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This content was published: October 20, 2011. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PEAK Council could save college almost half a million dollars

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In this uncertain economy, household budgets are being cut back and people are trying to find ways to save money as well as make money. Portland Community College is trying to do the same thing.

A new council created by PCC’s District President to find cost-saving and revenue-generating ideas from staff and faculty has paid off in just a few short months. Last spring, District President Preston Pulliams authorized the creation of the President’s Entrepreneurial Advisory Council (PEAK). The advisory council serves the District President by reviewing and recommending sustainable, innovative and effective-cost savings, cost avoidance, and revenue generating measures for PCC.

No more paperwork! Jill Dunaway and Jordan Petrusich of PCC's Accounts Payables devised the idea to use E-payables to save the college money in fees and generate a 1-percent rebate for each payment.

No more paperwork! Jill Dunaway and Jordan Petrusich of PCC’s Accounts Payables devised the idea to use E-payables to save the college money in fees, paperwork and generate a 1-percent rebate for each electronic payment.

Since then, the council has approved eight projects to implement – generated by staff and departments around the district. The ideas to be implemented will need a little more than $72,000 in seed money, but it’s estimated by the council that the projects could save PCC between $200,000 and $500,000 in the first year of implementation.

“We’re very excited of the quality of these proposals and of the discussions that took place around saving money for the college,” said Greg Rapp, business administration instructor and co-chair of the committee. “I’m excited at the proposals that have come out of this project. There is a big movement at the community college level across the country right now. A lot of college presidents are looking to think innovatively to save money.”

The eight projects that have been selected for implementation include:

  • Changing the college cell phone policy by simplifying operations associated with labor in tracking charges.
  • Paying bills using E-payables in which the college will receive a 1 percent rebate for processing payments and reduce fees.
  • Allowing staff to take unpaid time off.
  • Sending out the District President’s holiday greeting by e-mail, saving on postage and printing costs.
  • Renovation and repurposing of space at the CLIMB Center in Southeast Portland that will allow flexibility in classroom space.
  • CLIMB Center development of seven online health professions and small business classes.
  • District-wide 10-percent reduction in paper use and sustainable revolving loan fund program in which savings from one project can be reinvested in a new one.
  • Streamlining of the college’s Video and Multimedia production teams and market useful videos to other colleges.

Dunaway and Petrusich are just the kind of entrepreneurs that PCC District President Preston Pulliams wants to encourage to come up with ideas and help save the college money.

President Pulliams, who will speak to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship’s national conference in Portland on Oct. 9-12 about PEAK, started the project in March with nearly 30 volunteer participants. Almost 40 project recommendations were submitted to the council from PCC staff and three sub-committees explored these innovative ideas and generated several ideas for implementation.

“I’m excited at how engaged people have been in the process and how we have been able to develop ideas from the bottom up by people who are out there doing the work,” said Cherie Chevalier, co-chair of the committee and former Associate Vice President of Finance at PCC. “We received a lot more ideas than we had funding for and felt these that were selected had the most potential for implementation. I think it will be a great experience for the entire college.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Director of Public Relations at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic... more »