Ambitious SWIC CMT alum achieves success in his field

Patrick Connelly began his love for the construction industry as a child

He enjoyed creating something from nothing and seeing the final result, as well as being a part of the entire process. This drive and passion for the construction field is what has helped him get where he is today – site construction and facilities manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis. Connelly began his educational journey at Southwestern Illinois College in the Construction Management Technology program.

“I chose SWIC because it was close by and there was always a class that fit into my busy schedule,” Connelly said. “I also appreciated the personalized attention and dedication to my educational success that my instructors and professors gave me. The momentum to keep striving and doing my best by the faculty at SWIC is what kept me going.”

While in the CMT program, he worked full-time in the construction and industrial maintenance fields. Over the years, Connelly held several jobs including heavy equipment operator, boiler service technician, certified welder and steel mill operations manager.

“We are very proud of Patrick and excited about being instrumental in his successful career path,” said Assistant Professor Charles “Jim” Laing.

After attending SWIC, Connelly continued his education. He transferred to Southern Illinois University Carbondale to earn his Bachelor of Science degree, then earned his Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University.     

“The more I learned, the more I wanted to keep learning and continue to challenge myself,” he said. 

In 2018, Connelly accepted a promotion to Site Construction and Facilities Manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev in St. Louis, where he previously held the role as a construction/facilities engineer. In his current role, he is responsible for managing the construction and facilities maintenance at the Anheuser Busch St. Louis Brewery.

“SWIC’s Construction Management Technology program is a great option for anyone interested in furthering their career in the construction industry,” Laing said. “Many of our students already have construction experience and are working in the industry, while they pursue their degree. Once obtaining a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree, our students typically see expanded employment opportunities, job satisfaction and increased responsibility.

Connelly also has his 10 Hour OSHA Safety Training certification, 30 Hour OSHA Safety Training certification, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Welder certification and is Six Sigma White Belt certified. He lives in Damiansville, Illinois with his wife, Samantha, and two daughters, Julianne and Taylor. In the future, Connelly hopes to continue working in the construction management industry by attaining roles with increasing responsibility. Some day he would like to be a part of global construction projects, as well as teach construction management courses.

 “If you want to enter the construction management field, take advantage of any hands-on experience you can get because the more knowledge and experience you gain, the more you will continue to grow personally and professionally,” said Connelly.

SWIC offers a two-year, 60-semester-credit AAS degree in Construction Management Technology. The program prepares students for careers in the construction industry. Upon graduation, students are qualified for multiple entry-level positions in the construction management career field. SWIC also offers an accelerated degree option in Construction Management Technology for students that already have a previous degree. 

For more information about Construction Management Technology, visit or contact Jim Laing at 
866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5209.

SWIC to Host Workshop for Parents of Future College Students

If you are preparing to send your son or daughter to college in the near future, the Southwestern Illinois College workshop, Parent 101, can help you understand the ins and outs of the college process.

This free workshop will be held Tuesday, April 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Belleville Campus, Liberal Arts Complex, 2500 Carlyle Ave. The event is open to the parents or families of future college students in eighth through twelfth grades.

The informational presentation will Include:

– Timeline for preparing for college

– The financial aid process

– Earning college credit in high school

– Transferring courses to four-year universities

– Cost saving benefits of education and training at the community college

Check-in starts at 5:45 p.m. in the LAC Lobby.

To register online, visit

For more information, contact the SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5675, or toll free at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5675.

SWIC Blue Storm Radio, students win big at NYC IBS Conference

 Blue Storm Radio, Southwestern Illinois College’s internet radio station, and broadcasting students recently, won awards of excellence in four categories at the 79th Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System International Radio/Television/Digital Media Conference in New York City.

“Our broadcast program is only four-years old and is winning awards placing it in the top 5 percent of college and university radio stations nationally, said SWIC Speech/Communication Professor Mac Chamblin, who teaches Introduction to Radio Production.

Students raised funds to send Michelle McIntosh, Adam Brammer, both of Belleville, and Marcella Miller of Granite City from SWIC to the event. 
     Blue Storm Radio received an IBS golden microphone award for Best Show Promo: “Girl Talk” produced by McIntosh, and finalists trophies in the following categories:

• Best Radio Drama: “World Traveler’s” – Brammer

• Best Commercial: “Mother’s Day Gift Baskets” – McIntosh
• Best Comedy Program: “Injustice Among Us Batman” – Brammer

“Blue Storm Radio is coming home with trophies in multiple categories and up against leading broadcast schools,” Chamblin said. “I encourage everyone to check out the student work on Blue Storm Radio and you will quickly discover why I am extremely proud of SWIC students and their service to the community.”

SWIC to host a presentation on understanding climate change April 18

With the ever-changing atmosphere, temperatures and environment, climate change research is a key factor in understanding the planet. Southwestern Illinois College is excited to welcome University of Texas Professor of Geography and Environment Kenneth Young, Ph.D., for a presentation titled, “Climate Change: A Perspective from the Tropics.”

