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Spirit of the Challenge award-winner Eddie Perry’s motivating the next generation of the EV workforce

By Em Jankauski

A true leader gives credit where credit is due. Eddie Perry did just that, praising his team upon receipt of the Spirit of the Challenge award at the Battery Workforce Challenge Year One Competition.

The award recognizes an individual or team that best embodies the spirit of the challenge, demonstrating enthusiasm, perseverance, and a positive attitude throughout the competition, while overcoming obstacles and inspiring others.

We recently sat down with the vocational faculty advisor for the Jackson State University & Hinds Community College’s BattChallenge team and automotive technology instructor/district curriculum coordinator for Hinds Community College’s Utica, Miss. campus for a fun Q&A highlighting his leadership. Check it out!


Eddie Perry, Jackson State University & Hinds Community College BattChallenge team’s vocational faculty advisor, can’t help but grin while accepting the Spirit of the Challenge award from Kristen Wahl, Argonne National Laboratory’s director of Sustainable Transportation Education and Partnerships department and Energy Justice and Workforce Readiness Initiative, during the Battery Workforce Challenge Year One Competition Awards Ceremony held May 9 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Q: What does earning this award mean to you and the entire Jackson State University & Hinds Community College BattChallenge team?
“Well first of all, I understand the reason why I’m here. And although this is humbling to me, this award is for the team. Our students are more motivated because we received this award. When we came back with this award, our college leadership is more supportive. It will help tremendously with recruiting more students and team faculty.”

Q: This award recognizes your inspirational leadership. What’s your secret sauce in leading and inspiring your team?
“I credit and give all the glory to my Lord and savior. I also credit my parents. They have always been a support group in my corner and role models that I lean on for inspiration and help. And I’m just passionate about serving others. Also, there’s a little competitiveness to always finish well.”

Q: What impression do you hope to leave on the future battery workforce?
“I see (myself) being a frontier on this journey. And I want to begin here but continue to learn more about the battery workforce to send more people to work. I want to continue in (forging the) sustainability workforce.”

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