April 04, 2016 8:15AM
PSU has honored Ed McKechnie, Maureen Murphy and Kenneth Nance with the 2016 Meritorious Achievement Award, the university’s highest honor. McKechnie, a 1986 graduate, is the executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Watco Companies. Murphy, a 1973 graduate and the 2016 National Family Practice Physician of the Year, is a physician with Cabarrus Family Medicine in Concord, N.C. Nance, a 1990 graduate, is vice president for governmental sales for Fastenal, North America’s largest fastener distributor and a worldwide supplier of original equipment, maintenance, repair and construction products.
The three were recognized at a public reception on April 8 in the Heritage Room of the Overman Student Center. In addition to visiting classes on campus that day, they also participated in a public question-and-answer session in the Governors Room.
“This year’s Meritorious Award recipients are great examples of the ways that Pittsburg State University’s more than 60,000 alumni distinguish themselves in their places of work and in their communities every day,” said Jon Bartlow, director of alumni and constituent relations.
Ed McKechnie earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from PSU in 1986. He joined Watco Companies, a Pittsburg-based transportation company that is one of the largest short-line railroad operators in the U.S., in 2000.
As executive vice president and chief commercial officer, McKechnie leads Watco’s strategic development and marketing teams, focusing on growing the business and finding new opportunities in the transportation industry.
In 2003, McKechnie was elected by his colleagues in the industry to chair the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s (ASLRAA) Legislative Policy Committee. In that role, McKechnie led the legislative effort to pass the short line tax credit. He was elected to serve as chairman for the ASLRAA in 2011.
McKechnie’s public service includes five terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, beginning in 1991. In his decade as a legislator, McKechnie served on committees that included transportation, appropriations, and the joint committee on Legislative Post Audit, which is the investigative arm of the legislature. He also served on the personal staff for Gov. John Carlin and U.S. Congressman Dan Glickman in Washington, D.C.
In 2010, McKechnie was appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents and was named chairman of the board in 2011.
McKechnie and his wife, Kristy, live in Arcadia, Kan. They have two sons, Austin and Jackson.
Maureen Murphy earned a bachelor’s degree in English from PSU in 1973 and a medical degree from the University of Kansas in 1985. In 2011, she joined Cabarrus Family Medicine in Concord, N.C., where she is a family medicine specialist and serves as a mentor for medical students and a preceptor for medical schools both in and outside of North Carolina.
The daughter of the legendary football and swimming coach Joe Murphy, Maureen began her first career in journalism and public relations as a television reporter in Joplin. A public relations job with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine in Kansas City inspired her to pursue a career in family medicine.
Murphy graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1985, earning an award as the Outstanding Student in Family Practice. Following a residency in family medicine at Duke, Murphy became a clinical instructor at the East Carolina School of Medicine Family Practice Center in Greenville, N.C. She was in private practice from 1990 to 2011, founding an independent, full-spectrum, family medicine practice in Gastonia, N.C., where she became an advocate for both patients and physicians at Gaston Memorial Hospital.
Last fall, Murphy was honored by the American Academy of Family Physicians as the 2016 Family Physician of the Year.
Murphy and her husband, Scott Maxwell, live in Concord, N.C.
Kenneth R. Nance earned a bachelor’s degree in history from PSU in 1990 and a master’s degree in history, also from PSU, in 1991. He serves as vice president for governmental sales for Fastenal, North America’s largest fastener distributor and a worldwide supplier of original equipment, maintenance, repair and construction products.
Nance joined Fastenal in 1992. His first responsibility was in entry-level sales as an assistant store manager. He became a district manager in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1994, and then a district manager in Orlando, Fla., in 1997. As a regional vice president from 1998-2005, Nance opened corporate operations in Asia, Mexico and Europe as well as 60 stores and a distribution center in Canada. In that time, the business grew from $700,000 a month to $9 million a month.
Nance served as a regional vice president in Southern California and then for the south central region in Dallas before being named executive vice president and corporate officer in 2012. In that role, he was responsible for sales and operations throughout the Eastern U.S., managing $500 million in assets and $1.7 billion in annual sales. He was named to his current position in 2015.
Nance has two daughters, Sophie, who is 15, and Arielle, who is 14. He lives in Winona, Minn.