The most important decision I made after retiring was to enroll at Ashford University.
Jim Charters, of Washington Township, Ohio, retired from Illinois Tool Works (ITW) in 2005 after 37 years of service. Jim's career with ITW took him to all 50 states and 14 foreign countries. For the last decade of his employment, Jim was the National Sales Manager for the AMP division. "I formulated and implemented long- and short-range sales strategies for Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Industrial robots were among the most interesting products we sold."
After his retirement, Jim began to look for what he describes as "new ways to leave my comfort zone. I acted in community theater for the first time in my life, volunteered as a tutor in a middle school, became a docent at a museum, and became a spokesperson for Dayton History. The most important decision I made after retiring was to enroll at Ashford University."
Earning a Bachelor's degree was something Jim had always wanted to do, but never felt able to do, in large part because of the travel demanded by his job. "Ashford University was the answer, but at the time I was not aware that the school – or such flexibility – existed." After retirement, Jim still found his schedule too hectic to include a traditional university program. "I needed a program that matched my schedule. Ashford University's online program was perfect."
As with most college students, Jim found his greatest challenge to be time management - at times, he found himself logging on to the online classroom at three o'clock in the morning! The more courses he took, the better he got at managing his time, and he noticed that the skill was not only beneficial to his academic progress, but also to his life in general. "My time management skills today enable me to run my life more smoothly."
Just as his experiences in college benefited his life, Jim found that his life experiences benefited his studies. "I found my professional experiences especially beneficial when writing papers that ask the student to provide real-life situations."
Jim graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management in May 2010 – exactly fifty years after his high school graduation. He is also a proud member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honour Society.
"When I returned to school the academic environment was foreign to me, and to say my academic skills required serious development is an understatement. If I can do it, anyone can!"