Campus Center (CC) Building is open regular operating hours effective Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Presidential Search

The Bellingham Technical College Board of Trustees is inviting applications for the position of president. The BTC president reports to a five-member board of trustees appointed by the Governor.  The Board is committed to an open and inclusive national search that supports equity, diversity and equal opportunity. 

Bellingham Technical College is a two-year technical college located in Northwest Washington State, an area perched on the Pacific Rim and bordered by Canada. The college’s service district (Whatcom County) is comprised of 2,107 square miles with an estimated population of over 225,000 in 2020.

The I-5 corridor, which links Seattle, WA and Vancouver, British Columbia, runs through Whatcom County. Much of the county’s population is clustered along this pipeline, and in rural areas located to the north and east in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountain range.

BTC has been serving its region with workforce education degrees and certificates for more than 60 years. The college provides professional technical programs and courses, adult basic education, English Language Acquisition programs, academic courses, community education, a few direct transfer degree opportunities, and two Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degrees. BTC works closely with regional employers and other partners to develop programs and train students to fill regional workforce demands and support economic development.

Search Updates

Applications and nominations for the position of President of Bellingham Technical College are currently being accepted until the position is filled.

Progress Report #1 
Presidential Search Announcement & Invitation to Participate in Survey

The entire Bellingham Technical College community is invited and encouraged to participate in an electronic survey and share your thoughts about the qualities, characteristics, and qualifications we are seeking in our next president, and the opportunities and challenges facing Bellingham Technical College in the years to come. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the presidential search process.

The anonymous responses to the survey will also be used to inform the development and revision of the draft Presidential Profile. The survey is available here.

September 29, 2022 - Board of Trustees Announce Finalists

After a national search, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee met to interview semi-finalist candidates for the position of president of Bellingham Technical College.  From a strong pool of highly qualified candidates, the Committee provided their recommendation to the Board of Trustees as finalists. The Board reviewed candidate materials and discussed the recommendations of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and accepted the committee’s recommendation.

Confidential Inquiries

Deborah DiThomas, Ed.D.
951.961.6533 (mobile)
ddithomas5@gmail.com

Julie Golder, J.D.
Vice President of Search Services, ACCT
202.775.4466 (office)
jgolder@acct.org

General Inquiries

Ronda Laughlin
360.752.8334
presidentialsearch@btc.edu

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Finalists

The Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee is pleased to announce four finalists for the position of President of Bellingham Technical College. The finalists will be visiting BTC October 10-13, 2022 and will participate in open public forums as well as interviews with the Board of Trustees. We strongly encourage all members of the College community and the public at large to participate in the open public forums and to share your impressions with the Board of Trustees.

The Open Forums will take place in Settlemyer Hall from 11:15 a.m. -1:00 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, October 10: Dr. Nicole Albo-Lopez
Tuesday, October 11: Dr. David Pelkey
Wednesday, October 12: Dr. Kathleen Linaker
Thursday, October 13: Dr. James Lemerond

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Presidential Profile

Presidential Profile

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) is soliciting nominations and applications for its next President. The BTC president reports to the five-member board of trustees appointed by the Governor.  The BTC Board of Trustees is seeking an approachable, innovative, transparent, and equity-focused President who will make a long-term commitment to the College and community and ensure BTC continues to offer high-quality professional technical education in a supportive, student-first environment. The new President will have the opportunity to lead Bellingham Technical College as it faces the challenges and opportunities of its future, by embracing the College’s mission “to provide student-centered, high-quality professional technical education for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities.”   

The College

BTC is a premier higher education institution working to provide student-centered, high quality professional technical education throughout Whatcom County and is the only technical college serving northwest Washington State.  The College is uniquely positioned to offer exceptional training and educational opportunities to area residents and employers. Founded in 1957 as Bellingham Vocational Institute, it has continued to offer high-quality education in a supportive, student-first environment.

BTC has been serving its region with workforce education degrees and certificates to approximately 6000 students per year. The college provides professional technical programs and courses, adult basic education, English Language Acquisition programs, academic courses, community education, a few direct transfer degree opportunities, and two Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degrees. BTC works closely with regional employers and other partners to develop programs and train students to fill regional workforce demands and support economic development.

