SGTC’s Everett, Coley recognized by TCSG as Outstanding Alumni of the Year

Published 3:20 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

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SGTC’s Everett, Coley recognized by TCSG as Outstanding Alumni of the Year


By Su Ann Bird


SAVANNAH, GA—South Georgia Technical College Board of Director members James T. (Jake) Everett and Michael D. Coley were both recognized at the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) 2023 Leadership Conference as two of the 23 exceptional individuals from across the state as the Alumni of the Year from its affiliated colleges. This prestigious honor celebrates the remarkable achievements and contributions of these alumni to their communities and the industries they serve.

“Our Alumni of the Year exemplifies the incredible talent that emerges from our technical colleges,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “They are living proof of the transformative power of technical education and serve as role models for current and future students. We are immensely proud of their achievements.”

The Alumni of the Year recognition not only acknowledges the accomplishments of these individuals, but also highlights the invaluable role that TCSG plays in providing high-quality education and training that prepares graduates to excel in their chosen professions. These honorees represent a diverse range of careers and industries, from healthcare and business to information technology and public service.

Jake Everett from Preston, GA, is a shining example of the success that an individual can achieve in life as a result of a solid technical education.  He came to South Georgia Tech in 1971 and earned a diploma in Mechanical Technology.  Upon graduation, Jake went to work in his hometown of Preston, GA, as a machinist at the tool and die division of Metalux Lighting which later became Cooper Lighting.  He returned to SGTC in 2004 and earned an associate degree in Computer Information Systems while working full-time.  After over 50 years with this same company, Jake retired in 2022 as a Senior Tooling Engineer.

Jake has served on the SGTC board of Directors since 1999 and is still a very active and critical member of the team.  He believes in the mission of SGTC and has demonstrated that faithfulness in many capacities.  He and his wife, Margie, have endowed two scholarships at SGTC in memory of their beloved daughter, Rose Ann Everett.  These scholarships go to students in the Welding and Joining Technology and the Agriculture Technology programs.

Michael D. Coley was the other Alumni of the Year nominee from South Georgia Technical College.  He began his education at South Georgia Tech in 1973 and played basketball on the SGT Techniques (later to be renamed The Jets).  After graduating from South Georgia Tech in the Electrical construction & Maintenance and Machine Tool programs, he went on to serve in the military with both the Army and the Navy after which he had a strong career at Warner Robins Air Logistics Base retiring in 2015 as a Senior Analyst.

He also serves the community as well as supports South Georgia Tech as a valued member of the SGTC Board of Directors.  He was a member of the Sumter County School Board of Education and is the Senior Pastor at First United Holiness Church in Montezuma.  He has celebrated his 25th anniversary in the capacity.  He is presently the Chair of the Sumter County Board of Tax Assessors and fills in as a substitute teacher at Sumter County High School.

He continued his education after attending South Georgia Tech, earning two degrees from Macon State University and a Master of Science in Administration degree from Georgia Southwestern State University.

The TCSG Alumni of the Year honorees have been selected based on their exceptional contributions to the following areas:

  • Professional Excellence: Demonstrated outstanding performance and leadership in their respective fields.
  • Community Engagement: Made a positive impact on their communities through volunteer work, leadership roles, or community service.
  • Advocacy for Technical Education: Supported and promoted the value of technical education and its role in workforce development.
  • Career Success: Achieved notable career milestones and success in their chosen professions.

The Alumni of the Year honorees from Technical Colleges across the state included:

  • Dr. Lorenzo Carson, Radiologic Technology, Albany Technical College
  • Lori Anne Lord, Respiratory Therapy, Athens Technical College
  • Cremeithius Riggins, Paralegal Studies, Atlanta Technical College
  • Sabrina Griffin, Clerical Office Specialist, Augusta Technical College
  • Eric Wilson, Paramedicine, Central Georgia Technical College
  • Mattie Harris, Radiography, Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Joey Bullard, Practical Nursing, Coastal Pines Technical College
  • Manford Metcalf, Electronics Technology, Computer Aided Drafting, Architectural Drafting, Columbus Technical College
  • Allison Patnode, Dental Assisting, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Teresa Watson, Commercial Truck Driving, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
  • Dr. Jeffrey Scott Bailey, Surgical Technology, Gwinnett Technical College
  • Lanier Swafford, EMS, Paramedicine, Fire Science, Lanier Technical College
  • Ray Chamblee, Business Technology, Criminal Justice, North Georgia Technical College
  • Howard Clifford “Trey” Sheppard, Commercial Truck Driving, Oconee Fall Line Technical College
  • David Rogers, Computer Information Systems, Ogeechee Technical College
  • Dennis Adams, HVAC, Savannah Technical College
  • Michael Coley, Electrical Construction & Maintenance, Machine Tool, South Georgia Technical College
  • James Everett, Mechanical Technology, Computer Information Systems, South Georgia Technical College
  • Michelle Smith Lank, Early Childhood Care and Education, Southeastern Technical College
  • Edva Angela Smith, Criminal Justice, Southern Crescent Technical College
  • Jimmy Smith, Jr., Business Management, Southern Regional Technical College
  • Mark Foster, Marketing Management, West Georgia Technical College
  • J. Glenn Gregory, Drafting Design Technology, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

The accomplishments of these alumni highlight the success stories that are born out of TCSG’s commitment to providing affordable, accessible, and high-quality technical education in Georgia. As TCSG continues its mission to prepare students for careers in various industries, the achievements of these distinguished alumni serve as a testament to the system’s impact on Georgia’s workforce and economy.

About the Technical College System of Georgia

The 22 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are Georgia’s top resource for skilled workers. TCSG offers world-class training in more than 600 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs to students who are trained on state-of-the-art equipment by instructors who are experts in their fields. The system also houses Georgia’s Office of Adult Education, which promotes and provides adult literacy and education programs, including the GED® testing program, throughout the state. In addition, TCSG partners with companies through Quick Start, the nation’s top customized workforce training program, and through its individual colleges, who work with local industry to provide workforce and training solutions. For more information, visit

South Georgia Technical College began operation in 1948 and is the second oldest technical college in Georgia.  It is one of only two technical colleges in Georgia with on-campus housing.  SGTC has been ranked as the top technical college in Georgia for five consecutive years and offers students the “complete college experience” with nationally ranked academic programs, student activities and intercollegiate athletics.  The college offers over 200 associate degree, diploma, and short-term technical certificate of credit programs of study. For more information, visit