Photos by Michelle Harris. Haywood Community College recently welcomed Phillip Gibson, Tammy McDowell and Dr. Deborah Porto as new members to the Board of Trustees to replace those who completed their terms.

Haywood Community College recently welcomed three new members to the Board of Trustees to replace those who completed their terms. Phillip Gibson was appointed by the Haywood County Board of Education. Tammy McDowell was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper and Dr. Deborah Porto was appointed by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners. All will serve four year terms.

Gibson is the NC Radon Program Coordinator for the NC Department of Health & Human Services in Candler. He is also owner/broker in charge and Realtor for Gibson Realty, LLC. Gibson holds a Master’s degree in Geography from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Louisville. Gibson volunteered as an advisory panel member at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, WNC Alliance, and on the Buncombe County Environmental Advisory Committee as well as other organizations.

“I feel really blessed to be a part of Haywood Community College since my educational pursuit began at a community college,” Gibson says. “HCC has an outstanding place in the community, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Tammy McDowell is the Assistant Director of Programming at Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center. She earned a Master’s degree in Management & Leadership from Montreat College, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Montreat College and an Associate’s degree in Legal Assistant from Tarrant County Junior College. McDowell serves in multiple facets at her church in the choir, as church secretary and on the finance committee. She is the chair of the Haywood MLK Committee and is a member of the World Methodist Museum Board. McDowell is the first person of color to be appointed to HCC’s Board of Trustees in the history of the College.

According to McDowell, "I am honored to have been appointed by the governor to serve on the board. I am excited to open doors and lead the way to a more diverse and inclusive board. I look forward to working with the college to fulfill its mission."

Dr. Porto retired from Johnston Community College as Dean of Business & Advanced Technology. In addition, she worked at HCC for five years. From 2013 through 2014, she served as Interim Executive Director of Workforce Development and from 2009 through 2013 she was Department Chair/Dean of Advanced Technologies. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership-Community Colleges from Western Carolina University, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Mount Holyoke College. Dr. Porto is the current chair of the Haywood County Broadband Committee. She has also served as a panel reviewer for the National Science Foundation and as Executive Board Member for the National Coalition Advanced Technology Centers and with other organizations.

The HCC Board of Trustees consists of community members appointed at either the county or state level. “We welcome our new board members and look forward to their contributions and service. I am enthusiastic about their involvement in shaping the future of HCC,” said Dr. Shelley White, HCC President. Members serve a unique role on a volunteer basis to help ensure the college meets the needs of the region.