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2018 - 2019 Excellence in Leadership Nominees


Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway

Nominated by Sandi Thomas, Barstow College

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway has been a big proponent of education, particularly Career Technical Education (CTE), at Barstow Community College (BCC). Over the years they have been active in our advisory meetings and to help align our programs with the railroad industry needs. Their employee skillsets align with many of our programs including: Welding Technology, Industrial Maintenance Mechanic/Electrical and Instrumentation, Diesel Technology, and others. Two of our current faculty members in these Disciplines are current BNSF employees and at least one faculty member is a former BNSF employee. One of the most significant activities displaying our partnership between BCC and BNSF was our recent collaboration for BCC to provide welding certification for BNSF Railway employees. BCC and BNSF collaborated to remodel BCC’s former fitness center into a state-of-the-art welding lab to conduct the training. The first cohort of training in the new welding lab began on August 6, 2018. BNSF Railway employees are receiving intensive welding training in different processes by BCC American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI) to receive welding certifications.

City of Moreno Valley

Nominated by Melody Graveen, Moreno Valley College

The City of Moreno Valley provides exceptional support for the Moreno Valley College (MVC) CTE programs. MVC partnered with the City of Moreno Valley in a real-world test of the efficacy of universal basic income for students through Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Champion City competition. This resulted in CTE students being incentivized and supported to pursue education and technical training, overcome the “earn vs. learn” dilemma, and advance their skills while still providing for their families. The City includes MVC as an equal partner in its economic development team that serves to attract and support business enterprise to the region. This unique partnership also includes shared space at the Moreno Valley Employment Resource Center and regular visits by the MVC iMAKE Mobile Innovation Center to create a unique Business Incubation resource and model. The City participates in all MVC Advisory committees and supports the college in its mission to serve students.

Nikki Cook CTE Employment Placement Coordinators, Moreno Valley College

Nominated by Rosalinda Rivas, Chaffey College

Nikki Cook has 2 years of highly dedicated service to students, colleges, business and the regional job developers in creating partnerships to meet the goals for CTE programs and job placement. In this short period, Nikki has skyrocketed off to high levels of creating effective and high performing partnerships that is promoting CTE programs with not only Moreno Valley Community College but also the community and the Inland Empire regionally. In addition, these partnerships is also increasing job placement regionally.

Nikki’s dedication and passion to constantly promote and create partnerships for the CTE programs, internship opportunities by facilitating CTE Presentations to the community, High Schools and local Businesses. She also goes and creates partnerships to attend and facilitate CTE information to HS Career Fairs throughout the IE San Bernardino School Districts by showcasing the CTE programs. In addition, she establish employer partnerships for companies to be part of the campus Advisory Committees, work base learning, internship opportunities, career fairs, employer engagement for classroom presentations. She collaborates with the SW Regional Job Developers to share job leads and be actively involved to help promote job placement. On her campus, she serves as a CTE advisory member to identify the goals and create partnerships with business to meet those goals; this includes career technical education on the labor market needs for both students and business. She expands her partnerships with the City of Moreno Valley conducting monthly visitations to develop new relationships. Nikki also engages as a partner in the Quarterly Business Roundtables throughout Moreno Valley to discuss business, CTE Educational Opportunities and has successfully created partnerships that are in alignment with the training opportunities and the labor market needs. Nikki is a CPA Board Member and volunteers as the CPA State Conference Committee Member that created partnerships with Industry subject matter experts to be speakers for the CA Placement Association State Conference. Her extended partnership extends to coordinating the iMAKE Global Innovation Center (MakerSpace) that was shared with the Inland Empire Educators and Community. She also collaborated up with the CA Mayor's Cyber Cup cyber security competition for the IE Regional Marketing Specialist for the IE Region. Nikki received a Certificate of Recognition for CA Mayor's Cyber Cup Security Marketing Specialist from the CA State Assembly Member, Jose Medina. It is for all these monumental outstanding partnerships that I nominate Nikki Cook for the Partnership Award.

Exquadrum/Eric Schmidt President

Nominated by Lisa Kiplinger Kennedy, Victor Valley College

Exquadrum is involved in various community education opportunities which help communicate Eric Schmidt’s passion for engineering and science. Exquadrum recently participated in a high school intern/mentor program whereby juniors and seniors experience what “real world” engineers do to help them with career choices. Working with the PBS show “Curiosity Quest” and the IEDRC DSN, Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, to host a television program called “Problem Solvers”. Eric facilitated, through Exquadrum, a 3D printing competition to help students understand new manufacturing technologies in the aerospace industry. Exquadrum has participated in bringing advanced manufacturing programs to both Apple Valley and Hesperia High Schools. At AVHS, Exquadrum worked to solidify and evolve the Precision Machining Academy. Exquadrum provided engineers and machinists to work closely with the program teachers and the school principal to “fill in” what was missing from the curriculum to help students be more relevant as they entered the workforce.

At Hesperia High School, Exquadrum made critical recommendations which were the basis for integrating the art program into what would become the Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing Academy (DEMA). Exquadrum also assisted with decisions on the machine tools and supplies which have become the backbone of the manufacturing portion of the program. Exquadrum has supported HHS’s FIRST Robotics team by providing on-site engineer and machinist support, financial support for raw materials and robotics supplies, and mentorship to the student team in the design and engineering processes.

As a strong proponent of education in his community, Eric served on the executive board of the Desert-Mountain Region of the San Bernardino County Alliance for Education and was a Director, Vice-President, and President for six years on the Victor Valley College Foundation, positions where he leveraged his love for science and engineering in bettering his community. Currently he is active in the Mountain Desert Careers Pathways JPA where he is an industry expert and advisor in the Aviation and Aerospace pathways program. For his technical and business accomplishments in the field of engineering, and for his efforts in supporting secondary and collegiate education in the STEM fields, Eric was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at Cal Poly Pomona and is the youngest recipient to hold that honor.

