Zackary Heatherly – Athens State University

I had to work two jobs to pay for my education; the family farm and a feed mill in Guntersville. Working these jobs gave me the inspiration I needed to finish my degree, and to do the best I could to get a job where I could make a living sitting down. All I wanted was an air conditioner in the summer and a heater in the winter.

Dr. Tom Pieplow was a great inspiration and mentor to me. My best experience at Athens State was getting to take classes on the arsenal. I loved driving through the gates, hoping one day I would not be going in for school, but for work.

My family (somewhat indirectly) inspired me to get my degree. I grew up working on the family farm, milking cows and feeding horses long before and after the sun rose and fell. I knew that if I was to ever attain a less physically-demanding job, I would have to go to college. There was a period where I worked both on the farm and at a feed mill just to pay for my classes. Through all this, I learned to appreciate everything I have, and I developed a strong work ethic. Now, my family is very proud of me, though I still have to help with the chores when I go to visit.

My education at Athens State tremendously prepared me for my logistics management career with the government. The curriculum of my courses introduced me to many of the crucial aspects of my current position, such as SAP training and demand planning. I highly encourage anyone who aspires to work for the government to consider Athens State as their alma mater. I’m so thankful for Athens for providing me with both the knowledge and the outlet to fulfill my dream of working for the government.