Former Autry Technology Center Superintendent James Strate has been inducted into the Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame.

Strate, who retired as CEO and superintendent at Autry Tech in 2015 after 24 years of service, was one of five CareerTech leaders inducted in a ceremony last Wednesday at Canadian Valley Technology Center in El Reno.

“I’m very humbled and very honored,” Strate told the News & Eagle of his induction into the Hall of Fame. “I certainly appreciate the recognition. It’s quite and honor to be included in that group.”

Strate credited the community and the Autry Tech faculty and staff with laying the groundwork for his success.

“I think Enid and Garfield County have been very supportive of what we’ve done at Autry, and I really appreciate all the business and industry support,” Strate said. “I’d like to thank all the faculty and support staff at the school. We always tried to create a family environment and everyone always worked together, and I appreciate that.”

Strate moved to Enid in 1991 when he accepted the superintendent position at Autry Tech.

During his tenure, enrollment rose from 2,000 to more than 16,000 students served annually, according to an Autry Tech press release.

“New programs meet industry’s latest needs, cutting-edge equipment allows students to be ready to enter the work force, and several additions to the building help Autry continue to meet the growing training needs of area citizens and companies,” the press release stated.

During his time as superintendent Strate also began the Autry Educational Foundation, which awards grants to students in need. To date, more than $500,000 had been raised for the endowment.

“Strate is known throughout Oklahoma as a trailblazer for career and technical education,” the press release stated. “He has provided leadership that has significantly impacted the statewide system of technology centers.”

Strate has served as the president and legislative chair for Oklahoma Technology Centers’ Superintendent’s Association, and was active in Oklahoma Vocational Education Teacher Development System, Oklahoma Vocational and Leadership Development Committee and Distance Education Policy Committee.

Strate holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central Missouri State University and was awarded a doctorate of education by the University of Missouri.

In 2008, the James W. Strate Center for Business Development was dedicated. This incubator provides professional business training to those interested in starting, expanding or operating a small business.

Strate was named the Business Person of the Year for 2005-06 by Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award from Oklahoma Vocational Association in 2001 and Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2015.

Story provided by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  James Neal