LEITCHFIELD, Ky. -- Russell Chaney has joined the staff of the Grayson County Technology Center to head the school’s new machining program. Chaney comes to the school with nine years of teaching experience at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, as a professor of Computerized Manufacturing and Machining.
“It’s going to be amazing to have somebody with his years of teaching experience, who knows what it takes to build a quality program,” said Cynthia Smith, Technology Center Director. “He’s had 100% placement for his students. He knows the kind of skills industry wants and can produce them in Grayson County.”
Chaney’s previous experience includes working with both large and smaller manufacturers. In addition to his years with fluorescent lighting maker Osram Sylvania and B & H Tool Works, he also took a turn at business ownership himself, in partnership with a fellow machinist. His background provides him with a unique familiarity and perspective on the needs of both students and industry employers.
In addition to a degree in Organizational Management form Midway College, Chaney received training at Somerset Vocational and Technical School through a two-year program in machine shop, learning the trade manually. But the computerized operations that were beginning to come to the forefront of the field marked a transformation for that segment of manufacturing, one that he is excited to share with a new generation of machinists.
“The skill set students learn in the program gives them skills to move into a lot of different things,” said Chaney. And with so many veteran machinists retiring there are simply not enough people entering the trade to keep up with the strong demand. “At BGTC we had more companies calling than we had students. I want to be able to place them when they start getting into their senior year at coop and local businesses.”
Chaney is excited not only about developing the program, but also the move to Grayson County. The family has owned property in the Short Creek area for several years. He and his wife, Mysti, had long known they ultimately wanted to make Grayson County their home. “We had already made plans to come here,” said Chaney, “it was just a little quicker than we expected.” Their sons are equally delighted about the move. Older son, Matthew, is currently stationed with the Army in Alaska, and Robert, a machinist himself, is with IDT in Frankfort.
The chance to “come to this area with a new program was just a phenomenal opportunity,” added Chaney. As a former business owner “I’m used to building things and I like that. What’s going to really excite me is five or six years down the road when I see the growth and potential from those new kids” as former students advance in their career or go on to two- and four-year college programs.
Chaney has good relationships with staff at many of the state Community & Technical Colleges which will provide an excellent resource for the local program. He’s also eager to get acquainted with local businesses saying “I want to work closely with local industry, get out there and meet some of these industrial people and start building relationships,”
Superintendent Barry Anderson praised the Board’s vision for the program, and the community for its commitment. “Our biggest concern was finding the right instructor and we’ve done that.”