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Career Tech Champions Through the Years

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. Read highlights about individuals who applied what they learned and became successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Note: The Table of Contents hyperlinks are clickable, the "lock" icons are anchor points only.


Click on the champion's name to view their photo if available.


Ada Fire Department

Together Ada Fire Department and PTC provide volunteer firefighter training close to home.

Then: Volunteer firefighters needed a way to complete training hours close to home. Partnering with Pioneer Technology Center for training, the Ada Fire Department has

  • Added a donated fire truck and equipment for PTC’s Public Safety Training class.
  • Provided Ada firefighters as instructors.
  • Conducted training in Basic Emergency Responder, First Responder, Emergency Vehicle Driver and Wildland Firefighting Skills.

Now: More than 300 students have completed firefighting training hours.


Andrew Aday

Andrew Aday plans a career in biomedical engineering after taking mission trips with his father.

Then: A young teen, inspired by going with his dad—a dentist—on medical mission trips to Honduras and Nicaragua. Pioneer Technology Center’s Biomedical Education helped Andrew

  • Gain a better idea of college expectations.
  • See how hospital technology could be improved.
  • Envision a career in biomedical engineering.

Now: A student on the right track, Andrew is well prepared and receiving college acceptances. He is interested in designing easy-to-use medical equipment.


Air Liquide

Air Liquide safeguards employees with specialized safety training.

Then: Air Liquide, a producer of industrial and medical gases, in need of specialized safety training course for team members across the country. EOC’s Confined Space Rescue training course

  • Helped team members develop the skills to perform rescue activities safely and quickly.
  • Provided hands-on training in the use of ropes, pulleys and rappelling.
  • Taught teams to organize for a quick and successful extraction of survivors in confined spaces.

Now: Air Liquide has a cost-efficient way to train teams, using EOC’s Confined Space Rescue program, and to keep skills current through an annual refresher course.


Chris Alvear

Chris Alvear learns to help himself before he can help others.

Then: A high school dropout on the verge of jail. Chris had no job, no income and, at times, no home. Realizing the trouble his life was in, he turned to South Western Oklahoma Development Authority, a group that promotes workforce development. Chris earned his GED and then enrolled at Southwest Tech as a student while also working as an administrative assistant in the nursing program where he

  • Completed medical terminology, CNA and CPR courses.
  • Gained leadership skills as the president of the Health Career Student Organization.
  • Gained confidence and a desire to help others.

Now: With dreams of attending medical school, Chris is working on his licensed practical nursing certification at SWTC and has been named a Workforce Alumni Honoree by SWODA. He says SWTC and SWODA have opened up the whole world to him, and he wants to pay it forward.


B-R-B Roofing and Manufacturing

B-R-B Roofing and Manufacturing creates new markets.

Then: Oklahoma’s premier provider of the standing-seam roof continues with a new generation of products. The 20-year partnership between Indian Capital Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services and B-R-B provides

  • Bid Assistance Training for company employees.
  • Customized training for an existing and expanding industry.
  • The donation of a residential steel roof as a “classroom” learning tool for ICTC students.

Now: Company representatives serve on ICTC Business and Industry Advisory Boards while the tech center provides training for developing new products, solving long-standing problems, and creating new markets.


Jesse Balderson

Jesse Balderson owns the shop of accomplishment.

Then: An Orlando High School junior trying to avoid taking a science class. The Automotive Technology course as well as the Career Planning Center and the Center for Business Development at Meridian Technology Center helped Jesse

  • Develop an interest and skill in automotive technology.
  • Learn how to diagnose the cause of malfunctions and perform repairs on vehicles.
  • Create a business plan allowing him to obtain a loan, opening his own automotive shop.

Now: Jesse is the owner of Jesse’s Auto Repair in Perry and Morrison with four employees. He also serves as a member of the Automotive Technology Business and Education Council at the Meridian Technology Center.


Kirt Billings

Deaf since childhood, Kirt Billings’ passion for aircraft mechanics helps him discover the sky’s the limit.

Then: A high school student who had lost his hearing as a young boy with a passion for aircraft mechanics. Metro Tech’s Airframe and Power Plant course helped Kirt

  • Learn by providing an interpreter who also understood the language of aviation and teachers who adjusted teaching styles to accommodate him.
  • Achieve the A&P certification.
  • Receive an internship at Tinker Air Force Base for hands-on learning.

Now: Kirt, the 151st deaf employee hired by Tinker Air Force Base, is now a full-time employee with plans to continue his education and work for NASA or the Boeing Company.


Demetric Bills-Rhone

Demetric Rhone's dreams reignite at Kiamichi Technology Center leading to multiple degrees and career choices.

Then: Working as many as three part-time jobs while a full-time student with three young children, feeling like her dreams had gone down the drain. Kiamichi Technology Center’s evening Health Careers program enabled Demetric to

  • Earn Certified Nurse Aide, Home Health Aide and Phlebotomy certifications.
  • Obtain employment at Choctaw Memorial Hospital.
  • Gain the confidence needed to continue her education.

Now: After earning a bachelors' degree in Criminal Justice at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a master's degree in social work from Texas A&M-Commerce, Demetric works to complete the Licensed Clinical Social Worker certification.


Laynie Boddy

Laynie Boddy maximizes college credit while still in high school.

Then: As a senior at Altus High School and a graduate of the Business and Computer Technology program, Laynie took advantage of the cooperative alliance between SWTC and Western Oklahoma State College. Southwest Technology Center helped Laynie

  • Earn 36 college credit hours through the BCT program; five scholarships to help pay for college; and an additional nine college credit hours during her junior and senior years in high school.
  • Graduate high school leaving with 45 hours toward her Associate of Applied Science and Associate in Science degrees.
  • Complete the Advanced Administrative Assistant career major.

Now: Laynie plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.


Seth Booth

Seth Booth, former Canadian Valley Technology student, excels in MIT’s engineering program.

Then: A Tuttle High School senior hoping to broaden his education and be accepted to a top engineering university. Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering program helped Seth

  • Enroll and excel in Advanced Calculus and Physics I as a freshman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Score a 32 on the ACT college entrance exam.
  • Open doors of opportunity he didn’t know existed.

Now: Seth is currently a freshman at MIT, working toward a successful career in engineering.


Anastasia Boyd

On her own while still in high school, Anastasia Boyd learns professionalism in Business Professionals of America.

Then: A child whose family moved at least every five months following a transient-worker dad. As a junior in high school, 16-year-old Anastasia decided to stop moving with her family. Rogers High School BPA helped Anastasia

  • Learn how to present herself and her ideas.
  • Use professionalism in everyday life.
  • Hone leadership skills as vice president of Rogers High School BPA chapter.

Now: Anastasia is valedictorian of her senior class, battalion commander of the Junior ROTC and vice president of the Student Council. With plans to major in construction management at a university, Anastasia seeks a career in management with a major construction company.


Darren Boyd

Darren Boyd plays his way to a stimulating career.

Then: An out-of-work machine operator. Darren used stimulus money to enroll in the PC support technician major at Wes Watkins Technology Center where he

  • Pursued a hobby and interest in computers.
  • Learned new skills about the fundamentals of technology, computer repair, network management, and server operating systems.
  • Acquired certification from the PC Support career major.

Now: Darren has a new job with International Game Technology, a design, development and manufacturing company specializing in computerized gaming machines and network systems.


Travis Brorsen and Presley

Travis Brorsen uses valuable lessons learned in FFA enabling him to be in the right place at the right time.

Then: A former FFA reporter who discovered a passion for acting while in college. FFA provided Travis with

  • Life and leadership experiences at conferences/camps and with local chapters statewide.
  • Public speaking skills learned in competitions.
  • Training to set small goals to achieve big goals.

Now: An actor in California, Travis has been working hard, using skills from CareerTech’s FFA, preparing to be in the right place at the right time. He and his dog, Presley—a brindle boxer—did just that, winning the first title of the new reality television series, Greatest American Dog. They are producing a series of video and books on manners for 2-to-6-year-old children.


Leslie Cain

Escaping an abusive marriage, Leslie Cain earns credentials for multiple career paths at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center.

Then: Leslie, with her two children, escaped an abusive marriage and fled to her parent’s vacation home. Leslie enrolled in the Electronics program at CKTC to provide for her family and later retrained for a second career in Child Development. CKTC helped Leslie

  • Place her children in worry-free, on-campus childcare through CKTC’s Early Childhood Development and Services.
  • Earn recognition as an Outstanding Nontraditional CareerTech Student.
  • Obtain an associate degree from OSU Institute of Technology, Okmulgee, in Electronics.
  • Receive on-line training for a new career in child development.

Now: After a successful 10-year career as an electronics technician with Explore Pipeline, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Mesonet, Leslie wanted a career change. Because of her previous experience with CKTC, Leslie is taking online classes to obtain a Child Development Associate certification.


Kelli Carnes

In her “dream size” classroom, Kelli Carnes enjoys teaching students excited about science.

Then: A teacher used to a traditional high school classroom of 30-plus students. Metro Technology Center’s Project Lead the Way biomedical science education gives Kelli an opportunity to

  • Provide the rigor of a college course in a “dream size” classroom.
  • Address issues that a teacher in a traditional classroom may have to overlook.
  • Work with students individually.

Now: Every day Kelli enjoys teaching students who are excited about science and focused on learning.


Case IH Agriculture

Case IH Agriculture invests in safety training.

Then: Safety training needed for hazardous occupations and operating agricultural equipment. Unique ProHarvest Safety Training, co-sponsored by Case IH Agriculture and GPTC

  • Provides safety training from company experts on top-of-the-line Case IH combines and other brands to increase employability of students.
  • Teaches skills critical to preserving life and preventing severe injuries.
  • Generates donated Case IH equipment for Great Plains Technology Center’s Agriculture and Machinery Repair major, including transmissions and complete engines.

Now: For 16 years, custom harvesters nationwide have come to Frederick for the ProHarvest Kickoff, creating an economic boon for the area. The industry trainers add credibility to the life-saving safety training provided in GPTC’s Agriculture and Machinery Repair component.


Michael Chambers

Michael Chambers rumbles the database.

Then: A gifted young man uncertain about what direction to take. After graduating from the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Michael started college at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Deciding to return home to Chickasha, he enrolled in the computer information systems course at Canadian Valley Technology Center where he

  • Learned to diagnose, repair and maintain complex computer and network systems.
  • Received his A+ certification, demonstrating competency as an entry-level computer technician, and Net+ certification for mid-level computer technicians.
  • Earned 12 college credit hours.

Now: Michael graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in information systems management. While a student he landed a job with OU’s IT department because of his certifications. A year later, Michael became an intern and was then hired by the NBA basketball team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Working as manager of customer relationship management and database operations for three years, Michael was then recruited to be a systems analyst by Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Oklahoma City.


Chloeta Fire, LLC

Moore Norman Technology Center helps Chloeta Fire, LLC fan the flames all the way to the top.

Then: A new company needing assistance. Always knowing what he wanted to do Mark Masters ventured from federal land management to the private sector. Launching Chloeta Fire, LLC. in 2009, the business needed help a year later. Moore Norman Business Development Center helped Chloeta Fire

  • Take advantage of consulting, networking and tax incentives.
  • Move into a technologically advanced, modern facility with access to conference rooms, and office and IT equipment.
  • Train employees through courses at the technology center.

Now: With 12 full-time employees, Chloeta Fire, LLC. specializes in wild fire management and suppression as well as forestry work and mitigation. The company provides high quality apparatus and personnel to federal agencies such as FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state forestry agencies in times of need. In 2012, Mark was named the Small Business Association National Young Entrepreneur of the Year.


Paige Christy

Passion for fire protection burns within Paige Christy.

Then: A Stillwater Junior High and High School student who enjoyed action. Paige played basketball, softball and oboe. She was a captain of the color guard; a member of band, National Honor Society and Beta Club; and president of Stillwater Technology Student Association. Later, as a pre-engineering charter member at Meridian Technology Center she was able to

  • Learn advanced design, drawing, math and science to apply in hands-on situations.
  • Gain independence and respect in a male-dominated class.
  • Participate in a FIRST Robotics team competition.

Now: Paige is a junior at Oklahoma State University, where she is studying fire protection and safety technology. After a summer wildfire burned down her family’s barn and barely spared her home, Paige is now considering a focus on safety engineering. She is a member of the OSU band and color guard and has a summer internship with Marathon Oil Company in Oklahoma City.


Hattie Clark

Hattie Clark finds advantages through research.

