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PSU honors four alumni

October 11, 2011 12:00AM

Pittsburg State University will honor four graduates with its 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award during Homecoming festivities on Oct. 14-15.

The recipients were selected based on their professional achievements, as well as their community and organizational involvement. They will be recognized at a reception at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, in the Wilkinson Alumni Center, as well as at the Homecoming parade and football game on Saturday, Oct. 15.

This year's recipients are: Maria T. Pacheco, vice president of mobile games at Atari in Los Angeles, Calif.; Melissa "Lisa" A. Paterni, president of Pitsco, Inc., in Pittsburg, Kan.; Gina B. Pinamonti, an orthodontist and dentofacial orthopedic specialist in Pittsburg, Kan.; and Brett D. Potts, principal of Pleasant Ridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kan.

Maria Pacheco

Maria Pacheco is the vice president of mobile games at Atari in Los Angeles, Calif. At Atari, Pacheco manages all game development and marketing initiatives for the company's titles on mobile platforms. She is responsible for bringing classic games like Asteroids, Centipede and Missile Command up-to-date in terms of design and technology for smart phones and tablets. Additionally, she manages Atari's strategic distribution and marketing partnerships with companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

Before joining Atari, Pacheco was vice president of marketing for Vivendi Games Mobile, where she helped build the division into a leading publisher of mobile games. Her experience also includes positions at JAMDAT, which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 2006, and Sprint, where she was instrumental in launching Sprint's Game Lobby, the industry's first carrier-based mobile games community.

Pacheco earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Pittsburg State University and a master's degree in business administration from Baker University. She lives in Los Angeles, Calif.

Lisa Paterni

As president of Pitsco, Inc., Lisa Paterni is responsible for leading the strategic visioning for the company and the development of relationships with key industry partners, career and technical student organizations and customers. She works closely with the constituents for the LEGO Education joint venture in Billund, Denmark, and helps create and communicate the global strategy for the Pitsco family of companies.

Pitsco is an education company that provides curriculum and hands-on products in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The company's vision is "to lead educational change that positively affects learners" and in 2011 the Company is celebrating 40 years in business. Pitsco distributes products to all 50 states and 35 countries spanning the globe.

Paterni joined Pitsco in 1994. Prior to that, she served as assistant treasurer and director of property management for National Pizza Company (currently NPC International).

Paterni earned three degrees from Pittsburg State University: a bachelor's degree in business administration with a major in accounting, a master's degree in business administration and a master's degree in the science of teaching.

Paterni lives in Pittsburg. She and her husband George have four children: Amy Paterni of Pittsburg; George Paterni Jr. of Northville, Mich.; Pamela Radell, of Norfolk, Neb.; and Emily Paterni of Pittsburg.

Gina Pinamonti

Gina Lynn Bishop Pinamonti is an orthodontist and dentofacial orthopedic specialist in Pittsburg, Kan.

Pinamonti earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Pittsburg State University, graduating magna cum laude, and a doctorate in dental surgery from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists and is president elect of the Kansas Association of Orthodontists.

Pinamonti is active in the Pittsburg community and with Pittsburg State University. She has recently served as president of the George Nettels Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization and provides a job shadow work site for USD 250. Pinamonti was the PSU Community Campaign fundraising chairperson in 2004 and served on the PSU Alumni Association's national board of directors from 2004 until 2010.

Among her many honors, Pinamonti was named the UMKC School of Dentistry, Department of Orthodontics, Switzer Memorial Speaker in 1999 and 2009, and was named Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce small business of the year in 2009. She was honored as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Women in the Tri-State area by the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal in 2009.

Pinamonti and her husband, Brian, live in Pittsburg with their three children Isabella, Zoe, and Sophia.

Brett Potts

Brett Potts was named principal of Pleasant Ridge Middle School in 2011. Pleasant Ridge is part of the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan.

Potts earned a bachelor of science degree in education (biology) from Pittsburg State University and later a certification in educational leadership, also from PSU. He earned a master of science degree in secondary education from Kansas State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Baker University.

While at PSU, Potts was an All-Conference Defensive End on the football team during in 1987-1989 and was a team captain in 1988 and 1989. He was honored with the Richard Stratton award for loyalty and inspiration and the Sunflower Award as the senior with the highest overall GPA in 1989. Potts was named an Academic All American in both 1988 and 1989.

Prior to being named principal, Potts served as assistant principal at Blue Valley High School and Blue Valley Northwest High School. Before taking on administrative duties, Potts was a middle and high school teacher in Joplin, Mo.; Harrisonville, Mo.; Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley.

His numerous accolades include being named Kansas Teacher of the Year in 2005 and being inducted into the Mid-American Teacher Hall of Fame.

Potts and his wife, Paula, have two sons, Cooper and Peyton.

©2011 Pittsburg State University