COEUR d'ALENE - Ron Nilson said he's running for a seat on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees because the community's future leaders are its children, and their success relies on the quality of the education they receive and how well they are taught to maximize the use of their skills as they move forward.
Nilson, 60, is running for election to Seat C on the NIC board. Ron Vieselmeyer, who currently holds that position, is not seeking re-election.
"I support Joe Dunlap, the new president of NIC, and his efforts, and I am committed to working with him to build a bridge between the private sector and the college," Nilson said.
A Coeur d'Alene resident, Nilson is president and CEO of Ground Force Worldwide, a Post Falls-based multinational company that manufacturers mining equipment. He has lived in Kootenai County for 12 years.
Nilson attended North Seattle Community College, Shoreline Community College and Pima Community College where his studies were focused on business and communication.
"As a business leader, I'm in a unique position to bridge the gap between education and local businesses, creating a win, win, win for NIC, the students and future local employers," Nilson said. "I'll help re-engage the voice of the local community to our North Idaho Community College."
Nilson said, if elected, he will work on "creating transparency" at the college.
"We desperately need to involve our public. This free counsel is invaluable and has a true investment in the success of NIC," Nilson said.
Kootenai County citizens and business leaders have more insight and true concern for NIC than outside consultants hired with tax dollars do, he said.
"I will work hard to make sure project costs and plans will be shared with the community before moving forward, allowing all cities to take part in the final vision," Nilson said.
Fiscal responsibility is another item at the top of Nilson's list of objectives, if elected.
As a business owner and CEO, Nilson said he oversees a multi-million dollar budget.
"We owe it to the students and teachers to make sure they are the financial focus," Nilson said.
He said he will make sure NIC's budget spending makes its biggest impact in the classrooms, where students and taxpayers will benefit most.
"I will work to abolish the current board's policy of continuing to take foregone taxes, as this does not produce economic success for our students or the local taxpayers," Nilson said.
NIC needs a better tracking system for graduation and placement rates, Nilson said.
He said he will work on creating a system that provides a better measure of these statistics as they are a crucial consideration when making future funding decisions.
Nilson said he is a member of 10 local boards through which he engages on a daily basis with community members. Through those interactions, Nilson said he is able to bring a "a fresh perspective from the private sector that the current NIC board lacks."
He chairs the boards of the North Idaho Manufacturing Consortium and the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce. Nilson serves on the boards of the NIC Booster Club, the Greene Idaho Foundation and is a founding board member of Ignite Hope warming shelter.
Nilson helped lead the effort that led to the recent opening of KTEC, the professional-technical public high school in Rathdrum. He is vice-chair of KTEC's executive board.
He serves, by appointment of Gov. Butch Otter, on the Pacific Northwest Economic Region's Idaho Council.
"I will work toward making sure we have programs in place to allow for all types of students to graduate, ready to be an asset to our local employers, or ready to move on to 4-year colleges," Nilson said. "Providing our students with the necessary tools to move forward in their careers will immediately benefit our local area and future growth markets, as well as give us measureable success of our community college."