Third presidential candidate interviewed at Isothermal

Fourth candidate arrives today
Feb. 20, 2013 @ 05:25 AM

"There is no community college system like the one in North Carolina" said Matthew Meyer, who is vying for the presidential post at Isothermal Community College. He added, the system is the best anywhere.

Meyer is the third of six finalists chosen by the search committee to interview for the job held by Dr. Myra Johnson, who announced her retirement in November. Johnson will remain in the position until spring.

Meyer told an audience of about 60 people, including college trustees and staff, he gained a passion for community colleges while on his first job at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College in 1994. 

He went to AB Tech as an adjunct profession and while working with the students, he witnessed some of their struggles with their studies. While helping one particular student in an engineering class, he said when the mathematics in a statistics class finally "clicked" for the student, Meyer said he never forgot how the student reacted.

While Meyer was looking for an engineering job, he believed through that experience he could be beneficial to students in the community college setting.

Meyer said he also said watched his mentor, K. Ray Bailey, at AB Tech and realized he knew Bailey knew a lot about the community college system, so he began to follow him more closely to learn as much as possible about the system.

He shared the cliche' it's important to "know a little about a lot and a lot about a little."  

Meyer said he spent time at AB Tech as a liaison between continuing education and economic development working with companies to develop better training plans and facilities at the college for industries. 

After nearly 10 years in Asheville, where he was an instructor and chair of the Mechanical Engineer Technology and Dean of Corporate and Economic Development, he later moved on to the North Carolina Community College System. He is the associate vice president for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Innovations for the state's community college system. 

"I feel my career has hit a point," Meyer told the audience. After visiting 32 colleges during his career, he decided to accept the challenge and applied for the presidency at Isothermal.

After his brief comments, Meyer took three or four questions from the audience.

 He said he would work with the Isothermal team and seek help from county commissioners if there were struggles with the operations at the college where funding would be needed. He said he would seek federal money when necessary.

Meyer said he would be interested in intercollegiate sports and would promote special events on campus to keep the students there.

"Unless they have to go to work. . ." he added.

Meyer said he will go out and meet the industrial leaders to determine ways the college can partner with them for workforce training.

He mentioned Forest City's Facebook Data Center, the area breweries and need for more and more health care. He said Isothermal could be helpful in offering training for the various companies. 

Meyer came to work for community college system in 2006 as the director of the NCCCS BioNetwork before becoming associate vice president of Innovations and Biotechnology. Meyer worked as the dean of Workforce and Economic Development for the Community College Workforce Alliance in Virginia from 2003 until 2006.

He earned a doctorate in community college leadership at Old Dominion University; a M.S. in bioengineering at Clemson University; and a B.S. in mechanical engineering at University of Dayton. He lives in Cary.