The Community  

Bellingham rests in the scenic northwest corner of Washington State where the Cascade Mountains meet the Salish Sea. The region is rooted in indigenous life and history. Bellingham is located between and on the accustomed lands of the Lhaq’temish or Xwlemi (Lummi) Nation, and of the Noxws’a’?aq (Nooksack) Tribe of the Coast Salish people whose members continue to shape its future. 

The Bellingham area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with dozens of parks, miles of trails for hiking and biking, and numerous lakes and rivers for kayaking and boating.

Whatcom County has nurtured a balanced mix of small business, agriculture, manufacturing, and heavy industry that includes refineries, boat-builders, aerospace companies, family farms, and more. The city of Bellingham has a thriving business community driving a vibrant downtown culture.  The Fairhaven Historical District offers a unique living and shopping experience. Local farmers, artists, crafters, and chefs share their wares at the Saturday Farmers Market. The city is also linked by the I-5 corridor to the world-class resources of the metropolitan areas of Seattle to the south and Vancouver, Canada to the north.

Bellingham and Whatcom County have experienced steady growth that has not only stimulated the area's economy but created a greater awareness and appreciation of the region’s cultural diversity.  Annual events include the Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival, Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, Lummi Stommish Water Festival, Downtown Art Walk, Greek Festival, Bellingham Pride Parade, MLK, Jr. Human Rights Conference and Day of Service, and Whatcom Artist Studio Tour. Every year, Bellingham welcomes hundreds of athletes from around the world to compete in the 93-mile Ski-To-Sea race.

Consistently listed as one of the top places to live and visit in America, Bellingham scores high marks for bicycle-friendliness, outdoor recreation, safety, and just being a generally great place to live and do business for its approximately 91,000 residents. With Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and Northwest Indian College also calling Bellingham home, higher education has a strong presence in the community.

The Position

Challenges and Opportunities:

  1. Continue to elevate and innovate high quality technical education programs and services to increase student enrollment, retention, and completion.
  2. Build a more diverse campus by focusing on recruitment and retention of diverse employees, and by increasing access for underserved and historically underrepresented student populations, including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, Students with Disabilities, and Veterans.
  3. Support the continued implementation of BTC's Guided Pathways Initiative to improve student outcomes in general, and to better support marginalized and underserved students.
  4. Build relationships with employees, foster unity, and assure the retention of dedicated and accomplished full and part-time employees who are loyal to BTC and its mission.
  5. Foster relationships with regional business and industry to develop and advance existing partnerships that meet the workforce needs of the region.
  6. Generate new resources in a time of decreasing traditional resources.
  7. Apply lessons learned throughout the COVID pandemic to lead BTC’s recovery and future success by addressing issues such as remote instruction and work, while assuring an appropriate mix of in-person options; using technology to better serve the diverse needs of students to optimize successful educational outcomes; and maintaining the safety and health of all BTC stakeholders.

Ideal Characteristics:

A successful candidate possesses the following characteristics and experience:

Has a passionate commitment to student access and success.  The successful candidate is accessible and visible to students and employees, and sensitive to the needs of underserved student communities.  The ideal candidate is versed in strategies for two-year college student success, including those proven successful for low income, first-generation, veterans, disabled, and multigenerational students.  The successful candidate is a leader and forerunner in advocacy and change for institutional values of diversity, inclusivity, equity, and justice work. The successful candidate is versed in the use of technology tools and innovations to achieve goals of student recruitment, access, retention, and completion. The successful candidate will work to make BTC a first choice for all students and will help cultivate in BTC students a sense of belonging and deep affinity with BTC, building the foundation of an active, supportive alumni community.

Has a strong commitment to workforce education and training.  The new president demonstrates a passion for technical education and open access education for all. The successful candidate understands the unique challenges and opportunities inherent within a technical college and will retain BTC’s core focus on workforce training while expanding opportunities for BTC students to pursue advanced educational opportunities following graduation.  The ideal candidate has business and workforce experience and will be a leader in building partnerships and relationships with the business community that will strengthen BTC’s position and programs as well as enhance student success.

