2015 Distinguished Alumni Inducted into Hall of Fame
The Warren County Career Center inducted three Distinguished Alumni into its Hall of Fame for 2015.
Travis Owens, Lebanon, Digital Design Class of 2003, began by interning at the Warren County Geographic Information Systems Office while still in high school. His first project was to redesign a website for the GIS department. He was hired when he graduated from high school and is now a GIS Technician II with the Warren County Geographic Information Systems Department, using cartographic design to create county highway maps.
He has developed imaging applications for county departments including the Engineer’s Office,
Auditor’s Office, Water Department and more. He helped with the design of the online mapping site.
“He was bright and eager to learn, punctual, and brought along his graphic talents,” Warren County GIS Coordinator Dawn Johnson said in her letter of recommendation. “He has remained on our staff, becoming full-time while he attended Sinclair Community College. He has since earned his Associates Degree in GIS from Columbus State Community College.
“Travis has created award winning maps, created the design of our online mapping website, and has developed at least three widely published functional maps, two for the County Engineer Road Map series, and one for the City of Springboro Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves our department as the primary parcel data analyst, ensuring that new subdivisions stitch-in with existing parcels. He takes on all assignments with ease and delivers results that exceed expectations.”
Travis lives in Lebanon with his wife of eight years Jaime, and daughters, Alexis, 7, and Addison, 5. While working full time and being an involved father, he also graduated in May 2015 with a 4.0 grade point average from Columbus State Community College.
“What I think benefited me the most was the mentorship of my teachers,” he said. “In my senior year, Greg Beasley kept pushing me in the right direction. For someone like that to have confidence in you, more than you may have in yourself as a senior in high school, helps build your maturity. It is fortunate I chose to go to the career center, because people who go to a typical school may not end up in the GIS field. It is very design-based, and involves telling a story. The field really tied into my program, and it helped me out a lot coming from a design background. Even as a junior with Mr. (Howard) Norris, learning the prepress stuff, I knew how to prepare a print product for press and saved the county some money by doing some of that work. I have knowledge in both areas, digital and print, which has served me well in my occupation.”
Amanda “Mandy” Bryant, Kings, Diversified Health Occupations Class of 1994, first met her current employer, Dr. Michael Moran, in her junior year during a job shadowing experience. She was hired at the podiatric office during her senior year. For the next 22 years, she has remained a loyal employee for Dr. Moran while also pursuing higher education and working in area hospitals as a nurse.
“During her earlier years here, she pursued her desire to obtain her registered nursing degree,” Dr. Moran said in his letter of recommendation. “While working full-time in our busy practice, she would attend nursing school, a class at a time, until she was finally able to take her clinicals. Mandy realized her dream, graduating from the Good Samaritan Registered Nursing program in May 2008. While remaining employed in our podiatric practice, on a job-sharing basis, she gained employment as a floor nurse at Bethesda North Hospital. She continues her education to this day in striving to obtain her Bachelor's degree in nursing from Mount St. Joseph's School of Nursing.”
While at Bethesda, she was nominated for a Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing. She also received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2010. She has taken on numerous leadership roles at Bethesda Hospital chairing various hospital nursing committees. Along with her Associate degree in Nursing from Good Sam Hospital, and pursuing her BSN, she is a Certified Medical-Surgical Nurse, a member of the Academy of Medical-Surgical nurses since 2012, and is preparing to take the Gerontology certification exam in November. She serves as the Geriatric Resource Nurse at Bethesda, and is a volunteer coordinator for the Kenwood Senior Star facility, coordinating services between the hospital and the facility. She is the role transition coordinator for nursing students and clinical coach for new hires, and is the relief charge nurse on the urology medical surgical floor. She has volunteered at the Walnut Hills Soup Kitchen and has participated in the Hospice Walk.
“Mandy is a tireless worker who sees a challenge and follows through to fruition,” Dr. Moran said. “She always has a smile, never complains, and jumps in to assist coworkers and staff without being asked. Patients always ask how Mandy is when she is not in the office and comment on how professional and nice a person she is as well as when speaking to her on the phone. She has been a dedicated, trusted, loyal employee through the last 22 years in our practice.”
Mandy is particularly interested in working with the elderly, and still has a newspaper article and photo from her high school experience at a Lebanon nursing home where she met and befriended Maude Price, sister of the famous chocolatier Esther Price. She said that was when she realized she wanted to work in geriatrics.
