PENDLETON --- Three faculty/staff members have been honored as Tri-County Technical College's Educators of the Year and will be recognized at the South Carolina Technical Education Association (SCTEA) meeting in February. 

            Cara Hamilton, vice president for business affairs, is the College's outstanding administrator; Ashley Brady, Veterinary Technology department head, is the outstanding instructor; and, Melinda Zeigler, administrative assistant for the Business and Public Services Division, is the outstanding staff nominee.

SCTEA is a professional association of technical education personnel and others interested in post-secondary technical education.

Hamilton joined Tri-County in May 2013, as director of fiscal affairs, and in October of 2015 she accepted her current leadership role.

The vice president for business affairs provides leadership to fiscal affairs, campus safety, information technology, physical plant, financial aid and auxiliary services.

In addition to providing leadership to the fiscal affairs office, she has served on numerous project teams, including service excellence, talent management, federal loan default management, Oconee County Workforce Development Center project and the information technology advisory committee.

Under her leadership, the business affairs office was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) in June.  For the 15th consecutive year, the Division received the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

            To be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, a government unit must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized CAFR whose contents conform to program standards.  Such CAFR must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements.

Prior to joining Tri-County, Hamilton was employed as general manager and vice president of North American Distribution with Guardian Building Products in Greer.  Her previous work experience includes controller, auditor and accountancy positions for Regent Hospital Products in Greenville, American Trim Products in Travelers Rest, Lee Apparel Company in Merriam, KS, and Deloitte in Kansas City, MO.

She holds a B.S. in accounting from Kansas State University, an M.B.A. from Clemson University and a Certified Public Accounting license.

            She and her husband, Jim, reside in Anderson. They have two daughters.  They are members of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church.

A 2000 alumna of the College's Veterinary Technology program, Brady worked in veterinary practices as a Licensed Veterinary Technician (L.V.T.) before she joined the teaching staff at the College in 2007 as director of the evening program.  Brady assumed the department head role following the retirement of Dr. Peggy Champion in 2014.  

Brady was named Licensed Veterinary Technician of the Year last October at the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) Southeast Veterinary Conference.

In addition to teaching full time and serving as department head, Brady is assisting the College's Foundation in its fundraising efforts for a $1.5 million veterinary technology expanded housing and learning facility currently under construction.  She was involved in the initial plans for the facility and continues to provide input as construction progresses

 Under her supervision, Tri County's Veterinary Technology program has a highly successful adoption program.  She also initiated a service learning program with Big Oaks Farm where the students get a real-world perspective while learning. She organizes the students to work at the J.D. Massey Horse Show each year which gives students $2,000 in scholarship money annually.

 Brady attended Lander University for one year before entering Tri-County's Veterinary Technology program (she graduated in 2000) and transferred to Murray State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology/animal health technician with a minor in equine science in 2002.  She worked as the head technician in the large animal department and surgical suite at the University of Tennessee for a year before moving back to S.C.  She worked at Creek Run Veterinary Clinic in Pendleton for five years and worked with local veterinarians, Drs. Poag Reid, Amy Lawson and Daniel Knox.

 Brady is a board member for the S.C. Upstate Equine Council and is a member of the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians; the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA); the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (AVTE); the South Carolina Association of Veterinary Technicians (SCAVT) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

She and her husband, Eric, live in Honea Path and have one son, John Owen.  They are members of Donald's Baptist a Church and are involved with the children's program.

Zeigler joined the College in 1991 after graduating from the Secretarial Science program (now Administrative Office Technology).  She worked as the secretary for the Faculty/Staff Development Office from 1991 - 1995. Since that time, she has served as the division secretary for the Business and Public Services Division.

As a student, she received the prestigious Don C. Garrison Scholarship Award.  She chaired the Staff Advisory Committee from 1999-2000 and has served on various committees throughout the College.

She is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Norris where she serves as the librarian.

She and her husband, Raymond, live in Six Mile. They have four children, Jena Hughes, Joni Addis, Angela Zeigler and Christopher Zeigler. They have four grandchildren: twin granddaughters, Katie and Claire Hughes; Riley and Lydia Addis.