The event will be at held April 18 at 7 p.m. in the SWIC Red Bud Campus, Performing Arts Room, 500 W. South Fourth St. The presentation is FREE and open to the public.

Young will discuss how global change affects natural-human systems, including glacier recession and land-use systems in the tropical Andes; environmental variability in southern Africa and conservation programs in tropical areas. He does policy-relevant research that informs biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. In his research, he links biogeography and landscape ecology with questions of ecosystem dynamics and aspects of global environmental and socioeconomic change.

Young has worked in natural and utilized landscapes in tropical areas and aspires to understand the global tropics, especially as affected by humans. He studies protected areas in relation to conservation biology, to climate change and to land use. Most recently he has been splitting his research efforts between high Andean landscapes and the tropical forests and floodplains of the western Amazon.

This event is co-sponsored by the SWIC Biology Department and the Kaskaskia Valley Audubon Society.

For more information contact SWIC Biology Professor Bob Weck at 618-235 2700, ext. 5607, or toll free at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5607, or at

Into the life of Nick Mance, President of Southwestern Illinois College.

written by: NIHA URSANI

“I believe in working and doing my job. My work is my ethic.” -Nick Mance.

For most of us college students, it’s hard for us to see who the president of the college is because they usually spend most of their time within their office. This is not the case with Mr. Mance.

You will see him walking in the hallways as a regular person. You will see him engage with students like a normal human being and he considers this as a way to communicate with students and as a way to make them comfortable while they are at SWIC.  

“Usually when I am walking around the campus, students come up to me and ask, ‘Oh, you are the president right?’ I like to engage with the students and faculty. I enjoy walking around the campus.”

Mr. Mance has been living in Illinois for his entire life and has received his education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).

“I graduated from SIUE. I have  a degree from SIUE in Accounting with emphasis in Management Information Systems. After graduating from SIUE, I  took the CPA exam to become a Certified Public Accountant,” said Mr. Mance.

Before becoming the president of SWIC, Mr. Mance served as a trustee on the college’s  Board of Trustees.

“I have been  on the Board of Trustees for the last  25 years. My very first job was in the steel mill industry which is now known as the National Steel Mill in Granite City. In 1981, I started a CPA practice and I continued doing that until 2015. After that, I started working as a Chief Financial Office (CFO) in East St. Louis School until I came to SWIC in 2018.” As the member of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Mance also mentioned that he has always been concerned about the college as he believes that education is the most important thing in our life.

As the member of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Mance also mentioned that he has always been concerned about the college as he believes that education is the most important thing in our life. Mr. Mance believes that every student should be encouraged to do better so that they can be successful in life.

He says that the reason why he is so ambitious towards education is because of his past. He also mentions that his parents were the most influential people in his life.

“My past gave me ambition and that’s one thing that wanted me to be more successful. My parents were the most influential people in my life till they past away. What influenced me the most about them was their work ethic, they had a very good work ethic. Now that I think about what is more important to me in my life, I think about my family. My wife and my kids are the most important people in my life.”

When it comes to talking about our college, SWIC, Mr. Mance also shares some of his ideas about what he plans to do with the future of our college. He says that his focus right now is that he wants to concentrate on the decline of the enrollment.

“Community colleges have been having a rough time. Our economy is doing well which means that there are more jobs which means that people are spending more time working than going to school. I think that some of the things that we want to look at are the scholarships. Our  Foundation provides scholarships and we are also promoting them. Our tuition rate is less than 25%, as compared to other colleges and we are trying to keep it reasonable. We are trying our best not to increase taxes.”

As far as the buildings and the environment of SWIC goes, Mr. Mance also mentioned some of the future contributions to the environment of SWIC.

“We are looking at improving our buildings as well. We have started taking an assessment on the buildings and the rooms and we are trying to make them look better. We also have an efficient capital plan, which also means that we are trying to concentrate on the distance between our buildings, so that the students are not running around between their classes. We are also looking at the security of SWIC. Security is very important, and we are trying to move public safety to a more prominent place, and we are putting more surveillance cameras around the campus”

Mr. Mance also says that our enrollment might also improve once the buildings and the environment of SWIC are more appealing.

“I am focusing on the grounds of SWIC as well. It is easier for people to spot me when I am looking at these building, hence why we plan on doing that when we don’t have that many students around the campus. I think that people want to come to a college that is more appealing, and we’ve been working on it. The aesthetic and the environment of the college  are very important. It should look inviting.”

One question that most of us college students ask ourselves is that, will SWIC ever be a 4-year college?

