John Lee, CPO, D&L Education Solutions

Today, every employer’s top-priority goal is efficiently developing and sustaining a skilled technical workforce. “Education is a unique industry that is continually evolving, and the way we teach has to be just as unique and ever-changing. The biggest challenge to educating is the conventional ‘desk and row’ method of delivering the knowledge to the students. Our biggest challenge is getting companies to ‘flip the classroom’ and change their method of delivering the content,” explains John John Lee, CPO of D&L Education Solutions, in response to being quizzed on the current market trends.

John and his team of professionals work with clients to create customized training plans for their equipment. To accomplish this, a team is allocated to the onsite location where a complete understanding of the requirements and possibilities are attained. In addition to delivering personalized and tailor-made services, this move also lowers the cost of training for the client as the equipment does not need to be shipped to D&L Education Solutions for development. Often, the team spends weeks onsite, developing material on the equipment or coming up with a solution to any problem encountered. “We have Program Managers who are assigned to each project. My daily routine mostly consists of ensuring they have what they need to complete their project on time,” says John.

Located on the main campus of Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton, D&L Education Solutions has made quite the headway in the technical workforce development domain, catapulting to newer heights every day. “Our company has continued to grow and increase our partnerships over the past three years. We have witnessed growth in every area of our business, from providing trainers for training events, and curriculum development, to training department development,” reveals John, with great pride and contentment.

An Organization is Only as Remarkable as its People

John Lee is one of the key pillars of D&L Education Solutions, leading it to the success it commands in the market today. D&L Education Solutions is recognized as a national technical workforce development company dedicated to helping companies train and retain exceptional technicians and frontline workers through their novel and robust instructional training programs. Ensuring customer delight is one of the top priorities. The company combines immersive learning techniques, world-class training, and focused expertise to help the client engage learners and improve performance through various delivery formats, emerging technologies, and innovative approaches. “Every member of our team is an educator with at least 10 years of experience in training at both a college and industry level. We also have a nationwide pool of instructors and developers to assign to a task. This ensures our customers get a customized training package,” informs John. He adds, “Our founding members are educators at heart. We believe in doing whatever it takes to provide a situation for growth.”

He believes that a growing company is the very essence of a driven and skilled team that strives to fulfill the organization’s vision. Working alongside your teammates boosts productivity and helps develop new skills and thought processes. Meeting business goals and overall company success is just the outcome of a strong workforce. He elucidates, “My team works beside me, not behind me. The company is only as good as the team members. D & L has some of the most skilled instructors and developers because we invest in their future. This is not my company as one of the founders, it is all of my team’s company, and we are all invested in it.”

Taking a Deeper Dive

John paints a more defined picture of his contributions to the industry and provides an insight into the work involved. While he enjoys the CPO position at D&L Education Solutions, he has also played a key role at Tennessee College of Applied Technology as a renowned Industry Training Coordinator and NC3 Coordinator since 2009. John is responsible for training, testing, and awarding certificates to students on campus and employees in business and industry. He was awarded 1,357 NC3 certifications in 2015, the most in the United States. In recognition of this accomplishment, NC3 presented the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton with the Dennis Ludice Memorial Award. Yet again, in 2017, John was recognized at the NC3 Annual Meeting 2018 for awarding a whopping 1,650 NC3 certifications.

In addition to this, John oversees one of the five regional training centers in the United States. He is a member of the inaugural class of ‘TN Trained,’ a program designed for workforce development professionals at the College System of Tennessee. This partnership between the State Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Board of Regents College system is designed to provide a system-wide state approach for retaining, growing, and attracting businesses. He was awarded the Tennessee Board of Regents SOAR Technical College Staff Member of the year in 2020.

John currently serves as the chair of the SkillsUSA Tennessee Transportation Cluster and is the chair for the SkillsUSA National Transportation Cluster. He received the 2018 SkillsUSA Tennessee Advisor of the Year award.

Gaining Recognition

In his career, John has had a successful journey leading to well-deserved recognition and prestigious awards. His penchant for making an impact in this industry and his humility makes him the most sought-after entrepreneur in this sector. He graduated from Nashville Auto/Diesel College, has an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Automotive and Manufacturing from Northeast State Community College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science in Technical Education from Pittsburgh State University. “My childhood was unique and challenging, but it brought me to this point in my life. We learn from our past to better our future. I am a high school dropout working on my doctorate in Career Technical Education Leadership. We are never too old to learn. We are never too old to try something new,” says John. Among his many accomplishments, he states that he believes his most significant achievement is being married to his wife Samantha for twenty-four years and his two wonderful children, John and Katie.

What the Future Holds

He envisions continuing to stay true to the company’s mission to provide valuable technical education and impactful, cost-effective training solutions to support, build and grow a highly-skilled workforce for today and the future. John signs off by letting us have a quick peek into what the future holds for him and his organization, “We have national companies we are developing for. Companies such as Snap-On Corporation, Kubota Tractor Company, Subaru University, and so on. We are developing new training material for them, reorganizing their current training materials, teaching courses, and administrating assessments. We also guide colleges across the country that want to develop a technical education department for automotive and diesel.”

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