PENDLETON --- She has been known as the Chief Executive Officer of First Impressions among the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division staff for years.  This past weekend Frances Wilson received a new and deserving title:  Outstanding Continuing Education Support Staff Member Award by the South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education (SCAHCE). 

            SCAHCE is the statewide association that promotes Corporate and Community Education and professional development for both two- and four-year colleges.

Fourteen days before her 15th anniversary at Tri-County, Wilson received this award at the 38th Annual SCAHCE Conference held October 16 in Columbia. 

"I was so shocked when they called my name," said Wilson. "I attended the conference as a nominee with the goal of meeting my peers.  It was icing on the cake to accept the honor.  It makes me proud and want to work harder to help our students with their new beginnings." 

"Frances defines excellence in customer service and is deserving of SCAHCE's recognition and an example for other front-line employees in our state's education and training programs," said Tri-County's CCE Operations Manager Teresa Young in her nomination letter.

As a customer resource specialist, Wilson guides students through the registration process.  "Frances is a go-to person for many of the tasks associated with the registration database but her favorite part of her job is working with people," said Young.  "She assists with requests, counsels students on career choices and takes them from start to finish.  Students give her high marks for customer service."

"The highlight of my job is to assist students who are starting over in their lives and careers.  I love to encourage them and later observe them confident and successful in the workplace," said Wilson. 

Wilson calls herself 'a late bloomer,' and sees herself in many of these students.  "I was a stay-at-home wife and mom raising our three boys for years," she said.   After her husband retired, she went to work in restaurants, home health, child care and later at Clemson University.  "I really started my career when I joined Tri-County.  That's when I found my calling, my safe place.  The CCE Division is close knit; we're like family." 

Wilson gives as much to her community as she does in her job in CCE.  "As a breast cancer survivor, I needed to give back so I volunteer at Cannon Memorial Hospital at the front desk on weekends, and for 20 years have been a facilitator, as well as a state trainer, for the National Alliance for Mental Illness," she said. 

She and her husband are members of Pickens View Wesleyan Church. They reside in Liberty.