Three Rivers nominees recognized for excellence | Events
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A major donation, a workforce training partner and the leadership of employees and a student from Three Rivers College received statewide recognition from the Missouri Community College Association.
Receiving awards at the association’s 48th annual convention held in Kansas City in November were:
- Emerson corporation, Award of Distinction.
- Denny Koonce of Orgill, Distinguished Business/Industry Award.
- Three Rivers student Jennifer Wendler, Student Leadership Award.
- Three Rivers Director of Technology and Computer Services Steve Atwood, Technology Innovation Award.
- Three Rivers System Administrator Kathy Richardson, Senior Service Award.
In addition, Three Rivers math instructor Nicole Sifford, the 2012 chair of the MCCA Board of Directors, presided at the conference. The college also received the MCCA Membership Cup for having the largest percentage increase in membership among all 12 Missouri community colleges.
Steve Clarke, Director of Environmental Affairs and Real Estate at the St. Louis-based Emerson, accepted the MCCA Award of Distinction. The award recognized Emerson for the company’s outstanding support of Three Rivers College, especially its 2012 donation to the college of property in Kennett that formerly housed an electrical motor plant. The donation of more than 36 acres of land valued at more than $1 million is the largest gift that Three Rivers has ever received from a single donor outside of its taxing district.
Three Rivers plans to use the property to expand its educational offerings in Kennett. The Three Rivers Center at Kennett has been at capacity for the past several semesters, limiting program expansion. Three Rivers plans to build a new Center on the property that will include classrooms, labs, and training facilities to support the workforce needs of Southeast Missouri.
The Distinguished Business/Industry Award was presented to Denny Koonce, manager of the Orgill Mid-America SuperCenter distribution center in Sikeston, in recognition of his work with Three Rivers College. Koonce has worked closely with the college since the company set up its distribution plant in Sikeston. Orgill and Three Rivers partnered to secure a $600,000 project in the Missouri Community College New Jobs Training Program that has included training in areas such as customer service, and computer applications. Koonce said having Three Rivers as a training partner has allowed Orgill and its employees to embrace new technology and improve productivity and quality of service to its customers.
Three Rivers student Jennifer Wendler of Poplar Bluff received the Student Leadership Award, which honors exceptional student leaders from each of Missouri’s community colleges/campuses. Wendler is married with five children and enrolled at Three Rivers shortly after receiving her GED. Although apprehensive about her status as a non-traditional student in the beginning, Wendler leapt to the forefront as a student leader. She was chosen as a Student Ambassador, has been an active supporter of Student Support Services, presented a program on personal motivation at the Missouri Student Ambassador Leadership Conference last summer, all while maintaining a 3.840 GPA. She will graduate in December with an Associate of Arts Degree in Psychology and plans to continue her education in the Central Methodist University bachelor completion program on the Three Rivers main campus.
Steve Atwood received the Technology Innovation Award, which recognizes the creative and effective use of technology at Missouri’s community colleges. Because of the college's significant growth and a major push to upgrade its technology, Atwood’s team has given up vacation time and worked nights and weekends to make sure that the college’s technology is not only cutting edge, but also there when people need it. Atwood has led the department through significant projects, including updating networks and classroom technology at all of the college’s off-campus centers; rebuilding the college’s computer infrastructure to increase network speed, stability, and security; developing a system that improved development and delivery of on-line classes; and installed public computing centers in Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Kennett, Malden, Van Buren, and Piedmont. The department also led cost-cutting efforts that have saved the college more than $400,000.
Kathy Richardson received the MCCA Senior Service Award. Richardson’s three decades of work has been at the center of transforming Three Rivers from a manual, paper-driven operation to a computerized, paperless, self-service system for students, faculty, and staff. Richardson began at Three Rivers in 1983 as an instructor implementing a new associate of applied science degree in data processing. Beginning in 1985, Richardson led the project that would lead to the computerization of all administrative services at Three Rivers. Richardson has overseen changes such as implementation of web registration and computerized student/faculty/staff information system. She also is active on the Continuous Improvement Leadership Team, Curriculum Committee, Professional Staff, Information Technology Committee, and Center Stage.
The Missouri Community College Association is a statewide organization through which Missouri’s community colleges work together to advance common agendas.
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