Over 350 business advisors representing 38 committees and WCCC staff members and alumni gathered at the Warren County Career Center recently for the annual Business Advisory Kickoff and Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Culinary students prepared and served the meal, Graphic Arts students designed placemats, and the WCCC Student Ambassadors assisted with greeting and seating the guests. Landscape Technology students spruced up the grounds and arranged a fall display near the entrance of the school. Each program at WCCC has a team of business advisors that help instructors and coordinators keep current with industry trends and ensure students are prepared for the workforce. Advisors assist in many ways, including curriculum review, equipment donation, and providing internship and employment opportunities for students.
Three alumni were inducted into the Hall of Fame, chosen by a committee of business people in the community. They are Gary Coffman, Waynesville, 1979, Electrical Trades, Owner, Coffman Electric; John Reynolds, Kings, 1979, Auto Body, Police Chief of the Village of Maineville; and Karen Pettit Lewis, Waynesville, 1984, Diversified Health Occupations, Wright Patterson Air Force Base Cancer Center Manager/Chief Radiation Therapist.
Gary Coffman completed the Electrical Trades program and graduated from Waynesville High School in 1979. His electrical instructors were Bob Alison and Jerry Snider, who both had a great influence on him. In 1988, Gary was inducted into the WCCC Hall of Fame as the VICA (now SkillsUSA) representative. He placed second in regional VICA competition his junior year. Also in high school, he qualified for the National Honor Society at Waynesville, and won the Award of Distinction from the WCCC Electrical Trades program.
The Coffman family has a history of working in the electrical field, starting with Gary’s father, which inspired him to go to the Career Center. After he graduated, he worked for Poe Electric that summer, and was mentored by one of the electricians. Then in October 1979 he began working for Buehrle Electric, where he stayed until he opened his own company. He established his business in October 1986, and since then has been the owner of Coffman Electric. He estimates that he has employed 15 to 16 WCCC graduates over the years. His son Ryan graduated in 2005 from the WCCC Electricity program and works for him. His brother Aaron Craig graduated in 1981 from the Electricity program and also works for him. His brother Eric also graduated from the Electricity program in 1986.
Nominator Rick Centers, Electricity Instructor at WCCC, said that Coffman Electric is a good business partner for his program. “Gary and his family display great work ethics on the job and off the site,” he said in his letter of nomination. “It was a pleasure having Ryan in class along with other students that worked with Gary over the years. This brings me to the point of the nomination for Gary to be inducted as a Distinguished Alumni into the Hall of Fame for WCCC. It is well deserved over the past years of his service to the WCCC Class of Electrical Trades.”
“To me, this school means that students gain an opportunity to try out the construction trades, and it opens up the real world to them,” he said. “In my class, some of the kids were maybe headed down the wrong road, and it was portrayed as the ‘easy way out’ to go to the career center, but it helped them stay out of trouble and gave them an advantage. The hands-on experience helps keep the students interested and engaged in school. The students being trained today are so blessed with the new technology and it seems like there is more support these days from business and industry. This is a great school.”
Gary lives in Waynesville with his wife Kim. He has two sons, Ryan and Zach, and three grandchildren and one on the way. Gary serves as president on the Miami Cemetery Board of Directors, and is active in his church with youth, jail ministry and hospital ministry.
John Reynolds completed the Auto Body program in 1979. His instructor was Mike Lampl. He has been married to his wife Carol for thirty four years. They have two daughters, Stephanie and Samantha, and two grandsons, Daniel and David. Chief Reynolds started his career in auto body work but then worked in a foundry in Woodlawn. While working there he also began working for the South Lebanon Police Department in 1983. He attended the Police Academy at WCCC and graduated in 1984. He became a Special Deputy in the Warren County Sheriff's Office in 1985. He was hired full time in 1987 where he continued to work until 1997. In 1998 he joined the Hamilton Township Police Department as Road Sergeant and Sergeant of Detectives, and was with them until 2004. In 2005 he joined the Village of Maineville Police Department and was promoted to the Chief's position in 2006.
He was nominated by Bobbie Grice. The letter of endorsement from the assistant police chief and the clerk of courts said: “Since becoming Chief he has assisted in moving the police department to the next level. He has been an advocate for keeping the department on the cutting edge of the newest technology. He's continuously looking at new and improved ways to meet the community's needs as the area grows and develops. Chief Reynolds is a compassionate and caring individual who would be an excellent role model for current and future students.”
Chief Reynolds is an active member of the Warren County Police Chiefs Association, a member of the Ohio Police Chiefs Association and serves on the Crisis Intervention Team board as a law enforcement representative. Chief Reynolds is an advocate for continuing education and training in the law enforcement community such as sending his officers and completing crisis intervention training himself. This training assists first responders when they arrive at a scene addressing a mental health consumer in crisis. His daughter, Stephanie Reynolds, graduated from WCCC in business and works at LCNB.
“Mr. Lampl was a great instructor,” he said about his experience at WCCC. “He taught more than just auto body; he taught us how to present ourselves for a job; wear a suit and tie even if it’s for an entry-level position. He kept on me, taught me to look at people in the eye, and mentored me to present myself in a professional manner. Then, when I went back to the school a few years later to Police Academy, it was a great experience to see how the school had grown over the years.”
Karen Pettit Lewis completed the Diversified Health Occupations program in 1984. Her instructors were Linda Versic and Debra Schmid. She earned her associate degree of applied science in radiologic technology at Sinclair Community College and earned a radiation therapy certificate at the University of Cincinnati. She began her career in cancer care in 1987 as a radiologic technologist at the Dayton VA Medical Center. In 1991 she continued her career at Kettering Medical Center as a radiation therapist. She continued working in radiation therapy in 1999 at the Wright Patterson Medical Center where she still works today as Cancer Care Clinic Manager and Chief Radiation Therapist. She is a board member on the American Cancer Society and a member of the Waynesville Lions Club. She has been married to Mike Lewis for 23 years and they have two grown children; Nicole and Shaun.
Nominator Dr. Borislav Hristov, Chief, Radiation Oncology at Wright Patterson Medical Center said in his letter of nomination, “Over the last 15 years, Mrs. Lewis has shown dedication and commitment to our military patient population here at Wright Patterson Medical Center. For example, last year she led a $3.5 million renovation and modernization project of our clinic. Her hard work, attention to detail, as well as ability to multitask were truly indispensable to the timely completion of this complex endeavor. In terms of patient care, she is not afraid to take the initiative and tackle complex issues. She always keeps the patient’s interest in mind and constantly tries to come up with ideas on how to minimize patient anxiety, increase their comfort level, and ensure that the radiation we deliver is administered effectively and safely.”
Because of this commitment and her can-do attitude she was promoted a few years ago to her current position as the Cancer Center administrator, in addition to her other leadership duties as chief therapist and main point of contact for all of the radiation oncology contractors. Mrs. Lewis finds the time to volunteer in the community and to actively promote cancer awareness. For example, she serves on the board of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, has organized teams for cancer awareness walks, and has always stepped up to lead the Cancer Center’s involvement at the medical center’s annual Retiree Appreciation Fair.
“WCCC was the first of many stepping stones in my life which helped lead the way to my medical profession,” she said. “During my time at WCCC, I was encouraged to choose a career path and go for it. I was given the opportunity for hands-on patient care, which has become a passion of mine.”