Mr. Mance said regarding this question, “There has been talk about making SWIC a 4-year-college. There have been a lot of mixed feelings regarding this topic. It can be a good thing and a bad thing. Like I said earlier, as the economy goes up, the employment rate goes up, which means that fewer students want to complete their education. At this moment, the Board has been addressing this issue, but I believe that it should remain a2-year  college for now.”

This year, a lot of SWIC’s faculty is retiring, probably more than the previous years. Mr. Mance describes the procedure of hiring new faculty members by saying the following, “There are a series of events that take place to hire a new faculty member. The first step is that we set up a search committee that sends out the job offers. We then receive resumes and from those resumes we invite some people for the interview. After the interview process has been completed, the Board  approves all hire recommendations.”

Mr. Mance, after his interview, walked me around his office and introduced me to some of the people. All of them had good words to say about him.

Anna Moyer
Executive Director of Human Resources

Beverly Fiss, who has been working with Mr. Mance since 2001 said, “I can’t say enough good words about him. When I started, he was the Board Chair. The two of us have a great working relationship and I hope that we do good things for SWIC.”

Beverly Fiss
Secretary of Mr. Mance

“It was an opportunity to interview Mr. Mance. I remember how nervous I was and the moment I started talking to him, my nervousness just went away. He is a very friendly person and is definitely the biggest inspiration that any college student can come across of.”

Niha Ursani
Editor-in-chief of SWIC WEEKLY

Words cannot describe how great of a man Mr. Mance is. He is the kind of the person with whom you can easily start a conversation. He gives the best of advice and he really has the best interest of SWIC and all of us cannot wait to see what improvements he brings to SWIC.

Student Trustee Election, 2019

Written By: Niha Ursani

Every year Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) hosts their Student Trustee Elections which is the highest position a student can get at SWIC. This year this election is taking place in the Belleville campus, whereas last year this election had taken place at the Red Bud campus. To participate in this election, a student must collect 50 signatures.

Last year, this election was won by Sonny Wilson, a 21-year-old who is majoring in Business Management. Wilson has been studying at SWIC for 3 years and hopes to transfer to Southern Illinois University sometime in the future.

“I didn’t even know about this election, until Amy Brockman (Director of Student Life), encouraged me to participate in this election,” said Wilson.

Some of the duties of a Student Trustee is that they attend board meetings on behalf of the students. A Student Trustee gets to see how the college runs in terms of Business administration and enrollment.

“My experience has been great. I get to attend most of the formal meetings, and they aren’t as boring as I thought they would be. I get to see how the board is ran and how important decisions at SWIC are made. The good thing is that I get to share my own views about the topic and my views are taken into consideration as well. The very first thing I did as a Student Trustee was that I was allowed to vote for the new President of SWIC,” said Wilson.

Becoming a Student Trustee is a huge opportunity for a college student. It not only builds up the that person’s resume, but it also gives them the opportunity to learn about how the real life that is beyond college works. The Student Trustee Election for 2019, would be held on April 4th. Be sure to do your part in electing the right candidates for this position.

The Blue Storm Radio

Written By: Sydney Gillum

Mac Chamblin is the man behind SWIC’s award winning internet radio station.

Mac Chamblin

“It serves the campus and community. Its studios serve as a lab to help students develop effective communication skills and confidence through the technologies of digital media,” said Chamblin.

The radio station is more than just getting news that has been going around campus and outside our campus. It challenges students to step outside their boxes and boosts their confidence.  

What the station broadcasts is St. Louis metropolitan regional arts, entertainment, news, sports and public affairs. The station also reaches out to the student body to help better serve them and also promotes the activities they do.

An upcoming broadcast that the station will do during the spring, is SWIC’s men and women’s basketball and baseball home games. Another thing that the station does is help raise money for the college’s foundation with on-air recognition with supporters of the foundation and the work the foundation does.  

An upcoming event that the radio station goes to is the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) international Radio, TV and digital media awards in New York City. The award show is March 1st through the 3rd.

Blue Storm Radio is being recognized at the IBS for many different awards that involve their excellence in broadcasting in four different categories. The categories include Best Radio Drama, Best Promo, Best Commercial and Best Comedy Program.  

Another event coming up is where the radio station and the online newspaper are pairing up on Wednesday, April 10th from 10am to 1pm to celebrate “Spring Media Fling” on the second floor of the Liberal Arts building in conference rooms 2311 and 2313.  

The following Saturday, April 13th, the station will be joining other college stations from all around the country and doing Vinylthon. a celebration of college radio’s vinyl heritage.

“It is our fourth year spinning vinyl as part of the national event,” said Chamblin.

The last event the station is planning to do is broadcast the graduation on Thursday, May 16,  from 5pm to 9pm for those people who are a part of the graduate’s family who could not join the ceremony in person. 

“This will be our fourth year in helping family who cannot attend have a way for them to be a part of graduation,” said Chamblin.

The radio station brings more than just news. It brings confidence and joy. It brings people together on things they didn’t know that others were drawn to.