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NewsThursday, May 12, 2011
Hugh Burgess, a 1977 Engineering Technology graduate, received the College's Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater. He is pictured with his wife, Rita.
Hugh Burgess Is Tri-County's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, 646-1506
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/11/2011
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- Hugh Burgess has always been a great ambassador for Tri-County Technical College.
The 1977 Engineering Technology graduate recognizes that education is a lifelong process, and in his leadership roles in manufacturing and on community service boards, he often looks to Tri-County to fulfill training needs.
At the May 10 spring commencement, he receives the College's Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater. The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association or the community.
Back in the 1970's, Burgess was the recipient of a scholarship through J.P. Stevens that allowed him to work full time during the day at the Clemson plant and attend evening classes at Tri-County. "Our plant manager had planned a career path for the scholarship recipients, and we entered into the management training and development program while students. That experience gave me an incredible foundation," said Burgess, who, today is president and managing partner of Consolidated Southern Industries (CSI), a mechanical, electrical, and general contractor services company located in Anderson.
"School was just an extension of work, and Tri-County's curriculum gave us hands-on training for problem solving. I had incredible mentors while there. It was a great foundation. What stands out most is the relationships I built there that continue today."
Prior to CSI, he spent 25 years in different engineering and management roles in manufacturing, including 11 as Plant Manager with Clark Schwebel in Anderson. He remembers Tri-County's World Class Training Center serving as a major training tool for the company. "In the 1980s, we took advantage of the Continuous Improvement and ISO certification classes. The World Class Training Center's customized, in-house training classes are a huge resource for local companies. It's truly a great partnership."
His last position at Clark Schwebel was Corporate Director of Engineering for Hexcel Schwebel. He left in 2001 to enter into a partnership in 2002 with Anderson businessman Carey Jones, who owned CSI. There are 75 employees at the Anderson business, many of them skilled craft associates who have sharpened their skills sets through credit and continuing education classes at Tri-County. "We're always looking to hire Tri-County graduates," said Burgess.
As chairman of the Anderson Interfaith Ministries board, Burgess says Tri-County comes to mind when the board members are discussing its Woman and Children Succeeding program. "These women can enter Tri-County and change their lives and their family trees," he said. "These are single mothers in tough situations. Education is part of that program. We offer mentoring, coaching, and help with child care, housing, and tuition and books for college. We are making a difference in people's lives," he said.
His other board memberships include AnMed Health Foundation (vice chair), Foothills Gala, Anderson Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Camellia Ball Sponsorship Committee supporting Pediatric Therapy Works. He is a member of Welcome Baptist Church, where is a deacon, treasurer and Sunday School teacher. He is a former board member of Leadership South Carolina and a former chair of the Anderson Area YMCA board.
"There's a demand in today's workplace for education -- hands-on, practical applications I learned at Tri-County. I have incredible memories of Tri-County. I made great friends and contacts and relationships that have served me well over the years," he said.
Burgess is married to Rita Prater Burgess, and they have two sons, Brandon and Johnathon Burgess.