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OTC Is Recipient of USDA Grant to Benefit Forestry Students

Shandolyn Smith, area specialist for rural development with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), visited the Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) Waycross campus recently to see the latest addition to the OTC fleet, a 2013 Diamond Coach mass transit vehicle. The 24-seat bus was purchased using USDA grant funds totaling $42,000 and other funding sources (state bonds) totaling a little over $14,000.

Smith was greeted by OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert and various other OTC officials, including Pamela Farr, vice president for administrative affairs; Austin Johnson, dean for business, CIS, industrial technology, & public services programs; Tommy Peagler, forest technology instructor; and Cindy Tanner, director of public relations and information.

“Partnerships like this keep student training on track,” Deibert said. “The new bus was definitely needed. The old one was constantly in need of repair, and no one wants to get stranded in the woods on a class training assignment.”

“We would not have this vehicle without the USDA grant and your support, hard work, and cooperation,” Pamela Farr told Smith. “We appreciate everything you’ve done to assist us.”

Farr expressed appreciation to OTC staff who assisted with the grant application and bus purchase, as well, naming Tommy Peagler and Larry Godair, OTC’s recently retired dean of academic affairs.

According to Farr, the OTC bus will mainly be used by the forest technology program. Peagler explained that he uses the bus to take students to logging operations and timber plots where they complete hands-on field assignments.

OTC offers certificate, diploma, and degree options in forest technology, a program that prepares individuals for an exciting career in the great outdoors, managing the area’s valuable, renewable timber resource. Forest technology graduates have a variety of career opportunities, continued Peagler, including employment with businesses, such as area timber mills, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Georgia Power Company, the Georgia Forestry Commission, local timber/logger dealers, and private consulting agencies.
For more information on the OTC Forest Technology program, contact Tommy Peagler at (912) 284-2569 or tpeagler@okefenokeetech.edu.

For more information on Rural Development programs, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ga.

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Photo 1 and 2:
Shandolyn Smith with the USDA visited the OTC Waycross campus recently to see the new 24-passenger bus purchased with $42,000 in USDA grant funds. The bus is mainly used by the forest technology program to transport students to timber areas for field assignments and visits to logging operations. Several OTC officials greeted and thanked Ms. Smith. On hand for a photo were Austin Johnson (L to R), dean for business, CIS, industrial technology, & public services programs; Tommy Peagler, OTC forest technology instructor; and Ms. Smith, area specialist for rural development.

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