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.Kocaj, executive director of Puget Sound Surgical Center, earned his Associate of Arts degree and studied Business Management at Edmonds Community College.
“I knew exactly what I was after and I was determined to get it done,” he said.
While at the college, he was president of the college’s honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, a top scholar named to the college’s All-Washington Academic Team, and a commencement speaker at the 2002 graduation ceremony.
After graduation, he attended the University of Washington-Bothell and earned his degree in Business Administration with a focus in finance. Not long after, he was hired as the executive director for Sunrise Medical Campus.
“It was a very nice transition (to a university),” he said. He picked a smaller university, because he’d enjoyed the environment at Edmonds CC so much. “It was wonderful: smaller classes and a close community.”
Kocaj came to the United States from Albania in 1999 to pursue his education. Accounting classes and the English classes at Edmonds CC taught him fundamental skills.
Kocaj is a member of American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He has volunteered for a Crista Nursing Center and the Helping Hand House.