Skip to main content
Presidential Search

Search Committee Member Bios

Presidential Search Committee Members

The search committee is charged with assisting and advising the Kansas Board of Regents in the selection of the next President of Pittsburg State University.

Rick is the Executive Chairman of Watco LLC. Watco is a single-source transportation and supply chain services company with locations throughout North America and Australia. Founded in 1983 by the Webb family, Watco grew from one locomotive into a leading transportation services company. Today, Watco owns and operates a diverse and unmatched network of short line railroads, terminals, ports, and mechanical shops. Rick joined Watco in 1984 and learned the business by working alongside his father Dick Webb, founder of Watco. Rick has held various management and leadership positions within the company including operations, purchasing, marketing, accounting, and financial management. Rick served as Watco’s Chief Executive Officer from 1998 to 2018. His focus and commitment to helping Watco’s Customers succeed was a driving force behind the innovation and tremendous growth at Watco.

Rick has always been an active participant in efforts to improve rail transportation for customers; he serves on the Board of Directors for both the Association of American Railroads and National Industrial Transportation League. Rick is also a vigorous supporter of his community and advocates for Pittsburg State University and many local schools and community organizations. He is a member of the Pittsburg State University Foundation Board of Trustees, Community National Bank's Advisory Board of Directors, U.S. Bank's Market Board of Directors and Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy’s Advisory Board. Rick lives in Pittsburg, Kansas with his wife Stacey and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Pittsburg State University.

Bill Feuerborn of Garnett was appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents by Governor Sam Brownback in
2014 and reappointed by Governor Jeff Colyer in 2018. He has been developing small businesses in
Anderson and Coffey counties for forty years, and has been engaged in farming and ranching since 1973.

Feuerborn was born in Garnett and is a graduate of Garnett High School. He served as a State Representative for the 5th District for 18 years, where he was the ranking Democrat on the House
Appropriations Committee from 2006-2012, having served on that committee from 1998-2012. For the
past 40 years, he has been a member of the Garnett Optimist Club, is a past president of the Anderson
County School Board, and is a member of the Kansas Livestock Association.

Feuerborn received his associate degree from Independence Community College in 1968 and a bachelor's
degree from Pittsburg State University. He and his wife, Lynda, have three children and seven
grandchildren. After playing in both high school and college, Feuerborn refereed high school and college
basketball for over twenty years, but now simply enjoys watching his grandchildren play sports.

Shellaine "Shelly" Kiblinger recently retired from a 32-year career in K-12 education. From 2017-2021,
she served as the Superintendent of Cherryvale Public Schools, USD 447. In Cherryvale, started many
initiatives including the development of a five-year strategic plan that focused on the state vision of
education, district-wide literacy and long-range financial planning.

Before her time with Cherryvale Public Schools, Regent Kiblinger served as the Superintendent of
Hutchinson Public Schools from 2011 to 2017. In Hutchinson she focused on literacy improvement and
successfully implemented K-12 positive behavior curriculum. She spent 12 years in USD 457 Garden City
Public Schools in various administrative positions.Regent Kiblinger is now self-employed as an educational consultant.

Regent Kiblinger graduated with a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership from
Kansas State University. She earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of
Science in Education from Pittsburg State University. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from
Independence Community College.

Blake Flanders serves as President and CEO for the Kansas Board of Regents. The Kansas Board of Regents is the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (seven public universities, nineteen community colleges, and six technical colleges). In addition, the Board administers the state’s student financial aid, adult education, GED, and career and technical education programs. The Board also authorizes private proprietary schools
and out-of-state institutions to operate in Kansas.

As President and CEO, Blake oversees the implementation of the Board’s strategic goals and manages the day-to-day operations of the Board Office. Current initiatives he is directing include the implementation of a new strategic plan for public higher education in Kansas centered on helping Kansas families, helping Kansas businesses and increasing economic prosperity for the State. Supporting strategies include a plan to address facility renewal at state universities; and advocacy for programs that increase access including enhanced need-based student financial aid and concurrent enrollment.

Prior to serving as President and CEO, Blake served as the Vice President for Workforce Development for
the Board of Regents and as the liaison between the Board and the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Blake is a graduate of Colby Community College and Kansas State University where he earned a Bachelor
of Science in Animal Science, Master of Science in Animal Science, and Doctorate of Philosophy in
Curriculum and Instruction. Before joining the Board office, he served as Vice President of Instructional
Services at Manhattan Area Technical College, and as a member of the faculty at Butler Community
College. Blake and his wife, Risa, have three children and reside in Topeka.