Is an inspirational leader with exceptional communications skills.  The successful candidate is an empathetic, approachable leader who will connect with all constituents, and uplift employees. The successful candidate has demonstrated success in developing strong teams, creating collaborative processes, and developing a climate of trust, collegiality, and respect for divergent opinions. This individual is visible and accessible, both on campus and throughout the community; and is an exceptional communicator who seizes opportunities to share BTC’s mission, vision, needs, and successes with the broader community and instills passion in others for the mission of the college. 

Possesses strong decision-making skills.  The new president is fair, ethical, and responsive, and considers the input and needs of all stakeholders, while continuously keeping students at the center, when making key decisions.  The ideal candidate possesses strong listening and observation skills, is adept with the use of data in decision-making, and has a demonstrated history of collaboration with faculty, staff, administrators and/or other stakeholder groups, while maintaining the authority and accountability for the final decision.  The ideal candidate has demonstrated experience in maintaining strong and positive working relations with varied employee constituency groups including unions.

Possesses strong leadership skills for energizing action and results.  The new president has a record of creating sustainable, progressive change that improves outcomes and results.  The ideal candidate leads and manages change, building urgency when necessary, and holds the institution accountable to the strategic plan through leadership and use of data to measure progress towards targeted goals.  Successful candidates demonstrate an ability to balance patience and deliberation while driving change and reform.

Takes strategic risks to enhance student success.  The new president takes calculated and appropriate risks to advance data-informed initiatives to improve student success. Successful candidates have a record of inspiring creativity and innovation across the campus, working collaboratively with all stakeholders. The successful candidate improves outcomes through use of allocated resources, makes critical decisions which relate funding to enrollment, and leads the appropriate expansion of the college to meet the needs of students, and the community.

Is a visionary leader and strategic thinker.  The new president is an innovator who can critically assess the College’s current position and create a compelling vision for the future, while incorporating the perspective of internal and external stakeholders.  The new leader supports the collaborative development of a strong, broad strategic vision for the college, with the capacity to build on this vision to improve outcomes. 

Is capable of initiating and expanding upon partnerships.  The new president actively seeks, develops, and maintains external partnerships with business, industry, service organizations, labor, government, legislative and funding authorities, and with both K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions. The new president builds appropriate relationships and actively participates with state and national stakeholders to advance the mission of an institution. The new leader is a recognized community leader who understands the roles multiple stakeholders play in the successful operation of a college.

Is a skillful manager with strong business acumen.  The new president has business acumen, is a fiscally astute leader, and demonstrates a record of performance that ensures that systems and staff are in place to support strong fiscal and technological operations. The successful candidate ensures the development and implementation of a sustainable funding model and a transparent budget process that support the College’s strategic plan. The successful candidate is skilled in developing people and succession planning. 

Has demonstrated experience raising community resources to support student success.  The successful candidate is creative and innovative in fundraising and in the development of new and broadened revenue streams; and develops and maintains a strong partnership with the BTC Foundation.  The successful candidate is an entrepreneurial leader who understands the long-term value of building strong relationships throughout the community, and who will engage with local donors and foundations, on behalf of BTC and the BTC Foundation, to drive interest and investment into the College.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Minimum of 3 years senior level administrative experience in education and/or in a business, industry, government, or non-profit organization.
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Application Process

How to Apply:

This is a confidential search process. To ensure full consideration, application materials should be received no later than August 10, 2022. The position will remain open until filled.

To apply go to http://www.acctsearches.org and upload your documents.

Candidates will need to have the following information or materials available to complete the application:

  1. A letter of application (not to exceed 5 pages) that succinctly addresses the opportunities and challenges identified in the Position Profile and demonstrates how the candidate’s experience and professional qualifications prepare them to serve as the President of Bellingham Technical College.
  2. A current resume including an email address and cellular telephone number.
  3. A list of eight references: example, two to three supervisors, two to three direct reports, and two to three faculty and/or staff members from current and former institutions.

