Alumni Spotlight

Josh Childers, ’04, and Keri Childers, ’06

By: Michelle Goff
January 16, 2018

Last year, Josh Childers flew 102,000 miles for his job and even circled the globe on one trip. His wife Keri, an emergency room doctor, recently delivered a baby and said she treats everything from colds to gunshot wounds as part of her daily routine.

The couple, who live in Dayton, Ohio, with their 3-year-old son John Preston, credit the University of Pikeville with preparing them for their divergent careers.
Josh, a graduate of Millard High School, had plans to become a lawyer when he started college in 2000. But that was before he took one of Gene Lovel’s business classes. Finding that business and economics appealed to him, Josh majored in business administration.

After graduating in 2004, Josh saw a business management opportunity on an online job-posting site.

“I didn’t know what the job was, but the requirements were a business degree and electrical or mechanical experience,” Josh explains. “I had attended vocational school in high school for a half day every day and was a certified electrician, so I had the qualifications.”

Josh applied for the job, with Konecrones, a Finnish company that manufactures and services cranes and lifting equipment, and nearly 13 years later he still works for the company. As director of technical training for South America and North America, he oversees a team of 12 men, most of whom are his dad’s age.

Keri, a graduate of Elkhorn City High School, says she majored in English “to see if there was anything in a career path that might incorporate my love of reading and writing.” She added a sociology major after taking an introduction to sociology class.

Keri was considering healthcare-related career options when her aunt, an ER nurse, helped her get a job as an ER technician. Liking the unpredictability that came along with working in an ER and wanting to “contribute to the world,” she decided to become an ER doctor.

“We have normal days with occasional boosts of terrifying excitement,” Keri says. “I would have not known that, but I’m one of the people who enjoys that.”
Keri continues, “I learned how to study in college. You have to sit down and read the poem or novel and think about what they’re going to ask you on the test. You have to read it more than once. The same is true of the biology or chemistry you study in medical school.”

Josh says the college taught him how to be a business manager.

“Dr. (Kossuth) Mitchell prepared me to make presentations to a CEO,” Josh says. “I was more nervous presenting to Dr. Mitchell’s class than to my company’s CEO. Once I went through his class, getting my MBA was a piece of cake.

“My educational experience was as good or better than what I would have received at a large school. I was probably better prepared than graduates from bigger schools. I received a phenomenal education.”

Josh adds, “I was a first generation student. It’s important for first generation students to have mentors. It’s absolutely critical because you don’t know how college works. I was lucky to have mentors like Howard Roberts, Ron Damron, and Rick Bentley.”
 
Keri had a similar experience.

“The late John Scott was a mentor,” she says. “One of the things I loved about being at Pikeville College, well, UPIKE, was that you got to know your professors. You could sit one-on-one and learn from them. I got the best experience, no matter what I would have studied, from my professors. I sat at their feet and learned.”

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