Deatrea Rose serves as the Assistant Vice President of Student Life and Senior Diversity Officer at PSU.
For the past 12 years, she has played an integral part in the recruitment and retention of historically
underserved students. Her office is responsible for promoting and providing diversity awareness through
trainings, workshops, and professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. This past
school year, she oversaw the execution of a University Campus Climate Survey, in which the data collected is being used to guide the decision-making for diversity initiatives moving forward. She has been a member of the Pathway to Prominence 2016-2022 Strategic Plan committee, a member of the Higher Learning Commission Committee, and has served on numerous search committees, with the most recent being the search committee for the university’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Rose serves on various local boards, including being a member of Pittsburg’s Colonial Fox Theatre
Foundation, and assists with the restoration of the historic Carver League. Rose is a two-time graduate of PSU and is married to PSU graduate, Michael Rose. They are the proud parents of three daughters, one of whom is also a recent PSU graduate.

Mary Carol Pomatto is the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and a university professor in the Irene
Ransom Bradley School of Nursing at Pittsburg State University. She has also held the position of Director
at the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, and during her tenure, the University received approval to
offer its first Doctoral program and first real-based DNP program in Kansas. Pomatto holds multiple
degrees, including two from Pittsburg State University. She is a lifetime member of the Pittsburg State
University Alumni Association and an Ex Officio member on the Pittsburg State University Foundation
Board. In her spare time, Pomatto enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering, and

Abby Fern is a 1998 graduate of Pittsburg State University and has spent 23 years in marketing and business leadership positions in the K12 and higher education industries. Abby started her career at Greenbush Education Service Center, before moving to Pitsco Education as public relations coordinator. In 2003, she transitioned to a role leading the marketing function for LEGO Education North America, the joint-venture K-12 STEM company held between Pitsco Education and the LEGO Group, a Danish toy company. Over the next 13 years, Abby grew the marketing team for LEGO Education North America during a time of rapid business growth. She served on both the Pitsco Education and LEGO Education North America leadership teams until 2013 when the joint-venture was dissolved and LEGO Education became wholly owned by the LEGO Group. As marketing director for LEGO Education North America, Abby led several projects with impact in key markets across North America, Europe, and Asia. Through this work, she was able to travel extensively, experience other cultures firsthand, work with incredible people, and build a global network of colleagues, partners, and friends.

Abby left LEGO Education in 2016 when the company relocated to Boston and returned to Pitsco
Education to lead sales enablement and customer support. She is now the Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at her alma mater, a position she has held since October 2018, where she brings
her strong belief in the transformational power of education to the next level. Abby grew up in Mound City, Kansas, and lives in Pittsburg with her husband, Mark, and their two boys, Webb and Beck. She is an active member of the USD 250 Foundation board of directors, the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation board of trustees, the Imagine Pittsburg project, and the Crawford County Recovery Task Force.

Bienvenido Cortes is an Associate Dean and MBA Director in the Kelce Graduate School of Business at
Pittsburg State University. Dr. Cortes has also served as a University Professor and Department Chair of
the Economic and Finance Department. He is a member of the Fulbright Association, East Asian Economics
Association, and the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association. Dr. Cortes has published multiple
scholarly papers and is actively involved in different University committees. He received his Doctorate in
International Economics and Development from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Arts degree in
Economics from Wichita State University.
Jason Reid is an Associate Professor at Pittsburg State University. His teaching emphasis is Web &
Interactive Media in the Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies. Reid earned his MFA from
the University of Arkansas in 2010. His industry experience includes Printing Press Operation, Graphic
Design, Online Technical Support for WordPress Students, Web Development, Web Site Account
Management, Online Marketing, and E-commerce Management.
Dr. Cole Shewmake is an associate professor responsible for teaching a variety of pedagogy courses within the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation Department at Pittsburg State University. Over the past eight years as a faculty member at PSU, he has been actively involved in service. Dr. Shewmake serves as the Faculty Athletics Representative for PSU and also served as the PSU Faculty Senate President during the 2020-21 academic year. Prior to coming to PSU, Dr. Shewmake spent six years teaching and eight years coaching in Webb City, Missouri. While in Webb City, he acquired K-12 teaching experience in physical education, health, and weight training classes, along with coaching various sports at the junior high and senior high levels. Dr. Shewmake holds a Bachelor of Physical Education Degree and a Master of Science Degree (Physical Education) from Pittsburg State University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (Pedagogy) from the University of Arkansas.
Joe Levens is a professor in the School of Construction at Pittsburg State University. He also serves as
the director of the Kansas Center for Construction Advancement. He is also a past president and member
of the board of directors for the PSU Alumni Association. In addition, he served as a trustee for the PSU
Foundation. A graduate of Pittsburg State University, Mr. Levens completed a 32-year career with Martin K. Eby Construction Co., Inc. in Wichita, Kansas rising to the rank of senior vice president prior to joining PSU
Jeannice Parker is an Administrative Associate in the Office of Career Services at Pittsburg State
University, a position she has held since July 2002. In this role, she manages the PSU Career Resource
Center, presents to classes from freshman to senior on job processes and career development, and annually advises up to 400 students one-on-one on their employment resumes and cover letters. Her passion for education, learning, and the student experience led her to seek her own undergraduate degree, and she proudly graduated from PSU with a Bachelor in General Studies degree with an emphasis in Psychology and Art in 2020. Her passion is further evident in the many campus and civic events she has invested in over the years, including her current role as president of the University Support Staff Senate.

