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Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Ray Brooks honored 15 college associates and community leaders with the Presidential Medallion, the college’s most prestigious award, at PTC’s winter semester commencement exercises.

Instituted in 1991 during the college’s silver anniversary celebration, the medallions recognize individuals who have made significant contributions toward excellence in education. Receiving the awards were:

Tony Amos ― As co-chair for the Work Ethic Skills (WES) Committee, Piedmont Technical College welding instructor Tony Amos has demonstrated exemplary leadership with faculty and students alike. Recognizing that “soft skills” are imperative for successful job placement, his work has improved student outcomes as well as garnered positive recognition for the college.

Dr. Ruthie Buist ― A familiar, friendly resource on Piedmont Technical College’s Newberry Campus, Dr. Ruthie Buist is known for her congeniality and professionalism. As program director for veterinary technology, Buist has worked to increase test scores within her program. Her infectious energy and enthusiasm were noticed during a recent campus visit by an accrediting team, which made special mention of her talent and leadership in its report.

Jonathan Coleman ― As executive director of the Laurens County Development Corporation, Jonathan Coleman stands out as a thoughtful, innovative leader with immense talent for recognizing and pursuing projects that promote economic development in Laurens County. He played a pivotal role in the development of the Laurens County Center for Advanced Manufacturing, helped secure a model youth and adult apprenticeship program between PTC and ZF Transmissions in Gray Court, and helped design and develop the Laurens County Future Scholarship.

Charles Dixon ― Charles Dixon, Piedmont Technical College’s department head for electronic engineering technology and mechatronics technology, always steps up to the plate when his team needs him. Over the years, he has taken on additional responsibilities while working to expand the reach of the mechatronics program by introducing innovative scheduling and dual enrollment options. His efforts have made a significant impact on PTC’s industrial technology programs

Brad Evans ― A native of Abbeville, Brad Evans is president and owner of Harris Funeral Home. He is active in many civic and professional organizations. After serving two terms as chair of the Abbeville County School District Board, he now continues to serve as vice chair. He is also board chair for the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation, the parent organization for the Abbeville Promise. Evans’ work as an advocate for education has improved the lives of students from kindergarten through postsecondary education.

Jeff Field ― Jeff Field is the Executive Director of the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission. A member of the Piedmont Technical College Foundation Board since 2008, he has been an active member of the Laurens County Rotary Club, the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and the Laurens County Economic Development Corporation. A steadfast advocate of making Laurens County a better place to work and live, Jeff has been instrumental in the ongoing success of the Laurens County Future Scholarship.

Renae Frazier ― As Piedmont Technical College’s Dean of Admissions, Renae Frazier’s “can do” attitude and seemingly limitless supply of energy, combined with her deep belief in the transformative power of education, has resulted in a hard-working team and in an innovative admissions program, including initiatives like the Adult Achiever program and the Night of Hope. With more than 29 years of higher education experience, Frazier continues to ask the questions, “What more can we do?” and “Who are our efforts missing?”

Joel Griffin ― Overseeing the IT infrastructure of a sizable fleet of academic systems ― in the midst of major upgrades ― could intimidate anyone, but not Joel Griffin, Piedmont Technical College’s assistant vice president for information technology. Griffin has put together an experienced team and introduced LEAN practices while leading a comprehensive and seamless transition of all PTC computer systems.

Wendy Hughes ― Controller Wendy Hughes has been with Piedmont Technical College for more than 10 years. In that time, she has led several important initiatives, including the LEAN program, the Banner Budget Module, identification of non-academic performance measures and continuous improvement practices. Her diligent stewardship has helped ensure the college’s financial stability. And through successful audits, she has promoted transparency with regard to all financial transactions in support of the institutional mission, to transform lives.

Lakeya Jenkins ― Piedmont Technical College English instructor Lakeya Jenkins inspires her students on a daily basis. She was one of three PTC employees to be named Outstanding Educators for the 2016-2017 academic year at the South Carolina Technical Education Association convention. She also serves as an elected officer on the Regional Executive Committee for the Two-Year College English Association.

Christina Knight ― Piedmont Technical College instructor Christina Knight continues to serve as a professional model of excellence for her engineering design technology students. Her style of leadership is centered around innovative thinking, and her enduring positive attitude makes her an ideal club advisor for Tau Alpha Pi, an honor society open to engineering students and graduates.

Lee Logan ― A longtime pillar of Abbeville County, Lee Logan served as Vice President for Development at Erskine College for 33 years. He has been anything but idle in his retirement. His post-education resume spans numerous positions in local politics, philanthropy and business. Most recently, Lee has been the driving force behind the development of the Abbeville Promise, a new scholarship program designed to make a college education accessible to Abbeville County students.

Jennifer Lopes ― Humanities Department Head and Spanish Instructor Jennifer Lopes has worked tirelessly to help Piedmont Technical College students improve their prospects for employment success through the application of “soft skills” such as prompt attendance, good communication and respected behaviors in the workplace. Her efforts with the Work Ethic Skills team has improved student outcomes and garnered positive recognition for the college.

Russell Martin ― Russell Martin has worked in higher education for more than 18 years, first at the University of South Carolina, then Lander University, and now as Piedmont Technical College’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations. He has been an innovator in new ways to tell Piedmont Technical College’s story to the communities it serves and has worked closely with community organizations such as the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, the Greenwood Promise and SC Works to increase awareness about the benefits of higher education.

Dr. Nita Staley-Abney ― Piedmont Technical College Social Sciences Department Head Dr. Nita Staley-Abney has many virtues. At the top of the list are leadership ability, practical initiative and academic creativity. Her keen guidance and direction have made her department among the very best with respect to the Open Educational Resources (OER) outreach and management. In addition, she serves as lead instructor in the PTC new faculty class. Her guidance has helped many students realize their highest aspirations and pursue them confidently.