Build Our Future: Gregg Lesh

13 March 2019

“My parents instilled in us children that it was important for a family that was going to live in Pratt County to support the local businesses, institutions, and community. The college was one of the most important aspects in that area.”

Gregg Lesh’s family moved to Pratt in 1951 when his father became a car dealer in the community. Lesh’s father knew more than anybody how important it was to support local businesses, something he passed onto his children. After graduating from Pratt High School in the spring of 1966, Gregg attended Pratt Community College, which was known as Pratt Junior College at the time.

“I was in the first class that went to the new building,” said Lesh. “It was fun watching it progress and being built at that time.”

During his first year at PCC, Lesh obtained his pilot’s license. He then enrolled in the Spartan’s School of Aviation in Tulsa, OK, where he proceeded to get his commercial and instructor’s license at the age of 19. He returned to PCC in the spring of 1967 to begin his sophomore year while also acting as the only flight instructor in the county.

“One of the instructors at PCC taught ground school class and meteorology, but that was it,” said Lesh. “As far as flight instructors, I was it. I taught anybody and everybody.”

After graduating from PCC, Lesh joined the United States Army and flew helicopters in Vietnam. When he returned, he moved to Wichita, KS to work for Cessna Finance Corporation before accepting a banking position in Hutchinson, KS.

“The bank in Hutchinson had a twin engine airplane and they needed somebody to fly it,” said Lesh. “In turn, they would also teach me how to be a banker.”

Lesh wound up banking for the rest of his life. In 1944, he became the president of Haysville State Bank in Haysville, KS, which eventually merged into the Intrust Bank system. He remained president until he retired.
Throughout his life journey, Lesh remained loyal to Pratt Community College. He involved himself in the annual scholarship auction and donated money to be used towards scholarships along the way, some of which was due to his brother, Dennis, who took over the PCC Foundation after selling the car dealership.

“Dennis had a way of talking you out of some money,” said Lesh.

Lesh was so involved with the auction and PCC in general that PCC Vice President of Finance and Operations, Kent Adams, cornered him one day a couple years ago to ask him to join the PCC Foundation Board. He has since served on the board and is currently president of the organization. Among his favorite projects he has worked on so far includes the event that helped him become involved in the first place.

“Fundraising, especially in regards to the annual auction has been my favorite aspect of being on the board,” said Lesh. “We have some community members who live in Pratt that have been extremely supportive over the years to the college. It’s been a lot of fun working with those folks because they are the ones that understand how strong of an influence the college has on the community – not just the City of Pratt, but the entire area around there.”
The values and beliefs his parents instilled in him at such a young age are among the reasons he continues to give back to the institution he once attended as a student himself.

“I serve on the board because the community college is one of the better employers in town,” said Lesh. “More importantly, it provides a conduit for students who want to obtain an associate’s degree, or any follow up degree, or even vocational training. It gives them a relatively inexpensive way to get their education."

This year, Pratt Community College is honoring those who choose to help build the futures of our students. Each month during 2019, PCC is proud to feature those alumnae, community members, board members and faculty who have done their part to build the future of the lives of students as well as the growth of the institution. If you would like to be considered for one of our monthly features, contact Jessica Ward at 620-450-2192,