James Pike, 42 will walk proudly at the Southern Region commencement on May 19th, where he will receive his Master's in Organizational Leadership (MAOL). In September, Pike continues at Brandman’s Riverside Campus pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.). “I believe an educated person believes more in possibilities and sees a spectrum of opportunities,” notes Pike.
Pike got his BA in 2007 at Chapman University College in Moreno Valley, Brandman’s predecessor prior to becoming part of the Chapman University system. Pike, a resident of Hemet, California works for the Riverside County Correctional Department. He began his career as a probation officer working his way up through the ranks of the Department developing several innovative work programs.
He now works for Riverside County’s Code Enforcement Department with the Transportation Land Management Agency. Pike credits his Brandman education for broadening his vision into what can be accomplished through innovative thinking. “I started a work release program where we take inmates sentenced to community service and pick up tons of trash off-road.” This program led to Pike writing and receiving a $98,000 grant from CalRecycle last year to pick up tires from the low Desert and then transport to a recycling facility. To date they have recovered over 17,000 tires from unincorporated areas. “I would not have been able to write the grant and get it without the faculty and advisors who made me think differently on what is possible. My education opened up a world where not everything is black and white.” Pike’s program is positively impacting inmates within the county correctional system. “All you see in jail is sad things with the prisoners coming back. We give them a sense of accomplishment.”
He was instrumental in opening a second office as part of Code Enforcement for a Nuisance Abatement Team also financed with grant funds. “I feel I can articulate ideas and better serve the people of Riverside County thanks to my education.” Pike wrote a winning business plan for the program taking it to Lowe’s. “They paid for half the costs of the tools we needed for our team.”
Completing and continuing his education has made all the difference in how Pike feels about himself and his place in the community. “This has allowed me to stand on equal footing with people I never would have thought I could.” Prior to attending Chapman and then Brandman, Pike thought an education and achieving advanced degrees was not possible for him. “I am very proud to be associated with the University. It makes me feel like I have the face of a supermodel.”