Distinguished Alumni Award

Burnie Gaff, Distinguished Alumni Award 2016

Each year the EMCC Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Alumni Award to one or more EMCC/EMVTI/EMTC alumni. Following are Burnie Gaff’s remarks upon receiving the award in 2016.

“Good evening,

I am honored and proud to receive this award, but I must say, I am even more proud of this institution.

Coming here after high school in 1989 was not a hard decision.  While many of my friends and classmates were off to larger schools, I wanted to go to a place that gave me the tools to succeed for the rest of my life.  And not only did I get what I was looking for, I received much more.

I started with EMVTI; it changed after my first year to EMTC.  The Electrical Power Program (Winter Carnival Champions 1991) with Steve Judy and Mark Lundy was exactly what I needed for my chosen profession.  But along with that, I received an education that was much more comprehensive than I had envisioned, one that helped me grow as a person, a leader, and eventually a father.

My education gave me the tools needed to begin my career at a very high level, and I can say for certain this tradition continues on today.  Gaftek, a company we started in 1997, now employs 7 graduates from this college, and they all excel every day in our business.  Two are here tonight with their wives: George King and Wade Jordan.

George, a 1994 graduate of Automotive Repair and a 2012 graduate of the Electrical and Automation Technology Program, is an excellent service technician, and his work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile is extraordinary.

Wade Jordan, Building Maintenance Manager, a 2013 graduate of the Electricians Technology Program, has taken a startup department inside Gaftek and made it a not only a huge success but the fastest growing department in the company.  These are just two more examples of success that comes from EMCC.

I am remiss that I cannot be in attendance tonight.  I am out of state with my beautiful wife Amy of 24 years, my 8 year old son Luke, and my 5 year old daughter Alexis preparing for Ironman Executive Challenge on Saturday.  I am hopefully sleeping right about now!

I am honored that Rick Reardon can accept this award for me tonight.  (Don’t forget to read this part, Rick!)  While I did not have Rick as a professor, I have grown to know him and have the utmost respect for what he does daily, and also consider him a great friend.  Being President of the Electrical and Automation Technology Advisory Board for the past several years has given me an inside look at this school and how it functions today.  Rick and the entire staff at EMCC are challenged daily by budgets, curriculum, and mandated course credit hours, but they always find a way to make it work, while giving the industry exactly what we are looking for.  Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to this college.

EMCC was precisely the education I needed to succeed and grow, and I can proudly say, this tradition continues on today.

I am truly honored that I was even considered for this award, and I am even more honored that I can still be a part of this great institution.

Thank You!”