The following is the transcript of Jeff Hurst’s Honors Night Speech at Midway College.
Good evening to everyone. I would like to take a moment to personally thank Dean Brown, Dr. Fletcher and my advisor Glenn Dishman who relentlessly encouraged me. I would also like to thank my professors, the staff at Midway that helped me with everything from scheduling issues to financial issues. I would also like to thank my family for the support and sacrifices they had to make to ensure my success and finally I would like to thank my cohort group for the encouragement and memories.
I have worked for Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky for over twenty one years. I began my career as a production team member. Since that time I have worked in human resource, training and development, and my current role I am a production assistant manager responsible for production of the new four cylinder engine that is installed in the Camry.
I have a passion for people and working with them. The education that I received from Midway College has strengthened my skills to transform me from a manager to a leader. In October 2007 I began my journey. In May of 2010 I will receive my bachelor’s degree in Organizational Administration and Leadership; however this will only be a transition to another journey for me. I have learned that life is all about transitions. When I began my adult learning with Midway the primary focus was on myself. Initially I focused on learning what I needed to know in order to pass the test, write a good paper, or to pass the class. What I found was after a couple of classes I found that my thinking had transitioned to a deeper meaning. Midway was strategically stair stepping my learning. They were helping me to transition my management style to a leadership style.
After about a year of class I began to apply what Midway was teaching me. I found that being a leader was more efficient and effective then being a manager. I found that the team works better and achieves better results when the leader challenges, encourages, and inspires. My learning had been transitioned from being about myself to being about others.
Finally, as I matured in my learning and my leadership style, I now realize that leadership is not only about serving others it was also about giving back, not just to others but to the community. I have had the opportunity to apply my learning not only to my career at Toyota but I have also had the opportunity to give back by serving the community. I have volunteered and participated in many activities and I intend to become involved in adult learning programs within my community.
As graduates of Midway College we should rejoice on our achievements however we must also focus on the future. Each of us needs to grab each opportunity as its presents itself and consider it a gift. A gift once received can be discarded or laid aside or it can be valued and nourished. An education is a gift and should be used wisely. I challenge everyone to use their gift. Again, I would like to thank Midway College for its commitment and dedication to adult learning.