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Doug Minter, center, Heartland Community College vice president of business services and a finalist for Heartland president, talks with Heartland board Vice Chairman Jeff Flessner, right, and Normal City Manager Mark Peterson at a public forum Monday at the Astroth Community Education Center on the Normal campus.

NORMAL — A finalist for Heartland Community College president who has been at the institution since its early days wants to bring back “a sense of community.”

Doug Minter, vice president of business services, who started as an adjunct faculty member at Heartland in 1991, said that as the college has grown, “we've lost that sense of community” the school had in its early days.

Minter told those gathered at an open forum on campus Monday that he wants to “break down the silos” and “open up those connections.”

“We are Heartland Community College,” he said. “We are not individual departments.”

Minter is among four finalists seeking to become president after Rob Widmer retires from the post on June 30.

Among the challenges facing Heartland is “navigating the financial turbulence we are in right now,” said Minter, who has been heavily involved in the financial side of Heartland is his current role since 2014.

Minter said the financial issues are not only a problem with the state of Illinois but also other factors such as declining enrollment.

He has played an active role in strategic planning, budget development and saving money through a debt refinancing initiative.

Minter said “leadership is my passion,” whether it's in his position as vice president, being “one of the founding fathers of hockey in this town” or serving on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal and Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network.

“I love people. I want to know what makes them tick,” said Minter. “I want them to know they are involved in something great.”

Minter said, “My passion for leadership is my biggest driver for the presidency.”

He said being president would be “a capstone” to his career at Heartland and “a chance to pull all of us together.”

Most of his professional career has been spent at Heartland.

“I bleed Heartland blue,” he said.

Before becoming vice president, Minter's other positions at Heartland were chief information officer from 2006 to 2014, director/dean of information technology services from 1997 to 2006 and a faculty member from 1991 to 1997.

Minter said he has been successful in his various roles at Heartland and has earned the trust of fellow employees.

Minter has a bachelor's degree in industrial technology and a master's degree in business administration, both from Illinois State University.

He said a strong relationship with ISU is critical because Heartland is a major feeder of students to ISU, but he also wants to explore partnerships with Illinois Wesleyan University.

He said open communication and transparency are keys to bringing innovative ideas to Heartland.

Describing himself as “an open book,” Minter said he wants people to talk and “understand why we are doing the things we're doing.”

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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