Thursday, August 28, 2014

TTC Graduate Pays Tribute to the Zuckers

When Will Reid was asked to speak at an event honoring Anita Zucker and her family as they received the prestigious Francis Salvador Award Sunday evening, he was honored and excited. 

“The family has done so much for our community. Not just by donating, but giving their time when they don’t have to,” said Reid during his remarks.

Reid graduated from TTC last spring with an associate degree and represents one of the many individuals that have benefited from the generosity of the Zucker family. 

But Reid knew who the Zuckers were even before he came to TTC. He and his wife Martha are die-hard fans of the South Carolina Stingrays and as newlyweds, their first major purchase together wasn’t a house or a car. It was season tickets to the Stingrays. 

Reid and his wife saw Mrs. Zucker and her family on a regular basis at season ticket-holder functions. He says, “Ask any Stingray fan about the Zuckers and you won’t find a single person who doesn’t smile and isn’t glad to talk about how amazing they are. It’s like we are all one giant family from October to April.”

But the Zuckers later made an impact on Reid’s education, in a way that he didn’t expect. 

When he graduated from college with a degree in biology, he hoped to work for the Department of Natural Resources or a research facility monitoring wildlife populations. 

Unfortunately, there were few jobs at the time of his graduation, which happened to be during the recession. Reid took a job as a wildlife removal specialist for a pest control company and began to seek out mentoring and help in order to find a career that would make him happy. Reid was put in contact with a manager of a major chemical plant in the area, who told him that there was a good future in manufacturing automation and introduced Reid to the program at TTC. 

“I was burned out on college and really didn’t feel like I wanted to go back. I was 26 and most of my friends had already been in the workforce for a few years. I felt a little behind,” said Reid.

Nevertheless, he decided to give it a shot and enrolled in the Electrician: Automation and Industrial program. On his first day of class, he entered the electro-mechanical lab in the Industrial Maintenance Training Center and right away knew he was in the right place. 

“I saw a plaque on the wall that said ‘Sponsored by the Zucker Family.’ I was so nervous about going back to school and that sign helped me.  It was like seeing part of my family.”

Reid spent a good portion of his time in that lab, which provided him with an extraordinary amount of information and very valuable hands-on experience, and he never missed a chance to tell his classmates about the importance of the plaque and just who it was that donated the lab.

Reid said he “felt it was important for them to know who in the community is supporting us. Had it not been for the generosity of the Zucker family, our program would not be able to boast a 100% job placement rate.”

Reid graduated with three job offers and recently accepted a position with SCE&G.  He is also considering plans to continue his schooling. 

There were over 500 people at the event on Sunday night when Reid spoke during a program that boasted many prominent leaders, including Senator Lindsey Graham and College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell. To some, this might have been intimidating but Reid captivated the audience with his passion for learning and drive for success.  

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