The cavernous atrium at TECO Plaza was the perfect place to celebrate the towering potential of TECO team members who received their degrees from Hillsborough Community College on Nov. 2.
The 22 graduates, from departments across TECO, benefitted from the special agreements the company has with the local learning institutions including HCC, the University of South Florida and St. Leo University. TECO offers tuition reimbursement to company team members and welcomes educators to Tampa Electric’s Skills Training Center to conduct classes.
Sharon Walker, customer billing data specialist II with Peoples Gas, represented her class as the elected speaker at the graduation ceremony – and she had high praise for the educational opportunities TECO has given her.
“I couldn’t have [pursued my education] without the program from TECO,” she said, adding that the skills she picked up through HCC will have a direct, positive impact on her day-to-day role with the company.
Even more than that, she said, “If you have the dream, you have to follow through.”
The Nov. 2 ceremony featured State Representative Janet Cruz with the commencement address and TECO Energy President and CEO John Ramil with closing remarks.
Graduating alongside Walker was Lee Anne Mitchell, business analyst I with Tampa Electric – and another enthusiastic supporter of TECO’s approach to helping its people develop.
“To progress in my current job as a business analyst requires a four-year degree as well as on-the-job experience,” Mitchell said. “Since I love my job, completing my education will provide for advancement and is the cherry on top of the sundae.”
Mitchell also thanked Bruce Napier, senior administrator of Organizational Development, for his role coordinating the program. Napier, in turn, added his voice to the chorus of those thanking the company.
“All too often it seems leaders and companies say one thing, yet do another,” Napier explained. “When it comes to education, TECO’s commitment to our team members’ development is clear – crystal clear. TECO leadership cares about our people and our development. It shows in every dollar spent on education, and every hour allotted to the pursuit of it. What a great opportunity to work with and for people who care about you!”
Congratulations to the Class of 2015
Brian Artienda, Darlene Aschwandan, Kenneth Belcher, Frank Bump, Timothy Garland, Taylor Grant, Karla Gray, Michael Jacobs, Eundria Kelley, Julia McMichen, Lee Anne Mitchell, Vickey Molina, David Morales, Katy Patrick, David Puzzo, Ashley Sanford, Matthew Taylor, Greg Taylor, Jorge Uribe, Lionel Walker, Sharon Walker and Ira Lee West.