By MINDY MCKENZIE
Daily Globe Staff Reporter
SHELBY - Business leaders of the area gathered at Pioneer Career and Technology Center Tuesday night to honor and recognize the 2014 Ralph Phillips Business Partner of the Year. Kevin Fraley, Brian Wurm, Jerry Tuttle, and Ed Alt of MTD Products were presented with the prestigious award.A dinner was held in the cafeteria of PCTC for both past and present recipients of the award. Katie Stone, Communications and Job Leads Coordinator with PCTC, stated Pioneer students pitched in to prepare for the special evening. "Our horticulture department set up the flower arrangements on each of the tables, our culinary arts students prepared and served the food, and our graphic arts students made the programs for the evening. It is really nice to be able to have everything in house," said Stone. Glenna Cannon, superintendent of PCTC, welcomed all guests and thanked them for attending the award dinner. Cannon shared a special thank you with her administration at Pioneer. "These people are very important to me. They help me run the school. In fact, they probably run the school and I simply exist around here. I want to thank you for all you do," said Cannon. Cannon explained the Business Partner of the Year award began in 2006 and the first award recipient was Ralph Phillips. "We looked at all the things that Ralph did. He hired our students, served on the advisory committee, provided donations, allowed students to tour his factory, contributed to scholarships, and the list went on and on," said Cannon. In 2007, Cannon explained the Pioneer staff were responsible for nominating a candidate for the Business Partner of the Year. In 2010, the Business Partner of the Year was named after Ralph Phillips. "Although we lost Ralph in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, he continues to make an impact on our lives. This is what the Ralph Phillips Business Partner of the Year is all about. The companies and individuals who are receiving this award and who have received the award in the past, have the attributes of Ralph Phillips," said Cannon. Cannon recognized the nominees and announced MTD Products as the award recipient. Cannon shared that Chris Karl, instructor at Pioneer, nominated the recipients. Karl acknowledged Roy Pullum of MTD Products. "Roy was a big inspiration in my life. He actually hired me when I got into the apprenticeship at MTD," said Karl. Karl explained MTD was founded in 1932. "Over the years, MTD has grown into one of the largest outdoor power equipment companies in the world. They strive on integrity, honesty, and hard work," said Karl. Jerry Tuttle and Kevin Fraley of MTD accepted the award. Karl shared his experiences with both Tuttle and Fraley. "Jerry is the type of guy that will give you an honest answer and he was a great boss. Jerry has moved to corporate and works along side with Roy in Cleveland. Kevin came up through the ranks with me and we have been good friends for a lot of years. Kevin is also an alumni of precision machining at Pioneer. Kevin is also on my advisory committee and he helps teach adult education for precision machining," said Karl. Karl acknowledged Brian Wurm and Ed Alt who were unable to attend. Tuttle shared his thoughts on receiving the award. "I want to thank everyone. We have had a lot of good guys from Pioneer work at MTD. Chris is teaching the kids the right things from the ground up," said Tuttle. Fraley expressed his appreciation to Karl and Pioneer. "I want to thank Chris for all that he does. I wouldn't be where I am today without going through the program at Pioneer. This October will be 20 years since I have been with MTD and I love what I do," said Fraley.