LA JUNTA – Ralph Newby, Chair of Otero Junior College Business Technologies and Service Occupations, demonstrated considerable flexibility in his time at Otero Junior College. Since 1987, Newby has taught computer programming, computer networking, SolidWorks, computer applications, business and business technology courses. This flexibility should serve him well as he retires from OJC and looks to the next chapter of his life.
A graduate of Rocky Ford High School, Newby earned a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry with a math minor from Adams State College. He went on to complete a Master of Science degree in System Engineering from University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo).
After college, Newby worked for 10 years as a computer programmer and computer installation technologist for an office supply company in Pueblo. In 1987, he joined OJC as a CAVOC instructor of computers.
“Jim Lytle was the Career/Technical Education Dean who hired me to teach,” said Newby. “I had applied for a computer center job and he told me I might be interested in the CAVOC teaching job instead.” Newby found this to be true, accepted the teaching position and has maintained his connection to technology through teaching.
“When I first started at OJC we taught classes on Apple IIe computers,” said Newby. “This was when the first version of Windows, the DOS based version, came out. I persuaded administration to begin teaching students how to use Windows.”
Asked to state his greatest accomplishment while at OJC, Newby responded, “I have always pushed to make sure that our computer structure on campus for students is state of the art. Computers have gone from something only the hobbyist or geek worked with to being something we cannot live without. I have tried to learn as much as I could about the latest technologies as they came out.”
In addition to teaching responsibilities, Newby has maintained a high level of service to the college, students, faculty and community. When OJC had a Phi Beta Lambda club (the college level of Future Business Leaders of America), Newby served as an advisor and attended several state and national conferences with the students. During his tenure, Newby served twice as faculty chair and several times as vice chair and secretary of the faculty assembly. He has been active in community service projects including the annual Adopt-a-Highway clean-up and monthly volunteering at the Grand Theater in Rocky Ford. Newby is also active with the Freemasons.
Newby has served as chair of Business Technologies for two years. For the past year, he has served as chair of Service Occupations as well.
“I will miss seeing the people on campus every day,” said Newby when asked what would be the hardest thing about retiring. “We have wonderful people who work here and I have good friendships with them both at work and away from work. I will always remember the various teachers, staff and administrators that I have worked with over the years.”
In particular, Newby will miss the faculty retreats. “They are always a highlight of the year. You get to interact with faculty you barely see all year long, relax, unwind and get to know them better.”
Newby’s plans for retirement remain open at this time. His wife of 26 years, Margaret, will continue to work for OJC, which will keep his home base in La Junta for now. “I have told people that my ideal retirement gig would be to work for a company that has me learn their computer product and then sends me to train for them at various places around the country. I like to learn new things and to teach others. Margaret and I both like to travel so it would be nice to combine work and pleasure.”
Newby and his wife have two children. Son, Nick, graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in economics and currently works for Standard and Poor’s in Denver providing tech support for their financial products. Daughter, Marie, graduated from Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. She lives and works in Denver and will be getting married this June.