Then: A student at Lone Grove High School on a sophomore tour of Southern Oklahoma Technology Center. Once Hattie saw the classroom setting and advanced experiments taking place in the Biotechnology Academy, she wanted to be involved. Hattie was able to

  • Gain skills such as organization and responsibility.
  • Learn practical lab experience and new information
  • Participate in an internship that turned into a job at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation where she assisted with several research projects.

Now: Majoring in biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma, Hattie has realized her time at SOTC has given her an advantage over her classmates. She has excelled in her lab work and is capable of preparing and organizing assignments. Hattie hopes to attend the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine to one day become an emergency room physician.


Whitney Clarkson

Skills Center graduate Wade Frank Harting earns licenses in HVAC and electricity while incarcerated and lands 'dream job' upon release.

Then: An offender wanting to develop marketable skills so he could get a job upon release from Lexington Correctional Center. Two programs—Heat, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Electrical Trades—at the CareerTech Skills Center, along with electricity instructor Cecil Wainscott, helped Frank

  • Graduate from the Skills Center, earning both HVAC and Unlimited Electrician licenses.
  • Work, while incarcerated, as a maintenance apprentice—earning enough hours to complete an apprenticeship and take the journeyman test.
  • Realize people were there to support and mentor him as a student, a job seeker and a friend.

Now: Frank is home, living close to his son, in a job he identified early on as his "dream job." A maintenance technician at the Stillwater Medical Center, Frank works in an organization that supports its employees and believes in continuing education so he can work toward his new goal: increasing his knowledge and ability to contribute.


Osceola “Data” Condulle

“Data” Condulle’s last-minute decision transformed a shy student into a STEM rock star.

Then: A shy McLoud High School graduate who made a last-minute decision to enroll at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Project Lead the Way’s pre-engineering. Encouraged by his instructor to apply for a NASA Inspire Program internship, Data says the GCTC Pre-Engineering Academy has provided him with:

  • An opportunity for involvement in GCTC’s FIRST Robotics efforts.
  • Three internships at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, including a simulated mission to Mars.
  • Knowledge to explore an idea of tethering a spacecraft to an asteroid using an ice anchor, catching the attention of scholars at the national level.

Now: As one of three National Project Lead the Way Innova Award winners, Data received a $10,000 cash award. He is currently a student at Rose State College with plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to earn an aeronautical engineering degree.


James Crane

From inmate to in-charge.

Then: A single parent of two working odd jobs until going to prison for 40 months. After release, James went to DHS for assistance and was referred to the Moore Norman Technology Center HIRE Program to gain skills for employment. The electrical trades course helped James

  • Learn electrical installation, operation and maintenance.
  • Study physics, series circuits and electrical safety.
  • Develop a work ethic required by employers.

Now: James became a model student and is a supervisor at an electrical company, where he earns more than $50,000 a year overseeing a department that earns almost $2 million a month. He regularly shares his story and encouragement with new HIRE clients.


Cushing Fire Department

Partnering for EMT Paramedic expands Cushing Fire Department services.

Then: Paramedic training needed to expand fire department services in Cushing and surrounding areas.
The longtime partnership between Central Tech and the CFD has been instrumental in

  • Planning and implementing the EMT-Paramedic program.
  • Allowing students to observe and complete required ambulance-run clinicals.
  • Providing equipment, trucks, instructors and technical support for many firefighter courses.

Now: More than 500 EMTs have been trained during the past 20 years.


Jordan Danser

Bookworm Jordan Danser steps out.

Then: A 16-year-old home-schooled student ready to explore his options. The self-proclaimed bookworm stepped completely out of his element by enrolling in the Canadian Valley Technology Center welding program where he

  • “Got a little dirty” learning welding techniques and solving manufacturing challenges.
  • Became a Student Ambassador and competed in SkillsUSA speaking contests.
  • Earned the WorkKeys® Career Readiness Certificate Gold status.
  • Earned 12 hours of college credit.

Now: Jordan was amazed at the opportunities he found so close to home. He earned a score of 30 on his ACT, received $46,400 worth of scholarships and attends the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where he is studying mathematics with an emphasis in numerical analysis and possible plans to become an engineer. Jordan enjoys telling people about CVTC and the education, experience and relationships he gained that make him a well-rounded individual.


Eric Devore

Eric Devore now has an open road to pursue his interests in the truck driving industry.

Central Technology Center, Drumright

Then: Afterlosing his job, Eric followed a career path that had interested him for a long time. The Professional Truck Driver program at Central Technology Center helped Eric

  • Learn driving and road safety skills and prepare for the Commercial Driver’s License.
  • Complete training quickly, landing jobs with U.S. Express Trucking, then Sinclair Trucking.
  • Earn prestigious awards including 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2009 first-place winner of the Oklahoma 5-axel Championship, 28th best tanker truck driver in the nation and first perfect score on pre-trip inspection since national truck-driving competition began in the 1930s.

Now: Eric has driven cross country in 48 states and Canada, choosing now to be close to home. Specializing in Hazardous Materials Transportation hauling gas and diesel fuel for Solar Transport, Eric earns at least $60-65,000 a year doing exactly what he loves to do and, he says, "That's priceless."


Tue Dinh

Tue Dinh combines natural math ability with passion for design at Metro Tech, gaining skills for TuDi Production success.

Metro Technology Center

Then: A student whose natural strength in math was leading him toward a career in aerospace engineering while his passion was designing comic books. The Metro Tech graphic design program gave Tue Dinh the opportunity to:

  • Learn at a quick pace.
  • Improve social skills by joining the SkillsUSA design team, Visual Fusion.
  • Expand natural graphic design and photography skills and apply them to business development.

Now: Owner of TuDi Production, Tue provides web development, graphic design, film and photography services to customers while earning a bachelor's degree, majoring in Graphic Design at the University of Central Oklahoma.


Marcus Dixon

Marcus Dixson goes from protecting to drafting.

Then: A returning veteran ready to continue his education. After graduating from Stillwater High School, Marcus spent a couple of semesters at Oklahoma State University before enlisting in the Oklahoma National Guard. Deployed to Iraq for 18 months in 2003 and another tour of duty in Iraq, Marcus returned home in 2008. He enrolled in the Computer Aided Drafting and Design course at Canadian Valley Technology Center where he

  • Became a member of SkillsUSA and competed in state contests in post-secondary Architectural Drafting.
  • Earned 30 college credit hours.
  • Learned to create products using design, drafting and 3D modeling software.

Now: Marcus graduated from CVTC and earned his associate’s degree in applied science with a CADD option from Redlands Community College. Currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma majoring in civil engineering, Marcus participates on the steel bridge building team with plans to intern with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and hopes to one day work there.


Chelsea Dorr

Chelsea Dorr works to weld the world.

Then: A high school student involved in Skills USA, Business Professionals of America, and National Technical Honor Society at Tri County Technology Center. The Graphic Communications Technology program at TCTC helped Zack

  • Win numerous awards in graphic communications design competitions.
  • Design monthly newsletters, website graphics, and other promotional material.
  • Grow an appreciation and desire to pursue graphic communications as a career.

Now: After graduating from Bartlesville High School, Zack received more than $8,000 in scholarships. This helped him to become a student at Pittsburg State University majoring in Commercial Graphics with a minor in marketing.


Matt Dowling

Matt Dowling uses skills to work on soldier-less Army robots and “intelligent” designs.

Then: A young man wanting to go back to school to be successful. Tri County Technology Center’s Computer-Aided Drafting program helped Matt

  • Enjoy the challenge of problem solving.
  • Learn advanced skills with various engineering and CAD architecture software.
  • Work with engineers at Emotek, a mechanical and electrical engineering company, helping design and build motors for soldier-less Army robots.

Now: While continuing his education at Tulsa Community College, Matt designs pressure plates and 3D graphics used in oil fields for Tulsa-based Oseco, a manufacturer of intelligent pressure relief systems.


Heather Eccard

Heather Eccard emerges from life-changing events to change her career path and now helps change the lives of others at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital.

Then: A student at the University of Tulsa who, after a series of personal events, changed her career direction. Through the Emergency Medical Technician Training at Meridian Technology Center and Paramedic program at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, Heather has

  • Built a healthy portfolio of work experience, based upon new skills learned.
  • Progressed in her career path from work as a nursing assistant and an emergency room tech at Stillwater Medical Center to paramedic at Emergency Medical Services Authority ambulance services in Oklahoma City.
  • Flown as a member of the elite flight medic team with MediFlight, an emergency helicopter transport service, while working on a college degree.

Now: Heather earned a Registered Nursing degree in 2008 from Rose State College and works as an Intensive Care nurse at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital.


Holly Farmer

Playing around leads Holly Farmer to discover a love for child care.

Then: A Newkirk High School student not knowing what she wanted to do with her life. Interested in taking care of children, Holly volunteered at child care facilities. She enrolled in the early care and education course at Pioneer Technology Center in hopes of discovering a connection. At Pioneer Technology she

  • Learned theories and techniques to plan and present activities that are developmentally appropriate for the age of the children.
  • Took courses in health, safety, nutrition, child development, creative arts and classroom management.
  • Received her teacher assistant and master teacher certification.

Now: Holly’s certifications helped her obtain a job at Ponca City YMCA as a site director for the after school care program. She is a kitchen manager and teacher assistant in the early child care program at Pioneer Technology Center’s Ponca City campus. Holly credits Pioneer Tech for giving her options she may not have thought of on her own.


Phil Fisher

Phil Fisher receives the information to administrate success at High Plains Technology Center.

Then: An oilfield worker fascinated by computers. Phil decided he wanted a career in information technology. He enrolled in the micro-computer repair course at HPTC where he

  • Learned the fundamentals of technology.
  • Earned his A+ and Net+ certifications.
  • Received real-world experiences and hands-on troubleshooting education.

Now: As an information services network management specialist at the Oklahoma State Department of Health – while still taking classes at HPTC – Phil maintained the network and computers of county health departments and Women, Infant and Children clinics in the Northwest Region. Four years later, when a position for an IT administrator at HPTC became available, Phil got the job. He maintains the HPTC network, computers and audiovisual needs.


Roxann Fox

Roxann Fox sutures the wounds of the past and operates a new life.

Then: A pre-kindergarten teacher for 10 years wanting to change her life. Following a bad divorce, Roxann became interested in the medical field. Enrolling in the surgical technology course at Central Technology Center Roxann

  • Learned to prepare patients for surgery, set up surgical equipment, cut sutures, and apply dressings.
  • Received instruction on aseptic techniques, basic sciences and patient care.
  • Developed relationships and resources for the future.

Now: Roxann worked at Oklahoma State University Medical Center for a year then registered with Flex Nursing to become a traveling surgery technician, making more than $20 an hour. She returned to CTC is now an instructor in Surgical Technology program.


Frontier Electronic Systems, Inc.

Frontier Electronic Systems' highly skilled employees provide customer service and complex technology products that are out of this world.

Then: In 1973, Frontier Engineering Inc. started with three employees building automated test equipment and electronic instruments. As its products evolved to radar-related and electronic systems for military and intelligence, Business and Industry Services coordinators at Meridian Technology and Autry Technology Centers were there to

  • Conduct skills assessments and training programs for electronic assemblers.
  • Facilitate team building and training for a variety of Frontier departments.
  • Profile positions with ACT WorkKeys to identify potential employees with the right skills for highly specialized jobs.

Now: Frontier Electronic Systems, the core business since1997, employs 125 people in the Stillwater facility, including 55 engineers. They develop products used on satellites, military aircraft, defensive missile systems and U.S. naval ships. FES earns repeat business and awards from its customers—like the Boeing Supplier of the Year Award in 2001, 2005, and 2009.


Garen Martens Manufacturing

Garen Martens Manufacturing employees update skills in northwest Oklahoma.

Then: Upgrade skills training needed for employees of farm implement company. Business and Industry Services at Northwest Technology Center helped employees of Garen Marten’s Manufacturing

  • Complete training in safety, leadership and motivation.
  • Improve proficiency in computer and manufacturing technology.
  • Take additional courses to expand skill levels.

Now: Garen Martens—one of two companies nationwide that produces the harrow farm implement designed to plow at shallow depths for farming wheat, rice, alfalfa, corn, soybeans and pasture land—continues to contribute to economic growth and development in northwest Oklahoma.


Nick Gassaway

Nick Gassaway turns dedication and drive into a business at age 20.

Then: A junior at Amber-Pocasset High School with little welding experience yet saw possibilities in the field. The welding program at Canadian Valley Technology Center helped Nick

  • Develop and practice the techniques of welding with shielded metal arc gas metal arc, and gas tungsten arc.
  • Compete as a member of Skills USA in district welding contests and be named Student of the Quarter for his welding class.
  • Earn one of the most difficult certifications - 6G state pipe certification, which combines all structural and pipe welding positions.

