SOWELA Honorees Cited for Their Years of Service and Dedication to the Statewide College System
(Lake Charles, Louisiana – October 2, 2023)
Two staff and two faculty members at SOWELA Technical Community College were honored for their service and dedication at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System’s annual conference in September in New Orleans.
This year’s four SOWELA honorees include Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Management Adam Reed, Business Assistant Professor Wendy Sonnier, Data and Reporting Specialist Laura Wilkins and retired Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Management David Darbone.
Each year, colleges in the statewide system honor up to four outstanding faculty or staff members for the awards handed out at the annual LCTCS conference.
SOWELA’s first honoree, Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Management Adam Reed, was nominated for “Outstanding Professional Staff Member.” Reed’s peers stated that he goes above and beyond for the College in serving the faculty, staff and students. When there is a need, Reed carefully weighs options, considers safety and implements with excellence. He collaborates with team members, reviewing ways to improve facilities on campus for everyone, and does this in a very passionate and motivational way.
SOWELA’s Business Assistant Professor Wendy Sonnier was the College’s “Outstanding Faculty Member.” Sonnier consistently supports her students, brainstorming ways to improve instructional strategies, educate new instructors about technology and share materials to help others with classroom management. She served as the Louisiana Association of Business Educators (LABE) president this past year and conducted a well-organized and beneficial conference. Sonnier worked closely with other Business faculty members to develop a cross-curricula assessment between HR and Business Communication students to help both understand all parts of the hiring process.
SOWELA’s “Outstanding Support Staff” award went to Data and Reporting Specialist Laura Wilkins for her excellent customer service and support. Wilkins is detail-oriented and knowledgeable in report development, going out of her way to find the correct information promptly. She looks for ways to streamline processes and is a team player. Anytime the College needs volunteers with events or committees, Wilkins jumps in to assist.
The honoree for “Distinguished Retiree” from SOWELA was David Darbone, former Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Management who served at the College for over 12 years. Darbone was instrumental in transitioning the Jennings and Oakdale campuses, renovating, repairing and equipping both sites with the technology and safety equipment necessary to ensure student success. He was also an integral part of the Executive Leadership Team. He worked closely with each member to ensure that their department had the tools, resources and facilities to achieve the educational mission of the College. Darbone was also one of the first individuals to return to campus after Hurricane Laura. He immediately began to assemble the staff and resources necessary to get the College back to operational status.
About SOWELA Technical Community College
SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 85 years.