Morganton, NC—A wise person once remarked that energy and persistence conquer all things. Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) alumnus Barbara Erwin is certainly testament to that philosophy. Now a Community One Bank vice president, Barbara’s educational career that began at WPCC set her on the path to professional success in the local banking industry.
After graduating from Oak Hill High School in Morganton, Barbara started and completed her associate in arts degree at WPCC in 1971. Wishing to complete a bachelor of science degree in political science, she transferred her credits to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. That is where she set her eyes and her energy on a career as a political consultant while also working on Terry Sanford’s presidential campaign in 1972. Following the end of his presidential run, Barbara worked on Tom Gilmore’s campaign for the State House and completed her bachelor’s degree. After Gilmore’s win, she became the new representative’s first term assistant. But Barbara’s love for politics began to wane and Morganton pulled her back home.
An interim banking position in Morganton was the start to her present professional success. Over the next 10 years, Barbara rose steadily through the ranks, serving as bill collector, bill collector supervisor, and consumer lender. Her real wish, however, was to work in commercial banking which required a background in accounting. Undeterred, Barbara came back to WPCC, took one year of accounting classes and then entered the bank’s commercial training program. Again, Barbara’s persistence paid dividends as she advanced through positions in commercial branch management of a single location to branch administrator of ten locations to her goal of becoming a commercial loan officer. Following brief stints in mortgage lending and county government, Barbara’s career journey came back to commercial banking as a credit administrator and now to vice president and senior credit officer with Community One. “I truly love my job,” Barbara remarked. “I am blessed to work for the best banking management team I have ever known.”
It is obvious Barbara holds a special spot in her heart for WPCC. “Even though I attained a four-year degree, Western Piedmont is my true alma mater,” she shared. “I found excellent, caring teachers there who made a real difference in my life. Those instructors ignited in me a love for learning that I have to this day. Anyone looking for a better life should go to WPCC.”
Western Piedmont Community College offers a variety of two-year degrees, one-year diplomas, and certificates designed to meet the increasing demand for technicians and skilled craftspeople for employment in industry, business and healthcare. Each program is designed to prepare students for a specific occupation following graduation. WPCC offers 41 programs of study from which to choose that are fully available on the College campus, along with three collaborative programs offered with sister institutions of the North Carolina Community College System.
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Western Piedmont Community College is situated in the picturesque rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964. Each year, more than 10,700 students pursue personal enrichment, new skills for a job or career, high school diplomas, college degrees, and transfer pathways. Apply online at www.wpcc.edu or visit the Western Piedmont Campus to apply in person.