Abbott exec tells Tri-County’s class of 2017 that they are the future

By: Staff Report
Thomas Strange, senior director of Research and Development for Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) in Liberty, was the commencement speaker at Tri-County Technical College’s spring commencement.

PENDLETON — Thomas Strange, senior director of Research and Development for Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) in Liberty, told Tri-County Technical College’s Class of 2017 at spring commencement that they are the real future of a great America and are joining graduates from all across the country to begin creating the economy of tomorrow.

“I am particularly happy to talk to you tonight because this is a technical college, and you have all decided to devote some or all of your life to supporting and improving the lives of others by becoming practicing technologists,” said Strange, who describes himself as a practicing technologist, who “bridges the theoretical and the practical.”

Spring commencement was held May 9 at the T. Ed Garrison Arena and 628 people received degrees, diplomas and certificates.

Strange has an extensive background in materials science and is the author of 45 patents and numerous papers over the last three decades, covering all aspects of power component development.

Over the last 20 years at Abbott, Strange and his team have been introducing new technologies that continue to define state of the art in implantable medical devices for both pacing and arrhythmia correction.

“Mechanical, electrical and electronics, nursing, veterinary medicine, these are the things that make life as we love it work, and you are the real future of a great America,” he said. “You went to Tri County Technical College for the knowledge you could gather from this great faculty, and with no less academic rigor than those big schools, you have driven yourselves to understand how your chosen technology works. Because you did this, because we can leverage your labor more effectively, you have said ‘wait, let me help create this new economy, let me help take us to the next level.’”

He told the graduates that they have been told their futures are unsure.

“You have been told in heated words and loud invectives over the past two years that things are very bad and getting worse, or if they were not yet bad, they would be soon. Your safety nets are collapsing, we are on the road to ruin or the road out of ruin, but make no mistake they told you, ruin is involved. It is bad and scary out there. I am here to throw open a window of clarity against these calls of fear, and the desire to return to some ‘better time,’” he said.

He encouraged them to use what they had learned to make a difference.

“I’m not standing here tonight to say that all is perfectly fine. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, a free market is the worst form of economic governance, except for all the other forms of economic governance,” he said. “To make the economy work for everyone we have had to make adjustments all the time, and as you might have read, today eight men own as much wealth as the poorest one half of the world, some 3.5 billion souls. The way back to balance though, involves an educated world, and a robust knowledge economy.

“You here tonight are going forward to join this great effort. No less than the greatest leaders today, you are shouldering the burden of crafting the next generation of the knowledge economy,” he added. “If America is all the better for it, then know that much of the rest of the world has been lifted out of abject poverty in these last 50 years, and into the modern era by the very technologies you have trained to succeed in.”

Following the speech, Tri-County President Ronnie L. Booth and other college officials presented degrees, diplomas and certificates to the following graduates:

Central: Tyler Blake Cartee, General Technology – Mechatronics; Marlon Andres Chernez, Associate in Arts; Christina Davis Clark, Veterinary Technology; Weightstill Lavern Corn, Industrial Electronics Technology; Thais Costa De Sousa, Veterinary Technology; Cody Michael Deyton, CNC Programming and Operations; Lindsay Danielle Gregory, Nursing; Timothy Tennyson Griebno, Manufacturing Management and Leadership; Brandon Michael Hall, General Technology – Mechatronics; Kathryn Paige Hall, Accounting; Nikeyia Greggori Hendricks, Associate in Science; Cheron Mariah Howell, Administrative Office Technology; Thomas Weston Kale, Media Arts Production; Adele Elizabeth Kelly, Nursing; Samantha Nicole King, General Technology – Early Childhood; Robert Allie Lewis, Associate in Arts; Sandra G. McGowan, Engineering Graphics Technology; Keith Lane Medlin, General Technology – Mechatronics; Kristen L. Mercier, Associate in Science; Amber Leigh Mitchell, Nursing; Brandi Leigh Moser, Administrative Office Technology – Medical Emphasis; Savannah Reigh Plouet, Associate in Science; James Seth Porter, General Engineering Technology; Korey Pritchett, Associate in Arts; Brady Alexander Segars, Nursing; Krista Anne Shockley, Management; Cedrick LaVelle Smith, General Engineering Technology; Emily Robin Trumbower, Nursing; and Dena Jill West, Nursing

Clemson: Austin C. Bennett, Auto Engine Electrical Systems; Kimberley Kelley Boyer, Nursing; Ebone Jolissa Brown, Associate in Arts; Phillip Nathanael Jent, Nursing; Bobbie Lee Jones, Industrial Electronics Technology; Elijah Patrick Marino, Engineering Graphics Technology; Stephen Jerod McCormack, Media Arts Production; Ann-Elizabeth Holt Platt, Nursing; Sarah Katherine Kuebler Sexton, Associate in Science; Amanda Kay White, Associate in Arts; James Ernest Yancsek, Practical Nursing; and Teja Tahnee Young, Practical Nursing

