Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith chairs the Division of Industrial and Energy Technology at North Central Texas College in Gainesville.

There is no name more synonymous with Industrial Technology at North Central Texas College today than Kenny Smith. His dedication to his craft, to the programs, and most importantly, to his students is selfless and truly heroic.

Kenny joined NCTC almost 10 years ago, as a coordinator for welding and was tasked with starting a heating, ventilation and air conditioning program.

Since his start at NCTC, the department has grown exponentially, with Kenny currently holding the title of division chair of Industrial and Energy Technology. He oversees Welding, HVAC, Machining Technology, Industrial Mechanics, and Petroleum Technology on all of NCTC’s campuses.

Kenny is a Vietnam veteran and his introduction to vocational programs was in the U.S. Air Force as an electrician. He also has 30 years of experience as a welder and in 1996 opened his own HVAC business. He brings real world, on-the-job knowledge to the classroom and to students.

“Kenny works tirelessly to make NCTC’s Industrial Technology programs the best in the state,” said Dean of Career and Technical Education Debbie Huffman, “which requires him to stay on top of the latest technologies in the industries and hire top-notch faculty with years of industry experience.”

Though as a division chair, Kenny spends less time in the classroom, he finds a way to be as active in the student experience as possible.

“Teaching is my first love,” said Smith. “I love interacting with all of our students and I enjoy watching them become excited and realizing that this is something they want to do with the rest of their lives.”

Kenny not only teaches and advises students, but he is very active in helping them gain employment upon completion of their program. He works with several local businesses to secure internships and employment for students.

“Kenny knows that if a student takes advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at NCTC, they will have a better life for it,” said Huffman. “That is why it is so important to him; he wants to see lives changed. He sets high standards for his students because he knows if they can meet those standards, they will have no problem securing a good paying job when they finish at NCTC.”

“Students call us all the time to tell us what they’re doing and where they are working now and it is so rewarding,” said Smith. “It’s been a blessing to all of us to have touched to many lives. It’s a privilege.”

The Industrial and Energy Technology programs at NCTC continue to grow and expand across all of NCTC’s campuses with no sign of slowing down any time soon.

“NCTC has been a blessing in my life,” said Smith. “It has been a real gift to work here and to bask in the joy that we see these students receive when they are successful in life.”

The “Heroes Among Us” story series features local heroes and organizations who exemplify the “Totally Texas, All American” spirit that is the fabric of the Gainesville community. Stories are contributed by the city of Gainesville, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville Economic Development Corp., Gainesville Independent School District and North Central Texas College. Release is coordinated by the city of Gainesville. Contact Caitlyn Huddleston, city secretary, at 940-668-4500 for more information.

Elizabeth Dieter Abu is a media specialist with NCTC’s marketing and public relations department. She is a graduate of Lindsay High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in ag communications and journalism in 2012 from Texas A&M University. She and her husband Patrick reside in Gainesville.