Former football hero returned home to make impact in community

Cannady Adrian Cannady played football at Army before attending Victoria College.

Adrian Cannady can’t help but use a football metaphor when explaining the impact of a community college on his life.

“Victoria College was instrumental in getting me across the goal line academically,” said Cannady, who starred on the gridiron at Victoria High School and played collegiately for Army. “Community colleges are critical for many young people trying to find their way.”

Cannady worked with the Victoria Economic Development Corporation for over 15 years before recently accepting the position of chief executive officer with the Temple Economic Development Corporation. Cannady said he used Victoria College as a selling point while with the VEDC to bring businesses and companies to the Crossroads region.

“A big part of my job was helping recruit industry into the area and supporting existing industries as they grow,” Cannady said. “There is no greater partner than Victoria College in the VEDC’s effort to grow investment and jobs in this community.”

Cannady took his football talents from Victoria High School to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he studied for three years. He returned home and attended Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria to complete his undergraduate degree in mathematical sciences.

“The attention I received from the instructors at Victoria College let me know they were really interested in my success,” Cannady said. “It made all the difference in the world for my academic career.”

Cannady began working for VEDC in 2003 and served as vice president before accepting the position in Temple. He said Victoria College played a big role in helping Victoria attract one of the area’s largest industries.

“One of the community’s greatest successes to date has been bringing in Caterpillar’s North America Hydraulic Excavator Facility,” Cannady said. “When you consider that every single one of those employees, now well over 600 people, were trained and impacted by Victoria College and now earn a wage that can better their life and the lives of their families, that’s all the proof you need to see what kind of impact Victoria College makes in this region.”

One of Cannady’s first tasks when trying to attract clients to the area was proving the community’s commitment to training the region’s workforce.

“I talked a lot about the culture and the ethic of the workforce in our area, and I also talked about our partnerships,” Cannady said. “Oftentimes, companies want to see proof of those community partnerships. I don’t think that was more readily shown than when the community invested in VC’s Emerging Technology Complex. That was an emphatic statement that we are here for business, and we are prepared to grow with businesses and provide the workforce that is needed.”

Cannady, who obtained a Master of Science degree in economic development and entrepreneurship from UHV, remained active with Victoria College by serving on various committees.

“Victoria College took a personal interest in my growth, and I wanted to give that back to the next generation of young people who look to better themselves and give back to the community,” Cannady said. “Victoria College is truly the community’s college.”

by Coy Slavik, Communications Specialist, Victoria College