A trip to Newark in 1981 with the El Salvador National Baseball Team was 19-year-old Julio Valladares’ first experience in the place he would later call home.
While his native country was in the midst of a civil war, Valladares felt a sense of peace and welcome in the home of his host family, who gladly opened their doors to him six months later when he decided to move to the United States.
Little did Vickie Sant know, when she began working for Mount Vernon’s First-Knox National Bank in 1976, that in January 2019 she would retire as the bank’s first female president. In fact, her experience at First-Knox was her first exposure to accounting — the field in which she would later earn her degree from COTC.
Asif Khan’s list of achievements in academia is second to none. With three degrees to his name — a bachelor’s in information technology from AL-Khair University, Pakistan; an associate degree in electrical engineering technology from COTC; and a master’s in engineering and technology from Ohio University — and eight years of teaching at COTC, Khan has reason to be proud.
Mara Weber began a traditional four-year degree at The Ohio State University at Newark but realized it wasn’t the right path for her. She wanted to get a degree quicker allowing her to get into the healthcare setting and begin making a difference. Being at Ohio State Newark, the co-located campus of Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), gave her an advantage.
Archana Rajendran of Westerville believes she wouldn’t be where she is today without the hands-on training and personal attention she received from the professors at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). Rajendran participated in a recent photo shoot celebrating the fact that her alma mater was ranked number one in Ohio and number 19 in the nation by PayScale in its 2016-17 College Salary Report ranking the best community and career colleges by salary potential. “I had an echocardiogram done to me once, and it looked interesting.
The president and chief executive officer at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce knows the value of a Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) education from both sides of the table. Jennifer McDonald is a COTC graduate. She received a business management technology degree in 1990. Now, as president of the chamber, McDonald is in charge of trying to attract new business and industry to Licking County, and she knows that COTC is a huge part of that. “Workforce is the number one question posed by a company looking to locate into our area,” said McDonald.
When Chase Ghiloni graduated from Newark High School in 2001, he didn’t think college was all that important. These days he has a different opinion. Ghiloni is now the vice president of marketing at First Federal Savings in Newark, Ohio, and credits his success to his digital media design degree from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). “I was never really the college type. I never really applied myself in high school. I just wanted to get it over with and move on,” said Ghiloni. “But, after being out of high school for a few years, I wanted more.
Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp is now serving his fourth term in office, and he believes a great deal of his success can be credited to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). “Growing up I thought about a career in law enforcement a lot, but I didn’t start out there immediately. It just kind of evolved,” said Thorp. “When I started in Licking County as a deputy at the sheriff’s office a long time ago, I never dreamed I would be the sheriff. However, it’s all worked out, and COTC was a big part of that.”
Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) alumnus Tim Blunn’s journey to his career as a computed tomography (CT) technologist began with an accident. Blunn was still living in England when he suffered a soccer injury that significantly dislocated his knee. The x-rays proved to be “shockingly interesting,” and he was hooked on radiology. Soon after he immigrated to the United States, specifically Columbus, Ohio, Blunn was working in a hospital when a coworker suggested he look into COTC’s radiologic technology program. As Blunn would say, the rest was history.
In 1981, 18-year-old Julio Valladares traveled to Newark, Ohio, with the El Salvador National Baseball Team to compete in the international Babe Ruth World Series. Now he calls Newark home and is doing his part to give back to the town that gave him a new beginning. On July 3, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) recognized Valladares as the recipient of the John C. “Jay” Barker Community Service Alumni Award. ”It is an honor to be one of the alumni that have received this award,” said Valladares.
Before enrolling at COTC, Braden Patchett already had a long work history in the restaurant business. But for the St. Louisville resident, all those years amounted to only one thing—employment that was just a “J.O.B.” leaving him “Just Over Broke.” At least, that’s how Patchett unashamedly describes his less-than-ideal experiences in the unskilled workforce. Feeling trapped in lower-paying service jobs with no path toward advancement, Patchett was getting by, but not thriving, he admits. Moreover, he was haunted.
The day his son graduated from COTC was one of the proudest moments of Jeff Pillow’s life. It may sound cliché, but this wasn’t just another milestone to adulthood. Collin became the third member of the Pillow family to attend COTC. Mom Julie was the first; Jeff the second.
When Angela Simmons graduated with a nursing technology degree from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) in 2003, she knew she wanted to help save lives in her community. Simmons didn’t realize then that she would help open and manage a medical service facility that could be the difference between life and death for patients in Licking County. ”Air Evac Lifeteam opened a base in Licking County in 2012 after a local fire chief pointed out the lack of timely access to helicopter patient transports in the region,” said Simmons.