In May’s installment of “Playing 20 Questions,” we are highlighting Will Watson, UTC CPE’s Program Coordinator. Get to know Will, why he is passionate about creating career opportunities for individuals, and his love for the CFC and his rescue dog, Charlie.
1. How long have you been in your role?
Nearly three years!
2. What does a “day in the life” look like for you in your role?
I spend most of my time managing projects and/or training programs, such as CPE’s Medical Career Academies. I also spend time collaborating and communicating with students, prospective students, instructors, co-workers, and stakeholders.
3. What do you enjoy most about working at CPE?
Simply put, I enjoy what I do, who I do it with, and where I do it at.
4. What motivates you to get up and go to work every morning?
My position grants me the opportunity to change lives by providing individuals with educational and training opportunities that create direct paths to careers rather than just jobs. The increase in quality of life not only has an impact on the individuals but also on their families and the generations to come.
5. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while in your role at CPE?
As with all things in life, curveballs are often thrown that try to stop you from working toward a goal. I have learned that patience, faith, and determination go a long way in getting things accomplished.
6. What is your favorite project or a memorable moment you’ve had while working at CPE?
My favorite project is our Certified Nursing Assistant program. CPE was able to partner with Hamilton County School/Howard High and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation to build our first state accredited program. The program allows UTC to invest in the Chattanooga community by providing career pathways for citizens via partnerships with local employers. A four-year degree is not for everyone, so I look forward to offering people of all backgrounds the opportunity to better their lives through education and in-demand certification training.
7. In one sentence, how would you define true leadership?
Leadership is the ability to influence, inspire, and motivate others to strive toward a common goal.
8. What is a professional motto or quote you “work” by?
“Where there’s a Will, there’s a way.”
9. Why do you believe continuous education and training are important for individuals?
There are many reasons continuous education is important. However, I think about how we never expected a worldwide pandemic to happen and completely shut down specific industries. Because of continuous education, individuals who may have lost their job in 2020 are able to pursue training programs. Then, they can get back on their feet more quickly and increase economic satiability for their families.
10. List five adjectives that describe your personality.
Ambitious. Determined. Passionate. Extroverted. Confident.
11. What’s a fun fact about you that would surprise people?
I have red hair and blue eyes, which is one of the rarest combinations of hair and eye colors in the world. 1-2% of the world has red hair, and blue is the least common eye color for redheads. Bonus: I’m also left-handed!
12. What do you like to do when you aren’t in the office?
You can find me going to sporting events, exploring local shops and restaurants, and working in my yard.
13. What sports teams do you cheer on the loudest?
The Chattanooga Football Club, UTC Mocs, Michigan Wolverines, and Tennessee Titans.
14. If you could be on any game show, what would it be and why?
Guy’s Grocery Games, because I would love to meet Guy Fieri. Jeopardy is a close second.
15. What is one food you can’t resist?
16. Are you a dog or cat person?
Dog. I have a small, long-(red)haired Chiweenie named Charlie that I rescued. He has been with me since my undergraduate years.
17. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Super speed—so my body could keep up with my mind.
18. What book is laying on your nightstand table?
“A Promised Land” by President Barack Obama.
19. If you could meet one person, dead or alive, to grab coffee with, who would it be and why?
The late Anthony Bourdian. He was a famous chef, author, and travel documentarian who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He once said, “People are generally proud of their food. A willingness to eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice…they open up to you in ways that somebody visiting who is driven by a story may not get.” Instead of eating at famous restaurants in Paris, Bourdian would sit in a plastic chair enjoying street food in the Philippines or at the kitchen table of a multi-generation family in Chile. Like sports, food can be the vehicle to break down barriers and bring people together who otherwise might not have much else in common. Barbecue might not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start.
20. What activities would you recommend to a tourist coming to visit Chattanooga?
The perfect day: Start with brunch at The Daily Ration, go on a hike and have a picnic on Signal or Lookout Mountains, enjoy an afternoon craft brew at Hutton & Smith Brewing Company, and finish the evening at a Chattanooga Football Club match.
Contact Will by email at William-Watson@utc.edu. If you have questions about CPE programming, contact Will by scheduling a Calendly call.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.