Bryan Lee Energize Colleges Program Manager

Nominated by Jon Caffery, College of the Desert

Bryan Lee earned his Master’s Degree at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where he majored in International Development.   During his time studying and traveling overseas, Bryan developed a keen interest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the environment.  Upon his return to California, Bryan applied for and received a one-year fellowship with Strategic Energy Innovations.  College of the Desert was the lucky Energize Colleges grantee who was selected to host Bryan.  Due to his dedication, hard work, and accomplishments, this one year fellowship turned into a three year partnership with College of the Desert and the IE/Desert region. Since Fall of 2016, Bryan has placed over 50 students in internships aligned with the BESP program in Air Conditioning, Architecture, and Energy related positions. Many have gone on to be hired by the companies that hosted them, or started their own business. As the Energize Colleges Fellow, Bryan has worked to support faculty helping to design curriculum used in the HVAC and solar programs. Due to his work with internships, Bryan has expanded the BESP industry advisory group with new partners throughout the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire. In addition, Bryan was hired to assist with the data collection required for the TAACCCT grant, including student orientation data and follow up with completed students in the program to assess their employment and career progress. Bryan has improved the student outcomes in our program and has touched the lives of everyone he has worked with since beginning his fellowship.

Kim McNulty Vice President, One Future Coachella Valley

Nominated by Marie Perotti, Coachella Valley USD

Kim McNulty is the epitome of leadership. Kim understands the importance of connection and how to bring people together for a shared common vision. Kim works tirelessly to support all aspects of our regional plan including structure and organization of the following committees: Industry Councils and Advisories, Data, Business Engagement, Opportunity Youth, College Completion, Regional Plan, and many others. Her leadership of this work fosters a collaborative partnership between all organizations and has impacted higher graduation rates, higher post-secondary enrollment and persistency rates, increased work-based learning opportunities, increased the number of scholarships, and overall, opportunities in our valley. In closing, Kim brings her A-game and value to everything she touches. I can't think of another individual as deserving as Kim to receive this recognition.

Stephanie Murillo Supervisor/WIOA Regional Organizer, County of San Bernardino - Workforce Development Department

Nominated by Alan Braggins, Chaffey College

Stephanie, along with her counterpart in adjoining Riverside County (T. Kim Pham “T”) lead the Slingshot initiative for our region that both seeks and supports work-based learning opportunities, internships and apprenticeships. Bringing the two-county support to our efforts promotes sustainability and helps align career technical education programs with labor market need. Stephanie and “T” (the ""Tphanie"" as they call themselves,) together head up the Inland Empire Regional Planning Unit, an organization of stakeholders dedicated to insuring clear pathways from cradle to career and beyond. Stephanie is an excellent collaborator with career technical education providers, from K-12, to Community Colleges, to Colleges and Universities in our region, to help us develop programs and curricula with the skills that industry demands. Her facilitation efforts foster the development of quality career technical education programs. She is always mindful of which stakeholders need to be included and which are missing, seeking to be inclusive without wasting resources.

T. Kim Pham IERPU Regional Organizer, Riverside County Economic Development Agency/Workforce Development

Nominated by Alan Braggins, Chaffey College

"T” Kim Pham, along with her counterpart in adjoining San Bernardino County (Stephanie Murillo) head up the Inland Empire Regional Planning Unit, an organization of stakeholders dedicated to insuring clear pathways from cradle to career and beyond. "T" is an excellent collaborator with career technical education providers, from K-12, to Community Colleges, to Colleges and Universities in our region, to help us develop programs and curricula with the skills that industry demands. Her efforts to include proper stakeholders help foster the development of quality career technical education programs. “T” and Stephanie (the ""Tphanie"" as they call themselves,) lead the Slingshot initiative for our region that both seeks and supports work-based learning opportunities, internships and apprenticeships. Bringing the two-county support to our efforts promotes sustainability and helps align career technical education programs with labor market need. "T" can be counted on to make sure Riverside County has the correct staff and stakeholders involved to promote successful collaborative efforts.

Roger Schultz Superintendent/President, Mt. Jacinto College

Nominated by Nereyda Gonzalez, Hemet Unified School District

President Roger Schultz forged a partnership between Mt. San Jacinto College, Hemet Unified School District, and local business leaders to provide high school students with internships in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley. He led the creation of the Valley Intern Workgroup. In January of 2018, he brought together staff from MSJC and Hemet Unified School District with business leaders from the Healthy Valley Foundation. The group launched an ambitious pilot program. The pilot program created a path for Career Technical Students in the local high schools to gain internship experience in the Hemet/San Jacinto community by tying college level Guidance Course and MSJC Cooperative Work Education Experience (CWEE) program. Dr. Schultz championed the group as the pilot began in the Fall of 2018 with an MSJC concurrent enrollment course, Guidance 110 course. This course was offered at three high schools in Hemet USD. The course recruited juniors and seniors that were enrolled in a Career Technical Education pathway. The students earned college credit and gain various soft skills that were aligned to the needs of local businesses.

In January 2019, was the second part of the pilot. Students that successfully completed the Guidance 110 course would be placed in an internship in local businesses. We are pleased to announce that 45 students completed the course and are currently interning in the area. An example of an internship is a graphic design student interning at a Hemet trophy shop. The student was offered a job in the second week of the internship. Thank you to the strong vision and leadership of Dr. Schultz and his staff at MSJC, we have been able to bring amazing opportunities to our students in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley.