MORRISTOWN, NJ – The Morris County Board of Freeholders honored Pine Brook resident Venancio “Venny” Fuentes at their Dec. 12 meeting with a resolution and plaque, due to his work having earned him the Association of Community College Trustees’ 2018 Northeast Region Faculty Leadership Award. Fuentes is a professor at County College of Morris as well as the chair of the Department of Engineering Technologies and Engineer Science and the Department of Criminal Justice.

Freeholder Director Douglas Cabana said Fuentes has been an exemplary educator at County College of Morris (CCM) for 25 years, and his “vision and hard work have led to the success of countless CCM students.”

Fuentes’ efforts have included oversight of the implementation of an important share-time engineering design and advanced manufacturing program (EDAM) with the Morris County Vocational School at CCM, fostering the engineering and advanced manufacturing interests of high school students and giving them an opportunity to earn college credits and engineering certificates, according to the resolution.

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Fuentes has also overseen a program at CCM called High School United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH), where EDAM students work on projects that have been requested by NASA astronauts for the international space station, making CCM the first college in the nation to become a participant in that program, according to the resolution.

Fuentes is from Queens, NY, and worked in private industry designing navigation systems for the U.S. Navy and NASA’s space shuttle program before coming to CCM, according to the county. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 

CCM President Anthony Iacono said at the Freeholder meeting, “We are very proud of Professor Fuentes being recognized as top faculty member in the Northeast. I always clarify and say ‘from Maryland to the Canadian border.’ It makes us absolutely thrilled.  He has worked tirelessly and he is an inspiration to all of us at the college, to our students, and it’s a major reason the program has accelerated forward. I also want to say thank you to the Freeholder Board for the tremendous support that we continue to receive from you, which allows great professors like Venny to do their very best work.”

Fuentes said at the Freeholder meeting, “Thank you for the honor and recognition. In August when [President Iacono] called me up and said, ‘Sit down – I have something to tell you,’ I thought it was something [bad]. But it was good news. It’s been a whirlwind. I got to go to Manhattan and pick up the award [at the Regional Awards Luncheon on Oct. 26], and now to be recognized by the county I’ve been living in for a long time, it’s great. I just want to say, all I’ve been doing is following the great tradition of the faculty at CCM.

 To see YouTube video of Fuentes receiving the award from the Freeholders, click: Fuentes.

At the same meeting, the Freeholders also honored Morris County Housing Authority Executive Director Roberta Strater, who is retiring after 42 years; Morris County Interfaith Food Pantry Executive Director Rosemary Gilmartin, who is retiring after 20 years; and State Teacher of the Year Jennifer Skomial, of Roxbury, who teaches at the Morris County School of Technology’s Academy for Education and Learning.

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