Monthly Archives: August 2018

Durham Tech, Duke Energy launch new Electrical Line Technician program

Durham Tech President Bill Ingram, Duke Energy District Manager Indira Everett, and Durham Tech Board of Trustees Chairman John Burness ready to cut the ribbon in celebration of the new Electrical Line Technician program at Durham Tech. The program will begin in Spring 2019 in partnership with Duke Energy.

The new Electrical Line Technician program at Durham Technical Community College was officially launched at an event at the College’s Northern Durham Center campus on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The program was created in partnership with Duke Energy to help fill future regional job openings. A nearly $200,000 Duke Energy grant is funding the program.

“North Carolina will need an estimated 1,400 lineworkers for each year for the next five to six years,” Rufus Jackson, Duke Energy Vice President of Distribution, said during the event. “The need is there.”

The need for additional lineworkers is due in part by a plan to update the electrical grid and current linemen retiring.

“As we work to build an even better grid that is engineered for the future and improves the way we serve customers, our need for skilled lineworkers will be even greater,” said Jackson.

The new Durham Tech program will begin in Spring 2019 at the Northern Durham Center campus. Courses will cover elements of electricity, overhead pole and electrical line construction, safety codes and applications, and transformer/meter installations.

Students will be able to earn certifications in OSHA 10 and CPR and their commercial driver’s license in addition to being prepped to enter the workforce as entry-level technicians. The North Carolina Community College System has approved the program as a pre-apprenticeship program.

Durham Tech President Bill Ingram said partnerships like Duke Energy help meet important community needs and provide a talent pipeline for industry.

“It is partners like Duke Energy that keep our College moving forward and help not only the students who come through our doors but help us meet the needs of our surrounding community,” Ingram said.

Durham Tech was one of two North Carolina community colleges awarded a grant this year to start an Electrical Line Technician program, according to Indira Everett, Duke Energy District Manager.

“I’m delighted to see this wonderful partnership come to fruition,” Everett said at the event. “I applaud the way President Ingram and Durham Tech continue to partner with all the businesses in the community to ensure we all engage in moving the needle for our Durham citizens.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on the grounds of the Northern Durham Center marked the celebration of the new program Tuesday.

Check presentation at ribbon cutting ceremony on August 21.

New Café at Durham Tech brings fresh approach

Executive Chef Jordan Fulchiero (left) and Shalonda Royster (right) prepare lunch at the Cafe at Durham Tech.

As a new academic year begins this week, Durham Tech students and employees won’t have to look far for a quality meal.

The new Café at Durham Tech offers fresh breakfast and lunch throughout the week under the leadership of Executive Chef and Café General Manager Jordan Fulchiero.

To start off the day, café goers can pick from a selection that includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, Applewood bacon, sausage, and fresh fruit.

Breakfast prices range from $0.50 to $5.50.

The café offers a spread of lunch options such as fresh salads, Angus beef burgers, Portabella cap mushroom sandwiches, daily chef specials, build-your-own sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, and soups.

Customers can complement their entrées with such side dishes as tofu fries or onion rings and then satisfy their sweet tooth with options like cookies and blondies. Gluten free alternatives for salads and sandwiches are available.

Most lunch options average between $4.25 and $7.25.

The café reopened in April in the Phail Wynn, Jr. Student Services Center (Building 10) on Main Campus. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with only Grab n’ Go options available on Fridays.

“Durham Tech has done so much for Durham and the surrounding communities, and to be a part of something that contributes to the greater good of the community where I raise my children is a privilege,” she said. “One of my favorite memories from college was meeting up with all of my friends and grabbing lunch. It was a much needed break before classes started again in the afternoon.”

Fulchiero’s personal passion for the environment influenced her approach to Durham Tech’s eatery.

She and her employees support local farmers by purchasing produce from the Durham Farmers Market and working with US Foods to obtain locally sourced produce.

Some of the café’s items such as napkins, boxes, and containers consist of unbleached, compostable, molded wheat fiber paper. The staff also uses non-aerosol sprays.

Orders can be placed in-person or online at!/.

The café also provides catering. For more information, email

For more information on the Café at Durham Tech, visit or find it on Facebook at @CafeAtDurhamTech.

Shalonda Royster

Advanced Manufacturing pilot course first step in new career pathway program at Durham Tech

Tracey Brown (left) discusses functions of the LR Mate 200iD robotic arm with instructor, Walter Bartlett (right).

Patrick Wynn watches closely as the LR Mate 200iD robotic arm picks up a plastic blue disc and moves it through the mock production line in the Mechatronics Lab at Durham Tech where students are learning the basic skills required to become an entry-level manufacturing production technician.

