Scholarship Winner Allen Whitaker
In 2006, the Foundation awarded a $12,000 scholarship to Allen Whitaker, who grew up in a family that was very involved in the plumbing-heating-cooling (p-h-c) trade.
Whitaker praises the PHCC Educational Foundation for making it possible to attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as a finance major and graduate in 2010 with a degree in business administration. “While very beneficial to my growth, being an out-of-state student at the University of Tennessee put a greater financial strain on my family and me,” he says. “The PHCC Foundation scholarship was so important in allowing for this great opportunity. Without it, I don’t know that I could have afforded the tuition, and I’d certainly be a different person today.”
Where is He Now?
Today, Whitaker works for Lee Company, a large mechanical company that focuses both on large commercial construction as well as on residential and commercial service. He works daily at various commercial sites and says that – as a laborer with a college degree – he’s truly learning the p-h-c industry from “the ground up.”
His education, however, is giving him the edge. “From my education, I know the expectations from a business standpoint, especially on the large p-h-c job sites,” he says. “Sometimes I can tell that I look at a situation differently than some of my co-workers because of what I have learned during my college years.” He credits his education for having that “alternate viewpoint” and recognizes those learned business practices being carried out daily on the job site.
“When I’m confronted by a practical situation,” Whitaker says, “I think back to ideas I studied in college, whether it was from an accounting, finance or logistics class.” While he says his day-to-day work life now may not be “glamorous,” he knows that the combination of his education and his first-hand experience will make him a “better boss and businessman” in a management position someday.