DARKE COUNTY — Darke County Economic Development (DCED) announced Tuesday the names of the 20 Under 20 Award winners hailing from Darke County.
The 20 Under 20 Awards were developed to recognize students, educators, and businesses collaborating to help prepare the next generation of workers in our region. For consideration, nominees must be under the age of 20, a resident of Darke, Mercer, or Auglaize counties, and enrolled in high school, post-secondary education or adult education related to their career. Nominees must also be engaged in work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship, internship, co-op program, or other business/education partnership.
“This is our sixth year to recognize these business/education partnerships which are so important to addressing our region’s current and future workforce needs. All three members of the partnership – student, educator, and business are being recognized, because all roles are essential for success,” said Tamala Marley, workforce specialist at Darke County Economic Development. “The number of nominees has grown over the last few years. Parents and students are seeing the value of work-based learning, which often includes debt-free education, gaining work experience while developing soft skills and earn while you learn opportunities.”
For 2021, Darke County Winners receiving the 20 Under 20 Award are:
· Austin Zechar – Greenville High School and Greenville Career Technology Education Center (G-CTEC) – Austin was nominated for his work at Family Health Services of Darke County by Nathan Sharp, Computer Information Systems (CIS) Instructor at G-CTEC. Brian Subler, Austin’s supervisor at Family Health, shared that he brought great computer skills to the workplace. While there Austin grew in his customer service skills as he interacted with his teammates. Austin’s goal is a career in the field of cybersecurity and he plans to attend University of Northwestern Ohio for Information Technologies as the next step toward his goal.
· Logan Hittle – Greenville High School and G-CTEC – Logan was nominated for his work at Village Green Health Campus by Amanda Koenig, Med Tech Program Instructor at G-CTEC. Koenig describes Logan as a leader who takes opportunities to improve his skills and awareness of the health care field. Logan earned his STNA certification through the Med Tech Program at G-CTEC, and a collaboration between the school and Village Green introduced Logan to his position last fall. Annie Carico, Executive Director at Village Green, praised Logan’s selection for the award. Logan plans to attend Edison in the fall to pursue his associate degree in nursing and he plans to attend IU East after to obtain his bachelors degree in nursing. His career goal is to work in family medicine.
· Riley Emerick – Greenville High School – Riley was nominated for his work at Dickman Supply, Inc. by Brad Holzapfel, Branch Manager at the Greenville location. Holzapfel describes Riley as having the “4 ingredients for a successful career: attendance, hard work, attitude and personality.” Kevin Shepherd, Riley’s supervisor describes him as a good fit for their team. Greenville HS Guidance Counselor, Rebecca Curtis, introduced Riley to this opportunity, for which Riley expressed his thanks. Riley tells us that he enjoys the comradery within the company, as well as the skills he’s learning in his job. Following graduation, Riley looks forward to working full time with Dickman Supply.
· Dustin Glick – Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) and Bradford High School – Dustin was nominated for his work as an apprentice with Glick Construction, Inc. by Tony Trapp, Apprenticeship Coordinator at UVCC. Trapp praises Dustin’s maturity and growth as he interacts with many other skilled tradespersons on the job site beyond his direct employer. His instructor, Kyle Stager, noted that Dustin was open to learning new techniques in the lab and always willing to share what he had learned on the job site to train others. Dustin’s supervisor, Steve Glick, noted that “Dustin got enthusiastic about construction when he toured UVCC as a sophomore.” Following graduation, Dustin plans to continue in the construction trades with Glick Construction, Inc.
· Kendall Hill – Bradford High School and Edison State Community College – Kendall was nominated for her work at Brethren Retirement Community (BRC) by Katie Luce, Director of Assisted Living at BRC. Kendall began working at BRC during the COVID-19 pandemic. “She faced the challenges of resident isolation ever-changing policies and procedures with grace,” said Luce. “I truly believe the best nurses were once Resident Assistants, and I am confident the same will hold true for Kendall.” Her supervisor, Cathy Watkins, shares that Kendall brings positivity and compassion to her coworkers and residents alike. In addition to working, Kendall has participated in extra-curricular activities at Bradford while completing her Associate of Science Degree at Edison State. Kendall will be attending Xavier University in the fall to obtain a Bachelor of Nursing degree with a minor in applied health to reach her career goal of becoming a nurse.
· Tristen Collins – Franklin Monroe High School and Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) – Tristen was nominated for her participation in an apprenticeship with Little Angels Daycare & Early Learning Center by Alicia Newman, Early Childhood Instructor MVCTC. “Tristen has tackled the challenges of learning in the COVID age and working in her chosen field with enthusiasm and grace,” shared Newman. Tristen completed her Child Development Associate Credential while learning about the daycare business and interacting with preschoolers in the classroom. She has received excellent reviews from her employers – Kim Marburger, Director Alayna Dill, and Lead Teacher Jenna Suggs. Tristen says she has learned patience, communication, creativity, and dedication through her work experience. Tristen plans to continue her education by attending Edison State this fall while working at Little Angels. Her goal is to complete her bachelor’s degree in Early Education to become a Kindergarten teacher.
· Davis Flora – Franklin Monroe High School and MVCTC – Davis was nominated for his work as an apprentice in diesel technology at The Service Company by his MVCTC instructor, Larry Seibel. Davis has developed skills in diesel engine service and repair, power trains, electronics, and hydraulics for a high demand career in diesel maintenance and repair. Seibel describes Davis as “a good technician, great student, responsible, and trustworthy… and a person of character.” Brian Kinnison, Davis’ supervisor, shares that Davis is a great fit with his co-workers. Following graduation, Davis will continue working at The Service Company in Greenville.
· Cory Timmerman – Versailles High School – Cory was nominated by Classic Carriers employees Sharon Henry, Director of Human Resources, and Wes Subler, Shop Manager. Cory works part-time as part of the Versailles HS FFA Capstone Program, training in the field of diesel maintenance and repair. Cory’s employers describe him as reliable, eager to learn, and having a great work ethic. Dena Wuebker, Agricultural Education Instructor, developed this education/employer collaboration with Classic Carriers, as well as other employer collaborations in the Versailles community. Cory plans to continue working and learning at Classic Carriers this summer and through his senior year.
· Nicholas Didier – Versailles High School and MVCTC – Nicholas was nominated for his work as an intern at Emerson Climate Technologies by Doug Clark, HVAC Instructor at MVCTC. Clark describes Nicholas as a student who is eager to learn and who takes advantage of every opportunity with drive and determination. Scott Morter, Nicholas’ supervisor, shares that when he learns something new at work, he will research in the evening and come back the next day with even more knowledge. After graduation, Nicholas plans to work for Emerson in Sidney while attending Edison State to pursue his associate’s degree in HVAC Engineering Technology. He plans to earn his Bachelor’s Degree to become an HVAC engineer.
Boulevard banners of each of the 20 Under 20 winners will be displayed in their home town and trophies will be presented at their schools. The awards are sponsored by Auglaize Mercer Business Education Alliance (AMBE), Darke County Economic Development, and Hometown Opportunity.