The New College Institute (NCI) announced new staff members that were hired over the past few months, including Christina Easley, Clifford House, Evan Kissel, Erica McDaniel, Maggie Omwenga, Kim Phillips, Karol Quezada, and Dr. Ken Russell have joined the NCI team, each bringing unique skills and expertise.
Easley has worked in Customer Service for more than 20 years and has earned certificates in Phlebotomy, E.K.G., Med Aide, and C.N.A. Easley provides receptionist and customer services for NCI.
House serves as Quality Assurance Instructor for NCI’s Advanced Manufacturing. Clifford has worked in the industrial field since 2005 as a welder, metal fabricator, and CNC operator, setter, and programmer. House brings more than ten years of experience in the North Carolina Community College system as an instructor for industrial, manufacturing, and machining and is a MT1, CPT, and OSHA certified trainer.
“I came to NCI looking to expand on my own skill sets and help to build the course offerings here at NCI,” House said. “I really like the idea of NCI’s freedom to come up with classes that prepares people to go into careers that don’t have the time to wait on traditional education paths.”
Kissel is NCI’s Advanced Manufacturing Trainer/Instructor. Kissel previously served in the United States Marine Corps as an Electrical Engineer Technician and attended Strayer University where he majored in Information Technology.
“I am excited to be working for NCI in renewable wind technology. I look forward to advancing the NCI curriculum and propelling the commonwealth as a leader in wind energy training.” Kissel will serve as NCI’s primary Global Wind Organization (GWO) trainer and Veterans Services Officer.
McDaniel joined the NCI staff in December of 2020. As Event & Administrative Program Coordinator, she is the point of contact for reserving and scheduling all classrooms and Lecture Hall spaces at NCI. She also serves as coordinator and facilitator for all NCI events, including the LIFE Learning is ForEver Program. Additionally, McDaniel assists with and supports marketing efforts and coordinates the customer service receptionists. She is a 2013 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BA in Communications/Public Relations and minor in Journalism. She comes to NCI with experience in event planning, communications and supervision.
“I love what NCI is doing for the community. Providing such a wide variety of educational opportunities to this community is much needed, and I am proud to be a part of that. Event planning is also something that I enjoy, so being able to do that as part of my job has also been exciting,” she said.
Omwenga is NCI’s new Chief Program Officer. She is a cross-functional leader and educator with more than 15 years of higher education administration. Omwenga has served in numerous capacities and diverse institutions, including community colleges, universities, nonprofits, and corporations. Omwenga holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Media Communications and Technology.
“I am confident that my experience, education, background, and lessons learned, empower me with the essential skills needed to serve effectively in complex and diverse multicultural and multigenerational settings. Thus, build upon the excellent work our dynamic NCI team is already doing to move NCI’s mission forward,” Omwenga said.
Phillips joins NCI as Public Relations Specialist after studying at Christopher Newport University and a career in Human Resources, Marketing, and as a small business owner. Phillips maintains the website and social media content for NCI and provides support for marketing strategies. Her human resources experience gives her a passion for strong workforce development programs.
“I am excited to be able to serve NCI students, staff, and programs, and hope to make a difference with NCI’s outreach to the surrounding communities,” she said.
Quezada is one of NCI’s part-time Customer Service Receptionists. She has nine years of experience in customer service. Quezada is bilingual, a certified paralegal and received her certification in home remodeling. She is currently taking online classes to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a juvenile probation officer.
Russell, a respected and award-winning servant leader, technologist, coach, and innovation amplifier, was hired in August as NCI’s Chief Information Officer. A technology investor and pioneer, he developed early Intranet systems for large banks which led to his participation in developing one of the first successful Internet-based training platforms. He was a valued voice and key influencer in the development of the North Carolina Research Campus, leading the technology development (as CIO) for the renowned Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI). Dr. Russell has held executive roles at Duke Energy, Bank of America, Cisco, and Curran Biotech. Additional academic/executive/board roles at Wichita State University, Pfeiffer University, and the University of Houston.
“One of the best ways to make a difference is to start asking the question, ‘what if’? We are uniquely positioned to help learners ask that question and discover meaningful pathways to their unique lifelong learning plan. I look forward to all that is ahead for NCI: the programs, the people, and the possibilities. Technology is an enabler for all we do at NCI. More than maintaining systems and software, technology helps develop and accelerate innovation,” Russell said.