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From TCC to GM
Marva Maid executive proud of his community college connection

Danny Lovell is so proud of his Tidewater Community College education that he’s featured on the newest college commercial touting “From here, go anywhere.”

That’s Lovell, general manager of Marva Maid, who says on TV amid a field of cows, “TCC just helped me become outstanding in my field. Will I always sing the praises of TCC? Of course. Until the cows come home.”

The 1978 graduate of Granby High School had a good job after graduation, eventually becoming a supervisor and then a plant manager of Birtcherd Dairy in 1985. The following year, Birtcherd was bought out by Marva Maid, which today processes nearly three million gallons of milk per month. More than 1,500 dairy farmers from 11 states are owners of the Maryland and Virginia Co-Op of which Marva Maid is a division.

Lovell, the general manager of Marva Maid for the last 10 years works in downtown Newport News, though travels often across the state for his job. He always wanted to go to college but never fit it into his busy work schedule.

Then his wife, Brenda, who works down the hall from him as an office manager, opted to take some classes at TCC to stay current with her job.

“It just progressed from there,” Danny Lovell says. “One benefit they offer here at Marva Maid is reimbursement for education if the classes pertain to your job. So we went over to the old Portsmouth campus and got started.”

What began as a few classes culminated in associate degrees in business for both Danny and Brenda.

Danny Lovell says attending TCC helped him develop a better understanding of working with others, and he was pleasantly surprised to learn from so many young students.

“I had been out of the classroom for a long time,” he says. “The younger students had a unique perspective because they were just trying to get themselves established.”

Lovell says initially he was hesitant to enroll, but ended up enjoying everything about the experience, particularly the accessibility of the instructors. “It’s a lot different going to college as an older person,” he says. “You’re going because you want to and you’re invested in learning.”

Brenda liked the small class size and the ability to have one-on-one conversation with instructors. “If you were struggling, there was always somebody close by you could ask for help,” she says.

Brenda still has her tassel from her 2001 graduation and in Danny’s office are some photos of cows, of course. Brenda took them as part of her photography class at TCC.

Says Lovell, “We were both committed to it at the time and enjoyed all of it.”

For information about the TCC Alumni Association, call (757) 822-1770 or log on to www.tidewateralumni.org