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Opening Another Chapter

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA Q&A as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.
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Q: I’ve heard you are retiring from SkillsUSA. What’s next for you, and what changes are coming?

Tim: I began this column in 2001, when I became executive director of SkillsUSA, and what a journey it’s been ever since. Around the country and the world, I’ve met SkillsUSA students, teachers, partners and others who work daily to make our career and technical education system the best it can be. I’ve seen changes in curriculum, in technology, and in state educational agencies and federal administrations, and seen amazing growth in SkillsUSA’s membership and programs.

Still, some things remain the same, and these truths are what I’ll remember most: Those who engage in continuous personal growth, and who accept change and adapt to the circumstances and people they work with, tend to become leaders. Those who lead with passion tend to be successful. Those who lead by inspiration always rise to the top.

I have grown as a leader during my time with SkillsUSA, beginning as a welding student, through my path in the manufacturing industry, and as a teacher, state leader and national staff member. I am humbled and honored, along with an incredible support team in the national headquarters and in our state associations, to have led us through this historic time.

Honestly, leadership isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun. There have been worries that kept me up at night. I always led from my heart as well as my head, and I put everything I had into this role.

SkillsUSA has been a major part of my life journey, so it is truly difficult to leave my position as your executive director. However, I am inspired by the hard work of our national board of directors to select an outstanding new leader. As she takes the helm, I expect the transition will be seamless for members and very positive for our teachers, partners and stakehold- ers. I look forward to new adventures and new roles in my life as I navigate my next chapter. It might include travels, volunteer work and who knows what else, but it will always be about serving others.

When students and teachers come to our National Leadership Center, I always tell them, “Welcome home.” I now say the same to your new executive director. Welcome home, Chelle Travis, and I hope the coming years are as good to you as the past 19 have been to me.

It has been a true honor to serve all of you and this life-changing organization. Thank you, my friends, for this incredible opportunity!

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? Email or send a letter to the address on the facing page.

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