Their Story – Charlie Trammell
This is the seventh installment in a series of articles featuring the Board of Directors of College Success Arizona.
College Success Arizona is a 501(c)3 educational foundation founded in 2005, to increase the number of bachelor’s degree holders in the state of Arizona by providing scholarships and College Success Services to high potential, low-income students. The vision of College Success Arizona is to create an educated workforce ready to take Arizona into the future.
These articles are designed to give a more personal insight into each of our Board Members, to give them the opportunity to share why they care so deeply about Arizona, college attainment, and the mission of College Success Arizona.
1. Please tell us a little about your background.
“I went to high school in Illinois and attended college at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois majoring in marketing and finance. I received my MBA from Pepperdine University, in southern California.
General Motors provided a great opportunity in sales, marketing, and dealer development. After ten years of experience with GM, my partner and I opened our current company, Preferred Medical Claim Solutions (PMCS), with four people and a kitchen table. We have been in business for 17 years and in 2006 we were voted the fastest growing company in Arizona by BizAZ.”
2. What does your organization do? What do you do within your organization? What are your responsibilities?
“Preferred Medical Claim Solutions is a progressive transaction-based healthcare network dedicated to serving Providers, Payers and ultimately Patients by providing proven revenue cycle management solutions that reduce healthcare costs. Our provider network consists of 250,000 physicians and hospitals across the United States.
Within the organization, my focus as the Chief Information Officer is to managing our IT resources to better serve the internal organization and our external clients. My responsibilities as CIO include managing our staff, implementing EDI processes with our clients, process improvements, and making sure all of our information technology systems are running smoothly and securely.”
3. What other projects, activities, groups, are you involved in?
“My outside interests include weight training/fitness and golf. In addition to that, my entire family is involved with Young Life, a program that teaches our youth about the importance of having a relationship with God and how to lead a better life.
Every Monday, my wife and I host about 75 to 100 high school young adults at our house for Young Life meetings. My youngest son is attending Young Life camp, and my oldest son was a leader at the University of Arizona and had his own junior high group. We believe heavily in what Young Life stands for and what it is portraying to our youth.”
4. How did you come to be associated with College Success Arizona? Who was your connection? What made you want to support us? What made you so passionate about our mission?
“I’ve known Rich Nickel and his family for a long time, and he asked me to help him on his Board of Directors about three years ago. At the time, I didn’t have much experience in non-profit education, other than being educated myself and putting my three sons through school. Being on College Success Arizona’s board has been a learning experience for me. I am probably one of the only members of the board who is in the private sector, so I am able to bring a different, unique, perspective around incorporating for-profit strategies to help sustain our non-profit work.
A large part of my background revolves around helping youth; I coached Pop-Warner football here in Arizona for fourteen years. Through that, I’ve become more interested in the philanthropic sector. I enjoy being able to help others, and especially their children. It was through coaching the youth of Arizona that made me so passionate about the mission of College Success Arizona. There are a lot of children who need help from coaching; and that’s what College Success Arizona brings with their Success Services program.”
5. What is your vision for the Arizona of the future?
“My vision of education in Arizona’s future is one that incentivizes and lures business to our great state. We need to foster the growth of our college graduates. We need to make sure our Community College system is full of candidates that can transfer to our four year institutions. We need to prove that we can supply the work force when big businesses decide to call Arizona home.
This will create a positive effect on our economy, providing more funds for scholarships and mentoring. College Success Arizona can be positioned to help ensure that our most precious resource is in abundant supply.”
6. Why do you feel increasing Arizona’s College Attainment Rates is so important?
“My parents were first-generation college graduates, getting both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Being a college graduate brought me everything that we could ever want. Going to college was something that I was always going to do, and I want everyone to be able to have that opportunity.
Education is the foundation for success. The more we educate our youth, the better our future is going to be. We need to figure out how to educate all students here in Arizona, including our low-income, first generation and minority students. Soon we will be a minority, majority state, which brings great opportunity and some perceived challenges to our education system. We need to find ways to incentivize our young people to become better educated; through education comes higher pay and a better lifestyle.”
7. If you had a message for a student just beginning their college career, what would that be?
“Be focused and have fun; it’s the best four years of your life. You may think, at the time, that it’s the hardest time of your life; but when you start working to support yourself and others, you realize that it was the best four years ever.
I have a few principles for success in college that I like to tell my sons: Every day is a study day. Study in the same location at the same time so that it becomes your workplace. Sit in the front row and make sure you professor knows who you are and never skip a class; throughout my years of higher education, I never once skipped a class. The least you can do is show up. If you do all these things, you will be able to excel in your classes and obtain a college degree.” Now the doors to opportunity will open!”
Junelle Bautista is a Communication and Engagement Intern and attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.