Dr. Ray Brooks, president of Piedmont Technical College (PTC), has announced plans to retire, effective January 4, 2021. He officially informed the college’s Area Commission on Tuesday evening, June 16. He has led the institution since March 2008.
“Dr. Brooks’ focus on creating the right environment for student success has had a huge impact on Piedmont Technical College,” said George Piersol, PTC Area Commission chairman. “The Commission is appreciative of his experienced leadership over the past 13 years, and we are fully supportive of the important initiatives begun during his tenure.”
A search for the college’s next president will be conducted according to South Carolina Technical College System policy. The search committee will include the PTC Area Commission Chair, a member of the State Board, and a currently serving president of another South Carolina technical college.
The college’s second president in 50 years, Brooks has led the institution through historic surges in enrollment as well as the financial and managerial challenges posed by a record-setting recession and unprecedented global pandemic. Under his leadership, the college has built stronger relationships with the communities it serves and emerged on firm financial and operational footing.
Dr. Brooks’ many leadership successes at PTC include: stewarding the college through a lengthy quarantine, safe return-to-campus and other challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; fostering innovative public/private partnerships; spearheading the construction of the William H. “Billy” O’Dell Center for Manufacturing Excellence in Greenwood; implementing the first-in-the-state Job-Ready Guarantee to PTC graduates; facilitating development of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens; initiating the urban-renewal project that led to a cutting-edge new campus in Newberry; and leading a host of program and operational improvements designed to better position the college to respond to student and workforce needs.
During his tenure at PTC, Brooks has led the college in adopting institution-wide continuous improvement systems, including a groundbreaking implementation of the Lean methodology in a higher education setting that was singled out for recognition with the Bellwether Award ― a national prize that honors outstanding and innovative programs in community college education. PTC is the first and only college from South Carolina to receive this award.
Prior to joining PTC, Brooks served as president of Northwestern Technical College (NTC) in Georgia for 22 years and previously served as an instructor and then coordinator of postsecondary instruction at NTC.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to share in the important work this institution does every day. This work goes on, and there’s much more to be done,” Brooks said. “I look forward to working in the coming months to ensure the state of the college is strong and that we’re well-positioned for the future.”
PHOTO: Dr. L. Ray Brooks