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NewsWednesday, May 6, 2009
John Powell Receives Tri-County's Distinguished Alumni Award
PENDLETON --- The landscape and the course offerings may have broadened in the last 37 years, but alumnus John Powell says the heart of Tri-County Technical College - its caring, compassionate instructors - remains the same.
"That's what makes Tri-County special. Instructors care about their students and are interested in helping them to get good jobs. It's no different that when I was a student in the early 1970's. You're a name, not a number," said Powell, a 1972 Business Technology graduate, who owns and operates Powell Real Estate in Oconee County.
Tonight (May 12) Powell receives Tri-County Technical College's Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater. The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association, or the community.
Since graduating, Powell has maintained a close connection to the College by serving on various boards and continuing to spread the word about a place that gave him career direction and many fond memories.
He says Tri-County offered exactly what he was interested in - practical experience combined with classroom knowledge.
He served as the College's second Student Government Association president and was selected as a member of the Governor's Drug Abuse Council in SC in 1972. "I still feel a real connection to the College," said Powell, who, to date, is the first and only alumnus to serve on the College's Foundation Board, was the Alumni Association's second president and is a longtime member of the Business Technology Advisory Committee.
During his tenure as president of the Alumni Association, he helped to organize the first annual golf tournament in 1987 which has continued through the years with proceeds from past tournaments enabling the Alumni Association to endow two scholarships through the College's Foundation, to make professional development opportunities available to faculty and staff and to name a room at the Anderson Campus.
He entered the real estate business in 1973 and today Powell Real Estate has 16 sales agents in three offices, and Powell, who sells just like the rest and vows that will never change.
He also owns a cattle farm, which he maintains by himself in the evenings. In addition, he has been involved in the creation of 36 subdivisions, including being a partner in Falcon's Lair Golf Community in Walhalla. In 2002 he and good friend, Rick Cook, formed a partnership. Today they have nine Subway franchises in Upstate SC.
In 1992 he was elected to the Oconee Medical Center Board of Directors and served as chairman from 1995 - 1998. He also chaired the Hospital's Building Committee and the Oconee County School Task Force. He currently serves on the Business Education Industry Organization in Oconee County.
Giving back to the community is key to Powell so he didn't hesitate six months ago when asked to chair a fundraising campaign to build a homeless shelter in Oconee County. To date, the group of volunteers has raised $1.3 million dollars and hopes to open Our Daily Rest this summer.
"I enjoy what I do," said Powell. "Retirement is not in my vocabulary."
He is very active in his church, Welcome Wesleyan Church, where he leads a Small Group and sings in the choir.
Powell resides in West Union with his wife, Joyce, and their teenage son, Cliff, 17. They also have three adult children, Joy, James and Mark, and four grandchildren.