PITTSBURG, Kans. — Since 2011, Ingram’s Business Magazine has highlighted “The Top 50 Kansans You Should Know.”

In Pittsburg, someone on that list has been credited as crucial in helping redefine what a city and university can do for each other.

“I’m proud of it mostly because of how much it recognizes the work that my team has done here, the work that Pittsburg State has done here. We’re seeing the fruit of a lot of the work that we’ve done over the past 10 years together and really that together piece is the focus,” said Dr. Shawn Naccarato, PSU Chief Strategy Officer.

Since 2007, Dr. Shawn Naccarato has worn several hats at Pittsburg State University. Today he serves as the school’s Chief Strategy Officer — and over the past 10 years he’s worked closely with President Dr. Steve Scott to grow the local community. This success has helped him become one of Ingram’s Magazine’s “Top 50 Kansans You Should Know.”

“We’ve really chartered a new way forward with redefining the way the University and the City worked together,” Dr. Naccarato said. “And so during that work we’ve done Block 22 in downtown, heart of downtown Pittsburg, which is a great living-learning entrepreneurship center where we’re cultivating that culture of creativity and innovation.”

Naccarato has also helped develop polymer science at Pittsburg State University.

“I had the pleasure about seven years ago of being involved in securing $1 million a year to start a new polymer chemistry program. Just last year we announced the launch of our new National Institute For Materials Advancement. Truth be told we’re in the Polymer Era,” he said. “There’s very few things that you can think of that don’t have a polymeric connection.”

As for the future, Naccarato hopes to soon announce the Polymer Research Center’s first research tennant — and eventually turn the space next to the center into a research and development park.

“The ultimate hope is we’re building companies, we’re growing jobs, and we’re growing this community right here in Southeast Kansas,” concluded Dr. Naccarato.