This past fall’s Outstanding Alumni Award recipients said they were both proud and humbled to be selected to represent their fellow alumni.

Outstanding Alumni

PSU 2014 Outstanding Alumni: Benjamin Burns, Emily Brown and James Whitford.

Benjamin Burns, vice president-internal audit & due diligence at Leggett and Platt, Inc., in Carthage, Mo.; Emily Brown, project executive and director of training and development for McCownGordon Construction in Kansas City, Mo.; and James Whitford, the co-founder and executive director of Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission in Joplin, Mo., received their awards during Homecoming activities Oct. 10-11.

Benjamin Burns
Benjamin Burns earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from PSU in 2000 and an MBA from PSU in 2001. Currently he serves as the vice president of internal audit and due diligence at Leggett and Platt, Inc., in Carthage, Mo. Burns is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a certified fraud examiner and holds a certification in risk management assurance.
Burns and his wife, Becky, live in Joplin, Mo., and have two daughters, Addison and Avery.

Emily Brown
Emily Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management from PSU in 2001. At McCownGordon, she oversees approximately $50 million in projects annually. Her area of specialty is health care, law firm and public works clients.
Brown and her husband, Chad Brown (MBA 1996), live in Shawnee, Kan. They have a son, Jake, who is 7.

James Whitford
James Whitford Whitford earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from PSU in 1997 and a master’s degree and physical therapy degrees from the University of Kansas Medical Center. He earned a doctorate in physical therapy from KU in 2008. He is the co-founder and executive director of Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission, a 46-bed shelter for the homeless and outreach to the poor in Joplin, Mo. He is also the founder and director of the True Charity Initiative (TCI), an educational and public policy effort, calling communities to effective charity and freedom from welfare.
Whitford and his wife, Marsha, have five children: Nash, Caleb, Stevie, Ethan and Kelsey. They live in Webb City, Mo.