Chris Lassiter – Making the Most of Each Day

Chris Lassiter

 

If life is a gift, then Chris Lassiter demonstrates each and every day that he is possessed with an abundance of gratitude. He entered the Charlotte Campus’ Network Security program as a fresh high school graduate. When he arrived, he was typical of most traditional college students. To pay his way through school, he balanced a full time job at Wendy’s with his class schedule and homework responsibilities.

Half way through the program, Chris became very ill, was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and was forced to withdraw from school. This experience would be terrifying for anyone but was especially so for someone so young. After a six month hiatus, Chris returned to class with a new found drive and maturity seldom found in people his age; and his performance during the last half of his program foreshadowed coming success.

After completing his externship in 2010, Chris interviewed for a position on campus, and it was quickly apparent to all concerned that he stood head and shoulders above all other candidates. “Chris has a fantastic combination of people skills, abilities and motivation,” says Help Desk Administrator Supervisor Mike Martin. “He comes to my office and says ‘hey Mike, I was thinking….,’ and what follows is almost always a great idea for improving our operations or his own performance. He is truly an outstanding employee.”

With a talent for troubleshooting, this Help Desk Administrator is always searching for solutions. Possessed of the “I want to do more” attitude, Chris is the personable face of IT that students and faculty meet. Some of his duties include helping with password resets, phone support and software/hardware maintenance campus-wide. It is his enthusiasm for going beyond what is required, however, that makes him exceptional.

Quiet and understated, Chris becomes animated when discussing some of the money-saving work-overs he has implemented at the Charlotte campus, claiming he is just “tinkering here and there.” One of his more notable projects is the configuration and installation of FOG, a program that can distribute and install software to all the school computers simultaneously and remotely. FOG eliminates the need to service each machine separately, saving time and money. For a campus that uses extensive technology in addition to computers, streamlining maintenance and troubleshooting service adds up fast.

Chris Lassiter is an example of the enthusiasm, dedication and pursuit of excellence that ECPI students bring with them. His advice to new students: Don’t get behind and don’t miss class!

Making Things Right in His World

He was working a dead end job as a bartender and he knew he wanted more. For many at this cross road, education is the answer, and it was for LaForrest Roxbury. He didn’t want to commit to four years of education, and that is why he jumped at the opportunity to visit ECPI Moorefield when a friend suggested LaForrest could receive his degree in two and a half years.

LaForrest immediately enrolled in pursuit of an associate’s degree in IT Network Security. “The first year was hard,” said LaForrest. “I had been out of school for 10 years, but ECPI was there providing tutors and an open campus for me to practice on the computers or work in the library.”

He was able to keep his night job while attending school, but after six months, he obtained an externship which would allow him to apply the skills he learned. With that experience, LaForrest went in search of more. His motto was to shoot for the stars, “you can’t expect someone to give you a job, you have to work towards it and career services at ECPI was there to help.” He took advantage of the one-on-one interview training to prepare him for his job search. He earned a paid externship with MeadWestvaco, where he is today as full-time employee in the IT Field Service Department assisting over 900 users daily with computer, network and smartphone issues. MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV) provides packaging solutions to many of the world’s most-admired brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks. With 17,500 employees worldwide, MWV operates in 30 countries and serves customers in more than 100 nations. The building where LaForrest works in Richmond, Virginia, is a “green” building, and he is proud of that stating “everything is recycled.”

ECPI graduate, LaForrest Roxbury loving his job at MeadWestvaco.

With a job in his career field working for a good company, LaForrest decided to continue his education and obtain his bachelor’s. He graduated June 17, 2011. “It was the proudest day I can remember,” exclaimed LaForrest. “The school became a university and it was great to be one of the first students to graduate from ECPI University.”

LaForrest was a stand-out student who made the Hall of Fame list for his campus. He was in the National Honor Society and on the dean’s list, served as the President of the IT club, and received the Ambassador Award for his tutoring services. His grade point average with his associate’s was a 3.95 and for his bachelor’s a 3.72.

He is assisting other ECPI students. He set up an externship program partnership between MWV and ECPI bringing students to spend 140 hours earning college credit and invaluable work experience. To date two students have been hired from the program.

