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NGTC Students Take Silver in National SkillsUSA
North Georgia Technical College went four for four at the recent
National SkillsUSA Championships with Colby Moore, Brandon
Tatum, Zack Moon, and Robert Kennell each achieving Second Place
in their respective contests. The SkillsUSA Championships, held
in Kansas City, Mo., took place June 23-27, 2012, as part of the
SkillsUSA 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference
(NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students.
During the week, more than 5,600 outstanding career and
technical education students—all state contest winners--competed
hands-on in 94 different trade, technical and leadership fields.
“What an outstanding accomplishment for each of these young
men,” said NGTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton. “We are so proud
that these outstanding students took advantage of the
opportunity to compete in an event of this scale. We are prouder
still that all four ranked so highly in a renowned competition.
This is a testimony to the caliber of our faculty and programs
we have here at North Georgia Tech.”
Marine Service Technology contestant Brandon Tatum of Habersham
worked through a series of skill stations and completed a
written test. The hands on test stations included many aspects
of 2-stroke and 4-stoke outboard, stern drive and inboard
troubleshooting and repair. Students had to prove proficiency in
marine application electrical/ ignition systems, fuel systems,
cooling systems, lubrication systems, drive/transmission systems
and boat and trailer rigging and repair. The test included the
above listed topics including diagnostics, service and repair of
marine accessory items. Contestants were judged on safe work
practices, cleanliness, organizational skills, accuracy, speed
and completion of assigned tasks, worksheets and paperwork.
Photography student Colby Moore of Baldwin demonstrated using
digital SLR's, image editing software (Adobe Photoshop) and
professional studio lighting. Students at the contest performed
on-site photography, portrait studio lighting & posing, as well
as process and print digital photos. Two 11x14 or 16x20
mounted & matted photographs were submitted in advance of the
contest to be judged and displayed at the competition.
For Video Product Development, Zack Moon of Rabun County and
Robert Kennell of Habersham County were NGTC’s team. At the
event, they were required to create a five-minute video in
Kansas City with a theme of Hot Times Summer in the City. They
were judged on their project planning, scripts, storyboards,
camera techniques, editing, use of royalty-free music/sound/
graphics, special effects, overall impressions, skill-related
written test and interview. The on-site, hands-on portion of the
competition required each team to create a project (video),
which can be seen on
Brandon, Colby, Zack, and Robert all received silver medallions
for their accomplishments. They also received prizes such as
tools of their trade and equipment resources. The SkillsUSA
Championships is for high school and college-level students who
are members of SkillsUSA.
The students were accompanied by Marine Engine Technology
Instructor Morris Harrison and Photography Instructor Jeff
“The sheer size of this event is overwhelming,” said Gulle. “To
see over 5000 students competing at once blows your mind; then
to have students win…incredible!”
In addition, for the sixth year, high scorers in the contests
received Skill Point Certificates. The Skill Point Certificate
was awarded in 86 occupational and leadership areas to students
who achieved a high score defined by industry. The SkillsUSA
Championships have been a premier event since 1967. The Skill
Point Certificates were introduced three years ago as a
component of the SkillsUSA Work Force Ready System.
SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and
industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled
workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing
for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations excel.
SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 students and instructors as
For more information, visit
NGTC Auto Collision Program
Renews NATEF Master Certification
After the on-site evaluation, the Auto Collision Repair and
Refinishing Technology program at North Georgia Technical
College met the requirements for the NATEF Master Accreditation
which is the highest level of achievement recognized by the
National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF).
The NATEF accreditation was developed to help vocational
educators recruit, mentor, and train tomorrow's technicians. The
goal for this accreditation process is to improve the quality of
training offered at secondary and post-secondary, public and
“This stamp of approval from NATEF means that our program,
faculty, staff, and resources meet the highest levels of
quality,” said NGTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton. “This
translates into the highest level of education and training for
our students. We are very proud of this team effort in
maintaining program resources and preparing the documentation
and labs for this visit and for coming through with such
NATEF was founded to develop, encourage, and improve automotive
technician education. NATEF examines the structure and resources
of training programs and evaluates them against nationally
accepted standards of quality. NATEF's precise national
standards reflect the skills that students must master. The
NATEF evaluation process ensures that accredited training
programs meet or exceed industry-recognized, uniform standards
“We commend the college for maintaining the program standards
and continuing to meet the industry’s requirements,” said NATEF
President Patricia Serratore. “The explosion in automotive
technology makes your high quality automotive training program
more valuable than ever.”
