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Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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Joel Gerber, a 2003 OPSU graduate, is the Manager of Computer Information Technology at Tri-County Electric - Scott Puryear photo.

**For Immediate Release**
OPSU Provides Quality Graduates to Growing Area
-released by OPSU Campus Communications
04-04-06
by Scott Puryear

Goodwell, Okla.- Oklahoma Panhandle State University serves as a valuable educational institution for the region. As part of their overall mission, OPSU also plays an integral role in assisting area employers by providing them with trained employees prepared to face future challenge. For nearly 100 years, OPSU graduates have worked in responsible positions in both the public and private sector, and many of them seek and secure employment in the Panhandle and other areas in the state of Oklahoma.

OPSU currently has a placement rate of nearly 100 percent. Graduates from the school are in demand and are recognized for the preparation and training they have received. As a four-year university in a rural setting, OPSU offers small class sizes which enable students to maintain close relationships with faculty members as well as acquire valuable leadership and teamwork experience while participating in supervised team projects. 

The Panhandle region itself has experienced an unprecedented population growth. Guymon, located ten miles northeast of the OPSU campus, has seen its population increase from 7,803 in 1990 to an estimated 14,000 today. The entire region has grown at approximately the same rate, and both public and private sector companies and organizations have worked hard to meet the challenges that accompany this kind of growth.

One organization that has met these challenges is Tri-County Electric, a public utility headquartered in Hooker. It has responded to the increasing needs of the area by virtue of both its advances in technology and it strong workforce.

A strong and committed member of the Tri-County team is Joel Gerber, the organization’s Manager of Computer Information Technology (CIT). The Manter, Kan. native graduated from OPSU in 2003 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. Gerber is responsible for all of Tri-County’s computer operations, an enormous task considering that the utility serves over 12,000 individual residential and commercial clients.

Gerber also manages and maintains the Tri-County web site. He says he enjoyed his time at OPSU and still maintains close ties with the school. Gerber added that while a student, he especially enjoyed the relationships he had with several of his instructors as well as his association with clubs in both the Computer Information Systems and Art Departments.

Roy Smotherman, Gerber’s supervisor, enjoys working with Gerber and is very pleased with Tri-County’s relationship with OPSU. “Joel is a hard-working young man with a good attitude and a fine example of what local education can do,” Smotherman said.

Since its establishment in 1909, OPSU has graduated well-trained individuals who are ready to provide their skills and expertise to businesses in this fast-growing area. Gerber is just one of the many OPSU graduates who has made an impact in the Panhandle region.

One of Oklahoma’s most important resources is an educated and trained workforce. Area companies continue to count on OPSU to provide quality graduates, and OPSU looks forward to educating students to fill the needs of employers in the Panhandle and state-wide.

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Developed by: Michal Stachowski
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
P.O. Box 430 Goodwell, OK 73939, tel: 580-349-2611
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