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State council gives Pat Pezzelle "Spark Plug Award"

| May 26, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Pat Pezzelle doesn't do things for recognition.

He just wants the best for Libby.

For Pezzelle's community efforts, including serving as director of Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College in Libby, the Montana State Employers Council gave him this year's Spark Plug Award. The council, which represents hundreds of business owners, community leaders and employees, presented the statewide honor during last week's Annual Joint Job Service Employer Committee/Job Service Management meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in Anaconda.

"It's a shame this award just goes to one person," Pezzelle said. "I think our entire JSEC group has put a lot of focus on providing training and services through job service. I would be more comfortable if I could share this with all who contributed."

Johnette Watkins, business advocate for Kootenai Job Service Workforce Center in Libby, nominated Pezzelle. Her agency matches employers with employees.

"We were just delighted," was Watkins' reaction. "We were hoping so much he would get it. He embodies the true essence of what the award's about."

Some of Pezzelle's efforts have included:

Facilitating a meeting with representatives from the Genesis mine, Flathead Valley Community College and Job Service to explore creating a local program to train underground miners.

Working with Lincoln County commissioners to revise a grant that was sitting idle for leadership training.

Partnering with Job Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide affordable Asbestos Abatement certification for local contractors and their employees.

Fostering networking opportunities between Job Service and a local economic development agency, Kootenai River Development Council.

Providing college facilities and teachers at no charge for seminars, job fairs and meetings.

The award is normally given to someone relatively new in the community, said Patti McCubbins, supervisors for the Job Service office in Libby.

It's the Montana State Employers Council's effort to recognize individuals and groups that show leadership, initiative and creativity to accomplish needs and goals for their communities, state and the Department of Labor and Industry.

Director of the Lincoln County Campus since October 2003, Pezzelle is a retired detective who spent 20 years with the Phoenix Police Department. He also provided law enforcement training in third world countries and served as director of Pima Community College in Payson, Ariz.

He is chairman for the Lincoln County Library Board of Trustees and director of the Kootenai River Development Council and Libby Area Development Corp.