Gate Enterprise Awards
“We’re here because of Elmer’s leadership,” said Katie Walter, executive director of the SkillsUSA Council.
She was speaking to a ballroom full of red-jacketed students who have honed useful skills applicable to the modern demands of the work place. The breakfast ceremony May 23 was held the Homewood Suites and Conference Center in Center Valley.
Walter was presiding over the Elmer Gates Enterprise Awards ceremonies where local students were being recognized for their scholastic achievement, their positive work ethic, their community service and their entrepreneurial spirit.
Gates’ granddaughter, Emily Silfies, was the keynote speaker.
“My grandfather believed in leadership by example,” Silfies said.
She summarized his advice by saying, “You don’t need to be the smartest person the room; just smart enough to know what they don’t.”
The awards were presented by Gates’ daughter, Patti Gates-Smith who presented each student with a certificate.
The certificates attest to the skill of students and are part of SkillsUSA’s mission to “create a world-class workforce through professional development of local career and technical education students and partnerships with the local business community and to support local economic and community growth in the greater Lehigh Valley.”
The organization offers opportunities for almost 6,000 students attending career and technical schools in Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, and Upper Bucks counties.
Elmer Gates was a prominent businessman and philanthropist. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.
According to his biography provided by event organizers, his “educational, military, and career background as an engineer and manager provided important experience in preparing his to be an international industry leader.”