Don is a 23-year old native of San Diego, CA who grew up in Oklahoma City and now resides in the Seattle area. After graduating from high school, he worked in the fast-food industry but always kept his goal of getting an MBA degree and becoming an entrepreneur alive. After receiving his high school diploma, Don connected with his father who lives in the Puget Sound area and then decided to stay. Despite suffering from some home sickness and missing his friends and family in Oklahoma, he realized his new home offered him more possibilities.
“In Oklahoma, the environment I was around didn’t push me toward having an education,” he said. “There was no college legacy in my family, so since they didn’t go (to college) it wasn’t expected that I attend. I was just working (in fast food), getting by and not knowing how to reach my dreams until I got here.” When his father realized his son wanted to become a business leader, he encouraged Don to enroll at Renton Technical College in the business and entrepreneurship program.
When finances were a concern, Renton Technical College helped Don secure three scholarships to further his education and also offered a unique opportunity.
“I was hired as a student coordinator at the Learning Resource Center, where I assist with tutoring and managing the day to day operations of the facility. I can work and still maintain a 3.9 GPA in my classes.”
His work with the Learning Resource Center has helped him feel that he belongs to the Renton Technical College community. “Everyone here gets along with everyone else. You can talk to the instructors and the students, and you feel close to everyone because this is a little community. Kathleen Higgins, one of the English instructors, comes to help in the Learning Resource Center, and she’s real, the staff here doesn’t play politics. President Hanson invited me and another for scholarship student for lunch, and he was not at all intimidating, we had a great conversation.”
Always focused on the goal of managing a small business, Don said that he’s hoping his efforts will help the local and national economy. “My passion isn’t just to manage a business; I want to products and services that benefit people’s lives with the type of company that impacts the community in a positive way. Renton Technical College gives you the curriculum not just in books; they give you the real world experience in real life situations that allow you to put your learning into action.”
Don is nearly finished with his Associates Degree at Renton Technical College, and has been accepted into the Bachelors in Business Administration program at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
“While I get my Bachelor’s degree I’ll be seeking a job in administration or human resources management. After I graduate (from CWU), I plan to transfer to the University of Washington or their Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program.”
“The great thing about the skills I’ve gained at Renton Technical College is that I can get a job with an already-established company here, like Microsoft, Farmers Insurance or Amazon, or I can create my own company. To be honest, I’d love to build a small company myself, start it from scratch and build it up to provide jobs that are good for the community. I feel that the one-on-one instruction and the help from the instructors every step of the way definitely sets Renton Technical College students up to succeed.”