Name: Jermaine Whirl
How long have you been in Greenville? Two years
Most interesting fact about you: I play organ and drums. I actually trained 8 years as a classical pianist.
Your background: I grew up in James Island, SC (Charleston) to two loving parents.
I was attracted to education at an early age; specifically reading. However, I also had a rare disease called Kawasaki as a child, which left me hospitalized for two weeks with an extremely high fever. I was blessed to live through the experience and enjoyed a phenomenal childhood growing up with friends and family.
Early on I knew that I wanted to be a leader; whether that was on the football field, basketball court, in the classroom or at church.
In middle school I can remember taking a career inventory test and it stated that I would be a venture capitalist growing up. So I actually began to pursue it, not fulling knowing what it was.
My father was an entrepreneur who owned a few companies, and I believe that motivated me to purse business as a profession. Fast forwarding to high school, I attended Garrett Academy of Technology, which was a magnet high school that allowed students to 'major' in different areas. I majored in marketing management and hospitality & tourism in high school. Through this experience I earned the first marketing internship at Rick Hendrick BMW, and I held my first managerial position as a team lead at Kiawah Island Resorts. Additionally, during high school I was junior class president and participated fully in DECA competitions regionally and statewide.
Leaving high school, I had two career interest: marketing management or finance & economics. When I arrived at Winthrop University's campus as a freshmen I entered in as marketing major. After completing my first semester at Winthrop I changed my major to economics shortly after completing my principles of macroeconomics class. I was hooked! At Winthrop I served in a number of leadership roles from alumni council, student ambassadors, and other student organizations. I managed to graduate early with plans to pursue an MBA and PhD in economics. My ultimate goal was to be the first Black Federal Reserve Chairman in U.S. history. I didn't fulfill this goal, but I did obtain my MBA and my doctorate, but my coursework was in organizational leadership.
After completing my bachelor's degree, I struggled to find work. I ended up taking a great position with the Carolina Youth Development Center which started an education program to assist students in group homes, move out successfully into the work world. It was here that I found my passion for education and teaching in particular. I also give a lot of credit to Dr. Morris Roper, who was a tutor at the center, was a 30 year retired professor of math from the community college system in California. Through his encouragement I finished my MBA and obtained my first faculty position at East Georgia State College at the age of 23. In the interview I told the president at the time that I would be in a dean position in 3 years. At 26 I held my first dean position and the rest is history!
Currently reading or watching: Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, Thomas Friedman
Hobby: Spending time with my Wife and Son, Watching NFL Football, Playing Fantasy Football, Traveling, Dining Out, Attending Sporting Events, Attending Church
Tagline / Motto: "Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing." William A. Ward. This is my favorite quote and personal tagline.
Who do you work for? Greenville Technical College
What is your day-to-day on the job? My day to day consists of leading a superb and talented group of academic administrators (i.e. specifically faculty, staff, academic deans and associate vice presidents)in pursuit of moving the needle forward in student success (i.e. student graduation, retention, and placement into jobs). This part of my job is very internally driven, but I'm also very externally driven as I meet with a multitude of community and business leaders to ensure we're offering the programming needed to meet the workforce demands of Greenville County.
How do you think Greenville would describe you in one word? Engaged
How would you describe Greenville in one word? Limitless
Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville morning hangout? Commerce Club
Besides residence, where is your favorite Greenville evening hangout? Whole Foods