“Going to the career center was definitely my foot in the door to a career in healthcare,” she said. “By coming here I got my job at Dr. Moran’s office, and that was my pathway. I felt I was much more advanced in nursing school because I knew the terminology, and I had learned to work with people. It felt second nature to me because in high school we went to doctors’ offices and nursing homes, and I was comfortable talking to people.”
She lives in Clarksville and says she has always had a very supportive family. “Especially my mom, she was only 15 when she had me,” Mandy said. “She did everything she could to take care of me. She put herself last and took care of my needs. My grandparents were also always there for me.”
Nancy Griffin Rice, Lebanon, Floral Design Class of 1993, took a career path turn soon after graduation into the healthcare field, but the self-confidence and professional skills she developed at WCCC stayed with her. In 1995 she worked as a pharmacy technician for about three years and she found that she enjoyed the medical profession. She completed her State-Tested Nursing Assistant licensure in 2001 and her Licensed Practical Nurse course in 2002 and worked in geriatrics for the next 13 years. In 2015 she earned her Associate of Nursing from Excelsior College in New York, and passed the Ohio Registered Nurse board exam while working full time, typically 60 hours a week.
She has recently been promoted to Director of Nursing at Quaker Heights Care Community in Waynesville. She began at Quaker Heights in 2003 as a staff LPN after previously working at another facility as a medical records specialist. At Quaker Heights, she worked her way up from Charge Nurse through Director of Social Services and Admissions, Resident Care Coordinator, Director of Assisted Living, Assistant Director of Nursing, and Director of Clinical Services to her current position.
Nancy is responsible for overseeing a staff of approximately 90 employees, and is the direct supervisor of Nurse Managers and Minimum Data Set (MDS) nurses. She is responsible for nurse education and clinical skill in-services, nursing department planning and creative programming for elder health care. She is responsible for the planning and direction of several nursing departments including post-acute short-term care, long-term dementia care and assisted living.
“Nancy Rice is a strong leader and gifted in many ways, but her greatest strength is the gift she shares with other human beings when she connects in a very real and empathetic way,” Quaker Heights CEO Wendy Waters-Connell said in a letter of reference. “Nancy holds the potential to be the greatest Director of Nursing that Quaker Heights has ever employed.”
When describing her skills as a nurse, Ms. Waters-Connell said she has “a very genuine nature about her that is comforting. I could sense there was more to Nancy than met the eye. Families trusted her, and she would often be called in to support and manage high-stress events such as critically ill residents or dying residents with complex family grief dynamics.”
“People ask me how I can do end-of-life care, and it does hurt and have some pain, but oftentimes afterward they are at peace and that gives the rest of us peace,” Nancy Rice said. “I always had an interest in history, so when you combine that and the love of caring, I found my interest was in working with the elderly. I meet so many people who, even though they are elderly, they have a drive to get better and keep going. It is so wonderful to see people get back on their feet and get back home. On the other end of the spectrum, I assist some of them with end-of-life issues.”
She said she never felt like she was a part of anything in school until she came to the Career Center. There, she found a sense of belonging to a group in her Floral Design class. “I remember Mrs. Joyce Leeds well and how she made me a part of something,” she said. “I participated in FFA at the state level for two years and I felt success and that is what gave me the drive to keep going, no matter the direction. The takeaway for me was the ability to excel. I don’t think I would have developed that if I had not been exposed to the environment at the career center. It boosted my self-esteem, and we also had an entrepreneurship teacher who helped our minds think in a forward motion.”
She still does some floral design as a hobby, and has always enjoyed it, although lately with her college courses she has not had the time to do as much with it. She also enjoys doing crafts, redecorating and gardening, using her horticulture skills learned at WCCC. Looking toward the future, she plans to continue and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Nancy and her family live in Harveysburg. She is engaged to Mike Eve, and has daughters Tabitha, 21, Samantha, 18, Alayna, 16, and stepchildren Darbie, 18, and Nathan, 16.
Nancy has one more recent connection to WCCC. While taking her nursing courses online, she needed to take the exams through PiersonView. She took her exams at the WCCC Authorized Regional Testing Center on the main campus in Lebanon. She said she really appreciated the staff, and especially the testing proctor, Joyce Shillinglaw, who was very helpful and calming as she took her multiple exams. She said that coming back to WCCC for testing was a comfort zone and a familiar place.