Steven Archer receives Outstanding Tiger Alumni
Award for 2009
Continuing a family tradition, Steven Archer, City Manager for Arkansas City, was recently named the recipient of Cowley College’s Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award for 2009. Archer joins his in-laws, Donna and the late Joe Avery, and brother-in-law, Bob White, as recipients of the Award.
Archer is the son of Jack and Nina Archer. He was born in Winfield and raised in Arkansas City. He graduated from Arkansas City High School in 1970. After graduating from ACHS, Archer spent two years in the military, with one of those year’s being spent in Vietnam. After a two-year stint in the military, Archer returned to Arkansas City and married Pam Avery in March of 1972. He then started taking classes at Cowley College in the fall.
At Cowley, Archer participated in all of the school’s musicals and plays. He recalls fondly the instruction he received from the head of the school’s Drama Department. He also enjoyed the instruction he received from Dr. Duchato, who taught history and social science at the school.
“Some of the math and science classes I took at Cowley helped me become very detailed,” Archer said. “My involvement in the drama program helped me get out in front of people and be able to speak in public.”
He received an Associate of Arts degree from Cowley College in 1974 and then enrolled at Kansas State University.
Already receiving funding as part of the GI Bill, Archer received additional funding by joining Kansas State’s Army ROTC program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State in 1977 and went on to apply for and was selected for a position as an engineering officer in the United States Army. To fulfill his commitment to the Army, Archer and his wife spent three years stationed in Germany.
When his commitment was up he took additional training and as he put it “The next thing you know I am in the Army until 1987”. During this time, he was stationed in Virginia, Germany, Maryland, and Arkansas, where he spent three years teaching at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Army ROTC program, and finally Louisiana as a construction project manager with the Ft. Worth District Army Corp of Engineers.
Following his time in the Army, he served as an engineering officer in the United States Air Force from 1987 until his retirement in 1995. He finished his time in the military working at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. It was during this time that Archer got to know Curt Freeland, who was then the City Manager of Arkansas City. After speaking with Freeland, he realized a lot of what he was doing as an engineering officer related to work done in local government.
“What I was doing then tied into being a City Manager, so I decided to pursue a career in that area,” Archer said.
He continued his education while at McConnell and received his Master’s in Business in 1993.
Archer began his career in local government management when he was appointed City Manager of St. Marys, Kansas, where he worked until 1998. He left his position in St. Marys to return home to Arkansas City and serve as the Director of Administration. He held that position until being appointed City Manager in June, 2008.
“I really enjoy local government and the challenges you face,” Archer said. “It’s nice to be back in my home town and be able to help local people.”
In his role as City Manager, Archer has worked on numerous projects, including the Kansas and Summit intersection improvement project, the new hospital, the railroad overpass project on Kansas Avenue and the sales tax initiatives for the hospital and street improvements.
“There are a lot of good things going on in the City right now,” Archer said.
Archer and his wife, Pam, a 1972 Cowley Alumni, have a daughter, Dana Wilson of Arkansas City. They also have two grandchildren, Jordan and A.J. Archer is humbled to be recognized as this year’s Outstanding Tiger Alumni and is proud to be held in the same esteem as some of his family members.
“Being from Arkansas City and Cowley County it is fantastic to receive this honor,” Archer said. “I never dreamed when I was attending Cowley that this would happen. It really touches me to be named the Outstanding Tiger Alumni.”