Lee College Vice President Debi Jordan to retire in January 2017

Debi Jordan and the Lee College leadership
Debi Jordan, second from the left, with Lee College President Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College’s Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) 2016 scholarship recipients, Executive Vice President Dr. Christina Ponce and CCPI Grant Coordinator Kelly Dando at the 2016 CCPI Scholarship Reception. Jordan will retire from her position as Vice President of Workforce and Corporate Partnerships in January 2017.

BAYTOWN, TX When Debi Jordan was given the task of researching self-sustaining training programs at community colleges in 2005, she had no idea where it would end up. Seven years later, Lee College President Dr. Dennis Brown and its Board of Regents gave the go-ahead to launch the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development, and after a nationwide search, Jordan was selected to lead.

Now Jordan, the Vice President of Workforce and Corporate Partnerships, is ready to experience another new chapter: retirement. Jordan’s daughter is expecting a little girl in December, and she said though the decision was difficult, it became much easier with each ultrasound she saw.

“Being able to watch my daughter becoming a mom to her own daughter — it is coming full circle. I feel so blessed to have had such a great career, and Lee College really is my home,” Jordan said. “But this next part of my life feels so natural. With the help of a lot of great people, I believe this center — my third child — is in a great place. The foundation is stable, and under new leadership it’s poised to move to the next level. I’m ready to be a BeBe to my sweet Ella Rae, and to watch the center continue to grow.”

Over the past four years, the center has hosted 1,710 classes, served 7,694 different students and boasts a total enrollment count of 17,559 thanks to repeat students.

“Lee College is full of great people and Debi definitely shines in that group,” said Executive Vice President Dr. Christina Ponce. “She is one of the most professional, dedicated and hard-working individuals I have ever met. She has made such a tremendous difference not only at Lee College’s Center for Workforce and Community Development, but the entire community and the college as a whole. She is extremely loved and appreciated in our community for being an incredible civic oriented leader, a friend to all and a pioneer in workforce education. We are indebted to Debi for all she has been able to accomplish.”

Jordan helped establish and maintain partnerships with organizations like the Baytown/West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and the Greater Houston Partnership, as well as industry partners such as ExxonMobil, ChevronPhillips Chemical, Enterprise Products, Covestro, Shell, Bechtel and Jacobs.

“ExxonMobil deeply appreciates the support that Debi Jordan has provided our company during her time at Lee College, especially regarding our Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) workforce development program,” said Connie Tilton of ExxonMobil Public and Government Affairs. “CCPI has been recognized across the state and nationally as a premiere program, and Debi’s leadership and vision has been the driving force behind it. Our workforce and community are better due to her dedication and hard work. Debi is leaving a legacy at Lee College, and it’s been our honor and privilege to work with her.”

Pam Warford, Executive Director of the Lee College Foundation, Director of Foundation and Donor Relations and a lifelong friend, described Jordan’s contributions to the college as intangible.

“She has increased our reach through relationships with individuals, organizations and consortiums.  These relationships have benefited the college in a huge way,” Warford said. “In addition, she has worked hard to bring the types of courses to Lee College that our partners in the industry have asked for — customized, fast-tracked training.”

Jordan helped organize and lead ExxonMobil’s initial $500,000 grant that established the CCPI. The grant, which has since increased to a total of total of $1.8 million, funds workforce development for the Houston-area petrochemical industry through nine local community colleges.

“Debi has been a unique asset to Lee College, and though we’re happy for her next chapter, we’re deeply saddened about losing her. Her networking skills, business acumen and passion for improving the lives of those around her will be missed,” Brown said. “We will conduct a national search for her replacement.”

In the interim, leadership of regional workforce initiatives will transition to Ponce. The Center’s leadership, which includes Interim Director of Corporate Services Marsha Tuha, Community Education Director Kimberlee Techeira and Business Operations Manager Delma Garcia, will lead the teams and day-to-day operations of the center under Ponce’s direction.

“I’ve known Debi for 10 years, and we’ve worked together for four years. I was a part of the center’s team when it began, so I’ve had a unique opportunity to witness and be part of the great things she’s done. She’s a special person to work for, because she’s so passionate and skilled at what she does. She isn’t just a boss, she’s a leader with a big heart,” Tuha said. “I’m happy that she’ll be able to spend time with her new grandbaby, but I’m definitely going to miss her. We all are.”

Jordan’s retirement is effective Jan. 1, 2017. She has also been a partner in an independent insurance agency in West Texas for nearly 30 years. She is a licensed agent, and plans on becoming more involved in the business.

