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McPhail leaves Albany Tech post


August 29, 2009 (WALB) - Although it took about five more months than they expected, Kathryn McPhail will soon be living in the same home and town as her husband.

Following the recent sale of their Lee County home, McPhail was able to move to Hattiesburg, Miss., to join her husband, Darren, who in January accepted a job with ISP Sports in the city nearly 400 miles west of Albany.

McPhail's last day as marketing and public relations director at Albany Technical College was Friday. Albany Tech received more than 30 applicants to replace her and started interviewing the top candidates last week, McPhail said. She said the college's new marketing director should be in place sometime next month.

The chosen separation of the McPhails to keep their finances in order was a difficult choice many couples have been forced to make during the economic downturn. McPhail said she had recently met a couple with a 4 1/2-year-old son who had lived apart because one spouse had been working in another city for the past 18 months. Another couple she knows has done it for the past two years.

"One thing that I have noticed as we've been apart is that other couples are in the same circumstance," she said. "I think it is just a sign of these economic times that comes with one of the spouses taking a job in another town because it takes longer to sell the house and find a good job. But the bills are still there, so as families you have to make sacrifices. I just thank God that we're at the end of our path and we're going to be reunited next week."

McPhail will be missed by Albany Tech. She was part of the marketing team that established the college's award-winning "I Am Albany Tech" campaign. The campaign brought the school's success stories to the community with recent graduates dressed in their new careers uniforms.

The idea came to her when she was hired to become Albany Tech's marketing and public relations director in July 2006.

"Honestly, I didn't know much about the technical college system before working here," McPhail said. "I knew technical colleges trained 'trade' workers such as plumbers and welders. But I had no idea technical colleges played such a vital role in work force development and economic growth. ATC educates the people who keep our community running."

Once she realized all that Albany Tech had to offer, McPhail said helping to get the college's accomplishments and students into the Southwest Georgia community became a lot easier.

"I feel that Albany Tech was a hidden jewel and they didn't always toot their own horn," said McPhail, 30, who grew up in Fayetteville. "When I found out all the good work the faculty was doing and the success stories of the students, I knew we had to share the news. That's when the college allowed me to hire a graphic designer and webmaster and we really elevated our college to a new marketing level.

"The admissions staff was out in the high schools and with local employers already working hard to bring in students, and our marketing staff simply worked with them to put our best foot forward. We created fresh ads using actual graduates who had found success because of Albany Tech. And, a happy customer will always be your best advisement."

McPhail's desire to learn more about Albany Tech and its students and faculty while she was interviewing immediately impressed President Anthony Parker.

"Kathryn McPhail took a unique approach," Parker said. "She informed us that we should be inquiring more about how the director would acknowledge students and faculty accomplishments. She also pointed out that the college and the administration would benefit from acknowledging the accomplishments of our students and employers.

"Each day she conducted research to find out what noteworthy accomplishments had been attained and enthusiastically made plans to inform all of our constituents. We knew that it was difficult for her to live apart from her husband, however, we saw no reduction in the quality of her work. Her new employer is fortunate and her Albany Tech family will miss her."

McPhail's assistant, Angela Kline, said she will also miss her now former boss's personality. Kline, graphic designer Wendy Howell and webmaster Afeni Powers make up the school's marketing staff.

"Kathryn is a wonderful supervisor and friend," said Kline, who will be the point of contact for marketing inquiries for Albany Tech in the interim. "Her bubbly personality is contagious and her energy level is endless. She has worked very hard to make sure everyone knows what a wonderful institution Albany Tech is. We will miss her terribly."

McPhail leaves Albany Tech to become the communications coordinator for the Dubard School for Children With Language Disorders located on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. The new job's location is particularly nice. After taking turns to visit her husband on weekends since January and enduring a 6 1/2-hour drive to do so, McPhail will now work less than a block away from her husband, who handles the ISP Sports marketing property for the University of Southern Mississippi.

"I've been blessed throughout my career to have rewarding jobs that I feel have had a positive impact on the communities that I lived in," said McPhail, a former TV news anchor. "At the television station, I was able to tell stories, tell them what was going on and enrich their lives. At Albany Tech, I hope, in a small way, (I was able to) help our students succeed and improve the quality of life for their families and enrich the economic health of our community. And now, I'm going to be able to spread the message of this school around the nation."



By, Ethan Fowler



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