Kaedra Brenner is a senior from Wichita, Kansas studying Plastics Engineering Technology and
Mechanical CAD at Pittsburg State University. In addition to her studies, Kaedra is an active member of
Pittsburg State University’s Student Government Association, currently serving as Student Body President
and previously as Student Body Vice President and Treasurer. She has served as a student representative
on numerous university committees including Board of Governors, Athletic Fee Council, Educational
Opportunity Fund, and multiple other committees.

Outside of her involvement with the Student Government Association, Kaedra is heavily involved in various
organizations on campus, including multiple leadership roles. Currently, Kaedra serves as Vice President
of Programming and Ritual for her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Vice President of Programming for Order
of Omega Greek Honor Society, Vice President for Women in STEM, Community Service/Philanthropy
Chair for Panhellenic Council, and is a member of Crimson Club and Advancement Ambassadors. Her roles in these organizations led to her being named the recipient of the Dr. Tom Bryant Leadership Scholarship this past year.

Kaedra has a passion and drive for leadership, in addition to a passion for serving and giving back to the
Pittsburg community. In her free time, Kaedra enjoys spending time with her friends and sorority sisters,
and finding new ways to get involved on and off campus.

Anna Thompson is a sophomore studying Social Work with a minor in Psychology at Pittsburg State
University. On campus, she is serving as secretary of Hispanics of Today, is a member of Black Student
Association and works in the Office of Student Diversity. Anna grew up in Pittsburg where her family is
widely involved and was recently named honorary PSU family. Anna’s family has amassed twenty-three
degrees from Pitt State. A few members of her family who have worked for the university over the years
include her grandfather, father, and mother. Her hobbies are spending time with friends and family,
traveling and going to Counter Culture, which is her youth group as part of Flag Church.
Elijah Harris is a Pittsburg, Kansas native who recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Plastics
Engineering Technology this past May 2021. As a member of the PSU Football program, and due to
COVID 19, he had the opportunity to come back and play one more season. Because of this opportunity,
he has begun a Master’s degree in Engineering Technology with a Plastics Emphasis. He is a member of
the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and feels blessed with the lifelong friends he has made over the years. He
is also proud of the impact he has made volunteering in the community. The opportunity to be a part of this committee is an honor and something he does not take lightly.
Walter Simpson Jr. has been very active in the educational process through the years. He graduated from
Independence High School as Vice President of his Senior Class in 1969. He attended one and a half years
at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas and chose to enlist in the United States
Marine Corp and did a two-year stint in Viet Nam and was honorably discharged in January of 1973.
Walter married Arthurene Scott in 1971 and 50 years later they are still in that union. They have two children - Anthony and Timothy and 3 grandchildren. While the children were in school, he and his wife worked in the community on the Board of Neewollah and Co-chairs of the band competition. Walter served USD 446 in Independence for 7 years. He then ran and was elected to the Kansas Association of School Boards and served in that capacity for 3 years as Vice President. Walter became an ordained elder in the church and served alongside his leaders. His devotion to the work of the church was not unnoticed as he was promoted through the ranks until he became an adjutant and worked the National Adjutancy Corp. He has been the Leading Bishop of Pentecostal Churches Independent for the past 14 years and has remained Pastor/Bishop of Lighthouse Temple Ministries 202 West Ninth Street in Pittsburg for the past 39 years.
Pat Crossland is the Executive Vice President of Crossland Construction Company, a family-owned
company that ranks top in the nation. He has worked in the industry in various roles for over 20 years but
officially started his career after graduating from Pittsburg State University in 2000 with a degree in
Construction Engineering. Pat has been a lifelong resident of Southeast Kansas, where he is actively involved in his community and church. He currently serves on the PSU Construction Advisory Board. Pat is honored to serve on the Search Committee to find PSU’s next President who brings Midwest values into every aspect of campus life.

