Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

School News

June 13, 2011

Roane State’s AMTEC celebrates first graduating class

CROSSVILLE — Duane Largent of Crossville was among 20 students who recently became the first graduates from Roane State Community College’s Advanced Materials Training and Education Center (AMTEC).

Everybody wants to be a leader, and everybody wants to blaze a new trail,” guest speaker Jamie Nelson, training and logistics manager for Toho Tenax America, told the graduates during a March ceremony at the college’s Oak Ridge campus. “You have done that. You have opened up a new door. What a proud moment it is for us all to see you at this point.”

The AMTEC program trains individuals for entry-level technician jobs in industries that manufacture advanced materials or that use parts that are made from advanced materials. Advanced materials can be used to create lightweight, durable and energy efficient products. Automobile manufacturing, construction, and solar energy are just a few of the many fields that utilize advanced materials.

Tuition and supplies for the AMTEC program are offered at no cost for participants who are unemployed or underemployed, and employers receive a significant discount on training costs for their current employees. The program takes approximately 14 weeks to complete. New classes of 25 students are added approximately once each month.

Graduation speakers also included State Rep. John Ragan; State Rep. Kelly Keisling; Nolan Nevels, director of the AMTEC; and Dr. Gary Goff, president of Roane State.

“Your state, your community, your nation, is depending upon you to take the skills that you have acquired and put them to good use,” state Rep. Ragan said. “We need you. Our state needs you. Your community needs you.”

State Rep. Kelly Keisling said, “Congratulations to all of you. We’re proud of you. This is an important day for you but also for us. We wish you much success in the next weeks, months and years. We have plenty of faith in you.”

The AMTEC curriculum consists of a series of required core courses as well as capstone courses in specialized areas such as composites and solar energy technologies.

Members of the first graduating class are: Suzanne Arehart of Oak Ridge (composites); Cory Bailey of Oak Ridge (composites), Marc Bortolussi of Knoxville (solar energy technologies); Nicholaus Bowling of Knoxville (solar energy technologies); Jerry Denson of Clinton (solar energy technologies); Jonathan Franklin of Knoxville (solar energy technologies); Barry Friedmann of Dandridge (composites); Michael Grindle of Oliver Springs (composites); Ben Graves of Athens (solar energy technologies); David Howard of Wartburg (solar energy technologies); Matthew Jarvis of Clinton (composites); Dan Jones of Jamestown (solar energy technologies); John Keith of Knoxville (solar energy technologies); Duane Largent of Crossville (composites); Kelli Lauderdale of Knoxville (composites); Kevin Mitchell of Andersonville (composites); Randy Raley of Knoxville (solar energy technologies); Theodore Sharp of Oneida (solar energy technologies); Mark Vanwitzenburg of Powell (solar energy technologies); and Zachary Womack of Oak Ridge (composites).

The graduates began the program in November 2010.

Congratulations to you,” Dr. Goff said. “Who thought, at the first of November, that this day would come? We are very, very proud of you.”

Nevels added, “Hats off to you all. I thank you for working with me and sticking with it, and now you are the first graduate cohort of the AMTEC program.”

The AMTEC is funded through a $2.86 million federal grant that Roane State received in June 2010 from the U.S. Department of Labor. Roane State was one of 41 community colleges and organizations, and the only one in Tennessee, to receive an award during the final competition for Community Based Job Training funds in 2010.

Classes are primarily held in the Halcyon Commercialization Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with some sessions conducted at the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman and Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County campus.

For more information about the AMTEC, including how to apply for the program, call (865) 481-5436 or visit

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