10 Country: Professional Odd Couple - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Professional Odd Couple

September 22, 2005 

Colquitt Co.-- Someone else's job often looks much more inviting and easier than yours. But when the truth gets known, we rarely, if ever, see all that goes on behind-the-scenes. Two people with very different professional responsibilities decided to trade jobs for an afternoon, as part of a communitywide job appreciation effort.

"I do want to welcome everyone here. Thank you," says Dr. Tina Anderson, President of Moultrie Technical College to her board of directors. She's responsible for: "Five campuses, in four counties, 8,000 students we touch within a year, and about a 12 million dollar budget," says President Anderson, with endless attention paid to developments that impact the state's technical colleges.

President Anderson will host a special dairyman who becomes the College's honorary President for an afternoon. His day-today-responsibilities run are quite large, also. "There's approximately 800 cows on this farm, 275 acres," says Ricky Sparkman, the dairyman turned college president.

They have at least one thing in common. Both rely on their notebooks. Hers, an electronic one called a Blackberry. His, a modest, low tech, paper-based black notebook, containing critical information, like hers.

A professional odd couple, "It works both ways," says Sparkman, just before he enters a high tech classroom in the College's electronics Department. "Hey Cory. I'm Ricky Sparkman," as he shakes hands with one of the students. Sparkman felt pleased to learn that students get a real-world education. "The very first place they need to start is work ethic," says Sparkman.

The College stresses work related values weekly. Ricky Sparkman got a feel of what President Anderson does. Now, it was time to trade places. A college president, now turned farm hand, had more than a hundred cows to milk.

She knew agri-business is the economic backbone of the county's economy and now she could get first-hand experience. "She's going to look good. She's my cow," says President Anderson as she sprays a Jersey cow's leg with water before attaching the mechanical milker.

President Anderson, now farm hand Anderson, learned how to operate the milker quickly, pressing a start button on the computer controller. Numbers start increasing significantly. "How many pounds of milk are coming in."

A computer based milking machine and the electronics department at her college had more in common than many people might realize. "They have to have the knowledge to be able to fix these things," says Sparkman.

While their worlds seemed so different at first, two afternoons brought their worlds closer together than either imagined, because they stepped up and became a professional odd couple. In case you were wondering, both of them decided to keep their day jobs.

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