Big league hopeful slides into home at PDCCC

Seth-Konkel-PitchingSeth Konkel winds up for a pitch during the recent Play in Pink benefit game to raise money for breast cancer research. – Photo by Stacy Pauley
Seth Konkel may reside in a rustic area of Virginia, but he has his sights set on the big league. The 18-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Paul D. Camp Community College Hurricanes has a plan to carry him until that day arrives.
“I want to pursue a career in becoming a sports physical therapist,” he said. “I also want to work hard at baseball and try to get drafted into the MLB.”
Konkel had opportunities to attend other four-year colleges for baseball and academics, but landed in Franklin—not a far cry from the rural environment of his Exmore home on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
“[Other colleges’] tuition costs were very high, and most were not Christian colleges,” he said. “I was looking for a college that would fit my criteria, and PDCCC was perfect.” Konkel cited that affordability, recruitment for the new baseball team, and the proximity to The Rock Church of Franklin—where he is an active member—all played a part in his assessment.
“I have always heard that the first two years of college at a four-year school are usually made up of general studies classes, so to me, attending a community college is a wise decision financially,” he said.
Konkel is also the recipient of the 2017-18 Herbert W. DeGroft Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship (CLS) at PDCCC, an honor awarded to a graduating high school senior through the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. He is in his first semester of General Studies classes that will eventually lead to his bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences.
“By receiving this scholarship, my parents will not have to save money to help pay for my classes, books and supplies,” he said. “I have two brothers and two sisters. Coming from a big family, any help I receive is a huge blessing.”
Konkel has been enamored by baseball since he began playing at 8 years old. But it was an injury to his pitching arm, which benched him for four months that led him to embrace the epiphany of using the experience to assist others.
“I began physical therapy at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in the beginning of fall 2016,” he recalled. “Having gone through the therapy program, I became interested in being able to help athletes like myself become healthy and come back better than ever.”
Graduating from Mighty Warriors Homeschool with a 3.7 grade point average, Konkel is an Eagle Scout who has been active in the community for nearly six years through the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he played guitar for about the same length of time for the worship team at The Rock Church of The Eastern Shore.
A CLS is selected every year from each of the 23 institutions in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). As a Commonwealth Legacy scholar, Konkel will mentor future scholarship recipients and participate in statewide events, such as the Student Leadership Conference, scheduled for November 10-12. Scholars will also be featured on the VCCS website and in other VCCS publications.
This year, the scholarship will provide $3,500 for a full year of tuition, books and fees— all possible due to the generosity of Wells Fargo and additional funding available from VCCS.
While Konkel has already been accepted to Lee University, he is also interested in completing his application for Liberty University. He intends to play baseball wherever he enrolls. Current and past coaches have confirmed the 6-foot-3, 200-pound pitcher’s potential to play the sport professionally, but Konkel knows that there are greater factors at work that will determine his outcome.
“I am letting God lead my life, and whichever direction He leads me is where I will go,” he said.


PDCCC awarded workforce education award during Opportunity Inc. annual meeting

Opp Inc presentationDr. Edna Baehre-Kolovani, from left, presents the award to Dr. Dan Lufkin, Dr. Renee Felts and Angela Lawhorne.
Paul D. Camp Community College was among the honorees at the Opportunity Inc. annual meeting and Workforce Innovation Awards event held recently in Chesapeake.
The education honor, presented by President of Tidewater Community College Dr. Edna Baehre-Kolovani, was awarded to Paul D. Camp for its “lasting impact in its industry, through efforts to strengthen Hampton Roads’ workforce,” according to Opportunity Inc.
PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin, Vice President for Workforce Development Dr. Renee Felts and Director of Workforce Development Angela Lawhorne attended the event. This award is just one confirmation that the community college is making progress under new leadership. Lufkin was just officially inaugurated Oct. 6, but has implemented change since coming on board in June 2016.
“I have shared my vision of making PDCCC the region’s first choice for postsecondary education, and occupational/technical training,” said Lufkin. “One aspect of this is creating needed programs that put our students to work, in addition to providing our business/industry partners with skilled workers. We are proud of our collaborations with community and business stakeholders and will continue to enhance these relationships.”
The creation of a partnership with Shipper’s Choice in Suffolk has allowed the college to offer truck driver training, preparing students to test for a Commercial Driver’s License. Another example of Lufkin’s response to workforce needs is the establishment of a new industrial maintenance electrical and instrumentation lab, also taught at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus.
Programs have also been expanded and created for the college’s Franklin campus and the center in Smithfield. “Feedback from advisory committee members assist us in our training,” said Felts. “Our workforce center also has individuals serving on Career and Technical Education committees at all three local school divisions.”
In addition, the college works alongside local economic development teams to monitor current and future business needs. “We are committed to creating portable, stackable credentials for
in-demand jobs by offering relevant curriculum and programs,” said Lawhorne.
Awards for Community, Business and Regional Innovator were also presented. Gov. Terry McAuliffe received the Workforce Champion of the Year Award, and served as keynote speaker at the event.
“For a small college, it is an honor to know that we are making a difference in our community and changing lives,” said Lawhorne.