Now: Two years after graduating high school, Nick became a self-employed oilfield and pipeline welding contractor with two welding rigs. His company, G's Welding and Fab, travels across the country from Texas to North Dakota.


Lynn Gatlin

Counselor Lynn Gatlin shares her best and brightest students with a pre-engineering program to increase their opportunities.

Then: A counselor at a rural high school without funding for a calculus class. She encouraged students to participate in Central Technology Center’s pre-engineering education program, which

  • Shows students they do not have to be “super scientists” to study engineering.
  • Prepares students for college-level calculus and physics.
  • Gives Davenport High School’s best and brightest students the advanced math and science classes many rural schools cannot offer.

Now: A counselor who eliminates students’ fears of science and math, Lynn helps them get advanced classes in high school so they will have the background to be successful in college.


Joel Guthridge, Ph.D.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Principal Investigator Dr. Joel Guthridge mentors and provides leadership at Great Plains Technology Center.

Then: A northwest Iowa farm boy who was used to high school science and math classes of five students. He felt underprepared for his first chemistry class of 800 students at the University of Iowa. Through his involvement with CareerTech, Guthridge can

  • Serve on Great Plains Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering and Biomedical Advisory Committees.
  • Help high school students better prepare for college and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics- related areas.
  • Mentor the GPTC Robotics Team.

Now: Guthridge provides leadership to CareerTech’s STEM programs, which use master teachers (often experienced professionals themselves) to help students integrate complex STEM concepts through hands-on learning.


Danelle Hagan

Danelle Hagan flies to new heights with education at Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

Then: A struggling mother with a special needs son. Danelle was faced with the challenge of finding trained child care, caring for a sick child and dealing with a broken-down car. Realizing she needed to provide a better life for herself and her children, Danelle enrolled at GCTC in the aviation maintenance technology course where she

  • Learned to service, repair and overhaul turbine engine systems, propellers and fuel systems.
  • Received her certification of achievement in computer fundamentals for Windows XP.
  • Performed sheet metal structural repairs and composite structural repairs.
  • Studied the fundamentals and operations of an airplane.

Now: While at GCTC, Danelle received an internship at the Shawnee Municipal Airport towing airplanes, filing client information and even flying an airplane. She is now a charter sourcing specialist for Sun Country Airlines in New Market, Minn.


Bradley Hall

Bradley Hall finds his life’s calling at SOTC.

Then: A student with no idea what he wanted to do with his life after high school. Bradley knew he was strong in science but thought the only job opportunity was as a medical doctor. The Southern Oklahoma Technology Center Biotechnology Academy opened doors for Bradley as he

  • Broadened his scientific knowledge through advanced biology, environmental science and microbiology classes.
  • Participated in daily hands-on experiments that helped him learn proper lab technique and skills.
  • Gained independence, responsibility and better organizational skills.
  • Earned a capstone internship with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

Now: Bradley is working on core undergraduate courses at Ardmore Higher Education Center while working full time as a lab assistant at the Noble Foundation. With plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University and major in biology, Bradley would like to pursue a master’s degree and doctorate in plant pathology.


Tyler Hallmark

Central Technology Center opens gates for Tyler Hallmark.

Then: A high school student who watched classmates competing in Business Professionals of America contests. Deciding to join them in Central Technology Center’s Business and Information Technology course, Tyler

  • Earned 28 hours of college credit while still in high school.
  • Learned to defend a position, gain and keep control of a meeting and win a debate.
  • Developed computer skills, managerial skills and office procedures.

Now: Tyler was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which funds his undergraduate degree at the university of his choice adding up to around $400,000. He served as a policy assistant on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in Washington D.C. last summer and is now a senior at the University of Colorado in Boulder pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications.


Rakista Hampton

Rakista Hampton breaks the mold and becomes the first in her family to earn a degree.

Then: A single mother struggling to support her child. DHS referred Rakista to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program at Chisholm Trail Technology Center. She enrolled in the administrative assistant course and

  • Gained high-level technology and managerial skills.
  • Learned proper office procedures, telephone etiquette and the integration of computer software packages.
  • Received an administrative assistant certificate.

Now: The first person in her family to earn a degree of any kind, Rakista graduated from Redlands Community College with an associate degree in general studies and from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. She works at Langston University.


Donna Hanning

Eric Devore now has an open road to pursue his interests in the truck driving industry.

Central Technology Center, Drumright

Then: Afterlosing his job, Eric followed a career path that had interested him for a long time. The Professional Truck Driver program at Central Technology Center helped Eric

  • Learn driving and road safety skills and prepare for the Commercial Driver’s License.
  • Complete training quickly, landing jobs with U.S. Express Trucking, then Sinclair Trucking.
  • Earn prestigious awards including 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2009 first-place winner of the Oklahoma 5-axel Championship, 28th best tanker truck driver in the nation and first perfect score on pre-trip inspection since national truck-driving competition began in the 1930s.

Now: Eric has driven cross country in 48 states and Canada, choosing now to be close to home. Specializing in Hazardous Materials Transportation hauling gas and diesel fuel for Solar Transport, Eric earns at least $60-65,000 a year doing exactly what he loves to do and, he says, "That's priceless."


Michael Hapton

Michael Hapton’s automotive skills transport him to national competition.

Then: Michael’s limited experience in working with vehicles drove him to search for training. After researching other area technical schools offering similar courses, Michael attended MNTC’s Automotive Service Technology program. Moore Norman Technology Center’s AST program helped Michael

  • Work toward the industry-recognized Automotive Service Excellence certification.
  • Earn certification in the Automotive Youth Educational System, a national initiative to grow auto service technicians.
  • Gain technical skills and self-confidence in his career choice.

Now: Michael is a Hyundai Certified Master Technician at AutoMax of Norman. He is one of only 15 technicians in the U.S. selected to compete in the Hyundai Motor America's 2010 National Skills Competition. Michael continues his education at Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma City Community College, working toward a degree in foreign language and considering a degree in education to teach auto service.


Wade Frank Harting

Skills Center graduate Wade Frank Harting earns licenses in HVAC and electricity while incarcerated and lands 'dream job' upon release.

Then: An offender wanting to develop marketable skills so he could get a job upon release from Lexington Correctional Center. Two programs—Heat, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Electrical Trades—at the CareerTech Skills Center, along with electricity instructor Cecil Wainscott, helped Frank

  • Graduate from the Skills Center, earning both HVAC and Unlimited Electrician licenses.
  • Work, while incarcerated, as a maintenance apprentice—earning enough hours to complete an apprenticeship and take the journeyman test.
  • Realize people were there to support and mentor him as a student, a job seeker and a friend.

Now: Frank is home, living close to his son, in a job he identified early on as his "dream job." A maintenance technician at the Stillwater Medical Center, Frank works in an organization that supports its employees and believes in continuing education so he can work toward his new goal: increasing his knowledge and ability to contribute.


Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez considers a career in pediatric medicine.

Then: An 8th grade student who liked school and wanted to be a doctor, with a teacher who motivated him to pursue his dream. By enrolling in Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Biomedical Education, Jose

  • Is learning in advanced science classes how the heart and body systems work.
  • Is studying diseases and cures.
  • Realizes he wants to be a pediatrician.

Now: A Mustang High School senior eager to graduate, Jose plans to major in pre-med at the University of Central Oklahoma and then go to medical school at the University of Oklahoma.


Richard Hight

Blending visual art with music, Richard Hight motivates and entertains more than one million people.

Then: An 18-year-old high school sketcher who didn’t know where his passion for art would take him. Gordon Cooper Technology Center’s Drafting and Graphic Design helped Richard

  • Choose the career path best suited for his skills and passion.
  • Learn fundamental design concepts and how to apply his talents.
  • Combine talents, skills and techniques with an education from the Colorado Institute of Art.

Now: During a 12-year stint in advertising, Richard developed a following as he continued to draw on sidewalks in parks. With chalk as his medium, he performs in music-choreographed shows creating 6 by 8 foot pieces of art on stage at churches, conferences and as an opening act for bands. His art is now showcased in museums, private collections, magazines and CDs as well as on ABC, NBC and CBS.


Jessica Huff

Homeless mother finds HOPE at High Plains Technology Center.

Then: A single mother of two with no family support, homeless and without a car. Jessica turned to Project HOPE at High Plains Technology Center. With the help of Project HOPE, Jessica enrolled in the Medical Office Assistance course where she

  • Learned about office technology and medical office procedures.
  • Gained career training, academic instruction, and life skill training.
  • Acquired the skills and confidence necessary to be a functioning member of society.

Now: Jessica has a full time job as a leasing agent at Briarwood Apartments, a new car, and a home for her young family.


INTEGRIS Blackwell Regional Hospital

INTEGRIS Blackwell Regional Hospital and Pioneer Technology Center, a 36-year partnership works to keep Blackwell-area residents healthy.

Then: The 1971 closing of Blackwell General Hospital’s 12-month training school for practical nurses after 20-year tenure in the community. Brand new Pioneer Technology Center opened its Practical Nursing program in 1973 without a campus or supplies. In partnership, the two provided

  • Blackwell Hospital’s classrooms, supplies and on-the-job clinical opportunities for students.
  • Pioneer Tech’s quality instruction to local students.
  • Knowledge and skills taught by a trusted, qualified and readily available staff.

Now: The 36-year partnership between Pioneer Tech and INTEGRIS Blackwell Regional Hospital provides quality health care and great jobs in rural Oklahoma.

Read more about this partnership here


Cindy Ivie

Building the home of her dreams becomes a reality for Cindy Ivie.

Then: A young girl who loved putting things together. With dreams of building her own house, Cindy enrolled in the construction course at Pioneer Technology Center where she

  • Learned skills of design, planning, estimating and construction of a home.
  • Received several awards in SkillsUSA competitions.
  • Developed confidence through being a woman in a man’s field.

Now: After her 2012 graduation and earning her National Center for Construction Education and Research certification, Cindy took several remodeling jobs. She and her husband also purchased 10 acres and are working to build their dream home. During the spring semester of 2014, Cindy begins work at Pioneer Tech as a teaching assistant in the welding program.


Annette James

When her life was falling apart, Annette James earned credentials for a successful nursing career in Alaska.

Then: With a business management and high travel background, a 20-year gap since attending school and a 17-year marriage ending in divorce, Annette, mother of three, needed a career change. The Practical Nursing program at Wes Watkins Technology Center helped Annette

  • Realize her leadership potential as a top student and president of the student organization, HOSA.
  • Complete practical nursing training within one year to enter college.
  • Earn an associates nursing degree in one year and complete a bachelor's degree in one more.

Now: After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with two prestigious awards – the Native American Undergraduate of the Year and Native American Student of the Year – and completing a clinical rotation with the Public Health Department, Annette now serves as deputy chief of Public Health Nursing for the state of Alaska.


Dee Jarvis

Dee Jarvis, Tire Assembly-Mechanical/ Electrical Design Engineer at Goodyear serves as a pre-engineering adviser in hopes of finding “homegrown” engineers.

Then: One of 10 engineers at Lawton’s Goodyear Tire and Rubber plant, the only one from Oklahoma. Working to fill company engineering positions, Goodyear partners with GPTC enabling Dee to

  • Serve on the Pre-Engineering Advisory Committee.
  • Review pre-engineering curriculum and equipment, ensuring the program is up to date with the industry.
  • Provide expanded learning opportunities and engineering experience in areas such as design.

Now: Goodyear provides mentors and internships to actively recruit students from Oklahoma colleges for employment. Dee hopes to hire “homegrown” engineers from the local area who will want to stay with Goodyear in Lawton.


Jeneyco Overhead Door

Woman-owned Jeneyco Overhead Door expands into commercial and government sectors.

Then: Female overhead door business owner in Harrah, Okla., Leslie Jeney, with plans to expand the business in commercial and government sectors. EOC’s Business and Industry Services helped Jeneyco

  • Link to CareerTech’s Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network for opportunities to bid on government contracts.
  • Develop customized safety training for employees.
  • Venture into the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program for minority and woman-owned businesses, which offers a range of training and services including access to federal contracts.

Now: The alliance with EOC is helping stimulate Harrah’s economy through product sales and employment opportunities for much needed jobs in the area.


Colte Julian

Following a family tradition of joining FFA, Colte Julian started his career in music by singing with the FFA chorus.

