Friday, February 23 , 2018, 3:20 pm | Fair 61º


Five Added to Allan Hancock College Foundation Board of Directors

Mario Juarez, Esq.; Lee-Volker Cox; Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D.; AHC Foundation Board President Valerie Moya; Sam Orozco, D.P.A.; James E. Fields and Ed Cora.
Mario Juarez, Esq.; Lee-Volker Cox; Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D.; AHC Foundation Board President Valerie Moya; Sam Orozco, D.P.A.; James E. Fields and Ed Cora. (Allan Hancock College photo)

To say the five newly elected members of the Allan Hancock College Foundation’s Board of Directors offer a wealth of experience might be an understatement.

The new members include a retired colonel from the United States Air Force, a superintendent, a pastor, a retired social worker and the partner of a law firm.

Ed Cora, Lee-Volker Cox, James E. Fields, Sam Orozco, D.P.A. and Mario Juarez, Esq. were recently sworn in as directors during the board’s first meeting of the year. 

“We are fortunate to welcome five strong leaders from the Santa Maria Valley,” said Valerie Moya, president of the AHC Foundation board of directors. “Each one has succeeded in both business and community service. They are the kind of leaders who will make an impact on student success in our communities.”

Cora is the superintendent of the Guadalupe Union School District. With 32 years of experience in education, Cora also has a long history of community service that includes volunteering with Kiwanis of Guadalupe, YMCA, Tri-County Education Coalition, Fighting Back Santa Maria and two other state organizations.

“I look forward to assisting students from Guadalupe, Santa Maria and Orcutt attain their educational goals at Hancock and beyond,” said Cora.
Cox joined the board to help expand the college’s positive impact on the region, and to ensure students have an exceptional school to set them on a path of success.

A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Cox has flown Global Positioning System satellites, operated intercontinental ballistic missiles, and served on the launch team for NASA’s satellite that validated Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

A graduate instructor at the University of La Verne, Cox serves on several boards including Leadership Santa Maria Valley. 

A Hancock graduate, Orozco served in the U.S. Army and went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.

He spent 39 years in the aerospace and manufacturing industries before he took time to pursue other passions. He founded a local church ministry and became a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Process Improvement champion. 

“I want to give back to the college and the community to help create the same kind of opportunities they afforded me,” said Orozco, who also serves on the board of directors for Community Health Centers (CHC). 
Fields joined the board less than a year after he graduated with high honors and earned six degrees from Hancock. Previously, he served as a community-based social worker and field representative for the California State Legislature before he became a development officer with Habitat for Humanity.

Fields retired and returned to school with his wife to study winemaking at Hancock. On top of volunteering as an English as a Second Language tutor, Fields also serves as President/CEO of the FG Wine Group and Vista Hills Water Company.

Juarez is no stranger to the board. He returned after completing a third three-year term in 2012. A partner at the Brenneman, Juarez & Adam law firm, Juarez also served as president of the Foundation board from 2010-12. 

“I believe strongly in the value of education and its importance for people to be able to better themselves and their families,” said Juarez. “I believe Hancock is an integral fixture in the Santa Maria Valley and makes a difference in people’s lives.”

An active community member, Juarez has served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, St. Louis de Montfort Church, Santa Barbara Foundation and the college’s Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

The board of directors now includes nearly 30 community members from the Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys. For more information about the foundation, call 805.925.2004.

Gina Herlihy is a public affairs and publications technician at Allan Hancock College.

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