OFTC grad turns trucking dream into successful business venture

Walter Butts came to OFTC to learn how to drive trucks. Years later, he’s a successful business owner back at OFTC learning the skills he needs to maintain and grow his business.
After working at a local factory for ten years, Walter Butts decided it was time for something different.

So, in the summer of 2014 he enrolled in the Commercial Truck Driving Program offered at Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) in Dublin.

“It was a six to eight-week course and my plan was to get my license, view the world, and get paid for it,” Butts shared.

He thought he would just be a driver but, after a few years on the road, Butts met two men – Jerry Daniel and Donta Wright – and the course of his life changed.

The three men had experience in the trucking industry and decided to go into business together; they formed Seal Team LLC, a trucking company that hauls containers from the Port of Savannah, in 2018. Read more here.
Albany Technical College announces Tim Dal Bon as interim head basketball coach. Dal Bon was named following the resignation of Sylvester Patterson, who served as head coach since 2007. Tim was recruited last year to be the assistant men's basketball coach. This year, he will lead the Titans team in the 2020-2021 season. Dal Bon is a native of Fort Myers, Fla. He joined the Albany Tech men's basketball program in August 2019. In his first year on staff, the Titans finished 18-12, 4th in the conference. Before coming to Albany Tech, he was the CEO of 'Ground Zero Training', a company specializing in skill development for college and professional basketball players.
Athens Technical College (ATC) named Mrs. Ruth Durham and Mrs. Elizabeth Heath as their 2020 Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center Eminent Scholars in Health Care. Each year, this award is given to a nursing faculty member who has demonstrated high standards in nursing education at ATC. The College and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center have a long-standing partnership with their Registered Nursing program. 
In September, Atlanta Technical College’s (ATC) faculty and staff donated nine barrels of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank during its Faculty and Staff Appreciation event, where staff received care packages from the ATC senior leadership team. Those nine barrels equated to over 1,500 meals for families in need. In October, the College then partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to provide meal boxes to the citizens in its neighboring communities. The 30-lb. food boxes included perishable and non-perishable items, such as chicken, hot dogs, cheese, onions, apples, yogurt, egg product, and milk. Fifty volunteers from the College and the Metro Atlanta Civitan Club participated to distribute 288 boxes to community families. 
Rahmere Williams joined the Showpony team this summer as an intern and quickly impressed them enough to earn a spot on the Wier / Stewart design team. In addition to working part-time as he finishes his Graphic Design degree at Augusta Technical College, Rahmere has been pursuing the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award given by the Technical College System of Georgia (spoiler: he won). Before delivering his winning speech to the judges in the final round, he shared it with the W/S team. It was too good not to capture with this video. Watch the video here. 
Veterans will soon be able to take their service from farm to table. Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC), in collaboration with STAG Vets, Inc. in Baldwin County, and Fort Valley State University (FVSU), received grant funding to create a sustainable foods technical certificate program.The Sustainable Small Farm and Agriculture Technician Technical Certificate of Credit(TCC)is a 17-hour short-term, specialized TCC. It is an immersive curriculum of study that includes hands-on training in the production, management, and marketing of small-scale food production utilizingSTAG Vets, Inc. and FVSU’s farmland for lab components of the certificate. 
Community leaders gathered with Chattahoochee Technical College staff and faculty for a groundbreaking ceremony held on October 15 at the North Metro Campus for the college’s $8,905,000 Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Emerging Technologies. Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Greg Dozier and Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce Chair Josh Brock served as two of the featured speakers at this event. Also, delivering remarks were Chattahoochee Tech Board of Directors Former Chair Jim Hawk and Chattahoochee Tech Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Mark Goddard, along with Scott Gordon of Clark Patterson Lee, and Tom Gay of Gay Construction. Representing the college in the groundbreaking ceremony was Chattahoochee Tech President Dr. Ron Newcomb. Read more here.
The CPTC Foundation recently launched its new Alumni Association. Graduates of Coastal Pines Technical College, Okefenokee Technical College, and Altamaha Technical College can join and connect with other highly skilled and distinguished Stingrays from the College’s collective group of graduates. These alumni will now have the opportunity to network with fellow graduates, contribute to the Foundation, have access to career services through the College, and participate in marketing initiatives to help promote the College’s mission. Once a Ray, always a Ray!
Columbus Technical College was the first college in the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to have a student test for the newly implemented HiSET exam and is now congratulating two HiSET graduates. Twenty-two-year old Zvi Hare and 19-year-old Madelyn Peed of Columbus received their HiSET diplomas on November 2. Hare scored a perfect score in Social Studies and passed all other sections with a “college ready” status. Both students' exam costs were covered by the TCSG Office of Adult Education with Columbus Technical College awarding the students gas cards and book bags full of school supplies to help them start their college careers. 
During a special graduation ceremony at the Floyd County Prison (FCP) in Rome, 12 offenders stepped forward to receive a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) from Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) showing they completed their training in Shield Metal Arc and Flux Core Welding. “This will change your life if you allow it,” Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Welding Instructor Scott Edison told the group of men. “I want to thank you all for coming in and giving it 110 percent.” The program was taught in the TCSG mobile welding lab that was temporarily set-up on the prison grounds. GNTC President Dr. Heidi Popham presented the men with their certificates and shared with them how the program was developed. GNTC studied how other technical colleges had worked with local prison systems and developed a welding program for offenders at the FCP. Read more here.
Five Rockdale County citizens participating in supervised alternative sentencing through Georgia’s Accountability Courts have been given a second chance over substance addiction and criminality through the Grit & Grace Recovery Community Organization and Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC). Grit & Grace recognized GPTC’s Economic Development division with the Champion of Recovery Award recently during a presentation held virtually via Zoom. GPTC’s Pre-Apprenticeship Industrial Maintenance Program is providing a lifeline and the prospect of valuable job skills and gainful employment for these five students. “I now have a positive future and something I can use to stabilize my family for the rest of my life. I am extremely grateful for every opportunity and everything you all have done to get me where I am,” said Wyatt, a pre-apprenticeship program student in recovery. Watch the video here.
Gwinnett Technical College (GTC) welcomed TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier to campus on October 20. The Commissioner, along with GTC President Glen Cannon, met with students, faculty, and staff, and toured the Lawrenceville campus, including the advanced manufacturing and Mercedes-Benz labs, and spent time with student ambassadors. The Commissioner commended the college for the level of COVID-19 safety protocols implemented throughout the campus. Dr. Cannon stated how much he and the college appreciated the Commissioner taking time to get to know GTC, and the visit shows the support and leadership the Commissioner has brought to the system.
Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Greg Dozier announced today his appointment of Lanier Technical College President, Dr. Ray Perren as TCSG Deputy Commissioner for Technical Education. Lanier Technical College Executive Vice President, Tim McDonald has been named Interim President of Lanier Technical College. “Dr. Ray Perren has spent his entire professional life dedicated to providing an outstanding education to students,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “He has a tremendous amount of leadership experience in both K-12 and postsecondary education in Georgia and will do an outstanding job leading our Technical Education division at TCSG.” Read more here.
North Georgia Technical College’s Blairsville campus announces the addition of an Electrical Line program beginning spring semester 2021. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) Interim Manager Erik Brinke has assisted NGTC with the needs of the program from the inception through implementation by providing materials and equipment for student learning. “We are very thankful for Blue Ridge Mountain EMC’s partnership and commitment to this program,” said NGTC Vice President for Academic Affairs Mindy Glander. “The Electrical Line program offered at our campus in Clarkesville typically includes a waiting list of up to nine to 12 months before students are enrolled, so we are very excited to work with Blue Ridge EMC to offer this program on a second campus.”
Ever since he was a little boy, Jacob Hughes loved to take things apart and put them back together. Little did he know what started out as a fun hobby would lead to a career. Hughes heard that Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) offered a mechatronics program. He did some research and decided that a degree in mechatronics could lead him to a career he’d love. “Mechatronics is a field that would give me an opportunity to enhance my skills and find a career field that would have me doing things I love,” Hughes said. “I was particularly interested in the robotics part of the program,” he added. “I’ve always wanted a chance to interact with one in person.” Read more here.
Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) was voted as having the Best Instructor, Elizabeth Goode, and Best Driving School by the readers of the Statesboro Herald for the “2020 Best of the Boro” contest. Goode, who teaches in the Esthetician program, has been an instructor at Ogeechee Tech since Fall of 2019. Neal Owens, Dean for Academic Affairs says that her ability to teach and innovate has made the Esthetician program very popular. “She has an extraordinary passion for teaching students in her field,” said Owens. “I have observed her go above and beyond in promoting her program and OTC in our community. She is constantly thinking of new and innovative ideas to bring fun to learning and to take her classes to the next level.”
Savannah Technical College’s Foundation made adjustments to offer two of its annual fundraising events this fall. The 14th annual Tribute to Community STARs was held virtually in October to honor 21 men and women who make a difference in the community. Rather than gathering on campus as in previous years, STARs were honored by their sponsors who gathered in groups of ten to celebrate individually with meals, programs, flowers, and awards delivered by Foundation volunteers. The Foundation annually offers an interactive culinary event to raise funds for one of its scholarships. Because the event could not take place, the Foundation needed to raise funds to make awards and partnered with culinary chefs and students to offer its first-ever barbeque take-out meal, which raised enough funds to support five annual scholarships for the upcoming year.
South Georgia Technical College Caterpillar Heavy Equipment Dealer Service Technology student, Brantley Lane Douglas, captured first place in the nation in Agriculture Repair and Maintenance Proficiency. He was recognized during the televised Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) Virtual National Convention held recently. He is an apprentice with Yancey Caterpillar at the facility in Statesboro. He was also awarded the American FFA Degree Key during the Virtual National FFA Convention. The American FFA Degree Key is the highest FFA degree awarded. Only one percent of FFA members ever attain the American FFA Degree. To be eligible, a student must have received the State FFA Degree; completed three years of Agriculture Education classes; earned and invested $10,000 in their Supervised Agriculture Experience program; completed 50 hours of community service, and participated in FFA events on the local and state level. Read more here.
The Southeastern Technical College (STC) Practical Nursing program held a pinning ceremony for its Fall 2020 graduates on October 27 in the Toombs Auditorium. Practical Nursing Instructor Joanna Bell said, “Our students and Practical Nursing faculty alike have long anticipated this night. The COVID-19 pandemic changed our course in this journey, but it never changed the students’ enthusiasm and desire to be the best nurses possible. This group of students has continuously pushed forward with no complaints.”
The Southern Crescent Technical College Foundation recently hosted the Drive “Fore” Education Golf Tournament on October 27, at The Club at Shoal Creek in Griffin with 29 teams participating. The Lauderdale style tournament was presented in partnership with Impact Office Interiors. Early estimates indicate that proceeds from the tournament will be in excess $50,000 with that money going to support the needs of the College including student scholarships and campus expansion. SCTC President Dr. Alvetta Thomas expressed gratitude on behalf of the College and thanked the golfers in attendance before the 10 a.m. start. 
Congratulations to Southern Regional Technical College students Blake Smith and Hannah Raffield, the first students to ever receive the new Jack N. Gay Scholarship and thank you to the Kiwanis Club of Moultrie for making this possible. President Jim Glass said, "Support from community-minded organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Moultrie is tremendously important as we work together to provide a bright future for our entire region."
Lacey Lane, a 2020 graduate of West Georgia Technical College’s (WGTC) RN program, shares how the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and WGTC helped her reach her goal of becoming a nurse. "WIOA helped me when I needed it most! I was a single mom trying to put myself through school so that my daughter and I could have a better life. WIOA came along during that most challenging time and helped me by providing funding for everything that HOPE or Pell did not cover. What a blessing to know that I was covered financially and could concentrate on my studies instead of worrying about expenses and how I was going to pay for school,” Lane said.
A lot of construction is taking place on the Valdosta Campus at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. The campus will open a new high-tech Health Sciences Building Spring Semester, January 2022. The college partners at Southeastern Credit Union are contributing $25,000 for a named classroom in the new building that is currently under construction. “Wiregrass is appreciative for partners like Southeastern Credit who are investing in our current and future students for many years to come. This donation will allow the college to provide cutting edge technology for those seeking a career in the health care world,” shared Wiregrass President Dr. Tina K. Anderson.  
Meet Jackson Lively and hear his story about how was able to pursue a career in Construction Management through the Youth Success Academy's ITA (Individual Training Account) program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.