impact Spring 2016

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News for Your Company from Tri-County Technical College Spring 2016

From the President

Upstate a Leader in Foreign Investment


arlier this spring, I passed the Chairman’s Gavel for Upstate SC Alliance to the very capable Max Metcalf, government and community relations director for BMW. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to serve as Chair Dr. Ronnie L. Booth of this highly successful regional economic development partnership whose mission is to market the Upstate to the world as a top choice for doing business.

What’s Inside

Our efforts have paid off and will continue to for years to come.

Companies Recruit Students at Career Fair 2 GET Students Build Hexapod 2 Forum Spotlights Technical Career Pathways 4 Students Selected By Häring Leave for Germany 4 Pathways Student Among Welding Winners 5 Randy Blackston Receives 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award 6

The Upstate is now home to approximately 500 foreign-owned companies hailing from 35 countries, and our State leads the nation in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Many of you are leaders in these companies. Our region leads the U.S. in percentage of jobs provided by foreign-owned enterprises, boasting 10.6 percent versus five percent for the country as a whole. From 2010-14, foreign companies accounted for 28 percent of new projects and 42 percent of expansions announced in the Upstate. Over the past five years, expansions have driven job growth, accounting for more than half of all jobs announced annually. New and expanding foreign-owned companies drive job growth in the Upstate­— good paying jobs. In 2014, 51,753 individuals in our region were employed by foreign-owned companies. Multiply that by the average family size of 2.5 and approximately 145,000 people are directly and positively impacted every day. Additionally, research shows that each job in manufacturing creates three additional jobs in the region’s service and supply sectors. As such, jobs provided by foreign-owned businesses create roughly 150,000 additional jobs in the region. Our success in attracting foreign investment and jobs is a direct result of our willingness to colContinued on page 6

Karahn Washington

Scholarships Fund QuickJobs Training


n January, more than 200 area residents had the opportunity to enroll in short-term job training programs through the College’s Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division, thanks to scholarship money provided by the S.C. General Assembly.

The response was overwhelming. Within two weeks the $335,000 allocated for in-demand, QuickJobs training in the areas of manufacturing, health care, and transportation and logistics was depleted. Individuals who were unemployed, as well as underemployed, began to prepare for in-demand jobs that lead to a sustainable wage. But there are many more unserved residents in the tri-county area who remain unemployed. There still are 300 names on a waiting list of folks who want jobs but don’t have jobs. Scholarships of up to $2,000 per student were granted to successful applicants who attended the January 8 Career Expo in the Industrial and Business Development Center. For programs whose tuition exceeded the $2,000 scholarship, Tri-County community partners, like AIM and Goodwill, paid the additional money to be able to train more individuals. Continued on page 3

Companies Recruit Students at Career Fair


he College’s Annual Career Fair is an opportunity for students and soon-to-be graduates who are looking for employment to talk about job opportunities with recruiters and managers and to develop a network of career contacts. Mac Dickard, systems application technician at JR Automation and a 2015 Industrial Electronics Technology graduate, right, talks to Shon Tilson, an IET major from Seneca, about his job and the company.

Impact is published three times each year by the Office of the President and the Public Relations Department. Campus Contact Information P.O. Box 587, Pendleton, SC 29760 Pendleton Campus..................864-646-8361 Anderson Campus...................864-260-6700 Easley Campus............................ 864-220-8000 Oconee Campus........................ 864-886-4555 Toll-Free (864 area code).... 1-866-269-5677 TDD/Voice............................ 1-800-735-2905 Website......................................

GET Students Build Hexapod


eneral Engineering Technology (GET) Program Coordinator Dorian McIntire believes the best way to spotlight a curriculum is to show prospective students what they could be learning about and designing in classrooms and labs.

Last semester students in his senior Hydraulics and Pneumatics class explored pneumatics and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) by building a six-legged walking machine (Hexapod) powered by pneumatics and controlled by a PLC. “Multi-disciplinary projects like this one are an ideal way to teach and engage students while solving complex system integration problems,” said Dorian. “It serves as an interesting application for pneumatics. In the past, students only have used trainers they built, but trainers only go so far and aren’t as fun and challenging as building complex, multidisciplinary machines, like a Hexapod, that walks and is controlled by a PLC. It’s a real-world application of pneumatics that is interesting and fun,” he said. “Also, being able to show prospective students what they will do and learn in the GET program is worth a thousand words.” Initially the class built the Hexapod as a senior project and later decided it would serve as a permanent mascot for the program. Dorian took it one step further. He posted a video on You Tube (of the students testing their creation. He sent the link to Automation Direct, an automation distributor in Cumming, GA, the online industrial supplier of the materials. The distributor was so impressed by the project that they offered to donate parts to build another unit to be used for public outreach via photographs on the company’s website. The next version of the Hexapod is more sophisticated. It has an

