Thank you, Rob. I want to welcome all of you to campus and thank you for joining us today as we honor three very deserving individuals with the Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award.

Before I begin, I would like to ask Rob Herron to step forward. Rob ... Thank you for the outstanding leadership that you've provided to our Alumni Association over the past year.  

In recognition of your service, I'm pleased to present to you this medallion and service pin. On behalf of our students, faculty, staff and 56,000 alumni throughout the world ...Thank you.

 

The Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award is the highest honor given by Pittsburg State University.

It's a special event, and not only allows us to recognize the accomplishments of our alumni, but also gives the recipients a chance to come back to campus.

For many of our past honorees, the best part of their return, is the time they get to spend interacting with students and faculty in classrooms.

Truth be told ... that is the favorite part for our students and faculty as well. By moving this ceremony to April, we've been able to provide each of you with more time on campus and more time in the classroom.  It's been a wonderful two days, and I hope you've enjoyed your time with us, as much as we've enjoyed your company.

Each of today's recipients has distinguished themselves both professionally and personally.

They are a testament to the quality of Pittsburg State University and a wonderful example for our future graduates.

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The first recipient of the 2011 Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award is Mr. William E. Neighbors the third. Bill, would you please join me?

Bill Neighbors is a second generation Gorilla, who earned a BSBA in finance from Pittsburg State in 1978. He has held management positions in manufacturing, sales, and marketing with companies such as Peabody TecTank, AO Smith Engineered Storage Products and Columbian TecTank.

In 2003, he founded Neighbors and Associates, and Tank Connection, and affiliated companies. Tank Connection is an integrated group of companies that specializes in liquid and dry bulk storage applications around the world.

A company with international reach, Tank Connection is also helping southeast Kansas. It is one of the leading employers in Parsons and has a new manufacturing facility currently under construction. ATEC Steel, another affiliate company, is a major employer in Baxter Springs.

Bill's leadership in the engineered storage industry includes the development of several new companies including Tank Connection, BOSS Tank, Alliance Constructors, ATEC Steel and others. He has also written and published articles for a variety of professional publications.

In addition to his leadership in business and industry, Bill has been very active in his community and his church. In 2004, he developed the "Kidz" donation program for grade school children with special needs. An annual fund sponsored by Tank Connection currently operates in more than 20 grade schools in southeast Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

Bill's PSU roots run deep. His parents attended Pittsburg State as did his wife, Julie, a teacher who earned both a BS and MS from Pittsburg State. Their three children, Bransie , Chasnie  and William the Fourth, are also proud PSU alumni.

Bill, in recognition of your outstanding career accomplishments, I am proud to present to you the Pittsburg State University Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award.

Would you like to introduce your family and friends with you today -- and then make a few remarks?

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Our second recipient is Mr. Gary E. Tredway.   Gary, would you please join me?

After earning a bachelor of science degree from PSU in 1971 and a master's degree in education from PSU in 1972, Gary Tredway began his professional career as a high school business teacher and basketball coach.

In 1979, he joined American Fidelity Assurance Company as a sales representative for the Wichita area. He began to steadily rise through the company and in 1991 was named regional vice president.

Four years later he would be selected to lead First Financial Capital Corporation, a sister company of American Fidelity Assurance.

In 1998, he returned to American Fidelity as president of the Educational Services Division. In 2006, he was named president and chief executive officer of the company's Volunteer Worksite Group.

Gary now serves as vice chairman of the American Fidelity Company and leads the development of American Fidelity's Voluntary Worksite Group. This group includes American Fidelity Educational Services and the Association Worksite Division ... AFA's largest strategic business unit.

He has earned designations as a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant. He is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the National Association of Insurers and Financial Advisors.

Originally from Erie, Kansas - Gary and his wife Sheila now live in Edmond, Oklahoma. They have two children: Chad Tredway of Owasso, Oklahoma and Courtney English of Arlington, Virginia.

Gary, in recognition of your outstanding career accomplishments, I am proud to present to you the Pittsburg State University Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award.

 

Would you like to introduce family and friends who are here with you today -- and then make a few remarks?

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Our final recipient today is Mr. Robert D. Tyler. Bob, would you please join me?

Bob Tyler's journey from his hometown of Concordia, Kansas, to Pittsburg State literally began on two wheels. It was after a long motorcycle trip that he came to campus and met with, now retired, Professor George Graham.

The two men immediately connected and in 1975, Bob earned a bachelor of science degree in plastics engineering technology from Pittsburg State University.

Three years later, he moved to Winfield to work for the Gott Corporation, which was purchased by Rubbermaid in 1986. During this time, he served as a project engineer, engineering manager and then as the product engineering manager.

In 1988, Bob would start a new business called Winfield Consumer Products. This company manufactures aftermarket accessories for cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. You may know these products better under their trade names, Husky and Husky Liners.

Winfield Consumer Products also produces cargo area protectors for SUVs, floor liners and custom molded mud flaps. The company is also an important part of its community, employing nearly 90 people.

Bob and his wife, Gwendolyn, have a long history of service to Pittsburg State. Bob has served as a trustee of the PSU Foundation, Inc., and a member of the PSU Plastics Advisory Council.

He is a lifetime member of the President's Society and has been a member of the PSU Centennial Commission. Bob received the PSU Outstanding Alumni Award in 1988, and through the Robert and Gwendolyn Tyler Charitable Trust, the Tylers provided significant support for the construction of the Kansas Polymer Research Center.

Bob is very active in his community and is a past recipient of Cornerbank's First Citizen Award. Through his company and personally, he supports community activities including Winfield High School Afterglow, Kansas Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, First United Methodist Church Helping Hands and the William Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The Tylers live in Winfield, Kansas. They have two children, Danielle Morris of Chandler, Arizona and Christopher Tyler of Winfield.

Bob, in recognition of your outstanding career accomplishments, I am proud to present you with Pittsburg State University's Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award.

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Would you like to introduce family and friends with you here today, and then say a few remarks?