Friday, June 26, 2020

Logistics and COVID-19

We know that medical supplies are essential in the fight against COVID-19. But how do they get to the hospitals and clinics? That is a story of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Tommy Tress is a Logistics student at Vol State, but he is also part of that strategic network keeping the nurses and doctors supplied. He is the Receiving and Distribution Supervisor at Sumner Regional Medical Center.
“I’ve had to track items a lot closer than previously,” Tress said. “I need daily counts of what we have on hand. I watch orders closely to see where they stand. And we have to conserve.”

Tress is like many students at Vol State- a working professional taking classes to earn a degree that will help them advance in their career. A big lesson in the COVID-19 battle has been looking for warning signs.
“Our administrators had been watching this since November and December. They were hearing the news coming out of China and there was also another issue with a recall that put strains on us to source products. The supply shortages started in February. We did have supplies set aside for disaster, but that is only designed for a short period of time, like for a tornado or flood. My boss and I would look through the situation each day to figure out how to respond.”

The health supplies run the gamut from protective gear for health workers to the basic supplies that patients in intensive care need every day. Sumner County seemed to be spared the worst of the pandemic at first, and then there was a huge outbreak at a nursing home in Gallatin. “At first it seemed like it was going to be a strain, but we didn’t need all of the supplies we thought we would. But we had to quickly turn-around and get nursing home supplies that we don’t normally use in that number.”

Now hospitals are preparing for what could be a second or even third wave of COVID-19 cases. That as supplies must be moved from region to region as outbreaks occur. It’s a complicated process that highlights the importance of Supply Chain Management. And it’s not only medical equipment. The entire food supply chain had to change when restaurants and schools closed and grocery stores were inundated with customers.

"The one common thing I was seeing, one of the main issues for transporting supplies was truckers,” Tress said. “They have been predicting a shortage of truckers for years.”

Just another piece in the puzzle of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

“A jigsaw puzzle is pretty apt. Everything fits together to get the job done. You can’t treat patients without supplies.”

For more information about Logistics and Supply Chain Management training at Vol State visit:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean reports that Vol State has a part in the Project Woolhawk proposal. It's a multi-million dollar data center proposed for Gallatin. Some news media reports have linked it to Facebook, although officials are still not disclosing the actual company. James Fenton with the Gallatin Economic Development Agency said that governmental leaders are working with Vol State on a training partnership to help supply potential workers for the data center if it is built.
Vol State Springfield is now offering degree programs. This is a story in the Robertson County Connection.

Mike McDonald, longtime Vol State adjunct faculty member and former Communications chair, is retiring after 50 years in education. The Portland Sun has this story.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

George Pimentel is the New President of JSCC

Vol State vice president for Academic Affairs, George Pimentel, has been named the new president of Jackson State Community College. This is from the TBR news release announcing his appointment: "I never imagined that I would become a college president when I began my career over 25 years ago, and I am honored and grateful to the Chancellor and the Board for trusting me with this opportunity," Pimentel said. "I'm looking forward to working with Jackson State faculty and staff as we continue to help our students overcome barriers to education and unlock their potential."

"This is an unprecedented time; students now more than ever need the opportunities that community college can provide through workforce development, collaborative partnerships and educational opportunities. Together, I believe we can make a real difference in people's lives, and in their communities, and I am excited to engage with community and business leaders as we work together to make that happen.

"I also want to thank Dr. Jerry Faulkner and the Vol State faculty and staff for their support, and for their unwavering commitment to student success. Vol State was my home for twenty years and it will always hold a special place in my heart," Pimentel said.

George began his career at Vol State in 2001 as an instructor. He continued as a History professor until an appointment as interim dean of Social Science and Education from August 2013-December 2013. He was appointed to the Vice President position in January of 2014.

Vol State in the News

The virtual graduation continues to receive coverage in area media outlets. This is the story in the Robertson County Connection and this story was run in the Portland Sun this week.

We're launching two new programs this fall: Medical Assisting and new Secondary Education degree programs. The Tennessean has this story.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Vol State Springfield Receives State Approval to Offer Degree Programs

Volunteer State Community College's Springfield campus has received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to offer complete college degree programs in Robertson County starting this fall semester. The college has offered classes at the Springfield campus since 2011. Thus far, students have had to combine the courses offered in Springfield with other courses held online or on the Vol State Gallatin campus in order to obtain a degree. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved a request to designate the Springfield campus as a “Center.” That means degrees can be awarded there and all classes needed for certain degree programs can be held on the campus.

“The offering of degrees in Springfield has been a high priority for both Vol State and the community. The work with city and county leaders in growing the campus has paid-off with this approval. We’re excited to expand our offerings in Robertson County. This is a solid base to build on for many years to come,” said Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner.

