Local leader named to post: Chancellor promoted to statewide job

The chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College’s Columbus and Southeast regions has been named the statewide college’s senior vice president for workforce alignment.

Chris R. Lowery, who will begin his new duties Friday, has been an Ivy chancellor since August 2014, overseeing four primary campuses and five additional sites across 11 counties.

Lowery’s appointment is one of the first to the leadership staff of Sue Ellspermann, who became Ivy Tech president July 1. Ellspermann earlier named Andy Bowne as senior vice president and chief operating officer, and he began his duties Aug. 15.

In his new job, Lowery will oversee the vision, mission, strategy and strategic objectives for Ivy Tech’s workforce alignment and development initiatives. The new role involves developing collaborative partnerships with state and federal workforce and economic development organizations, the private sector, business and other groups.

“The role of Ivy Tech in workforce alignment is critical and much work remains to be done,” Lowery said. “We have the opportunity to make a robust workforce alignment strategy that is demand driven, voice-of-the-customer oriented and measured in terms of outcome and success.”

Lowery said his responsibilities will include using data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Occupational Demand Report, which identifies more than 700 types of jobs available in the state with information that can be drilled down to a county level.

The report predicts demand for jobs, the level of education needed by employees to fill those jobs and an understanding of wages for jobs, he said.

An estimated 1 million jobs will need to be filled in Indiana during the next 10 years and about two-thirds of them won’t require a four-year degree, Lowery said.

Ivy Tech will be looking at students who don’t have a post-high school education plan as their target for associate degree and technical certificate programs that lead to good-paying jobs, he said.

Lowery is a member of the State Workforce Innovation Council, and chairman of the Work and Learn Taskforce, which is appointed by the commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.

Also, since April, Lowery has been acting vice president of Corporate College, where he led efforts for training, assessment and professional development for Ivy Tech.

Under Lowery’s leadership, the Batesville School Corp. in January 2013 partnered with the city of Batesville, private businesses, philanthropic organizations and individuals to establish an Ivy Tech Community College in the community. Lowery also worked to create a partnership among Ivy Tech, the Governor’s Works Council, the regional Workforce Investment Board and the Area Health Education Center and leaders of Ec015 to offer summer camps for middle and high school students and teacher externships.

Lowery said he plans to continue living in southern Indiana, but will be spending more time in Indianapolis as part of his new responsibilities. He said he has loved working with the Columbus and southeast Indiana campuses and will miss his the daily contact with Ivy Tech staff there.

Ellspermann said Ivy Tech was thrilled to have Lowery joining the leadership team.

“Over half of our students are pursuing a degree or certificate that takes them directly into the workforce,” Ellspermann said. “Chris is able to see the big picture and what is needed to elevate the state of Indiana and align our graduates to higher job placement rates, particularly in areas where local employers are in need of an educated workforce.”

About Chris R. Lowery

New job: Ivy Tech Community College senior vice president for workforce alignment, beginning Friday.

Current position: Acting vice president for Ivy Tech Corporate College since April and chancellor of the Columbus and Southeast Ivy Tech regional campuses since August 2014.

Member of:

  • State Workforce Innovation Council, appointed by Gov. Mike Pence, and chairman of its Work and Learn Taskforce, and a member of the Demand-Driven Taskforce, both appointed by the commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development.
  • Southeastern Indiana Workforce Investment Board’s board of directors.
  • Chairman of the Governor’s Works Council for Southeastern Indiana, appointed in 2013.

Prior to Ivy Tech:

  • Lowery led public policy and engagement for Hillenbrand, Inc. in Batesville, where he was responsible for corporate communications, public affiars and government relations. He served as chairman of the executive committee of Hillenbrand’s Charitable Contributions committee. During a 20-year tenure with Hillenbrand, he served in a variety of leadership roles with Hillenbrand’s Batesville Casket Co., which included sales development, human resources, acquisition integration, product leadership and marketing and strategic planning.

Government experience:

  • Served as executive director for the Association of Indiana Counties, Inc.
  • Assistant to the governor for the Office of Robert D. Orr.
  • Legislative assistant/correspondent for the Office of Dan Quayle.

Education:

  • Bachelor’s of science in public affairs through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University.
  • Pursuing a master’s in science in management from Indiana Wesleyan University, anticipating completion in early 2018.
  • During his time at Hillenbrand, completed Lean/Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) training, Foundations of Leadership and other leadership training.

Memberships:

  • Sagamore Institute (Think Tank) board
  • Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana board
  • Indiana University Alumni Association executive council
  • School board member (2002-2014) and board president (2007-2014) for Batesville School Corp., where he co-founded the Batesville Community Education Foundation.

What's next

Ivy Tech Community College Columbus Chancellor Chris Lowery will begin his new position as senior vice president for workforce alignment on Friday.

An internal interim chancellor will be named to fill Lowery’s position in the coming weeks, Ivy Tech officials said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.