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Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award by the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, September 12, at the groups annual banquet at the Ramada Conference Center.  Dr. Edwards is shown with Fran Jarrell, executive director of the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, left, and Kathy Rubado, executive director of the Highlands Foundation, right.

Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), was presented the Lifetime Achievement award from the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce during its annual banquet at the Ramada Conference Center on Friday, September 12.

It is an honor to be recognized by the chamber and its members, said Dr. Edwards. We have enjoyed such a great working relationship with the business community of Paintsville and Johnson County, and I appreciate their commitment to community and economic development.

Dr. Edwards and Steve Trimble, who retired as superintendent of Johnson County Schools earlier this year, were recognized with the honor. In August, Dr. Edwards announced he would retire as founding president of BSCTC next year after 14 years of service.

Student success has been the cornerstone of Dr. Edwards tenure. He has orchestrated a progressive model of success and completion that has resulted in a 140 percent increase in credentials and a 64 percent increase in degrees awarded since 2008. During that span, more than 21,000 first-generation college students have enrolled at BSCTC.

We have worked diligently to be responsive to the needs of the community and employers, said Dr. Edwards. When students achieve a credential or degree, it elevates the workforce for existing businesses, while providing a pipeline for new investment in the region.

During his tenure, Dr. Edwards has overseen more than $23 million in building projects at the college, including the construction of the Student Center (2002), Postsecondary Education Center (2004) and the East Kentucky Science Center and Planetarium (2004). In 2002, the Mayo campus underwent an expansive $7.5 million in renovations.

Through innovative partnerships with the Floyd County, Johnson County and Paintsville Independent school districts, the college has implemented early college academies on its Prestonsburg and Mayo campuses.

This community has been so wonderful to me and my family, said Dr. Edwards. Eastern Kentucky will always hold a special place in our hearts.