aluminum tubing body to give it more capability to maneuver and act more lifelike. “We added sensors to the Hexapod so it can interact with the environment (avoid obstacles),” he said. “We will put the name of the distributor on the next Hexapod and will be able to keep it in our program as a marketing tool,” he said. The company also requested that the GET students help them to create a pneumatics solution and project manual. Students will assist in writing a booklet on pneumatics that will be available to the donor company’s customers. This application manual for pneumatics will give students some experience in writing a technical manual. The GET program regularly uses projects like this to facilitate learning in the program, said Dorian. “Students learned a lot about pneumatic principles and produced a great marketing tool for the GET program,” said Dorian, who says he expected good work from the students but admits he was beyond impressed with the final product. “The students really surprise you sometimes. I was floored by the caliber of the final product.” For more information information contact Dorian McIntire at 646-1481 or dmcinti1@

Tri-County Technical College does not discriminate in admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, qualifying disability, veteran’s status, or national origin.


Schneider Electric Supports Priority Needs Schneider Electric in Seneca made a $5,000 contribution toward a pledge to the TriCounty Technical College Foundation in support of priority needs at the College. Here, Garvin Barker, plant operations manager, left, presents the check to Grayson Kelly, executive director of the Foundation. Larry Smith, retired Schneider Electric plant operations manager and a member of the College’s Foundation Board, is pictured at right.

QuickJobs (Continued from page 1)

Karahn Washington was among those who qualified for the scholarship and entered the South Carolina Manufacturing Certification (SCMC) program. Looking for a career change, he was working a temp job in manufacturing when he qualified for a scholarship and enrolled in classes. Immediately he began to get a better understanding of manufacturing, he said. More than 80 persons have been trained in SCMC, a quick, yet comprehensive training route for individuals seeking to enhance their skills and to secure full-time employment as operators in manufacturing or other organizations. “Our SCMC training provides individuals the opportunity to earn national credentials that manufacturing employers understand. It shows that you have the skills set to fill those in-demand jobs,” said Rick Cothran, dean of the CCE Division. Washington attended classes five days a week after ending a third-shift temp job. Three quarters of the way through a 10week SCMC class, he landed a full-time job as a SCRIM operator at Chomarat in Anderson. “I paid nothing out of pocket and got a new career that I love,” said Washington, an international business graduate from the College of Charleston, who says not long after graduating and working for a company, he realized that the world of retail wasn’t a lifelong career for him. “In my current job, I am able to work in teams, collaborate with coworkers, and feel good about the work I am doing. I feel accomplished,” he said.

Donation Funds Robots U.S. Engine Valve/Nittan Valve made a $20,000 donation to the Tri-County Technical College Foundation to purchase two DEPCO ER2U robots for the Corporate and Community Education Division’s Mechatronics program. The DEPCO ER-2U robot is specially developed for education and assists instructors in creating a fast learning environment in a robotics curriculum. The robots allow faculty to instruct students on STEM topics, including programming, mechanical engineering and process controls. This equipment will be specifically used in hands-on labs to enhance skills that support the efficient operation of production equipment. Pictured from left to right are Myra Morant, human resources manager at U.S. Engine Valve; Hiro Akutagawa, assistant plant manager; Bobby Dover, plant manager, Westminster U.S. Engine Valve plant; and Courtney White, director of development at the College.

“SCMC works – it’s great for anyone who wants to get a better job and develop your skills. There are people at Tri-County who want to help,” said Washington. “We offer classes that help students obtain the skills that they need to enter the workforce. In addition to SCMC, individuals can be trained in as little as one week or up to 30 weeks based on the technical skills needed in each career,” said Cothran. He added that QuickJobs classes are designed to upgrade one’s skills and can be completed in less than a year (before summer 2016). For a list of programs, go to


Forum Spotlights Technical Career Pathways The Business and Industry Expo II was hosted by The Clemson Center for Workforce Development, Partnership for Academic and Career Education, Tri-County Regional Education Center, S.C. Department of Commerce, and Tri-County Technical College. Industry and education leaders heard updates on what has been accomplished through the Technical Career Pathways (TCP) program and what programs are on the horizon to encourage high school students to choose careers in advanced manufacturing.


he forum’s keynote speaker, Larry Smith, retired manager of Schneider Electric in Seneca, said, “Technical Career Pathways (TCP) classes give students a running start. After one year in the pathways classes in high school and one year at Tri-County, graduates can land a job at Schneider Electric making $40,000 a year straight out of school. That’s not a bad start. In three years, they can earn $60,000 and have no college debt because of the efficiency of these programs,” he said.

