This edition of Technically Speaking is in loving memory of

Dr. Mark Ivester

1963 - 2020


Tom Law of The Taccoa Record recently wrote a nice tribute to
Dr. Ivester. You can read that here.

Technical College System of Georgia Announces 2020 Student of the Year 

The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) announced the state’s top technical college student for 2020. Rah’Mere Williams, a Design and Media Production Technology student from Augusta Technical College was chosen as this year’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) student.

“Rah’Mere has all of the qualities our judges look for when making the difficult decision of selecting one statewide GOAL winner,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “He is someone whose hard work, perseverance, and leadership skills make him an excellent choice as our student ambassador for technical education over the next year.”

The GOAL program, now in its 48th year, recognizes the most outstanding technical education students at the 22 TCSG colleges. As the award winner, Rah’Mere Williams will make public appearances as a representative for technical education during the next year, including meeting with Governor Brian Kemp and addressing the Georgia General Assembly.

Each year, selection for the GOAL program begins with the naming of the top technical education student at each college. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for the award. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, a panel of judges interviewed this year’s nine finalists virtually.  

Rah’Mere Williams from Augusta Technical College received the GOAL grand prize: a new, made-in-Georgia 2021 KIA K5, courtesy of KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia and delivered by Ed Voyles KIA of Chamblee.

"We're so proud and excited for our GOAL student, Rah'Mere Williams," said Augusta Technical College Interim President, Sheila Hill. "As a student, he has excelled in the Design Media Production Technology program as well as in his extracurricular activities like SkillsUSA and Student Government Association. This young man is a rising star in our community, and we know that he will go on to do extraordinary things."

The first runner-up for the technical education student of the year was Christina Bullock, an Echocardiography student from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

The nine 2020 GOAL finalists were:

  • Devin Bass, Savannah Technical College
  • Christina Bullock, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Erica Deaton, Ogeechee Technical College
  • Deitra Gray, North Georgia Technical College
  • Larry Jackson, Central Georgia Technical College
  • Sayvon Jarrett, West Georgia Technical College
  • Blakelyn Larkin, Athens Technical College
  • Jacquelyn Mallard, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
  • Rah’Mere Williams, Augusta Technical College

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Welding Instructor Wins Top Honor

The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) announced the state’s top technical college instructor for 2020. Mike Day, a Welding and Joining Technology instructor from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College was chosen as the winner of this year’s Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction.

“Mike embodies everything you want in an outstanding instructor—a passion for teaching, expertise in their field, and most importantly, a love for their students,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “I know everyone at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and TCSG is extremely proud to have Mike represent the very best of technical education in Georgia.”

The Rick Perkins Award, now in its 29th year, highlights excellence in technical instruction and recognizes the most outstanding instructors at the 22 TCSG colleges. As the award winner, Mike Day will make public appearances as a representative for technical education during the next year, including meeting with Governor Brian Kemp and addressing the Georgia General Assembly.

Each year, selection for the Rick Perkins Award begins with the naming of the top technical education instructors at each college. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for the award. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, a panel of judges interviewed this year’s nine finalists virtually. 

“We are so excited that Mike was named the 2020 Rick Perkins Award State Winner,” said Wiregrass Georgia Technical College President, Dr. Tina Anderson. “He loves his students, our mission, and will do a tremendous job representing TCSG and its instructors over the next year.”

As the 2020 Rick Perkins award winner, Mike Day from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College received a crystal award and a check for $1,000. The first runner-up for instructor of the year was Kelley Braxton, a Respiratory Care instructor from Oconee Fall Line Technical College. 

 The nine 2020 Rick Perkins Award finalists were:

  • Annette Baker, Lanier Technical College
  • Kelley Braxton, Oconee Fall Line Technical College
  • Dana Buxton, Athens Technical College
  • Mike Day, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
  • Amy Dorminey, Ogeechee Technical College
  • Mandy Jones, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Beverly Kirk, West Georgia Technical College
  • Dorothea Lusane-McKenzie, South Georgia Technical College
  • Jessica Willcox, Central Georgia Technical College

Augusta Technical College Names New President 

Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Greg Dozier has appointed Greenville Technical College Vice President, Dr. Jermaine Whirl as the new President of Augusta Technical College.

“Dr. Whirl’s leadership experience in technical education and vision for the college make him the right person to lead Augusta Technical College,” said TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier. “I am confident that Dr. Whirl will continue moving Augusta Tech forward and building on its legacy of developing a skilled workforce in the region. I also want to thank Sheila Hill for serving as interim president of Augusta Technical College over the past year. She did a tremendous job.” 

