SCC Press Release

SCC’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni to be Honored in May

Southeastern Community College will host receptions for the recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni awards prior to graduation ceremonies in May. Keokuk campus recipient Kathy Gabel (SCC Keokuk 1981 and 1984), owner and operator of Advanced Home Health Care, will be honored at a reception at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15 at Baymont Inn & Suites in Keokuk. West Burlington campus recipient Greg Smith (SCC West Burlington 1989), Fort Madison High School principal, will be honored at a reception at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 at Burlington Memorial Auditorium. Each honoree will provide a keynote speech during their respective 7:00 p.m. commencements.

Both receptions are open to the public and include hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and beverages; cost is $15. For reservations, call (319) 208-5062 by May 13.

View past honorees at SCC's Alumni Association site.

Candidates may be nominated for the award here. 


About the honorees:

Kathy Gabel (SCC 1981 & 1984)

Kathy Gabel proudly proclaims that the education she received at SCC has opened up a world of opportunities.  In 1981, she earned an A.A. degree and then returned to SCC to earn both an A.S. and A.D.N. degree in 1984. Her SCC education was the beginning of 25 years in the health care field - as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, census development and marketing consultant and healthcare entrepreneur.

Kathy is currently the owner and operator of Iowa Home Based Services and Advanced Home Health Care, a business that provides waiver and rehabilitation services to residents of Lee, Des Moines, and Van Buren counties. Iowa Home Based Services is a group of programs designed to keep persons with disabilities as independent as possible while living within their community. This program has a presence predominantly in Des Moines and Lee counties and employs 45 people. It is a CARF accredited program and has the potential to be expanded to all 99 counties.  Iowa Home Based Services has projected revenues in excess of one million dollars for 2013.

Kathy served as Administrator of Lexington Square, a 126 bed skilled nursing community in Keokuk, Iowa. Under her direction, the facility went from 2.5 to 6 million dollars in annual revenue in less than five years.  In addition to Lexington Square she has served as Administrator in two other nursing facilities. Kathy’s deep understanding of the market, as well as growing long-term care trends has substantially increased revenues in both facilities.

Kathy also developed Dave’s Place, a 50-bed skilled nursing facility for persons with mental illness.  Working with the University of Iowa and providers around the state, Kathy wrote, presented and obtained a Certificate of Need to provide care to some of Iowa’s most neglected citizens. Today, Dave’s Place is a viable and functioning intermediate care facility for persons with mental illness. Currently, the facility receives 10-15 referral calls weekly and will employ over 50 skilled and unskilled workers. Other experience includes the consulting of census development to numerous skilled and intermediate care facilities throughout the Midwest.  As a consultant, Kathy worked with over 20 organizations.  She assisted them with Medicare eligibility requirements, helped them identify their target market, and taught the nursing staff how to increase their capacity to care for new types of clients.  Due to her recommendations, revenue at these facilities increased, on average, 30 percent. Kathy is an active member of the Iowa Health Care Association and Iowa Centers for Assisted Living. Recently, she accompanied the Iowa delegation to Washington, D.C. to join the American Health Care Association and the American Centers for Assisted Living for their annual lobbying efforts.

Kathy has touched the lives of many people in Keokuk, both directly and indirectly.  While serving as school nurse at Keokuk High School, she worked in cooperation with SCC and began the C.N.A. program that gave many high school students with interests in health occupations an early opportunity to gain knowledge and experience.  As an administrator at Lexington Square, she awarded scholarships to graduates going into the field of nursing. She has taught Sunday school at Trinity United Methodist Church for over 15 years. She is currently the head of the finance committee at the church and has served on various boards throughout the years. But, what is most inspiring is that she and her husband Steve have opened their home to young people in crisis situations and provided not only shelter, but also guidance and understanding throughout the years.

Greg Smith (SCC 1989)

Greg Smith is a 1976 graduate of Fort Madison High School, an honorably-discharged US Army Veteran, and an SCC graduate, earning his Associate of Arts degree in 1989. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University in Elementary and Alternative Education; Masters of Education from Viterbo University; K-12 Reading Specialist degree from Viterbo; and a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Northern Iowa. In 1989, Greg was named one of the top 100 1st year teachers in the United States. 

Greg worked in the Keokuk school district teaching a variety of grades as both an elementary teacher and guidance counselor. He also worked for the Clarence-Lowden Community School District (now North Cedar) in the late 1980's. He spent three years at the Area Education Agency as a Reading Consultant and Professional Development Coordinator. From 2006 to 2011 he worked for the Fort Madison School District as the Director of Student Services. Greg is now the new Fort Madison High School Principal. Not only is Greg the new principal for FMHS, but he is a graduate of this high school as well.

In his role with the AEA and the Fort Madison School District, Greg has been committed to enhancing the connections with SCC. As Director of Student Services and now as High School Principal, Greg is extremely supportive of concurrent enrollment opportunities for students. He and the staff do all they can to ensure that FMHS students have expanded choices and he works tirelessly to create an environment within the high school that reinforces the high expectations and rigor of SCC courses. Greg not only supports concurrent enrollment opportunities to ease the transition for students from secondary to post-secondary, he also supports faculty participation in conversations with their post-secondary counterparts to insure that educators have an understanding of knowledge and skill requirements for success at the post-secondary level. Greg shows exemplary interest and care in the enhancement of his community and state, and to better educate our students who are our leaders for tomorrow.

Greg has worked for the betterment of the southeast Iowa area by serving on the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce Board since 2009, as a board member for the National Professional Development Council and by being a former city councilman. Greg has and is involved in the improvements of existing services, encourages the introduction of new services, and assists in carrying out projects to enhance and improve the economic development of Fort Madison. He is a state member of the Flock Group (state curriculum directors), and is also on the board of the Mid-Iowa School Improvement Consortium. Through these groups Greg is involved in looking at methods to improve achievement for all students.  Not just for their K-12 academic learning, but to prepare them for the working world and lifelong learning.

Greg's leadership can also be illustrated by his membership on the National Professional Development Council board and his service as a former city councilman. Greg submitted a FEMA grant for the district to build a "second gymnasium" in the new 4-8 building that would also serve as a safe room where staff and students would be safe in times of an emergency, most likely in the event of a tornado.  Greg supports the local United Way, PAW (Protection of Animal s Welfare) and Food Pantry. This year his goal is to be a part of Fort Madison's Annual Community Thanksgiving. His acoustic rock band (LMNOP) often donates their services to raise money for local organizations.

Greg will tell you that in high school he was not the best student. But he started taking classes at SCC and went on from there. Greg credits his positive start as SCC and the support he received there, in shaping the education and career opportunities he has enjoyed thus far. Greg has a wonderful testimony to share with our young people today, that with hard work and a positive attitude, they can make something of themselves if they stay motivated and keep their eye on the prize.

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