Katherine A. Stevens, ’80 & Fred Cramer, '73

Katherine A. Stevens (Kathy), ’80 B.S.

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Katherine A. Stevens, Ph.D., a member of the Senior Executive Service, is director, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. She is responsible for planning and executing the Air Force's advanced materials, processes, and manufacturing technology programs to support all elements of Air Force acquisition and sustainment. Stevens is also responsible for interfacing these areas throughout the corporate Air Force and Department of Defense. She oversees an annual budget of more than $450 million and directs the activities of approximately 1,200 scientists, engineers, and support personnel at five different geographic locations.

Stevens graduated from Wright State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1987, she received her Master of Science degree from Ohio State University, and in 2002, she received her Doctorate of Philosophy degree, also from Ohio State University.

Kathy began her career with the Air Force in 1979 at the Air Force Materials Laboratory, WPAFB, researching high-temperature materials for advanced turbine engine applications. During her more than 20 years developing, transitioning, and consulting on materials and manufacturing, she worked on a number of key materials and processes, primarily for advanced and legacy turbine engines, including those powering the F-22 and F-35. She later influenced a much broader array of materials and processes developments and applications from key Materials and Manufacturing Directorate leadership positions.

Kathy received the 2000 Vincent J. Russo Award for Leadership Excellence, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory; the 2002 Reserve Supervisor of the Year Award, Air Force Research Laboratory; and the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award, College of Engineering, Ohio State University.

Fred Cramer, '73
Wright State graduate Fred Cramer ’73 stays connected to his alma mater

Fred Cramer remembers the early days at Wright State. Four buildings on campus. A horse stable where the Nutter Center sits today. Autocross racing in what is now the Alumni Soccer Field.

“It was just a unique time and experience,” Cramer recalled. “I really like the fact that we got to know our professors.”

Cramer has especially fond memories of his former marketing professor, Gordie Wise, who has also been the public address announcer for Wright State’s basketball games since day one.

“Gordie Wise and the marketing team were great,” said Cramer. “He and I are personal friends to this day.”

Cramer’s relationships with former classmates and faculty have kept him engaged with Wright State over the years.

“There’s a feeling like you belong to a part of something,” he said. “There’s a lot that Wright State offers. I’ve been to every Wright State NCAA basketball game. I’ve come here to plays. There have been a lot of good experiences.”

From bringing his seven-year-old nephew to campus for a children’s program to recommending Wright State for the son of a golfing buddy, Cramer has always been an ambassador for his alma mater.

“When you graduate from school, your education doesn’t stop there. You need to continue that education,” he explained. “You can enhance your education by the services Wright State provides. If you’re not engaged, you’re cutting your education short. ”

Cramer recognized the full impact of his Wright State education when he went to work at IBM following graduation. During a training session for new employees, Cramer recalls being surrounded by alumni from such prestigious institutions as the Wharton School of Business.

“I will assure you I was the only one in that class from Wright State University,” said the former quantitative business analysis major. “I finished third in the class out of 40. I felt like the education I got at Wright State put me on par with somebody who spent significantly more money going someplace else. At the end of the day, I could compete.”

Today, Cramer sells computer software to manufacturing companies. His company, Guide Technologies, is the largest channel partner for Infor—the third-biggest software company in the world.

Nearly 40 years later, Cramer still credits Wright State for much of his success.

“Had I not had the education I received from Wright State, I would not be where I am now,” he said. “It was the education I got here that opened the doors.”