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Lanier Technical College President Mike Moye leaves behind a legacy
Lanier Technical College President Mike Moye, left, talks Tuesday with Featherbone Communiversity founder Gus Whalen during a reception for Moye. Moye will leave his post of eight years this month to become president of Central Georgia Technical College in Macon. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Lanier Technical College President Mike Moye will leave behind an eight-year legacy leading a college he helped grow into one of the state’s strongest technical institutes. The outgoing president will take the reigns as Central Georgia Technical College President in Macon, the second-largest technical college in the state.

Surrounded by dozens of work colleagues at a farewell reception held at Lanier Tech’s student center Tuesday, Moye said his departure did not mean his office door would be closed for good.

“My door has always been open to you. It will continue to be open even at Central Georgia Tech,” he told attendees. “Don’t hesitate to call on me.”

Russell Vandiver, vice president of economic development, will step in immediately following Moye’s exit. Vandiver has worked for Lanier Tech for more than three decades. In addition to his vice president duties, Vandiver also serves as the director of the college’s Center for Innovation in Manufacturing.

Though he was not initially keen on the idea of stepping into Moye’s shoes, Vandiver said he plans to accomplish goals Moye set for the school’s future.

“(Moye) came with some ideas that he wanted to do that we started out six or seven years ago, and they’re just now seeing them come to pass,” Vandiver said. “It’s kind of a neat thing for him to be leaving now as those things actually did happen. It would have been a shame if he didn’t have the chance to see some of those results.”

Moye’s visions for the college had a knack of becoming reality, he added.

When Moye first pitched the idea for a center that would serve as an incubator for manufacturing business, he ignored naysayers, including Vandiver, and trudged forward until he succeeded.

Now, Lanier Tech’s Manufacturing and Developing Center serves 12 clients, half of which produce medical devices.

“It takes vision to put something like that together,” Vandiver said. “It’s amazing that we’ve been able to do what we’ve done.”

Under Moye’s leadership, Lanier Tech saw marked growth of 66 percent. It expanded its two campuses to five, including 18 instructional sites with more than 175 employees. Moye also oversaw the opening of Lanier Tech’s Georgia Center for Innovation in Manufacturing, which provides training in industries using automated manufacturing and robots.

Moye cracked jokes during a brief farewell speech Wednesday but sobered as he spoke on the support he received from the college through the years.

“I truly appreciate all you have done. You didn’t do it for me. You did it for the college,” he said. “But you allowed me to a part of your team and I truly appreciate that.”

The feeling was apparently mutual. Attendees signed a blown-up photo of faculty and staff with well wishes and memories.

“Thank you for all you’ve done,” a message read. “It’s a privilege to work for you,” another wrote.

Professor Darrell Fletcher has worked with the college since 1993 and with Moye throughout the duration of his time as president.
“He supported the instructors and students and tried to provide resources that helped the students be successful,” Fletcher said. “I think he will be missed.”

Moye’s longtime friend and colleague Gus Whalen, chairman of the Warren Featherbone Foundation, said his departure is also a loss for the community.

“It’s a good friend leaving our community, but I’m happy for the people of middle Georgia,” Whalen said. “They’re getting a wonderful president for that part of the state, and that part of the state will benefit just as we have.”

Moye already has set to work on plans for growth for Central Tech.

“I’ve looked at the numbers and looked at what we’re doing, and (the college) is doing a good job,” he said after the Technical College System of Georgia’s state board approved his selection Feb. 4. “I think there is a lot more we can do in terms of offering customized training for the industry base in Georgia. We’re taking what is already a very quality school to perhaps the next level.”

His skill in building colleges both academically and economically were traits Jackson said qualified Moye for the position.

“He has been through a lot of transitions and changes within the technical college system. He knows how to manage a college,” Commissioner Ron Jackson said. “That’s what we need in Macon.”

Moye has been active in the Hall County community, serving on the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce board of directors and as a member of the Gainesville Rotary Club.

As for Lanier Tech’s future, he said the college will be in good hands with Vandiver.

“He will make an excellent person to serve in a transitional role between now and whatever it is you decide to become in the future,” he said.

In Vandiver’s vision, the future will hold even more growth for the college.

“It’s exciting times. We’re about to come out of this recession,” he said. “We’re gonna see a lot growth. We’re gonna see a lot of jobs created.”

No deadline has been set to select Moye’s permanent replacement. Vandiver said he will continue to fulfill his work as vice president with his added duties as president.

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