University of Mount Olive MBA Graduate Joins Executive Team at Highland Construction

University of Mount Olive MBA Graduate Joins Executive Team at Highland Construction

MOUNT OLIVE- Lori Harris of Wilmington has recently landed a prestigious job at Highland Construction. The recent MBA graduate attributes her success to her undergraduate and graduate education that she received from the University of Mount Olive.

Harris was born and raised in southern California. Directly after graduating high school, Harris pursued a basketball scholarship at Yavapai College in Prescott, AZ. However, her educational journey was soon put on hold when she married and became the mother of two children, Vance and Taylor.

“I spent the next two decades dedicating my time to raising my children and working as a senior business analyst for Southern California Edison, in Pasadena, CA,” explained Harris. “As time passed, I continued my education at various local colleges and accumulated units and certifications along the way. I became a single mom, but never let go of the drive to return to school.”

Although Harris had numerous certifications and tremendous professional skills, she desired to finish a degree in order to gain a more competitive edge in the work force. She moved to North Carolina in 2004 and soon heard about the variety of programs and convenient class schedules available at UMO.

“I spent a good amount of time researching, analyzing, and talking with mentors, family and close friends to make sure I was making the right choice for my degree,” Harris recalled.

Harris decided to enroll at UMO and pursue a bachelor’s degree in organizational development and business management. With the dedicated support of the professors in the Tillman School of Business, she persevered in her courses and graduated in 2010. Her degree quickly landed Harris a position as a marketing manager with the StarNews Media in Wilmington.

“For five years I experienced industry reengineering, acquisitions, and organizational changes with StarNews,” said Harris. “Then in 2014, I was approached by UMO to join one of the first five classes of the online MBA program out of the Tillman School of Business. I applied, was accepted, and within one year, successfully graduated with my master of business administration degree.”

Harris walked across the familiar graduation stage in May of 2015 and received her graduate degree from UMO.  The advanced degree has opened even more professional doors for her.

“In late May, I received an email about a job opportunity, and I asked for details and began the research process. The prospect became reality,” revealed Harris. “Within days I met with the owners and leadership team to discuss the job roles, responsibility, opportunities, challenges, vision, goals, and resources. Within the week, I was offered the job of regional director for Team Highland, a southeastern, North Carolina restoration and renovation general contracting firm.”

Now as regional director, Harris is responsible for regional facility operations, client development, corporate marketing and communications, human resources, and project support. She is pleased with her career advancements and is determined to keep learning and succeeding as a professional.

“I am grateful and honored to have been able to journey through this professional, and personal, growth process to acquire an exciting career position that offers me the opportunity to serve my goals, family, company, client satisfaction, and community,” said Harris.  “Without my two degrees from the University of Mount Olive, I would not be as successful as I currently am and will be in the years to come. I look forward to obtaining my Ph.D. from University of Mount Olive someday!”

Harris resides in Wilmington with her husband, Alton. Harris also serves as a member of the Cape Fear Rotary Club, as board of director of the Boys and Girls Club, as a member of the Cape Fear Garden Club, and as executive director of Greenfield Lake Collaborative.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit