Campus & Community

Statewide group steers money into student scholarships

Dean Pat Richie and student Mireya Gonzalez
Dean Pat Richie and scholarship recipient Mireya Gonzalez

The room was packed with students from PBSC’s Automotive and Diesel Service Technology programs. One student received a scholarship, but all of them left with something valuable: advice from an industry pro.

Tim Calhoun, fleet director for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, presented Palm Beach State College with a check for $2,500 Monday on behalf of the Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators. It was the second half of FLAGFA’s $5,000 scholarship gift that represents an ongoing commitment to the College. FLAGFA provides PBSC and five other state colleges with $5,000 scholarships at regular intervals, which it plans to continue for as long as possible. The organization’s goal is to promote student success as well as awareness of the excellent career paths offered in government fleet services, where there is a growing demand for technicians to repair and maintain the vehicles used by police, emergency medical services, fire departments and other government entities. As past president of FLAGFA, Calhoun presented the check on behalf its current president, Sean Williams.

The scholarship check went to Mireya Gonzalez. She graduates from the Automotive Service Technology program next month and has already accepted a position at a local auto service center.

FLAGFA Scholarship presentation
The scholarship presentation was held at the Education and Training Center on the Lake Worth campus. From left: Tim Calhoun; Dean Pat Richie; David Rutherford, PBSC vice president of advancement; and Cherie Hanna, PBSC scholarship and alumni relations manager

After the check presentation, Calhoun advised the students on how to best navigate their career journeys: Be reliable, have a positive attitude, pay attention to detail, keep learning, stay physically fit and consider a fleet career if you want a clean, safe work environment, quality of life, and good health and retirement benefits.

Two graduates of PBSC’s Diesel Technology program unfold the special banner given to PBSC (from left): Norris Rhoden, apparatus technician II for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, and Patrick Calhoun, senior vehicle technician for FedEx.

“You’ve got a lot to offer,” Calhoun told the students. “You’ve got great instructors, and you’re graduating from great programs. We are blessed in Palm Beach County to have what we have, and I see firsthand the quality that comes out. We see it, we appreciate it, and we’re involved. That’s why we give a scholarship to this school—it’s because of what we see.”

Pat Richie, dean of Business, Trades and Public Safety programs, was among the PBSC staff and administrators who thanked FLAGFA for its support and Calhoun for his presentation.

“It’s wonderful when our community partners come on campus and share their perspective and their words of wisdom and encouragement with our students,” Richie said. “Today our students learned where the opportunities are, what employers expect, and what they should focus on to be successful, as well as the rewards and benefits that can follow if they do what they need to do.”

Learn more about PBSC’s Automotive Service Technology and Diesel Service Technology programs.

PBSC and FLAGFA colleagues at the scholarship presentation (from left): Eligio Marquez Jr., PBSC director of automotive and diesel programs; Mike Wilson, fleet supervisor for the City of Greenacres; Ed Ehrke, fleet superintendent for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue; Tim Calhoun; Dean Pat Richie; scholarship recipient Mireya Gonzalez; Don Howard, manager of support services for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue; Sara Burnam, director of the Fleet Management Division for Palm Beach County, Tony Remige, fleet superintendent for the City of Boca Raton; and Augusto Giannini, assistant director of the Fleet Management Division for Palm Beach County
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