The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Applicants for trustee tout ideas, experience

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

The three trustee finalists to temporarily fill the spot vacated by Joe Hudson offer the board a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities and goals.

Conrad Heede, who has a master’s in business administration from Northeastern University, ran for the District 2 seat back in 2008 but lost to Hudson, whose resignation gives Heede a second chance.

“One thing community colleges have as an obligation is to help students achieve their goals,” he said.

Heede also wants to expand students’ opportunities through his numerous connections.

“I see so many ways I could work with the college to develop community service and international experiences,” he said.

John Marshall, who earned his master’s of public administration at the University of North Texas, said he has time to serve the community now that he is retired.

“I don’t have any goals except to provide a good education to people in Tarrant County,” Marshall said, “to make that economically available to the most people.”

Dennis Slechta wants to see more people realize the educational opportunities available to them at TCC, especially because his education never went beyond high school, he said.

For years, Slechta owned and ran Panda Embroidery. He said many of his employees didn’t have degrees, and he wants them to know they aren’t limited to running machines their whole lives if they don’t want to, he said.

“I see a need to make them aware that they can be competitive,” he said.

Slechta, who submitted 10 letters of recommendations with his application, wants to represent his community.

“I was approached by a couple of the [Grapevine] city fathers who asked me to do it,” he said.

The board of trustees will interview all three finalists at 5 p.m. Oct. 20 with a period for public comment before the board makes the final appointment.

Heede thinks he can use his real estate background to help the board make good decisions on future projects like the NE Performing Arts Center and the Alliance Center.

“[His background] would help me give a different perspective that maybe they don’t have,” he said.

He is currently the president and owner of Paramont Properties, a real estate investment firm, and president and co-owner of Willow Creek Storage & Investments.

He has also served with numerous organizations including Rotary, both locally and internationally.

“I think working together to accomplish a goal is one thing I’ve demonstrated,” Heede said. “When I have a decision to make, I try to talk to many people on both sides.”

That is the way to make the best decision, he said.

“You don’t want to sit in an ivory tower,” Heede said.

Heede admitted he couldn’t continue all his current activities if he is appointed trustee.

“It would require, I believe, me to back off of some of my other

responsibilities,” Heede said. “I would stay involved but allow other people to take the head.”

Slechta said he would bring a different viewpoint to the board since he doesn’t have a degree.

“The board is heavily educated, obviously,” he said. “I’ve always considered myself down to earth and have common sense.”

Marshall said he understands taxes. He was chief appraiser for the Tarrant County Appraisal District from 1991 to 2008, including the tax appraisals for the Tarrant County College District.

Marshall has also served as city manager of two Texas cities, Gladewater from 1972 to 1975 and Lancaster from 1975 to 1980.

“I have experience working with boards. It’s a cooperative effort being on the team that’s the head of an organization,” he said.

Regarding the recent TCC property tax increase, Marshall said he didn’t have all the information needed to give a definitive opinion.

However, he said it was something to be done with care.

“Realistically, having been in management, every once in a while you have to raise tax rates, not that you can do it every time without an explanation,” he said.

The interviews will be conducted at the Mary Owen Center at 1500 Houston Street. Those who wish to address the board must sign in before the meeting.


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