Deadline to register for first weekend CDL class is November 15

Although a brand new truck driver training program on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus is under way, Paul D. Camp Community College’s Division of Workforce Development is already offering its first weekend training session of the program.
“Our part-time weekend program will allow flexibility for those who work full-time or during the weekdays,” said Director of PDCCC Workforce Development Angela Lawhorne. “Jobs in this field are in high demand and we want to make sure our programs are based around community and business needs.”
The weekend session will be held on Saturdays and Sundays, November 18, 2017 through January 21, 2018, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in room 117 on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus, 271 Kenyon Road. The program will prepare students for the Commercial Driver’s License test and is a 160-hour program. Half of the hours will be spent in the classroom and half of the hours will be spent in hands-on training.
Prospective students must present proof of being at least 18 years old, possess a valid Virginia driver’s license, and provide a copy of their driving record. A CDL Learner’s permit and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) physical exam will also be provided at the beginning of the program and is include in the $4,500 tuition.
“Financial assistance is available,” said Lawhorne. “In addition, other scholarships and financial aid can further reduce the cost.”
The program is being offered in partnership with Shipper’s Choice and offers free lifetime job placement assistance to graduates and lifetime refresher training. For more details, visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development, email workforce@pdc.edu or call 757-569-6050.


Dr. Dan Lufkin inaugurated as eighth PDCCC president

Daniel Lufkin Inauguration

By Stephen Faleski
The Tidewater News
Dr. Dan Lufkin was officially inaugurated as Paul D. Camp Community College’s eighth president during an installation ceremony Friday in the Regional Workforce Development Center at the college’s Franklin campus.
The ceremony featured delegations from colleges and universities throughout Virginia. June Fleming, chair of Paul D. Camp’s local college board, delivered opening remarks, during which she spoke of Lufkin’s career accomplishments and the rigorous selection process the college used to select its new president.
“We’ve come to know this person, his sly, infectious smile, his inquiring mind, his love of sports and his reflective nature that is absolutely contagious,” Fleming said.
Her remarks were followed by those of Dr. Renee Felts, vice president of institutional advancement and workforce development at PDCCC, who introduced the collegiate delegations and other special guests, which included Paul D. Camp’s president emeritus, Dr. Doug Boyce and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-3rd) among others.
Next, two current Paul D. Camp students, Justin Perry and Javon Saunders, spoke on Lufkin’s involvement with the college’s male mentorship program “Men with a Purpose.”
“He has become a big advocate for the program and even provided a lunch for us on occasion,” Perry said. “I was told on a couple occasions he even rearranged his schedule to fit [us] in.”
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Dr. Lufkin, not just because he’s our president but because he reaches out to the students,” Saunders said.
Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, then formally presented Lufkin with the Paul D. Camp Community College medallion and gavel, two traditional symbols of collegiate leadership.
“Dan is forever a coach,” DuBois said, highlighting Lufkin’s love of sports. “He understands who needs a gentle pat on the back and who needs a kick in the pants.
“Dan is an optimist by nature. No matter when you run into him, he always has the same answer. He’ll say, ‘Today is the best day of my life.’”
The proceedings concluded with Lufkin’s inaugural address, during which he spoke on the new electrical and instrumentation program at the college’s Suffolk campus, its new CNA program at Smithfield and its fast-track welding and global logistics programs in Franklin.
“With vessels entering the ports of Virginia in record numbers, we feel we are well poised to educate a highly skilled workforce that will respond to these growing needs and contribute to a new Virginia economy,” Lufkin said.
He also invited his wife, Catey, and children Lily, 9, and Layton, 6, up on stage, thanked them for their support and presented them with flowers. Tara Atkins-Brady, vice president of academic and student development at PDCCC, delivered closing remarks.
Lufkin began his position as president of PDCCC on June 28, 2016, having previously served as vice president for student affairs at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton. Throughout his career, he has taught students from pre-kindergarten to master-level classes. During his time at PDCCC, the college has seen an increase in completion rates, including dual-enrollment graduates, and the creation of the college’s very first baseball team, the Hurricanes.
He is originally from the rural foothills of the Adirondack Mountains area of upstate New York.


