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Four individuals were inducted into the Warren County Career Center Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame for 2018. They were nominated for their accomplishments in career and community involvement.
Kim Cochran graduated from Lebanon High School and completed the Executive Secretary program at WCCC in 1978. Her instructor was Juli Palmer, now Juli King. She has worked for the past 28 years at the Warren County Educational Service Center, beginning as receptionist, and is currently the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Special Education.
Kim grew up in Lebanon, and raised her children in Lebanon. Her two daughters, her siblings, and nieces and nephews all attended Lebanon schools, and Kim is very active and involved in support of the sports programs and other events at the school district. She is an active member of Urbancrest Baptist Church and volunteers her time preparing information for Sunday services, and in the many local, national and international ministries supported by the church.
“Kim is a very valuable asset to Warren County Educational Service Center, making her a great credit to the success of those graduating from the Warren County Career Center,” WCESC Superintendent Tom Isaacs said in his letter of nomination. “She has been with our office for 28 years and quickly proved herself to be a leader who is not afraid to take on any tasks set before her. She is a well-accomplished support for what is an extremely demanding position here at WCESC.”
“I was in the first graduating class at the career center, and I knew college was not what I was going to do,” she said. “I thought the secretarial program at the career center best suited my interests. I learned skills, all of which helped me in my jobs. I worked in the front office at a dental practice, and in the Western Star office. My husband at the time joined the military, and we lived out of town for eight years, but I always knew I wanted to come back to Lebanon.”
Kim lives in Lebanon and has two grown daughters, Christy and Kelli, and three grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family, loves to be at the pool in the summer, and likes to read.
Paul Kindell completed the WCCC Communications Electronics program, under instructors David Perry and Bob Pitts, and graduated from Springboro High School in 1979. He began through a WCCC co-op program that led to his first job in electronics at Cincinnati Milacron, where he worked for 10 years before joining Warren County Telecom in 1989. He began as an Electronics Technician II and worked his way to Director in 2006. He is responsible for a $4.3 million budget and 23 employees. Telecom manages public safety technology provided by the Warren County Commissioners, including the county radio system and nine tower sites, the consolidated 911 center, computer-aided dispatch, law and fire records management systems, vehicle-based computing for law and fire, and more.
“I have worked for Paul Kindell since 2001,” Telecom Deputy Director Gary Estes said in his letter of nomination. “He has inspired loyalty and high character from his employees by doing the right things for the right reasons. Paul understands the demands of being successful and represents us well as he is in the trenches right beside us.”
Paul engineered the first analog trunked radio system in 1989 connecting police and fire/EMS, and in 1995 introduced email, website and the internet to the county government. In 2004, he helped launch a countywide 911 system. From 2014 to present, he has overseen implementation of the MARCS radio system, spearheaded installation of emergency call buttons in all county schools, relocated the communications system without interruption of emergency services to citizens, and Text-to-911 capabilities for Warren County. He serves on many committees for Homeland Security, Emergency Communications, and FEMA and is involved in community groups and educational opportunities for county students.
“I loved every minute I was there, and the co-op program got me started in a field I enjoyed for 10 years,” Paul said. “After that, I was fortunate to move into a county job in communications. Without the school, I am not sure what I would be doing now. The career center got me started in my career. The teachers were great. Mr. Pitts followed up with me about a month after I graduated and left his number in case I needed anything. I really appreciated that.”
Paul and his wife Sharon live in Clearcreek Township. They have a grown daughter Bethany Falter, who is married and lives in Cincinnati. He enjoys amateur radio, and tinkering and building electronics at home.
Sandy Gross Bertram completed the WCCC Accounting/Computing program and graduated from Waynesville High School in 1982. Her instructors were Chris Hamm and Anne Simison, now Anne Furderer. She has served as Payroll Coordinator for Loveland City Schools since 2012. She began her career working in the office of Leggett & Platt, and then began working in school district payroll departments at Centerville, Beavercreek and Princeton before ending up in Loveland. She is a member and has served as local president of the American Payroll Association. At Princeton as Payroll Supervisor, she worked with four different unions and changes in administration to reorganize the payroll department into one respected and appreciated by district staff.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and proud to have graduated from WCCC,” she said. “It truly paved my way to be at this point in my life. Someone asked me how I ever started working in payroll and I always give the Warren County Career Center credit. I remember doing payroll for a Mach business in the Accounting and Computing class and said, ‘that is what I want to do.’ My teachers were more than teachers, they were friends. They sent me on an interview for Leggett & Platt as a Payroll Clerk and I was hired my senior year. I went to work half days. I can’t thank the school enough. This is truly an honor.”
“With my eighteen years in school finance and fourteen years as a Treasurer/CFO I personally have relied on my wife to help me and my districts through some tough payroll decisions,” Middletown City Schools Treasurer Randy Bertram said in his nomination letter. “Sandy has always been there for me and my payroll staffs to answer questions any time. She truly knows her stuff when it comes to school payroll, she is an expert. Because of Sandy’s decision to attend Warren County Career Center in 1980, her payroll career was made possible.”
Sandy and her husband Randy live in Middletown and have two grown daughters, Courtney Flanders and Mindy Glazier, and eight grandchildren with one on the way. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and is an avid watcher of home improvement shows.
Jeffrey Dewitt Calmes completed the WCCC Machine Trades program with instructor Robert Call in 1978. He attended Sinclair Community College for two years, then University of Dayton, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology in 1998. His home high school was Springboro. Sadly, his life was cut short by cancer at age 57, but he accomplished his career goals and finished a long path through engineering as Industrial and Supplier Quality Engineer for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
“His father encouraged him to go to WCCC and take machine trades, but I had mixed feelings because he made good grades in school,” his mother, Sandra Calmes, said in her nomination letter. “I was thinking he needed a book education. My husband worked at GM Delphi and saw the value of working in trades, so Jeff enrolled at WCCC. I am really grateful to the school for preparing him for his career. He worked straight out of high school, worked while in college, and got good resumes and references. In the engineering field, he had to lay the groundwork to get a good work record in order to succeed.”
After college, Jeff had some small machining jobs and then he applied for an engineering position at General Motors and got the job on his own as an industrial engineer manager. He applied for contract work with the US military, traveled to military bases and designed programs. While he was employed with GM, he excelled in logistics. His contract work with the military was to setup and teach computer programs to military personnel and he had a security clearance. In 2011, Jeff found his dream job at the United States Mint in West Point, New York. He received his Green Belt in the US Mint Lean Six Sigma Program in 2014. He worked inside the mint near the gold, in specialty coins, commemorative coin inspection, and buying of materials. He was the last one to inspect Medals of Honor. Jeff retired in 2016 due to medical issues, and passed away shortly after retirement.
“One of Jeff’s major accomplishments was obtaining a Green Belt certification from the US Mint,” Chief Assay/Quality Manager Jeanette Grogan said in her letter of support. “This process involved coordinating a project to improve the efficiency in our internal procedures and practices in the die area. Jeff was the first employee at the West Point Mint to achieve this certification, and he then became a mentor to those who also wanted to pursue a Green Belt. Jeff really was loved by his co-workers, who all considered him a great friend. He came to work early and wanted to make people smile. He was always there to offer support or kind words of encouragement. He was genuine and accepting of all those around him, and made everyone feel at ease in his presence. He truly is missed by the West Point Mint’s Quality Assurance Division.”