Two area residents are seeking a seat on the Coconino Community College District 3 Governing Board this election season. Locals Eric Eikenberry and John P. "Jack" Hadley are both asking for support prior to the Nov. 4 election day. Eikenberry has held the seat for the last two years. Both candidates, however, have been in the Williams area for a number of years. Hadley lives in the Sherwood Forest Estates subdivision near Williams. Eikenberry lives within the city limits.
Incumbent Eric Eikenberry said the last two years he has spent on the Coconino Community College Governing Board has been an "absolute pleasure."
"I spent a career in higher education and loved every minute of it," Eikenberry said. "I am passionate about the community college mission. I know the ins and outs of how colleges work and use that knowledge to get to the heart of the issues the Governing Board faces. The other board members and I have made some terrific improvements during my short tenure and I sincerely hope I'll be returned to the board to continue with the progress we're making."
Eikenberry currently owns two local Williams businesses: As You Wish Remodeling, Inc. and the FireLight Bed and Breakfast, the latter of which he co-owns with local realtor Debi Zecchin. Prior to that, he ran the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce for four years. Eikenberry also worked in the field of higher education, as an associate dean at several community colleges, for 16 years. He said he has helped to implement a number of vocational and academic programs in those community colleges.
"I've supervised automotive, construction, welding, and culinary arts programs. I've overseen distance and online learning and worked closely with law enforcement, fire science and EMS providers throughout Arizona and California. I've built college education centers in Chino Valley and Prescott Valley, wrote or edited hundreds of college courses, and hired hundreds of faculty and staff members.
"It's important to remember that the board has only one employee: the president of the college," Eikenberry said. "I was delighted to serve as the chair of the search committee that hired our new president, Dr. Leah Bornstein. She has been great for the college and everyone in the county can look forward to her inspired leadership."
Eikenberry said that CCC Governing Board members can only make decisions as a board and not as individuals.
"Individual board members can influence each other, but all the decisions are made as a board," he said. "We make policy decisions, approve budgets, approve intergovernmental agreements, set tuition and fees, approve hiring, resignations and terminations, and set long-term goals. We're not there to micro-manage. We act in broad strokes and I would suggest that the voters contact the staff, faculty and other board members to get their impressions of my effectiveness on the board."
In his two years with the CCC governing board, Eikenberry said the group has made a number of achievements, including a 5.2 percent increase in pay for most employees, a new certificate program that will create a public safety dispatcher program, the implementation of Interactive TV courses at Dine' College in Tuba City, a discounted tuition policy for non-residents in the summer and more.
"The college has just completed an extremely ambitious three year strategic plan," Eikenberry said. "County residents will begin seeing progress in high school collaborations, including our high school here in Williams, access to distance learning, improved technology and facilities, and partnerships with external entities."
Eikenberry said that, as a homeowner and a business owner in Williams, he keeps a close eye on the college's tax rate. According to him, over 36 percent of the community college's funding comes from taxes. A little over 33 percent comes from tuition and other related fees, while a little over 20 percent comes from state appropriations, Eikenberry said. He added that CCC's property taxes remain the lowest of all the 10 community colleges in Arizona, while tuition and fees are one third less than the national average for community colleges.
"But for those who need financial assistance, we offer more than $100,000 in scholarships and more than $4 million in federal and state programs," Eikenberry said. "The return on our tax investment really pays off. We're training the very people we need right here in our own county. For example, 25 percent of all firefighters were trained at CCC. So were 25 percent of detention officers, 16 percent of registered nurses, and 14 percent of paramedics. And that's not all, for every taxpayer dollar invested in the college, CCC generates back $7.16."
John P. "Jack" Hadley
John P. "Jack" Hadley said he chose to run for the District 3 Governing Board seat of the Coconino Community College after hearing rumors that the Williams campus might be shut down due to disappointing enrollment numbers.
"Further examination showed that the district was only offering six classes this fall in Williams," he said. "I believe that this is a gross under-use of a very fine facility. I also believe that we, the taxpayers of this county, deserve more opportunity for higher education without having to drive to Flagstaff. We have the facility here, why is it not better used?"
Hadley was born and raised in the Phoenix area, where he attended high school. After four years in the United States Air Force, he went on to obtain his bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Arizona State University. Hadley first visited the Williams area in 1954 while on a deer hunting trip.
"We stayed at the Arizona 9 Motel," Hadley said. "There was a Whiting Brothers service station on the corner in those days."
Hadley, along with his wife Sue, bought land in Sherwood Forest Estates in the 1960's, where they built a small weekend cabin. The two have been married for 49 years, according to Hadley. They have two children and one grandchild. They built a new home and moved to Sherwood Forest Estates to live full-time in 2000.
Prior to their move to the northern Arizona, Hadley worked in real estate sales and development. He later invested in a small chain of retail bicycle sales and service stores where he worked full-time. He worked for a number of volunteer organizations during his 26 years in the Phoenix area, according to Hadley, inclduding the Valley Big Brothers, the Boy Scouts of America and more. Other volunteer jobs for Hadley included the Foothills Land Trust and the American Red Cross.
"After retirement I had the opportunity to pursue some really funs jobs, if one could call them jobs: off-road jeep tour driver and environmental desert guide, writer for a Carefree magazine, builder of solid and exotic wood furniture and creator of wood products sold in several of the finer art galleries in the Carefree and north Scottsdale area," Hadley said.
Since the family moved to the Williams area, Hadley said he has become an ambbasador for the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce. He said he has also become involved with the Williams Kiwanis Club, the Williams Food Bank, the Greater Williams Community Fund, AARP Drive Alive, the Williams Habitat for Humanity and the Williams Elks group.
"A few things that some people do not know about me are that Sue and I have sailed the blue ocean, well, at least to Catalina Island. We have hiked to the top of Kendrick Peak and the bottom of the Havasupai," Hadley said. "I hold a commercial pilot's license with a multi-engine rating. Sue and I have traveled most all of the 50 states and throughout Canada, Alaska and the Northwest Territories in an RV. I love to hunt, now with a camera, fish, build solid wood furniture, ride my sail board and my ATV, go sailing, boating and, thanks to the military, I know how to disarm an atom bomb - so long as it was built before 1959!"
Hadley said he would be interested in hearing anyone who has ideas they would like to offer about the Williams Campus of the Coconino County Community College. Anyone who would like to speak to him can call (928) 635-2055.