MARIETTA, OHIO— The Washington State Community College (WSCC) Foundation selected Dr. Heather Kincaid and Marietta Fire Chief Charles “CW” Durham as its 2021 WSCC Distinguished Alumni. The distinction is presented annually to graduates who exhibit the qualities of community and professional leadership that represent the mission and goals of the college.
The awards were presented to Kincaid and Durham at a ceremony on Friday, December 17 with an audience that included family and co-workers of the recipients, members of the WSCC Board of Trustees and WSCC Foundation Board of Directors, WSCC administration, and past Distinguished Alumni awardees. “Our Distinguished Alumni represent the best of our graduates, and we are both proud and humbled to have been part of their journey,” said WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood.
Dr. Kincaid was presented with the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award. When she enrolled in the Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program at Washington Technical College in 1986, she had no idea her career path would eventually lead her back to the campus as WSCC’s Dean of Health and Sciences.
After graduation, Kincaid found employment at Selby General Hospital. Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree, she accepted a faculty position in WSCC’s MLT program. Kincaid thrived in her faculty role and was promoted to program director. She served in this position for nearly two decades during which time she earned her master's degree (1997) from Marietta College and her doctoral degree (2013) from Ohio University. In 2015, she was promoted to Dean of Health and Sciences. Under her leadership, the division, which currently houses nine healthcare programs in addition to the sciences, has had extensive success with perfect or near-perfect licensure pass rates and job placement. She currently serves as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the accrediting body for institutions of higher education, including WSCC.
Included in her notable achievements is the establishment of the EARN (Education Advancement to Registered Nurse) pathway, the addition of new programs: Health Information Management Technology and Medical Billing and Coding, as well as the expansion of the Health & Sciences division. Under Kincaid’s leadership, the college’s nursing programs have received valuable recognition. The Associate Degree Nursing program, as well as the Practical Nursing program, have ranked among the best in Ohio for several years in a row.
Kincaid also serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington County Harvest of Hope. As a member, Kincaid volunteers as the Board Mentor for a student enrolled in Marietta College's Next Generation (Next Gen) leadership program. During her six-year tenure with the non-profit organization, she has held the offices of Secretary, Vice-President, and has been the President for the past three years.
“The best thing that I love about Washington State is that we have the ability to impact lives, not only of our students, but their families as well,” Kincaid shared during her acceptance speech. “This particular career has afforded me the joy to see others excelling and changing their entire lives.”
Dr. Kincaid lives in Marietta with her husband Mark. They are the proud parents of children, Chase and Allie, along with grandson Luke.
Chief Durham was presented with the Outstanding Community Service award. He graduated from WSCC in 1997 with an Associate of Applied Business in Business Management Technology. He worked as a manager in the private sector until he joined the Marietta Fire Department in 1998. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2006 and to Captain in 2009. Just two years later, he was sworn in as the 14th Fire Chief of the 114-year-old department. He holds the distinction of being the second youngest individual to ever serve in the role of Chief for the Marietta Fire Department.
In 2018, Durham earned a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Administration from Waldorf University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He holds certifications in Firefighter 2, Advanced EMT, Fire Safety Inspector, as well as Fire and EMS Instructor. He is also trained in confined space rescue, hazardous materials technician, and wildland firefighting. Currently, he is training as a Child Passenger Safety Technician, which will allow him to teach proper installation and use of child safety seats.
During the initial response phase of the pandemic, Chief Durham worked closely with Memorial Health System. With a grant from the Ohio Department of Health, the Marietta Fire Department helped the hospital reprocess hundreds of N95 and N95-type masks to keep frontline healthcare workers and first responders safe.
Durham also sits on several boards and committees, presently serving as the Vice-Chair for the Washington County Local Emergency Planning Committee. He and his wife Chrissy live in Marietta with their four children, Sydney, Wyatt, Rylea, and Warner.
“I am both flattered and humbled to even be thought of in this caliber for recognition,” Durham expressed as he accepted his award. According to Durham, Washington State was the perfect fit as it allowed him to work full time while he pursued his degree. “I’m so thankful for what Washington State provided for me and for the foundation that it laid for where I am today.”