Dr. Richard Dawe, the new Ozarka College President, was the guest speaker for the Spring River Chamber of Commerce's regular monthly meeting held at Clubhouse on the Green restaurant in Cherokee Village Aug. 18.
Chamber President Charlotte Goodwin made the announcement of nine new members for the month. She said there are now 122 Chamber members.
For the month of July new members include Spring River Canoeing, Kozy Kandles, Karpet Kountry and A to Z Printing.
Dawe spoke to the large crowd of attendees about his background and vision for the future of Ozarka.
Dawe, originally from the region, is a retired captain with the United States Navy, where he served as a naval aviator from 1981-2004.
Most recently, Dawe comes to Ozarka from Ventura, Calif., where he served as the vice chancellor of planning and organizational development at Ventura County Community College District.
Prior to his employment in California, Dawe worked at what he calls "Hard Work U" as dean of work education at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Mo.
Dr. Dawe received his Ph.D. from St. Louis University, his master's in financial management from Naval Postgraduate School and his bachelor's from Southern Illinois University. His education began at a community college, after receiving his associate of arts from Georgia Military College in Blytheville, Ark.
Dawe said both he and his wife Chris are first generation college graduates and his mother was in the first nursing class from Ozarka in 1971 when the college was Gateway Technical Center.
The new president's visions for Ozarka include new collaborative planning with the board of directors and the foundation for such things as finding new programs that can create jobs in the area.
Among his ideas are creating entrepreneurial centers that can draw from the deep experience of area retirees. He said their vast knowledge can bring talent to new businesses. Dawe said some of the things needed to begin successful businesses include learning how to prepare a business plan to present to financial lending institutions, marketing plans, accounting and human resource experience. Other needs that the college plans to address is the need for training in trades such as plumbing, welding, truck driving and aviation technicians. He said these are things that Ozarka can provide to serve as, "Engines of economic development in the area."
Other issues important to Dawe and the college include more opportunities for educational advancement through partnerships with other universities to allow area residents to gain vital training and classroom instruction without having to drive to distant universities and colleges.
Goodwin asked about a time frame as to when to expect these classes. Dawe said he would like to start some of the technical programs in the Spring semester.
Following his presentation, Beth Bess with Hometown Radio introduced a new employee Gina Moore. Moore used to work for the radio station and has taken some time to travel. Bess said they are pleased to have Moore as part of the team.
Donna Cruse announced the Junk and Jam slated for Labor Day weekend in Loberg Park in Hardy and invited everyone to come out to enjoy the event and to bring anything they have to sell for the event. Cruse said the cost for set-up is $15; this fee covers the city's business license fees and other expenses associated with the event. The 2008 Junk and Jam was very well attended and she said she anticipates this one to be just as good. Cruse said anyone interested in setting up can contact Kim Wilson at 856-3571.
The next meeting of the Spring River Chamber of Commerce will be announced at a later date.