Then: Following the family tradition of joining FFA while at Fletcher High School, Colte took the leadership skills and work ethic he learned in Agricultural Education and FFA to

  • Become a member of the National and State FFA Chorus in high school.
  • Give back to the FFA by using his talent to assist in directing the chorus and performing at national and state conventions.
  • Initiate a new career path in music.

Now: Colte performed in Oklahoma! during its centennial run at the Lyric Theater in Oklahoma City. Based out of New York City, Colte has now left the ranks of regional theater and moved to the next step. Currently he is living and performing as a standby Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet at Chicago's Apollo Theatre.


David Kelly

Once unsure of future goals, David Kelly found passion for the health industry through membership in HOSA.

Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City

Then: Transferring high schools, enrolling late, and learning a health class was required. David had no interest in a health-related career, but the only class available to meet the requirement was Health Careers at Francis Tuttle, which required membership in the student organization HOSA. Francis Tuttle and HOSA helped David to:

  • Grow as a leader and become more outgoing by giving speeches.
  • Become State HOSA president and first National HOSA president-elect from Oklahoma since 1992.
  • Find his passion for the health industry, impacting his future plans.

Now: Serving as national HOSA president, David will soon start his senior year at Edmond Memorial High School. He plans to attend college and major in biochemistry with a pre-med option. One day he hopes to be a doctor, possibly in trauma surgery.


Marty Kilgore

Marty Kilgore’s farming background provides a cool twist at the Blue Bell Creamery in Wagoner County.

Then: A 15-year-old Coweta High School farm kid who landed a job brush hogging for the Texas-based Blue Bell Creamery district office in Broken Arrow. Skills he acquired in the Indian Capital Technology Center machine tool program during high school helped Marty:

  • Become a full-time Blue Bell employee the day after high school graduation and eventually move into management.
  • Realize the importance of working hard and being committed to a job, and doing it right the first time.
  • Learn leadership skills such as how to work and manage people professionally and personally.

Now: Since 2003, Marty has been the general manager of the Blue Bell Creameries, the third largest ice cream company in the nation. Employing 170 workers, the plant is on course to produce more than 60 million units (pints, quarts and half gallons) this year. Under Marty’s leadership, the plant supports many local organizations and hosts several events that bring thousands of visitors to the community every year.


Kingfisher Regional Hospital

Kingfisher Regional Hospital partners to train skilled healthcare providers.

Then: A pool of skilled healthcare providers needed in a rural Oklahoma area. The partnership between Chisholm Trail Technology Center’s Practical Nursing and Health Careers programs and the local hospital

  • Provides students with clinical space for medical-surgical rotations.
  • Allows students to do observations in physical therapy, radiology, respiratory therapy, and the operating room.
  • Provides scholarships for students and supplies health professionals to help with health fairs, serve as guest speakers and interview as skills panelists.

Now: CTTC graduates work for the hospital as licensed practical nurses and in other positions such as health information management and information technology. Hospital employees serve on advisory committees at the tech center.


Daniel Kinnamon

Daniel Kinnamon engineers acceptance letters from five military academies.

Then: A promising high school student looking to get the best education. Daniel’s family realized the high advance placement scores at Canadian Valley Technology Center and moved to Mustang so Daniel could enroll in the Pre-Engineering program. Daniel learned to

  • Engineer, test and modify structural, propulsion and robotic projects using advanced math and science principles.
  • Design, build and control complex robots for practical applications and engineering competitions.

Now: Daniel received acceptance letters from all five major military academies in the United States accepting an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Planning to become a naval aviator or a nuclear engineer, at the academy Daniel will earn a bachelor’s degree and a commission into the armed forces. He is then required to serve in the military.


Bryan Kitzrow

Former engineering major Bryan Kitzrow knows the value of preparation for college engineering success.

Then: An unprepared college engineering major who changed majors during his sophomore year to earn degrees in math and education. Teaching math for Central Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering course helped Bryan

  • Provide students with challenging classes in pre-calculus, trigonometry and physics, which are unavailable at some high schools.
  • Instruct students with similar interests and common goals who are college-bound in science and math fields.
  • Realize technology centers are flexible partners with high schools, accommodating students with extracurricular activities.

Now: Bryan makes learning fun while teaching students the key mathematical concepts needed for success as college engineering major.


Colin Lowe

Natural communications skills combined with CareerTech leadership and professional development opens global doors for Colin Lowe.

Agricultural Education and FFA
Canadian Valley Technology Center, Chickasha

Then: In fourth grade, Colin was recruiting members and entering public speaking in 4-H. Later FFA sparked his interest in leadership and communications. The Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, Graphic Design and Ambassador programs at CVTC helped Colin

  • Find degree-related opportunities to travel to China, Chile and Washington, D.C.
  • Earn scholarships and an internship for Congressman Frank Lucas.
  • Focus on earning a communications degree, advancing over other students in college classes.

Now: Graduating from Oklahoma State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications, Colin plans to get a master’s degree immediately then teach agricultural education at the college level. He also plans to keep an eye on the political arena and a possible future run for Oklahoma governor.


Chad Matter

Chad Matter switches from accounting to new career in hospitality.

Then: A 1995 Catoosa High School graduate intent on a business career in accounting and banking. His interests changed while employed as an auditor at a Tulsa area hotel chain, and he enrolled in a hotel and lodging program. Tulsa Technology Center’s Hotel and Lodging program helped Chad

  • Combine industry experience.
  • Achieve greater employment potential.
  • Earn certification credentials through the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association.

Now: Chad is working and advancing in the Premiere Hospitality/Hilton organization.


Tiffany McHenry

Tiffany McHenry works toward independence by pursuing nontraditional career in auto repair.

Then: A single mom who always tinkered on her own car and was bored with sitting at a desk job. Francis Tuttle’s Automotive Service Technology program helped Tiffany

  • Feel welcome while learning about tool use and shop organization.
  • Learn and pass along skills and new-found independence to her young daughters.
  • Expand her knowledge and professional skill base.

Now: Tiffany is continuing her education to become a highly trusted auto service professional with her own all-female auto repair shop and proving to her daughters that gender doesn’t limit career choices.


Jason Meadows

“100 % Cowboy” Jason Meadows learned to work hard in Calera, Okla. Agricultural Education and FFA.

Then: A 1980's Calera High School student in agricultural education, serving as president of his local FFA chapter. FFA helped Jason

  • Gain leadership skills and win scholarships.
  • Use welding, animal care, plants, farming and equipment skills learned in class to work in construction and farming.
  • Learn how to work hard to make a good living.

Now: As a country-western singer, ranked as first runner- up to “Nashville Star 3,” Jason is best known for his hits, “Big Shot” and “100% Cowboy” and uses his agricultural skills as a hobby.


Austin Milton

Austin Milton races through straws and toothpicks to engineering.

Then: A middle school student participating in a pre-engineering presentation by high school students. Austin enjoyed building a structure out of straws and toothpicks and decided to learn more about how things work. At Tulsa Technology Center, he enrolled in pre-engineering classes and

  • Learned how to use Computer Aided Design software.
  • Developed an understanding of what each discipline of engineering does.
  • Learned how to study and what to expect in higher level classes.

Now: Austin’s hands-on experience at TTC prepared him for the challenging curriculum that he faces at Oklahoma State University as a mechanical engineering major. He is an active member of the OK State Formula SAE Racing Team, building race cars from the group up. Following an internship at John Zink Hamworthy Combustion in Tulsa last summer, Austin looks forward to graduation in May with a fulltime mechanical engineering position waiting for him there.


Zackery Minor

Zack Minor designs his future in commercial graphics.

Then: A high school student involved in Skills USA, Business Professionals of America, and National Technical Honor Society at Tri County Technology Center. The Graphic Communications Technology program at TCTC helped Zack

  • Win numerous awards in graphic communications design competitions.
  • Design monthly newsletters, website graphics, and other promotional material.
  • Grow an appreciation and desire to pursue graphic communications as a career.

Now: After graduating from Bartlesville High School, Zack received more than $8,000 in scholarships. This helped him to become a student at Pittsburg State University majoring in Commercial Graphics with a minor in marketing.


Mike Misner

Musician Mike Misner changes his tune at Autry Technology Center.

Then: A highly educated Enid native and French horn player with dreams to become a full-time college music professor. After he earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees and performance experience nationally and internationally, his hopes were fading. Then Mike saw a catalog for Autry Tech while home to visit and decided it was time for a career change. The information technology course helped Mike

  • Learn to install, configure and troubleshoot software and hardware on network and desktop computers.
  • Become knowledgeable in managing various network protocols on local area networks and wide area networks.
  • Receive training in configuring and maintaining servers, routers and switches.
  • Become an active member of the National Technical Honor Society, an organization designed to honor student achievement, leadership and promote educational excellence.

Now: Not only is Mike a deskside support tech for the Kemtah Group at Integris in Enid, he also met and married his wife and plays French horn - for fun - in the Enid Symphony Orchestra.


Connor Mitchell

WorkKeys® helps put Connor Mitchell to work.

Then: A homeschooled student on a tour of the local technology center. Impressed by the facilities and fascinated by the technology, Connor enrolled in the computer repair and networking course where he

  • Learned to diagnose, repair and maintain complex computers and network systems.
  • Took the WorkKeys® assessment, a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop and retain a high-performance workforce.
  • Received Desktop Support Technician Certification.

Now: At the age of 21, Connor is the director of technology for Burns Flat-Dill City Public Schools. He credits his training at WTC for preparing him for this position.


Myiosha Morris

Myiosha Morris never settles on the path to a new future.

Then: Single mother of three with health issues and no transportation who was living with her sister. Myiosha had trained as a certified nursing assistant but her certification had lapsed. Referred by DHS to Moore Norman Technology Center and Project HIRE, which helps people reach employment, she enrolled in the medical assisting course where she

  • Learned to perform administrative and clinical duties such as taking medical histories, recording vital signs and educating patients.
  • Became a member of the National Honor Society and a leader in MNTC student organization, SkillsUSA.
  • Earned 38 hours of college credit.
  • Received certification for medical assistant, CPR and first aid.

Now: Myiosha works at OU Physicians with a group of OB/GYN physicians. Two evenings a week she teaches for the medical office program at MNTC helping women who are in difficult situations. She tells her students to never settle.


Kelly Murray

Sibling rivalry and curiosity led Kelly Murray into a male-dominated work zone.

Then: A Hanna High School junior sparked by her own curiosity and sibling rivalry with older brothers to learn how to weld. The WWTC Building Maintenance Technician program helped Kelly

  • Get the skills required for a high-wage, high-demand job and assume a leadership role as SkillsUSA chapter treasurer.
  • Take pride in her professional accomplishments and earn respect from instructors and classmates as a team leader.
  • Gain confidence in her skills and compete in a male-dominated arena.

Now: Unintimidated in a male-dominate work zone, Kelly enjoys discussing welding with her brothers and has state and regional welding awards to prove her expertise.


Oklahoma Predictive Maintenance User’s Group

Oklahoma Predictive Maintenance User’s Group grows with greater service.

Autry Technology Center, Enid

Then: A not-for-profit, professional organization wishing to grow its participant base from 100 Oklahoma companies. A partnership with Autry Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services helped the User’s Group

  • Receive industry-specific training and equipment.
  • Provide a forum for industries to exchange maintenance information and to improve the reliability of their equipment through networking, demonstration, benchmarking and leverage training.
  • Receive funding assistance through Existing Industry Training.

Now: The partnership provides more services to its growing number of company-sponsored members that include utilities, manufacturers, refineries, municipalities, government, service, educational and leading predictive-maintenance vendors.


OSU Fire Service Training

OSU Fire Service Training partnership enables rural volunteer firefighters to train close to home.

Then: Rural volunteer firefighters needing training for safety and welfare of rural Oklahomans. A partnership between the Stillwater-based Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training and accredited fire training and testing site at Kiamichi Technology Center provides

  • Localized fire training for volunteer departments.
  • Nationally accredited fire training and testing.
  • Specialized training in vehicle extrication, flammable liquids and gases and rope rescues.

Now: The only facility of its kind in the southeast quadrant of Oklahoma, KTC’s fire service training enables men and women to receive training to become accredited volunteer firefighters close to home.


OU Dental Hygiene

OU Dental Hygiene training serves students close to home.

Then: Dental hygiene students in southern Oklahoma needing training closer to home. A partnership between the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center and Southern Oklahoma Technology Center enables students to

  • Earn a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene.
  • Learn and apply new skills such as teeth whitening, periodontal treatment, cleaning and polishing, dental x-rays and exams, fluoride treatments and sealants.
  • Fine-tune professional techniques with patients from their home communities.

