The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Smitty G. Belcher Inducted 2015 - Class of 1965
Calling the Point Place neighborhood family oriented, Smitty came into the Woodward family of students by way of Kentucky and Point Place Junior High. Never afraid of getting his hands dirty, Smitty literally worked his way through Woodward, carving out time from his Freshman to Senior years to letter every year in Football and Wrestling.
Ron O'Neil, Jim Roach, Sue Roberts, Pam Gall, Dick Knepper, and Sue Carpenter formed a great circle of friends that framed much of Smitty's later promise. "The experience from being a member and captain of the Woodward wrestling team taught me leadership, discipline, and humility. These simple lessons have guided me through my career." Smitty also credits his wrestling coach, Sonny Smith, with giving him a nickname that gratefully didn't stick, Mr. Wilusz with making mathematics interesting, and Mrs. Estes for experiments in chemistry class. Upon reflection, Smitty holds the greatest respect for Mr. Cross. "As my counselor, he tried numerous times to get me to apply myself. He would constantly say that my grades didn't reflect my IQ."
Graduating from Woodward in 1965 was only the start of his real-world education. Smitty started working as a Plumber and Pipefitter in Local 50's Apprenticeship Program. Completing the program, he worked as a Journeyman Fitter and Welder for four years when he became the Union's first Apprenticeship Training Coordinator. For the next five years Smitty's daily routine would be "on the job" welding from 8 to11:30, classes at the University of Toledo from 12 to 4:30, and from 5 to 11 teaching and directing the apprenticeship school at the Local 50 Union Hall. By taking university classes year round, Smitty completed his BBA and MBA in five years. Smitty married his childhood sweetheart Donna [O'Neil] and started their family. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.
Smitty then went to work for Dunbar and Associates as a Project Manager, leaving in 1982 as Vice President of their Industrial Division. Investing their life-savings, Smitty purchased Huxtable and Associates in Lawrence, Kansas in1983. Merging with A. D. Jacobson in 1998, Smitty formed the P1 Group with combined revenue of $60 million dollars. In 2008 Smitty formed a company that built the data centers for Sprint and Verizon Cellular across the United States. Believing in giving back to the community, Smitty mentored a group of Native American Women, doing work in the government and private sectors.
In summation Smitty said, "I've been very fortunate to have been recognized in numerous business functions and associations. However, it is very humbling to be recognized by my high school. Especially since the only other award that I received from Woodward was during a class reunion, where I received the "Who'da Thunk Award" or "Who would have thought he would have been successful."