New Employee Spotlight – Benjamin Coats

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words. coats-benjamin

Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.
Aviation Instructor – Tenure Track with fourteen years of teaching experience as an FAA certified flight instructor and three years of experience teaching chemistry and mathematics in community colleges.

What drew you to apply to Green River?
I am a product of community colleges, and I wanted to serve the same community that educated me, a high school dropout. Also, the aviation program we have at GRC attracted me to this specific community college.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?
SPEED METAL!!! VERY LOUD!!! Overkill, old Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest are some of my favorite bands. I also listen to techno – anything with energy that sounds great when played loud and fast.

What was the very first job you ever had?
I was working two part-time jobs when I was only fourteen. I flipped hamburgers at McDonald’s in Blue Ridge, Georgia during the evenings and weekends, and I was also a roofer for Blue Ridge Roofing in Morganton, Georgia during the weekdays.  I hated both jobs, because they were both very hot environments, and I was constantly sweating.  Plus, my bosses were mean and uneducated, so this initial work experience was great motivation for me to stay in school. 

What about your new position is most exciting for you?
This position provides me with an excellent opportunity to combine my teaching experiences in community colleges with my teaching experiences on airports into a common mission, which is something I have always sought my entire adult life.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?
I want to fix the VA funding issues we have for students in our department that want to learn how to fly. While the problem of the funding abuse is a nationwide issue, I want GRC to lead the nation in finding and implementing the solution. We owe it to our veterans to resolve this issue, immediately. With the huge worldwide pilot shortage we are facing, I am committed to ensuring that this void is first filled by those who have served our country and protected its freedom before filling this void of professional pilots by only the wealthy. I view this problem as an emergency situation that demands immediate action from our college’s administration and from our politicians, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to get our veterans in the air as soon as possible. I am willing to take on any politician or administrator that opposes this effort and make their resistance political suicide, if necessary, in order to fight for our veterans and their educational goals. Any support you can offer me with this will be greatly appreciated.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

  1. Earning my BS in Chemistry with Cum Laude honors from a historically black university,
  2. Earning my MA, Liberal Studies while living below the Federal poverty level, and
  3. Earning my pilot & flight instructor certifications and self-funding that burden.

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?
I have been called “Ben-jammin’“ before because it is word play on my full first name, Benjamin, while recognizing my love and talent for music.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?
Maybe it should exist! Then, I can play the piano for my colleagues. I can play “The Last Date” by Floyd Cramer, “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, and a few other songs, some of which are my own creation.

If G.R.E.E.N. were an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?

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