Now: This win-win situation provides a valuable and economical community service to citizens in the area and gives students the convenience of graduating from college while remaining close to home.


Gin Pak

Gin Pak applies the discipline and commitment required to obtain a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do to biotechnology classes and preparing for medical school.

Then: A Moore High School junior with the grit to have earned a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a career goal of becoming a surgeon. In preparation, this National Honor Society student chose to enroll in the Moore Norman Technology Center Biotechnology program, which has given him

  • A chance to work with DNA and cells under the supervision of an excellent science instructor.
  • Experience with professional-level equipment and technology while still in high school.
  • A forum for competition at the CareerTech HOSA Leadership Conference.
  • Leadership opportunities while serving as a student ambassador engaged in recruitment activities.

Now: Gin is actively engaged in competitive events, learning life lessons, earning college credit for the biotechnology courses and looking forward to college and medical school.


Tyler Piercey

Tyler Piercey achieves goal of acceptance into prestigious NASCAR Technical Institute.

Then: Working on cars with his dad and uncle at a young age, drag racing at 16 and dreaming of joining a NASCAR team. Western Technology Center’s Auto Service Technology program helped Tyler

  • Enhance practical skills in auto service.
  • Gain the competitive edge needed to place in the Ford/AAA Auto Contest.
  • Develop leadership skills in the WTC Superintendent’s Leadership Class and National Technical Honor Society.

Now: Tyler is one of three students accepted from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas into the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. He looks forward to learning advanced techniques for building and testing a competitive NASCAR engine.


LaWanda Powell

Single and penniless, LaWanda Powell learns skills to thrive.

Then: Single, depressed, penniless and jobless with little self-esteem. LaWanda and her 9-year-old daughter needed help. The Department of Human Services referred her to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program at Mid-Del Technology Center. There, LaWanda enrolled in the accounting course where she

  • Acquired skills to handle the financial obligations of a business and to process payments made to a business.
  • Learned basic office and computer skills, including processing, spreadsheet and database and presentation software.
  • Graduated in two months with a 99 percent average in Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable.



Kaylee Price

Kaylee Price, a high school junior considering a career as a cardiologist.

Then: An Empire High School junior, nervous about being in Red River Technology Center’s Biomedical Education class. Kaylee quickly recognized that

  • She loves learning about the human body and doesn’t mind a large amount of related homework.
  • Her self-confidence and writing skills are improving with the many opportunities to talk in front of the class.
  • Skills and academics learned through the Biomedical Science Academy go beyond high school, preparing her for college and a future career.

Now: Kaylee is considering a career as a cardiologist.


Sheila Ray

Overcoming gender differences, Sheila Ray excels in the HVAC program while earning credentials for a high-wage job.

Then: A woman with 25 years of construction experience who was unable to get high-wage jobs. Sheila Ray discovered her employment was limited by her gender and lack of certifications in this male-dominated industry. Wes Watkins Technology Center helped Sheila:

  • Become certified in basic plumbing, electrical, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning and carpentry.
  • Pass the EPA Universal Technician license test for working with refrigerants.
  • Look past gender differences and focus on her skills and interests in the programs.

Now: Sheila continues her education at WWTC in the HVAC program while competing in SkillsUSA competitions.


Matt Riggs

LEGO® spaceships and Lincoln Log towers lead Matt Riggs to an honorable future.

Then: Playing with LEGO toy blocks and Lincoln Logs to build towers and spaceships. Matt was always interested in engineering and eager to challenge himself. After seeing his older brother thrive in the Pre-Engineering Academy at Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Matt enrolled and

  • Acquired leadership and time management skills.
  • Learned to study to fully understand the material and learned the importance of proper preparation.
  • Studied trigonometry, chemistry, calculus, physics, engineering design, bridge design and architecture.

Now: A first cadet at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point majoring in civil engineering, Matt will become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army after graduating. He hopes to branch into the engineer regiment, become a leader for a construction platoon and, upon attaining the rank of captain, pursue a career with the Army Corps of Engineers.


Kyle Roe

Kyle Roe sees the signs of creativity.

Then: An artist and high school junior wanting to learn technical skills. Kyle became involved with SkillsUSA and the student ambassador program through Autry Technology Center while enrolled in the graphic arts course. ATC taught him

  • Graphic design and layout, composition, web design, photography and image editing.
  • Basic skills for starting and completing a project by a deadline.
  • How to interact with clients and customers to ensure satisfaction.

Now: While at Autry, Kyle served as a district officer for SkillsUSA and was part of the State Champion Quiz Bowl Team. He earned his bachelor of fine arts in studio art from Oklahoma State University in 2009 and is now the head graphic designer for Signs By Tomorrow in Midwest City where he designs custom logos and produces and installs signs, trade show graphics and vehicle wraps.


Joanna Roller

Dreams of dentistry become a reality for Joanna Roller.

Then: A curious 16-year-old with a desire to enter the dental field. After graduating from Burlington High School, Joanna enrolled in the health careers certification program at Northwest Technology Center where she

  • Acquired basic knowledge of dentistry by practicing infection control, using dental materials and performing dental charting and chair-side functions.
  • Reaffirmed her passion for dentistry as a career through helping others with their dental health.

Now: Joanna earned her dental assistant certification after attending NWTC and is a licensed dental hygienist at Legacy Dental Care in Oklahoma City. She credits her success in Rose State College’s dental hygiene school and her career to her time at Northwest Technology Center.


Terri Starr Salazar

Terri Starr Salazar is ready to tackle “anything” with skills and self-confidence developed at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center.

Then: A college dropout before completing her first semester. After taking her cousin to enroll at the technology center, Terri discovered new options for herself. Caddo Kiowa Technology Center’s Medical Transcription and Job Readiness classes helped Terri

  • Enjoy the self-paced study and hands-on coursework—ideal for her learning style.
  • Complete three areas of certification and 10 national Brainbench certification tests.
  • Find a job after learning resume writing, computer concepts, and written communication and interview skills.

Now: Terri is an assistant to the enrollment specialist at the Kiowa Tribal Headquarters in Carnegie. With the job skills and self-confidence developed at Caddo Kiowa, she knows she can complete the tasks assigned and loves her work.


Scale Source

New hires at Scale Source depend on Canadian Valley’s authentic and interactive training.

Then: Small Kentucky-based Scale Source, a leading U.S. company providing quality and professional industrial weighing solutions in need of new employee training at its Yukon site. Business and Industry Services at Canadian Valley Technology Center

  • Partnered with the company to create a two-week Scale Source Academy, an interactive laboratory.
  • Provided on-the-job training with authentic job-site equipment.
  • Served as a local training center for new employees.

Now: Scale Source, with 55 employees nationwide, uses CVTC as its training resource.


Terri Scalley

CareerTech education stabilizes Terri Scalley.

Then: Living in a small travel trailer with no running water or electricity with her two daughters. Terri realized that an education was the only way to a better life. She turned to Central Technology Center, where she enrolled in the health careers course and

  • Earned her certified nursing assistant, home health aide, phlebotomy and licensed practical nurse certifications.
  • Acquired relationships that helped her survive and thrive.
  • Developed an optimistic outlook on life with a drive to succeed.

Now: While attending classes at CTC, Terri’s travel trailer was destroyed in an ice storm. Through help from classmates and friends, Terri received food, supplies and enough money for the deposit and first month’s rent in her own apartment. She is now an LPN at Truman Healthcare and Rehab in Lamar, Mo. and enjoys a stable life with her children.


Josh Shipp

Abused, neglected and abandoned as a child, Josh Shipp had no idea the impact DECA would make on his life.

Then: A 17-year-old Yukon High School student who was abused, neglected and abandoned as a child. Josh’s low self-esteem and life were transformed through marketing education and its student organization, DECA, as he

  • Served as DECA state president.
  • Learned to use his gift of humor to encourage people.
  • Began a career emceeing pep rallies and leading workshops.

Now: Josh is a nationally known motivational speaker, reaching millions of youth around the world through live performances and an interactive Web site: Hey His message helps young people get over “stuff” to realize they have a purpose in life. Josh was recognized by Inc. magazine for its annual “30 Under 30” list of America’s coolest young entrepreneurs.


Sarah Simpson-Warrior

Sarah Simpson-Warrior applies her math skills in hands-on learning.

Then: A Cushing High School junior who was a natural, strong-willed student organization leader looking for new challenges. Central Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering Education helped Sarah

  • Better understand math by applying it to hands-on engineering-related projects.
  • Learn how to work with leaders from other schools on teams to reach common goals.
  • Challenge herself in a competitive learning environment.

Now: Sarah has been accepted to Yale University and the University of Oklahoma.


Julie Smiley-Foster

Julie Smiley-Foster is a Project Lead the Way Sciences Instructor and National Board Certified Teacher.

Then: An agricultural communications major with 23 years of practical farm and ranch experience. Julie taught science for Grades 7-12 including anatomy and physiology, biology and dropout recovery. As an instructor in Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Project Lead the Way biomedical science education, Julie can

  • Teach “practical biology” to help students understand the principles of biology at work.
  • Help students understand the similarity of human and animal biological systems with hands-on projects.
  • Find out students’ interests and then expose, immerse, introduce and move them along at an accelerated pace.

Now: Julie is enthusiastically preparing students for the rigors of university study and successful careers in medicine and health care.



Snap-On partners train diesel technicians in nation’s first Diesel Diagnostic Training and Certification Center.

Then: A partnership between Francis Tuttle Technology Center and Snap-On to meet the need for diesel technicians in the nation’s first Diesel Diagnostic Training and Certification Center. The partnership provides

  • An opportunity to earn college credit toward an applied science degree.
  • Hands-on diesel training to work on products from companies such as Cummins, Caterpillar, Freightliner, International and Volvo.
  • Technician training for heavy equipment, oil exploration and extraction, marine and the national gas industries.

Now: In a field expecting to grow during the next seven years from 24,000 to 46,000 new technicians, students receive an advanced level of training with an internationally respected company for high-wage careers.


Sooner Construction Company of North Central Oklahoma

Sooner Construction Company of North Central Oklahoma and Pioneer Tech focus on developing skilled workers for future workforce.

Pioneer Technology Center, Ponca City

Then: A leading general contractor needing a pipeline of skilled workers. Together, PTC and Sooner Construction

  • Developed PTC’s Advanced Construction Training System initiative and internship program.
  • Set up a mobile training lab for architecture and construction students.
  • Implemented a construction trades job trailer for training.

Now: The partnership continues to develop a skilled future workforce and contribute to the economic development of the region.


Spencer Machine Works

Spencer Machine Works updates technology and employee training to match customer expectations.

Then: Spencer Machine Works, making machined parts for the repair of agriculture and oil field equipment since 1918, in need of technology updates and employee training. Pioneer Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services helped the company

  • Connect with CareerTech’s Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network to set up a cage code for government bidding.
  • Advance technology to match customer expectation and needs.
  • Secure a trainer and provide basic Auto Computer-Aided Drafting training to employees.

Now: Spencer meets customer needs by revising customer drawings electronically, thus cutting drafting time and increasing production. The potential result is more government contracts, which in turn creates more jobs in the community.


Blaire Stevison

Blaire Stevison dreams of becoming a NASCAR crew chief.

Then: A young girl with a passion for working on cars, racing and building things. Autry Technology Center’s Welding program helped Blaire

  • Develop quality welding skills.
  • Realize that gender shouldn’t matter in the workplace.
  • Broaden her experiences beyond high school.

Now: Blaire aspires to be a NASCAR crew chief and uses her welding skills to help community programs like Habitat for Humanity.


Stock Exchange Bank

A partnership worth banking on.

Then: In business since 1903, this community-minded business wanted economic success and better quality of life for residents. The bank was one of High Plains’ first partners 28 years ago when bank officials realized the technology center offered potential for growth and prosperity in northwest Oklahoma and wanted to be involved. Together the partners have benefited by

  • Bank management giving guest presentations on topics from banking to interviewing.
  • High Plains Technology Center providing specialized training and assistance in areas from leadership to marketing for bank employees.
  • HPTC students and graduates finding employment at the bank.

Now: With three Woodward offices, the Stock Exchange Bank's 52 Woodward-area employees take pride in delivering world-class service with hometown hospitality.


Melissa Stonebarger

Heading down a dark, lonely path, Melissa Stonebarger found her “light” through graphic design.

Then: A high school student heading down a lonely path of self-destruction. Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Graphic Design program helped Melissa

  • Find a positive focus in her life.
  • Earn a graphic design internship with Canadian Valley’s Communications and Marketing Department.
  • Learn to produce graphic designs for billboards, t-shirts and other promotional items.

