Bates Technical College employees, students, family and friends will celebrate a graduating class of more than 800 students, about half of which will participate in the Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 30, at 6 p.m. The college will hold the event at the Tacoma Dome for the second time, having outgrown the exhibition hall.

This year, the college has announced that Congressman Denny Heck will deliver the keynote address, along with a faculty and a student speaker.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the academic achievements and the hard work of our graduates,” said Bates Technical College President Lin Zhou. “I am also honored and excited to welcome our keynote speaker Congressman Denny Heck to our ceremony.”

Rep Denny Heck
Congressman Denny Heck will deliver the keynote address.

Representing the state’s 10th congressional district, Congressman Heck was elected in 2012 to the U. S. House of Representatives. Previously, Congressman Heck grew several small businesses, including one that specializes in workplace education, co-founded TVW, and served as a state representative for nearly a decade. He was one of the prime authors of the state’s Basic Education Act. Congressman Heck’s priorities include creating jobs and growing the economy. He is a vocal advocate for military families and veterans, and for the health and natural beauty of the Puget Sound environment. Congressman Heck serves on several committees, including the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Financial Services Committee.

Kevin Neill
Power Sports and Equipment Technology graduate will serve as the class speaker.

Power Sports and Equipment Technology program graduate and student speaker Kevin Neill is a Seattle native who came to Bates to pursue his passion. After working as both a pastor and an accountant, he decided that working on bikes was all he wanted to do. Last year, he represented the college at the SkillsUSA National Conference, and took home a gold medal in motorcycle service and repair.

Lee Williams
Advisor Lee Williams will serve as faculty speaker

Faculty speaker Lee Williams is a career advisor dedicated to assisting prospective students in clarifying their career goals and selecting one of the college’s nearly 50 career training programs. He provides continuous advising and support to current students as they achieve success in completing their programs. As a seasoned instructor and trainer, he also designs, develops and delivers courses in leadership, technical and professional skills.


To learn more about the commencement ceremony, visit, or call 253.680.7000.