Editor's Note: This is one of several stories in a Pratt Community College Diamond Jubilee special section, inserted in Thursday's print edition.
For the last third of its 75 years, Pratt Community College has honored a local business person as Executive in Residence and given college students the opportunity to "scrutinize a career that has been successful," according to Junnae Landry, an accounting and business instructor who guides the program.
Boyd Davies was the first recipient of the honor, in 1987.
Vice President Lynn Cundiff, quoted in a 1987 story in the Pratt Tribune, said the program "is designed to create a greater tie between classroom study and the business world."
Teachers in the business department give students some preparatory information, or "set them up" to gain the most from the experience, Landry said.
Daryl and Gary Trimpe, co-executives for 2009-10, were especially effective, leaving the stage and talking directly with students and answering question about how to start a business and what makes it successful.
"Lunch was late that year," Landry commented.
Local restaurant owners Bob and Becky Eastes shared information Landry didn't know — that fund-raiser meals, while good for the community, have an impact on restaurants in a small town like Pratt.
"Bill Keller's selection and interaction with students and faculty at the college in early February highlighted Stanion Electric's contribution to the Pratt area, as well as being a potential resource for practical experience and job growth across Kansas," said Jon Davies, son of the late Boyd Davies.
"Continued spotlighting of local businesses and resulting interaction between PCC and the community is important, and my father would be very pleased that the Executive In Residence program helps with that," he continued.
When Boyd Davies died in 1990, the college decided to continue the program on an annual basis and name each year's recipient the Boyd Davies Executive in Residence.
"To be honest, twenty-some years on, I didn't expect the program to be continuing," Jon Davies said. "But both students and faculty, and the local Pratt area business community still find it a useful and helpful vehicle of communication and involvement between the community and the PCC business and accounting department. I think it helps students and faculty stay aware of local businesses and resources for real-world learning and possible employment."
The 1987 Tribune article, written by PCC's Sandy Fruit, summarized Boyd Davies' career.
At the age of 18, he took over as department head in the purchasing and expediting department of the Cummins Diesel Corporation in Indiana.
He was later scholarshipped to the Babson School of Business Administration in Boston, where he graduated with honors. During World War II, he was a civilian contract specialist for the U.S. Navy.
Page 2 of 2 - After the war, Davies worked for the George S. May Company of Chicago, as a business consultant. This position brought him to Pratt to work for the Schafer Plow Company. Davies took over 15 percent of the company, and in four years, rescued it from bankruptcy. By 1952, it had become a profitable company.
Davies established several businesses in Pratt County, bringing in outside income of more than $25 million. His businesses included Davies Manufacturing Company, Harvestor Plow Company, Power Steering Company, Davies Hydraulics Systems, Davies Long Handled Popcorn Poppers, Davies Fabulous Folder Furniture, Skyline Storage Company and Regional Respiratory Services Company, with branches in Salina, Great Bend and agents in 10 other Kansas communities.
Davies was active in Pratt organizations and was the Pratt County delegate for the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging. He was a major force behind the "division of assets" legislation benefiting the elderly passed in 1987, according to Fruit's article.
Executives in Residence
George T. Chandler
Kenneth C. Gates
Gary C. Skaggs
Susan M. Page
Dr. Phil Farmer
Dr. James W. Van Blaricum III
Dr. Patrick N. Barker
Daryl and Gary Trimpe
Bob and Becky Eastes
Note: Boyd Davies received the award for 1987-88. It was not given again until 1991-92, and has been given every year since then.