Now: For three years, Melissa has been working as a graphic designer – a career she loves – at Fox 25 in Oklahoma City.


Taylor Swanson

Taylor Swanson breaks into a nontraditional role to help others.

Then: A Keys High School graduate with an interest in a health-related career. Taylor Swanson turned to the practical nursing program at Indian Capital Technology Center to help him

  • Choose a career based on his interests and abilities by working with physicians and nurses in a clinical environment.
  • Utilize effective communication and critical thinking skills to provide quality patient care.
  • Perform routine healthcare and diagnostic procedures.

Now: Taylor was named 2011 Outstanding Breaking Traditions Adult Student. This is an award for students who chose a specific career based on their interests, not gender. Concurrently enrolled in practical nursing at ICTC, Taylor plans to attend the OU Health Science Center in Tulsa and earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing.


Shelly Tanner

Shelly Tanner excels as the lone woman in a diesel mechanic program.

Then: A girl growing up in a family of truck drivers. Shelly’s experience with working on big trucks started early. While at Elgin High School Shelly turned to Great Plains Technology Center’s diesel mechanics technician program to

  • Improve skills as a mechanic and expand wiring and electricity knowledge.
  • Instill confidence in a male-dominated program.
  • Maintain her diesel pickup truck and to be able to help others with their vehicles.

Now: Shelly is considered by her instructors to be one of the best mechanics in the program. After high school graduation she plans to use her skills as a diesel mechanic to work her way through college to become a chiropractor.


Unarco Industries, LLC

Unarco Industries and Indian Capital are “going lean and green” – one shopping cart at a time.

Then: Partnering with Indian Capital Technology Center since the early 1980s, the world’s largest shopping cart manufacturer, decided to go “green” with a sustainability initiative in 2006. This partnership once again played an important role in tackling a new company initiative. ICTC helped Unarco

  • Conduct classes in translating Spanish to English, blueprint reading, electrical, electronics, fork lift driving, machine training and safety.
  • Conduct on-the-job and Lean Manufacturing training.
  • Develop new manufacturing techniques to save electricity, water and natural gas.

Now: Unarco’s 300 employees produce approximately 700,000 carts per year. By 2011, a new energy-efficient, white PVC membrane roof will be completed, which over the life of the roof, will remove carbon dioxide from the air equivalent to 626 cars taken off the road or 88,960 trees planted.


Unity Health Center

A healthy partnership supplies Unity Health Center with well-trained health professionals.

Then: A need for well-trained health professionals to serve Shawnee and surrounding communities. The partnership between Gordon Cooper Technology Center and the Health Center provides hands-on training for

  • Practical nursing students to learn in a clinical setting.
  • Paramedic, emergency medical technician, phlebotomy and computerized documentation students.
  • Students who assist with hospital’s community health fair.

Now: Hospital staff members serve as adjunct faculty to help GCTC prepare students to work at the medical center in positions ranging from practical nursing and paramedic to human resource specialist and medical transcriptionist.


Doug Volkman

Unemployed and homeless, Doug Volkman found direction and skills to earn a paycheck at Canadian Valley.

Then: A shy McLoud High School graduate who made a last-minute decision to enroll at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Project Lead the Way’s pre-engineering. Encouraged by his instructor to apply for a NASA Inspire Program internship, Data says the GCTC Pre-Engineering Academy has provided him with:

  • An opportunity for involvement in GCTC’s FIRST Robotics efforts.
  • Three internships at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, including a simulated mission to Mars.
  • Knowledge to explore an idea of tethering a spacecraft to an asteroid using an ice anchor, catching the attention of scholars at the national level.

Now: As one of three National Project Lead the Way Innova Award winners, Data received a $10,000 cash award. He is currently a student at Rose State College with plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to earn an aeronautical engineering degree.


Martha Wallace

Martha Wallace finds her dream career through pre-engineering courses.

Then: A Lawton High School senior with high math and science scores and dreams of becoming a flight attendant. Great Plains Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering education has helped Martha

  • Consider engineering as a possible career.
  • Use her competitive hands-on nature to apply what she learns in class.
  • Meet high school students from southwest Oklahoma who are also interested in science and math.

Now: Martha’s dream has changed. She hopes to design aircraft as an aerospace or mechanical engineer.


Larry Watkins

Larry Watkins learns the skills to help others through FFA.

Then: A 14-year-old Purcell High School freshman whose potential was recognized by his agricultural education instructor. Larry Watkins became involved in FFA and learned

  • How to prepare and deliver a speech.
  • How to work and compete on a team.
  • How to care for livestock animals such as swine, cattle and horses.
  • How to lead.

Now: With a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Oklahoma State University and two years in the U.S. Army, Larry taught at Purcell High School for five years before moving into the business world for a more family-friendly work schedule. He served as executive vice president and chief executive officer for 31 years at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. Larry is now retired and works with horses on his ranch near Stillwater.


Mary Welch

Mary Welch constructs a sustainable life through Meridian Technology Center.

Then: A young woman wanting to create a sustainable-living lifestyle. Mary graduated high school early and went to work for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms in Maui. Upon returning to Stillwater she decided to enroll in the construction and masonry courses at MTC where she

  • Learned fundamental concepts of each trade.
  • Developed skills to apply toward more environmentally sound construction projects.
  • Gained insight from two professionals in their fields.

Now: Mary participated in a sustainable construction workshop with the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture and hopes to participate in an apprenticeship. She has an internship with a Stillwater furniture designer. Mary’s desire is to maximize her contribution to society while minimizing what she takes from the earth.


Wilco Machine and Fabrication, Inc.

Managers at Wilco Machine and Fabrication, Inc. fine tune leadership skills.

Then: A company, known in the oil and gas industry as a superior tank and vessel manufacturer, in need of management training. Red River Technology Center Business and Industry Services provided company managers with customized training in

  • Leadership and time management.
  • ISO 9000 understanding and internal auditing.
  • Communication and interviewing skills.

Now: Wilco managers are better prepared to lead the company, which is a major contributor to the economic well-being of the community and state.


Jerod Wilkins

Jerod Wilkins builds bridges to a prosperous future.

Then: A high school sophomore on a class field trip to Canadian Valley Technology Center. Jerod Wilkins discovered the Computer Aided Drafting and Design class. The CADD course helped Jerod

  • Develop techniques of modern technical, architectural and topographical drawings.
  • Learn how to prepare drawings and modify them.
  • Tour the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and discover career opportunities.

Now: The summer after high school graduation, Jerod was hired to work as a drafter for ODOT. Attending Oklahoma State University, Jerod earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is pursuing a master’s degree in structural engineering.


Tracy Williams Carter

The heart of a leader is discovered within Tracye Williams Carter.

Then: A student blind to her own potential. As a sophomore, Tracye’s gift of leadership was allowed to shine during a presentation. Her classmates and teacher encouraged Tracye to join CareerTech’s student organization Family Career and Community Leaders of America at Edmond Memorial High School. She also studied health sciences at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Tracye’s CareerTech experience allowed her to

  • Participate in FCCLA national STAR event competitions, where she won gold in interpersonal communications.
  • Serve as the state president of the health careers student organization, HOSA.
  • Earn certifications as a certified nursing assistant and advanced unlicensed assistant.

Now: Tracye served as president of the Student Nurses’ Association before graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in nursing. Tracye is a registered nurse at Integris Baptist Medical Center in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and serves as the secretary on the state board of the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association.


Wilson Flowline Products

Wilson Flowline Products increases profits and provides opportunities for local citizens.

Then: An industry-leading energy and industrial supply provider serving more than 250 national and international locations needing quality, trained professionals. Business and Industry Services at Caddo Kiowa worked with the company to

  • Provide welding, forklift, driver and certification training.
  • Conduct bi-monthly safety training meetings and safety walk-through.
  • Prepare students for company employment.

Now: Wilson Flowline Products increased profits and expanded facilities, providing additional jobs in rural Oklahoma. The company hires many of Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center’s graduates, donates materials to the welding program and encourages employees to serve on advisory boards.


Jessica Winegeart

Jessica Winegeart works in a male-dominated career to help clients produce better crops.

Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center, Fort Cobb

Then: Growing up in rural Oklahoma, Jessica loved working with the land and was hired as a sales consultant for Crop Production Services of El Reno after obtaining a degree in communications and business. The Crop Care Program at CKTC helped Jessica:

  • Learn how to help clients battle threats to their crops and increase productivity.
  • Learn about agronomy, soil sampling and agricultural technologies, using Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems.
  • Select the best agronomic practices to target problems, while addressing environmental and applicator safety concerns.

    Now: Jessica, the only female to complete the first part of the state’s only Crop Care program, is working on the second part to complete her credentials.


    Malena Woodward, LPC

    Counselor Malena Woodward offers realistic college perspective in biomedical sciences.

    Then: A high school counselor trying to find meaningful outlets for her students’ talents. Pioneer Technology Center’s Biomedical Education helps Malena’s students

    • Formulate concepts and build “spectacular things” with specialized computers, lasers and other equipment.
    • Access real-world experiences and get an accurate idea of work they would do as an engineer or medical researcher.
    • Experience science and technology-focused education in a small-town atmosphere.

    Now: With classes that go beyond a traditional teacher, theory and textbook setting, Malena can offer a realistic college perspective in biomedical sciences to her students.


    Wynnewood Refining Company

    Safety training flourishes with Alliance Training Center in Wynnewood.

    Then: A need for high-quality, accessible safety training for high-risk jobs. Wynnewood Refining Company, Mid America Technology Center and Dixon Construction formed the Alliance Training Center to

    • Provide a wide range of safety training, including emergency fire and rescue, safety equipment regulations and compliance, and safety engineering.
    • Support ongoing skill development for refinery operations and on-the-job training.
    • Expand staff to include eight full-time safety experts.

    Now: The refinery and level of professional services in the area have flourished. Additionally, a 1,200 square-foot training center serves contractors and citizens in Wynnewood and surrounding communities.


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    Caddo Electric Cooperative

    Caddo Electric Cooperative and Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, a power-packed partnership.

    Then: A partnership that started in Binger, Okla., in 1968 with Caddo Electric Cooperative when the technology center first opened its doors. The mutually beneficial relationship has provided

    • Safety training for CEC employees.
    • Training of future CEC employees.
    • The opportunity for CKTC students and CEC staff to do a joint radio and web broadcast of the Caddo County basketball tournament.

    Now: With 82 employees and reduced accidents and increased safety because of training delivered by CKTC, Caddo Electric Cooperative continues to support CKTC students through scholarships, employment and youth leadership opportunities that affect the service area.


    CASECO Manufacturing

    Training at CASECO advances productivity and company bottom line.

    Then: Established in 1972 as a sheet metal fabrication shop. CASECO, a family owned company is home to the Master Mechanic Series line of heavy-duty crane and service bodies, developed after 30 years of custom body manufacturing experience in the truck body industry. In 2011, the company began using services of NETC Business and Industry Services for.

    • Basic training in 5S and basic lean processes.
    • Address workforce and facility safety issues.
    • Develop and implement a safety and health plan that includes monthly safety meetings, facility safety audits and implementation of all OSHA-written mandated programs.

    Now: Since that initial training, NETC has provided 332 hours of lean- and 5S-related training, creating significant changes in the company’s facility layout and process. The company has seen bottom-line improvements and enormous advances in productivity its 93,000-square-foot facility.


    Charles Machine Works

    Charles Machine Works leans into manufacturing in America.

    Then: Partnering with Meridian Technology Center for more than 30 years for safety training, computer skills training, employee development and service on advisory councils for welding and machining programs, CMW – Ditch Witch – needed key personnel project management training for two product lines. The plantwide continuous improvement initiative included training on

    • Lean manufacturing.
    • Programmable Logic Controller training.
    • Department of Transportation regulations awareness training.
    • Conversational Spanish.

    Now: Committed to providing American-made products, CMW employs more than 1,300 people in Perry, Okla. Financial impacts from the lean initiative are still being measured, but significant improvements in staff efficiency, inventory reduction and plant layout have already been realized.


    Climate Craft Inc.

    Climate Craft reduces costs and grows employee base.

    Then: An industry leader in the manufacturing of custom air handling units. Three years ago, Climate Craft Inc. needed to reduce labor costs with new employee training to gain a competitive edge in the health care, institutional, pharmaceutical, commercial and industrial markets. Metro Technology Center’s Lean 101 training provided Climate Craft

    • New employees with tools to reduce waste and system defects.
    • Processes to improve productivity, staff morale and customer service.

