EMCC Vice President receives state honor

EMCC President Thomas Huebner, right, prepares to present the 2017 Excellence in Local and District Government Award to EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services Raj Shaunak. The award was bestowed to Shaunak by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

An East Mississippi Community College administrator was presented with a gubernatorial honor Tuesday.

EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services Raj Shaunak was awarded with the 2017 Excellence in Local and District Government Award in a small ceremony at the EMCC Golden Triangle campus. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant bestowed Shaunak the award on Aug. 3. The award was given in conjunction with the 2017 Excellence in State Government award, which went to Samantha Atkinson of the Office of the State Auditor.

Shaunak said he owed much of the honor to his employees.

“As a figurehead, you get the glory, but the work over the years that the team has done, that is what is really recognized,” Shaunak said.

Shaunak is a native of Kenya of Indian descent. He came to the Golden Triangle for the first time in 1972, staying and founding a company with his brother, manufacturing low-resistance power cables. In 1989, the brothers sold their company to Southwire. After a two-year hiatus, Shaounak came to EMCC as a volunteer until he was asked to help create a workforce development program for the college.

“As an immigrant myself, many people have helped me and gave me opportunities to be the best I can be and also to partake in this thing called the American Dream,” Shaunak said. “Having achieved my own American Dream, it is a great pleasure to be able to help others see if they can move from dependence to enterprise.”

EMCC President Thomas Huebner spoke to the importance of the college’s career and technical programs and said they fuel a vital need for skilled manufacturing personnel in the region.

”Raj is one of those people who is always innovating, always thinking about the forgotten person, how we can do a better job of reaching out and creating opportunities for people here, not only in the Golden Triangle, but in all the service area,” Huebner said.