Deadline is Friday for JA hopefuls
by RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Jan 27, 2014 | 787 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Platz
Rick Platz

Five days remain in the hunt for candidates to fill the Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region leadership vacancy created by the December resignation of Tracie McCartney, president.

Deadline for applications is Friday, according to Rick Platz, JA board chairman.

The longtime JA volunteer — whose roles with the local nonprofit have ranged from classroom instructor to board member and now the chairmanship — said he is uncertain of the number of applications that will be received by week’s end. However, he pointed out the JA presidency is a post that could appeal to any number of area residents.

As Platz pointed out almost two years ago with the retirement of veteran JA president Sandy Moore, the position could legitimately appeal to retirees who want to remain active in their community; or, it could attract education or business leaders who want a change in scenery.

Another group of applicants might include civic-minded workers who have a soft spot in their hearts for nonprofit work. The role could also appeal to nonprofit veterans who are looking to move from a current affiliation to a new one, as well as to nonprofit staff members who see the JA presidency as a vertical move in their careers.

Prior to joining JA some 1 1/2 years ago, McCartney had served in positions with March of Dimes and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

According to Platz, the talented McCartney — whose career path also included TV news production — resigned to allow her to care for her newborn infant. Otherwise, she might still be in the president position, he said.

“We hope to find a person as well qualified as our past two presidents,” Platz said of McCartney and Moore. “We’ve just relocated our office to a building on the campus at Cleveland State Community College, and this is a great opportunity to start a new chapter in our history.”

JA moved its offices from Cleveland High School late last year. The nonprofit is now housed in CSCC’s former Security building on Adkisson Drive. The relocation not only gave JA its own facility, it launched a new partnership with the local community college that will take advantage of natural synergies.

The local affiliate of Junior Achievement partners with school systems in the immediate five-county area of Southeast Tennessee. These include Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties. JA’s classroom instructors, who provide supplemental instruction with existing school curriculum, are mostly unpaid volunteers.

This is one of the strengths to the nonprofit’s partnership with the local college. JA relies heavily on volunteers and CSCC is a sizeable resource for these unpaid workers. The field of opportunity includes CSCC faculty, staff and the student body.

Additionally, JA and CSCC are reaching out to common audiences. Cleveland State continues to expand its presence in workplace readiness and technology, and JA’s core objectives include workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Above all, JA teaches students personal accountability. The CSCC campus also houses the Small Business Development Center and the Business Incubator, both of which share much in common with the JA mission.

Platz said the JA dream would be to recruit a new president with the kind of dedication, talent and vision that McCartney and Moore displayed.

The position also includes a big dose of fundraising. For this reason, candidates who have CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) would be suited for the JA role, he explained.

“The ideal candidate will have a strong commitment to economic education and have a demonstrated record of success in foundation and special-event fundraising, as well as strong leadership, interpersonal and communications skills,” Platz explained.

The position includes a broad set of responsibilities such as board development, volunteer recruitment, staff management, strategic planning, financial oversight and management. A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of combined business and/or nonprofit leadership is required.

Applicants should mail, email or fax a resume, cover letter and salary requirements no later than Friday, Jan. 31. Information mailed should be sent to: President Hiring (Cleveland TN), One Education Way, Colorado Springs CO 80906.

The fax number is 719-540-6172.

The email address is The subject line should be tagged as “Cleveland, TN.”

Now that the JA office has moved to its new CSCC campus location, the telephone and fax numbers have changed. The nonprofit’s new phone number is 423-614-8777. The new [local] fax number is 423-614-8778.

JA of the Ocoee Region was chartered locally in 1965 as Junior Achievement of Bradley & McMinn Counties. The service territories of Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties were added later.

One of the original founders and corporate backers of the local JA operation was Skeet Rymer, president and owner of the former Magic Chef Company. Magic Chef’s predecessors in name had been Dixie Foundry and later Dixie Products. Magic Chef merged with the former Maytag Company in 1986, and the local plant became known as Maytag Cleveland Cooking Products. Maytag had also acquired the former Hardwick Stove Company in 1982. In March 2006, the Whirlpool Corporation purchased the former Maytag Corporation. The local manufacturing facility, which is now located in a new $200 million plant on Benton Pike, is called Whirlpool Cleveland Division.

Moore, who remembered Magic Chef’s early affiliation with Junior Achievement, often credited the Cleveland-based company with being the roots of the local JA operation.

Each year, JA of the Ocoee Region reaches out to more than 4,000 students in grades K-12.

Nationally, JA reaches more than 4.2 million students per year in more than 120 markets across the U.S. An additional 10.6 million students are served globally in 117 countries by JA Worldwide.