Brothers kick start careers at Paul D. Camp Community College

Published 12:39 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016

by Wendy Harrison

As expected, brothers Ryan and Scott Duke share similar interests.

“We worked at River Road Farm together, spending all of our time and money in Gene Matthews shop in Newsoms, building up our highly customized 4×4 Chevrolet trucks,” recalled Ryan. “We also started playing guitars at the same time, something that I still do to this day.”

Besides cars, movies, music and family vacations, another topic of common interest could easily arise for the siblings — their alma maters.

Postsecondary education got underway for them at Paul D. Camp Community College after graduating from Franklin High School in 1993 and 1996, respectively. Ryan plotted his course of study, taking electrical/electronics classes that would provide the basis for transfer to another program in Dublin.

He was able to get a head start at New River Community College, where he graduated in May 1996 with an Associate in Applied Science in Instrumentation Technology. Ryan attended Saint Leo University in 2007 and in 2011, transferred to East Carolina University, graduating from there in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Education in Information Technologies. He also earned a Master of Science in Management with a focus in Leadership from Excelsior College in February 2016 with a 4.0 GPA.

Ryan works in the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s (HRSD) information technology department as the industrial automation manager.

“I have a deep passion for industrial automation,” he said. “I am responsible for all of the automation, specifically our systems that are currently controlling/operating HRSD’s nine major wastewater treatment plants and more than 100 pumping stations.”

Ryan envisions working at HRSD until he’s ready to retire.

“I love it,” he said.

Ryan also wants to find an adjunct teaching position, preferably online, in information technology and/or management/leadership.

He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the International Society of Automation, with which he is a certified automation professional. He serves as the lead/rhythm guitar player at First Baptist Church Suffolk. Ryan resides in Chesapeake with his wife, Jennifer, and their daughters, Kylie, 19, and Josie, 9.

“Don’t let anyone hold their ‘boot’ over you and keep you from meeting and exceeding your educational and professional goals,” he said. “College is not easy, but if you pour your heart and soul into it, you will succeed.”

For Scott, he wanted to get some of the general requirements completed while he figured out exactly what path he wanted to pursue.

“PDCCC certainly gave me a soft introduction to college life,” he said. “It allowed me to explore opportunities and be thoughtful of what direction I might go in versus jumping directly into a four-year institution without a strong idea of what I wanted to do.”

Attending Ed Garner’s welding classes in 10th grade with many of his classmates, Scott said the advantage of the exposure to college classes while still in high school was appreciated.

“Having that experience formed a bridge that would encourage me to take the typical general education courses that most students take their first and second year of college,” he said.

Scott worked for a stint before moving and transferring his credits to Pitt Community College. Finishing up a semester there, he then transferred to East Carolina University. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a major in media production and public relations, and a minor in business, finance and technology. Scott almost immediately began working on a Master of Arts in Communication, which he completed in 2008, also from ECU. While a student, he worked as a producer at the campus television station and produced a couple of independent feature films as well.

Scott worked for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, followed by various video and film projects before being hired by ECU in the College of Education. After a short while, he was hired in ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. He is the assistant director for membership for ECU’s Alumni Association.

Scott has served as treasurer of the ECU Communications Graduate Student Association; member of the ECU Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities’ Grievance Committee; representative of the ECU Media Board’s Graduate Student Advisory Council; member of Council for Advancement and Support of Education; and member of Council of Alumni Marketing and Membership Professionals. Scott, making his home in Greenville, North Carolina, has worked as video editor for “Investigation Discovery”, “Discovery” and “Animal Planet,” and earned an Outstanding Service Award from the ECU Media Board.

“About 70 percent of U.S. citizens do not have a college degree and 90 percent do not hold a master’s degree,” said Scott. “That leaves a lot of room for growth and critical thinking across the spectrum in order for you to thrive in this global community. To those who just finished high school or a GED — keep going. Bright and positive minds are needed now more than ever.”

WENDY HARRISON is a the public relations specialist at Paul D. Camp Community College. Contact her at