Skip Navigation
Admissions & Enrollment
Home > About HCC > News and Events > Current News Releases > Community, Business Leaders Examine Future of Howard Community College

Community, Business Leaders Examine Future of Howard Community College

February 11, 2013

Columbia, Maryland  — This fall, 140 community and business leaders from across Howard County joined faculty, staff, and students from Howard Community College (HCC) to form The Commission on the Future of HCC and provide recommendations that will guide strategic planning for the institution. Steve Sachs, executive vice president and director of real estate and hotel practice with the Willis Group, chaired the commission.

Under Sachs’ leadership, the group met throughout the fall to identify emerging issues and innovative ideas for the college’s future. The Commission was organized into seven task forces that examined the areas of global competency and civic engagement; health care; leading edge organizations; partnerships; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); sustainability; and workforce development. 

First established in 1998, the Commission on the Future is convened every five years to engage members of the college’s internal and external community to collaborate on an environmental scanning and strategic planning venture. Based on that examination, each task force makes three to five recommendations on initiatives for the college to consider. In interim years, the commission receives annual updates on the status of the recommendations.

The commission continues to be an invaluable service to the college for researching and meeting the needs of the community,” said HCC President Kate Hetherington. “Its guidance has enabled HCC to stay on the cutting edge of educational programming and workforce development.”

A former member of the HCC Board of Trustees and The Horizon Foundation board, Steve Sachs has over 30 years of experience in the real estate development field. He currently serves on the boards of the Columbia Festival of the Arts, A Taste of Home, and Howard Bank. He was named “Business Person of the Year” in 2005/2006 by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and selected for the Legacy Leadership Award by Leadership Howard County in 2011.

The chairs of the Commission’s seven task force were:

  • Mike Jones, W.R. Grace and Company (Global Competency and Civic Engagement)
  • Nikki Highsmith, The Horizon Foundation (Health Care)
  • Bob Jeffrey, The Jeffrey Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (Leading Edge)
  • Kevin Kelehan, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett and Scherr (Partnerships)
  • Elizabeth Rendon-Sherman, LG-TEK (STEM)
  • Ned Tillman, Sustainable Growth, LCC (Sustainability)
  • Shirley Collier, Optemax (Workforce Development)

The Commission’s final report was delivered to the college in late January, and can be viewed online in its entirety at

About HCC
Howard Community College (HCC) is a publicly funded two-year community college serving the educational needs of the citizens and employers in Howard County, Maryland since 1970. With its slogan, “You Can Get There from Here,” the college has forged a variety of partnerships to offer career and transfer programs to over 30,000 students annually at its main campus in Columbia, the Ecker Business Training Center, Laurel College Center, and Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education. Located midway between two major metropolitan areas, Washington DC and Baltimore, MD, Howard Community College is an affordable, community-based institution that has long been recognized for its ability to inspire learning, and the lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Among its many awards is the prestigious U.S. Senate Productivity Award for organizational performance excellence.