District Employee Recognized for Leadership

Earl Rich accepting awardLeft: From left, Linda Prescott, Hillsborough Community College professor, and District staff members Lenore Balden, senior human resources generalist; John Frascone, office support supervisor; Earl Rich; Elaine Kuligofski, human resources director; Gene Schiller, deputy executive director of management services; and Roberta Starks, water quality monitoring program manager. Right: Earl Rich (right), with Hillsborough Community College President Gwendolyn W. Stephenson, Ph.D., displays the Hillsborough Community College 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award.

Earl Rich, District document services manager, has been a student most of his life. He was determined to earn his degree, regardless of how long it would take, and be the first college graduate in his family. 
His success was recognized recently when he was awarded the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award. This award recognizes former students for exceptional professional leadership, outstanding contributions to the community and a positive influence in the growth and development of HCC.

Rich’s determination for a college education came later in life. He was always a hard worker. After high school, he maintained a full-time position and attended college part-time. He took a six-year break from school, at one point working three jobs. After realizing he had too much time on his hands and wanting an even greater challenge, Rich gave college another shot.

“College was different the second time around,” said Rich. “I was more focused and it came easier to me.”

Rich continued to work on his degrees over a span of 15 years while working full-time. He earned his associate in arts degree from HCC and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Leo University. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he and his wife had two sons.

In addition to his academic success, Rich has also acquired significant professional achievements. With more than 10 years of experience in the records management industry, Rich is one of only 17 certified records managers (CRMs) in Florida and 842 in the world. CRMs are professional records and information managers that are well versed in the many disciplines that comprise the total management of enterprise information. CRMs become certified by meeting both educational and work experience requirements as well as passing a required series of exams.

Aside from his work experience, Rich is also president of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Association of Record Managers and Administrators (ARMA). This not-for-profit educational organization advances records management as a discipline and profession by providing local education and networking opportunities for records and information managers. His leadership has provided him opportunities to speak about records management in many of the southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia, as well as internationally in Canada and Mexico.

As Rich maintained a full-time career while earning his degrees, he also continued to stay active in his community. Rich has been involved in organizations such as A Brighter Community, which is a nonprofit, nationally accredited preschool and family support program. He also participated in several American Cancer Society events and mentored many college students on career advancement and the importance of formal higher education.

Lloyd Roberts, general services director, nominated Rich for the award.

“Earl joined our department just over a year ago and he has been looking for ways to improve the processes within his section from the first day he arrived,” said Roberts. “He is truly driven to provide the tools and resources necessary for his staff to be successful, and I consider myself fortunate to have Earl leading our Document Services Section.”