Dr. Whirl served as Vice President for Learning and Workforce Development and Vice President for Economic Development and Corporate Training at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina. In this role, he served as the Chief Academic, Continuing Education, and Economic Development Officer of the college and was responsible for all credit and non-credit instruction, policymaking, compliance, and development activities.

Prior to Greenville Technical College, Dr. Whirl served as Dean of the School of Business and School of Art & Design at Gwinnett Technical College and Executive Director/Dean of Adult Education at Savannah Technical College. He also served as a full time faculty member at Georgia Southern University’s Parker College of Business Administration and East Georgia State College. His career in higher education began at Winthrop University where he worked in the office of institutional advancement and alumni relations.

“It is truly an honor to be selected as the next president of Augusta Technical College,” said Dr. Whirl. “Under Terry Elam's leadership, Augusta Tech developed a long-standing history of making a difference in the lives of students and providing business and industry with a skilled workforce. I am excited to follow in his footsteps and lead an institution that makes such an impact in the community."

Dr. Whirl earned his associate of arts degree at Trident Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in economics at Winthrop University, a master of business administration degree at Charleston Southern University, a second master’s degree in adult education & community leadership at Armstrong State University (now, Georgia Southern University), and a doctorate in organizational leadership at Valdosta State University.

The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia approved Commissioner Dozier’s appointment of Dr. Jermaine Whirl on Thursday, October 1st in Atlanta.

Dr. Whirl begins as Augusta Technical College president on November 3rd.

Career Services at Albany Technical College has added a more sophisticated and robust platform, Purple Briefcase, for students and employers to connect in Southwest Georgia. The new cloud-based software developed by Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) is smooth and easy to use. Purple Briefcase offers everything students need to prepare for their career search, connect with employers and alumni, and find the best internships and jobs. “Purple Briefcase is a new, innovative cloud software platform which allows students to create interesting and interactive profiles that can be made visible to employers,” said Judy Jimmerson, Associate Vice President of Career Services. “Students can search for internships, job openings, and companies to explore career possibilities.” Watch this video for more information.
Athens Technical College would like to thank Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center (PARMC) for continuing their Nursing partnership. PARMC provided a $250,000 donation, which goes directly to support additional instructors and training. Through their support, the College will be able to accept more students and meet the demand for Registered Nurses in the region. The agreement with Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center includes the College naming two eminent scholars in health care and providing ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), and BLS (Basic Life Support) training.
ATC Cares! Atlanta Technical College’s (ATC) Senior Leadership Team, led by Dr. Victoria Seals, presented staff and faculty with ATC Care Packages on Friday, September 25. In addition to the drive-thru celebration, ATC collected donations from faculty and staff to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Faculty and staff drove through designated lanes to pick up their care packages and drop off donations, with many expressing a shared sentiment of gratitude and missing being on-campus with students and colleagues. ATC’s neighboring college, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, headed by President Georj Lewis, joined the celebration by presenting a large donation for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, showcasing both colleges’ dedication to serving the Metro Atlanta community that they call home. The total effort delivered nine barrels to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, enough for 1,500 meals. Dr. Seals thanked the faculty and staff by quoting Mrs. Coretta Scott King, saying, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
The heart of the region’s cyber economy beats deep within the walls of Fort Gordon’s Army Cyber Command and National Security Agency complex. But the arterial network circulating the industry’s lifeblood through the metro area is found 12 miles away at the Georgia Cyber Center in downtown Augusta. The innovation and education complex – billed as the single-largest state investment in cybersecurity – is where government, military, academia, and the private sector converge to build a symbiotic ecosystem that supports the fort while leveraging its assets to transform Augusta into a hotbed of high-tech activity. The $100 million, 332,000 square-foot complex is home to Augusta University and Augusta Technical College’s cyber education programs, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s cyber-crime operation, and a host of military contractors. Read more here. 
A new online program has been fast-tracked for FallSession 2 enrollment at Central Georgia Technical College, assuring student access to an exciting, essential, and growing career field. TheAmazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Solutions Specialist Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) is a new Computer Information Technology program offering computing skills through hands-on practical experience preparing students for AWS certifications. An AWS developer is responsible for setting-up, maintaining, and evolving the cloud infrastructure of web applications. Amazon Web services is a premiere cloud-based solution service utilized by over 190 companies worldwide. Read more here.
Chattahoochee Technical College celebrated its brand new, state-of-the-art health science building at the college’s Marietta campus on Wednesday, September 23, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house attended by state and local community leaders. Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier and Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Loud served as two of the featured speakers at this event. Programs of study housed in Chattahoochee Tech’s new health science building include licensed practical nursing, medical assisting, certified nursing assistant, clinical laboratory technology, patient care technician, and the college’s new dental assisting program. Read more here.
On Thursday, September 25, Coastal Pines Technical College hosted a Drive Thru Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony was held on the Coastal Pines Waycross campus. There were over 165 students honored who completed their programs during the spring and summer semesters. A job well done and congratulations to the successes of these distinguished Stingray graduates!
Columbus Technical College’s 2020 class of dental hygiene students earned a 100 percent pass rate on their National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE). All 16 graduates from the cohort passed the NBDHE exam on their first attempt. This examination assesses the graduate’s ability to understand important information from the biomedical and dental sciences and apply this information in a problem-solving context.
The Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Foundation awarded $10,900 in scholarships to 26 students. Scholarships between $250 and $500 were awarded to students to assist in paying for fall semester at GNTC. “We are delighted that we were able to double the amount of scholarships to students this year,” said GNTC President Dr. Heidi Popham. “The focus of the GNTC Foundation is to have a real impact on student success. I believe we are seeing that happen.” Read more here. 
More than 350 jobseekers and 45 employers took advantage of the first-ever virtual job fair organized by Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) and its community partners in July. The success prompted the group to plan a second virtual fair in hopes of providing an innovative, convenient, and safe way to strengthen the regional workforce during the current COVID-19 health crisis. U.S. Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10) lends his support to the newest online event—the Fall 2020 Regional and Virtual Job Fair, set for October 9 from 12–4 p.m. Hice joins GPTC, the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Development Authority of Walton County to encourage job growth in the region. Watch Rep. Hice’s video message to jobseekers and employers here.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Gwinnett Technical College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE2Y) through academic year 2025. The goal of the CAE2Y program is to increase the understanding of Cyber Defense (CD) technology, policy, and practices that will enable our nation to prevent and respond to a catastrophic cyber incidents and events. This designation, issued jointly by the NSA and the DHS, is one of the most prestigious recognitions for cybersecurity excellence a college can receive. Gwinnett Tech is the first two-year college in Metro Atlanta to receive this distinction. Read more here.
Lanier Technical College (LTC) held a drive-thru graduation on Friday, October 2. The College produced video greetings from LTC President Dr. Ray Perren, 2020 GOAL finalist Emily Blaze, and Executive Vice President Tim McDonald. Annette Baker, Lanier Tech's 2020 Instructor of the Year and Rick Perkins Award finalist, delivered the commencement address. The stage area was live-streamed on the Lanier Tech website.
North Georgia Technical College’s (NGTC) Associate of Science degree in Nursing (ASN) program recently received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). ACEN accreditation is a peer-review process intended to enhance quality improvement in nursing education and benefits the program by providing students useful information for career and education decision-making, enabling students’ eligibility for funding support from federal and state agencies, as well as foundations, and facilitating the transfer of credit for students. “Receiving this accreditation is truly an outstanding achievement that signifies the quality of our Associate of Science degree in Nursing program,” said NGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs, Mindy Glander. “It means so much to our students and prepares them to enter the workforce or continue their education with a strong and solid educational foundation.”
“Anything that you want in life is worth fighting for and I am going to fight until the very end.”

