As all his Gainesville High School friends moved on to four-year institutions, Mitch Beccue said the traditional route wasn’t appealing to him. Beccue wanted a career where he could use his hands to “create something out of nothing.”
He chose to pursue a degree in construction management and landed an apprenticeship with the Gainesville-based construction company Carroll Daniel. The apprenticeship offers him employment and paid tuition at Lanier Technical College.
“It’s a dream opportunity. I was able to land a great job with a great company who’s willing to invest in my education,” Beccue said. “Studying at Lanier has given me even more knowledge in my field.”
Beccue, a sophomore at Lanier Tech, was named the college’s winner of the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership at a luncheon on Monday, March 22.
As Lanier Tech’s GOAL winner, Beccue will attend the regional GOAL competition on April 20, where he’ll compete to move on to the state level. The state’s GOAL winner will be awarded a car and serve as the statewide Student of the Year and ambassador for technical education in Georgia, including making public appearances with the Georgia General Assembly and the governor. GOAL, a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia, honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students.
Beccue said he never thought he’d become Lanier’s GOAL winner and feels “blessed” to be nominated by his instructors. When he was first nominated, he was later told he didn’t garner enough votes to qualify as a finalist. However, there was a miscount in votes and in the end Beccue was chosen over four other nominees by a panel of local leaders. The runners-up included Caleb Dorr, motorsports vehicle technology; Mackenzie Pawich, cosmetology; Omaly Rosario, fire science; and Ebony Crump, fire science.
The nominees were selected by their instructors, and the winner is chosen by a panel of local judges. The judges included Norman Baggs, The Times general manager; Lydia Sartain, a Gainesville attorney; Debbier Weber, a board member of Lanier Technical College; Tim Evans vice president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce; and Geoffrey Kridel, Lumpkin Literacy board chair.
Tim McDonald, interim president of Lanier Technical College said each student present at the luncheon should be proud of their accomplishments within the college and in their careers.
“You’ve all exhibited traits of leadership as well as dedicated participation,” McDonald said. “Your participation proves to me you’re all leaders and you’re on the path to even greater leadership opportunities.”
Beccue said what he learns in the construction management program directly enhances the skills he needs in his field. He aims to graduate and encourage other young adults to pursue a career in construction, as the industry is in “huge” need of younger recruits, Beccue said.
“I want to help encourage others to join this program at Lanier; it’s affordable and helpful. I want to help reshape the image and stigma with construction work as well,” Beccue said. “This field is profitable and will continue to be stable for years.”