His aspirations are to continue his education and earn a Master’s in IT, and he hopes to be able to do that at ECPI.

Her Education Helped Keeya Snag-a-Job She Loves

A lot of people choose to go to college because they are looking for a life changing event. For many, this happens right after high school graduation. For Keeya Easley, this happened after pondering her future from an un-inspirational cubicle, processing “mundane work” in a company where she was just another number.

Keeya enrolled in ECPI’s Innsbrook campus in Richmond, Virginia in the fall of 2008. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s in Web Development in June 2011 and is now employed with Snagajob, a service provider to help hourly employers find the best candidates, as a web development intern. She now enjoys working for a company that is innovative and has an exciting, fun culture where people know her by name. As an intern in the engineering department, she has the opportunity to learn new technologies and produce valuable work.

Keeya agrees – dreams do begin with the right job – and education.

Of her studies with ECPI, Keeya says, “the program challenged me to face my fears, and just do it. I had to overcome my issues with public speaking right away because presentations are part of almost every class and common in my line of work. I also had to become prepared to exhibit leadership skills with group projects which was new territory for me.”

While Keeya was taking night classes at ECPI, she worked part-time and managed home life as a single parent. She admits it was challenging, and she had to make sacrifices in her life; however, she exclaims “having my daughter proud of me far outweighs it all.”

Tracy Mitchell: The One-Hundred Eighty Degree Man of ECPI

People say that change is good. Some people fight change, and such was the case for Tracy Mitchell. While he knew that an education would be instrumental in improving his life, he was slow to embrace personal change that could (and ultimately would) impact his professional future. By personal change it is in reference to his appearance. Tracy likes to joke about the initial impression he made on faculty and staff at ECPI University in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as some of the companies he has interviewed. “I came in with long hair to my hips, tattoos, and leather,” tells Tracy. “I don’t think most people expected me to last too long.” But he did, and Tracy appreciates the good nature jesting he now has with faculty and fellow students. It came down to a job interview when Tracy was asked, “how attached are you to your hair?” He knew it may be time for a snip if he wanted to land his ideal job.

Tracy Mitchell Before

Before coming to EPCI University, Tracy was a dump truck driver, heavy equipment operator and mechanic. After being laid off, Tracy decided to finally obtain his GED. He passed in January 2009 and enrolled in ECPI the same month. His original pursuit was radiology but quickly learned he was not good with needles and turned to medical imaging. Upon graduation he was hired by Siemen Medical Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, as a tech support engineer. Siemens is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, and operates in the industry, energy, and healthcare sectors. For more than 160 years, Siemens has built a reputation for leading-edge innovation and the quality of its products, services, and solutions.

Just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a haircut may lead to a very bright future.

Tracy Mitchell After

“I’ll build an app for that.”

After six years in the Air Force, Eric Richardson wanted to transition to civilian life by completing his education. Who better to ask for advice than his father who suggested ECPI University after graduating himself in the 1960s. Eric enrolled in the Web Development program at the Richmond Campus’s Moorefield location in Virginia using his VA benefits. Two years ago he began the process and he completed his last class to obtain his bachelor’s in September. He has already landed an exciting job with Willow Tree Apps.

“I liked the core programming classes that included Java and C# (pronounced C sharp for the less tech savvy),” said Eric. “After I got the hang of it, I knew that is what I wanted to do.” After Career Services assisted with an introduction to Willow Tree Apps, Eric earned employment over lunch with Michael Prichard, the founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Willow Tree Apps was founded in 2007 and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. They were one of the first companies to launch an iPhone app, and its Spotasaurus app is often featured in Apple’s television and print advertising. “I’ve been attending weekly meetings while I’m still in school prior to making the move,” said Eric. “They have a west-coast start-up feel with an open, friendly atmosphere. It is going to make a great environment.”

Eric admits that the year-round schedule at ECPI was challenging but really appreciated the small class sizes. “I was able to ask questions and actually get a response,” explained Eric. “There was more interaction that the typical school environment.”

Gainful Employment Information