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Meet our Alumni
Neftali Nichols of Sicklerville was selected as “2013 Alumnus of the Year” at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS). He will be a guest speaker at his Alma Mater’s graduation ceremony on June 18th, where he will receive a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education. His color portrait will also be displayed at each of the school district’s two campuses.
Mr. Nichols attended the Pennsauken Campus of Camden County Technical Schools. During his time in attendance he studied Welding in his Freshman & Sophomore years and Business Technology as a Junior and Senior. Mr. Nichols graduated in 1991.
After graduating from CCTS, he attended The Cittone Business Institute and then The Art Institute of Philadelphia where he studied the then program, Music & Video Business; he graduated in 1995. During his time there, he took advantage of internship opportunities with a local Philadelphia video production company – First Run Film & Video and also with, WPVI-TV6/ABC in the Public Affairs Department.
Mr. Nichols has had many valuable work experiences in broadcast and video production. He believes that freelancing in many areas of the entertainment business ultimately helped him with networking and finding challenging and rewarding full-time employment opportunities. Mr. Nichols first started out as a part-time technician for Bauer Audio-Visual and over the course of two years progressed up the ladder to "Rookie" of the Year 1996, full-time technician, Assistant Director and finally Director of audio visual for Bauer at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in addition to coordinating events at other managed properties such as The Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia and events from Boston to DC. After working for Bauer, Mr. Nichols became a full-time operations/studio production technician and Engineering Photographer for the then new Comcast SportsNet, Philadelphia, proudly being one of their original technicians during the stations initial broadcast launch on Oct 1st, 1997.
Over the years, Mr. Nichols has freelanced with a handful of local video production companies as camera operator, audio technician, production grip, associate producer, production assistant, and other various positions and duties. He also did freelance jobs with WPVI on special productions for local projects, parades and events. In addition to his freelancing experiences, Neftali was also a part-time news editor for KYW-TV3, WPHL-WB17, and Philly TV 57's Studio 57 show.
For the past 17 years, Mr. Nichols has worked as an intern, freelance, part-time, full-time temp, and then full-time staff for WPVI-TV6/ABC. He currently serves as a Broadcast Engineer in studio, broadcast operations and remote productions, performing various duties including Lighting Designer.
When Mr. Nichols is not working, or developing his own projects, he is routinely giving back to his Alma Maters. He has been an active participant for media screenings, alumni events and a guest lecturer at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. In 2008 Neftali began contributing to the Cinematography Occupational Advisory Committee Panel of Communications Tech High School of Philadelphia and in 2011 was elected Chairman of the OAC.
"I credit many people over the years for contributing to my career by giving me the proper grooming, encouragement and opportunities along the way that afforded me the ability to give back and most importantly appreciate where I am in life,” said Mr. Nichols. “In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether it is a staff or freelance position – in the entertainment industry or life in general, most of the time you are considered only as good as your last job or position, and you have to make it all count and not take anything for granted.”
“I have always looked at my time at Penn Tech as an invaluable experience, and it is one of the reasons I am proud to recommend to my children to attend my Alma Mater,” he added. “A lot of what I’ve achieved and hope to accomplish could not have been done without the support of my wife and three children.
Ernest Histing of Sicklerville was selected “2011 Alumnus of the Year”. He was a guest speaker at his alma mater’s graduation ceremony on June 16th, where he received a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education. In addition, he received a cash award from the Alumni Association. His color portrait will also be displayed at each of the school’s two campuses.
Mr. Histing’s career focus was plumbing while a student at CCTS, and he graduated in 1977 from the schools’ Pennsauken Campus. He then attended an oil burner service and installation course followed by a three-year plumbing apprenticeship. He has worked for several companies in the industry where he served as a mechanic and a foreman.
Because of his extensive training and hands-on experience, he was awarded his New Jersey Master Plumber’s license #6680 in 1982 and began his own business, Histing’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. He serves as the company’s owner/operator, estimator, project manager, and purchasing agent. He has three full-time employees who have been working steadily in the business for the past 29 years.
“One of my employees, Donald Lysinger, is a 1991 graduate of the plumbing program at CCTS,” Mr. Histing said. “Don started off as a cooperative education student his senior year, and is now celebrating 20 years of employment with my company. He is highly skilled and extremely competent and I am very proud to have him on my team.”