“The community college system is the technical arm of the job market,” said Walter Bartlett, instructor at Durham Tech and former president of Piedmont Community College. “About 80 percent of jobs out there are technical based and require an associate’s degree level knowledge so it’s prudent that we offer that.”

Wynn, 29, is a Maintenance Technician at the Corning facility in Durham and one of the first students to enroll in the College’s newest course – Manufacturing Production Technician.

“I wanted to reacquaint myself with higher technology so I can better understand my job,” Wynn said. “Eventually I want to strive for a higher position, but for now, I just want to have a stronger understanding so I can do my job better.”

The pilot course serves as the first step in the expansion of the Advanced Manufacturing career pathway at Durham Tech, which was funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation in April. The course provides training for the basic and technical skills needed to prepare students for advanced, high-performance manufacturing environments.

“If you talk to A.W. and Merck, they’ll tell you they need technicians. They need people with these skills,” Bartlett said. “We have a lot of opportunities at the community college to fulfill these positions and Durham Tech is doing a great job at trying to increase their capacity and meet that need.”

The expansion of the Advanced Manufacturing pathway at Durham Tech will place workers on the path to training, learning, and earning the certifications they need to apply for open, regional job opportunities and, in turn, begin their career paths towards high-demand occupations in Durham and Orange counties.

It also leverages partnerships with several local agencies including: Merck, Bell and Howell, Purdue Pharma, AW, Biogen, KBI, and Morinaga America, Inc.

“The big draw for this particular program is that there is a recognition in the industry that electronics are controlling the mechanical functions so having someone with an electronics technician background in addition to having the skills and mechanical to drive what the controls mean is extremely important,” Bartlett said.

Tracey Brown, one of Wynn’s classmates, has no prior manufacturing experience, but hopes this course will open a new door in her career.

“My background is in architecture, but I’m hoping someone will take me on after having the fundamental knowledge from this program,” Brown said. “I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed what we’re doing because I was never exposed to it before. I want to encourage young women and young people in general to get on board with manufacturing, especially in the way that it’s being done now with computerized systems.”

Patrick Wynn (left) and Tracey Brown (right) observe the Programmable Logic Controller.

The course also offers students the opportunity to earn six industry-recognized credentials within the FESTO 4.0 industry certifications.

“I think one of the attractions is that what we’re doing here is mostly hands-on,” Bartlett said. “The first 100 hours of the course is spent learning how to program the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). We’ve covered what normally takes 16 weeks, in just 4 weeks, so they’ve moved fast, but doing well.”

Students may enter one of six possible short-term credential courses. By following the pathway students may gain certification and continue on to higher levels of education and training or exit into skilled, high-demand occupations in advanced manufacturing.

Durham Tech, Women’s Business Center help pave the way for Cheung’s great escape

Alice Cheung

There’s 60 minutes on the clock.

Friends, families, and colleagues are locked in a room and must work together to find clues, solve puzzles, and crack codes to find the key to the outside.

They’re called escape rooms and they’re on an upward trend in entertainment.

“Your entire group is working toward a common goal, but it requires so many different types of thinking,” said Alice Cheung, 30, owner of Bull City Escape. “When you’re under the time pressure it really highlights people’s individual strengths within a collaborative group effort.”

Cheung brought this interactive experience to Durham in 2015 after attending a joint seminar by the Durham Tech Small Business Center and the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina.

“The seminar gave me the confidence I needed to open the business,” said Cheung. “I wouldn’t consider myself a natural entrepreneur so that was a big mental hurdle to overcome. But being in that space and being aware of all of these free resources made me realize that there’s a community here that’s going to be supportive.”

The idea stemmed from a leisure scroll on TripAdvisor during a vacation Cheung took to Nashville.

“I was just looking for things to do when I found an escape room. I decided to try it and loved it, then I looked more purposefully at escape rooms when I traveled,” said Cheung. “The more I played, the more I kept thinking about what I would do differently. There was nothing like it in Durham or the Triangle at the time so I thought this would be the perfect place for this sort of thing.”

When the idea hit, Cheung was working full-time at Duke University. She opened the business in summer 2015 by additionally working nights and weekends, but just a few months in, she decided to leave Duke and operate Bull City Escape full-time.

“When I started in 2015, it was such a new idea. It was hard to explain what escape rooms were to get business insurance. It felt pretty isolating at first, but the small business seminar was so supportive and excited to hear what plans I had. It made me feel more confident about talking to other people about it and it opened up a whole network community within Durham that I’m extremely grateful for and rely on every day.”

Bull City Escape features three game rooms, all designed in-house and unique to their facility.