This is what Lyntoria Moye keeps reminding herself as she misses her children’s sporting events, time with family, and works long hours so she can pursue her dream of becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. Already a Certified Nursing Assistant, Moye was ready for a change. “I wanted to do something that would be challenging yet rewarding,” she shared. “I’ve known I wanted to become a nurse since I was ten years old. I feel like this is my destiny.” Moye decided to pursue her LPN certification through Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Practical Nursing Program. “I chose OFTC for my education because it was close to home and the small class sizes give students the opportunity to interact more with their professors one-on-one,” she said. After starting classes, Moye knew she made the right decision. “What I like the most is having instructors who genuinely care and want to see their students succeed,” Moye shared. “They go above and beyond to teach you the material and are always willing to help.”
Amaya Brown, a member of the first-ever cohort of REACH Georgia Scholars, has enrolled at Ogeechee Technical College (OFTC) to pursue her Esthetician certificate. As a Bulloch County REACH Scholar, Brown earned up to $10,000 in scholarship funds that she could use at any Georgia REACH eligible college or university. Of the 82 institutions listed as eligible in the state of Georgia, Brown chose Ogeechee Tech. Brown began her journey at OTC as a dual enrollment student from Statesboro High School. While taking classes at OTC, she became fascinated with the world of Esthetics. “When I was here as a high school student, I became interested in the Esthetician program,” said Brown. “I was always fascinated with waxes and facials – there is just a lot you can do with it.” Read more here.
Savannah Technical College’s Professional Continuing Education department, the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce, and SCORE have created a series of live, online workshops called “Black in Business.” “We have an opportunity to learn some things that will help our businesses grow,” said Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce President Moncello Stewart. “This partnership and series will help develop your business into what you want it to be.” This free series will empower Black entrepreneurs and business owners to launch, climb, and excel with a series of three online workshops. Read more here.
The South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Foundation 2020 TechForce internal fund drive was able to withstand COVID-19 challenges, along with a delay caused by Hurricane Sally, and still raise over $20,000 to help students “Move Forward @ South Georgia Technical College” through faculty and staff donations for scholarships, grants, textbooks, and state of the art equipment for educational programs. The event included a virtual silent auction, a virtual trivia game, payroll deduction pledges, a boxed lunch, and raffle drawings for a Michael Kors purse and a heavy-duty Craftsman Tool Box. These efforts resulted in over $20,000 in donations to the “Moving Forward” TechForce 2020 drive from approximately 150 faculty and staff on the SGTC Americus and Crisp County campuses.
Southeastern Technical College (STC) introduced a new element to enhance the training of students enrolled in STC’s Emergency Services education programs. With the help of a grant, STC purchased an indoor ambulance simulator. The simulator has been delivered and is ready for use by the EMT and Paramedic classes. The ambulance simulator will be used to add a higher level of realism to training scenarios. One of the most important aspects of the job for an EMT is knowing exactly how to perform their learned skills inside of an ambulance. It’s crucial that students understand how ambulance vehicles work and how to work safely while inside of one. “The simulator will better educate students by taking them out of their classroom seats and give them hands-on practice in the ambulance simulator before practicing their skills in the clinical setting,” explained Jim Jones, EMS Program Director. “The students can learn in a safe, realistic, and high-intensity environment.” 
The Southern Crescent Technical College Academic Affairs Division recently held its first meeting of the Aviation Advisory Committee to discuss and explore new career pathways and new program offerings for students in the aviation industry. The purpose of the Aviation Advisory Committee is twofold. First, the committee will serve in an advisory capacity for the College’s new Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drone Technology) Technical Certificate of Credit. Second, the committee will assist the College in conducting a needs assessment for future aviation program offerings. This initial meeting covered Southern Crescent Technical College’s plans to enter into the field of aviation maintenance, and the partnerships needed to move forward with the approval and accreditation process. Read more here.
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) congratulates the Radiologic Technology class at SRTC-Moultrie, who all accepted job offers months before their graduation! These students are the most recent in the remarkable number of SRTC grads who are employed in-field each year. For the 2020 Academic Year, SRTC is proud to have Georgia's highest in-field job placement rate at 98.5 percent! That is nine percent higher than the state average and is another indicator of our dedication to career opportunities for our graduates and continual workforce development for our community.
For Jennifer Mashburn, running is more than just a hobby, it’s a necessary escape. The 2013 West Georgia Tech radiologic technology graduate and 2009 Auburn University alumna works as an interventional radiologic technologist for the WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s Vascular Institute in Marietta, logging ten-hour days in high-pressure situations where lives are on the line. Whether it is performing regular interventional radiology procedures, assisting doctors to repair bleeding blood vessels, conducting diagnostic angiograms to look for blood clots and narrowing of blood vessels, or helping save stroke victims who might have potentially fatal clots in the brain, Mashburn lives in a fast-paced world where seconds matter. Read more here.
The 2020 Spring RN students pictured at their October 2019 orientation
According to, the Associate of Science in Nursing (RN) program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has been named the number one program in the state of Georgia. The college is ranked among other technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities. Dr. Darlene Ridley, RN, MSN, CNE is the college’s Director of Nursing and has taught since the program began in January of 2014 at Wiregrass Tech. “Wiregrass students are prepared for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) throughout the duration of the nursing program. Our goal is to not only prepare students to achieve success on the NCLEX, but to perform as a competent and safe professional registered nurse. In order to achieve success, students are required to demonstrate competency in drug calculation, clinical skills, and on the HESI final exam each semester,” shared Dr. Ridley. Read more here.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College held a special Drive-Thru Commencement Ceremony this summer to safely celebrate our 2020 spring and summer graduates.