Edenton — College of The Albemarle (COA) traveled to Edenton on Sep. 6 to connect with 13 COA graduates employed at Regulator Marine. The COA Alumni Connect initiative is growing; the visit to Regulator Marine marked the first to honor graduates working in Chowan County.
Patti Kersey, Chowan County Commissioner and a member of the COA Board of Trustees and COA Foundation Board of Directors, was instrumental in planning this surprise visit. She said, “Every Regulator employee is an ambassador for COA — they represent the modern manufacturing workforce with quality trade skills that COA provides in a variety of workforce disciplines.”
Keith Stevens, Vice President of Operations, surprised the graduates at their monthly “All Hands” meeting, where staff members are praised for ensuring a safe work environment and acknowledgements are given to employees who have been promoted and or have earned a star award for doing something positive in the workplace. In addition to the meeting, COA graduates were called up to the front to receive a lapel pin and gifts compliments of Drs. Robert and Lyndasu Wynegar, COA President and his wife, on behalf of COA. Dr. Evonne Carter, COA Vice President of Learning pinned each graduate to honor them for their career success. N. Lee Norfleet Jr., Regulator Marine Business Process Manager, shared his story:
“As a Veteran returning to civilian life, College of The Albemarle helped to build my educational foundation through excellent teachers, awesome facilities and at a very reasonable cost. The coursework I undertook in obtaining my associates degree fully prepared me for when I transferred to East Carolina University. Even after graduating from ECU, I returned to COA and took several courses in computers and systems analysis that I still use today. I attribute much of my success to the skills I learned at COA.”
“Your staff is remarkable! We were so impressed with the positive working environment your team demonstrates. I had the pleasure of touring the facility and walked away as Regulator Marine’s biggest advocate. The attention to detail and the synchronized work flow implemented in the assembly line amazed me. Owners Joan and Owen Maxwell have set the standard on how to run an operation and under the leadership of Keith Stevens, the teams’ manufacturing process leaves a lasting impression on visitors,” stated Amy Alcocer, COA’s Public Information Officer.
Currently, the company operates on three shifts. Crews, consisting of several associates, specialize in numerous process steps working towards the final finished product. The hull, stringer and liner molds are built by Marine Concepts (out of Florida) and are quality checked by engineering during design, build, and at receipt. Work stations are organized to include daily tasks and quality checks to help crews stay on target for delivery. At the end of the production line, each boat goes through a series of final quality checks, including a mock customer inspection, to ensure all parts are installed correctly down to every screw being properly aligned. “It is vital for Regulator Marine to have dependable and skilled associates. Production from lamination through assembly generally takes between 13 to 24 days depending on the boat size, ranging from 23 to 41 feet in length. We rely on every associate to come to work daily and to perform their job as an artist and craftsman in order to build the best sport-fishing center console on the market. Attention to detail in order to consistently provide the finest in fit and finish is our key to success and what sets us apart from our competition,” said Keith Stevens.
COA’s Alumni Connect initiative highlights the makeup of our local community in the workforce. The college provides the necessary training for students to enter the workforce and to be successful as an employees. COA is humbled by the success stories shared and are devoted to building relationships with local businesses to serve our community.