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RCTC Outstanding Alumni - 2013
The RCTC Foundation hosted the Post Homecoming Game Social and Outstanding Alumni event on September 21, 2013 at The Wicked Moose in Rochester. As part of the
Homecoming revelry, an online vote was conducted to select the “2013 Outstanding Alum” from a pool of three extraordinary graduates. The 2013
Outstanding Alumni title went to Wayne Ford, Co-Founder of Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum and Founder/Executive Director of Urban Dreams.
2013 Oustanding Alumni - Wayne Ford
Wayne Ford always proudly said that enrolling at Rochester Junior College in 1969 and playing for the Yellowjacket Football Team was probably the one action that put his life on a positive trajectory. He grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from Ballou High School, voted "most likely not to succeed" by his classmates. Turning his life around from that point on, he went on to RCTC and then to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where he excelled both in the classroom and on the football field. He received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Drake and did graduate course work in Public Administration at Drake and in Social Work at the University of Iowa.
Ford's dramatic rise from D.C.'s inner city to Iowa's capitol has been chronicled in numerous publications, including The Des Moines Register, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Source and Parade. In 2001, award-winning journalist Dan Rather personally selected Ford's unique life story for his best-selling book, The American Dream.
In 1976, Ford founded Concerned Citizens for Minorities Affairs; which evolved into the nonpartisan Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, which focuses candidate's attention on issues of significance to minorities in conjunction with Iowa's first in the nation presidential caucuses. In 1985 he founded Urban Dreams, to serve the needs of Des Moines's low income residents.
In 1996, Ford was elected to serve his community as an Iowa State Representative. Ford's district included some of most affluent areas of Iowa as well as some of the least; during his tenure as a State Legislator he was recognized as a champion for people in need. Ford retired as a State Representative in 2011 and was re-appointed to Iowa's Juvenile Justice Advisory Council by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in 2012.
Ford has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, including the RCTC Alumni Hall of Fame in 1994.
Ford was called "the voice of urban Iowans" during his six year run as host of his own weekly talk show on Des Moines' WHO radio, one of the few 50,000 watt clear channel AM radio stations in the country. He returned to the air waves in 2011 with "Wayne Ford Wants U" on Mediacom cable television, seen in five Midwestern states.
Ford is active with many organizations, doing what he loves ... "Works of Good." Wayne has participated in Yellowjacket golf fundraisers in past years and supports the good works of the RCTC Foundation.
1st Runner Up - Dr. Rick McKenzie, Team Physician for University of Alabama Football Team
Before Dr. Rick McKenzie started his career he grew up in Preston, MN where he graduated high school in 1976. He joined the U.S. Army and was admitted to the 7th Special Forces group also known as the Green Berets. After discharged from the military in 1980 he attended R CC where he has fond memories of playing football under Cy Champa and Steve Kereakos. He then went on to study at the University of Minnesota. There after he attended Palmer College of Chiropractic. He then went on to attend the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and earned his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan in 1988. Dr. McKenzie completed his surgical internship at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in 1989. He completed his neurological residency at the Cleveland Clinic. There after subspecialist fellowship training in spinal surgery occurred at Semmes-Murphy Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Rick McKenzie is currently is a Team Physician for University Of Alabama Football Team. Roll Tide!!!!! He has been married to his wife Gwenn for 21 years, she is an obstetrician gynecologist. They live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with their three children, who are all competitive swimmers. Dr. McKenzie’s hobbies are few given his work schedule. However he enjoys the Martial Arts and exercise.
Dr. McKenzie is a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; and has been a neurosurgeon at West Alabama Neurosurgery & Spine since 1995.
2nd Runner Up - Audrey Insoft, Author of "Divine Fate" - A True Story
A native of Mabel, MN, Audrey (Peterson) Insoft attended Rochester Community College (now RCTC) from 1973 to 1975, and received an AA degree in Journalism. During her time at RCC she was the news editor for the school newspaper (The Echo) and spent summers working for President Charles Hill in the alumni office.
Upon graduation, Audrey secured a job at The Hartford Group in Minneapolis and was soon promoted and transferred to the head office in Hartford, CT, where she worked as a planning analyst and trainer for the next ten years. During this time, she attended classes at night and graduated with honors from Charter Oak College in 1985 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration.
Over the next fifteen years, Audrey continued her work in the insurance field, in the areas of marketing, training, and communications. She worked for MetLife in both Rhode Island and New York, and for Equitable/AXA in New York. She moved up the ranks until she held her final position as a Marketing Director in 1999. She also attended Columbia University at night and graduated in 1992 with an M.A. degree in Adult Education and Instructional Design, applying new techniques, such as Computer Based Training to her work.
In September of 2000, Audrey and her husband adopted a Vietnamese infant with the assistance of an American couple, Sandy and Paul Pinkerton. It was through this connection that the idea for a book came into being – an amazing tale of a Vietnam veteran (Paul), his struggles with PTSD, and his journey to correct the perceived wrongs he committed during the war through humanitarian work. “Divine Fate” was released last year; Audrey has appeared at libraries, rotary clubs, and book groups. She supports Vietnamese charities and veteran’s organizations, and hopes that her book will shed some light on the devastating effects of PTSD.
Audrey, her husband, and their 13-year-old son reside in Westchester County, New York.