Community involvement is a natural part of life for David Beyer.
Beyer saw the positive impact his parents had on the Iowa community where he grew up. He — and his six younger siblings — continue to carry on that tradition of engagement.
Beyer, president of Everett Community College, is this year’s recipient of the Henry M. Jackson award, which is given to someone who shows “exemplary service to the community and is committed to the business interests of the region,” according to Economic Alliance Snohomish County. The award will be presented at the EASC’s seventh annual and celebration May 17 at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
Beyer said he prefers to stay out of the spotlight and doesn’t necessarily seek recognition.
“I’d rather see other people get it and get the attention they deserve,” he said. “But I’m very appreciative. I’m a history major and I appreciate the history of Henry Jackson and what he did for this area and the things he stood for.
“I work with a talented group of people who make a lot of good things happen for the students here, but also for the people in this region.”
Beyer’s tenure at Everett Community College has been a period of tremendous growth. The school opened the Advanced Manufacturing Training and Education Center, a hub for workforce training and development, in 2014. Two years later, the college launched a manufacturing training program in Arlington.
Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert noted in her nomination of Beyer that he has shown “responsiveness to our business community” by addressing the need for a skilled workforce.
Beyer said it’s easier for the college to adapt to the changing needs of the community when it partners with local businesses and organizations.
“It influences what we do and how we go about doing things,” he said. “Anybody who works here has some connection with the community, and they bring it back and it becomes part of the fabric of who we are and what we do.”
Beyer is also in the process of expanding the college’s health care programs and strengthening partnerships with local K-12 schools.
“We want to create pathways from their schools into our programs for the people who choose to come here,” he said. EvCC students then have a pathway to four-year institutions if they choose to continue their education.
Beyer has pushed for equity on campus and outreach to communities that the college may have previously overlooked. He created the position of chief diversity and equity officer to provide leadership on inclusion, part of the school’s goal of making a college education accessible to everyone in the community.
“It’s making sure that we all have an equitable place to start from so we can experience self-fulfillment and economic mobility,” he said. “Most people are striving … to improve their lives for themselves and their families.”
Beyer’s favorite time of the school year is graduation, when he gets to see an audience full of smiling people. He’s overseen numerous graduation ceremonies since he became a college president in 1994, and he always leaves them with a smile on his face.
Beyer said there are a lot of courageous people at Everett Community College who work hard to achieve their dreams. Implementation of the college’s strategic plan — developed with input from the community — would bring more of those hard-working people to campus.
“There are places that we need to be in the community, and we’re going to find ways to get there,” he said. “We have the partners and the talent here to make some good things happen for more individuals than what we have been doing.”