“It was just a lot of notes jotted down at first, but the seminar helped make it concrete,” Cheung said. “It really gave me the confidence to be able to do this, otherwise I think they’d just be vague ideas that I keep dreaming of, but wouldn’t necessarily know how to implement.”

Cheung also supports the Durham Living Wage Project, which urges employers to pay living wages so that all workers can prosper.

“I’ve been able to hire and build a team that I trust 100 percent and are amazing,” Cheung said. “I feel more deeply connected to people who live and work in Durham and it’s an honor to be able to contribute to the health of this community and help build the kind of city that I want to live in.”

Cheung says she’s grateful for the Durham Tech Small Business Center and Women’s Business Center of North Carolina for resources they offer small business owners.

“It was great to see how supportive Durham is of small businesses,” Cheung said. “Seeing so many people who are passionate about small businesses and contributing to the growth of Durham was really inspiring and motivational.”

Bull City Escape is open Thursday through Sunday and located at 711 Iredell Street in Durham.

To learn more about small business seminars offered by Durham Tech, please visit:

Let’s celebrate August anniversaries and birthdays!

August Anniversaries (Years)

Dr. Bill Ingram (31); John Hurlburt (28); Vernon Bridges (27); Perry Cumbie (25); Ricky Glasgow (23); Patrick Coin (22); Gregory Walton (21); Andrea Parrish (20); Connie Gomez-Joines (20); Wendy Ramseur (20); Roy Stallings (18); Willie Johnson (18); Robert Wilson (17); Emma Borynski (16); Jamia McIver-Eshiet (15); Brenda East (15); John Crutchfield (15); Julie Hoover (15); Lyndsay Al-Shibli (15); Micara Sessoms (15); Suzanne Laudadio (15); Thomas Beveridge (15); Dorothy Wood (14); Elecia Brown (14); Gabrielle McCutchen (14); James Weeks (14); Janel Thompson (14); Kerry Cantwell (14); Robbi Muckenfuss (14); Robert Matthews (14); Svetlana Yokum (14); Erica Taylor (14); Erik Townsend (13); Angela Boone (13); Shannon Hahn (13); Sheryl McCloud (13); Sheza Healey (13); Kara Battle (13); Naomi Feaste (13); Lesley Chaffin (12); Lorelie Bingham (12); Donna Littleton (10); Erin Riney (10); Mary Kennery (10); Marye Vance (10); Jonathan Cook (9); Michele Alexandre (9); Gloria Gay (8); James Luxton (8); Cara Potter (8); Donnie Sommerfeldt (8); James DePalma (8); Jason Moldoff (8); John Cain (8); John Lee (8); Larry Haynes (8); Margaret Memory (8); Scott Neal (8); Johnnie Bratton (8); Marisa Sullivan (7); Jemma Superville (7); Dorene MacKinnon (7); Marguerita Best (7); Marina DelVecchio (7); Tina Bryant-Allen (7); Kim Chandler (6); Amy Kern (6); Sara Juarez (6); Jaclyn Krohn (5); Christine Gunnigle (5); Janemarie Baker (5); Jerry Oxendine (5); John Stauble (5); LaTonya Steele (5); Marie Fogarty (5); William Creech (5); Andrew Teears (4); Meredith Lewis (4); Olga Hogrefe (4); Paula Wilder (4); Steven Kerrigan (4); Larry Carter (3); Maria Steele (3); Rachel Lithman (3); Dawne Roberson (3); Deidre Yancey (3); Timothy Postell (3); Erin Popov (3); Angela Davis (2); Jessica Lombardi (2); Keyma Clark (2); Valarie Hines (2); Ashley Hodges (2); Brittney VornDick-Williams (2); Cathy Collie-Robinson (2); Heather Aloor (2); Lisa Blair (2); Stephanie Dawson (2); Carolyn Beatty (2); Fabiola Ten (2); Margaret Dietz (1); Darius Whitney (1)

August Birthdays (Day)

Larry Nobles (2); Darlene Bullock (3); Janice Stuart (7); Matthew Williams (7); Perry Cumbie (8); Jessica Vaughan (8); Robert Matthews (9); Randy Pickens, Jr (11); Sheryl McCloud (12); Jacquelyn Ross (15); Diane Usher (15); Stesha Little (17); Don Wheeler (19); Peter Wooldridge (20); Ricky Glasgow (20); Thomas Murphy (20); Janel Thompson (20); Derek Epps (20); Marisa Sullivan (21); Courtnea Rainey (23); Catina Hill-Wafula (24); Judy Roberts (25); Melissa Ockert (26); Kathy McKinley (26); Robert Leonard (27); Kathryn Rexrode (27); Leroy Pendergraft (29); Emerenciana Alejo (29); Joy Hansen (30); Megan Nicholson (31)