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ICC counts Duke as a powerful supporter 

By: Mike Gavin
Published: November 16, 2022

group holding large check in the electronics bay
group holding large check in the electronics bay

The Duke Energy Foundation granted $15,000 to Isothermal Community College to support its Protective Relay Technician Program that helps prepare highly qualified and competent relay technicians. Pictured are instructor Steve Hollifield (right to left); Craig DeBrew, Duke’s local government and community relations manager; Dr. Greg Thomas, Isothermal’s vice president of Academic and Student Affairs; Dr. Margaret Annunziata, Isothermal’s president; Dr. Thad Harrill, Isothermal’s chief development officer; and Dr. Kem Harvey, dean of Applied Technologies. 

SPINDALE (Nov. 15, 2022) — Isothermal Community College received a $15,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation this week to create powerful communities in Rutherford and Polk counties through the Protective Relay Technician Program.

“Isothermal Community College is very grateful to the Duke Energy Foundation for its generous investment in our programming,” said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, Isothermal’s president. “As I’ve mentioned on another occasion of Duke’s generosity, our faculty is able to turn this funding into an opportunity for our students to improve their education and skills as Protective Relay Technicians entering the electric utility industry. This grant is instrumental in helping Isothermal achieve our goal of providing the electric power industry with highly qualified and competent relay technicians.”

The program started a few years ago with Duke’s support and has resulted in quite a few graduates with rewarding careers. The program teaches students how to operate, troubleshoot, and maintain power substation facilities.

“Isothermal and Duke have collaborated for years to better our communities,” said Dr. Thad Harrill, Isothermal’s chief development officer. “This gift will certainly aid the region’s workforce and we thank Duke for its continued effort in that regard.”

The Duke Energy Foundation’s Powerful Communities program makes strategic investments to build powerful communities where our natural resources thrive, students can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. The Foundation annually funds more than $30 million to communities throughout Duke Energy's seven-state service area.

For more information on the Protective Relay Technician Program, contact Steve Hollifield at 828-395-1521 or