Election Q&A: Collin College Board of Trustees for Place 7

Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 7 seat. (Community Impact staff)
Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 7 seat. (Community Impact staff)

Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 7 seat. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 7 seat ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is from April 19-27.


Editor's note: An asterisk (*) indicates the candidate is an incumbent.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



Collin College Board of Trustees for Place 7










Jim Orr*



Occupation: SVP of Business Development and Strategy with Ivy Technology


Contact: www.jimorr.us




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



JO: Collin College needs community leaders steeped in education, but yet have organizational and financial experience to offer proper guidance to the leadership. I have a long career in strategy and finance in the public sector. The skills developed through this career is what the trustees of an organization like Collin College needs in order to appropriately guide the administration. As a member of the community, I think it is important to use your individual skills in the public sector.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



JO: I have served on the Board of Trustees and know how the board operates. I have a 30-plus year career in telecom and consumer technology. I have held technical, sales and strategic leadership roles in the industry. In these roles, I have traveled extensively to work with customers and industry leaders around the world, allowing me to understand what drives our local and global environment in which our Collin College students must compete. I am currently the SVP of Business Development and Strategy with Ivy Technology. Ivy Technology is a reverse logistics and repair company with a global footprint. In this role, I am a member of the executive leadership team and manage a globally dispersed team that drives new business.



What do you think are the biggest issues facing Collin College today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



JO: We are dealing with a time of rapid change in educational methods and modalities. This was true before COVID-19 forced a rapid shift to online formats. It is key to provide the right level of service to the community while not giving in to the short-term pressure of relaxing the rigor of the coursework to meet these uncertain circumstances. The rapid growth of Collin County must be continually addressed. When I originally won this seat, there were about 900,000 residents. Now, 6 years later, we are approaching 1.1 million. That kind of growth drastically affects the educational needs of the community. Physical locations and programs must be continually evaluated and adjusted.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



JO: I am not just your trustee, but your long-time neighbor and member of your community. I live and work here every day and have raised my family here in Collin County. My wife, Rebecca, and I have been married for 30 years. All three children have been Collin College students and now attend Texas A&M University, where Rebecca and I met.









Helen Chang



Occupation: Economics faculty, Dallas College






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



HC: Recent protests show that morale at Collin College is undeniably low. Collin is known for its high quality, award winning faculty. The college cannot maintain excellence if it cannot attract top professors, hurting students and the entire community. I am running because the college is in need of change. As a community college economics professor, I understand the important role community colleges play in building the middle class. Loss of manufacturing jobs and the growth of “gig” and part-time employment have made it increasingly harder for workers to achieve economic security without a degree. Community colleges are so important in helping students get those degrees and other important workforce skills without massive debt. I believe strongly in the mission of community colleges and want to work to strengthen them.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



HC: I’ve worked in community colleges for 10 years and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. I have worked in nonprofit, corporate and government sectors and have held leadership roles in multiple local groups. I understand the needs of the community, its changing demographics and what needs to be done to ensure that Collin College can meet those needs. The role of a trustee is to hire, manage and evaluate the president. The current board is failing to do so.



What do you think are the biggest issues facing Collin College today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



HC: As mentioned before, I am concerned that the current leadership’s short-sightedness is negatively affecting the quality and financial position of the school, to the detriment of students and the community. Changing the composition of the board through this election is an important first step. As a trustee, I will advocate for greater transparency of operations, accountability in the use of our taxpayer dollars, health and safety of students and employees, and protections of free speech in and out of the classroom.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



HC: I have lived in Collin County for 14 years and know what a wonderful place it is. I started my teaching career at Collin College, and I am a dedicated educator who cares deeply about my students. I have been happily married for 20 years and have two wonderful, teenage daughters who have been educated exclusively in the Plano ISD system. I am committed to this community and want to help make it the best it can be!


By Valerie Wigglesworth
Valerie has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently managing editor for DFW Metro for Community Impact Newspaper.