Tami Brincks of Calmar will be inducted into the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Hall of Fame today, (Monday, Oct. 21).
Many high school seniors set their sights on college campuses far away from home when planning and beginning their next educational journey.
For Brincks, Northeast Iowa Community College's (NICC) local appeal, friendly campus and its reputation for small classes and close interaction between faculty and students proved to be the strongest selling points.
After graduating from South Winneshiek High School in 1992, Brincks enrolled in the computer applications technician program at NICC and graduated in 1993. Now a human resources business partner at Tri-Tech Software Systems in Decorah, Brincks works with the company employees who develop software for municipal and state public safety and emergency medical services personnel nationwide. She is responsible for human resources at the company's Decorah site as well as the Tri-Tech Customer Service team in the U.S.
"After graduating from high school, NICC felt like home, and I knew that's where I wanted to go to further my education," she said.
"The most memorable and rewarding experience I have while being a student is the outstanding faculty and their ability to engage their students. NICC is a caring atmosphere and everyone wants all students to succeed, both professionally and personally. My education at NICC was rewarding and an important step in my educational and career path."
Brincks believes that service and giving back is important for the overall health of local communities. She served as the Extreme Home Makeover-Home Edition television family representative for Audrey Gibbs and helped the family win selection for the makeover in 2011. In addition, Tami became part of the Larson Construction team taking on leadership roles as photographer, behind-the-scenes video team, social media leader and fundraising at the South Winn football game.
"All night, we would work together to send the required information to the Extreme Makeover staff that was due the next day, sometimes on very little notice," she recalled.
"The entire experience was very rewarding and especially because of the people involved - the Extreme Makeover staff, the Larson Construction managers and contractors, and the communities of West Union, Independence, Calmar and surrounding areas. They are all such wonderful people."
Brincks continues to visit the Calmar campus and contribute to NICC with her leadership. As an HR professional, she participated in a CEO luncheon event where students practiced mock interviewing to prepare students for their job search. She serves on the college's new HR Alliance group at the Calmar campus, an organization that gathers human resources professionals together to discuss employment issues and best practices. She is also an advisory committee member for business programs at NICC.
The decision to serve her alma mater and the community is a matter of choice, Brincks explains.
"When people wake up every morning, there are two questions they may ask themselves: 'Will I make a difference' or 'What difference does it make'? I always try to be in the first category - I want to make a difference in my community. Taking the time to give back is so very important," she said.
Locally, Brincks serves as the president of the Rosary Society at St. Aloysius Church in Calmar. She also works as an official at the Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah. Tami and her husband Aaron live in Calmar and enjoy spending time with their two huskies or being with their family, including their nieces, nephews and nine godchildren.
Brinck's and her family share a great history of service to the College. Her mother Carol Cameron is a 40-year NICC employee currently working as a testing technician. Her uncle, Wayne Wangsness, was an instructor at NICC and her aunt, Kathy Stevens, is a retired NICC administrator. Rick, her stepfather, was the College's first dairy instructor and an aunt, Anna Mae Remmem, worked in the financial aid office for over 20 years. Tami's grandmother, Hazel Wangsness, who turned 100 this year, also worked in the learning center at NICC in the early 1970s.
Since the college was founded in 1966, many graduates have achieved distinction in their professions and through service to their communities. Retired faculty, staff and administrators continue to lend their time, talent and expertise to help NICC, students and graduates succeed. At the Hall of Fame ceremonies, NICC will induct new members of the Legacy Society, a group of donors who have chosen to honor their passion for education with a gift that provides a lasting legacy for the future of the College. For more information on the College's Foundation and ways you can contribute to NICC, contact: Julie Wurtzel, executive director of the Foundation, at (800) 728-2256, ext. 218; Barbara O'Hea, director of the Foundation, at (800) 728-7367, ext. 284; or visit www.nicc.edu/foundation.