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Brian Poindexter 
  Brian Poindexter took a circuitous route to college, one that included nearly every state in the country. He wanted to attend college right after graduating from John Marshall High School in 1997, but finances kept him from enrolling.

Instead, Poindexter went to work for a long-distance moving company, and over the next 10 years, he visited the entire Lower 48 states. He saw many things and he realized there was more to life than hauling furniture across the country. Poindexter, an admittedly indifferent student in high school, had grown during his travels. 
In 2007, Poindexter, married and the father of two daughters, began an apprenticeship program with the Ironworkers. A guest speaker from Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) explained to him and his classmates how the apprenticeship program could also lead to a college degree.

“My ears perked up at that,” said Poindexter, who received good grades in high school despite minimal efforts. “My desire to go to college returned and I vowed then and there to get that degree.”

His determination was pivotal to his success. It took five years of juggling work with classes and family, but Poindexter earned his degree in May 2012. He graduated from Tri-C with an Associate of Applied Science in applied industrial technology/ironworking and finished the apprenticeship program as well.

“It wasn’t easy at times,” said Poindexter. “I would have four weeks of school and then (go) off to work at various places. I worked for 17 employers that first year learning the ropes. Then school at night or on weekends. Knowing how to adjust paid off.”

Poindexter credits Tri-C counselors and teachers for helping him navigate the intricacies of scheduling. “They were understanding and flexible,” said Poindexter. “They were indispensable to my finding success.”

Today Poindexter is an organizer for the Local 17 Ironworkers District Council of Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia, traveling those areas encouraging ironworkers to join the union and construction companies to employ union workers. Poindexter credits Tri-C for improving his life and the life of many others involved in the trades.

“Tri-C has great relationships with organizations involved with the building trades,” he said.

Tri-C has also had an effect on Poindexter’s domestic life. His wife, Christina, is a graduate of Tri-C’s Culinary Arts program and works at Bucci’s in Middleburg Heights.

“Tri-C is just about everywhere I go and that is great,” said Poindexter. “I can’t say enough about the teachers and counselors. All their effort is geared toward helping students achieve their goals. That is the mark of a great place of learning.”

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