Ross and Jana Lumbert named Outstanding Tiger Alumni for 2020

Ross and Jana LumbertPutting together successful careers servicing control systems across the country and internationally, former Cowley College students Ross and Jana (Watts) Lumbert have been named the Outstanding Tiger Alumni for 2020.

Jana and Ross met at Cowley while attending the college during the 1982-83 school year just a few months after Jana’s father, John R. Watts, had lost his battle with cancer.

Mr. Watts worked as Garage Foreman for John Morrell/Rodeo Meats in Arkansas City for many years. Away from his job at Rodeo Meats, he enjoyed working on cars and served as the president of the Cowley County Drag Strip Association.

Wishing to honor the legacy of hard work and generosity that her father left behind, the John R. Watts Memorial Scholarship was established at Cowley College in 2018.

“Dad worked hard at Rodeo every day and then came home and worked on cars for people for a little bit of nothing just to help people out,” Jana said. “He never turned down a kid who would bring their bicycle into his shop and ask him to fix their tire. The second part of that equation was that I knew that one of the best ways to bless my mom would be to honor my dad. Personally, we lost my mom, Delena Watts, a year ago this month and she was thrilled that this scholarship was created in my dad’s memory. We set up a memorial when she passed to add funds to the endowed scholarship. I want to thank all the people who have contributed to the scholarship.”

Dr. Kori Gregg, Cowley College Vice President of Institutional advancement, had the privilege of meeting Ross and Jana when they first started the scholarship to honor Jana’s father.

“While I was impressed with their success in business, it was their incredible work ethic and strong value system that was most remarkable to me,” Dr. Gregg said.

Ross and Jana reside in Rose Hill, KS, where they operate American Control & Engineering Service, Inc.

In 2003 Ross saw a need for a high-tech control team to solve complex control challenges in the Wichita area. Today the company he founded, American Control and Engineering Service, Inc. (ACES) has 27 employees and partners with major manufacturers in the Wichita area as well as a wide range of clients across the country and internationally.

“We all know that extraordinary role models live their character in everything they do. I can’t think of a better example of what that means than Ross and Jana,” Dr. Gregg said. “They are proof that true success is built on hard work, determination, belief in yourself, doing your best every day, and a strong faith. They are exemplary role models for students to see.”

The company is known for its broad range of knowledge when it comes to servicing control systems. From ovens and furnaces to municipal water plants and oil fields, the company’s exposure to ideas from diverse industries allows them to solve problems no one else can, many of which are corrections to brand new pieces of equipment.

“Our niche is being able to fix high-end automated industrial machinery,” Jana said.

ACES has brought machinery all over the country into compliance with state and national standards. ACES has also programmed control systems for many different industries. This wide range of exposure gives them a unique synchronicity when it comes to servicing control systems.

The company is currently working on a new product. The prototype worked well and could be receiving purchase orders soon. If so, the company would be increasing its manufacturing side considerably.

Due to the technical services we offer, we are considered an essential business and continue to do our jobs to keep other essential businesses operating,” Jana said. “Multiple cities depend upon ACES to keep their fresh and waste water facilities online. ACES is known as the emergency room doctors for complex technical problems. We solve problems in many different industries and are blessed with an incredible team of people.”

Ross and Jana have long felt the importance of giving back to those in need.

“I truly feel that the only reason the Lord has blessed us is so that we can be a blessing,” Jana said. “There were many times, early in our marriage,  when we were living in Manhattan and I was home raising two small boys while Ross was in class working on his Electrical Engineering degree, that we didn’t know how we were going to pay the bills. The Lord always provided some babysitting for me or mechanical work for him, that we could do to make some extra money. We feel like this scholarship is a great way to give back because we remember how hard it can be.”

The couple also credit Ross’s father, Howard Lumbert, with their success. Howard, who still lives north of Winfield, was the head of maintenance for years at Binney & Smith before starting his own refrigeration company in Winfield.

“He allowed Ross, as a very inquisitive, small child, to take things apart to see how they worked and then later allowed him to ride along and help on just about any job he was doing,” Jana said. “ACES would probably not exist had it not been for his influence. I could mention many others but I should definitely credit the Lord and the Late Mark & Ann Fry and all of the good people of Calvary Chapel of Ark City, where we still drive to attend church weekly.”

Jana and Ross are honored to be chosen as the recipients of the Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award.

“Cowley truly is a special place and both the college and the Winfield and Ark City community mean a lot to us,” Jana said. “While our names may go on the award this year there are so many people who have poured into our lives that we really feel like this is more a reflection on them than it is us.”