Beginning with fall classes in August, Vol State Springfield will provide all the coursework for the completion of an Associate of Science Degree in Teaching and the University Parallel Major. These majors are designed for transfer to a four-year institution. Associate of Applied Science Degrees, A.A.S, will also be offered for students planning to enter the job market immediately upon graduation from Vol State. Examples of A.A.S. programming are Computer Information Technology courses, including Cyber Defense, Programming, and Logic.

Anne-Marie McKee, who was named director of Vol State Springfield, has been associated with Vol State Community College for more than 20 years, and brings many years of higher education experience to the campus.

“I have been meeting with community and business leaders and everyone has made me feel so welcome,” said McKee. “I look forward to building those relationships and working directly with Vol State students in Springfield as we provide a high-quality education that can lead to so many careers and further educational opportunities.”

Students can use both the TN Promise program for graduating high school seniors and the TN Reconnect program for adults who do not already have a college degree, to receive free tuition at Vol State Springfield. The college has many Springfield and online classes available to university students who are taking a semester off. They are general education courses that can count for credit at many universities. New students should apply now at

The Vol State Springfield campus is located at 150 Laureate Avenue, just south of NorthCrest Medical Center, off Highway 431 and William Batson Parkway. The campus offices are closed for now, but staff are assisting people online and over the phone. For more information visit or call (615)433-7030.

Pictured: The Vol State Science Lab in Springfield provides the facilities for many classes ranging from biology to anatomy and physiology.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Passing the Torch at WVCP-FM

The Vol State radio station, WVCP-FM, celebrated a 40th anniversary in 2019. Faculty member Howard Espravnik has been a big part of that history, working as station general manager. Espravnik arrived at Vol State in 1986 and has led WVCP for more than three decades. His work included rebuilding the station after the studios took a direct hit from an F-3 tornado in 2006. Howard is retiring and recently he passed the WVCP torch to the new general manager, Dianna Monk, most recently of Cookeville. I say most recently because Dianna has traveled the country working at radio stations in California, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, and Georgia. She is the winner of six state Associated Press Awards; the Marconi Award for Best Air Personality in 2013; and a CMA nominee for Best Radio Personality in 2013. She has been music director and afternoon drive host for WGSQ-FM in Cookeville, while also teaching journalism as an adjunct at Tennessee Tech.  "I'm grateful to have been trained by Howard for this position," she said. "I know I have big shoes to fill, and I'm looking forward to working with Vol State's students."

Big shoes, indeed. Howard has worked with thousands of students and community volunteers over the years, making WVCP a staple in many households in Sumner County and beyond. Many of those students and volunteers came back for the 40th anniversary celebration. Most remarked on the impact Howard had in their interest and understanding of broadcasting, including George Hurd of Nashville, who was doing his regular Heavens Gospel Memories show during the event. “I love it. I came here for free college because I am over 65 and Mr. Howard signed me up. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from my listeners,” Hurd said. “People like the show and like the songs. We have good radio shows here. I’ve listened to the other DJs. It’s fun and educational to volunteer here.”

"I have a lot of fond memories and student success stories from WVCP," Howard said. "I'm hearing from a lot of them now. I'm really grateful I was able to help them."

Vol State will miss Mr. E, as his students affectionately called him.

Song with Vol State Ties in the Running for Official Nashville COVID-19 Title

Musicians and songwriters in Nashville memorialize many national events in song, and so it's fitting that the city should have something official to mark the ordeal of COVID-19. Vol State alumni were finalists in the Nashville COVID recovery song contest, sponsored by the Nashville Mayor's Office and judged by the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Conner Sweet was a student in our Entertainment Media Production program and Liz Hengber a former adjunct faculty member for songwriting. Their song was titled "Times Like These"  and performed by Lance Carpenter. Voting ended Friday and they just missed the top spot by a few hundred votes, coming in second overall. You can listen to it here. This is just another indication of the strength of our Entertainment Media Production and Music programs at Vol State. Congrats to all.

New Secondary Education Degrees Start this Fall

New Secondary Education degree programs start this fall at Vol State. These programs are designed for students who are interested in teaching grades 6-12 in English, Math and Social Studies. There is a teacher shortage and Middle School and High School teachers are in high demand in Tennessee. 
Secondary Education: English A.S.T. (TTP)
Secondary Education: Math A.S.T. (TTP)
Secondary Education: Social Studies  A.S.T. (TTP)
These are two-year degree programs with a focus on the coursework necessary to keep students on par with other students entering their junior year majoring in Secondary Education- English, Math or Social Studies  at a four year institution. Students majoring in Secondary Education typically get their Bachelor of Science degree and teach a specific discipline at the secondary level in public or private schools. Visit: