Kimberly Mann always thought she’d be an elementary school teacher. She earned her Associate of Science in General Studies from Tidewater Community College after graduating from Green Run High.
But she didn’t enjoy teaching.
“It was quite a shock to find out it just wasn’t for me,” she said.
Mann, now a construction coordinator for Charter Communications in Suffolk, returned to TCC to train for a new career in the mid-‘90s. She graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology and later a Career Studies Certificate in Industrial Management. She later completed her bachelor’s at Old Dominion University.
“I chose TCC because it was close to home, and I could take evening classes,” she said. “The faculty was super helpful and I enjoyed the college classroom setting. There was no drama. We were all there to prepare for future careers.”
Mann is appreciative of the encouragement she received from Professor Michael Plumb, program head for Mechanical Engineering and Safety Technologies. “He was always there to help you through anything. He even wrote me a letter of recommendation,” she said.
Along the way, Mann married her husband, Chris, and the couple had two sons, Nicholas, 14, and Nathan, 9. Both boys play travel soccer for a Virginia Beach club, keeping the family on the go.
“Life got super busy, and I realized I needed a flexible job that would allow me to manage family responsibilities and a career,” Mann said.
After earning her second and third TCC degrees, Mann landed a job in construction management with Cox Cable. She was there for a decade before moving to Charter, where she manages projects and technicians in her assigned area.
“I’m not a person who wants to sit behind a desk all day. I enjoy networking, checking job sites and meeting crews. In this line of work, that’s where the rubber meets the road,” she said.
Mann credits her TCC degrees with providing the knowledge and skills to manage, organize and supervise crews. “My degrees opened the door to a new career,” she said. “It suits me to be a woman in a predominately man’s world. I like that I’m trailblazing for women coming after me.”
“Most people won’t get their dream job right out of college. But if you work hard and earn your degree, you have a stepping stone to get to where you want to go.”