Mike Doner

President and CEO at Flagger Force

What brought you to RACC?

I am a native of Ephrata, where my Mom was on the School Board. My Dad served as the Elementary Principal in the Garden Spot School District. I was a mediocre student and young for my age. Shippensburg rejected me. I had few choices. However, I knew how to work. I had been working since I was twelve at the Ephrata Pool. I also worked for Blue Ridge Cable out of Ephrata and then had a job offer from Channel 6 in Philadelphia. I decided to go to RACC for economical reasons. It was the most cost-efficient way to earn my degree. I also knew I had to earn my Associate's Degree, work hard and make money to afford my final two years of college.

How did your experience at RACC shape your career path?

I had to mature in a hurry at RACC. I went to college from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. and then I went to work at J.E. Tobacco from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. I would return home at night to do my school work. This was not the typical college experience of beers and parties and fun. I worked hard, developing that would serve me the rest of my career. I had solid grades at RACC. My GPA was a 3.4. I was able to transfer to Shippensburg for my final two years and all of my credits transferred. Again, at Ship, I worked hard both at school and at different jobs. I sold pizza at 25 cents a slice and then I worked as a Fire Station Manager and earned Firefighter of the Year honors in 1982.

I went to work at Kenny Shoes as a salesman and was named the Salesman of the Year. You see a trend here. I moved into "Temporary Staffing Services" and climbed the ladder to become president of a 25 million-dollar company. I saw the opportunity to develop a separate workforce entity which became Flagger Force. Flagger Force started in 2002 and we bought our first truck in 2004. I went solo in 2005 and Flagger Force became my fulltime job in 2006.

What advice/insight would you give to current RACC students?

  • Always be on time.
  • Do what you know is right, even if no one is looking.
  • Raise your hand when an opportunity presents itself.
  • Work hard.

2021 marks RACC's 50th Anniversary. What message would you like to pass on to President Looney and the RACC Community on this historic occasion?

I walked into RACC right after the college moved to the Holiday Inn. RACC was open door, one of the few open doors available to me at the time. RACC offered me the means to achieve my goals, even if I wasn't sure I knew what my goals were at the time. I hope there are other young men and women like me who need that door to be opened, who are ready to work hard and do what is necessary to succeed. I look forward to welcoming President Looney to the Corporate Campus of Flagger Force to see what a RACC alumnus can accomplish.

I believe in 2nd chances. RACC offered me a 2nd chance after Ship turned me down. I have developed a 2nd chance program at Flagger Force similar to the 2nd chance opportunities that RACC offers to so many students every year. Keep offering those 2nd chances. You never know what RACC alum on a 2nd chance will be the next CEO of a company like Flagger Force.

Graduation Year