Big things are Happening at Big Sandy
In November of last year, I made an impromptu trip to eastern Kentucky to explore the possibility of coming out of retirement and assuming the interim president’s role at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. A native of Kansas and a resident of Texas, the idea of coming to the mountains intrigued me.
I can unequivocally say, the mountains have embraced me. I’ve been welcomed with open arms, learned firsthand the Appalachian culture of faith, family and hard work, and have immersed myself into a community and technical college that is on the move.
Big things are happening at Big Sandy. My role as an interim leader is to sustain the momentum of the institution and pass it on to its permanent leader. While the search for a president is underway, we cannot lose sight of what is important – our role in being a leader in community, workforce and economic development.
My goal is to embrace the many initiatives that are promoting job creation, entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration. Our involvement with the Interapt TechHire Eastern Kentucky program and American Metal Works incubator on the Mayo campus is an innovative public-private model that is gaining national attention.
When you work collaboratively for the betterment of the community and humanity and disregard who gets the credit, anything can happen. Last week, I attended the One East Kentucky board of directors meeting and observed collaboration in its truest forms. Instead of operating in silos, a group of business leaders came together to establish a unified front to attract new business and industry to the region. Blurring the county lines and approaching our opportunities with a “One East Kentucky” approach is essential to the regional transformation we so desire.
In Pikeville, we will break ground on a $4.5 million Advanced Technology Center that will provide capacity for our Fiber Optics and information technology programs to grow. Capacity allows us to think outside of the box to be responsive to business and industry, as well as the needs of our students to become job-ready once they complete a program.
At the end of the day, it is our goal to equip our students with the tools they need to be successful in the workforce or to transfer to complete their undergraduate degree.
As the interim president of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College, I commit to you my level best in working each day, to bring opportunities to the region. In return, I ask for your level best, because if we work together, unified in vision and purpose, great things will happen.
– Dr. Alan Scheibmeir is interim president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College