FIVE FAMILIAR PHOENIX FACES WILL CHEER FOR K-STATE DURING THE TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL
MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Among the tens of thousands of purple-clad fans cheering on Kansas State University in Greater Phoenix next week, at least five of them should look familiar. That's because these K-State alumni are making a profound impact on the city they now call home.
Thomas Hill and Brad Nelsen are taking lessons learned at their alma mater to make their mark on the Phoenix business landscape. Hill, a former Wildcat football player, takes inspiration from Coach Bill Snyder in how he runs his boot camps that are improving the fitness of Phoenix-area children. Nelsen graduated from the College of Architecture, Planning and Design — which the New York Times called one of the nation's best — and designs Phoenix-area landmarks.
Scott Pasmore and Dan Manucci are the face and voice of Phoenix, respectively. Pasmore helps area residents get their day started as the news anchor of "Good Morning! Arizona," and Manucci scores big with listeners to "Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch" on The Fan AM 1060. Both bleed purple, the university's color, and proudly show their spirit.
Sharon Bates is a Phoenix philanthropist and a Wildcat by choice. Although she never attended the university, she considers herself a K-Stater through and through. She heads the Anthony Bates Foundation, named for her son, a K-State football player who died of sudden cardiac arrest at age 20. Bates takes to heart a mission to screen children across the nation for the condition.
Who he is: Former NFL player and founder of Bounce Boot Camp, a Phoenix-based children's fitness program
K-State connection: Hill was a tight end for K-State. As team captain, he led the Wildcats to the Big 12 Championship in 2003.
After graduating from K-State with a bachelor's degree in social sciences, Hill was selected as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers in the 2004 NFL draft. He traveled the NFL circuit and then decided to settle in the Phoenix area in 2005.
In addition to working as a sales representative, Hill now owns an inflatable equipment company with his wife, Jane. Hill's daughter, Jada, inspired him to create Bounce Boot Camp, a children's fitness program that uses inflatable equipment, such as castles, slides and obstacle courses.
"My goal was to get kids active but provide an atmosphere where it isn't about being the best athlete," Hill said. "If kids are having fun, they have no clue they are burning calories and getting into shape."
Hill and six certified trainers lead the program, which helps children develop hand-eye coordination, balance, agility and strength. The program has become a quick success, with two locations and franchise interest from several states across the country. Several thousand children have participated in the program since it began in September 2011.
Hill continues improving the fitness program, which is a lesson that he learned from K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder. Hill attributes Coach Snyder and the university for teaching him values he uses in his own business
"K-State is where I grew up," Hill said. "One of the big values I learned from Coach Snyder is the importance of being on time. I also learned about consistency. You have to have a schedule that works and you have to be consistent with it."
Hill and his wife, Jane, live in Anthem, Ariz., with their three children: 9-year-old daughter Jada and 3-year-old twin sons Torrin and Titus. Hill will proudly wear his No. 88 K-State jersey when attending the Fiesta Bowl to cheer on the Wildcats.
Who he is: Founder of Nelsen Partners Inc.
K-State connection: Alumnus
When visitors flock to the Phoenix area for the Fiesta Bowl, they'll see Kansas State University on the football field -- and in the skyline.
University alumnus Brad Nelsen and his architecture firm, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Nelsen Partners Inc., have helped shape the Phoenix area, designing prominent office, restaurant, retail and mixed-use developments.
Nelsen graduated from Kansas State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in architecture. His father owned an architecture firm in Omaha, Neb., and inspired Nelsen's college choice.
"Out of all of the schools in the region, my father would always say that K-State best prepared future architects," he said. "That opinion was a heavy influence in me attending K-State."
The College of Architecture, Planning and Design is ranked one of the best in the nation. Three of the college's programs are among the Top 10 programs in the nation, and five are among the Top 15, according to an annual survey by DesignIntelligence magazine.
"Kansas State University prepared me to work hard and taught me how to excel at what I do," Nelsen said.
After graduation, Nelsen served as president and partner of the firm Shepherd Nelsen and Wheeler in Dallas. He later opened the firm's first regional office in Phoenix and moved to Melbourne, Australia, to open another office. He acquired his former firm and founded Nelsen Architects, now called Nelsen Partners, in 1990. The firm also has offices in Austin, Texas.
Nelsen Partners has created iconic projects in the Phoenix area, including Kierland Commons mixed-use lifestyle center, Scottsdale Quarter shopping and entertainment district, and renovation of the Biltmore Fashion Park shopping mall.
"In the Phoenix area alone, we have been responsible for signature landmark projects," Nelsen said. "You'll find that our projects throughout the valley are nothing short of amazing and are extremely successful, from mixed-use projects to retail to offices to hotels."
Nelsen helps plan and design the concepts, imagery and direction of the firm's projects. He has been involved in more than $1 billion worth of construction projects around the world. Nelsen Partners has won awards from the Urban Land Institute, American Institute of Architects and other professional associations.
Nelsen Partners is a capstone member of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design's Founders Guild to support transforming Seaton Hall, home of the college, into a 21st century learning and research facility.
Contact information: Scott Pasmore, 602-207-3482, email@example.com
News release prepared by: Greg Tammen, 785-532-4486, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who he is: Anchor of the morning news program "Good Morning! Arizona"
K-State connection: Pasmore got his start in reporting and broadcast news at Kansas State University, earning a bachelor's degree in radio and television.
For thousands of Arizonans every morning, Scott Pasmore is a friendly face and a source on what's happening in Greater Phoenix and across the state.
Pasmore, anchor of the weekday edition of "Good Morning! Arizona" on 3TV, attended Kansas State University, where he was a member of Sigma Nu social fraternity and ran track his freshman year, lettering in the sport. The university was also where he got his start in broadcast journalism.
