Two advisory board members who found their careers at Edmonds Community College and a former college commencement speaker are this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
The Edmonds Community College Foundation named them as Clyde Klingenbeck, Ben Kocaj, and Duane Lewellen.
They will be honored at the Distinguished Alumni Awards 5-7 p.m., Fri., Jan. 27 in the Black Box Theatre, 20000 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.
Clyde Klingenbeck came to the college for worker retraining after an on the job injury prevented him from continuing his work as a roofer. Career counseling showed he had an aptitude for law and he was able to complete a Paralegal degree in one year, due to his previous college studies.
“It was very comfortable coming back to school,” he said. “And I had some outstanding instructors including Anne Kastle and Mike Fitch, who really shared their passion for the law.”
While he was in school, an internship at the Everett Attorney General’s Office led to a job opportunity. He was hired for the internship by another Edmonds Community College alumnus.
Today, Klingenbeck works in the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
“The work I’m doing is a complete 180 from the construction trade I started in. I love it. Working in the public service sector satisfies my career goals and my philosophy that our work can make a difference.”
Klingenbeck has maintained his connection with the college since earning his degree. He has served on the paralegal advisory board for 15 years and participated in job fairs, seminars, and career oriented trainings at the college helping other paralegal students with job finding strategies.
He offers this advice to other worker retraining students, “Try to identify a career — not just a job — something you want to do that meets your financial needs and fits your life. If you like and appreciate your work, it improves your professional and personal life. It makes life good all around.”