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Pitch major career wins

Roy Foreman | Electrical Technology

Drake State 1995 alumnus Roy Foreman used his love of baseball to score big in the electrical engineering field.

“Any goal is achievable. For a student athlete, use the sport as a pathway to greatness,” said Foreman. “I had opportunities to play minor league ball, but my family didn’t have the money to support me.”

Foreman performed well as a high school student. College recruiters offered him baseball scholarships for his talent. When Foreman tabled the opportunity to play professional sports, his competitive spirit didn’t transfer academically to Drake State. He nearly failed one semester.

“I only did enough to get by,” said Foreman, “but I wanted to go to the next level so bad.”

Former Electrical Technology instructor Bobby Petty would help Foreman keep his mind on his studies. “He saw me doing great things in the future,” said Foreman.

One day, Petty tested Foreman’s determination.

It was Industry Day. Foreman had to build his own digital thermometer. Petty picked up his project and dropped it to test its durability. Foreman’s nervousness kicked in. He had to tweak his project before industry leaders visited his table.

“I made sure my projects wouldn’t fail again,” said Foreman. “Mr. Petty was a really good instructor. He cared about quality and it inspired me to pursue a four-year degree in electrical technology.”

Foreman pursued his master’s and spent decades specializing in rugged designs for the military because of Petty’s instinctive approach to push Roy to the next level.

In 2012, Foreman received the Distinguished Engineer of the Year award at the National Society of Black Engineers Conference (NSBE). A year later, he earned the Industry Professional Achievement award at the annual Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.

“The real story to my success is that I love to help people.”

Foreman started two businesses and sold his engineering firm after a decade in operation. While he assists the women’s softball team at Alabama A&M University, he helps baseball and softball players improve their swing at his state-of-the-art hitting performance center. 

Foreman said it’s a full circle moment.

Cosmetology alumna Shannon McGlathery is a 36-year-old successful business owner who began her career with only a thought –

“I want to do hair.”

McGlathery’s desire inspired her to enroll in Drake State’s Salon and Spa Management program, the only associate degree cosmetology program in Madison County.

“I set out to be one of the best cosmetology students so that I could be one of the best hairstylists,” said McGlathery.

By the time she graduated in 2005, McGlathery experienced several hiccups while building clientele, becoming a cosmetology instructor, and finally managing her own salon.

“There will be times you want to give up – don’t,” said McGlathery. “There will be obstacles that get in your way – keep going. Know who you are and what you want in life and go for that.”

McGlathery said naysayers tried to discourage her from pursuing a career in haircare.

“There will always be people who don’t believe in you, but what they believe doesn’t matter,” said McGlathery. “I’m a success because even through hardships I didn’t give up on myself.”

McGlathery said her Barbering Instructor Ben Battle helped her get through some of those challenging moments.

“He was an amazing instructor and mentor,” said McGlathery. “He was very detailed when he taught and was always encouraging.”

After 15 years in the industry and 9 years as the salon owner of Divine Images, McGlathery said she’s still doing what she loves most. She’s been a commissioned stylist, booth rental stylist, salon manager, cosmetology instructor, mentor, and hair product line creator. 

“Drake State has played a pivotal role in shaping the foundation of my career,” said McGlathery. “As I grew in the industry, I applied what I learned in the classroom. That’s what helped me get as far as I have come.”

Whatever career crosses your mind, McGlathery said, start there.

“Do not allow people to tell you that your visions and dreams are not worthy,” said McGlathery.