FDTC’s presidential search now down to three candidates
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
The board that governs Florence-Darlington Technical College has scheduled three days of closed-door meetings this week as the school nears the end of its search for a new president. Ed Bethea has served as FDTC’s interim president for more than three years, ever since then-president Ben Dillard retired amid financial problems. Bethea now is planning to retire. FDTC’s board planned to meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in executive session to review the three finalists for the president’s job; it wasn’t clear when the board might take a vote. The finalists are: IRVIN CLARK III, currently vice president for economic development at Georgia Piedmont Technical College near Atlanta. He has worked there since 2017. He is credited with leading the school’s Economic Development Division to “record growth of over 300 companies served through customized contract training.” He is also credited with landing $300,000 in “philanthropic gifts” from industries to aid the school’s programs in advanced manufacturing and small business development. Clark holds an M.S. degree in adult and continuing education and a B.A. degree in social relations from Cheyney University in Cheyney, Pa., and a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. JAMES DIRE, who has spent 16 years in college administration, including private institutions in North Carolina and Illinois and eight years at Kauai Community College in Hawaii, part of the University of Hawaii system. At Kauai, Dire simultaneously served as liberal arts dean, CTE dean and chief academic officer. Before that, Dire was a nuclear engineer in the Navy and was on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Coast Guard Academy. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, a master’s from the University of Central Florida and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. JERMAINE FORD, currently serving as vice president for Workforce and Economic Development at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette, La. He also served as associate vice president for Workforce and Economic Development and as director of South Louisiana Community College’s Corporate College. In that job, Ford is credited with bringing in $30 million in grants, contracts, customized training and donations. Ford has a combined 26 years’ experience in higher education and the private sector. He holds an associate’s degree from Moraine Valley Community College, a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University.