For more information on the Auto Collision program of study at
North Georgia Technical College, contact 706-754-7700 or visit www.northgatech.edu.
For more information on the NATEF, visit
Six Sigma Green Belt
Achieved by 26 Local Residents
On Thursday July 26, 2012, 26 individuals received Six Sigma
Green Belt certification for completing 40 hours of training in
quality and lean manufacturing principles. The training was
provided by the GMM WorkReady program and conducted by North
Georgia Technical College.
Six Sigma is a business management strategy widely incorporated
throughout the country in organizations focused on quality.
Working on the premise that “quality is free,” the Six Sigma is
a culture that promotes identifying and removing defects in
production processes. There are several key roles identified
within Six Sigma including Executive Leadership, Champions,
Master Black Belts, Black Belts, and Green Belts. The Green
Belts are employees who accept Six Sigma implementation along
with their other job responsibilities.
“This is an excellent credential for each of these
participants,” said NGTC Director of Contract Training Tim
Bennett. “Many of these students plan to complete their 120 hour
Black Belt certification in January and February 2013.”
Six Sigma Green Belt + Lean training is based on the ASQ
(American Society for Quality) Body of Knowledge and other
quality improvement practices and resources. The class
curriculum includes comprehensive, interactive instruction,
participation in class activities and projects, periodic
knowledge examinations, and a comprehensive Six Sigma Green Belt
+ Lean final exam that leads to recognition of achievement and
awarding of the Green Belt to successful candidates.
Students receiving their Green Belt certification represent
companies in Franklin, Habersham, and Stephens counties
including GEM Industries, Bosal Industries Georgia, Habersham
Metals, Southern Assemblies, Smith and Associates, Ritz
Transformers, Stovall Machine Products, Dewtex, and American
This training was made possible by the Georgia Mountain
Manufacturing Work Ready Grant. Working with the chambers and
economic development entities in Hart, Franklin, Banks,
Stephens, Habersham, and White Counties, Tim Martin and Gerald
Turner of the Stephens County Development Authority organized
this training event.
For more information on corporate quality training programs at
North Georgia Technical College, contact Tim Bennett,
706-779-8109 or visit
NGTC Instructors Melinda Shiflet (left)
and Nancy Morris (right) receive a demonstration of the new
long-term care hospital beds from MC Healthcare Sales
Representative Frank Patton.
M.C. Healthcare Donates Beds to NGTC Foundation
Beds in the classroom are not necessarily for sleepy students!
But M.C. Healthcare’s recent donation of three long-term care
hospital beds for the healthcare program labs at North Georgia
Technical College will be greatly appreciated by the students.
The healthcare programs, which include Medical Assisting,
Practical Nursing, Clinical Lab Technology, Pharmacy Technology,
Emergency Medical Services, Health Care Assistant, Medical
Coding, and Fire Fighter, have the largest enrollment of
students at the college. With the construction of the new
12,000 square foot addition to the Currahee Campus beginning
this fall and the future RN Program opening on the Clarkesville
Campus in 2013, these beds will offer unique experiences for
students who will be enrolled in the programs.
“This is such a wonderful contribution to the college,” said
NGTC Foundation Director Cynthia Brown. “The beds will be
used in training students in health related programs at the
college. We are so thrilled that M.C. Healthcare had such
high quality equipment to contribute to the future of our
workforce in this area.”
Founded in 1912, M.C. Healthcare Products is one of North
America's premier manufacturers of hospital beds and related
products. M.C. Healthcare has recently been purchased by
Span-America, a Greenville, South Carolina manufacturer of
The NGTC Foundation was created in 2000 to enhance educational
opportunities at NGTC. For those interested in making it
possible for students to achieve the dream of a life-changing
education, the Foundation accepts charitable tax deductible
donations including gifts, pledges, and planned gifts as well as
items such as automobiles, boats, equipment, and real estate.
For more information on the North Georgia Technical College
Foundation, contact Cynthia Brown, 706-754-7714 or visit
Jordan Added to NGTC Faculty
Glenn Jordan is our new full time Air Conditioning Technology
instructor. “Glenn has worked with us as a part time
faculty member in the past, and we are glad to have him on board
as we continue to grow and improve that program,” commented Vice
President for Academic Affairs Rex Bishop.
Jordan first became associated with North Georgia Tech in 1976
while studying business, and it was here he met his wife,
Deborah, who was studying computers. After graduating, he
continued on and achieved an Associates Degree from Truett-McConnell
For many years, Mr. Jordan worked in manufacturing as a
supervisor and in maintenance. When Bosch Tools planned to
move production overseas, Jordan decided to learn a skill that
he could depend on to support his family.
Choosing to return to North Georgia Tech, he took advantage of
the free test prep courses offered at the college and then
enrolled in the Air Conditioning Technology program in 2006.
Even before he had completed the program, he had started his own
business – Priority Air – which currently serves over 400
Jordan began his teaching career a few years ago as an adjunct
instructor for the evening courses offered at NGTC. “I
love to see students take something new, get their hands on it
and then go out and make money from it. Some of them come
into the program knowing very little about electricity or
heating and air, and then just a year and a half later, they are
able to service equipment.”
Most of the students will own and operate their own business
someday. Jordan encourages them to take advantage of all
of the education available to them. “I tell them to take
all of the air conditioning courses we offer and to take the
entrepreneur courses as well. I strongly encourage them to
pursue their associates degree. And once they leave here,
the industry will demand that they continue their training with
Glenn and Deborah live in Stephens County, closely surrounded by
their children and grandchildren.
For more information on the HVAC program of study at NGTC,
contact 706-754-7700 or visit
NGTC Students visit GBI. (L –R)Amos
Ferguson, Angel Gaddis, Shannon
Eades, Instructor Pamela Segers, Gabriel Orozco, Santino Primavera, Tim
Jason Nichols, Bryan Allison, and Special Agent Dustin Hamby
CRJ Class Looks at CSI at the GBI
Students in the Criminal Justice Crime Scene Processing class at
North Georgia Technical College were treated to an inside look
at a working lab as they visited the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation (GBI) site in Cleveland, Georgia.
This lengthy tour brought the classroom learning to life for
students as they saw firsthand how the background office
operates and the kind of equipment that is used on a daily
basis. From the bomb disposal truck, complete with robotic
scanner, to the evidence examination laboratory, students were
intrigued and asked a variety of questions ranging from job
duties to scheduled hours to entry level requirements.
The Crime Scene Processing class focuses on investigating crime
scenes and gathering various forms of physical evidence.
Emphasis is placed on crime scene assessment, search,
fingerprinting, and evidence collection. Topics include crime
scene management, evidence characteristics, identification,
documentation, and collection as well as techniques for
developing and lifting latent fingerprints.
Here at the Northeastern Lab of GBI in Cleveland, services
provided include a chemistry section which analyzes suspected
drugs and fire debris, provides expert testimony, and educates
law enforcement and also a Forensic Biology department that
assists the criminal justice system by providing timely
scientific analysis of biological evidence.
“We were very pleased to have 100% participation from the
students in this class,” said Dean for Academics Dan Pressley.
“No one wanted to miss this field trip. I think they found it
very interesting to see the scope of work done by the GBI.”
Students attending included Shannon Eades of Hartwell; Jason
Nichols of Dawsonville; Bryan Allison and Amos Ferguson of
Cleveland; and Angel Gaddis, Timothy Jones, Gabriel Orozco, and
Santino Primavera, all of Clarkesville.
The GBI Northeastern Lab covers an extensive region including
Banks, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham,
Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens,
Towns, Union, and White Counties.
For more information on programs of study at North Georgia
Technical College, call 706-754-7700 or visit
NGTC Invites Community to Meet New College President
Alumni and friends of North Georgia Technical College are
invited to attend one of three special receptions being held to
honor new NGTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton.
Hosted by NGTC’s Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and
Alumni Board, these receptions will offer citizens the
opportunity to meet Dr. Thaxton and welcome her to each of the
college’s service area communities.
The receptions will run from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the following
dates: July 23 on the Blairsville Campus, July 24 on the
Currahee Campus and July 26 on the Clarkesville Campus. In
addition, a ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Hoyt Coe
Building will coincide with the reception on the Clarkesville
For more information on the receptions or the Hoyt Coe Building
Ribbon Cutting, contact Jeannie Barrett at 706-754-7702 or
NGTC Instructor Robert Knighton leads a
group of 60 through the Communications
module of the Leadership training.
