Melvin Gary, Jr. of Phenix City, Alabama graduated from the air conditioning technology program at Columbus Technical College in 1994. His skills and knowledge led him to build a successful enterprise – Tempstar Service Company, LLC. Tempstar has been in business for 14 years. Gary and his wife Kai thought long and hard about how they could pay that success forward. They soon decided setting up a scholarship for students in Columbus Tech’s air conditioning technology program was the perfect solution.
The Melvin and Kai Gary, Jr. Industrial Technology Scholarship was established in October 2020 and is managed through the Columbus Technical College Foundation. To qualify, students must be enrolled in the air conditioning technology program, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, write a 250-word essay, and show financial need.
Gary, a Marine Corps veteran, remembers how hard it was to make ends meet while going to school, working full-time, and raising a family. He wanted to make that journey a little easier for today’s students.
“Transform your mind and renew your mind by obtaining an education,” Gary said. “Kai and I started this scholarship to encourage young people who are head of households, working and attending school to strive for more, by obtaining a trade so you will always be able to feed your family and others.”
Requiring less than two years of postsecondary education, an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) credential sets a technician up to be able to do more than put food on the table; the industry is quite lucrative. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual average salary for these workers in Georgia and Alabama is around $43,000. For more information on the 200+ programs offered at Columbus Technical College or questions about donating to the Foundation, visit columbustech.edu.
Melvin and Kai Gary, Jr. established a scholarship to help air conditioning technology students at Columbus Tech.
Kai Gary presents a check establishing a scholarship to Columbus Technical College Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Susan Sealy.