First cohort of students honored for core completion

Graduation GroupGathering for the recognition in the lab, from left were: instructors Lee Inman and Patick Kneisley, Amos Smith, Kyle Ellis, Thomas Joines Jr., Michael Serle, Sharmane Jacobs, PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin, Workforce Career Coach Lisha Wolfe, Michelle Bergin, Chris Wallace, Willard Ward, Electronics/Robotics Lead Faculty David Lorenz, instructor Bill Wentz, Director of Workforce Development Angela Lawhorne and Vice President for Workforce Development Dr. Renee Felts.
~PDCCC electrical and instrumentation program under way~
The very first class of students enrolled in Paul D. Camp Community College’s National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Industrial Maintenance Electrical & Instrumentation curriculum were recognized this week for completing the first leg of the program.
“The NCCER core skills and knowledge is a 40-hour training program that covers topics such as safety, construction math, hand and power tools, construction drawings, materials handling, communication and employability skills,” said Director of Workforce Development Angela Lawhorne. “After completing this section, the students will move on to a 165-hour course for NCCER IM E&I Level Four certification that will conclude in February 2018.”
Certificates were awarded by PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin at a brief gathering prior to class on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus. “You are pioneers in this program,” he said to the students. “We encourage feedback from your experience so that we can assess the program and make improvements as needed.”
Receiving certificates, as well as NCCER and OSHA certifications, were Michelle Bergin of Franklin, Kyle Ellis of Suffolk, Shamane Jacobs of Suffolk, Thomas Joines Jr. of Gates, NC, Michael Serle of Virginia Beach, Amos Smith of Norfolk, Chris Wallace of Courtland and Willard Ward of Portsmouth.
“IM E&I technicians are needed in every industry that uses machinery,” said Vice President for Workforce Development Dr. Renee Felts. “We are meeting job needs that are in high demand in this field.”
Prospective students must meet some requirements to be registered in the program. Financial assistance is available. For more information, email workforce@pdc.edu, call 757-569-6050 or visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development.


Opportunity Inc. celebrates collaboration with its innovation awards

By Sandra J. Pennecke
Inside Business

Shawn AveryShawn Avery, president and CEO of Opportunity Inc., shared details about the organization’s past year at its annual meeting and Workforce Innovation Awards ceremony September 20.
Shawn Avery summed up the past year for Opportunity Inc. as time spent building meaningful partnerships to strengthen the regional workforce.
“Sometimes we play the quarterback, sometimes the coach and sometimes the water boy,” said Avery, president and CEO of the organization. “We all know it takes a team to be successful.”
He said collaboration has been the main point of its efforts to ensure strategic workforce development solutions for the region.
Opportunity Inc., which was established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, oversees federally funded workforce development programs geared toward helping businesses acquire qualified workers and jobseekers find job openings and increase their earning potential through training.
It is responsible for workforce development in Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
At its annual meeting and Workforce Innovation Awards on September 20, leaders touched on what it has accomplished and what is on the horizon while honoring several of the established partnerships that are helping with its mission.
“This is our way of saying thank you to our many partners,” Delceno Miles, Workforce Development board chair said. “Thank you for your generosity and more importantly for your belief in what we’re doing.”
Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was awarded the Hampton Roads Workforce Champion of the Year, commented on how Virginia is a different state than it was when he took office.
Four years ago, it was reeling from the loss of 240,000 jobs due to sequestration, but since then 216,000 new jobs have been created and more than $16 billion in capital investment has been brought to communities throughout the state, he said.
“We’ve made great progress. The challenge is that we don’t want jobs anymore; we need to fill the jobs,” McAuliffe said, stressing it all comes down to workforce development.
Last year alone, the organization’s One-Stop Workforce Centers provided services to more than 12,000 individuals. It enrolled 604 customers in training services and 641 were placed in career services. It placed 495 customers in jobs paying an average of $31,325. More than 400 credentials were obtained for participants.
The organization continues to grow with two new One-Stop Centers, the Veterans Transition Center and a GED Prep Center set to open this fall as well as the expansion of its Youth Career Center.
“We continue to service our No. 1 customer in the region which is our employers,” said Avery, noting it was the fifth consecutive year Opportunity Inc. exceeded all of it performance measures.
The announcement of four grants — $200,000 from Bank of America for the Veterans Transition Center, $170,000 from Altierus Career College for the GED Prep Center, $15,000 from SunTrust Bank for financial education programs and $50,000 from the state to support the Youth Career Center – was met with resounding applause.
Kevin Will, president of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Virginia, bestowed the community-based organization award to Tom Crockett, executive director of Together We Can.
“They share our passion for giving our youth every opportunity in Hampton Roads,” Will said of the not-for-profit organization that works to improve the lives of at-risk youth.
Tidewater Community College President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani presented the second award in the education category to Dan Lufkin, president of Paul D. Camp Community College.
“We know they will leave here job ready and be a competent employee ready to meet the needs of the workforce,” Lufkin said.
The business award was given to SunTrust Bank.
“It’s an honor to receive this award when there are so many other organizations, financial institutions … doing great work. We want to make sure our region is prepared for the future,” said Mark Johnson, vice president and community development manager at SunTrust.
The Hampton Roads Chamber was the recipient of the final award for being a regional innovator.
“I learned the importance of collaboration in my military career and it’s the philosophy I brought to this job,” said Bryan Stephens, chamber president and CEO. “Nothing in Hampton Roads gets done unless it’s a collaboration. We bring groups together for the experiential power it has to get things accomplished.”


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