech to get his EMT certification, then continued his CareerTech education at Central Technology Center’s paramedic program. At Central Tech, Hunter was active in HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. His public health team took first place at HOSA’s international competition in 2019.

He said CareerTech taught him how to

  • Be a more confident public speaker.
  • Remain calm in chaotic situations.
  • Think critically.

“Speaking in front of a small audience is required of me on almost every emergency call I run,” he said. “I may have to speak with family and friends of my patient or give instruction to other health care providers.”

NOW: Hunter is a paramedic at LifeNet EMS. He has earned numerous professional certifications, including Emergency Medical Technician and National Registry Paramedic.

CareerTech Champions

Lowder Brothers – Kiamichi Technology Centers, Poteau campus

Brothers return to technology center to find workers for their new HVAC business.

HVAC grads (L) Evan Bean, Jacob Branscum, Jeremy Riggs, with (R) Justin Lowder and Heath Lowder.

THEN: Two brothers who graduated from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program at Kiamichi Technology Centers’ Poteau campus. A few years later, Justin and Heath Lowder opened their own business, operating out of a small shop behind Justin’s home. The brothers said the training they received at KTC was a key factor in their success. The two-year program enabled the brothers to:

  • Begin their careers with no student debt.
  • Create what they described as great paying jobs.
  • Comfortably support their families.

NOW: Operating out of a brand-new facility in Pocola, Oklahoma, Lowder Brothers Heating and Air LLC has grown to 18 employees, five of whom are also graduates of the same KTC program. Justin said he and his brother pride themselves in offering a low-stress work environment, and his employees truly enjoy their jobs.

In addition to hiring KTC graduates, Justin serves on the tech center’s Business and Education Council for the HVAC program.

“Serving on the BEC allows me to contribute to students today by keeping the program up-to-date on industry and work trends,” he said.

The job market for HVAC grads is strong and is expected to grow considerably in the next few years.

“It’s rewarding to watch our employees excel and accomplish their career and personal goals.” Heath Lowder, business owner and HVAC grad

CareerTech Champions

Leisha Mahseet – Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

Nontraditional is becoming a tradition for female diesel services technician.

Then: A soft-spoken woman whose goal was to provide a better life for her family. Leisha Mahseet wanted a career that could do help her do that, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work. Leisha didn’t set out to break any stereotypes; she just wanted to make a decent living. She enrolled in Caddo Kiowa Technology Center’s diesel services tech program, and once she started the hands-on training, she said, she loved it. At CKTC, Leisha

  • Earned ASE student certifications in engines, brakes, steering and suspension and electrical.
  • Maintained excellent grades, positioning herself at the top of her class.
  • Served as a strong role model for her classmates as well as for women considering nontraditional careers.

Her instructor said Leisha is a natural leader.

“She’s a perfect example of someone who breaks traditions and promotes equity in a male-dominated industry,” Allan Leatherbury said.

Breaking traditions is nothing new for Leisha. She was the first female employee to work at the top of the wind turbines for the Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Apache.

NOW:  Leisha completed the diesel services tech program and went on to earn her commercial driver’s license through CKTC’s truck driver training program.

“I feel this is just the beginning for Leisha,” said Leatherbury. “She’s done quite well in the program, and I expect she will be even more successful in the field.”

CareerTech Champions

William E. Powell Jr. – Lexington Skills Center

Business owner: Success started with one CareerTech instructor who cared.

L to R: Instructor Cecil Wainscott, CareerTech Director Marcie Mack, business owner William Powell.

THEN: He had lost everything. William Powell was serving a 10-year prison

sentence, and in his own words, his life was completely void of any source of pride. Then a former student at Lexington Correctional Center told him about Cecil Wainscott. Powell said the one-on-one guidance he received from the licensed trades instructor transformed his life.

After Powell was accepted into the licensed trades program, he had something he could be proud of. In fact, he had a lot to be proud of. He completed his GED while he was incarcerated and later became a certified unlimited electrical journeyman and contractor.

