The winners were named during the Seven Hills Rotary Club meeting at Coosa Country Club on February 5, 2013. The awards were sponsored and presented by the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, the Seven Hills Rotary Club of Rome, and the GNTC Student Leadership Council.
Groce, a Business Management student at GNTC's Whitfield Murray Campus, was nominated by his instructor, Gerald McFry. He was selected, from a group of four semi-finalists, for his presentation on technical education, by a panel of judges representing business, industry, and higher education in Northwest Georgia.
After graduating in 2010 from Christian Heritage High School in Dalton, Groce enrolled in college but didn't feel he was going in the right direction. "After I graduated, I enrolled in a four-year liberal arts college, like a lot of my classmates from high school," said Groce. "I felt it was lacking in substance and I wasn't advancing with my education. I saw an ad for GNTC and thought technical education might be the right path for me. After I enrolled at GNTC I found the drive and the passion to better myself. I feel like technical education is a great value in today's economy and gives students the skills and education they need to get a good job."
As the 2013 GOAL Winner for Georgia Northwestern, Groce will move to the regional competition and if he is chosen as a regional winner, he will compete at the state level against winners from the other regions of Georgia. He will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Atlanta in April. A panel of leaders from business, industry, and government will choose the Technical College System of Georgia's (TCSG's) GOAL winner for 2013 and recipient of the GOAL medallion. The grand prize also includes a new automobile for the winner to travel around Georgia. The 2013 Student of the Year and state GOAL winner will serve as TCSG's student ambassador during a number of system and college functions throughout the year.
Troy Peco, Walker County Campus Automotive Technology program director and instructor and Industrial Technologies assistant dean was selected as GNTC's 2013 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year.
Peco was chosen for his outstanding presentation about the value of technical education.
When asked why he chose to teach at GNTC, Peco answered "I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge of repairing automobiles. The pleasure that I receive when seeing a student repair a system on a car that they thought was beyond them is priceless. Teaching at a technical college allows me to give someone an affordable education in a field that's in great demand that will help them provide for themselves and their family."
Peco has been an instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College since 2006. Prior to joining GNTC, he was the service director at Bill Hood Nissan/Mazda/Hyundai in Hammond, Louisiana; shop foreman and assistant manager at Amite City Ford in Amite, Louisiana; technician supervisor at Submersible Systems Inc. in Morgan City, Louisiana; and a service technician at Bill Hood Ford and Bohn Ford both in Louisiana. Peco also previously taught basic electrical and engine repair at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Louisiana and served as an interior communications electrician for the United States Navy. He received his associate of applied science degree in Motor Vehicle Technology at Delgado Community College. Peco also holds many certifications including Electrical and Electronic Communication Repair and Maintenance, Ford Sr. Masters Gasoline and Diesel Engine Certification, ASE Master certified technician, certified in Nissan full line service and parts, and is a certified Honda technician. Peco is involved in several community organizations including volunteer work at the a Walker County Animal Shelter, advisory member for the Chickamauga Elementary Parent/Teacher organization, coach for the Chickamauga Recreation baseball and basketball teams, and a member of St. Gerard Church Men's Club.
"Troy truly embodies the characteristics that make an instructor successful," stated Beverly Padgett, GNTC Rick Perkins coordinator. "He not only has a wealth of knowledge in his field but he works with his students to make sure that they understand the material and have a confidence in what they do. He is respected by both his students and his peers."
As GNTC's Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year, Peco will compete in the regional competition. If chosen as a regional winner, he will compete at the state level in the competition. A panel of leaders from business, industry, and government will choose one instructor to be the Technical College System of Georgia's Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
The Rick Perkins Award winner serves as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia. He or she will make many public appearances throughout the year.
The last state winners to represent Georgia Northwestern Technical College were 2004 Rick Perkin's winner, Beverly Padgett, and 1993 GOAL winner, Robin Hood Hutson.