“A clear path. A great starting point. No debt. These are just three of the many selling points of the Technical Career Pathways program,” he said. Manufacturing folks are always striving to develop a pipeline of talent – one way is to work closely with Tri-County and its career services program, said Smith. “Tri-County does an excellent job of connecting with manufacturers – asking what is needed and what is changing to keep aligned with workforce needs,” he said. Larry Smith, retired manager of Schneider Electric in Seneca, was recognized for his years of dedicated service, exceptional contributions, and commitment to technical education and economic development in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties, following his keynote address. Pictured with him are Dr. Booth, left, and Mike Darby, of Darby Electric, chairman of the PACE Board.

“But we manufacturers have a responsibility here, too,” he said. “I always hear we can’t find good people. We can’t throw our hands up and walk away. We have to identify them, hire them, and develop them. Connect with the school district folks and express concerns you have. You have to be active and engaged by serving on advisory committees and teaching as an adjunct instructor at Tri-County,” he said.

Students Selected By Häring Leave for Germany


nother unique training and career opportunity for Tri-County students is through Häring USA, a leading global manufacturer of precision components and subassemblies for the automotive industry. Twelve students were selected by Häring and headed to Germany in April to train for three years at the company’s Bubsheim facility. They are attending an academy with students from other colleges and universities, and study as trainees, along with attending daily classes while immersing themselves in the German culture. They train to be team or group leaders at the company’s new U.S. facility set to open in Hartwell, Georgia, in 2017. Ian McCraw, an Industrial Electronics Technology senior, who was a member of the first Technical Career Pathways (Basic Electronics) class who graduated with a high school diploma and a college credential in 2014, left for Germany on January 2, 2016.


From left are Phillip Westbrooks, GET; Axel Lehmann, Mechatronics; Brooks Young CIT; Kody Bennett, EGT; Jonah Shirley, Mechatronics; Trenton Stamey, Mechatronics; Dalton Laugh, Mechatronics; and Jaden Humphries, IET. Alex and Trenton were among the 14 Crescent, T.L. Hanna, and Westside high school seniors in 2014 who earned a earned a college credential before they graduated.

Students Earn College Credential Before High School Graduation


ri-County Mechatronics instructor Mark Franks teaches 45 sophomores, juniors and seniors from Belton-Honea Path, Palmetto, Powdersville, and Wren high schools in the Mechatronics curriculum at the Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center.

Students who once were considering a four-year degree are now looking to enroll at Tri-County this fall. “They are realizing that mechatronics is booming in the Upstate and companies are looking for individuals with electrical and mechanical skills— what they learned in these dual enrollment classes,” said Franks. Brett Johnson, a senior at Belton-Honea Path High School, said, “I thought I wanted to be an engineer and I took this class and now I want to continue with Mechatronics at Tri-County. I’m getting college credit for a subject I’m really interested in.” “I didn’t expect this opportunity to come along,” says Christopher Rector, a senior at Palmetto and an athlete who played baseball, track and football—until this year when he took his first Mechatronics class at the Anderson 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center.

Instructor Mark Franks is pictured with Mechatronics Pathway students from the Anderson District 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center.

“It has been eye opening. I learned skills—electrical and mechanical—I didn’t know I had. It turned out to be fun and cool,” said Rector, who put sports aside and began to consider a career in advanced manufacturing.

Pathways Student Among Welding Winners


ri-County’s Welding students garnered six awards—including three first-place recognitions—at the 34th Annual South Carolina Technical College State-wide Welding Competition hosted by Greenville Technical College April 22. One of the first place winners was Welding Pathway student Brandon Patterson, of Easley, a high school student at the Anderson District 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center, second from left. As a dual enrollment student, he competed in the 34th Annual South Carolina Technical College State-wide Welding Competition hosted by Greenville Technical College April 22—and took home a first-place prize. Brandon received a Welding certificate at Tri-County’s spring graduation and will enter the College’s Welding program this fall. Pictured from left to right are Dakota Phillips, of Walhalla, third place, Category 4; Brandon who won first place, Category 2; Charles Orr, of Simpsonville, second place, Category 1; Bryson “Ty” Nettles, of Easley, first place, Category 5; Andrew Abstance, of Aiken, first place, Category 3; and David “Clarke” Richey, of Belton, second place, Category 6.


