60th Anniversary: A-B Tech Board of Trustees 1977

Eight men and one woman around a board room table
October 30, 2019
Tech Talk

In celebration of A-B Tech’s 60th anniversary, we have pulled an archive photo of our Board of Trustees from 1977. Seated, from left, are Edwin Higgins, John Erichson, Joe B. Roberson DDS, Dave Robinson, Herbert Hyde and Elizabeth Harper.  Standing are Ernest Mills, William Morgan and Herb Coman.

Higgins was a business agent for Millwright Local Union #2875 and was employed by the Flat Creek Motor Company in the late 1950s. He was also a Navy veteran of World War II and an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

Erichson was the manager of the Gerber Baby Food plant and was the past president of the Asheville Chamber. He moved to Asheville in 1958, after playing football and basketball for the University of California – Berkeley. He served in the Infantry in World War II in New Guinea and the Philippines and was awarded a Purple Heart.

Dr. Roberson, who has a building on campus named after him, was a local family dentist for more than 45 years. He was a native of Buncombe County and the valedictorian of Candler High School. He went to dental school at UNC Chapel Heel and remained a dedicated alumnus and Tarheel fan.

Robinson served as a trustee for 22 years and was an employee of American Enka and Square D, two prominent employers in the county at the time. He was a graduate of Candler High School and was awarded a baseball scholarship to Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.

Hyde joined the US Navy in 1941 and served in the Pacific with Naval Intelligence. Hyde was elected to the NC State Senate and served from 1964 through 1966 and 1991 through 1995. He also served the NC House from 1972 through 1976, during which time he was instrumental in enacting legislation that has affected women’s rights, the environment, as well as education.

Harper was the first woman appointed to the board, joining in 1975. She retired in 1991 from the Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Black Mountain. She volunteered on numerous boards and for many organizations. She received awards including Woman of the Year, National Housekeeper of the Year, and was the Grand Marshal of the Black Mountain Christmas parade.

Mills was the founder of Mills Manufacturing. In 1935, his family founded Mills Strap and Novelty a notions and undergarment manufacturing business. In 1942, the US government sought factories with experience in sewing nylon to manufacture parachutes. Mills quickly transformed its operation to support the US military. When the Korean War broke out Mills needed to expand their parachute operation because of growing demand. They looked to the South where a strong textile industry flourished and chose Asheville.  

Morgan was retired as vice president of Akzona Inc., a parent company of American Enka, when he joined the board. He was educated at Benjamin Franklin University, where he was also a member of the faculty. His hobbies were golf, sports, gardening and bridge.

Coman was a veteran, serving in the U. S. Army Air Corp during WWII in the Mediterranean and Italy. He was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2002. He was a member of the WNC Sports Hall Fame, the UNCA Athletic Hall of Fame and the Owen High School Athletic Hall of Fame. At Lee Edwards High School he earned twelve Letters in football, basketball and baseball, was All State three times, All Southern, and played in the inaugural NC Shrine Bowl. At the University of South Carolina, he earned seven Letters. He was an Athletic Official in high school and college, calling 746 varsity football games and over 2500 basketball game. A-B Tech named its student center after him.


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