Three Pitt State alumni to be honored during Homecoming Week 

Three Pittsburg State University alumni who have gone on to successful careers in construction, automotive technology, and medicine will be honored during Homecoming Week as recipients of the Dr. Kenneth K. Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award.  

A public reception will be held in their honor from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in the Wilkinson Alumni Center, 401 E. Ford St. 

Dr. David L. Baker, D.O.  

OA David Baker

Dr. David Baker (BS ‘00 / Biology) is the chief medical officer for Freeman Health System in Joplin, Missouri, and a specialist in general and bariatric surgery. 

After graduating from Pitt State, he attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri, completed his residency at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a fellowship at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  

In 2009, Baker joined Freeman, the hospital where he was born, and now works with Freeman General and Vascular Surgical Group.  

Named CMO in October 2021, he provides oversight and direction of medical care at Freeman and provides leadership to the Freeman medical staff and Medical Staff Governance. 

He is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery.  

Baker grew up in Galena, Kansas. 

Kelly Burgess 

OA Kelly Burgess

Kelly Burgess (BST ‘01 / Automotive Technology) is an electrification specialist for Case New Holland and the president of Action Charging & Energy, LLC, based in Nebraska. 

He joined CNH Industrial as a service technical specialist in 2002 and was quickly promoted. He has held positions including quality test engineer, product quality, and technical specialist.  

In his current role, he develops electrification strategies for CNH agricultural and construction equipment products. These efforts are aimed to target direct greenhouse gas emission reductions for a pathway to future sustainability and growth. 

He is a member of the Pitt State Automotive Technology Advisory Council, the Central Community College Diesel Technology Advisory Board, and the Pittsburg High School Automotive Advisory Board. 

Burgess has arranged for the donation of a number of training aids, engines, and transmissions to the program to help the next generation of students. 

Last spring, he donated and installed a new EV charging station in Downtown Pittsburg in partnership with the City of Pittsburg, local sustainability advocates, and the Colonial Fox Theatre. 

Burgess grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas.  

Samantha Pinkal-Jefferson 

OA Samantha Pinkal

Samantha Pinkal-Jefferson (BST ’08 / Construction Management) is the vice president of business development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in Phoenix, Arizona.  

Her specialty is in acting as a liaison between clients and communities, from site selection to site layout and logistics. 

Past positions have ranged from economic development project manager for the City of Surprise, Arizona, to serving as project engineer and business development manager for The Weitz Company. 

This year, she was named to the 25 Women Leaders in Commercial Real Estate to Watch list. 

She is a member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development, Advancing Women in Construction, Chief — a private network designed for women in executive leadership — the Pitt State School of Construction Leadership Council, and the Pitt State Alumni Association Board of Directors. 

She currently serves as president of AZCREW, the premier commercial real estate organization that dominates in the advancement and success of women within the commercial real estate industry. 

Pinkal-Jefferson grew up in Imperial, Nebraska.