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Slaton to lead search committee
4 Slaton mug

A local businessman has been selected to lead the search committee for Lanier Technical College's next president.

Roger Slaton, chairman of Lanier Tech's board of directors and a member of the Dawson County Board of Education, said he is proud to be asked to serve in such an "important role."

"I'm really honored to be asked to do this by [Technical College System of Georgia] Commissioner Ron Jackson," said Slaton, owner/agent of State Farm Insurance in Dawsonville. "After talking to Commissioner Jackson, you realize the severity that's at stake."

The seven-member search committee, each with close connections with Lanier Tech, also includes Lynn Jackson, administrator of Northside Hospital-Forsyth and member of the college's board of directors; Tracy L. Moon Jr., partner in the law firm of Fisher and Phillips in Atlanta and member of the college foundation's board of trustees; Dennis Stockton, publisher of The Times in Gainesville; Doug Carter, president and broker of Don Carter Realty Co. in Gainesville and member of the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia; Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce; and Gwen Hill, owner of Hill's Ace Hardware and Lumber in Winder.

The committee will interview applicants and narrow the field to the top three candidates.

Jackson will select one to replace President Russell Vandiver, who is retiring at the end of March.

In a statement, Jackson said the members of the search committee "understand the college's crucial role in educating students and developing the skilled work force needed by today's business and industry."

"I'm confident that they can help me find a strong and talented leader to follow Russell Vandiver and be the next president of this great college," he said.

Both Jackson and Slaton praised Vandiver for his 37 years of service to Lanier Tech, where he served the majority of that time as vice president of economic development before being named the interim president in February 2010.

Jackson appointed him as the full-time president in September that same year.

"Russell has devoted his entire career to serving Lanier Technical College and his work has made him a widely-known expert in work force training," he said.

"As he nears his well-deserved retirement, we can't thank him enough for the outstanding contributions that he's made to economic development throughout the region and the great career opportunities that he's helped to create for his students."

Slaton echoed Jackson's sentiments.

"Russell certainly took Lanier Tech to new heights," he said. "He had great ideas about how the college should grow and how it could expand."

The committee will begin interviewing applicants in the next few weeks.

"We've had several apply from across the state," Slaton said. "Those [applications] have been brought to us. We'll review them and interview a much smaller number."

The committee will select three finalists who will also be interviewed by Technical College System of Georgia senior management before a final interview with Jackson, whose decision will be subject to approval by the state board that oversees the college system.

"His goal and ours is to move fairly quickly with this," Slaton said.

Lanier Tech serves Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Jackson and Lumpkin counties.

The college has a main campus in Oakwood with additional campuses in Dawsonville, Cumming, Commerce and Winder.

Last year, the college enrolled 5,666 students in certificate, diploma and degree programs.