Georgia Mountain Businesses Take Advantage of Free
Work Ready Training
Work Ready training in the North Georgia mountains recently
became more accessible to manufacturers and businesses in the
area, thanks to a special grant for quality and leadership
Working with the chambers and economic development entities in
Hart, Franklin, Banks, Stephens, Habersham, and White Counties,
Gerald Turner with Georgia Mountain Manufacturing Regional Work
Ready organized these training events. Using North Georgia
Technical College and their relationship with the Georgia
QuickStart program, a selection of ten courses covering the
topics of OSHA safety, leadership, quality, and maintenance was
slated for the months of May, June, and July.
“We were pleased to fulfill this need in the community,” said
NGTC Vice President of Economic Development Dr. Mark Ivester.
“The businesses in this area wanted to close some skill gaps for
employees, and this was a wonderful opportunity for them.”
This training was made possible by the Georgia Mountain
Manufacturing Regional Work Ready Grant. The topics were
determined by a survey from the Governor’s Office of Workforce
Development. From there, North Georgia Tech worked with
the QuickStart curriculum to tailor the classes to the needs of
the industry in this area.
“We expect our total enrollment to reach 300,” said NGTC
Director of Contract Training Tim Bennett. “We have had more
than 30 different manufacturers and businesses send their
employees to these classes. On average, the class size has
been between 30 and 40.”
All of the classes were conveniently held on the NGTC Currahee
Campus, often taking advantage of the Culinary Arts luncheons in
the middle of the day.
“We have offered leadership courses focusing on supervisory and
communication skills,” said Bennett. “We are working
through several quality courses such as Lean Manufacturing and
the Six Sigma Green Belt course. The maintenance classes
targeted electrical, mechanical, and automated equipment.
Both OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 classes were held in June and July.”
For more information, call 706-779-8109 or e-mail to
Steve Addison, Jr. is the Georgia
representative to the America’s Best Tech competition in
Steve Addison Jr. is Georgia School Bus Technician of
On June 25-29, the Georgia Department of Education-Pupil
Transportation Division held their fiftieth annual “Workshop for
School Bus Technicians” at North Georgia Technical College in
Clarkesville, Georgia. The first day of this week long
event is spent testing the skills and knowledge of experienced
technicians from around the state in the “Georgia School Bus
Technician of the Year” competition.
Two participants are selected from each of the RESA districts,
judged on a written test and parts identification. The
state contest also has two segments: a written test, and a timed
diagnosis of problems which could be found on three ailing
buses. Out of the 30 competitors, Steve Addison, Jr. from Coweta
County Schools won the title of “Technician of the Year” and a
$500 check from Hydrotex, a leading provider of lubrication
products for the pupil transportation industry.
“It is a great honor just to be in a room with all of these
guys,” said Addison after the event. “These are the best
of the best in Georgia. They have a great perspective on
how to find and fix problems. The best part of this
competition has been getting to know them and learning from
Addison, who has been working at Coweta Schools for seven years,
has competed for the last four years. “The hands-on
diagnostics portion is the hardest,” he stated. “They
always throw in a few surprises that are really hard to track
down and fix.”
“We are proud that so many of our school systems are able to
send their technicians to this training event every year,” said
Carlton Allen, Director of Pupil Transportation Division for the
Georgia Department of Education. “This competition is a
wonderful way for our technicians to ensure their skills are the
best they can be so we can be sure to keep our children safe on
Mr. Addison will now advance to the National competition which
will be hosted by Cummins Engine at their location in Rocky
Mount, North Carolina, September 25-28.
The National Association for Pupil Transportation sponsors the
event, clearly stating their goal: To be part of the
Safety process that the School Bus Industry provides, so that
the safest School Buses are utilized to transport precious
Steve is a technician for the Coweta County School system.
He and his wife, Bethany, live in Newnan with their beautiful
Stephens County and North Georgia
Technical College get together to strengthen partnership.
Stephens County Educators Tour NGTC
Educational administrators from Stephens County took a day to go
back to college as their annual retreat. Lead by
Superintendent Sherrie Whiten, administrators from the Stephens
County K-12 school system gathered on the Clarkesville campus of
North Georgia Technical College for a day of exploring the
similarities of initiatives and the opportunities for
strengthening partnerships between the two institutions.
