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Shea says award is business as usual

May 01, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

The statewide award will bear his name, but Hagerstown Junior College President Norman P. Shea isn't taking it personally.

"I think it's symbolic recognition for the role community colleges play in workforce development," said Shea, 59, who will accept this year's William E. Kidd Jr. Small Business Training Advocate of the Year award today in Baltimore.

Shea will be one of 11 award winners at the 13th annual Maryland Small Business Awards Breakfast, according to Fred K. Teeter Jr., executive vice president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber nominated Shea and Merle S. Elliott for the U.S. Small Business Administration awards this year, Teeter said.

Elliott, a retired partner of Smith Elliott Kearns & Co., was runner-up for Accountant Advocate of the Year, he said.

Washington County has had a state-level winner every year and several regional winners, Teeter said.

"It's really a testimony to the businesses we have in the area and the people who run them," he said.

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Shea, who has headed HJC for 11 years, said he sees the award as an accomplishment of the college and its staff more than a personal one.

"College presidents are like coaches," he said. "They get too much blame when it goes wrong and too much credit when it goes right."

Teeter said the chamber felt Shea fit the training advocate award's narrow criteria, including a "a commitment to enhance the growth and vitality of small business by promoting flexible job skills and greater workforce mobility through specialized training programs."

Community colleges have been placing an increased emphasis on continuing education and lifelong learning as it relates to the ever-changing job market, Shea said.

Customized training programs - developed to meet local business and industry needs - have been a major focus of HJC's continuing education program, he said.

The highly specialized training was made possible by the school's state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Center, Shea said.

For nearly three years, he said, the school has fostered local business development through its Technical Innovation Center, a "business incubator" offering entrepreneurs the high-tech office space and manufacturing equipment they need to get their ideas off the ground.

"It's been a rip-roaring success," said Shea, who said the college has gotten international attention from it.

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