Ashford has helped me understand all aspects of business and to use them to surpass our company's benchmarks.
Andrew W. Parker III lives in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, where he was recently elected to a two-year term (2019-2021) on the township committee. It was the first time an African American has been elected to that office.
"This is the town that I grew up in and has given so much to me in terms of education, opportunities, experiences, mentors and friendships," he says. "Being the first African American simply raises the bar for me to be great at the job the people of this town elected me to do."
Andrew's journey to this current role as a teacher and local politician began back in 1996 when he first started to pursue higher education on an athletic scholarship. However, he left college after the birth of his first son, Devon. Since that time, he has held several different jobs, from serving tables and airline security to working as marketing manager for a casino. "I spent a lot of hours working," he says, "and could not find the time to finish my college degree. I attempted several times to take classes at local campuses, and it never seemed to work with being a father and a manager."
Then Andrew got a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Together, he and his father bought a franchise called Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning of South Jersey. "My father and I had plenty of management experience," says Andrew, "but not ownership experience. We found them to be two different worlds."
Andrew realized he needed to finish his education to run his new business successfully. So he decided to go back to school after seven years away. He wanted a flexible and convenient online degree program that would allow him to fulfill his goals. "I also didn't want to be the kind of father who preaches education but doesn't stand for it himself."
Ever the good businessman, Andrew took his time to research his options carefully. "I reached out and called all the recruiters and enrollment specialists," he says. "My Ashford Admissions Counselor always engaged me in meaningful conversation, and she never made me feel like she was just looking to close a sale."
Andrew signed up to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree. Once enrolled at Ashford University, Andrew was impressed by the ease of taking five-week online courses one at a time. "I was very shocked to find out about some of my professors and classmates," says Andrew. "One was a high-ranking military officer who had written several books. I was also amazed at how much I was able to learn about business, and how to increase the effectiveness of our business organization." In October, 2009, Andrew finished his final course in his degree program.
"My life has changed dramatically since enrolling at Ashford," Andrew says. "Ashford has helped me understand all aspects of business and to use them to surpass our company's benchmarks. Completing my Bachelor's degree with Ashford has made it possible for me to open up doors and opportunities that previously were not possible. I can truly say I have a greater understanding of what it takes to run an organization."