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OTC Students Receive Start-up Tools for Work Success

Jim Hickox and Robert Visicaro are the most recent recipients of the Okefenokee Technical College Foundation Workforce Toolbox Scholarship. The OTC Foundation gives this award to select graduating students of Okefenokee Tech who have demonstrated excellence in their field of study.

Workforce scholarship recipients are awarded tools related to their educational and career field in order to make them more marketable as they enter or advance in the workforce. Jim Hickox was presented with a clinometer, snake chaps, and forestry boots, while Robert Visicaro took home (or to work) various personal protective items, such as chemical resistant gloves, waterproof boots,  hearing protection, a respirator, and rain gear. Both students received tools valued at a little over $300.

Hickox and Visicaro are seniors in their respective programs, forest technology and environmental horticulture, and both were recommended for the toolbox award by their instructors.

Hickox, an avid outdoorsman from Brantley County, will complete the forest technology diploma program in March 2011. Although he is currently working part-time with a local timber buyer, he hopes to continue his education after graduating and earn his AAS degree from OTC, as well.

When asked about his experience at OTC, Hickox said, “Instructors here are great. They know what it takes in the working world, and they incorporate those elements in the classroom.”

Hickox expressed appreciation to the OTC Foundation and Mr. Peagler for the forestry equipment and support. He is married to Alla Mae, and they have four sons: Korey, Dylan, Jimmy, and Zach.

According to Visicaro’s environmental horticulture instructor, Mark Deal, Robert has maintained excellent grades and recently completed the landscape management specialization of the horticulture program, a specialization that includes turfgrass management. As part of his internship, Robert worked at the Lakeview Golf and County Club.

On his scholarship application, Visicaro thanked several people who supported him as he pursued his degree. Among those listed was Mr. Joey Lee with Lakeview. “I enjoyed my job immensely,” stated Visicaro. “I worked one-on-one with the superintendent,” Joey Lee. “With his knowledge and years of experience, I learned things that were very helpful to me.”

Visicaro also thanked the Brasingtons, his parents, Mr. Deal, the OTC Foundation, and the Monroe Foundation. “I would tell anyone who is thinking about attending OTC that the staff is great, and they offer the highest quality education,” said Visicaro. “If I had to do it again, I would make OTC my first choice.”

Visicaro earned a number of certifications while attending OTC, as well as a Georgia pesticide license. He has worked in the golf course industry and hopes that his past work experience and environmental horticulture credentials from OTC will inevitably land him a job as a superintendent.

The money to fund Workforce Toolbox Scholarships comes from proceeds of the OTC Foundation’s annual golf tournament and from direct donations to the fund.

“What I like about this program is the direct connection between what the Foundation does and how the student benefits,” stated OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton. “Because of this connection, the workforce awards are practical and quite special.”

Photo 1

Photo 1:
Diane Peagler (left) and Joe Lawrence (2nd from right) of Tractor Supply Company in Waycross were on hand to present work tools to OTC student Robert Visicaro, a 2010 Workforce Scholarship recipient. Tractor Supply Company donated a high-end weatherproof coat to the Foundation for the workforce program and discounted other items. OTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton thanked Peagler and Lawrence for their support and congratulated award recipient Visicaro.

Photo 2

Photo 2:
OTC  Forest Technology Instructor Tommy Peagler (left) and OTC Foundation Director Cindy Tanner (center) were pleased to present Jim Hickox (right) with start-up tools for work in the timber industry. Peagler is the nominating instructor for Hickox, a recent recipient of a Workforce Toolbox Scholarship.

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