Statewide energy education effort led by FHSU adds two key members to the staff

Mike Michaelis, director of the Energy Network of Education and Training at Fort Hays State University, known conversationally as EnergyNET, has announced the hiring of two key members of his staff.

Effective Monday, Tim Cossaart will become the assistant director of EnergyNET. Sabrina William will start work the following Monday, March 7 as the online course developer for EnergyNET. Both are Hays residents with professional experience that will equip them well for their new jobs, Michaelis said.

FHSU is the lead institution for EnergyNET. The grant was awarded last fall and the new organization was launched in January to coordinate a network of public higher education institutions across the state to provide enhanced hybrid and online workforce training. Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, said the university, led by Michaelis, Dr. Chris Crawford, assistant provost for quality management, and Dennis King, director of the Virtual College and learning technologies, would work with community and technical colleges to build a model of flexible e-learning products in order to meet industry needs.

"It was his management and administrative background plus his experience with budgets, higher education and marketing that made Tim a good fit for the position of assistant director," Michaelis said. Most recently, Cossaart was general manager of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Hays. Previously, he was general manager of the former Hays Holiday Inn. His relevant work experience also includes more than eight years in higher education, where he was involved with student recruitment. He assisted in grant writing and grant implementation for NASA for two years while at New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas.

Cossaart received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from McPherson College in May 1992 and a master's degree in business administration from Regis University, Denver, in June 2003.

"Tim has dealt with many types of people in a wide variety of business and educational settings, so his customer service skills will be extremely valuable as the assistant director of EnergyNET," Michaelis said.

Michaelis said William brings similar talents and experiences to her new job. "Her energy level, work ethic and skills are outstanding," he said. "Sabrina is a proven quantity. We knew what we were getting."

William is concluding her duties as coordinator/executive director of the Downtown Hays Development Corporation. She was hired there in November 2001, when the organization was created, and her duties have included office administration, budgets, project management, event coordination, grant writing, marketing and community development.

William earned a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration in Information Systems Administration from FHSU in May 2001.

"Sabrina excels in the areas of organization, communication and listening, which will be invaluable skills in her new role of creating online courses to train Kansans for jobs in the energy industry," Michaelis said.

EnergyNET was created by the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents as an innovative educational effort to provide highly trained workers for the energy industry. The $1.6 million investment comes from the federal Recovery Act and federal Perkins funding stream.

FHSU will provide project management and coordination. Technical and community colleges will provide technical training for the energy sector, including positions such as lineworker, wind turbine technician and gas measurement technician. The goal of EnergyNET is to enhance the ability of the Kansas public higher education system in meeting the training needs of the energy industry.

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