Alumni Profile: From engineering to public service
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Written by: Lauren Leetun for Seminole State
Some students take five, six, maybe seven or more years to finish what is typically a four-year undergraduate degree. You may even be one of those students yourself. Life often gets in the way, or the student simply doesn’t take the coursework seriously. These are bright and talented individuals who may take only a few classes here and there.
Some of these individuals go on to achieve great success in their careers, even if it did take them longer than the norm to finish their degree. And Don Fisher could be the poster child for that achievement.
As the Osceola County Manager, Don Fisher has been called a “motivational and innovative leader” by the Orlando Business Journal and is leading the fastest-growing county in the Orlando metro area, and the 10th fastest-growing in the nation.
While he may have “taken the fast track,” as he jokingly put it, to complete his undergraduate degree, that hasn’t stopped him from achieving great success in his career.
When Fisher graduated from a vocational technical high school in Ohio, he was on the path to become a mechanical engineer. Shortly after graduation, his family moved to the Orlando area, and he moved along with them. Taking the next step in his education to become an engineer, Fisher enrolled in Seminole State College in 1987. The school was close to where he lived, and since he was paying for it himself, he found it to be a good value.
To afford tuition, he had to get a job. Fisher saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a zoning technician for Seminole County. With no idea what the job entailed he applied and got the position that changed the course of his career. Working in the government sector gave him a glimpse into the public administration field where he has since thrived.
“If you work hard in your coursework and you get success as a result of it, you can apply that to anything in life”Don Fisher
Of course, his engineering background has helped him in his current role, but it’s really the confidence he developed at Seminole State that has made the biggest impact. “If you work hard in your coursework and you get success as a result of it, you can apply that to anything in life,” he added.
Fisher earned his associate degree from Seminole State in 1996 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida in 1998. Since he first enrolled back in 1987, the school has grown by leaps and bounds.
“I think that Dr. Ann McGee is the best thing that’s happened to Seminole State. The things that she has done to take it from what at the time when I went there was a real local community college, to all the other campuses that are there now, the reputation of the college. She’s really done an outstanding job at moving it forward.”
Fisher has also added to the history of excellence at Seminole State. In 2006, The Foundation for Seminole State College honored him as a Distinguished Alumnus.
This year, Fisher joined Dr. McGee as one of the honorees for Business Leader of the Year from i4 Business magazine, which recognized him for his civic leadership.
When asked what he would change if he could go back to College and do it all over again Fisher simply replied that “I would have done it sooner. I took my time to get through all of it. I would have worked more diligently to get the classes done sooner.”
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.