Former CFCC landscaping student fashions his own business from the ground up

Wilson Stratus

Wilson Stratas is not a typical 20-year-old. He is a business owner, with plans for his future which seem both practical and well-thought-out. He’s a realist, a hard-worker, and a Cape Fear Community College graduate.

Stratas graduated CFCC with a Landscaping and Gardening Certificate in 2017, though he had already started his own business during his senior year of high school.

“I didn’t think I would pursue this career, but I tried it and liked it,” said Stratas. “I like being outside, and I like being my own boss.”

Stratas’ business, Oceanside Landscaping & Maintenance, has a motto: No problems, Just solutions.  It’s a concept Stratas seems to have taken to heart. Starting your own business in high school is rare enough, but honing that business into a successful, growing operation at such a young age is almost unheard of. Stratas has been methodical in his approach. He studies his competition, is careful with his image, and is proactive in his relationships with his clients.

He also values education and chose to come to Cape Fear Community College to learn skills to enhance his operation.

“My favorite class was Turf Management,” says Stratas. “I learned a lot about pest and weed control and what chemicals to use to control them.” Stratas is now preparing to take a licensure exam that will allow him to begin offering lawn pest control as part of his business.

“I want to be a full-service operation,” says Stratas.

Learning skills to enhance his business is not only Stratas’ plan for his current operation but also part of his long-term vision for the business. He knows he will not only need to expand the services he can provide but prepare for the physical toll this type of work can take.

“Long-term, I see myself supervising several crews, and doing some of the lighter work – like insecticide application – myself,” says Stratas.

It’s obvious that Stratas is a planner, constantly working on ways to improve and build upon his already growing business. He advises CFCC students interested in taking a similar path, “Do your research.  Know your competition. See how people are running their businesses. Observe, work, and get involved. Learn from your experiences.”

Stratas explains his future plans with a gleam in his eye. “I want to see how big I can get,” he says. “I like challenging myself.”

He also advises those following in his footsteps to be aware of their image. “Have respect for your own work and process. Your work will advertise for you. If you do good work, it will be noticed. As you grow and expand, you will realize that there are differences between your customers. Treat your customers well and expect the same from your clients, and recognize that your image makes a difference. You can’t show up in a trashy-looking vehicle and expect to get high-end clients.”

Stratas began his business with a lawnmower that had no engine cover that had to be lifted into the back of his vehicle each day. “I’ve come a long way,” he says. “I buy equipment as I can.  It doesn’t have to be brand new, but it’s a long way from where I began.”

To learn more about Landscape Gardening at CFCC, contact Program Director Ken Wells at (910) 612-4447 or at

CFCC Announces Hiring of Dean of Health Sciences

Angela Ballentine

Cape Fear Community College is pleased to announce that Dr. Angela Ballentine has joined its staff as Dean of Health Sciences. Ballentine most recently served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, NC.

Ballentine is originally from Eden, North Carolina. She attended Greensboro College for her undergraduate degree and later became certified in Radiographic Technology through the Radiologic Technology Department at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro.

Ballentine began her career as a radiographer, specializing in mammography. She worked as a mammography specialist in Houston, Texas before beginning her career in higher education at Vance-Granville. While working at Vance-Granville, Ballentine earned both a Master’s of Education degree and a Doctor of Higher Education at North Carolina State University.

“Dr. Ballentine brings a wealth of experience to Cape Fear Community College – both as a healthcare professional and as a community college leader,” said Melissa Singler, CFCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Workforce Development. “We feel very fortunate to have her on board, and we look forward to working with Dr. Ballentine as we continue to expand and enhance our highly-demanded health science programs.”

“I am excited and humbled to join the Cape Fear Community College family,” said Ballentine “This is an environment where student success is paramount, and our students are both highly-motivated and service-oriented. The health science disciplines require real teamwork, and I can already see that our faculty and staff truly rally around our students to make sure that everyone is successful.”