In 1994, Mr. Histing earned his teaching certificate from Rowan University and joined the teaching staff at his high school alma mater as the plumbing instructor. “With Don and my other employees running the company, it gave me the freedom to pursue a dream of mine to teach,” said Mr. Histing. I had only fond memories of my years as a student at CCTS and was thrilled to be back and give back.”
Mr. Histing has served as a teacher at CCTS for the past 17 years and also taught post-secondary students in the district’s adult division. Because of his excellent teaching skills, his students have won many awards over the year including gold medals in national plumbing competitions. Many graduates have continued their training after graduation and are now licensed plumbers.
Mr. Histing served as the Legal Committee Chairman for the NJ State League of Master Plumbers from 1994-1996; the President of the NJ State League of Master Plumbers from 1997-1998, and for the past 20 years, has served as the Apprenticeship and Training Committee Chairman for the NJ State League of Master Plumbers.
He holds several certifications including Certified Continuing Education Instructor for Board of Examiners of Master Plumber State of New Jersey; Refrigerant re-claimer certification; New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor, and Building Performance Institute.
In addition to this award, Mr. Histing has been the recipient of several other notable awards including 1993 Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Alumus of the Year; 2005 Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Teacher; 2005 “Best of the Best” from South Jersey Magazine.
Histing and his wife, Julie, live in Sicklerville, and have two daughters, Brittany and Carly. In his free time, he enjoys spending time down the shore, sport fishing and cycling.
Jared Krause of Cherry Hill was selected "2010 Alumnus of the Year". He was a guest speaker at his alma mater's graduation ceremony on June 23rd, 2010 where he received a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education. In addition, he received a $250 cash award from the Alumni Association. His portrait will be displayed at each of the school's two campuses.
Krause graduated in 2003 as Valedictorian from the schools' Gloucester Township Campus, and then attended Rowan University where he graduated with honors. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Management degree, and is employed as a bridge engineer for Urban Engineers, Inc. in Cherry Hill.
While at CCTS, he studied automotive technology and was a member of the National Honor Society and the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) team. "During my junior year of high school, I took an elective called Technical Projects and really enjoyed the problem solving aspect," said Krause. "We studied components of engineering and bridge building and I was hooked. It was this experience, and a second place award in a college-level bridge building competition, that captured my interest in structural design, and led me to a career in Engineering," said Krause. Now, just 8 years later, my first bridge design was recently built in Salem County."
"CCTS provided Jared with myriad experiences for educational growth in Technology. His Tech classes were first-rate, and CCTS gave him a strong academic background in Mathematics, Science and English and the opportunity to earn college credits while he was still in high school," said his father, Gary Krause. "In addition, Jared's experiences in two FIRST Robotic Competitions with trips to Rutgers University and Houston, Texas were extraordinary!"
Krause's other professional accomplishments include assisting in the design of several major subdivisions and commercial developments, and providing management support on numerous projects with NJDOT, NJDEP, McGuire Air Force Base, and the NJ Pinelands. He is the recipient of the ASEE Best Paper Award in 2007, and is a proud member of Engineers Without Borders, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Society of Highway Engineers.
Berdine Gordon-Littrean, M.P.A., was selected "Alumna of the Year" at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) for 2009. She will be a guest speaker at her alma matter's graduation ceremony on June 22th, where she will receive a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education, and a $250 cash award from the Alumni Association. A color portrait of her will also be displayed at each of the school's two campuses.
Gordon-Littrean is a 1988 graduate of the school district's Pennsauken Campus. While at CCTS, she was in the Electronics program for her first two years and completed her junior and senior years enrolled in the Business Technology program. "Patricia E. Fitzgerald was my Business Technology Instructor," she said. "She now serves as principal and I am delighted to be receiving this award from her."
After receiving her high school diploma, she attended Rutgers University's College of Arts and Sciences and received her BA degree in Sociology, and her Master of Public Administration degree in Public Management with Educational Policy and Executive Leadership specialization. She will soon be completing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership with an Education concentration from Rowan University's Doctor of Educational Leadership program in the College of Professional and Continuing Education.
"Once I attain my doctorate degree, I plan to apply my skills and seek employment as a NJ Principal or Superintendent, or a university administrator," she said.
