Faculty Spotlight

Lorie Darche

Ft. Myers Campus
Program Manager - Business

Business Program Manager, Lorie Darche, began her career at SWFC in 2004. Before that, she worked as a nurse in newborn intensive care for two years in Boise, Idaho. She then moved to Miami and worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in newborn intensive care as head nurse. Since coming to Ft. Myers in 1984, Darche has worked for Lee Memorial Health System as first manager of Budget and Decision Support, and then as Vice President of Planning and Marketing.

Darche’s academic credentials qualify her to teach all courses in the Business Studies program. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in business with a concentration in leadership, and is currently one-term from earning her master’s degree in accounting.

Darche has always had a dream of teaching. “The very best part of what I do each and every day is working with students, both in and out of the classroom,” she said. “It is extremely gratifying to get to know our students and help to challenge them in the learning process to achieve more than they think possible.”

“A benefit of being a business student at SWFC is that you can become immersed in a learning environment that has a very personal touch; engaging with a faculty team that is deeply interested in each student’s growth, both professionally and personally,” Darche said.

Elizabeth Whitmer

Port Charlotte Campus
Instructor - Medical Billing and Coding

With over 23 years in the health care field, Elizabeth Whitmer, RHIT, AHDI-F, brings knowledge and experience to the medical classes at Southwest Florida College.
Prior to coming to SWFC, Whitmer was the Director of Health Information and Privacy Officer for Collier Health Services in Collier County.

She has a plethora of experience as a multi-facility staff member and private health care consultant in a variety of settings. These include hospital inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory services, physician’s offices, psychiatry, cardiology, dialysis, eye surgery centers, as well as in the dental profession.

Supporting the passion of her work, Whitmer has had many educational articles on healthcare management published in newspapers and magazines in the Southwest Florida area, gaining recognition by the state of Florida Health Information Management Association.

Whitmer enjoys setting a good example for her students to follow. “I can remember my own educational mentor, and I wish to give back to the profession. Learning the many facets of health care is difficult; I work very hard to make it digestible,” she said.

Michael Coldwell

Tampa Campus
Subject Area Specialist - Computer Aided Drafting

For those in the Computer Aided Drafting & Design degree program at the SWFC Tampa Campus, no one is more qualified than Subject Area Specialist Michael Coldwell.

A native Floridian, Coldwell spent over twenty years in the US Navy where he held varied positions, such as, aviation electronics repairman, P-3C aircraft in-flight technician, aircraft repair division officer, and quality control officer.

Selected from among 800 applicants, he attended the Navy’s Scientific College degree program where he graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

After retiring from the Navy, Coldwell spent 15 years involved with the church, teaching volunteers, before he re-entered the technical field. Working for electrical generation and distribution engineering firms, he was involved with working on projects for the Kennedy Space Center, Disney World, and other large companies.

The Tampa campus acquired Coldwell as Subject Area Specialist for the CADD program in 2006. “Teaching has long been my interest,” Coldwell said, “When I teach, I try really hard to boil down complex ideas or procedures into bite-size chunks of information that students can readily understand.”

In fact, one of his recent students said that, “Mr. Coldwell is an excellent instructor, and his method of teaching makes it easy to learn.”

Kathy Heidrich

Institute of Interior Design
Full-Time Faculty - Interior Design

Full-time Interior Design instructor, Kathy Hedrich, has been active in the field since she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Central Michigan University in 1992. She began her career in a small kitchen and bath firm, and after five years with that company, Hedrich opened her own business titled “Cabinets by Design, LLC.”

Her career at Southwest Florida College began in February 2007 after her sister suggested she look into teaching. “I googled ‘interior design programs in Southwest Florida’ and up popped the SWFC website,” Hedrich remembers. “I had always wanted to teach, but never thought of teaching at the college level.”

A believer in the hands-on approach, she tries to include projects that promote creativity and encourage participation rather than the standard reading, writing, and test-taking. “I look for the ‘spark’ in each individual student and help them find their niche,” she said. “Interior Design is a natural avenue for creativity, and learning should be exciting and passionate.”

As an instructor in an ever-changing field, Hedrich is constantly working to improve her knowledge. She is currently working on a master’s degree in sustainable design education at Prescott College, and recently received her Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional credential.

Southwest Florida College is an accredited private institution of higher learning centrally located in Fort Myers, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and includes the Institute of Interior Design located within the Miromar Design Center in Estero. The College has been providing post secondary education to Floridians since 1974 and offers programs in Allied Health, Business, Design, Education, Information Technology and Legal Studies. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities for individuals to acquire knowledge and skills that will help prepare them for rewarding careers in fields with high growth potential. For more information, call toll free 888-279-2342 or visit http://www.swfc.edu/.

Compass Reader Winter 2010

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