By Juan Ibarra/editor-in-chief
Businessman Conrad Heede took over when Louise Appleman retired from her seat as president of the board of trustees in May.
Heede has been a trustee with TCC since 2011, but this role is new for Heede.
“It’s a learning curve, but I’ve attended several sessions about being board president,” Heede said. “The transition has been pretty easy, but it is a learn-on-the-job kind of position. I’m hopefully getting better and better every meeting.”
Appleman said Heede has the option to become his own type of board president, since no two people can run things the same way, even when holding the same position.
“We all have our own way of conducting meetings,” Appleman said. “Hopefully, my conduct offered Mr. Heede some guidance; but he is his own person, bringing his own board experiences to the table.”
The TCC board of trustees is one of the most important organizations in the county due to the fact that their decisions affect a hundred thousand lives a year, Appleman said.
“The board president is the spokesman for the board, but we collectively make the decisions. I’m board president, but I only have one vote, like everybody else on the board.”
– Conrad Heede
The board of trustees is unique in that it covers a large area consisting of multiple districts and cities with representatives who work toward one common goal.
“Not only do we all come from different geographical areas of the district, but we have different knowledge and experience that we bring to the front when we experience a problem,” Heede said.
The board members oversee different cities, and this helps when coming up with decisions for the future of TCC.
“We have people on the board that have different areas of expertise, and we all ask very good questions of the staff,” Heede said. “Not only what are we buying, but why are we buying it. I think that makes for a healthy situation.”
The board works together to work as efficiently as possible, and Heede is proud of the work that has been done the last few months, namely with the budget.
“The budget is very conservative in terms of dollars, but gives the staff 3% raise, which they deserve, but also addresses the needs of the college,” Heede said.
The budget of approximately $375 million was carefully crafted, and even after that, spending the money is something that Heede and the board don’t take lightly.
“That’s a lot of money, and we want to make sure that money is used effectively,” Heede said.
Although the budget is a highlight for Heede, he recognizes the chancellor Eugene Giovannini as the one who has the final say.
“He’s our only employee so we have to work through the chancellor,” Heede says. “That’s his responsibility, but we oversee that. And we support the chancellor and the staff.”
The board works together and Heede says that while they are a team, they do have their own individuality, and that stems from everyone having their own experience
Although he has the title, Heede says that does not mean he is more important than anyone else.
“The board president is the spokesman for the board, but we collectively make the decisions,” Heede said. “I’m board president, but I only have one vote like everybody else on the board.”