Cape Fear Community College’s Health Science programs include Associate Degree Nursing (RN), Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Cardiovascular Sonography, Early Childhood Education, Medical Sonography, Nurse Aide, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Pharmacy Technology, Phlebotomy, Practical Nursing (PN), Radiography, and Surgical Technology. For more information about the Health Science programs offered at Cape Fear Community College, visit

CFCC Culinary Instructor Participates in Chinese Gourmet Expo in JiNan, China

Chef Gwen at Chinese Food Expo

Cape Fear Community College Chef Gwen Gulliksen was one of four chefs selected by the Traveling American Chefs to attend and participate in an all-expense-paid Chinese food conference, the 18th Chinese Food Festival & International Gourmet Expo 2017. The Expo was sponsored by the China Hotel Association, the JiNan Government, and the International Hotel & Restaurant Association.

Gulliksen attended the Chinese Food Festival & International Gourmet Expo from September 15 to 17th, where she worked alongside famous chef masters and chef educators to share and showcase cooking skills and food culture.

Gulliksen’s primary responsibility was to represent authentic American holiday food by preparing food for display in individual regional demonstrations on stage and sampling. Gulliksen prepared 100 warm biscuits with honey butter. “At first no one would touch them,” Gulliksen said. “Everyone was standing around looking. Then one person tried one and they were gone within two minutes!”

Gulliksen organized and conducted an Authentic American Cuisine Class exclusively for the top Chinese hotel chefs to teach them how to create and authenticate American holiday food. Her individual demonstration was to create an Authentic American Southern Easter Brunch. Gulliksen prepared Smithfield ham, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, biscuits with honey butter, and robin-egg blue dyed Easter eggs. “They just could not get over the Easter eggs,” she said.

The conference inspired Gulliksen to perfect and master cooking dumplings; she has plans to teach a dumpling class in the near future and to continue sharing the knowledge she gained in China with her students moving forward.

For upcoming culinary classes taught by Chef Gwen Gulliksen, visit

Landfall Foundation Grant Supports CFCC Student Veterans

Wilmington, NC – With a donation of $3,102, the Landfall Foundation sponsored an initiative to purchase laptop computers for use by student veterans at Cape Fear Community College. CFCC’s Veterans Affairs Center was established three years ago to support the degree and program completion requirements of all military-affiliated students and student veterans. The funds received from the Landfall Foundation will allow CFCC’s student veterans to complete curriculum coursework on laptop computers in the Veterans Center. The convenience of working among their peers helps student veterans to feel more comfortable studying and completing their academic assignments.

Over the last five years, more than 700 student veterans have either graduated or completed a certificate program at CFCC. In fact, the college enrolls well over 700 student veterans each semester. CFCC’s Veterans Center provides resources to help ease veterans’ transition to college and enhance their educational experiences.

Sustainability Awareness Week 2017

Sustainability Awareness Week 2017

March 20-24th, 2017

Sustainability Awareness Week is a week long celebration of all things sustainable hosted by CFCC Sustainability committee. The week’s activities are designed to engage and educate the college community about sustainability. Events include lectures, demonstrations, workshops, presentations, documentary films, a sustainability fair, and a pop up farmer’s market.

Monday, March 20th

*RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 24: Workshop: Build your Own Compost Bin – Karly Dahlin, Schwartz Center Courtyard — Pre-Registration required:

Lecture: Wind Power Science and Industry Basics – John Wojciechowski
4:30-5:45 PM — Union Station — U-153

Tuesday, March 21st

Meeting: ECO
3:00-4:00 PM — Union Station Lobby

Wednesday, March 22nd

Lecture: Solar Power for Homeowners with Cape Fear Solar Systems 
12:00-1:30 PM — Union Station — Room U-529

Tour: Electric Vehicle Charging Station – John Wojciechowski and David Kanoy

Meet at room NB 141
2:00-2:30 PM — North Campus

Thursday, March 23rd

Open House: Tiny House with Sustainability Technologies students 
Drop in to see the house and the 3 projects that have been done to improve it: sustainable interior, high-performance cladding systems, and solar photovoltaic array.
11:00 AM-12:00 PM — North Campus — Carpentry program parking lot

Documentary: “Bringing it Home: Industrial Hemp, Healthy Houses and a Greener Future for America”

