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Local men provide career advice to students
at Herkimer BOCES School To Careers event

Nov. 14, 2016



Tangorra gives keynote speech
Philip Tangorra, director of water quality for the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, gives the keynote speech during the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES. The other guests for the event are pictured sitting from left to right: Art Graves, an agronomist for Mycogen Seeds; George Demeree, plant manager of Gehring-Tricot Corp.’s Helmont Mills Inc.; and Steven Billings, personnel officer for the Herkimer County Personnel Office.



HERKIMER – Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Men’s Career Experience keynote speaker Philip Tangorra told the local high-schoolers in attendance on Wednesday, Nov. 9, that he knows it’s difficult to plan out a 50- or 60-year career path when you’re a teenager.

But it can be done, said Tangorra, who is director of water quality for the Mohawk Valley Water Authority.

“You have to do what’s in your heart. You can’t wait for someone to offer it to you,” he said. “You’re going to find there’s a lot of opportunity out there, but you’re going to have to look for it.”

The Herkimer BOCES School To Careers program hosts the Men’s Career Experience each fall for male students in grades 10-12 and the Women’s Career Experience each spring for female students in those grades. The events, which take place at Herkimer BOCES, are designed to help students consider their career paths while hearing directly from local leaders in their career fields.

The experience events feature a keynote speaker, followed by breakout sessions and are wrapped up with a panel discussion. Tangorra and the following other three guests conducted the breakout sessions and participated in the panel discussion:
  • Art Graves, an agronomist for Mycogen Seeds.
     
  • George Demeree, plant manager of Gehring-Tricot Corp.’s Helmont Mills Inc.
     
  • Steven Billings, personnel officer for the Herkimer County Personnel Office.
At the beginning of the Men’s Career Experience, Herkimer BOCES School To Careers liaison and work-based learning coordinator MaryBeth Napolitano talked to students about the goal for the day.

“Each of you is encouraged to think about your future and your independence,” she said.

In addition to offering advice to students and discussing his own career path, Tangorra also highlighted challenges of the water industry during his keynote speech. Some of the top challenges include that about 50 percent of workers in the industry are expected to leave or retire in the next five years, as well as the need for lead testing and infrastructure upgrades.

“We need to figure out a good way to do this moving forward,” Tangorra said. “The water industry is facing some tough challenges, especially in infrastructure.”

The breakout sessions featured backstories from the guests and advice for the students.
Part of the breakout session with Billings included him reviewing qualifications for job positions.

“It’s very important, guys, to get through high school,” Billings said. “Most jobs that are out there, you have to have at a minimum high school. There aren’t a lot of jobs out there without that.”

Graves recalled what it was like for him to find direction.

“I didn’t know anything about college,” he said. “Nobody in my family ever went to college, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.”

Graves just knew that he liked science and working on the small farm he grew up on, so he and his guidance counselor did a search on agriculture and science, and the job of agronomist came up – starting him on his career path.

Demeree opened his first breakout session by warning students not to fall into the trap of becoming lazy.

“Developing a solid work ethic from the very get-go is very important,” Demeree said.




Tangorra gives keynote speech at Men's Career Experience
Philip Tangorra, director of water quality for the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, gives the keynote speech during the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


Art Graves talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career Experience
Art Graves, an agronomist for Mycogen Seeds, speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


Art Graves talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career Experience
Art Graves, an agronomist for Mycogen Seeds, speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


George Demeree talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career Experience
George Demeree, plant manager of Gehring-Tricot Corp.’s Helmont Mills Inc., speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


George Demeree talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career Experience
George Demeree, plant manager of Gehring-Tricot Corp.’s Helmont Mills Inc., speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


Stephen Billings talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career Experience
Steven Billings, personnel officer for the Herkimer County Personnel Office, speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


Stephen Billings talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career ExperienceValley Pathways in Technology Early College High School students pose for a photo during the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Manufacturing Expo on Friday, Oct. 28, at the institute’s Utica Campus.  George Demeree talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career ExperienceHerkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs students pose for a photo during the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Manufacturing Expo on Friday, Oct. 28, at the institute’s Utica Campus.  Stephen Billings talks to students during a breakout session at the Men's Career ExperienceLocal students use welding simulators provided by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington during the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Manufacturing Expo on Friday, Oct. 28, at the institute’s Utica Campus.d
Steven Billings, personnel officer for the Herkimer County Personnel Office, speaks to local students during a breakout session at the Men’s Career Experience put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES.


MaryBeth Napolitano talks to students at Men's Career Experience
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers liaison and work-based learning coordinator MaryBeth Napolitano speaks to local students at the beginning of the Men’s Career Experience on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Herkimer BOCES. The event’s guest are pictured sitting from left to right: Art Graves, an agronomist for Mycogen Seeds; George Demeree, plant manager of Gehring-Tricot Corp.’s Helmont Mills Inc.; Philip Tangorra, director of water quality for the Mohawk Valley Water Authority; and Steven Billings, personnel officer for the Herkimer County Personnel Office.


MaryBeth Napolitano talks to students at Men's Career Experience
Dozens of local male students in grades 10-12 attended the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program’s Men’s Career Experience on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the Herkimer BOCES lobby. The students look on as STC liaison and work-based learning coordinator MaryBeth Napolitano welcomes them to the event.








 
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