Business and community leaders gathered at Alternative Education Center recently to talk to students about their lives and careers.

The speakers included Bob Ayers, Rachel Withrow, Scott Cook, Bill Warren, Judy Melton, Jim Benton, Walt Bagwell, Lora Bartlett, Norman Guthrie, Donna Allison, Bill Wiseman and Michele Burleson. The guests spoke for about 20 minutes in each classroom as they rotated through four classes each during the 80-minute first period time slot.

After the talks, the groups gathered together to discuss what they had learned from the experience, and what advice they shared with students.


Bob Ayers: 40-year career in textile with job assignments including Department Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality Assurance

“Set your goals and build a plan to achieve these. Follow your plan.”

Rachel Withrow: Owner, Crooked Door Coffee House

“Start saving now. Always represent yourself well to make a good impression.”

Scott Cook, Senior Loan Officer, SECU in Old Fort

“Believe in yourself no matter what; keep on fighting to achieve your goals.”

Bill Warren: Former Executive Director, McDowell Mission

“Business principles will help you in all areas of life.”

Judy Melton: Dean of Health Science, McDowell Technical Community College

"Never give up. If you can dream it you can do it."

Dr. Jim Benton: Dean of Curriculum, McDowell Technical Community College

"Never give up on your goals and stay focused, positive and determined."

Walt Bagwell: Owner, Nationwide Insurance Agency in Marion

“You learn more with your ears than your mouth. Inquire and learn from the people you come in contact with.”

Lora Bartlett: Assistant Director, MTCC Practical Nursing Program

"To be successful, reading is fundamental."