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OTC’s Outstanding Instructors Announced

Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) president, Dr. Gail Thaxton, is proud to announce the college’s finalists for the 2009 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Education. Nominees are Mark Deal, environmental horticulture instructor; Doug Furman, welding and joining technology instructor; and Faye Mathis, respiratory care technology instructor. 

The three finalists were interviewed January 20 by a panel of judges from the business community that included Frank Bannamon (Back: L to R), Cindy Eblin, Toni Nelson, Regina Morgan, and Scott Moye. Dr. Steve Pearce, OTC VP for Academic Affairs, will announce the recipient next week at a staff meeting. All three nominees are very deserving of the award. Nominees and Judges

Mark Deal began employment at OTC in 2004 as the director/lead instructor of the environmental horticulture (EH) program. The EH program is the only technical program ever started at OTC with no prospective students. “After five years of planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning and patience, the program is producing fruit,” stated Deal. Current enrollment is at twenty-four students. With Deal’s direction, horticulture students, in the summer of 2009, chartered the OTC Horticulture Club with fifteen members.

Deal is an active member of several community organizations, including Current Member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Green Industry Association. He was selected as the 2010 Georgia Green Industry Association Education of the Year and received the Governor’s Commendation for Customer Service in 2008.

Doug Furman came to OTC in 2000 with nineteen years of experience as a welder and fabricator. Shortly after graduating from Miami Killian Senior High School, Furman attended OTC. He was an Okefenokee Tech honor graduate and gained experience at  three different welding shops before opening his own business in 1996, Furman Welding and Fabrication.

Furman has a number of certifications, including Welding Education (2007) and Welding Inspector (2007) from the American Welding Society. He has also had considerable field training to include blacksmithing, forge welding, and CNC controller and plasma table operation. He is president and co-founder of the Steel Brittle Blacksmith Association, a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Waycross, and one of the first recipients of the OTC Eagle Award in which college staff are recognized for their accomplishments by their colleagues. 

Faye Mathis worked in the respiratory field as an assistant, technician, and then manager before her employment with OTC in 1995. Her educational accomplishments include a respiratory therapy diploma from Brunswick Junior College, an A.S. in Respiratory Therapist from California College Health Sciences, and a B.S. and Master’s degree from Valdosta State University. Mathis is currently working toward her doctorate degree through Sarasota University.

In addition to her certifications, including the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRTT), Mathis is also a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). She is a 2000 graduate of Leadership Waycross and the 2002 OTC Instructor of the Year. As a former co-advisor of SkillsUSA, Mathis helped many students gain the confidence to compete at Nationals and was selected as the state SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year in 2009.

The 2009 Rick Perkins award winner will represent OTC at the region competition in Fitzgerald in March.  Congratulations to each nominee.

Nominees for the Okefenokee Technical College 2009 Rick Perkins award are (Front, L to R) Mark Deal, Faye Mathis, and Doug Furman. Congratulations were extended to the nominees by the selection committee, which included (L to R) Frank Bannamon, Cindy Eblin, Toni Nelson, Regina Morgan, and Scott Moye.


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