The Regional Technical Education Center (RTEC) has come a long ways over the last decade thanks to the leadership of Josh Svatos.
After 12 years as the facility’s president, Svatos announced his resignation last week and has stepped aside to start a new chapter in his life serving with a local manufacturer.
Svatos said he grew up with an interest in technical education.
“I was recruited (to come to RTEC) by a former employee,” Svatos said. “Career and technical education was always in the back of my mind. I used to work at Mount Marty College and I had the private education and this opportunity opened itself up. I actually went to a year at Mitchell Technical Institute. I come from a farm, so the opportunity to get into that career and technical education field really appealed to me at that time.”
He said that a number of partnerships were forged in his time as president.
“Back when I started, we were at the height of the recession and there was a lot going on,” he said. “Looking back over the years, we had great partnerships that formed with Mitchell Technical Institute, Northeast Community College and Avera Education and Staffing. It was a great time for RTEC. It was a great time for us to spread our wings, per se, and step into some things that probably had never been done with that organization.”
Svatos said the evolution of the facility was exciting.
“When I first started there, they were just getting off the ground with the American Welding Society able to do welding certifications,” he said. “Just the sheer number of students that we’ve helped through various grants and partnerships and working with people we’d never worked with before — that was exciting.”
Though unable to say which manufacturer he’ll begin working with this week, Svatos said it does partner with RTEC.
He added that he will aid the organization as it searches for his successor.
“I will remain part-time with RTEC as they need me during this transition phase until they hire somebody,” he said. “I know they’re going to take their time and do right by the process.”
Svatos said the last decade was a great chance to apply his skills in Yankton.
“I’ve enjoyed my 12 years with RTEC,” he said. “Going back 12 years, I’m thankful for the RTEC board — they believed in me, they saw the potential and they gave me that opportunity in my professional career and I’m extremely thankful for that opportunity.”
Rita Nelson, who serves on RTEC’s executive board, praised Svatos’ time with the organization.
“The RTEC executive committee expresses our sincere appreciation to Josh Svatos, who shared his passion for career and technical education and provided his strong leadership to RTEC over the past 12 years,” Nelson said. “Josh built a foundation for career and technical education training and initiated the mission of growing our own regional workforce.”
She added that Svatos put together a capable team at RTEC in that time frame that will help keep its mission advancing well into the future.
“Over the past decade of service, Josh has also built a strong team with John Darcy, Bob Olson and Hannah Frederick,” she said. “This team is well positioned to continue the RTEC program of work and technical trainings.”
Though she was unable to give an exact time frame for choosing a new president, Nelson said that Svatos’ continued service during the transition period will help make the process go smoothly.
“Josh has graciously offered to be an ongoing resource as needed — therefore, this teamwork allows the RTEC exec team a little more time to search for the next general manager,” she said. “We are excited for the future as RTEC will continue to serve our region as an important training resource.”
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