OTC SPOTLIGHT: Ryan Nicholls

OTC SPOTLIGHT: Ryan Nicholls

Media Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

By Steve Koehler

Ozarks Technical Community College gave Ryan Nicholls the academic spark he needed to send him on his way to becoming Greene County’s top emergency official.

Nicholls, the county’s director of emergency management for the past three years, came to OTC to get his GED after leaving Willard High School. Nicholls earned a GED scholarship that paid for several semesters of college courses at OTC.

“OTC helped me get started. It excited me academically and led me to know what I wanted was a master’s degree,” said Nicholls, who is 33, married and the father of five children.

After three semesters at OTC, Nicholls spent two years on a church mission in South America. When he returned, Nicholls resumed his studies and eventually earned his master’s in emergency management.

Nicholls fondly remembers his time at OTC from 1993-94.

“I can probably honestly say that the majority of college instructors who standout in my mind were from OTC. They applied the subject to us in a way that made it easier for us to study. There was a motivation to study and we enjoyed doing it,” he said.

While his original training was in nursing, it was his attraction to helping others in natural disasters that drew him to his current career. Nicholls spent six weeks in southern Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina hit.

His career choice was a good one that he credits in part to his time at OTC.

 “I got confidence at OTC. I knew getting a master’s was achievable and that I could go as far as I wanted to go,” Nicholls said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.