Wiregrass grads earn Whitehead awards | Local News

VALDOSTA — Thanks to support from Whitehead Industrial Hardware of Valdosta, Wiregrass students who are preparing to graduate have the tools needed to go to work. 

Recipients of the Whitehead Distinguished Tradesman Award received a plaque and a $250 credit to purchase tools for their new jobs. 

“It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to present each of these deserving individuals with the Whitehead Distinguished Tradesman Award,” said Jonathan Miller, Whitehead Industrial Hardware principal. “All of us here at Whitehead salute the modern tradesman and believe in the importance of recognizing the hard work and success of these students. Skilled labor is a critical component in the attraction of new industry to our region. As a community, we must advocate and support the careers of these commendable graduates.”

Wiregrass graduates recognized are:

– Michael James, Industrial Systems Technology, Coffee Campus (nominated by Industrial Systems Technology Instructor Phillip Taylor)

– Tanner Maine, Welding, Valdosta Campus (nominated by Welding Instructor Wally Rewis)

– Amber Rose, Automotive Technology, Valdosta Campus (nominated by Automotive Repair Technology Instructor Toby Heard)

– Parker Metcalf, Mechatronics, Valdosta Campus (nominated by Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs/ Mechatronics Instructor Josh Whittington)

– Courtney Jenkins, Air Conditioning Technology, Valdosta Campus (nominated by Air Conditioning Technology Program Coordinator Scott Watson)

– Jake McSpadden, Industrial Systems Technology, Valdosta Campus (nominated by Electrical/Industrial Systems Program Coordinator, Drew Vickers)

The award recipients have access to trained employees at Whitehead who are very familiar with their industry and the tools needed for the company they are employed with. 

“I plan to use the store credit to be able to purchase universal tools for automotive that I don’t have starting out in the business,” said Amber Rose, an automotive technology graduate. 

Rose is considered a non-traditional student, meaning she is in career field that is predominately male, Wiregrass officials said in a statement. 

“Her friendly personality and confidence in her skill set prompted her to walk up to a complete stranger one night after dinner in Thomasville to let him know his car was leaking oil and offered to assist,” college officials said. “The stranger turned out to be actor Mel Gibson who was in town shooting a movie.”

“Wiregrass students and graduates have been benefiting from our partnership with Whitehead for three years now. Their support of our graduates by equipping them for their careers will in turn impact the economy of our local communities,” said DeAnnia Clements, Wiregrass interim president.

To date, the Whitehead and the Miller Family have given out more than $5,000 in monetary awards since the inception of the program.

People interested in learning how to enroll in one of Wiregrass’ technical and industrial programs can visit wiregrass.edu. The college is accepting new students for the fall semester; classes start Aug. 19. To find out how a business or industry can partner with Wiregrass, contact Crissy Staley, Wiregrass executive director of fundraising, by calling (229) 333-2124, or by emailing [email protected].

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