Driving His Business


Rick Hughlett

Owner, Ricks Automotive

Impacting Our Economy

Impacting Our Economy

(Read the entire report)

  • Over their working lifetimes, associate degree grads in the OTC service area earn


    more than someone with a high school diploma

  • $168.6 million

    Amount OTC alumni contribute in added income to the region every year

  • $211.8 million

    OTC's yearly total economic impact on the College's service region

  • College operations generate

    $31.6 million

    in net added income to the community

  • Higher student income and associated effects on business productivity add


    annually to the state's economy

  • OTC students save Missouri

    $2.9 million

    per year from improved lifestyle behaviors and reduced welfare costs

Rick Hughlett knows the kind of impact Ozarks Technical Community College has had on the business landscape in OTC's service region.

"If OTC weren't here to offer training for people to get a good job, we'd all be selling hamburgers to each other. People would have to move to get the kind of training OTC offers," said Hughlett, owner of Rick's Automotive.

Hughlett knows OTC inside and out.

Hughlett got his formal automotive training at Graff-Vo Tech, which later became OTC. He was on the Automotive Technology advisory board at Graff and then continued to hold the same position at OTC.

He also serves on the OTC Foundation Board, offers training to OTC students at his business and has hired OTC graduates to fill positions at his 30-year-old business.

A key hire almost 13 years ago was Bill Murcko, an OTC graduate who took second in the nation in the SkillsUSA automotive competition. Today, Murcko is a technician for Hughlett who helps oversee the company's ambulance maintenance and repair work done for vehicles in a 16-county area.

Hughlett said he is surprised that the overall economic impact OTC has on the region is $211 million. Hughlett thought it would be more because of the vital role OTC plays in keeping the economy moving.

"OTC is here for the community. Springfield is reliant on the construction industry, but when a Lily Tulip or Zenith closes, you see the impact close up. You see the empty parking lots. You don't see that when it happens in the construction industry and that's where OTC comes in," he said.

"OTC has the retraining for those who leave the construction field for another job. OTC is poised to help with nursing training, Middle College, all kinds of training."

Hughlett said he's pleased with the direction OTC has taken in contributing to the region in so many ways.

"OTC has exceeded my expectations of what the college could mean for the region. How lucky are we to have it?" Hughlett said.

"By 2019, it is anticipated that there will be about 114,700 new and replacement jobs available in the region; about 28 percent of these jobs will require an associates degree."