Alumni Robert Stokes

Front Page Summary: 

Robert Stokes, TSA Alumni Association President, accredits much of his personal and professional success to his more than 20 years of involvement with TSA as a member, officer, volunteer and supporter.

Little did he know in 1984 when he became national TSA president that one day he would also be president of the TSA Alumni Association. At that time, Robert Stokes was the third national TSA officer from Oklahoma and the first national TSA officer from Wyandott High School in the small rural town of Wyandott, OK. TSA was then known as AIASA (American Industrial Arts Student Association).

Only about 300 people lived in Wyandott when Robert was a senior in high school. “TSA was the main activity in the town. The annual TSA chapter recognition banquet sometimes drew 200 or more people.” After leaving high school, Robert earned his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Missouri Southern State University and a graduate degree from the University of Utah. He then pursued a doctoral degree at Oklahoma State University. It was also at this time that Robert ran for a United States congressional seat to pursue a career in politics. Although he won the primary, he lost the general election in Oklahoma's former sixth congressional district. However, it was his strong commitment to the Technology Student Association and technology education that created Robert’s career path.

By the age of thirty Robert became the Assistant TSA State Advisor in Oklahoma. It was also at this time when Robert began his career in curriculum development working for PITSCO. Harvey Dean, CEO of PITSCO, offered Robert a job creating curriculum. PITSCO, a Kansas based company dedicated to helping students and teachers succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and Mathematics) education, was a great place for Robert to continue his connection to TSA. PITSCO has been a TSA sponsor for over thirty years. It was also when Robert was at PITSCO that he became motivated to someday have his own company specializing in curriculum materials and supplies.

Today Robert is the owner and president of Stokes Educational Services (SES). One of the first clients for SES was Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tennessee. The county had a need for curriculum materials for an Engineering Process class that was being mandated by the state. Stokes Educational Services studied the state standards and created the curriculum. Once the curriculum was written, the content could be rewritten to find other strand requirements in other districts and states. In addition to school districts in Tennessee and Oklahoma, Stokes Educational Services has over 30 complete lab installations and a few single unit customers.

“I have eight years of post-secondary education, but the skills I learned in TSA are the most important educational experiences I have ever had. The skills necessary to be a successful business man or to run for public office were things that I learned by being in TSA. TSA has always been a significant part of my life. I have attended over 20 national TSA conferences and over 30 state conferences in various states including Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, and Georgia,” said Robert. Robert met Lynette, his wife of 21 years in 1984 and together they have four children. Mr. William P. Elrod, the founding father of TSA, attended their wedding. Robert even became the national TSA advisor in the mid-1990s whereby he mentored the national TSA officer teams.

Starting his own business has allowed Robert to dedicate more time to TSA activities. Now as president of the TSA Alumni Association Robert is looking forward to serving along with past TSA members as ambassadors for TSA and technology education by creating an environment where people and communities can develop their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success.