Dixie Technical College presidential search narrowed to three finalists

After an extensive national search, the Dixie Technical College Presidential Search Committee has recommended three finalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education for the position of Dixie Technical College President: Ben F. Bigelow, Abby Lee and Jordan Rushton.

“I want to thank the Dixie Technical College Presidential Search Committee for dedicating their time to the important task of selecting our college’s next president,” said Gil Almquist, search committee and Dixie Technical College Board of Trustees chair. “Our search has identified three outstanding candidates who will have the opportunity to be considered by the Utah Board of Higher Education to be the next leader of Dixie Technical College, and we look forward to the Board’s selection.”

Lisa Michele Church, chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education, added, “Dixie Technical College has an important role in supplying quality graduates for regional and statewide workforce needs. The Board is eager to interview and select the best candidate who can continue to strengthen Dixie Tech in its new chapter.”

As part of their delegated duties and responsibilities, the Dixie Technical College Board of Trustees named a 15-member search committee in July of this year. The committee spent several months interviewing and soliciting input to select the finalists who the Utah Board of Higher Education will interview and make the final selection for Dixie Technical College president.

From left to right above: Ben F. Bigelow, Abby Lee and Jordan Rushton

The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order:

Ben F. Bigelow is the Director of the Lemon Construction Science Division at the University of Oklahoma. Professionally, Bigelow worked for a production homebuilder and has owned and operated his own small contracting business. He continues to perform select projects and provide consulting services. He has been at the University of Oklahoma since 2017. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Construction Science Department at Texas A&M University. He has been awarded over $680,000 in grants to support his work, has been directly involved in over $1,000,000 of fund raising, and has authored numerous publications.

Bigelow’s work has focused on workforce development, Housing, and underrepresented groups in construction. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Construction Education and Research. He has also been involved with the National Association of Home Builders serving on national boards, as a student chapter faculty advisor, and as a student competition team coach. Bigelow is also actively engaged with his church.

Bigelow holds a bachelor’s degree in construction science from Texas A&M University, a master’s in construction management from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. View CV and cover letter.

Abby Lee currently serves as the Associate Vice President of College and Public Relations at Treasure Valley Community College. Previously, she served as regional center director at Eastern Oregon University Malheur County Center, executive director of the Treasure Valley Community College Foundation, director of public relations at Pullman Memorial Hospital and community editor at the Idaho Press Tribune Newspaper.

While working at Treasure Valley Community College, Lee has been involved in regional efforts to improve career and technical education for students in high school. She believes career and technical education, as well as dual credit college course offerings, provide a foundation to ensure students are either job or college ready by the time they graduate from high school.

Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in instructional and performance technology from Boise State University and is currently working on a Ph.D. in public policy and administration from Boise State University. View CV and cover letter.

Jordan Rushton is currently the interim President of Dixie Technical College. He was appointed on May 1, 2022, upon the retirement of then-President Kelle Stephens. Before assuming this role, Rushton spent eight years as the Vice President of Instruction at Dixie Tech, overseeing the instructors, courses and curriculum across 25 accredited programs. Before coming to Southern Utah, he served as the director of public relations and outreach for the then-Utah College of Applied Technology system.

During his career, Rushton has worked extensively with the legislature to obtain funding to further the mission of technical education, and he has substantial experience with accreditation. His tenure as the chief instructional officer at Dixie Tech has been marked by an emphasis on establishing relationships with industry and educational partners, as well as instructional growth and quality, with the number of certificate-seeking student hours more than doubling since 2017 while the graduation rate increased to 84%.

Rushton holds an undergraduate degree from Utah Valley University and a master’s degree in public administration with a higher education emphasis from Southern Utah University. He has a post-graduate certification in management from Harvard University and is currently completing his doctorate in education at Baylor University. View CV and cover letter.

Next steps 

The finalists will be on the Dixie Technical College campus on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, to meet with groups representing faculty, staff, students, trustees and administration.

The Utah Board of Higher Education will interview the finalists in a closed session on Thursday, Sept. 15, and may convene a public meeting at Dixie Technical College (Building A, Room 223) at 5:30 p.m. that day to select the president. However, it may convene at another time, which will be announced at a later date. 

Below is a complete list of the Dixie Technical College Presidential Search Committee.

Dixie Tech Board of Trustees
Gil AlmquistWashington County Commissioner, Dixie Tech Trustees Chair
Mari KrashowetzSouthern Utah Home Builders Association Executive Director, Dixie Tech Trustee
Darcy StewartCEO of Sun River, Dixie Tech Trustee
Stephen WadePresident of Stephen Wade Group, Dixie Tech Trustees Vice Chair
Board of Higher Education
Stacey BettridgeBoard member, Utah Board of Higher Education; owner and co-president of Ken Bettridge Distributing, Inc.
Pat JonesBoard member, Utah Board of Higher Education; CEO, Women’s Leadership Institute of Utah
Community/Alumni Representatives
LaRene CoxWashington County School Board Member, Regional Representative for Congressman Chris Stewart
Terri DraperMarketing and Communications Director for Intermountain Healthcare South Hospitals
Michael GillinghamDixie Tech Alumni
Heather JohnsonDixie Tech Alumni
Sarah VandermarkUtah Tech University Senior Associate Provost for Academic Success & Dean of University College
Dixie Tech Administration, Faculty and Staff
Joe BrusatiDixie Tech Director of Facilities & IT
Sam DraperDixie Tech VP of Administrative Services
Alfonso GonzalesDixie Tech Machining Instructor, Dixie Tech Alumni
Bill McMurrinDixie Tech Drafting Instructor
Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director