Colorado Mountain College District 2 candidate: Stan Orr
Name: Stan Orr.
Residence: Glenwood Springs.
Occupation: Owner and CEO, NonProfit Resources, Inc.
What prompted you to run for a seat on the CMC board of trustees? First of all, thank you for the opportunity you’ve given the candidates to provide voters with the insight needed to make an informed decision.
In retrospect, it wasn’t so much a decision to run for a second term, as a desire to give something back to community colleges and my community. I earned an associate’s degree at a community college. A community college was the impetus for successfully completing my bachelor’s degree in education. It provided me, along with many other Americans, something that might otherwise have never occurred: Opportunity.
I began my career as a classroom teacher. I have been involved in learning ever since, seven years as a teacher, then as a CEO of organizations whose focus was adult learning. For the past 16 years I have owned a small business, NonProfit Resources. NPR manages and consults to national and international trade, professional, and philanthropic organizations. Along with my years as CEO of other associations, I have 27 years of experience managing, and consulting to, volunteer boards. I understand the challenges and opportunities volunteer boards like CMC’s face and how to best meet them with success.
What’s your opinion about the college’s recent move toward four-year degrees? It was an exciting decision that I was honored to preside over as board president. CMC is providing a tremendous educational product to the community. For me, the “aha moment” came when I learned so many residents in the district want to attain degrees, but are unable due to cost and inaccessibility.
In order to attend a 4-year school, most of us would have to forgo trying to provide for our family and simply move to the Front Range. If we do try to continue to live in the mountains and commute, the cost of time and travel required to earn a degree, coupled with much higher tuition costs, is insurmountable for most of us.
We have stayed true to the community college mission while establishing CMC as a nimble institution ready to meet the demands of the future. The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010, for instance, did not exist in 2004. We have an excellent infrastructure in place, and a top-notch faculty.
From a more personal perspective, my daughter Sarah is a junior at Glenwood Springs High School. I would be proud for her to become a student at CMC and earn a four-year degree here because I am confident of the high quality education she will receive.
What does CMC need to do to keep college education affordable and attainable for district residents? It starts and ends with leadership, and CMC’s must continue to make informed, transparent business decisions, and be held accountable for them. We are the most affordable and attainable college in Colorado for a reason: We have a faculty and staff that is visionary and prudent with resources. We must continue to attract top personnel. Finally, I think as a community college we will continue to succeed if we stay true to the community college’s role in American society: cost-effective, high quality education that prepares students for 21st century careers.