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SMC celebrates long-term employees

Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees celebrated eight long-term employees reaching five- and 10-year milestones at the Sept. 17 meeting on the Dowagiac campus.

Trustee Todd Obren presented Brent Brewer of Dowagiac with his 10-year service pin. Brewer started at the college in recruiting and was promoted to Director of Admissions and then Director of the Niles Campus. He is currently Associate Vice President of the Niles Campus and in October begins transitioning into Chief of Staff in anticipation of Tom Atkinson’s retirement. Brewer has an SMC associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Bethel College.

Trustee Beth Cripe presented a 10-year service pin to Dr. Jeffrey Dennis of Dowagiac. Dennis earned a doctorate in American history from the University of Notre Dame, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Andrews University and an SMC associate degree. His teaching experiences took him to Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Georgia.

Vice Chairman Keith McKenzie awarded Stephanie Lyons, senior staff accountant, her 10-year service pin. Lyons started at SMC as a student account specialist. She has associate degrees in business management from Brown Mackie College and accounting from SMC and will add her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ferris State University in May.

Michelle Orlaske of St. Joseph started at SMC as a marketing assistant. She was promoted to Coordinator of Marketing Communications and is currently Marketing Manager. She previously held the position of graphic designer at WOOD TV 8 in Grand Rapids. She holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Siena Heights University. Her 10-year service pin was given by Trustee William White.

Mark Pelfrey of Decatur started at SMC as a part-time instructor and is currently a fulltime Math/Science Department instructor. Pelfrey holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Central Michigan University. Trustee Becky Moore awarded Pelfrey, co-founder of SMC’s Honors Program, with his five-year service pin.

McKenzie presented John Eby of Dowagiac with his five-year service pin. Eby, senior writer and coordinator of media relations, spent most of his 33-year journalism career as Dowagiac Daily News managing editor. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.

Two other employees unable to attend the meeting, Health Information Technology instructor Julie Zabriskie and Business Office staff accountant Brittany Cavanary, both of Dowagiac, also reached the five-year milestone.