Nick Dellasega is a 2007 graduate of Pittsburg State University where he received his Bachelor of Business
Administration in Accounting and Finance. Upon graduation, he accepted a job at KPMG in Kansas City
where he worked for three years before joining Koch Industries where he worked for seven years in both
Wichita, Kansas and Atlanta, Georgia. In 2018, Nick returned home to Pittsburg where he is now Vice
President and CFO of US Awards and PittCraft.

Nick was captain of the Pitt State football team in both 2006 and 2007, a member of the Accounting
Advisory committee from 2008-2010 and Alumni Association committee member and President in 2013-
2018. Nick continues to be very invested in Pitt State, recognizing the important role of the University in
the City of Pittsburg and the privilege it has of helping students make a positive impact in the world around them.

As president of Pitsco Education, LLC, a global organization that sells and develops hands-on, STEM
education products and services, Lisa Paterni directs the strategic vision of the company, develops
relationships with key industry partners, and oversees day-to-day activities to ensure business is conducted The Pitsco Way. A three-time graduate of Pittsburg State University, Paterni received her bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in Accounting in 1986 and her MBA in 1996. She completed a master of science in Teaching in May 2011. She is a member of the PSU Foundation Executive Board Committee, Chairperson of the Audit Committee of the PSU Foundation, and a member of the PSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

Previous memberships include Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce
Foundation Board, Pittsburg Public Library Board, and PSU Strategic Planning Council. She has been an
adjunct lecturer at PSU since 2006 and is an avid Pitt State athletics supporter. Paterni is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and finds great joy in giving back to her community. She was a co-chairperson for the Faith Forward Committee and has served at the Lord’s Diner and for Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice as a Christmas volunteer. In her free time, Paterni also enjoys teaching and taking a variety of fitness classes. She and her husband, George, reside in Pittsburg.

