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Sharing Outcomes in Education and Industry

Jim Correll, director Fab Lab ICC at Independence Community College, Independence Kansas 

Few Regrets  

I have few regrets. I don't regret marrying and starting a photography business immediately after graduating from Garden City Community College (GCCC) in 1976. I don't regret having several "careers" over the last forty-plus years. I don't regret waiting until about 1990 to go back to school, while working full-time, to earn my undergraduate degree in Business Management from Newman University in Wichita. Most of the work I've done in these "careers" has involved either starting something from nothing or creating some kind of organization and systems out of chaos. I learned many, many lessons over the years; many of them the hard way. Today, I believe the pieces of this life have come together to make me a good fit to be a Fab Lab director. 

Two Regrets 

Indeed, I can think of only two regrets. One is that I quit playing the electric bass when I left GCCC and the other is that for many years after graduation, I didn't read books. I took up the bass again about a year ago. I thoroughly enjoy it although playing weekly in the church band is about all the time I can carve out for it in my world today. A few years ago, I began reading again, not two or three books per week as some I know, probably more like one or two books per month. I read a variety of books, fiction and non-fiction about a variety of topics but a majority has to do with individual entrepreneurs that have started small and become successful. Many others have to do with how we can do a better job of preparing youth to be successful and make positive contributions to our world. 

CaptiveAire Started Small 

I just finished a book that covers both. In "Entrepreneurial Life" entrepreneur Robert Luddy chronicles the upstart of what is now known as "CaptiveAire Systems, Inc." He started the company in 1976 with only $1,300. The company has grown to be a global leader in the manufacture and sales of commercial kitchen ventilation systems. This company became successful by a relentless focus on customer service while lowering costs. He has used the lower cost of manufacturing to offer customers more value, rather than just padding his pockets. 

In 1997, using knowledge acquired through CaptiveAire and his observations of the shortcomings of public K-12 education, he began the process of opening a charter school in North Carolina named "Franklin Academy" after Benjamin Franklin. Since then, he's been involved in the creation of "Saint Thomas More Academy" and "Thales Academy."  

Shared Outcomes 

Leadership and management at CaptiveAire are outcome based and so the philosophy of the charter schools has also been outcome based. In the book, he lists 15 of these outcomes that are communicated repeatedly to the students. Teacher performance is measured by these outcomes.  

Here are few of my favorites. 

  • Unfailing Integrity compels a person to follow a strong code of e3ithcs and honesty in all situations. 

  • Astute Problem Solving leads one to identify the solutions to a problem, evaluate the likely outcomes, assess risk, and choose correctly. 

  • Competent Technical Skills allow individuals to join modern technological industries and navigate modern life. 

  • Dreams and Aspirations to Change the World help us remember that directed efferts bring us closer to our goals. 

  • Traditional American Values and Entrepreneurialism drive a leader to build and sustain a thriving economy. 

  • Self-Reliance creates confidence to depend on one's own powers and resources to meet all of one's needs. 

  • A Cooperative and Contributive Team Member knows how to collaborate to achieve successful results. 

  • A Strong Work Ethic links perseverance, reliability, and honesty. 

These and the other 15 outcomes in the book should be adopted by business and industry as a means of professional development and advancement of their employees. Training programs and initiatives should combine these outcomes with whatever specific business or technical outcomes are require for a given employee. These outcomes would go a long way in solving the dreaded "soft skills" problems experienced by so many employers today. 

Jim Correll is the director of Fab Lab ICC at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Independence Community College. He can be reached at (620) 252-5349, by email at or Twitter @jimcorrellks.  

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