Powell said the electrical training and his CareerTech experience helped him develop:

  • Focus – giving him “the proverbial bullseye” he said he is always looking for.
  • Accountability – “It’s not only about me,” he said. “It’s about making everyone around me better.”
  • Pride – “Being able to call myself an electrician gave me a drive to succeed,” he said.

Powell said he uses the skills he learned in the CareerTech program on a daily basis.

NOW: William Powell owns his own electrical business, Powell Electric, in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The business is bonded and insured.

Powell said he is blessed beyond measure.

“I have money in the bank, I own a home and vehicles, and I am a pillar in my community,” he said.

CareerTech Champions

MaxQ Research – Meridian Technology CenterMaxQ

Start-up company receives national grants for space-age technology.

THEN: Four scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs operating a business out of Saravan Kumar’s house. They developed a proprietary platform that allowed them to recreate various gravitational environments for space-based research. They pitched the idea to NASA, who suggested they apply that same technology to something with a broader market. That led them to explore what other industries might need the same technology.

In 2012, the group moved its business, MaxQ, into the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development.

Meridian Tech’s business incubator program:

  • Allowed MaxQ to customize its office and lab space to meet development and production needs.
  • Offered coaching on real-life business scenarios.
  • Consulted with the group on market research and establishing a customer base.
  • Helped MaxQ secure grants from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance and the National Science Foundation.

NOW: MaxQ has patented the MaxPlus thermal control solution, which allows blood and other biological products such as nerve graphs, bone marrow and stem cells to be transported in precise temperature-regulated pack-outs. MaxQ’s lightweight, impact-resistant insulated shipping containers are 10 times more insulating, 20 percent lighter, and 10 times more impact-resistant than Styrofoam.

MaxQ recently received a grant for applied research from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
About Max Q:

Stillwater’s MaxQ Research is good example of Oklahoma innovation

http://www.packmaxq.com/

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Tanner Thomas – Meridian Technology Center and TSA

TannerThomas

Tanner Thomas

Engineering student gets a head start on his college plans.

THEN: Engineering has been his passion since he joined the Technology Student Association as a sixth grader. By eighth grade, Tanner Thomas was already an officer, and he served at the state level for four years, including state president during his junior year at Stillwater High School.

When Tanner enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering program, he combined his love of engineering with his love of chemistry and physics. But when he learned he would have to give up music to make it all fit, he signed up for online classes so he could continue to play saxophone in his high school band. Tanner received first chair honors in soprano, alto and baritone saxophone in the All-State band in his sophomore and junior years.

Through TSA’s many leadership activities, Tanner learned

  • How to work well with others.
  • Presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Valuable study skills.

Tanner said he used his presentation and public speaking skills to compete in essay and speech competitions. Last year, his essay for Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s Youth Tour contest earned him a trip to Washington D.C. He also applied those skills to political campaigns for school clubs and organizations such as TSA.

“Learning to clearly and effectively communicate my ideas helped me not only as a state officer,” he said, “but also in school projects and life situations such as interviews, meetings and speeches.”

NOW: He is currently a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and was honored with Distinction in Advanced Placement/Project Lead The Way. His dream is to attend Northwestern University next year, double-majoring in saxophone performance and engineering.

“If you want to be successful, you have to start now. Opportunities don’t present themselves; you have to look for them.” Tanner Thomas

 

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Mick and Nancy German and Family – FFA

Cushing family has quite a collection of FFA jackets.

GermanFamily

Mick and Nancy German with two of their daughters, Leslie and Taylor.

Mick German was a third generation dairyman, heavily involved in FFA in high school. In 1975, he served as president of his FFA chapter.

Mick’s wife, Nancy, said she had wanted to enroll in agriculture in high school, but her mother said no, ag was for boys. By the time Nancy was a senior, her mother had softened her stance and allowed Nancy to enroll in FFA as an elective.

