First Director and Employee of College (12/1/1960-11/10/1961)
Al Farkas was the first director (chief administrator) hired. His work began when the school was still an idea and he worked out of an office in the basement of the old Fayetteville Street School. A native of Vienna, Austria, Farkas grew up in Maplewood, Mo., right outside of St. Louis and obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He also studied nuclear reactor engineering at Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois and completed a short course in nuclear engineering at N.C. State.
Farkas came to the Randolph Industrial Education Center with a wide range of industrial experience. He had served as chief field design engineer for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation on the construction of the Roanoke Rapids hydro-electric project, structural design engineer on steam power plants, a chemical plant and other hydro-electric works, construction field engineer, office engineer and construction supervisor for a synthetic rubber plant for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation and several steam power plants, and as construction field engineer for M. W. Kellogg Company on two 100 Octane Gasoline Catalytic Cracking Units. He was structural design engineer for Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation's main office in Boston, Mass. His work on the Roanoke Rapids hydro-electric project brought him to North Carolina in the early 1950s.
After completion of the Roanoke Rapids project, he joined the faculty of N.C. State College in 1955 and was an associate professor of civil engineering when he was hired as director of the Randolph Industrial Education Center on Dec. 1, 1960.
Because the first building had not been constructed on the campus, Farkas worked out of an office in the basement of Fayetteville Street School, near downtown Asheboro.
As the first director, Farkas's job was to contact local businesses and industries and develop and conduct surveys to determine the vocational training needs of the area. He also traveled throughout the United States to states such as Texas and Connecticut to visit the vocational-technical schools in these states and study the programs in preparation for the design and development of the Randolph Center. Farkas worked very closely with local Architect J. J. Croft Jr. in the planning, design, and early construction of the first building on RCC's campus, now known as the Administration/Education Center. Farkas was also involved in clearing the land for the original building in the Industrial Park and worked with Culp Brothers Company of Gold Hill, N.C., to prepare the site for construction. He also worked with S. E. Trogdon and Sons, who was the general contractor, on the initial construction of the building in 1961.
Farkas helped to create and develop the initial programs and curriculum that the College would offer when it opened by proposing and developing materials for Automotive Mechanics; Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating; Machine Shop and Welding; Technical Drafting; Electronics; Radio-TV Repair; Construction Technology; and an operator-type program for the area hosiery-textile industries. Of the above, Automotive Mechanics, Machine Shop, Welding, and Electronics are still in existence at the College today.
In 1963, Farkas was hired to start the Civil Technology program at the new Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., and later became the department chair. Farkas retired from Central Piedmont in 1984. After a 46-year separation, Farkas was reconnected to Randolph Community College in 2007 and recognized for his contribution to the initial development of the College during the 45th Anniversary of the College. He attended the event in September of 2007 and also attended a plaque dedication for the original building on campus in 2008.