Dr. Booth (Continued from page 1)

laborate and partner in regional economic development efforts. The strength of our message as a region is far greater than what we can achieve as ten individual counties. My role in this partnership is to bring attention to our nationally-recognized State-wide system of technical training, the skilled workforce we can provide, and how quickly we can respond with value-added, innovative programs designed to meet industry needs. Tri-County Technical College is your local resource for education and training. Our goal is to provide skilled employees that enable you to operate at peak performance levels and meet the rapidly changing demands of the global economy. You will find examples of this work in the pages of this newsletter. I hope you will feel free to contact me directly if we can ever be of service.

Ronnie L. Booth, Ph.D. President

Randy Blackston Receives 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award


andy Blackston of Anderson received Tri-County Technical College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award at the College’s spring commencement May 10 at the Anderson Civic Center.

The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from TriCounty; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association or the community. In 1988 Randy Blackston was on the University Transfer track with the goal of studying Business Management at Clemson University when he met Tri-County Technical College’s Industrial Technology instructors, toured the department, and realized that he was challenged by and excited about mechanical equipment, gear ratios, motion time and study, production control, and quality analysis. “I enjoyed the connection I had with Randy Blackston faculty and the interest they had in me. When you engage like that with students, you expedite the learning process at a level much greater than can occur in the classroom lectures,” he said. Blackston never scored less than an A after transitioning to the Engineering and Industrial Technology Division and graduated as an honor student with a 4.0 GPA. He also did the nearly impossible. After receiving his degree in Industrial Technology in 1990, he enrolled at Clemson where he continued his education in textile manufacturing with an area of concentration in Industrial Engineering by day and by night earned a second degree in Quality Assurance at Tri-County. He was enrolled in 28 credit hours one semester all while maintaining a 30-hour work week. He worked full-time, second-shift jobs through 80 percent of the five years he went to college. “Tri-County’s Industrial Technology Department was excellent. It provided the basic math and engineering background to go straight to work or to continue my education, which is the avenue I chose,” he said. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he began working at Glen Raven as a Management Trainee and Project Engineer. “I had a goal,” said Blackston, who, today is Vice President of Operations at Glen Raven (Sunbrella®) in Anderson and responsible for global manufacturing of the Sunbrella® Branded Products. Around the globe, Glen Raven’s Sunbrella® brand is recognized as the industry leader in performance fabrics for awning, marine and decorative furniture. It’s that strong work ethic that has put him on the fast track for the Anderson company—in 24 years rising from his first assignment to being directly responsible for the operations of four manufacturing plants with 1,200 associates. He also is responsible for global best practices and manages global capital projects. He says his biggest achievement has been serving as Project Manager in 1992 for the one-million-square-foot facility on Liberty Highway. From May 1992 – June 1994, he was immersed in the new project, calculating every item needed for the facility based on growth calculations.


Continued on page 8

DOL Grant Expands Apprenticeships


he U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded the S.C. Technical College System a $5 million grant to expand apprenticeships in the State, with Tri-County receiving $163,000 to train 62 individuals in the areas of manufacturing, information and professional services.