    Now: The reduction in labor costs has allowed Climate Craft to grow 30 percent from an employee base of 143 to 199 in three years. The economic impact of the company’s new employees on the Oklahoma City area equals approximately $1,347,840 in wages.


    Cookshack, Inc.

    Cookshack smokes with Pioneer Tech support.

    Then: Manufacturing smokers in Ponca City since the early 1960s. In 1992, the award-winning, family-owned smoker manufacturer began its relationship with Pioneer Technology Center, which

    • Provides flexibility in company training and projects.
    • Delivers an executive team management training course and challenging seminars, the “Manager’s Toolbelt.”
    • Conducts safety training for state certification.
    • Assists with engineering support resulting in new product development.

    Now: Cookshack is a valuable contributor to the Kay County economy, with a payroll of more than $1.6 million. Other companies in Ponca City following Cookshack’s lead with Pioneer Tech training and services also feel the positive impact.


    Dylan Davis

    One credit from dropping out, Dylan Davis gets a second chance at Metro Career Academy.

    Then: One credit away from being an Oklahoma City area high school sophomore, considering dropping out, getting a GED and minimum wage job. From friends Dylan heard about Metro Career Academy -- a high school at Metro Tech -- and enrolled there and in automotive technology at MTC where he

    • Learned leadership skills by participating in MCA Student Council and the prom committee
    • Was named Student of the Year, earning 20 academic credits in one year.
    • Graduated from high school on time and with skills to begin a career.

    Now: Dylan credits his parents who wouldn't let him drop out -- and MCA -- as "the best thing that ever happened to me." Employed as a night stocker at Walmart, Dylan is completing his financial aid package with plans to finish college basics to increase his marketability, then major in diesel and heavy equipment at OSU-IT in Okmulgee or Oklahoma City Community College.


    Whitney Devine

    Marketing and leadership skills follow Whitney Devine into her kindergarten classroom.

    Then: A Woodward High School sophomore touring the technology center and deciding on electives. A chance to work in and manage the marketing education store at the technology center and also join a CareerTech student organization, DECA, caught her interest. Whitney’s experience at High Plains Technology Center helped her

    • Gain self-confidence and leadership skills through the Superintendent Leadership Class and DECA’s state conference competition.
    • Speak in front of a group using PowerPoint and video production for presentations.
    • Learn financial aspects of being in business and how to work with others.

    Now: After graduating from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Whitney teaches kindergarten for Woodward Public Schools at the Early Childhood Center. She uses PowerPoint in her classroom and is considering video editing as a side business.


    Mitchell Frey

    Mitchell Frey tackles Pre-Engineering to prevail in college.

    Then: An Idabel High School football player that realized academics needed be his first priority. Mitchell’s counselor mentioned the Pre-Engineering Academy at Kiamichi Technology Ccenter. Knowing little about engineering, Mitchell checked it out, liked what he saw, and was accepted into the program where he

    • Learned advanced math and science such as trigonometry, calculus, chemistry and physics.
    • Received hands-on training using labs and equipment.
    • Developed public speaking skills.
    • Realized he wanted to become an engineer.

    Now: While interested in mechanical and chemical engineering, Mitchell is attending Oklahoma State University majoring in electrical engineering. Mitchell will pursue an internship this summer to decide where he wants to work after completing his bachelor’s degree. He says the best thing he did in his high school career was deciding to pursue pre-engineering at KTC.


    Hokett Construction, Inc.

    Hokett Construction seizes opportunity to expand its market.

    Then: A family owned and operated business of 37 years serving communities in southwest Oklahoma. When the owner’s son returned from college to run the family business, he met the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network and business and industry coordinators at Southwest Technology Center who, at little or no company cost, helped him

    • Take advantage of training for safety, fire safety, personal protective equipment and hazardous conditions and staying in compliance with government regulations while working with general contractors.
    • Stay connected with decision-makers and informed about opportunities with local, state and federal requests for proposals and contracts.
    • Save time and money using the SWTC Plan Room to identify prospective projects, print plans and specifications.

    Now: Hokett continues to expand its markets and positively affect the state’s economy, keeping tax dollars local by employing local skilled workers.


    Leaders By HEART

    Leaders by HEART take business and industry relationships by the reins.

    Then: Anadarko-based Leaders by HEART – a unique partner with Canadian Valley Technology Center. Together they promote excellence for a healthy working environment with business and industry partners. With horse training techniques and interactive dialogue, LBH and CVTC have helped business partners

    • Develop healthy and productive staff and employee relationships
    • Provide an opportunity for advancement and leadership.
    • Address key leadership issues.

    Now: More than 300 employees from nine companies and businesses have seen significant positive financial impact and improvement of the relationship culture within the employee base. The training program at CVTC has been delivered locally and statewide. LBH has a worldwide audience.


    Jordan McMasters

    Biomedical Science “MOO”-ves Jordan McMasters to succeed.

    Then: A Comanche High School student realizing the one of a kind opportunity available to him. Jordan took advantage of the Biomedical Science Academy at RRTC to challenge himself and prepare for college. In the academy, Jordan

    • Gained in-depth knowledge of the human body, disease mechanisms, major biological themes and mathematical topics.
    • Learned the workload involved in the program which was similar to that in a college setting.

    Now: Jordan is a junior at Oklahoma State University majoring in animal science with a biotechnology option. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he plans to obtain a master’s degree in animal nutrition and would like to work in a lab formulating feed rations or working at a cattle feedlot.


    Midwestern Oklahoma Development Authority

    When Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base closed, a window of opportunity opened.

    Then: The 1969 closing of Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base and deeding of that property to the city of Clinton led to the creation of an industrial airpark and designated space for recreation, housing and Western Technology Center. Midwestern Oklahoma Development Authority, a public trust, was formed and purchased the 900 housing units in the airpark to support economic growth. MODA

    • Provides financial assistance to not-for-profit organizations in the four-county area.
    • Promotes economic and industry growth in western Oklahoma.
    • Partners with WTC to ensure a workforce pipeline.

    Now: Financial assistance provided by MODA for a commercial driver’s license truck driving training program at WTC allows interest-free loans with deferred payments to qualifying CDL-enrolled students. The MODA-WTC partnership allows many area residents to acquire the necessary licenses and skills for jobs readily available in the surrounding area.


    Randy Perry

    DECA re-directs self-motivated Randy Perry, fueling his potential.

    Then: A 1973 high school junior at Putnam City West in Oklahoma City with years of back-breaking work experience – doing anything to make a buck. A combined effort of two DECA advisers in Oklahoma City encouraged Randy to enroll in marketing education and become a DECA member where he

    • Applied hard work, new skills of accountability and a different outlook about what is important.
    • Learned to be accountable, to respect boundaries and how to make things happen.
    • Gained confidence as a leader and mentor, serving as chapter president and earning the State Student of the Year award in 1974.

    Now: Randy Perry, vice president of Fentress Oil, has been in the lubricants and fuel business since 1978 and has an extensive knowledge in the lubricant industry. He has been a partner in Fentress Oil Co. since 1984. The company has grown from a $3 million company to a more than $40 million company supplying major manufacturing facilities, government installations, construction companies, airlines, and truck stops.


    Stephen Saak, S&S Promotions

    Signs, signs, everywhere signs by S&S Promotions

    Then: A 1971 graduate of U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City with dreams of becoming an architect. During his junior year, Saak enrolled in the commercial art program at Metro Technology Center’s Foster Estes Campus – today called the South Bryant Campus – where he

    • Practiced his new graphic art skills with on-the-job training as a paste-up artist with the Oklahoma Journal.
    • Was hired by a company in a brand new industry: T-shirt screen printing
    • Started a sign printing business in 1972 at age 19 in half of a garage with $100 and a partner from class.

    Now: S&S Promotions has grown into a 50,000-foot facility with 35 employees that include other Metro Tech graduates. The company is one of the nation’s most innovative retail sign printers with clients such as Sonic, Macklanburg-Duncan, QuikTrip and Tyler Media. Specialty Oklahoma City projects include the rock 'n' roll display for the Oklahoma History Center's film exhibit, the five-story Thunder banner that wraps the MidFirst building off Interstate 44 and stencil creation for Rick Sinnett, the artist painting “This Land” for the Silo Art Project off of I-40 in Bricktown.


    Retired First Sergeant Stanley C. Schofield

    Retired U.S. Army First Sergeant Stanley Schofield finds a good fit for his next career.

    Then: Retiring as first sergeant after 22 years of service in the U.S. Army. A standard bearer for a unit of 160-plus soldiers and officers – a position he valued – Stanley began the search for his next career, and “not just a job,” he said. He hit all area military-affiliated events, but the CareerTech co-sponsored hiring event in Lawton opened the door for Stanley to get to know his future employer, who

    • Was also retired military and understood his stress.
    • Knew a first sergeant’s role is teaching soldiers something new and how to implement it.
    • Was looking for retired soldiers who had succeeded in the military.

    Now: On a career path that is a good fit, Stanley has become a standard bearer at New York Life Insurance Co., offering financial planning services as an agent for active and retired soldiers and civilians. The company’s continuing education requirement matches Stanley’s value system of staying relevant. He plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management and administration in 2015 and get on the fast track to management with New York Life.


    Shawnee Police Department

    Training hub sharpens regional police force skills.

    Then: A strong working partnership benefitting both organizations. Shawnee Police Department provides local and state officer training and a security benefit to the technology center with uniformed officers in marked cars on campus. The partnership offers skills training with

    • Scenarios using simulators for emergency driving and use-of-force.
    • Self defense, stun gun use, search warrant service and affidavit writing.
    • Firearms maintenance.
    • Supervisor liability.

    Now: The training center is a hub of regional law enforcement training. Because of this partnership, the SPD and state law enforcement agencies recently used the Gordon Cooper Technology Center campus as an assembly point and base of operations for a large countywide methamphetamine operation raid, resulting in 100 officers making 45 arrests.


    Ricky Shriner

    When cancer hit close to home, Ricky Shriner decided to hit back.

    Then: Learning that his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. A Bristow High School student, Ricky enrolled in the biomedical science program at Central Tech to learn about chemistry that could help kill the disease. In the program he

    • Learned about DNA structure, the chemical composition of lipids and proteins and genetics.
    • Discovered career fields related to his interests.
    • Developed research skills through class work, job shadowing and assistantships.

    Now: A plant and biochemistry major at Oklahoma State University, Ricky is an undergraduate research assistant working on DNA extractions from soil. After graduation, he hopes to enter the medical field to develop medicine from plants to treat cancer.


    Tilley Pressure Test

    Tilley Pressure Test finds cost savings and employee advancement at “home.”

    Then: A partnership that started in Binger, Okla., in 1968 with Caddo Electric Cooperative when the technology center first opened its doors. The mutually beneficial relationship has provided

    • Non destructive testing
    • Achieving the ISO9001:2008 certification
    • Meeting challenges in making/monitoring business decisions and awareness of cost accounting, inventory control, process effectiveness.

    Now: Tilley’s Stephens County location has grown to 48 employees. Additional employee advancement is anticipated for non destructive testing and also, safety and leadership training.


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    Gary Allison

    Mitchell Frey tackles Pre-Engineering to prevail in college.

    Then: An Idabel High School football player that realized academics needed be his first priority. Mitchell’s counselor mentioned the Pre-Engineering Academy at Kiamichi Technology Ccenter. Knowing little about engineering, Mitchell checked it out, liked what he saw, and was accepted into the program where he

    Learned advanced math and science such as trigonometry, calculus, chemistry and physics.

    Received hands-on training using labs and equipment.

    Developed public speaking skills.

    Realized he wanted to become an engineer.

    Now: While interested in mechanical and chemical engineering, Mitchell is attending Oklahoma State University majoring in electrical engineering. Mitchell will pursue an internship this summer to decide where he wants to work after completing his bachelor’s degree. He says the best thing he did in his high school career was deciding to pursue pre-engineering at KTC.


    Nicole Biddinger

    CareerTech launches Nicole Biddinger into the study of health and disease research.

    Then: A biotech engineering course at Tri County Technology Center allowed Bartlesville High School senior Nicole to combine her love of biology and engineering principles. By signing up for TCTC course, which also includes medicine and biosciences, Nicole

    • Confirmed her major in college – biology with an emphasis on health and disease research.
    • Earned an internship at Oklahoma State University in the zoology lab, where she studied the effect of climate change on the genetic evolution of water fleas.
    • Discovered joy in serving others as chapter president of the student organization HOSA while providing a Christmas celebration at a local homeless shelter.

    Now: Nicole is continuing her education at Purdue University to study biology-health and disease. Her plans – to attend graduate school and pursue a career in research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health – include combining her love of science and medicine with the joy she found in helping others.


