NEWARK, Ohio, February 15, 2016 – Terry Bertiaux was your typical high school student. His grades were average. He loved playing basketball and hanging out with his friends. Bertiaux hoped to play basketball in college. But, that didn't happen. So, when he graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1982, Bertiaux wasn't sure what was next.
"My sister went to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and she said it was a great school. So, I came down and visited," says Bertiaux. "I became interested in the Industrial Engineering Technology program."
While in school at COTC, Bertiaux participated in a cooperative work experience program on campus. It was an experience that Bertiaux says changed the direction of his life.
"There was a cooperative work experience program with Newark Airforce Base (NAB). I started my government career through that experience with COTC and NAB. I credit this college a lot with that start," says Bertiaux. "I was a production scheduler. We worked with the Department of Defense to schedule the repair of guidance systems and made sure that the technicians had parts."
Bertiaux graduated with his Industrial Engineering Technology degree in 1984. He continued working at NAB for seven years. Bertiaux then took a position in Louisville, Ky., working for the U.S. Navy. While in Kentucky, Bertiaux completed his bachelor's and master's degrees at Sullivan University. The bachelor's degree is in business administration, and the master's degree is in dispute resolution.
"After I finished my degrees, I came back to Ohio and worked for the Defense Logistics Agency in Whitehall," says Bertiaux. "I worked there as a contract specialist. At the same time, I had the collateral duty of mediating employment law cases."
While working for the Defense Logistics Agency, Bertiaux had an experience that he will never forget.
"I had the opportunity to go to Iraq to help the Air Force and the Army with turning in equipment when they were getting ready to leave the country," says Bertiaux. "I feel it was an important time in my life because I was able to help the military."
Bertiaux now works for the Defense Finance Accounting Service in Columbus where he is a mediator. Bertiaux and his team travel around the country mediating cases for the entire agency. He works on discrimination cases and conflict management.
"In 1982, I did not see myself where I am now. COTC helped keep me on track, and it helped me realize my potential, especially through the cooperative work experience program," says Bertiaux. "It's hard to say what would have happened without the opportunity that COTC gave me. I'm really appreciative."
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.