Blaise Bauer has served in public education for 33 years and is currently the Superintendent of Schools for
USD 248 in Girard, Kansas. He began his career in Girard during the fall of 1989, teaching high school
biology and coaching several sports. In 1994, he moved to Galena, Kansas and served as the high school
assistant principal and later principal of Galena’s alternative high school. After serving as principal at
Baxter Springs High School during the 2000-2001 school year, he returned to Girard in 2001 as the high
school principal. He is currently the superintendent of Girard schools, a position he has held since 2012.
Throughout his career, he has served on many leadership committees, worked with community groups to
develop and implement a strategic plan for the district, and has been a strong advocate of Pittsburg State
University. He graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in History,
then later returned to Pittsburg State University for his Master of Science in School Administration in 1992
and District School Administration Certification in 2001.
Miles Schnaer is the owner of the Crown Organization. He grew up in the Kansas City area, graduated from
Pittsburg State University, and is a veteran of the United States Army. His career began by selling new cars
at Morse Chevrolet in 1971, then going on to sell used cars at Van Chevrolet in 1972. In June of 1974, Miles moved into a management position and after four years of being a finance, new car, and used car
manager, he became the General Manager. He purchased his first Chevrolet dealership in January of 1979,
and moved his family to Decatur, Illinois. There, Miles purchased a Nissan dealership in 1985, then
Oldsmobile and Toyota in 1986. In 1991, Miles moved back to Kansas where he bought the Dennis Auto
Plaza in Olathe. That dealership was renamed Miles Auto Plaza after the Miles Chevrolet-Nissan
organization in Decatur. In 1992, when the Superior Group came through Kansas City buying dealerships,
Miles sold the Auto Plaza. Miles looked around the country for other dealerships to purchase, going back
to Decatur a few days a month. He was contacted by the owners of the Chevrolet and Toyota dealerships in Lawrence and decided that being in business here was a tremendous opportunity.
Linda Banwart’s hometown is St. Paul, Kansas. She attended Pittsburg State University and majored in
Nursing (1987). She completed her master’s in nursing at Kansas University Medical Center (1992) and
an MBA from Pittsburg State University (2021). Linda’s past work experience includes staff nursing at St.
Luke’s Hospital in KC, MO, working in the Organ/Tissue Donor industry, teaching nursing at Wichita State
University, since 1999 working as an Orthopedics Nurse Practitioner and currently working in that role for
Mercy Orthopedics in Joplin, MO. She is a member of the Pittsburg State University Foundation Board of
Trustees and currently serves as president. She has served on appointed and elected boards and feels strongly that her role is to do her homework and to ask pertinent questions so that she can make informed decisions to better serve the community she represents. Linda looks forward to this opportunity to work with the search committee for the next President of Pittsburg State University.
Eric Wilkinson is the Director of Operations for Kauffman Scholars, a program that assists students and
young professionals in pursuit of academic and career success, growing the pipeline of diverse and talented young professionals who have equitable access to opportunity and prosperity in Kansas City. Eric
discovered his passion for education at Kauffman Scholars, serving in various roles ranging from student
adviser to his current role as one of the leaders of the organization. Prior to returning to his hometown of Kansas City, Eric worked for Pittsburg State University, supporting students as an Assistant Director for both the Office of Admission and the Office of Student Diversity. Fueling his desire to be a resource for students, Eric also served as a faculty/staff adviser to multiple student organizations. Although Eric enjoyed his time at Pittsburg State University, the call to serve in his hometown was one that he could no longer ignore. Beyond his day job, Eric also volunteers his time at several organizations in the Kansas City metro-area that align with his passions. As a board member for The Family Conservancy, an organization committed to happy, healthy, and educated children, Eric influences policy and informs programming for early education endeavors at the organization. Examples of his service also include the Kansas City, Kansas
School Foundation for Excellence, where he serves as Board President, and Pittsburg State University,
where he serves as National Board President for the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Eric earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Pittsburg State University. He lives and works in his hometown of Kansas City.
Ron is a Sales Consultant at Blue Springs Ford in the Kansas City metropolitan area. In his spare time, he is a leader’s leader, coaching business leaders and teams to build synergies, employ skills, and create a winning workplace. He specializes in recognizing natural talents and leveraging them to produce synergies for optimal performance. He has trained thousands in small business, corporate, and growth environments. He is an author of a motivational book titled “Game Changer: Setting Your Mind To Win.” Currently, he is working on a second book and a training program to help businesses and organizations build “communities of advocates.” A 1982 graduate of Pittsburg State, Ron was an All American in football. He went on to play in professionally. He served as the Kansas City Urban Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After completing his master's degree, he started his speaking and coaching business. Later he coached high school football, then started, built and sold Freeman Packaging. He also worked as a certified agent of the NFLPA.
Brian Baumgardner holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City,
a Bachelor of Science degree from Pittsburg State University, and an Associate of Arts degree from Johnson County Community College. Dr. Baumgardner has practiced dentistry for 15 years and has been a Human Science Professor at Johnson County Community College for 37 years. He has served as a department chair, Honors advisor, and adjunct faculty evaluator. Dr. Baumgardner is the co-author of Anatomy and Physiology online lab book and was the Editor for Hole’s Anatomy textbook – four editions.
Tom Lundblad was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas. He has a BA in History and an MS in Psychology
and Counseling from Pittsburg State University. Tom was a high school Counselor at both Louisburg High
and Parsons High. During that time, he enjoyed working with juniors and seniors on career counseling and
working closely with college admission and financial aid representatives. Tom also taught Social Science
for eight years at Parson High and worked as a substitute teacher at Louisburg, Spring Hill, Lawrence,
Eudora, and Perry Lecompton. Tom has been a member of many community organizations including the
Parsons Kiwanis Club, the Louisburg Rotary Club, and the Louisburg Masonic Peace Lodge #243.
Bill Brady is the owner of Capitol Strategies, LLC (1999-present), which has grown to be one of the most
respected and successful government relations firms in the State of Kansas. Prior to joining Capitol
Strategies, Bill was the Executive Director of the Minnesota Library Association, the Business
Administrator of Parsons State Hospital & Training Center, and the Regional Director of the American
Lung Association of Kansas. He was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 7th
district, and the Kansas Senate, representing the 14th districts. While in office, he served on both the House and Senate budget committees and as an ombudsman for constituent problems. Bill received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Political Science from Pittsburg State University.