Gordon-Littrean served as the Education and Early Childhood Development Administrator for the Head Start Program serving all of Camden County. She had 200 employees under her supervision. Some of her responsibilities included developing curriculum and providing educational resources for staff and parents, ensuring State licensing and regulatory compliance with performance standards, and recognized best practices in the field of early childhood education. Prior to this post, she served for 21 years working for the BPUM Child Development Centers, Inc. in various administrative roles with the last being the Executive Assistant to the Center Director in Lindenwold, N.J. BPUM-EDC was Gordon-Littrean's initial Cooperative Industrial Education Program assignment as a senior while attending CCTS.
She is the 2005 recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Camden County Freedom Medal Award by the Board of Freeholders and Constitutional Row Officers; was on the Dean's list while at Rutgers University; was Salutatorian of her high school class at CCTS; was recognized as a Garden State Distinguished Scholar; a Rutgers University Scholar, and is a Berkeley Schools Award winner. While in high school, Gordon-Littrean served as President of the National Honor Society, and was a member of the Cooperative Industrial Education Program, Future Business Leaders of America, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, and Student Government.
She is currently a member of the NJ Registry for Childhood Professionals, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Order of the Eastern Star, and, the National Association for Female Executives.
Gordon-Littrean and her husband, Steven, live in Lindenwold, NJ. They have two daughters, Eboné-Alexandria, 14, and Eva Alexis, 4.
Angel Matos of Merchantville was selected "2008 Alumnus of the Year" at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS). Matos was a guest speaker at his alma mater's graduation ceremony on June 20th, where he received a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education. In addition, he received a $300 cash award from the Alumni Association. A color portrait of him is now displayed at each of the school's two campuses.
Matos graduated in 1986 from the district's Pennsauken Campus. While at CCTS, he was enrolled in the electronics and electric program. After graduation, he attended Lincoln Technical Institute and Rutgers State University and holds an Associate's in Electronics Engineering Technology and a Bachelor's in Computer Science.
Matos manages the Industrial IT group and is an Instrument Engineer and a Network IT person at GlaxoSmith Kline Pharmaceuticals, for both the Upper Merion and Upper Providence Campuses. He is responsible for the building automation system which encompasses the sites 51 buildings and facilities systems, labs and office areas.
He has worked in the plastic compound industry developing and retrofitting extrusion blow molding equipment controls. Just a few of his responsibilities are BAS administrator, Network administrator, Pi system administrator in addition to actively overseeing other activities such as validation, commissioning and Metrology. He is a member of ISA (Instrument Society of America) and ISPE (International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers). His experience covers 11 years project planning/engineering, eight years hands on programming, six years instrument design specification and over eight years validation experience at R&D facilities.
In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his children, Aaron and Aden, and volunteering at St. Stephen's Church in Pennsauken. He also coaches youth baseball and basketball, and enjoys rock climbing.
Gene Elwell, owner and founder of a drug testing company, was selected "2007 Alumnus of the Year" at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS). A resident of Mount Laurel, Elwell was a guest speaker at his alma mater's graduation ceremony on June 22nd, where he received a plaque and a color portrait from the Board of Education. In addition, he received $300 from the Alumni Association, which he donated back to the school to purchase books for the library. A color portrait of him will also be displayed at each of the school's two campuses.
Each year, the members of the Alumni Association solicit nominations for the annual alumnus/alumna of the year award. The person selected must be of high moral character, successful in the career or a related career for which he/she received training at CCTS, be involved in his/her community and be supportive or give back to the educational system.
Elwell graduated from the Heating/Air Conditioning program at the Pennsauken Campus in 1969. After graduation, he served six years in the US Air Force reserves while working as a union boilermaker, and then served as a Construction Superintendent/Project Manager for 25 years in the Power Plant and Refinery Industries.
Seeing the importance of job safety, Elwell began thinking about a new career in OSHA Safety Training and medical testing. In 1996, he and his friend Edward Eckert, also a CCTS graduate, and Karen Kelly, a close friend of the family with a medical background, founded American Medical Compliance Testing, and later due to changes in the drug testing industry, founded America Medical Saliva Testing Inc. (AMSTI).
AMSTI has grown dramatically and is now working exclusively with a group of scientist at the University of Arkansas/Hyphenated Solutions Laboratory with advanced technology and procedures and has realized the importance of testing children for lead and mercury poisoning. They are actively involved with a non - profit organization he co-founded seeking long term health care for the children exposed to mercury poisoning in a southern New Jersey town. "Lead and mercury poisoning is a major cause of learning disabilities and health problems in children today," he added.
Elwell has served as a guest speaker in schools throughout the state and region. He and his wife have three daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, golfing and relaxing with the family.