Melissa Cole, Pensacola State College Foundation
On August 1, Kimberly Mathes Cheney and Lauren Paige Cheney, co-owners of The Mathes Group, met with Pensacola State College Director of Foundation Scholarships, Mikenzie Francis, to establish the Jerry Wade Mathes Electrician Apprentice Scholarship in memory of their father and grandfather.
This scholarship, named after the late founder of The Mathes Group, Jerry Wade Mathes, will support students with financial need who are pursuing the electrician certificate program and maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher.
When sharing their inspiration for establishing this scholarship, Kim and Lauren emphasized the importance of supporting those who come from humble beginnings.
“What made us want to do this is the fact that [Jerry] struggled early in life. He suffered a loss, and he had to assume responsibilities and begin working to support his family,” stated Kim. “He worked hard, and he was always very giving to people. We just wanted to honor and help others who may have started like him.”
Current President of The Mathes Group, Lauren, also elaborated on their reasoning for supporting trades students. “It’s hard for people to get a start in a trade,” she shared. “We really wanted to emphasize the success you can get from a career in the trades.”
She highlighted how vital these workers are for their business and the community. “Our work wouldn’t be possible without electricians, and theirs wouldn’t be possible without electrical distributors like us.”
Despite his difficult beginning, Jerry was able to learn and absorb tricks of the trade picked up from his time working around electrical distributors.
He went on to found The Mathes Group, a Panhandle-based independent electrical distributor and lighting showroom, in 1973. His enthusiasm for business and entrepreneurship, sparked by the establishment of his first company, led to several commercial and residential investments and the establishment of Mathes of Alabama and Mathes Lighting and Lamp.
In all its years, The Mathes Group has held steadfast to the family values it was established upon, continuing to provide holiday bonuses to their employees, some of which have been with the company for forty years. Lauren commented that part of the reason they chose to establish the scholarship at Pensacola State College is because of PSC’s family-like feel, where students have the opportunity to truly build relationships with the faculty and staff. Lauren and Kim experienced this firsthand, both having taken courses at the College.
As The Mathes Group celebrates its fiftieth year of operation, co-owners Kim and Lauren have introduced a slogan to commemorate its history and reflect the spirit of its founder, “The Mathes Group: Lighting the way for future generations to shine.”
Mikenzie remarked how well their new slogan matched the goal of their scholarship.
Both Kim and Lauren agreed on one thing above all else, “Making a difference for someone would be [Jerry’s] greatest joy.”
For more information about The Mathes Group, visit https://www.mathesgroup.com/
To support scholarships at Pensacola State College, visit https://foundation.pensacolastate.edu/opportunities-to-support-psc/scholarships/ or call the PSC Foundation at (850) 484-1560.
For more information about applying for scholarships and other forms of financial support at Pensacola State College, visit https://www.pensacolastate.edu/financial-aid/ or contact the Financial Aid Department at (850) 484-1680 or email@example.com.