Easley: Kayla Rose Anderson, Associate in Science; Jeffrey H. Baker, General Technology – Mechatronics; Lori Elizabeth Baldwin, Associate in Arts; Blair Addis Bearden, Nursing; James Adam Benton, Associate in Arts; Lucas Eric Berning, Associate in Arts; Jennifer Lynn Bishop, Nursing; Sonya R. Black, Administrative Office Technology – Medical Emphasis; Alexandra Michelle Blake, Nursing; Tiffany Barnes Bonilla, Associate in Arts; Victor Aubrey Bowerman, University Studies (C2C); Zena Marie Bradshaw, Nursing; Landan Michael Brooks, Medical Lab Technology; William David Brotherton, Associate in Science; Brittany Judith Bryant, Accounting; Tiffany Ruth Bryant, Nursing; Christopher Lee Burgess, SMA Structural Welding; Jacob Robert Burgess, SMA Structural Welding; Michelle Jerry Childress, Practical Nursing; Debbie Miller Coates, Administrative Office Technology; Katelyn Breanne Corley, Nursing; Bryce Dee Cotton, Technical Operators I; Aaron E. Craine, Technical Operators I; Marshall Reese Crawford, Auto Engine Electrical Systems; Hunter Morgan Crompton, Industrial Electronics Technology; Austyne Paige Douglas, Associate in Science; Lauren Ashley Ellenburg, Nursing; Betty Ann Kaitlynn Ferguson, Associate in Arts; Michael Allender Gardner, Computer Technology; Andrew Tyler Gayheart, SMA Structural Welding; Destinee Paige Gilbert, General Technology – Early Childhood; Candice Mathis Gillespie, Criminal Justice Technology; Ashley Nicole Guy, Associate in Arts; Adam Jarrett Holliday, Criminal Justice Technology; Megan Marie Huff, Administrative Office Technology; Justin Robert Hunt, SMA Structural Welding; Erica Dannielle Kircher, Associate in Science; Andrea Christine Lanning, Veterinary Technology; Walker Guy Lee, SMA Structural Welding; Tiffany Nicole Lesley, Administrative Office Technology – Medical Emphasis; David L. Looper, General Technology – Mechatronics; Kevin Robert Mayfield, SMA Structural Welding; Lori Lee McKinney, Manufacturing Management and Leadership; Stephanie Ann Mealor, Practical Nursing; Andrea L. Mullinax, Accounting; Jesse Dean Nations, Automotive Braking Systems; Judy Rebecca O’Shields, Associate in Science; Evan Fredrick Oglesby, Associate in Arts; Hampton Miles Oliver, Auto Engine Electrical Systems; Kristen Nicholle Porter, Associate in Science; Daryl Shane Posey, Manufacturing Management and Leadership; Taylor Evan Raines, Automotive Technology; Alexandra Kay Ramsey, Associate in Arts; Carey Paul Rowland, Industrial Electronics Technology; Dylan Kyle Smith, General Technology – Mechatronics; William Edward Smith, CNC Programming and Operations; Katherine Sparacino, Practical Nursing; Ronald Ian Strivelli, Industrial Electronics Technology; Jessica Riley Sullivan, Criminal Justice Technology; Alana Brooke Towe, Practical Nursing; Nicole Elizabeth Tyson, Associate in Arts; Jarrad Amon Whiten, CNC Programming and Operations; Ashley Elizabeth Williams, Criminal Justice Technology; and Bethany A. Williams, Nursing

Liberty: Melissa Mitchum Anders, Associate in Science; Milton Franklin Clark, Associate in Arts; Michael Andrew Cochran, Technical Operators I; Jessica Marie Cooley, Associate in Science; Coleton Charles Counts, Industrial Electronics Technology; Taylor Marie Dickard, Nursing; Amanda Marie Fiori, Computer Technology; Joshua Steve Garren, Industrial Electronics Technology; Andrew Garrett Kyle, General Engineering Technology; Savannah Jan Ladd, Nursing; Jordan Marc Lee, Industrial Electronics Technology; Davis Tanner Lewis, General Technology – Mechatronics; Brittany Renee’ Nix, Accounting; Kaylin Danielle Nix, Accounting; Karly Amber Ruth Norris, Associate in Science; Shelia Glennette Owens, Administrative Office Technology; Sarah Danielle Perry, Practical Nursing; Courtney Rose Ray, General Technology – Early Childhood; William Reid, Auto Engine Performance System; Corey Scott Sheriff, Industrial Electronics Technology; Michael Lee Tessnear, Criminal Justice Technology; Kristen Dawn Thomas, Nursing; and Matthew Shane Varney, General Engineering Technology

Norris: Logan Thomas Edgar, Criminal Justice Technology; and Dylan Steve Herd, Automotive Technology

Pickens: Charlesie Alice Dyches, Nursing; Lucas Kane Eades, Veterinary Technology; Brandon Orion Ferrell, Computer Technology; Oliver Ryan Fincher, Industrial Electronics Technology; Trisha Marie Gibson, Medical Office Specialist; Morgan Leigh Grafft, Nursing; Jennifer Nichole Hammock, Industrial Electronics Technology; Cameron Hanson, Basic Machining; Nathan Matthew Haskett, Industrial Electronics Technology; David Aaron Summerall, Automotive Braking Systems; Amber Brittany Suttles, Practical Nursing; Channing Nicole Vinson, Nursing; and Kimberly Denise Watson, General Technology – Mechatronics

Six Mile: Steven Hoke Durham, General Technology – Mechatronics; Mary Rose Holbrooks, Management; Avery Holder, Computer Technology; Alexander Dean James, Industrial Electronics Technology; Melinda Juanita Johnson, General Engineering Technology; Jenna Rae Maness, Practical Nursing; William Richard Masters, General Technology – Mechatronics; Isaac Hunter Moore, CNC Programming and Operations; Anna Elaine Porter, Nursing; Heather Ashleigh Rollins, Practical Nursing; Lindsey Jo Walker, General Technology – Early Childhood; Jake Brandon Willimon, General Technology – Mechatronics; and Dorothy Amanda Young, Veterinary Technology

Sunset: Nathan N. Kanea, Medical Lab Technology; and Kennon Nathaniel Merriett, General Engineering Technology

Thomas Strange, senior director of Research and Development for Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) in Liberty, was the commencement speaker at Tri-County Technical College’s spring commencement. Strange, senior director of Research and Development for Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) in Liberty, was the commencement speaker at Tri-County Technical College’s spring commencement. Courtesy photo

Staff Report