Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) has a new first family. Gary Turner, his wife Marlene, and their 20 year old son Traye now have that official designation as Turner has been selected to replace retiring KPC Director Ginger Steffy.
Although the family is moving to the Peninsula from Washington State, the Turner's are no strangers to Alaska, having lived in Fairbanks for three years and in Ketchikan for two.
"When I started fishing down here in 1991, I learned about the College and this actually became my dream job back then," admitted Turner, who officially took over the helm at KPC July 1st. It was the uniqueness of the KPC campus and curriculums that inspired Turner's dream job, "I want to be a part of the community and help the college help the community. The college does that through vocational education and catering to non-traditional students as well as traditional students. It's a good fit for me because I have had a varied career and was a non-traditional student. It took me ten years to get my four year degree, then I was a traditional student through grad-school, so I think I understand the needs of KPC's uniqueness, and I'm looking forward to it," Turner told the Kenai Chamber of Commerce just two days after arriving in town.
Turner brings a lot of industry as well as academic experience to his position. He taught English and Literature at the U.S. Air Force Academy, worked at the University of Alaska Southeast in Ketchikan, as a continuing education coordinator, academic counselor and communication teacher. He has held positions with NASA as well as serving as a senior vice president at public relations firm of Weber Shandwick Worldwide, in Bellevue Washington, "I've been in and out of academia as well as in and out of business, so I can look at the needs of both sides. One of our goals is to be able to educate our students here on the Peninsula and have them stay here," added Turner.
The family's move to the Kenai is their 15th move in 20 years, but this one Turner plans on being his last, "I've dreamed of this job for 10 years. I loved Fairbanks, my wife loved Ketchikan, and we both love it here. So this is where we are putting down our final roots. This is it, we are here for the long haul, and don't plan on leaving," laughed Turner.
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