For additional information, nominations or confidential inquiries please contact:

  • Debbie DiThomas, Ed.D.
    ACCT Search Consultant 
    ddithomas5@gmail.com
    (951) 961-6533 (mobile)
  • Julie Golder, J.D.
    Vice President of Search Services, ACCT 
    jgolder@acct.org 
    (202) 775-4466 (office)

 

*An ACCT Search*

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Search Timeline

The Presidential Search Timeline describes the process that typically takes place as a college recruits and hires a president. While an effort has been made to list the process in order, it’s important to note that this is an estimated timeframe and may be accelerated or delayed, as needed. Target dates are included – these may be revised along the way.

 

Target Date

Event

 Early June 2022

Presidential Search Advisory Committee virtual training and orientation; Committee receives, reviews, and edits the draft Presidential Profile

June 16, 2022

Regular Board meeting to discuss, edit, and finalize the Presidential Profile

Mid-June 2022

Position is open and advertised. Presidential Profile is posted on btc.edu and acctsearches.org. Targeted local, state-wide, and national one-to-one recruitment commences; national advertising placed

August 10, 2022

Target Date for Receipt of Applications
(open until filled)

Late August 2022

Presidential Search Advisory Committee Meeting: discussion and selection of confidential semifinalist candidates

September 2022

Presidential Search Advisory Committee Meeting: confidential interviews with semifinalists. The Committee deliberates and selects finalists to forward to the Board for further consideration

Early October 2022

Finalists interview with the full Board, tour campus, participate in open public forums, meet with direct reports

Late October 2022

Next President of Bellingham Technical College is announced 

January 2, 2023

Start date of new president or as agreed upon by the President- elect and the Board of Trustees. Earlier, if possible

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Search Committee

Name

Position

Constituency Group

Rick Kaiser

Co-Chair

Board of Trustees

Jim Groves

Co-Chair

Board of Trustees

Michele Waltz

Vice President of Student Services

Administration 

Andi Zamora

Communications Instructor

Faculty 

Dan Beeson

Automotive Technology Instructor

Faculty

Sandra Hughes

Contract Training

Faculty

Annie Johnston

Warehouse Worker

Classified Employee (Teamsters)

Sarah Leibrant

BCIS Instructional Tech

Classified Employee (BEST)

Katie Honeycutt

Interim Executive Director, Academic Programs

Exempt

Tracy Reilly

Title III Activity Director

Exempt

Ashley Harrison

Associated Student Body Executive

Student

Natalie Reilly  

At-Large Community Member

Robert DeCoteau Director of Workforce Education, NWIC At-Large Community Member
Debbie DiThomas ACCT Search Consultant

하나 Hannah Simonetti
(Non-voting)

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Search Advocate

Tami Willett
(Non-voting)

Interim Executive Director of Human Resources

 

Ronda Laughlin
(Non-voting)

Executive Assistant to the President

Search Liaison

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Life in Bellingham

BTC is positioned in the heart of Bellingham, perfectly placed for sunset views over Bellingham Bay and just a quick drive to downtown’s many restaurants, shops and breweries. The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with dozens of parks, miles of trails for hiking and biking, lakes and rivers for kayaking and boating, and Mt. Baker at our doorstep for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Bellingham has a thriving small-business community that makes for a vibrant atmosphere downtown and in the nearby Fairhaven Historical District. Local farmers, artists, crafters and chefs share their wares at the Farmers Market most Saturdays.

The city and surrounding Whatcom County have nurtured a healthy mix of small businesses and large manufacturers, including refineries, boat-builders, aerospace companies and more. With Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and Northwest Indian College also calling Bellingham home, higher education has a strong presence in the community.

Bellingham routinely takes top spots on best-of lists, scoring high marks for bicycle-friendliness, outdoor recreation, safety, and just being a generally great place to live and do business for its approximately 91,000 residents. With Vancouver, B.C., just an hour to the north and Seattle 85 miles to the south, Bellingham has the ideal mix of small-city feel with big-city access.

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