It was not only Georgia Governor Nathan Deal who would receive honors this month at the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce Banquet. In paying tribute to the governor and his work towards preparing a more educated workforce, industry leaders decided to make the honor also extend to the future students of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC), as well.
In a resolution drafted in honor of Governor Deal, the first recognition of the “Nathan Deal Scholarships” for future Georgia Northwestern students was made. The program will offer selected applicants $2,500 scholarships in the initial years with plans to increase the award to $5,000 per winner.
The president and CEO of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Board Member Joe Yarbrough presented the resolution to Governor Deal at the banquet.
Mr. Yarbrough, a Rome, Ga., native, said this was about recognizing the governor for his dedication to technical education in Georgia.
“With the Governor’s term about to expire, we wanted to make sure we honored him for his commitment and service to training Georgia’s workforce,” said Mr. Yarbrough. “Leaders of the Carpet and Rug Institute made the decision to honor his legacy by creating this endowment from which scholarships will be awarded every year to students who will be attending Georgia Northwestern Technical College.”
In cooperation with the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, CRI hopes to select and award scholarships to students who qualify. “The (Community) Foundation would screen applicants and CRI would select from the finalists,” added Mr. Yarbrough. “Of course, applicants would also have to meet GNTC’s requirements. We are hoping to make a significant impact on as many students as possible.”
The requirements to qualify for the Nathan Deal Scholarships are still being drawn up. “The scholarships will likely go towards those who will be employed in the flooring industry,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Pete McDonald. “Of course, that industry offers many career opportunities. They have everything from business to industrial technology opportunities in Northwest Georgia. And, of course, the scholarships will be set up to benefit students in the GNTC service area.”
Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia President David Aft says Governor Deal has made Technical Education a priority in Georgia. “He (Deal) is very aware of the pipeline from the classroom to the workforce,” said Aft. “He is turning that into a very powerful process. One that has such an impact on the people and businesses of the region. So, this scholarship created by the Carpet and Rug Institute, and named in his honor, is more than fitting.”
The CRI board of director members behind the creation of the Nathan Deal Scholarship program are Chairman of the Board Jim McCallum (Milliken Floor Covering Division), Vice Chairman of the Board Jack Ganley (Mannington Commercial Carpets), Treasurer David Repp (Mohawk Group), Marc Ammen (Universal Fibers), Vance Bell (Shaw Industries, Inc.), Mark Clayton (Phenix Mills), Len Ferro (Tandus Centiva), Daniel Frierson (The Dixie Group), Ralph Grogan (Bentley Mills, Inc.), Chip Howalt, (Textile Rubber and Chemical Company), Jeffrey Lorerbaum (Mohawk Industries, Inc.) Franco Rossi (Aquafil USA), and Robert Shaw (Engineered Floors, LLC).
The Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia serves more than a dozen counties across the region, as well as reaches out to other counties in Georgia, as needed. “We work diligently and passionately to help the families and organizations with their goals to be more philanthropic,” added Mr. Aft. “This endowment honoring Governor Deal is just one more great example of this.”
“We are appreciative of what the Governor has done for us,” added Mr. Yarbrough. “And, we are appreciative of what GNTC has done with the expansion of the Whitfield Murray Campus of the college. One which includes the commitment of a new building opening next year.” Governor Deal, GNTC President Pete McDonald, Yarbrough and Northwest Georgia business leaders and legislators broke ground on the 80,000-square foot facility set to open in 2019.