Soon, Nancy was showing lambs. Her love of animals grew, and after high school she went to Oklahoma State University, double majoring in animal science and ag education, with a minor in horticulture. After college she received her veterinary technician license.

Later, Mick’s daughter Amy got her own blue jacket. She was involved in FFA in high school, showing sheep and doing public speaking. (Amy’s daughter Destiny has also added an FFA blue jacket to her wardrobe and is showing goats.)

Mick and Nancy’s daughter Leslie joined FFA in eighth grade, competing at the state and national levels in several events. Like her father, she was president of her FFA chapter, serving in 2005-2006. FFA helped her get numerous college scholarships. She received a bachelor’s degree in animal science and ag communications and a master’s degree in ag education. She works for OSU Extension in Okmulgee County as an ag educator.

Nancy said their youngest daughter, Taylor, had no choice but to tag along with her sister, and by the eighth grade she too became involved FFA, raising cattle and chickens. Leadership was in her blood, and she was elected president of her FFA chapter in 2011. Taylor competed at state and national contests like her sister and received a full-ride scholarship to East Central University. She earned a degree in family and consumer sciences.

“Needless to say, FFA played a huge role in our kids’ lives,” Nancy said. She said FFA

  • Taught her children the value of hard work and responsibility.
  • Gave them valuable experience in public speaking and interpersonal communication.
  • Helped them finance their college educations.

“We bleed a little blue each day,” Nancy German

GermanGrandchildren

Mick and Nancy German’s grandchildren

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Goodwin Feh – Canadian Valley Technology CenterGoodwinFeh

Nursing grad pledges $5,000 in annual support to his CareerTech alma mater.

THEN: A young man living in the Republic of Cameroon, where an estimated 48 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and violent crime is common throughout the country. Goodwin Feh left his native Africa to get an education in the U.S. Eventually he enrolled in the practical nursing program at Canadian Valley Technology Center, where he excelled in the classroom.

At CV Tech, Goodwin said he was able to escape the despair of his previous life. He

  • Completed the LPN program.
  • Passed his state practical nursing board exam.
  • Developed a hunger for learning, which led to associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing and a master’s degree in business administration.

Goodwin has worked as a certified nurse aid, LPN, nurse supervisor, chief clinical officer, director of clinical operations and chief executive. He also obtained his U.S. citizenship.

NOW: A health care entrepreneur who founded Cohesive Healthcare Management and Consulting in Shawnee in 2016. He manages 300 employees, providing operations expertise to rural and community hospitals.

Goodwin and his wife have begun giving back to CV Tech through an annual pledge of $5,000 to the CV Tech Foundation. CV Tech Nursing Director Lauri Jones said the money will be used to help students overcome various hardships.

“The instructors at Canadian Valley provided me moral support and encouraged me to trust in myself.”

Goodwin Feh

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Steven Rogers – DECA, High Plains Technology Center

Technology center instructor literally grew up in the CareerTech family.StevenRogers

THEN: As a small child, Steven Rogers says, he ran the hallways of High Plains Technology Center while his dad taught in a classroom there. Having grown up on that campus, it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to take classes there as soon as he was old enough.

Steven chose marketing and management classes at High Plains Tech and joined DECA, the CareerTech student organization for marketing students.

He said his two years in DECA taught him:

  • Public speaking, through competitions and events.
  • The importance of good customer service.
  • How to be more self-confident, something his marketing instructor emphasized.
  • Business management skills.

After graduation, Steven used those management skills to open three businesses in five years.

I think students coming out of CareerTech have a better understanding of the mechanics of a business,” he said.

NOW: Steven needed to make a career change for personal reasons and decided to join the High Plains family once again, this time as an instructor. He was denied that opportunity three times, but he did not give up. With his fourth application, Steven was hired.

“I have a passion for teaching, and I love the CareerTech family as my own,” he said.

Steven is now the industrial coordinator at High Plains Tech. Also a fireman and EMT, Steven teaches fire, industrial and wind rescue classes.

“CareerTech helps students develop strong work ethics.”  Steven Rogers

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