Student Success: From Biostatistics to Equine Management
Well rounded might be the term to describe Bill Pelkey, but others might call him a jack of many trades, a guy who craves learning, and above all, an interesting and interested person.
By the time Bill came to FRCC in 2009, he had already had several careers—as a police officer, police academy director, university professor, and biostatistician. But it was a longtime love of horses—he had a horse when he was growing up in California—and the encouragement of mentor and FRCC Equine Management and Training program graduate, Beth Pelosa, that brought Bill back to school.
Doing Something for Himself
“I signed up for an Equine Nutrition class, and I immediately hit it off with Damian,” says Bill, referring to lead instructor Damian Ficca, who has trained horses throughout the United States. “I thought, if nothing else, this would get me closer to horses again. You get to a point in your life where you’ve raised your family and had a career, but then you say, ‘there’s something I need to do for me now.’ That’s what this was for me.” Bill completed the Equine Management and Training continuing education program in 2011.
Next Stop: Entrepreneurship
In 2010, Bill started a company, Equigetics™ LLC, which uses traditional horse training, bodywork, and energy-healing methods to enhance the horse-owner relationship and bring out the best in the horse. He’s been involved in the martial arts for more than 40 years, so his unique method brings the energetic aspects of Reiki, a Japanese energy-healing practice, and the martial art, Aikido, into his work.
Equigetics also offers holistic, natural horse training services, utilizing the Spanish California-Nevada tradition, which Bill learned from Damian and Beth. “‘Always for the welfare of the horse,’ is the approach that Damian drilled into me,” he says. “FRCC has a very ethically grounded program, and it’s a breath of fresh air in the horse community.”
A History of Learning
FRCC was not the first stop on Bill’s educational journey.
He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University and started his family and his career as a police officer in Greeley, Colorado, in 1979.
After getting injured his first year of police service, Bill was tasked with forming the planning and research department and creating the analytical crime analysis function. After several successful serial crime forecasts–and eight years in law enforcement—Bill decided to pursue his Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods at the University of Northern Colorado. At the same time, he worked as program chair of the police academy at Aims Community College.
In the early 1990s, Bill held associate professor positions in criminal justice at Northern Michigan University and his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky. But he had an opportunity to get into the pharmaceuticals industry in 1994, providing statistical analysis to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. His job: to prove to the Food and Drug Administration when a drug or medical device will safely do what it is supposed to do.
On Teaching at Community Colleges
Bill says he wouldn’t hesitate to return to Front Range, Aims, or any other community college—as a teacher or a student. “I’ve taught at the community college level as well as the university level, and I believe that the purest teaching and learning occurs at the community college,” he says. “My time at Aims was the most enjoyable teaching of my life. You work your tail off, but the students are there because they want to be.”
Now that the tables have turned, Bill admits that he fits FRCC and vice versa. And unsurprisingly, Bill says he’s not done with school. “More education is probably in my future,” he admits. “I’m a perpetual student. I just can’t seem to help myself.”