Apprenticeships are easy to set up and there’s not a lot of red tape, said Carla Whitlock, senior apprenticeship consultant with Apprenticeship Carolina. Other benefits include a highly skilled workforce, state tax credits, standardized skills, reduced turnover, and increased productivity, she said. “You’ll get credentialed, well trained, and highly-educated employees,” said Whitlock in a presentation to industry representatives. The SC Technical College System’s grant—SC Apprenticeship Initiative—is designed to increase the number of manufacturing apprenticeships and lay the foundation for future scaling of new Varia Galbreath, a technician in the Vent Department at Johnson Controls, seated, is one of six employees sponsored by her company to take Mechatronics classes funded by an ARC grant. Varia, who has been at programs in professional and information Johnson Controls for 15 years working as a Vent Operator, recently was promoted to a Technician. Here, services. The S.C. Apprenticeship Initiashe talks with April Eller, human resources manager for the company. tive has two goals: to increase registered apprentices in the State by 1,000 by 2017 in the targeted high-growth, high-tech “We can help recoup all you spend and you wind up with good techniindustries of manufacturing, professional and information services cians,” said Parker. Besides the $1,000 tax credit per apprentice, and to increase access to post-secondary training and credentials the State offers incentives through the E-Zone Retraining program. for target industries and underrepresented groups in sponsored Employers may receive up to $1,000 in additional credits for training apprenticeships, namely veterans, minorities, and women. provided to full-time employees who have been with the company for at least two years. Additional information about the E-Zone Companies across the State will be able to apply for grants to offset program may be found at costs associated with apprenticeship programs. Applications and-industry/e-zone-program.html. will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, and Tri-County will serve as a provider of job-related education programs. Companies also may receive a $1,000 state tax credit per registered apprentice per year for up to four years, resulting in a financial advantage for the company. “Tri-County and Apprenticeship Carolina work hard to make sure that the net cost of training is as low as possible for companies,” said Whitlock. Program components include supervised, on-the-job training, jobrelated education, which can be through Tri-County or what companies provide internally, and a scalable wage progression. “Our staff puts together the paperwork, but it’s important for the company to register the apprentice because it gives your associate a nationallyrecognized credential through the DOL,” she said. Companies can receive up to $12,500 in grant funding. The funds may be used for up to $2,500 of training per apprentice.

Apprenticeship Fast Facts SC has the fastest growing apprenticeship program in the country. There are 800 companies with registered apprentices in SC. 15,000 individuals are enrolled in or have completed the apprenticeship program in SC. Apprenticeship benefits to companies: A highly skilled workforce; State tax credit; standardized skills; reduced turnover; and increased productivity. Registered apprenticeships are a requirement of the DOL grant. Scholarships will apply to credit and some continuing education programs and are ready for issue.

Richard Parker, training and development director for Tri-County’s Corporate and Community Education Division, reminded the crowd they also can apply tax credits and the Enterprise Zone Retraining (E-Zone) program to offset costs.


Randy Blackston (Continued from page 6)

“Tri-County’s hands-on approach gave me the foundation I needed to tackle complicated problems. Through the math and work measurement, I had the building blocks to do calculations and be a part of group discussions,” he said. In 1997 he was promoted to Manufacturing Manager for the warp preparation and weaving plants. In 2003 he was transferred to the Glen Raven facility in Burnsville, NC, to become Director of Operations for the company’s Technical Fabrics Plant. In 2007 he returned to Glen Raven’s Custom Fabrics business to focus on Sunbrella® manufacturing as Vice President of Operations. He is charged with directing the sustainability program for Glen Raven globally. Another proud moment is leading the corporate-wide sustainability initiative which resulted in achieving Landfill-Free Status in all operations in North America, France, and China. In 2012 Glen Raven received Duke Energy’s Power Partners Award for its efforts in energy efficiency, sustainability, and business growth.

Let Us Help You Find Your Next Great Hire At the end of each semester, a new group of highly skilled employees enters the job market. Our graduates are in great demand by area employers, so don’t wait any longer to identify potential new hires for your company. Let our Career Services Office assist you in finding the right person to meet your employment needs. Contact Glenn Hellenga in Career Services at 646-1585 or


P.O. Box 587, Highway 76 Pendleton, South Carolina 29670



“Glen Raven has given me wonderful opportunities,” said Blackston. “Years ago, I joined an amazing company, and I’m thankful I could use my education to work for the greatest company in the world,” he said.

Bosch Sponsors FLL Regional Tournament


he Engineering and Industrial Technology Division hosted the Seventh Annual Tri-County Technical College FLL Regional Qualifying Tournament January 30 on the Pendleton Campus. This event was made possible through a generous donation from Robert Bosch LLC. Dr. Trish Hayner, Bosch Production Systems (BPS) manager, served as the emcee.

The Tornado of Ideas team, from the independent youth organization Due West Robotics, is pictured with Dr. Trish Hayner, Bosch Production Systems (BPS) manager and emcee, in the foreground, and Tim Nafziger, head referee, in the background.


Fifteen teams, representing students from Upstate public middle schools, home schools, and private schools competed in a regional qualifying event for FIRST LEGO League teams. The Tornado of Ideas from the independent youth organization Due West Robotics, took home the Champions Award for overall performance.