Progress Energy Colleagues Earn Degrees Together

MOUNT OLIVE- Three men with seventy years of combined work experience set out in 2009 to achieve one goal – to earn their bachelor’s degrees.  On May 7, they will check off that goal as completed when they receive their diplomas at the 2011 spring commencement exercises at University of Mount Olive.
Jeremy Moore, Lewis Roy Jones Jr., and John Williamson, all employees of Progress Energy in Raleigh/Wake County, collectively decided that it was the right time in their careers to earn their degrees.  So, in May of 2009 the trio enrolled in the Management and Organizational Development program at University of Mount Olive at RTP.
“We made a pact,” said Jones.  “The agreement included starting and ending our pursuit of a degree together.  No one was allowed to stop, unless the other two agreed.”
Over the last two years there were numerous events in each of their lives that seemed like perfectly good reasons to delay or even quit the program.  Each of their families experienced sickness, layoffs, and the loss of loved ones, but throughout it all they supported and encouraged one another, and together the “Progress Energy Team” continued to pursue their education.
“There is no ‘I’ in the word team,” said Williamson.  “Doing things as a team enables each member to support the other when times are difficult.”
Williamson, Jones and Moore supported the team by sharing their talents and strengths.  Williamson, a 34 year veteran of Progress Energy, used his life experience to set the trio’s long-term goals and then identified the most direct route to achieve success.
“I’m not one for wasted effort,” he smiled.
Moore, who has worked for the company for 11 years, prides himself on remaining calm in stressful situations, so he tended to keep the group on an even kilter and not sweat the small details.
Twenty-five year Progress Energy veteran Jones was at the other end of the spectrum and often worried about the small details.
“I remember questioning John’s measurement techniques during our biology lab and he told me, “You need to stop trying to cure cancer.”
“Our learning approaches complimented one another,” Moore said.
Moore, touted for his memory, was often able to cram better than his coworkers.   Williamson was very deliberate and methodical in his approach to studying, and Jones studied every chance he had, whether it was in the waiting room at the dentist office or the last five minutes before class started.
All the studying and strategizing paid off; all three will graduate with honors either Suma or Magna Cum Laude.  And, they are already seeing the results of their hard work.
Williamson said, “My education has helped me grow my business acumen.  Statistics, corporate finance and economics have helped me develop a more strategic view of business.”
Jones added, “The concentration of business classes has broadened my financial acumen and allowed me to better understand how the decisions I make on large projects can impact the company.”
Speaking of the company, the trio had nothing but praise for their employer.
“Progress Energy is an outstanding organization that is committed to the growth of its employees” says Jones.  “It does so financially with a generous educational assistance program and it does so culturally with the attitudes and actions of managers who provide the support needed by employees to further their education while working.”
To celebrate their achievement the three co-workers and their families are planning a trip to Lake Gaston in early June, just to relax and unwind.
University of Mount Olive will graduate approximately 350 students at its 57th spring Commencement set for Saturday, May 7, at 2:00 PM in Kornegay Arena on the campus of University of Mount Olive.
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit