Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recognizing Innovators at TTC

2014 SKIP winners Jim Skinner and Tony Bertauski
Innovators see the world differently than most people. To them, the world is an imperfect place offering limitless opportunities for anyone who is willing, able and impassioned to make it better. 

The 2014 SKIP award winners, Physical Sciences Research Specialist Jim Skinner and Horticulture Program Coordinator Tony Bertauski, are no exception. Their goal is to make life better for their students and their colleagues, and last Friday at the TTC annual faculty/staff meeting, they were awarded for their efforts.

The SKIP award (Strategy + Knowledge = Innovation Prize) was established in 2012 by Dr. Skip Godow through donations to the TTC Foundation to recognize faculty and staff members who have instituted innovations that have significantly enhanced the student experience or administrative functioning at TTC.  

"By creating the SKIP award, I wanted to help foster a culture of innovation at TTC, which is THE place in Charleston providing the greatest educational opportunities and is the most responsive to the community," says Dr. Godow.

Jim Skinner won in the staff category for redefining the manner in which Trident Tech manages and accesses inventory, safety and scheduling records for laboratories. His chemical inventory solution saves the college a considerable amount of money and time, improves safety by maintaining minimal supplies of potentially hazardous materials, and demonstrates to students and faculty how to maintain a well-organized, efficient and effective laboratory facility. He has also been commended by Public Safety and by North Charleston Emergency Response because his chemical database can be easily accessed externally in a command center, allowing officials to know whether it is safe to enter a building and where the biggest threats (e.g., flammable and explosive chemicals) are housed. 

Tony Bertauski won in the faculty category for ensuring that his students have the opportunity to incorporate and fine-tune their skills in real-life settings. By requiring his students to do things such as find client homes on their own via GPS or Google maps, analyze sites and take measurements via Google maps satellite imagery, use smart phone apps and iPads to virtually create lighting designs on a photo or to suggest plants while on site with a client, use free Google Sketchup to create virtual three-dimensional environments, and formally pitch their landscaping ideas, he helps horticulture students develop skills that are not limited to landscape design but apply to almost any endeavor.

SKIP award winners are selected by a group of five community leaders who review and rank each nomination. Winners receive $1,000 from the TTC Foundation for their innovative efforts.

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