Over 100 North Mississippi business and industry leaders attended the Northwest Mississippi Community College Career, Technical and Workforce Education (CTWE)/District Workforce Development Council annual Advisory Committee Meeting on April 11 at the David M. Haraway Center on the Senatobia campus.
Each year these industry professionals join CTWE faculty and staff to discuss ways Northwest can enhance their curricula to best meet the changing demands of today’s highly technical work place.
The group was welcomed to the campus by David Campbell, district dean of CTWE and thanked them for their continued support of the college. Campbell introduced Northwest President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears, who gave the formal welcome to the group.
Spears recognized Northwest Board of Trustees members Dorothy K. Wilbourn and Jamie Howell of Panola County and Bill Dawson of Marshall County and thanked them for their support of the college. He updated the group on the new fieldhouse and health science building projects currently underway on the campus and on the new sidewalks and lighting that have been implemented for student safety. He praised the college’s CTWE programs and their efforts to get people both educated and employed. “We are in a challenging time in the state of Mississippi. I call on everyone to recognize the situation and get behind education and workforce training. We need to make sure our legislators are interested in what we are doing,” Spears said.
He introduced the keynote speaker, Ben Buley, director of Operations for ABB Electrification Products-Protection and Connection, U.S.. Buley joined ABB in 2015 and was asked to lead a team to build a new manufacturing plant in the U.S. to produce ABB circuit breakers and various control products. He is currently serving as the plant manager for ABB’s new Senatobia plant.
Buley said he fell in love with the building they currently occupy on Scott Street, but when he first came, he was concerned about the workforce in the area. “Then we met some awesome people from Northwest’s Workforce Development Division. ABB intends to grow and have a strong relationship with Northwest for a long time,” Buley said. He said he had told other companies looking in the area about Northwest. “You have a beautiful campus here and it is something to be proud of. It is a selling point for this area,” he continued.
Buley outlined his own leadership agenda for his company and explained what he was looking for in potential employees. “I am passionate about building a high-performance team making ABB a great place to work and delivering results above expectations. I like to ask people I interview to tell me about themselves outside of their resume to find out how they engage or communicate,” he said. He wants to see instructors in the classroom develop the person as well as the skill. “Technical skills are important, but the person needs to be well-rounded,” Buley said. He said that he feels a strong bond with Northwest and that there are a number of Northwest alumni currently employed at ABB.
Buley, who resides in Memphis, is married with five children and four grandchildren. Prior to joining ABB, he held a variety of leadership positions with Southwestern Bell, Sprint and Eaton. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University and a master’s in Telecommunications Engineering from Southern Methodist University.
ABB is a global company focused on power and automation solutions with annual revenues of $42 billion and more than 130, 000 employees.
For more information on Northwest’s CTWE programs, visit the website at northwestms.edu.
Pictured: Ben Buley, director of Operations for ABB Electrification Products-Protection and Connection, U.S. was the keynote speaker at Northwest Mississippi Community College Career, Technical and Workforce Education (CTWE)/District Workforce Development Council annual Advisory Committee Meeting on April 11 at the David M. Haraway Center on the Senatobia campus. Over 100 North Mississippi business and industry leaders attended the event. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)