“Your selection of this college to hold your retreat speaks
volumes for your support of career pathways, technical
education, post-secondary education, and student success,” said
NGTC President Dr. Gail Thaxton. “We are proud and willing to
show off our instructors and labs and demonstrate to you what we
do every day for our students in this region.”
Principals from around Stephens County were already very
familiar with some of the offerings, particularly those on the
Currahee Campus. From Eastanollee Elementary’s Tech Nights
at the college to Liberty Elementary’s wonderful experience with
NGTC work-study students, it was clear that the college and the
community have a strong partnership focused on student success.
“We are so appreciative of North Georgia Tech opening their
doors and providing us with this meeting venue,” said
Superintendent Ms. Whiten. “We are committed to a seamless
transition for our students as they explore all of the
postsecondary opportunities available to them.”
North Georgia Technical College has been working diligently over
the last few years to solidify articulation agreements with high
schools that allow students to apply their high school credits
towards their college degree. This alignment of curricula is the
result of a lot of hard work and dedication by both educational
At the same time, the college has been taking a serious look at
the strategies for providing learning support to students who
need some additional skill-building before enrolling in college
level math or English classes. Working within the Complete
College Georgia guidelines, it has become clear that students
who have to spend time working through learning support classes
are less likely to complete an entire program of study.
“What we have been doing isn’t giving us the best results.
As a college, and as a system, we are revising our course
structures and shifting our teaching paradigms. Beginning
in the Fall, students will have more individualized instruction
and assignments based on their specific needs.”
Programs that served a purpose many years ago such as dry
cleaning and watch repair have given way to programs that have
stood the test of time, such as Welding, Machine Tool, and
Photography. As we look to the future, programs continue
to be explored and developed such as the recently started
Engineering Technology program and the much anticipated
Registered Nursing program slated to begin in the Fall of 2013.
The Stephens County administrators were taken on a tour
highlighting six of the programs offered on the Clarkesville
campus. In the Photography department, students were
actively working on a variety of portrait methods and displayed
finished digitally altered works that depicted abstract
concepts. The Allied Health instructors had a special
treat for the visitors, enlivening iStan, the college’s new
high-tech patient dummy who interacted with the group
complaining loudly of various ailments. From there, the
tour moved to the Machine Tool shop learning about the wide
variety of jobs in demand for graduates in this program. A
stop at the newest facility on campus, the Welding building,
showed the group how the college is striving to stay on the
cutting edge of industrial state of the art equipment. On
the other end of campus in the Automotive Technology building,
an efficient demo of computer-aided wheel alignment was given.
Finally, a walk through the Cosmetology Salon gave the educators
a first-hand look at students performing what the college terms
“live work,” a program that allows the public to receive
services from students in training.
The Stephens County Administrative team enjoyed lunch in the
Ramsey Hunter Dining Hall and then recessed to complete their
day with a discussion on plans for the upcoming year.
NGTC Graduate Shares
Experience With Students
North Georgia Technical College graduate Brad Gooch is climbing
the HVAC career ladder and he’s happy to share his experiences
to help motivate current and future students in the Commercial
Air Conditioning Technology program.
“NGTC has an outstanding program because of the knowledgeable
instructors, hands-on experience and the variety of equipment
available for students,” he said. “The way technology is
changing in the industry, it is crucial to bring trained
employees into the job market.”
After more than five years working on the service side of the
business for Lawson Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Inc., in
Gainesville, Mr. Gooch was recently promoted to a management
position in sales and marketing.
“In this industry, you never stop learning,” he said.
“There are a lot of good technicians out there, but the great
technicians are the ones who stay on top of the changes to
equipment and techniques.”
With changes such as new motors, increasing energy demands,
dehumidifiers, wireless thermostats controlled by cell phones
and computers, and duct to ductless, it’s critical for today’s
technicians to be well trained and to stay informed.
Brad went on to describe how companies can donate used equipment
or malfunctioning units to the college for diagnostic exercises.
“Students can learn a lot about trouble-shooting and problem
solving, and that will be key when they get into the workplace.”
Lawson Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Inc., of Gainesville is a
66 year old company of 50 employees that provides both
residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing services.
Born and raised in Dahlonega, Brad now lives in Gainesville.
His mother, Angie Gooch, and father and stepmother, Donna and
Tommy Gooch still live in Lumpkin County.
For more on programs of study at North Georgia Technical
College, contact 706-754-7700 or visit