By Israel Larson, Staff Writer
Professor Rod Thirion is an ambitious leader who has seen a major evolution in business since beginning his career at PPCC. The Associate Professor of Business, and former Chair of the PPCC Business Department, focuses on teaching his students ethics and the value of hard work.
A former PPCC student himself, Thirion, like many current students, was just going through the motions and taking course after course without a plan. It wasn’t until he took an Economics class that he finally found his calling.
“I enjoyed all of my majors, but Economics and Business were the ones that excited me most,” says Thirion.
Thirion went on to receive his Bachelor’s in Economics and eventually his MBA at UCCS.
Since his time as a student at both colleges, Thirion has seen a major improvement in business communication between the schools and with local businesses.
“The thing I am most proud of is that we really strengthened our relationship with UCCS and we’ve increased the number of students that go from Pikes Peak to the UCCS College of Business. Their success rates at UCCS have increased and we’ve really just become more of a partner with UCCS,” Thirion said.
Student success is important and Thirion aims to keep this department flourishing at PPCC.
“The key is to stay in touch with the local business community and find out what they think, because those are the people who may hire students. A lot of the time it’s just people in the local business community who are interested in how the education is preparing the work force. So, it’s important to stay in touch with the business community to see what skills are lacking in our graduates and what skills we’re doing well,” Thirion said.
Thirion provides hands on experience for his students, making them understand how business works in the world rather than just lecturing from a text book. This first-hand experience is critical in becoming well-versed with business and has contributed to the success of many of his students. Business is a rapidly changing field and it’s important for students to keep up with these changes and that’s best taught at the local level.
Thirion is obviously no stranger to business and was even featured in the Colorado Springs Business Journal about 5 years ago.
As a strong advocate for PPCC, Thirion explains that because of the lower tuition costs and smaller class sizes, PPCC makes it easier for students to succeed and prepares them better for taking on a university. Spending more time on helping students structure proper business communication is a large part of the work Thirion does.
Thirion says he most enjoys hearing from former students that they’re working and prospering in various businesses.
“I actually had a student here for Principles of Business who went on to UCCS, graduated, worked for Amazon in their corporate offices in Seattle, and now he’s transferred with them back here. He was able to get that good start here at Pikes Peak Community College,” Thirion said.
Thirion’s passion for teaching shows. This Colorado Native is outgoing, self-motivated, and possessed with a love for student success that helps his students get ready for the business world.
“Pikes Peak Community College’s vision statement of ‘Students Succeed at PPCC’ is not just a line. That is what we are all here for,” Thirion said.