On December 15, a reception was held at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) honoring Ray Frederick’s service and dedication to Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) and marking the end of his time as interim president for the college. Ray has served as interim president for one year and it was during that time that WATC entered an exciting new chapter. A partnership was formed with Sedgwick County and the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) which brought a new level of technical education to Kansas through the programs and training offered at NCAT through WATC. The college’s administration, staff and several programs relocated to the new state-of-the-art facility, and NCAT became the new college headquarters for WATC.
Frederick has always been very involved in the city of Wichita and its surrounding areas; he runs and serves as operating president of Frederick Plumbing & Heating, Inc and continues to actively serve on a variety of boards and associations. Prior to Frederick’s experience as interim president of WATC, he was a member of The Sedgwick County Technical Education and Training Authority (SCTETA), the governing board for WATC, for 3 years. He was also chairman of the board for the Wichita Independent Business Association (WIBA) and was a member of the search committee for the city manager of Wichita. Frederick also found time to serve on a variety of trade boards, serve as president for multiple trade associations, and was a member of the Diversity Advisory Board for the city of Wichita.
Frederick set a lot of that involvement aside while he was focused on WATC as interim president, but he looks forward to his immediate plans of returning to his past level of involvement with WIBA while also continuing to serve several trade boards for the city. “I’m not one to sit still,” he says. “Technical education is a real burden that I have, I’m committed to it just because of the trade that I’m in, it’s critical to our industry. But even more than that, it’s critical to this community and the state. I’m sure I’ll keep track of what’s going on.”
When Jim Walters, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Cessna Aircraft Company, and Chairman of the SCTETA Board presented Frederick with a plaque honoring his service, he congratulated Frederick and said, “I speak on behalf of the board; you’ve done an excellent job in bringing stable leadership to this college and you’ve accomplished some very significant milestones. Not the least of which is bringing financial stability to the college, seeing to completion this great building that we’re sitting in [NCAT], and on behalf of the board we want to thank you for doing a great job at WATC.”
When asked what he will take away from his time with WATC, Frederick answered without hesitation, “The relationships.” During his last couple of months as president, Frederick would send out daily, short email messages to all WATC employees. These messages were reflections and inspirational thoughts that had impacted his outlook. He hoped they would also inspire the employees of WATC in their interactions and attitudes throughout the day. There was one brief email in particular that seemed to best summarize Frederick’s stance as a leader and style of management. It stated that, “We’re a circle of relationships, not a chain of command.”
Frederick went on to say, “We’ll forget about the dollars and cents and numbers. That will fade. But what won’t fade are the friendships and relationships. And I hope that never fades.”