| A plaque honoring retiring SouthWestern Association CEO Jeff Flora was unveiled Saturday, April 12 during a dedication ceremony on the OSU Institute of Technology campus.
The plaque, now part of OSUIT’s Walk of Fame, is in recognition and appreciation for Flora’s longstanding commitment to the university’s SouthWestern Association Industrial and Farm Equipment program, which he helped establish on the Okmulgee campus in 2003.
“We’re honoring today the person who really made the SouthWestern Association program a reality here on campus,” said OSUIT President Bill R. Path during the ceremony.
The inscription on the plaque honors Flora’s 32 years of service and his vision and energy for serving association members and their businesses.
“He had the vision of a program that would assist Association members in finding and training skilled technicians to fill the increasing number of vacancies in the equipment industry,” the plaque reads.
Path said Flora often refers to the establishment of the technician program at OSUIT as the crowning achievement of his career and the accomplishment that gives him the most satisfaction.
“Mr. Flora brings out the best in others and displays a generosity of spirit mentoring staff and volunteers,” Path said. “His legacy has resulted in opportunities for many students who otherwise could not pursue the dream of a college education.”
During the ceremony Flora thanked Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Institute Division Chair Roy Achemire, SWA program instructors David Martin and John Hoover, OSU Foundation Assistant Director of Development Glen Zanotti and SWA Regional Manager Tag Webb. “This is the best thing we’ve ever done with the association, partnering with OSUIT. It works because it feels like everyone is winning,” he said.
Flora is the second Walk of Fame inductee and his plaque now joins the one honoring Tom Payne, who was instrumental in creating the automotive programs at the institution.
“Seeing who was first last year and here I am No. 2, I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Flora said during the dedication. “This is an honor I’ll never forget.”