ALUMNI SUCCESS STORIES

James Ahlstrom - PLCC

Portage Lakes Career Center is proud to focus the spotlight on the first of many PLCC alumni success stories.  James Ahlstrom, PLCC class of 1995, is an active Green community member currently running as a candidate for Green City Council representing Ward 1.  With a diverse business background including insurance sales, various small businesses, real estate and property management, James is also very involved in the Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals by the mayor in 2010.

Ahlstrom originally came to PLCC to enroll in the Public Safety program because he was interested in becoming a police officer.  He notes, “While I am not in law enforcement, the course prepared me for my role in public service.”  One of the classes he chose to take at PLCC focused on entrepreneurship and that is a role he has embraced throughout his career.  As an eager entrepreneur over the last 10 years, Ahlstrom has successfully acquired, sold, and managed multiple residential and business properties and has an interest in several small businesses helping to manage their efficiency and profitability. 

When asked about his memories of PLCC, Ahlstrom notes that, “One of the things I appreciate the most aboutPLCC is how I was taught real life applications.”  He specifically remembers three PLCC teachers, Mr. Martin, Mr, Kakoules, and Mr. McCormick, who each “kept me interested in my classes and put me on the right career path.”  In addition, Ahlstrom notes that PLCC instructors, “taught me to think outside the box.  This prepared me for investing in my first rental property and for running my own business.”  He adds, PLCC “taught me how to think for myself and how every decision affects my future.”

In addition to all of his career pursuits, Ahlstrom also enjoys serving in the children’s ministry at his church, playing various sports and, most of all, spending time with his wife, Kim, and their two children, Reagan and Reese.  PLCC is proud to have played a part in the success that Ahlstrom has become!

Are you one of the many PLCC graduates putting your skills to good use?  We would love to hear from you!  Please contact Lisa Clarke at lclarke@plcc.edu to register as an alumnus of PLCC.

If you are a PLCC alumnus with a success story, please contact Lisa Clarke at lclarke@plcc.edu.  We look forward to hearing from you!

ANOTHER PLCC SUCCESS STORY

In our continued focus on the incredible alumni of PLCC, this month PLCC recognizes alumnus Jason Newman, PLCC Class of 1993.  Jason Newman is currently the Estimator/Purchasing Manager at Ohio Fabricators in Akron and he credits the PLCC with helping to set him on the path towards his future.  As a student who participated in the Job Placement Program, Newman notes that, “having that opportunity of what it meant to have a job before I even graduated high school helped me to get accepted into the Apprenticeship Program which Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 33 offered.”

Newman’s home school was Green High School and he was enrolled in the Auto Mechanics program during his time at PLCC.  As a student who knew he was “always going to be working with my hands,” Newman opted to attend PLCC because of the hands-on learning he could obtain in his lab program.  However, he credits his history teacher, Mr. McCormick, with making a strong impact on him.  It was while serving a detention (for reasons Newman jokingly will not disclose) in Mr. McCormick’s class that Newman ended up on the Academic Team.  Newman remembers that, “I was forced to participate in the try outs for the Academic Team.  Much to my surprise, and I believe the surprise of Mr. McCormick, I answered more questions correctly than those who were really trying out.  I ended up being an alternate on the Academic Team.”  This story flows perfectly with the advice Newman offers to current PLCC students when he says, “Keep trying, keep working and remember you are smarter than you think and know more than you think you do.”

In addition to his position at Ohio Fabricators, Newman also sits on the board of the East Central Ohio Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association and is the Co-Chairman of the Sheet Metal Workers Local #33 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.  In his spare time, Newman has also obtained his certification as a SCUBA diver.  This year Newman opted to hire a current PLCC student in the Job Placement Program and will undoubtedly set another student on the right path towards his future.  PLCC thanks you and is proud of you Jason Newman, Class of ’93!

 SUCCESS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

PLCC graduates are everywhere and this month in our continued focus on successful PLCC alumni and on the benefits of a PLCC education, we highlight Tom Alcorn.  Alcorn is a 1989 graduate of the first Ford Asset Program, a cooperative arrangement that existed at PLCC at the time between the Ford Motor Company, Akron University, local Ford dealerships, and PLCC.  It was this program that initially attracted Alcorn to the Career Center given his passion for hot rods and Ford trucks.  Alcorn notes that PLCC “gave me the training I needed not only to get a job in the field I wanted, but a solid foundation that would help me to excel.”   And excel he has!  Alcorn is currently the Service Manager at Klaben Ford Lincoln in Kent and has also made a point to invest in giving back to PLCC by consistently offering PLCC seniors and alumni solid opportunities for their own futures.  Alcorn also serves on the Automotive Technologies Advisory Committee and has volunteered his time at PLCC’s Employability Expo over the past two years.   He considers mentoring future employees one of the best parts of his current position and states that, “Nothing makes me happier than when I see a young man or woman grow, not only in his or her career but also as a person.”

Alcorn is happy to offer advice to a younger generation of workers and encourages students to “learn everything you can while it is free.  Ask questions until you understand and then ask some more.”  He notes two teachers in particular who inspired him not only to invest in learning his trade but also to invest in becoming a good person.  “Mr. Dietz taught us character along with teaching welding and Mr. Ozbolt not only taught us about automobiles but taught us about taking pride in our work, being committed, and having integrity.”  In fact, Alcorn notes that it is commitment, integrity, and hard work which are the most important aspects of being a successful employee and adds that utilizing all of your resources is essential in today’s workforce.  “Sometimes you find yourself where no one has explored before.  You have to make your own path using all your resources.  ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t work in the real world.”  With all of this valuable experience and knowledge, it is easy to see that Alcorn is a real credit to PLCC and also one of our most trusted and valued employers.

If you are a PLCC graduate with a success story, please contact Lisa Clarke at lclarke@plcc.edu.  We look forward to hearing from you!