RIO GRANDE — “Over the years, life has presented me with many challenges and opportunities. What you’ll soon find, if you haven’t already, is that challenges and opportunities are essentially the same thing,” BTS CEO Sean Lane told the 2012 graduates of the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College during the 136th anniversary commencement held on Saturday on the campus green.
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. When life presents you with challenges, you turn those into opportunities,” he said.
Lane, a native of Gallia County and Air Force Veteran, who delivered the commencement address, founded the Baltimore-based company Battlefield Telecommunications Systems (BTS) in 2008 and, since that time, the company has blossomed and now employs over 100 people, has formed several subsidiary companies and maintains five offices, including a newly opened BTS Software Solutions office in Gallipolis.
Lane, who attended Rio Grande as a post-secondary option student, discussed his own time at Rio, the journey that has own life has taken him on and the many “pivots” that he has had to manage — turning the many challenges life presents into opportunities.
“Your life will be determined by how you react to everything that comes your way starting today, starting right now as soon as you leave these grounds,” he said. “Fifteen years ago when I attended Rio as a college freshman/high school senior, I was certain that four years later I’d be graduating on this stage. … That, of course, wasn’t the case that I’d graduate from Rio four years later. My journey was much different than had originally planned. You’ll find that it’s very important in your life to pivot when necessary.”
Lane also discussed the establishment of a partnership with the University of Rio Grande and BTS and their initiative, the Rio “SENSE” program or software engineering for national security enterprise.
“This program will teach students how to use software engineering and computer science techniques to build applications for analysis and collection of intelligence data that agencies in the United States will use to find bad guys, and that’s going to happen right here on the campus of Rio Grande,” Lane said.
The institution of the program, according to Lane, was the need for trained professionals that could work at BTS or any other software/technology based company that may be attracted to the area in the coming years through the nonprofit Digital River Project founded in 2011.
“People thought we were crazy, ‘how are you going to do sophisticated, department of defense intelligence in Gallipolis, Ohio? Where’s the talent going to come from?’ I said, ‘the talent is going to come from right here — from Rio,’” Lane stated.
Lane continued on that vein throughout his speech, praising his time spent at Rio and encouraging the graduates to face the challenges of their lives head-on and to adapt to any all situations that will come their way in the future, thereby molding their lives in the process and earning their success through hard work.
“I’d venture to guess that many of the graduates here today have already had to pivot. In this area of the world, we tend to do things the hard way. We like to earn it and I’m sure you’ve all earned it, and it’s because that’s what we do at Rio,” Lane said.
College of Arts and Sciences
School of Fine Arts:
• Chuck Maxam — Outstanding student in the Visual Arts
• Allyson Johnston — The Edith and Merlyn Ross Music Award for Outstanding Musicianship
• Nathan Wood — Outstanding Musician Award
• Andrea Rohrer — John Phillip Sousa Outstanding Musicianship Band Award
School of Liberal Studies:
• Randall Fite — History
• Tashina Kissinger — Comprehensive Social Science
• Cassie Mattia — Communications
• Dale Sorrell — Comprehensive Social Science
• Kacie Willey — English
School of Sciences:
• Logan Brushart — Biology
• Adrienne Leonard — Environmental Science
• Tessa Saxon — Math/AYA Math
College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
Holzer School of Nursing (Baccalaureate Awards):
• Morgan Roberts — Emerson and Evelyn Evans and Sons and Family Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
• Morgan Roberts — Emerson E. Evans Excellence in Nursing Award: “Leadership and Management”
• Misty Spradley — Manning E. Wetherholt Excellence in Nursing Award: Nursing in the Community
• Christina Cain — Nursing is an Adventure Award
• Ashley Malone — Nursing is an Adventure Award
Holzer School of Nursing (Associate Nursing Degree Awards):
• Penny Burnette — Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for “Two Year Nursing Graduate”
• Amber Campbell — Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for “Licensed Practical Nurse Advanced Placement Track Graduate”
• Karen Edgar (Barr) — “Nursing Legacy Award”
• Brenda Mershon — Mary Inez Howes Spirit of Nursing Award
• Alfred Caudill — Outstanding Nursing Graduate Award
• Demeen McQuithy — Nightingale Award
• Penny Burnette — People Caring for People Award
School of Allied Health:
• Loretta Bandy — Highest Cumulative RAD Grade Point Average
• Hannah Newsom — Highest Cumulative RAD Grade Point Average
• Loretta Bandy — Outstanding Student Technologist in the Clinical Setting
• Heather Mahan — Most Improved Student Technologist in the Clinic Setting
• Jennifer Tschudy — Outstanding Student in the Classroom
• Tierany Tobert — Most Improved Student in the Classroom
• Loretta Bandy — “A” Honor Roll (3.7 or Higher Cumulative RAD GPA)
• Hannah Newsom — “A” Honor Roll (3.7 or Higher Cumulative RAD GPA)
• Community Service Award: Loretta Bandy, Hannah Newsom, Jennifer Tschudy, Heather Mahan, Tierany Tobert
School of Behavioral Sciences:
• Megan Lawhon — Outstanding Psychology Graduate
• Marissa Lennox — Outstanding Social Work Graduate
• Amanda Miller — Leadership in Social Work
College of Professional and Applied Studies
Emerson E. Evans School of Business:
• Tamara Sheets — Accounting
• Rebecca Lewis — Business Management
• Tiffany Simpson — Information Technology
• Joel Theissen — Marketing
• Jane Clagg — W. Lowell A. “Buz” Call Mark of Excellence Award
• Evan Wood — Entrepreneurial Award
• Tonya Clark — Outstanding Associate
• Charles Gray — Business Field Test
• Jessica Mullins — Business Field Test
• Brittany Brown — Business Policy Simulation Game (Fall Semester)
• Stephanie Trainer — Business Policy Simulation Game (Fall Semester)
• Tom Saunders — Business policy Simulation Game (Spring Semester)
• Jessical Wickline — Overall Outstanding Student Award
School of Engineering Technologies:
• Thomas Saunders — Outstanding Industrial Technology (four year) student
• Seth Rawson — Outstanding Electronics Industrial Automatic (two year) student
• Walt Peterson — Power Plant Mechanical Maintenance
• Scott Hillger — Fine Woodworking
• Brian Enright — Plant Maintenance under Manufacturing
• Nicholas Johnson — Electronics Technology Networking
• C. Kevin Colley — Information Technology Network Systems
• Levi Stumbo — Outstanding Manufacturing Degree