Lee College thanks Jordan for her dedication & long-lasting impact in the community and workforce training.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College recognizes ExxonMobil for long partnership & generous contributions

College received more than $258,000 this year to support academics and student success

ExxonMobil Lunch
From left: Marsha Tuha, Interim Director of Corporate Services at Lee College; Debi Jordan, Executive Director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development at Lee College; Wayne Gray, Lee College Board of Regents; Brian Nagle of ExxonMobil; Woody Paul, Manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant; Ronn Haddox, Chairman of the Lee College Board of Regents; Pete Alfaro, Lee College Board of Regents; Layton Childress, Dean of Applied Sciences at Lee College; Mark Himsel, Lee College Board of Regents; Dr. Carolyn Lightfoot, Chief Information Officer at Lee College; Dr. Christina Ponce, Vice President of Student Success, Workforce and Resource Development at Lee College; and Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College President.
ExxonMobil Lunch
From left: Woody Paul, Manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant; Joe Whiddon of ExxonMobil; Connie Whiddon; Brian Nagle of ExxonMobil; Wayne Gray, Lee College Board of Regents; Ronn Haddox, Chairman of the Lee College Board of Regents; Pete Alfaro, Lee College Board of Regents; Mark Himsel, Lee College Board of Regents; Dr. Donnetta Suchon, Vice President of Student Affairs at Lee College; Pam Warford, Executive Director of the Lee College Foundation; and Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College President.
ExxonMobil Lunch
From left: Debi Jordan, Executive Director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development at Lee College; Brian Nagle of ExxonMobil; Woody Paul, Manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant; Wayne Gray, Lee College Board of Regents; Ronn Haddox, Chairman of the Lee College Board of Regents; Pete Alfaro, Lee College Board of Regents; Dr. Michael Fleming, Executive Director of Institutional Planning, Effectiveness and Research at Lee College; Marisela Morales, Lee College student; Mark Himsel, Lee College Board of Regents; Ellis Dorrance, Lee College student; Kelly Dando, ExxonMobil Grant Project Coordinator at Lee College; and Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College President.

BAYTOWN, TX — Leaders from Lee College and ExxonMobil recently came together to celebrate more than 80 years of successful partnership, and recognize the company for contributing more than $258,000 this year to academic programs and student success initiatives that prepare students for long-lasting and well-paying careers in a growing industry.

ExxonMobil presented the college with three donation checks at a special luncheon held Friday, July 22, on the third floor of the Advanced Technology Center: $15,000 for the EnergyVenture summer camp hosted by the Center for Workforce and Community Development that gives middle school students the chance to explore energy industry careers; $118,500 in ExxonMobil Foundation educational matching funds that will be used for student success efforts; and $125,000 for technician training programs like process technology and instrumentation.

ExxonMobil’s investment in Lee College is vital to students who would otherwise be unable to afford tuition or other expenses without additional resources, said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. The difficulty of balancing the rigor of technical programs with work, family and other responsibilities is an obstacle that prevents many from completing their chosen degree or certificate.

“What you do for us, in so many ways, makes such a difference to so many students,” Brown said. “These students are training for lifetime careers that can help them create a better and brighter future for themselves and their families.”

Lee College administrators also noted that ExxonMobil’s support extends beyond the financial. The company offers students internships that give them practical work experience before graduation, and regularly sends its employees to campus to share insights and expertise with both students and faculty.

ExxonMobil has also hosted pre-employment testing on campus, and helps the college to build a pipeline of future skilled workers by participating in programs and activities designed to give K-12 students an early introduction to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We owe ExxonMobil so much for giving back to the community,” said Layton Childress, dean of Applied Sciences. “Our goal is to take what you’ve given us and expand on it.”

Woody Paul, manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, said the company is proud of its longstanding relationship with Lee College and happy to invest in an institution centered on providing the high-quality education that its future employees will need to be successful.

“The passion, effort and caring that Lee College provides to its students is so effective,” Paul said. “You are equipping students to be successful in today’s world, and you are invaluable to us.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Info session May 13 for EnergyVenture Camp

The Center for Workforce and Community Development at Lee College will host an information session Tuesday, May 13, for parents and guardians interested in signing up their middle-schoolers for the dynamic, week-long EnergyVenture Camp being offered this summer.

The information session will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Phyllis Davis Room at 909 Decker Drive. Those who attend will learn more about how to register their children aged 12-16 years for one of the spots at EnergyVenture Camp, which fill quickly, and receive information about the availability of full scholarships. Sponsored by Shell and ExxonMobil, the camps will be held June 16-20 and June 23-27.

EnergyVenture Camp students discover the countless ways in which the petrochemical and refining industries touch their lives every day. Campers perform lab experiments, win prizes, take a tour of an energy-related facility and hear firsthand from guest speakers who work in the field. Students are also invited to return to campus during the spring semester for an annual reunion, where they can catch up with old friends and get re-engaged with the college and the industry.

For more details about the information session and EnergyVenture Camp, contact the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311 or workforce@lee.edu.