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RCC Workforce grows to help local organizations thrive

Two new staff members have recently been added to Rappahannock Community College’s Workforce and Community Development Center (WCDC). Project coordinator David Valadez comes to RCC from a consulting position with the United States Navy in Hampton Roads (specializing in operations planning, personnel training, and strategic communication), while his administrative assistant, Christine Swinson, made a lateral move from her job as evening supervisor for RCC’s Warsaw Campus.

David Valadez

David Valadez

David Valadez holds the degrees of bachelor of science in physical science from the U.S. Naval Academy (1988) and master of science in organizational management from Capella University (2007). At age 18 he began a 20-year military career with the Navy and Coast Guard, which gave him the opportunity to travel to four continents and dozens of foreign ports, as well as the cities all over the country where he has been stationed. After retiring from the armed services, he first took a position at one of the last United-States-owned maritime shipping companies—Matson Navigation, Inc., a pioneer in the industry of container shipping. His more recent consultative position has allowed him to contribute to Navy maritime operations and international engagement planning by assisting naval assets in deploying to and operating in the African, European, South American and Middle East regions.

His employment at the WCDC, Valadez considers, “will provide a great opportunity to serve the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck communities, and I hope I can contribute my skills and experience towards positively impacting the lives and futures of the students who attend RCC’s Workforce Development programs.” He defines his responsibilities as “managing all of the workforce programs that take place at the Warsaw Campus, and ensuring that students receive a quality learning experience from any class they attend. One of my goals,” he says, “is to build the workforce program offerings and increase student attendance through focused communication with various audiences within the RCC service region—including businesses and organizations that have a role in supporting workforce development.” He adds, “In the short time that I have been at RCC, I have noticed great energy and enthusiasm among the staff, which spills over into everything they are involved in on a daily basis.”

Valadez lives in Middlesex County with his wife and two daughters; he and his family are members of Urbanna United Methodist Church. In his spare time he enjoys golfing, sailing, and running, and during the last two years he has competed in races over distances of up to half a marathon.

Christine Swinson

Christine Swinson

Administrative and office specialist Christine Swinson returned to RCC as an employee just over a year ago, having earned an associate of applied science degree in business management from RCC before transferring to Strayer University to complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentration in management. (Both degrees were awarded summa cum laude.) She feels that her recent experience as an RCC student has helped her to understand and sympathize with current students: “They feel I am easy to talk to, and can understand some of what they are going through, because I have just been there, and have had some of their same professors. I have been able to encourage them,” she says, “that if I can go back to school at my age and complete my degrees, then they can do it, too!”

Swinson expresses the hope that “students walk away from an encounter with me feeling better informed about the classes, certificates, and programs that the WCDC offers”—many of which are designed to enhance hands-on work skills, and upon completion, will allow graduates to apply those skills immediately to further their careers. “I hope,” says Swinson, “that our students leave feeling that we in this department are here to help them be successful, and will do our best in helping them to reach their goals. It is important for them to realize that we are here to serve them.”

Swinson’s many years in business—she owned and managed a wholesale container nursery for 30 years, as well as creating and managing a gourmet produce market—will dovetail with her business education to allow her to help the WCDC “continue to grow and expand as it works with industry, business, and the community to meet the ever-changing needs and demands” that these sectors experience as they strive to do business “in a more competitive, global environment. Many businesses and industries here in the Northern Neck,” Swinson points out, “are already operating in such countries as Mexico, Sweden, Japan, and Italy.”

Swinson lives with her husband, Joe, in Essex County; they have three grown children and two grandchildren. In addition to her current interests of cooking and canning, reading, arranging flowers, and visiting historic houses, farmer’s markets, and the beach—“especially Myrtle Beach,” she says—Swinson looks forward to taking up kayaking and paddleboarding.

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