Breaking: A-B Tech Hospitality Now All-Female Led

Asheville – For the first time in the 47-year history of A-B Tech Community College’s Hospitality Education Department, all key leadership positions are held by women who also happen to be graduates of the program.

Joining Chef Sheila Tillman, Associate Dean of Hospitality Education, are Christina Harley as Culinary Department Chair and Cathy Horton as the Hospitality Management Chair. Bronwen McCormick, an A-B Tech graduate and former member of the nationally ranked culinary team, has rejoined the staff as Culinary Lab Manager and instructor.

“This is such an amazing opportunity to work ‘again’ with these women,” Tillman said. “They have taken their A-B Tech skill sets to the work force and return to share their knowledge, industry experience and vision for our future.”

After receiving a Culinary Arts degree from A-B Tech, Harley studied Nutrition and Dietetics at East Carolina University, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the subject. For the past 12 years, she has been a registered dietitian and nutritionist with public schools in the state. Harley’s private-sector cooking includes an internship at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club and working at the Grove Park Inn and Resort and Richmond Hill Inn.

“The opportunity to join the high acclaimed Hospitality Education Department of A-B Tech is something I unknowingly began working towards over 15 years ago,” Harley said. “As a first-year culinary student under Chef Tillman, I could only imagine the professional and academic successes for which this program laid the foundation. Now that I’m in the same position that Chef Tillman was then, I could not be more invested in the outcomes for our students.”

Horton, who graduated with highest honors from A-B Tech in 2008, was most recently the Senior Restaurant Manager for Season’s at Highland Lake and has served as an adjunct Culinary Instructor at A-B Tech. She was also a contributing food writer for Bold Life.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be taking on this role and am such a believer in the the exciting opportunities that our Hospitality Program offers to students,” she said.

About A-B Tech

One of 58 colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, A-B Tech offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 60 curriculum programs through its five academic divisions: Allied Health and Public Service Education, Arts and Sciences, Business and Hospitality Education, Emergency Services and Engineering and Applied Technology. The Division of Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education offers opportunities for workforce partnerships, specific job training and retraining, as well as personal enrichment classes. A-B Tech enrolls more than 25,000 curriculum and continuing education students in programs at its Asheville, Enka, Madison, South, Woodfin and Goodwill locations.