New President of A.B. Tech
A.B. Tech has a new president. Monday, the school announced Dr. Dennis King will replace Dr. Hank Dunn.
King served as Interim President for the last six months and has been employed by A-B Tech as Vice President of Student Services since 1992. He was selected from a field of four finalists after an extensive search process that included several rounds of interviews with the Board of Trustees and public forums at A-B Tech, the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the Asheville-Buncombe Chamber of Commerce. King succeeds Hank Dunn, who retired in January.
"The board felt like we owed it to the college and community to go through a thorough search process," says Board Chair Joe Brumit. "All of the other candidates were really good, but we didn't believe there was anyone who would suit the college better at this point than Dr. King."
King's experience with A-B Tech and connections in the community enabled him to transition seamlessly and effectively into the interim position, says Brumit. "Dr. King fit in as if he had always been in the position. We heard from a lot of people on campus and in the community in support of him as the new president. That carried a lot of weight in addition to everything that came out of the interviews," he says.
King, whose term officially begins August 1st, says he is honored and humbled by his selection as president and plans to hit the ground running on behalf of the college and community. "I am committed to providing the highest quality, state-of-the-art programs and training for our students and a community college that is recognized statewide and regionally as a partner in the economic development of Asheville, Buncombe and Madison counties," says King. "I also want to emphasize that A-B Tech is here for business and industry. My first priority is to train your labor force in advanced manufacturing and all other educational needs," he adds.
At the meeting to announce King's appointment, Trustee Richard Hurley, who voted against the appointment, voiced dissenting remarks. The full text is included below:
Before making my decision on whom I would support for the next A-B Tech President, I reviewed my notes from the interviews, the community forums, the faculty and staff forums, and the consolidated input from the faculty and staff forums.
Regarding my top two choices from other colleges, I had summarized comments such as visionary, global thinker, cutting edge, seeks out best practices and new ideas, promotes diversity, strategic thinker, welcomes fresh approaches, embraces community involvement.
Dr. King and I have been friends since he joined A-B Tech and he has been a great supporter of the school and is well-respected by many people. However, when I reflect on his January 8, 2014 address to the faculty outlining why he wanted to be the next President, I was uncomfortable with his comment that "there will be no new initiatives, unless they are required of us by the state." I do not feel this leadership philosophy is in the best interest of A.B. Tech.
Therefore, I cannot vote in favor of his election to the presidency, but given the majority of the Board of Trustees have voted in his favor; as long as I am a Trustee, I will support A.B. Tech and its mission.