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RCCC hires Hemphill

AHOSKIE – Roanoke-Chowan Community College’s new Director for Small Business and Industrial Training was approved at the August 30 meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Thomas Hemphill of Lynchburg, Virginia, moved to the downtown Ahoskie area on August 22 and began his duties as Director under temporary contract until board approval.

Hemphill recently sold his successful pack, print and ship centers in Lynchburg after 17 years of operation with annual revenues in the $450,000 range.

His stores received a number of awards including Franchisee of the Year and International Franchise Association Franchisee of the Year.

According to Hemphill, he enjoyed retail very much and was successful with it, but the brutal hours that were required began to wear on him.

&uot;So when I found a buyer [for the stores], I decided to make a move to something that I love,&uot; he said.

&uot;The community college system will become increasingly more important to our collective future and I expect the small business center and industrial training will play a very important role in that.&uot;

When asked how his experience as a business owner helped him prepare for this position, he replied, &uot;In my opinion, being an owner/operator of a business is far and away the best background for this position.

I have been exposed to every detail of starting, running and expanding a business.

My strengths include writing business plans, arranging financing for a business, marketing, human resources and training.&uot;

Hemphill has been interested in small business centers for some time.

He was a regular volunteer and speaker on entrepreneurship at the Region 2000 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Central Virginia.

In addition to his volunteer work with the SBDC, Hemphill was active at Lynchburg College as a &uot;Students in Free Enterprise&uot; team advisor and his business was a Host Site for the Kauffman Institute Internship Program for honors business majors.

He also volunteered at the public schools in his area; consequently, he received recognition for this work through both the Governor's Award for Business/School partnerships and an Excellence in Education award from Virginia Tech.

Hemphill is looking for the right volunteer opportunity in this area; he says volunteering is &uot;a part of me.&uot;

Other activities Hemphill has been involved in include serving on the Business and Supervision Curriculum Advisory Board at Central Virginia Community College.

Currently catching up on the backlog of start-up counseling, Hemphill also is working to establish a training schedule on how to run a small business.

In addition to scheduling, he will continue to counsel not only start-up businesses but existing businesses as well. Other areas of emphasis will be expanding the ongoing industrial training program, which allows RCCC to respond to just about any training need that area business and industry may have.

Hemphill received his Master of Administration in Personnel Administration from Lynchburg College in 1984. Prior to owning his business he had been a Human Resource Manager for seven years, including Director of Personnel and Placement at Old Dominion Job Corps Center in Monroe, Virginia.

Hemphill replaces Dave Merrick who is now with The College of the Albemarle as Associate Vice-President of Business and Workforce Development.

A Chaplain with Commercial and Industrial Ministries, Hemphill and his wife and daughter are active in the United Methodist Church.

His wife, Marie, teaches special education and will join him later in the school year, and his daughter, Anne, is a freshman at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory.