Q&A: Buzz Kolbe runs for Place 4 on Collin College board of trustees

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Buzz Kolbe is running for the Collin College board of trustees Place 4 seat. He is running against Greg Gomel.

Adrian Rodriguez, who has held the seat since 2013, said he will not be running for re-election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Kolbe a set of questions about his candidacy. His answers have been edited for style.

Why did you decide to run for the Collin College board of trustees?

Having observed the growth and impact of Collin College and the educational opportunities for our citizens during the past 20 years, I have always been a proud supporter of Collin College. Now with the master plan in place and the $600 million bond approved to expand and provide access to more residents of Collin County, I feel it is the right time to step up my service to Collin College as a trustee. Last year it was an honor to participate as a member of the Collin College committee of 100 to advocate the bond approval.

As an educator, instructor and trainer, I have personally observed the significance and results of education. Collin College provides opportunities for advancement and is often a key factor for the achievement and success of individuals and improves the quality of life for families in our community. Collin College is committed to developing skills, strengthening character and challenging the intellect for more than 55,000 credit and continuing education students, which align[s]with my desire to serve as a trustee for Collin College.

What experience do you think prepares you for serving on the board?

With active service, past and present, serving on more than 15 nonprofit boards, including five board chair positions, I have learned the importance of fiscal responsibility; board governance; and most importantly board ethics, which prepare me well to serve as a trustee for Collin College.

I have learned the value of community engagement by participating and facilitating many Collin County community leadership programs. With active involvement with local chambers of commerce, city councils, independent school districts and interaction with many elected officials, I believe I understand what will continue to make Collin College successful, and chart the course for continued innovation and impact.

Being engaged and committed to the betterment of our community since 2000, I believe I am well-prepared to serve as a Collin College trustee. My direct involvement with Collin County municipalities includes Allen, Fairview, Frisco, McKinney, Plano and Wylie. With this broad involvement I will not be focused on just one single city interest; the focus will be for the best interest for the Collin College investment in every community in Collin County.

Do you support the school marshal program? Why or why not?

The trustees of Collin College must provide oversight to ensure the safety of all students, faculty and administrators. My belief is when there is a majority vote to either approve or disapprove a policy, there must be 100 percent board endorsement and support. Since the recent majority vote was to approve the school marshal program, as a trustee, I will support and be an advocate of the program.

How do you think Collin College can address workforce needs in the area?

Collin College has historically and successfully addressed the workforce needs for our community. With the master plan in place and recent bond approval, Collin College will continue to expand and further impact our workforce needs. A past example is the foresight to address the statewide nursing shortage. Collin College responded by building the Cary A. Israel Health Sciences Center, which houses the nursing and health sciences programs.

Currently, Collin College is further addressing workforce needs by expanding occupational and workforce-related programming, enhancing career development services and increasing credential completion in key sectors. By partnering with corporations and other local business entities, including government, nonprofit and independent school districts, Collin College will continue to assess and be responsive to our workforce needs.

As a Collin College trustee, I will be committed to focus on Collin College remaining affordable, accessible and adaptable.

Affordable: Collin College offers the lowest tuition in the state of Texas and has the second-lowest local tax rates of the 50 community colleges in Texas.

Accessible: Collin College continues to build state-of-the-art facilities in locations to serve the community needs and growth. These include a new Wylie Campus, a Collin Technical Center in Allen, a Farmersville Center and Celina Center.

Adaptable: Collin College continues to address the workforce needs by being alert to current and future needs and trends. For example, the new Collin Technical Center will address workforce needs by providing relevant curriculum and certificate programs.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

Serving and giving back to the community is part of my DNA.

As a graduate of Leadership Plano Class 18, (2000-01) I was able to get quickly engaged in our community after moving to Plano from Denver, Colorado, in 1998.

Since that time, I have served on the Leadership Plano board, including board chair for two years and executive director for four years. In addition, past and present board service include CITY House, the Plano Symphony Orchestra, CASA of Collin County (board chair), the Association of Texas Leadership Programs (board chair), Arts of Collin County, the International Coach Federation-North Texas (board chair) and EmbraceTX.

I am a member of Christ Church Plano and served as a Vestry member (leadership team) for four years and have been to Haiti and Peru for church mission trips. I am also a member of the North Texas Pioneers Rotary.

Professionally, I started my own business, LeadingWIN LLC, in 1999. My focus is coaching and leadership development with an emphasis on leadership presence, including communication skills, etiquette and emotional intelligence. One aspect of my business, and true passion, is to train and coach future community leaders. I am the current program director for Leadership Allen-Fairview and a steering committee member and facilitator for Leadership McKinney and Leadership Wylie. Many of the participants now serve as city council members, ISD trustees, nonprofit board members and executive directors.

As a candidate for Collin College trustee you will learn that I am qualified and sincere about this opportunity and will do my best, if elected, to represent the best interests of Collin College and Collin County. I will be honored to receive your vote on May 4, 2019!

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Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.
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