    Tanner Bowen

    Biomedical Science Academy feeds Tanner Bowen’s hunger to learn more.

    Then: A junior at Weleetka High School with a compelling interest in science. Tanner felt classes offered at his high school would not satisfy his desire to learn, so he enrolled in the Biomedical Science Academy at Wes Watkins Technology Center, where he

    • Gained knowledge in potential career options offered in scientific careers.
    • Acquired a sound foundation of laboratory techniques and procedures he would not have learned in normal high school science classes.
    • Developed critical thinking skills by solving complex scientific questions to real-life problems and diseases.

    Now: Because of the experience he gained at WWTC, Tanner won the Fleming Scholar Internship, a competitive scientific research summer internship at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Not only did he spend eight weeks in vascular biologist Courtney Griffin’s lab studying the causes of endothelial cell death during vascular development, but he also formed professional relationships with scientific researchers at the top of their fields. Tanner is now a freshman at Oklahoma Christian University studying cellular and molecular biology.


    Katherine Burch

    Four-time felon Katherine Burch find success outside prison walls.

    Then: A drug addict, in and out of jail, eventually landing in a maximum security prison. The Skills Center staff at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center helped Katherine “clean up the wreckage of her past,” she says, providing her with

    • Certification in distribution and logistics technology
    • Confidence and skills for an interview
    • Computer fundamentals.
    • A skills portfolio.

    Now: Katherine uses her skills in the warehouse at Electro Enterprises in Oklahoma City, where she’s worked for two years. She has 18 college credit hours. She is rebuilding family relationships, has a car, and lives in a duplex. For the first time in a long time, Katherine loves her life.


    Tony and Patricia Bustos

    Teen parents take turns to succeed … together.

    Then: Two teenagers expecting their first child. Tony and Patricia married, and Tony earned a GED diploma. Taking turns continuing their education at Metro Technology Center, Patricia in accounting, Tony in HVAC, with a goal to open their own business:

    • Patricia learned QuickBooks and business finances while Tony worked in construction.
    • Tony’s training helped him land a job at a commercial air company and earn a contractor’s license.

    Now: Nineteen years, two children, and two Metro Technology Centers graduations later, Tony and Patricia Bustos are the proud owners of AB Custom Air in Oklahoma City. The commercial company Tony worked for now refers all residential work to AB Custom Air. Patricia uses her accounting skills to manage the business, while Tony does the service work.


    Steve Dwyer

    Iraq War veteran exchanges tank driving for precision machining.

    Then: A returning soldier from Iraq using the GI Bill for career training. A creative, mechanically-minded problem-solver, Steve enrolled in precision machining at Moore Norman Technology Center, where he learned the skills to

    • Win first place in the state competitive machining event at SkillsUSA
    • Place higher in the national event than competitors who had been machining for several years.
    • Land a job after his return from the national competition.

    Now: Taking pride in work that is fun and challenging, Steve has grown professionally, moving from a position with oil field equipment company Applied Industrial Machining in Oklahoma City to a position as rock science lab manager at the University of Oklahoma. Working in the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, he creates custom replacement parts for powerful equipment, eliminating the need to buy them on the market at extremely high costs.


    Seth Eilerts

    Aviation CareerTech graduate plans attempt to break world aircraft record.

    Then: A Northwest Classen High School graduate, unsure which direction his life would take. An interest in building vintage motorcycles led him to Metro Tech’s aviation program, where he discovered that building airplanes could lead to a career. After completing that program, Seth:

    • Graduated from Metro Tech’s Aviation Careers Campus and received his airframe and powerplant license.
    • Used earned college credits from Metro Tech to continue his education at Oklahoma City Community College, majoring in pre-engineering.
    • Transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he is studying aerospace engineering.

    Now: Seth is part of an engineering team at the University of Oklahoma where he is a student. They are designing a modification to an aircraft and engine that will enable a piston-powered aircraft set in 1938 to try and break a world altitude record. Seth’s teammates say his hands-on application experience from Metro Tech makes him a valued asset to the team.


    Fair Wind LLC

    Wind turbine washing and cleaning oil rigs and equipment - powered by Fair Wind LLC.

    Then: A small, locally owned and operated business for cleaning big wind turbines on wind farms. Founded in 2008 and ready to grow, Fair Wind LLC looked to Great Plains Technology Center's Economic Development Center for training in

    • Bid assistance for government contracting.
    • Business plan development, financial services and human resources.
    • Trademarking, exporting and OSHA training.

    Now: With locations in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Montana, Fair Wind LLC provides industrial cleaning and maintenance services to oil and gas and wind companies as an approved government contractor/vendor. The company received the National Small Business Administration and Lawton Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs of the Year awards.


    Callie Fowler

    Acclaimed chef works to improve school nutrition through state program.

    Then: One of seven children, not tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. Experimenting with new recipes and concoctions at an early age, Callie practiced on her many siblings. The culinary arts program at Tri County Technology Center helped Callie

    • turn her culinary interest into an obsession with cooking and flavors.
    • prepare to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
    • earn a spot in CIA’s manager-in-training program as acting sous chef in the American Bounty Restaurant. She honed her craft under legendary Chef Dwayne LiPuma.

    Now: In 2011, Callie’s career began as a corporate management trainee for Hyatt. She was promoted to garde manger sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center, then chef de cuisine of the TusCA Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara in California in 2012. She went on to open several restaurants in California and then in Oklahoma after she returned to her home state. She is now the executive chef of child nutrition for Union Public Schools and a Cooking for Kids chef.


    James Harber

    Graphic artist James Harber finds a passion that fuels a booming business.

    Then: A country kid with five siblings, home-schooled by his mother, with a tight budget and no idea what he wanted to do after high school. A Web design and development program at Francis Tuttle Technology Center quickly became his passion, providing him with

    • Skills to start his own company.
    • Scholarship money through the National Technical Honor Society to pay for tuition and books at the University of Central Oklahoma.
    • Computer experience, career guidance and a chance to test drive a career.

    Now: James left UCO with one year of college remaining because his business was thriving. A self-employed graphic artist, James is owner and creative director of Studio FJ. His clients include well-known Oklahoma companies and nonprofits, as well as national businesses such as AT&T Wireless and Hilton Hotels.


    Cecil Hime

    Successful pipeline welder traded five roping steers for his first welding machine.

    Then: Didn’t enjoy the academic side of high school. As a 17-year-old high school student, Cecil loved working with his hands and signed up for welding classes at Kiamichi Tech Center in Idabel. He eventually traded five roping steers for his first welding machine. At Kiamichi Tech Center, he learned

    • The techniques of oxyacetylene cutting and brazing.
    • Blueprint reading, layout with related math, inspection, testing, materials, trade terminology and fabrication.
    • Welding safety skills.

    Now: An oil-gas industrial field pipe welder currently working in Ottumwa, Iowa. He also owns a longhorn ranch, and his flexible welding schedule allows him to choose when he works on the ranch. According to his brother, Cecil is “one of the happiest people I know,” some years making more money than both of his brothers, who have multiple college degrees.


    James “Red” Morris

    Single dad goes back to school and starts his own catering business.

    Then: A father of four in the process of getting a divorce, unemployed after a shoulder injury. Red was at "the lowest point a man could be” when friends and family members convinced him to do what he loved – smoke meat. At the age of 36, Red bought a cheap smoker, and signed up for culinary arts courses at Northeast Tech Center where he

    • Was an active member of student organizations Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and National Technical Honor Society.
    • Adopted his new motto "look up, get up and never give up."
    • Gained courage, confidence and skills to start his own business.

    Now: Red owns his own business, Red’s House BBQ, catering events and delivering his barbecue across Oklahoma. Serving as a role model for young, disenfranchised youth, Red takes his custom concession trailer to fundraising events and other functions. His specialties are smoked cabbage, pulled pork and a six-bean dish with ground beef and peppers.


    Kathy Morris

    Norman esthetician Kathy Morris turns back the clock, one facial at a time.

    Then: A pre-teen, asking her mother for a skincare-themed birthday party. Interested in holistic skin care for as long as she could remember, Kathy enrolled in the cosmetology/esthetician program at Moore Norman Technology Center. For much less money than similar training at a private beauty school would cost, through Moore Norman’s training, Kathy

    • learned skills including time management, sales, budgeting and stress management.
    • became the first in the state to receive a master instructor’s license in esthetics.
    • raised a family while running her own business.

    Now: For 22 years, Kathy has owned the well-known LeVisage Day Spa in Norman. One of LeVisage’s estheticians studied under Kathy at MNTC, and her spa manager is enrolling in the esthetician program this fall. Kathy said employees coming from MNTC are better prepared for the job than those from private training programs. Kathy credits MNTC for changing her life.


    Emanuel Perry

    Emanuel Perry changes styles.

    Then: With a bachelor’s degree in accounting, working as an accountant. A company layoff gave Emanuel an opportunity to start a new – “less black and white” – career for his creative talents. Tulsa Technology Center’s cosmetology program helped Emanuel

    • Maximize his leadership qualities with new experiences in CareerTech student organization SkillsUSA.
    • Learn skills that mixed well with his foundation and natural talent.
    • Take advantage of training to fulfill his dream.

    Now: On his way to becoming a great stylist, Emanuel is breaking traditions, taking advantage of training toward a creative career path.

    Update: Emanuel is working as a stylist, and his customers have given him high praise for his work.


    Leif Reints

    World’s Best Bricklayer Leif Reints.

    Then: A Wyandotte High School student wanting to get out of school. Leif planned to attend the automotive course at Northeast Technology Center so he could rebuild old cars during his retirement years, but the class was full. Friends talked him into attending the masonry course where he

    • Learned to lay and cut brick and tile.
    • Received the Masonry Certification.
    • Won the state SkillsUSA Bricklaying Championship two years in a row and competed at the national level.

    Now: Leif competed in the Specmix Bricklayer 500 World Championship and won, becoming the world’s best bricklayer for 2012. He received a new Ford F-250 XLT Crew Cab truck, $5,000 cash and sponsor prizes worth thousands of dollars. Leif runs his own business, Reints Masonry Works, in Joplin, Mo.


    Misty Robinson

    Creative flair ignites with passion for graphic design.

    Then: Born with a flair for creative arts. Working with PowerPoint and developing slide shows as a teenager in high school computer science class, Misty developed a passion to express her creativity through graphic design. In pursuit of a career in graphic arts, Misty enrolled in graphic design training at Pontotoc Technology Center, where she

    • Learned design techniques and skills in digital photography, sales and time management.
    • Placed in the top 12 in an Oklahoma Business Professionals of America competitive event.
    • Started a freelance photography and design business.
    • Built a solid portfolio that landed her a career opportunity.

    Now: Misty’s career has taken off. Aspiring to become a creative director, Misty is now one of three graphic designers for the world’s largest casino, Winstar World Casino and Resort. She has earned full benefits, salary and a great opportunity to move up within the Chickasaw Nation.


    SandRidge Energy Inc.

    Safety first for SandRidge Energy Inc.

    Then: Booming oil production in northwest Oklahoma, and Lariat Services Inc. – a SandRidge Energy drilling and oilfield services subsidiary – was hiring. The company needed a process to assure new hires were aware of company expectations for the environment, health and safety. Northwest Technology Center’s Business and Industry Training Services provided the company

    • Environmental and OSHA training.
    • Respiratory fit testing.
    • Forklift training and certification.

    Now: All new hires receive safety training before starting work. The training allows all employees to learn what SandRidge’s environmental, health and safety expectations are before they start to work.


    Christy VanCleave

    Former inmate gives training – and hope – to female offenders.

    Then: Spiraling down a path of substance abuse and incarcerations. A series of car accidents and bad choices after high school landed Christy in jail five times, mostly for drug charges in California. She had experience as a dog groomer before going to jail, and a pet supply store hired her after her release. She was promoted and transferred to Oklahoma, but was laid off because of the economy.

    Christy opened Muddy Paws, a non-profit dog grooming business in Tulsa that offers boarding, day care and training. Her partnership with CareerTech Skills Centers and Tulsa Technology Center gives female offenders

    • Training for master groomer certification.
    • Entrepreneurship, leadership, computer and life skills.
    • Support during substance abuse recovery.
    • Job placement after graduation from the program.

    Now: Since its inception, 68 offenders have graduated from Christy’s program, with only a 4 percent recidivism rate. Four of the graduates have opened their own dog grooming businesses, five are managers of grooming businesses, and three are managers of national chains. Graduates receive national certification and $1,000 worth of grooming tools from the Muddy Paws foundation.


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