This documentary tells the story of hemp: past, present and future and a global industry that includes textiles, building materials, food products, bio-plastics, auto parts and more.
Documentary screening and discussion
12:00-1:30 PM — Union Station Auditorium

Friday, March 24th

Workshop: Build your Own Compost Bin – Karly Dahlin
Noon – 1pm — Schwartz Center Courtyard — Pre-Registration required:

Sustainability Fair

  • Seed swap
  • Plant sale (Laura Moore)
  • BYO-Tshirt tie dye workshop

Possibly Featuring:

  • Bike workshop
  • Solar demonstration
  • Full Belly Project
  • Cape Fear Riverwatch
  • Legacy Arch. Salvage
  • Food Truck
  • The Produce Box

10:00 AM-2:00 PM — Schwartz Center Courtyard

Farmers Market

2:00-6:00 PM — Schwartz Center Courtyard

CFCC Radiography Program Receives $50,000 Equipment Donation

Cape Fear Community College’s Radiography program recently received a generous donation of state-of-the-art radiographic equipment from the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation. The gift includes a new patient table, a radiographic tube, an x-ray control panel, and a wall unit, with a combined value of $50,000.

CFCC Radiography Program Director, Donna Collentine, is excited to train students on the new equipment. “Our radiography students will now have the opportunity to practice their skills on the same cutting-edge equipment that is being used in hospitals and clinics around the country,” said Collentine. “We are so grateful to Cape Fear Memorial Foundation for this wonderful donation.”

The CFCC Radiography program is a five semester, full-time program beginning in the fall semester of each year. Classes and labs are held on campus at CFCC, and the clinical education component of the program is conducted in various hospitals and other medical facilities in the surrounding area. Program graduates are eligible to apply to take the national examination administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists for certification and registration as medical radiographers.

Radiography program graduates can work in radiology departments in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, research and medical laboratories, federal and state agencies and industry. Hospitals also offer a wide variety of subspecialties including orthopedics, mammography, and operating room and trauma areas. For more information about CFCC’s Radiography program or to apply, individuals should visit

Cape Fear Memorial Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations providing services that improve the health and wellness of the people of southeastern North Carolina. The organization supports five counties in the Cape Fear Region: Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover and Pender.

Got-Em-On Live Bait Club Supports CFCC Marine Technology Program

The Cape Fear Community College Foundation recently received a $3,500 donation from the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club to support CFCC’s Marine Technology program.

President of Got-Em-On Live Bait Club, Butch Martin, presented the contribution to Marine Technology instructor, Kelly Franklin; CFCC Foundation representative Wendy Littlefield; and Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at CFCC, Patrick Hogan.

Martin believes the donation will help efforts to preserve local wetlands. “We want our children and our grandchildren to enjoy the beautiful fishing landscapes we have, and Cape Fear Community College is fantastic at training students to preserve fisheries. The more the College does for our local environment, the more we want to give,” says Martin.

The Got-Em-On Live Bait Club was established in 1980 with 17 members and has grown to include over 400 family memberships. The fishing club hosts fishing and golf tournaments each year to raise funds for local charities and other organizations in the Wilmington area. Got-Em-On Live Bait Club has supported CFCC’s Marine Technology program since 2012.

To find out more about the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club, visit To learn about giving opportunities at Cape Fear Community College, please visit the Foundation’s website at


IMG_1497Wendy Littlefield, CFCC; Butch Martin, Got-Em-On Live; Kelly Franklin, CFCC; Patrick Hogan, CFCC

CFCC Receives Scholarship Donation to Support Culinary, Hospitality, and Baking Programs

The Cape Fear Community College Foundation recently received a $1,000 scholarship donation from The Compass Pointe Culinary Club in Leland, NC to benefit students in CFCC’s culinary technology, hospitality management, and baking and pastries programs.

Co-chairman of the club and local chef, Jeff Malecki, was impressed with CFCC’s students when he visited the college’s hospitality management and culinary arts student dining room, Our Place. “After visiting and dining at CFCC’s Our Place, I knew that we needed to start a scholarship for a student enrolled in CFCC’s culinary, hospitality or baking programs, especially one living in Brunswick County. I felt like we needed to give back to our community,” said Malecki.