"I took a journalism class and I was able to report some stories for the local cable channel in Manhattan, Kan.," Pasmore said. "I loved it and that was it; I knew I'd found my thing."
After graduating in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in radio and television, Pasmore began working for a news network in Kirksville, Mo., later transitioning to Palm Springs, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. He has received an Emmy award for his coverage of the Los Angeles riots and several local awards for his reporting. He has been at 3TV since 1989.
Pasmore said his time at K-State and in Manhattan taught him how to appreciate what he has and what he has worked for throughout his career. It also influenced him personally, channeling the small-town warmth and friendliness he experienced to his audience and friends and family.
Moreover, it ignited a passion for K-State that Pasmore's co-workers -- and viewers -- know well.
"Everybody who watches 'Good Morning! Arizona' knows that I went to school at K-State," Pasmore said. "I talk about purple and about the Wildcats, especially with the football success this year. I've gotten my producers to show highlights from the games."
Pasmore's Twitter followers see pictures of his purple tie-of-the-day, his dress shoes with purple shoestrings, and of the show's morning team dressed in purple -- which was tweeted to K-State President Kirk Schulz.
"It's to the point where if my co-workers see someone wearing purple, they'll say, 'Look, Scott, they're wearing K-State for you,'" Pasmore said. "I think it's hysterical that I've gotten my co-workers talking about K-State more than their alma maters."
On Jan. 3 the K-State Wildcats will prepare to play the final game of their 11-win, Big 12 championship season in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Pasmore again will wear purple as he readies for an interview with the K-State president and to cheer on the university where he got his professional start.
"I'm really proud of K-State and what they've done on the field and off the field," Pasmore said. "I can't wait for everybody to see this sea of purple in Arizona and the energy that comes with it. It's going to be great!"
Who he is: Co-host of "Calling All Sports with Roc and Manuch" in Phoenix, Ariz.
K-State connection: Played football for the Wildcats in 1977 and 1978, graduated with a bachelor's degree in secondary physical education and a minor in radio and TV.
Members of a football team have a permanent bond, even players whose touchdowns happened in different generations and whose season's couldn't have been much different.
When Dan Manucci played for the Kansas State University Wildcats in 1977 and 1978, the team won a total of six games. This year's Fiesta Bowl-bound team will head to Phoenix with 11 wins.
Before graduating from K-State and being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, Manucci led the Big 8 Conference in passing his senior year.
"We went through some tough years," Manucci said. "It's so great to see what Coach Bill Snyder has been able to do."
Manucci first visited K-State on a recruiting trip and went to a basketball game. He said his first impression of the campus was the fans' spirit.
"I saw how passionate they were," Manucci said. "I saw that growing up in Tempe, Ariz., but not at that level. It was refreshing to be part of it."
After graduating and playing for the Bills and other professional football teams, Manucci settled into an old hobby he had at K-State — broadcasting. Manucci had worked for the campus radio station doing early morning updates. Now, in Phoenix, he co-hosts a daily radio sports talk show.
"We're a little off the beaten track," he said. "We mix in a lot of pop culture."
Manucci said K-State prepared him for his careers in both football and radio through the encouragement of faculty and coaches. The campus was progressive and made students want to get involved, and Manucci said he's proud to see that continue today.
"The players stay out of trouble, and the graduation rate is high," he said. "We alums are so proud of the program, on and off the field."
As Manucci prepares to cheer on the players who wear the purple as proudly as he did years ago, he remembers a time when he felt a similar sense of excitement.
"The final game my senior year, we beat the University of Kansas, and the fans tore the goalposts down," he said. "It was a beautiful day in Manhattan, Kan."
Who she is: Founder and CEO of the Anthony Bates Foundation, a nonprofit youth heart screening organization.
K-State connection: Mother of Anthony Bates, a Kansas State University defensive tackle who died at age 20 from sudden cardiac arrest.
Sharon Bates is on a mission to secure the hearts of young student athletes and help prevent others from experiencing the heartbreaking loss of a child.
Sharon's son Anthony Bates was a Kansas State University football player who died in 2000 at age 20 from sudden cardiac arrest. He had an undiagnosed heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or enlarged heart. Despite years of routine sports physicals, life-saving heart screenings had never been part of his checkups.
In memory of her son, Sharon started the Anthony Bates Foundation in 2002. The nonprofit foundation has performed more than 8,400 heart screenings on young athletes in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and Washington schools.
"We are finding a consistent 10 percent who didn't know they have heart problems," Sharon said.
The foundation will host free screenings March 2, 2013 at Isaac Middle School in Phoenix and April 6 at Diamond Canyon School in Anthem. The results are given the same day to share with a family doctor.
"Most issues are treatable or correctable with surgery," Sharon said. "Although there is no cure for people with an enlarged heart like Anthony's, it is not a death sentence. With lifestyle changes many individuals live well into their 70s and 80s."
Since the first screening a year after Anthony's death at K-State, the foundation has uncovered approximately 900 children with a heart condition, reinforcing the importance of heart screenings and furthering Sharon's mission to help others.
"I had always been very involved in Anthony's life," Sharon said. "I did what I could to help my son because he was my community. Once my son died, everyone became my community -- especially Kansas State."
It was K-State Coach Bill Snyder who told Sharon that she needed to start screenings. Today, nearly all K-State athletes are screened at the annual Anthony Bates Foundation heart screening in Manhattan, Kan.
"Going to K-State and doing a screening is like going to a family event; I always feel welcome," Sharon said.
The Anthony Bates Foundation also donates automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, to many schools across the U.S. and provides training for other programs to start heart screenings.
"There are 25 million kids in this country and until they don't need me, I'll keep doing my screenings and do what I can to make this world a better place," Sharon said.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanenglish/1349078080/