SCC alum Rob Dixon, manager of business development at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, in Springfield, Mo., is a true advocate for community colleges. The son of two community college graduates, Rob has grown up valuing education. His mom is SCC’s Child Development Center lead teacher, Lea Dixon.
“When we look at issues facing our country and our economy, nothing is more important than investing in education and making sure our colleges and communities are ready to meet the needs of the 21st century economy,” Rob said. “If we don’t we will be left behind.”
Rob received the Missouri Community College Association’s Distinguished Business/Industry Award at the association’s annual convention in Branson in November. The award was presented in recognition of his support of Ozarks Technical Community College and of the mission of community colleges throughout the state. He began his association with OTC while he was working for the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce. He spearheaded a ballot initiative to create the college’s new campus in Hollister, Mo., to be called OTC Table Rock, set to open in the fall of 2013.
“Throughout our community, state and nation, strong community colleges are preparing students for college-level work,” he said. “Their academic programs and workforce training programs will provide a tenfold return on our investment.”
Rob said his passion for community colleges all started at SCC.
He was 23 when he completed his service to the Marine Corps and started taking classes at SCC using benefits from the GI bill. He said his first class, Introduction to Business, with Joe Hartnett, SCC professor of business, sparked his interest in political science. He graduated with an Associate of Arts degree with emphasis in political science. He then received a transfer scholarship to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
Rob did a semester of study at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and an internship at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, also in Washington, D.C. He and his wife moved to the Springfield, Mo., area where he took the job with the Hollister Chamber. He recently earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Missouri State University and currently works for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, where he focuses on business retention and expansion programs, including community college initiatives.