BCCC Briefs: Oct. 11, 2015

Published 2:22 pm Monday, October 12, 2015

BCCC welcomes new trustees to board

The Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees affirmed two new members — Colonel Kathleen Simpson and Student Government Association President Elizabeth Cobb — during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Another member new to the board, James Gaynor, was affirmed during the board’s previous meeting on Aug. 4.



Simpson was born at Fort Bragg but calls Washington home. She graduated from Washington High School and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UNC-Greensboro, followed by a master’s in nursing administration from the University of South Carolina. She started her nursing career at Beaufort County Hospital before joining the Army Nurse Corps, where she served for 29 years.

In the Army, she served at every nursing leadership level as well as on the Department of the Army staff as the senior nurse in the Office Health Policy and Services, Office of the Surgeon General. Her last military assignment was chief, nursing administration, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Among her military awards are the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Simpson returned to Washington after retiring from the Army in 2005; she was a clinical assistant professor at the ECU College of Nursing for six years and most recently was vice president for Patient Care Services at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. She has also served on a number of local and regional boards and commissions.

She has taken advantage of some of BCCC’s Continuing Education classes, and her son took classes at the college before transferring to ECU. Simpson was appointed to the BCCC Board of Trustees by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory.

Working at the local hospital, she says, “I’ve seen the college’s products, especially in the nursing program, and they put out a fine product. … This is a worthwhile mission, and I don’t mind making a commitment to something that’s worthwhile.”



Gaynor, who was appointed to the board by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, is a native of the county and a graduate of Pantego High School. He served in the military for three years before starting his college career at what was then Beaufort County Technical Institute. He transferred to ECU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy.

“I’m an alumnus and I have a lot of love for BCCC,” he says. “It’s where I got my start and began my professional career. I was able to save a lot of money and graduated with no debt.”

After working as a therapist for several years, Gaynor decided to start his own occupational therapy business, which he did in 1989. Occupational Therapy Plus started in Greenville but now serves eight counties in eastern North Carolina as well as Vance County. The company provides rehabilitation services to school systems and works with children who have developmental disabilities. Gaynor’s own specialties are hand therapy and providing services to home health care agencies. He has served on the local Economic Development Commission Board.





Cobb, as president of BCCC’s Student Government Association for the 2015-2016 school year, serves as an ex-officio member of the college’s Board of Trustees. She lives in Bear Grass and is a lifelong resident of Martin County. At age 23, she is the mother of two small children and is enrolled in the medical office administration program. She hopes to graduate in May 2017 and plans to seek employment in a local medical office.

The BCCC Board of Trustees is the policy-making board of the college. Its role is to ensure the citizenry of the area that effective and competent leadership is provided by the college administration for the adequate operation of the college.



Growing program partners with agriculture industry

BEAUFORT COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE SHARING KNOWLEDGE: Agribusiness lead instructor Billy Askew shows the program’s sprayer to Mandie Boahn (left) of Raised in a Barn Farm and special projects coordinator Julia Crippen.

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: Agribusiness lead instructor Billy Askew shows the program’s sprayer to Mandie Boahn (left) of Raised in a Barn Farm and special projects coordinator Julia Crippen.


From Beaufort County Community College

Beaufort County Community College’s agribusiness technology program was created in 2014 in response to demand from both students and employers in the college’s four-county service area, whose economy depends heavily on agriculture.

The program was approved in part due to the $153 million annual economic impact of the agriculture industry in the four counties, along with statistics showing that hundreds of jobs are expected to become available as many in the industry near retirement. New technology means that educated employees are in demand, and recently released data indicates that wages in the industry are on the rise.

The agribusiness program was started with a $97,075 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to support its first two years. The college is looking for additional partners to help strengthen the funding for this start-up program.

Enrollment has been strong for the new program, which is now in its second year, says agribusiness technology instructor Billy Askew. He is working to partner with local agriculture-based businesses to find mutually beneficial opportunities and to provide work-based learning opportunities for students in the program.

On Sept. 22, representatives from local businesses visited BCCC to get an overview of the program and to discuss their needs as employers, as well as possible partnerships. Included in the round-table discussion were representatives from Gerard Seed Company, Raised in a Barn Farm and N.C. Farm Bureau.

“We want to take this opportunity to show you what we’ve done,” Askew told the group, “and to ask your thoughts on what we need to do going forward.”

The Associate in Applied Science degree in agribusiness technology covers a broad range of topics and is flexible enough to be tailored to individual students, Askew added. Graduates should be qualified for jobs in a variety of sectors of the industry, from horticulture and landscaping to chemical sales.

“Some students may even want to take what they’ve learned and apply it on the family farm,” he said.

For students who want to continue their education, BCCC has partnered with the University of Mount Olive to offer a four-year agribusiness degree, and is working on a similar agreement with North Carolina A&T State University.

“This is the No. 1 industry for all four counties in our service area,” Askew said, “and we are the only community college in northeastern North Carolina that offers an agribusiness program.”

For more information, contact Askew at 252-940-6304 or Billy.Askew@BeaufortCCC.edu.