Haywood Community College
Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard
185 Freedlander Drive
Clyde, NC 28721
828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513
For immediate release.
NEW MERIDIAN TECHNOLOGIES USES HCC GRADUATES TO SUCCEED
By Diana Conard
Jon Feichter believes in the community college system. He is a former instructor at Haywood Community College and president of New Meridian Technologies in Waynesville. Out of his nine employees, six are HCC graduates and one is a current HCC student.
"The whole purpose behind starting the company was to give students in the computer programs a place to apply their trade in Haywood County," Feichter explains. "Also, the IT market in the county was underserved."
Most of the employees at New Meridian have been there since the company opened in 2002. The company supplies all personal and small business computer needs. This is achieved from the wide range of services offered, from PC repair, computer sales, and networking, to web hosting, network cable installation, and much more. New Meridian's customers have anywhere from one computer to a few hundred. The company works with businesses in the medical and dental field, the government, insurance, and a host of others.
"I have had success with HCC grads. It's been a positive experience," Feichter said. "I knew the training program these students go through because I taught there. I know what their abilities are and had a better idea of what their progress entailed."
New Meridian's Technical Service Manager is Larry Smith-Black. He graduated from the Network Administration & Support program at HCC in 2003. When the company where he sold truck parts downsized, he decided to go back to school to do something he enjoyed.
"When I started at HCC, I was intimidated." Smith-Black said. "I was middle-aged and most of the students in my classes grew up with computers. I didn't. But I could not have landed this job without going back to school. HCC was a personal experience for me. Now, I enjoy my job because it is rewarding to meet challenges head on."
As Technical Service Manager, Smith-Black is responsible for scheduling, reviewing all work orders when completed, parts purchasing, inventory control, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Wayne Smith has a different story. He graduated from the HCC Network Administration & Support program in 2004. He began his college education as a pre-pharmacy student. But once he took a programming course for personal interest at HCC, he was hooked on the computer field.
At New Meridian, his job duties include repairs, on-site runs, and the development of internal software applications. Smith has designed an estimate calculator that determines the markup charges for jobs. He also designed a due date calculator to determine when a job should be completed. He has other designs in the works, such as a program to simplify ordering parts.
Teresa Phillips graduated from the Electrical Technology program at HCC in 1996. She is currently working on a degree in Network Administration & Support at the school.
At New Meridian, Phillips is an administrative support specialist. She cleans computers and printers, registers new computers, and installs updates, software and hardware.
"Going back to school as a middle age student was challenging but I met friends there," Phillips explains. "It was a positive part of my life."
For coworker Danny Reece, the end to his manufacturing job meant a new beginning for him. He took the opportunity to come back to school and chose the Network Administration & Support program at HCC where he finished in 2003.
At New Meridian, Reece is a Level II Support Specialist. His job duties include working on wireless, onsite, telephone and remote support, networking on servers, PC and laptop repair, and troubleshooting software problems.
"At HCC, I was taught how to go through processes to figure out problems," Reece explains. "I enjoy working with computers, working in different locations, and doing different jobs."
Seth Crook has worked at New Meridian for a year and a half in general technical support. He is a current student at HCC in the Network Administration & Support program.
"The classes at HCC are related directly to my job," Crook explains. "It is interesting to fix different problems."
New Meridian Business Operations Manager, Natalie McClure, has been at the company since it opened. Her duties include accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, invoicing, and payroll. She says the relationships she established with her coworkers began in the classes they took together at HCC.
Like others, McClure came back to school as a middle age student. She finished the Network Administration & Support program in 2003. After her kids started school, she decided it was time to reenter the world of work. "It was easy to come back and ease my way in at HCC," McClure explains. "I blended in because there were lots of students my age in my classes. Going to HCC was an all around learning experience."
For Feichter, the experience of employing some of his students has paid off. Through his hard work and dedication and that of his employees, the company is able to follow through with their mission of providing the highest level of technical expertise and customer service anywhere. And they're growing by leaps and bounds.
(Cutline: ) Jon Feichter, owner of New Meridian Technologies of Waynesville, employs several HCC technology students. From left to right are: Teresa Phillips, Larry Smith-Black, Wayne Smith, Natalie McClure, Danny Reece, owner Jon Feichter. (Not pictured: Seth Crook.)