To say that Rick Hughlett has been involved in Ozarks Technical Community College is quite an understatement.
Even before the start of OTC, Mr. Hughlett was right there getting his formal automotive training at Graff Vocational Technical School, which later became OTC. He was on the Automotive Technology advisory board at Graff and then continued to hold the same position at OTC.
He’s a member of the OTC Foundation and last May was awarded the colleges Distinguished Alumni Award. He and his wife, Karen, have endowed the Rick and Karen Hughlett Scholarship for students in the colleges automotive program.
Today, Mr. Hughlett, owner of Rick’s Automotive, offers training to OTC students at his business and has hired OTC graduates to fill positions at his 30-year-old business
A key hire almost 13 years ago was Bill Murcko, an OTC graduate who took second in the nation in the SkillsUSA automotive competition. Today, Murcko is a technician for Hughlett who helps oversee the company’s ambulance maintenance and repair work done for vehicles in a 16-county area.
He was instrumental in the formation of the Advisory Committee of area automotive service providers to work with the OTC Transportation Department, and he offers a mentoring program for students from OTC’s Automotive Repair program.
There may be no better cheerleader for the college and its mission than Mr. Hughlett.
“OTC is here for the community. Springfield is reliant on the construction industry, but when a Lily Tulip or Zenith closes, you see the impact close up. You see the empty parking lots. You don’t see that when it happens in the construction industry. Thats when OTC comes in and does its part, ” he said.
“OTC has the retraining for those who leave the construction field for another job. OTC is poised to help with nursing training, Middle College, all kinds of training.”
Mr. Hughlett takes pride when he hears OTC being compliment by residents and business owners throughout the region.
“It’s not uncommon to hear people on the street talk about how proud they are to have OTC here and what its done for our community. It has helped raise the level of income here. OTC is now branching out into other communities and offering courses online. It’s going to keep growing,” he said.
Mr. Hughlett knows the kind of impact OTC has on the regional business landscape.
“If OTC weren’t here to offer training for people to get a good job, we’d all be selling hamburgers to each other. People would have to move to get the kind of training OTC offers,” he said.
“OTC has exceeded my expectations of what the college could mean for the region. How lucky are we to have it? Its fun to be a part of and Im honored to be on their Foundation board.”
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666