The club held a fundraising dinner and donated $1,000 to support students currently enrolled at CFCC and residing in Brunswick County. The recipient, Sara Harris, is a student in CFCC’s hospitality management program and the scholarship will assist her with tuition and fees for the fall semester. Harris is a graduate of CFCC’s culinary program and is continuing her education in hospitality management, hoping to one day own her own establishment. “I am very thankful for this scholarship and the investment in my future. Right now, I’m a full time student working two jobs and traveling from Brunswick County, so I appreciate this so much,” Harris said.

For more information about CFCC’s Our Place, visit To learn more about CFCC’s culinary technology or hospitality management programs visit or

Cape Fear Community College Interior Design Students Assist Local Family

Cape Fear Community College interior design students recently partnered with Welcome Home Angel to renovate the home of a local family in need. Welcome Home Angel is a non-profit that provides comfort to children with chronic or debilitating illnesses or injuries and their families through structural modifications and aesthetic changes to the families’ homes. The organization provides a “makeover” of the child’s bedroom, and also of their siblings’ rooms, to create a cheerful environment for healing and to accommodate any special needs.

CFCC students redesigned the bedrooms of a Wilmington family’s three children; one child is adopted and has a rare genetic disorder and two of the children are being fostered by the family. Students selected paint colors, window treatments, and furnishings, and installed and assembled all the materials as part of their senior project.

“Welcome Home Angel provided an opportunity for Cape Fear Community College’s senior interior design students to truly make a difference in the lives of this family,” said Tammy Powell, Interior Design Program Director. “It also provided an opportunity for students to develop new skills and build upon the ones learned in the classroom, and it instilled in them a sense of purpose for their profession. Just to see the look on the faces of the children was priceless.”

For more information on CFCC’s interior design program, visit

CFCC’s Marine Technology Program Receives Support from Cape Fear Sail and Power Squadron

The Cape Fear Community College Foundation recently received a $1,000 scholarship from the Cape Fear Sail & Power Squadron. The scholarship will provide financial assistance to students in CFCC’s marine technology program.

The Cape Fear Sail & Power Squadron is a non-profit organization dedicated to boating education and promoting skilled principles of navigation and seamanship. The club of more than 200 boating enthusiasts offers safe boating education both on the water and in the classroom. Members may take courses covering seamanship, piloting, navigation, marine electronics, sailing, engine maintenance, cruise planning, weather, and boater’s certification. Additionally, they perform free vessel safety checks and membership provides discounts on boat insurance and other products.

“We enjoy our partnership with CFCC as we try to make a difference on Wilmington’s waterways by teaching boating skills that make the water a safer place,” says Commander Mark Stacy, AP.

“Our national tagline is ‘Come for the boating education and stay for the friends.’  I believe this phrase sums up what and who we are nicely. Since 1914, we have been at the forefront in teaching boating fundamentals, seamanship, and navigational subjects to both our members and the public at large. We are extremely proud and appreciative of our close relationship with Cape Fear Community College and our members who made this gift possible,” says Lt/C Ed LoBalbo, SN, Squadron Education Officer.

The Cape Fear Sail & Power Squadron facilitates boat safety and navigation courses at CFCC. Individuals enrolled in the courses often join the club after the course is finished. “We want to do this annually. CFCC provides us with classrooms, and this is our way of helping them because they help us so much,” adds Lt/C Rick Sorrenti, AP, Squadron Secretary.



Left to Right:

Cape Fear Squadron Education Officer —Lt/C Ed LoBalbo, SN
CFCC – Debi Causey, External Events Coordinator
CFCC – Bob Jones, Foundation
CFCC – Dr. Amanda Lee, President
CFCC – Jason Rogers, Marine Technology Department Chair
Cape Fear Squadron Commander – Cdr Mark Stacy, AP
Cape Fear Squadron Secretary— Lt/C Rick Sorrenti, AP