ARKANSAS CITY — Wishing to honor the legacy of hard work and generosity that her father left behind, Jana Lumbert and her husband, Ross, recently established the John R. Watts Memorial Scholarship at Cowley College.
The first recipient of the John R. Watts Memorial Scholarship is Cowley College sophomore Jacob Taylor, who is a member of the Cowley College cross country team. Taylor was awarded $500 for the fall semester.
To be eligible for the scholarship, the recipient must be a full-time student, a Mechatronics major, and have at least a 2.5 grade point average. The recipient must also complete a one-page essay on “What is your greatest accomplishment to date”.
Taylor graduated from Van Alstyne High School in Texas in 2017. At Van Alstyne, he participated in cross country, track, FCA, and welding. He was named an Academic All-American cross country scholar, District Champion, and helped Van Alstyne place fourth in its first-ever trip to the state meet.
At Cowley, Taylor is running as part of the No. 12-ranked Tiger men’s cross country team. He is a student in manufacturing technology instructor Bryan Faber’s Digital Electronics course.
“Jacob is a solid student, and is respectful and courteous with others,” Faber said.
Former Mechatronics instructor Daniel Higdon echoed Faber’s comments.
“Jacob was an excellent student and worked with all of the other students with an equally excellent attitude and continued to work at the highest level possible even while exceling in his sport,” Higdon said.
Taylor is working toward achieving a Manufacturing Technology AAS Degree.
“The amount I have been honored to receive will help me to complete my degree at Cowley College,” Taylor said. “This will enable me to secure a higher position with an employer, while giving me confidence of an exciting future.”
Jana Lumbert said her father worked as Garage Foreman for John Morrell/Rodeo Meats in Arkansas City for many years. Away from his job at Rodeo Meats, Mr. Watts enjoyed working on cars and served as the president of the Cowley County Drag Strip Association.
“Dad was always working on something. He was a jack of all trades,” Lumbert said. “Mechatronics would have been right up his alley.”
Jana and Ross met at Cowley while attending the college during 1982-83 school year just a few months after her dad had lost his battle with cancer.
“I’ve always wished my dad could have met Ross. They would have gotten along great,” Jana said.
Jana’s mother, Delena Watts, still resides in Arkansas City, while Ross and Jana reside in Rose Hill, Kan., where they operate American Control & Engineering Service, Inc.
In 2003 Ross saw a need for a high-tech control team to solve complex control challenges in the Wichita area. Today the company he founded, American Control and Engineering Service, Inc. (ACES) has 27 employees and partners with major manufacturers in the Wichita area as well as a wide range of clients across the country and internationally.
The company is known for its broad range of knowledge when it comes to servicing control systems. From ovens and furnaces to municipal water plants and oil fields, the company’s exposure to ideas from diverse industries allows them to solve problems no one else can, many of which are corrections to brand new pieces of equipment.
“Our niche is being able to fix high-end automated industrial machinery,” Jana said.
ACES has brought machinery all over the country into compliance with state and national standards. ACES has also programmed control systems for many different industries. This wide range of exposure gives them a unique synchronicity when it comes to servicing control systems.
“My dad would have loved what we are doing with the business,” Jana said. “I learned my way around a tool box from him. What I learned from my dad has paid off for me in a lot of ways.”
Jana said she and Ross are happy to be able to establish this scholarship at Cowley.
“We want to encourage kids with a strong work ethic and a desire to fix things,” Jana said. “We have been blessed and we hope to be a blessing to somebody that may be a little short financially and help them finish strong in the Mechatronics program at Cowley College. We would love for students at Cowley to come see our shop, possibly intern with us, and maybe one day be employed with us.”
For more information on the John R. Watts Memorial Scholarship or additional scholarship opportunities, please contact Lisa Grose at 620-441-5294.