Sunnyvale ISD Alumni Association Names Local Entrepreur Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
by Cambelle Starnes and Katie Threet
SHS Sentinel StaffThe Sunnyvale Alumni Association has named Nathan Watkins, SJH Class of 1991, its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for 2017. The Sunnyvale community will honor Watkins during homecoming week.
Watkins will act as Grand Marshall of the annual homecoming kick-off parade on Sept. 16 and will be recognized at halftime of Friday night’s game against Palmer, Sept. 22.
"Nathan is a great example of the type of innovative role model we want our students to emulate," Superintendent Doug Williams said. “His background in service and commitment to community is excellent.”
In 2006 Nathan and his wife, Paige co-founded University Laundry at Baylor University, a laundry service now offered at colleges across the nation. In December of 2016, Proctor & Gamble acquired the company. Watkins is now president of Tide Laundry Services and leads the team behind the biggest name in laundry.
“We bet the farm on the fact that people hate to do laundry,” Watkins said in an April 4, 2017 article in D Magazine. “It turns out others were thinking the same way. We’re thankful the Tide team was one of them.”
Nathan grew up in Sunnyvale playing basketball, biking and learning from his dad on jobsites of a family-owned custom homebuilding business. During his junior high years, he participated in Raider fine arts and athletics. He remembers excellent teachers throughout his years in Sunnyvale.
“When I think about the impact of teachers,” Watkins said. “I really think about how one after another, year after year, they were all just fantastic. I think that’s part of the magic of SISD. It seemed like only the best teachers got jobs there.”
Nathan offers younger Raiders advice about their communication style:
“Make your style -‘yes ma’am’, ‘no sir’, giving eye contact and giving genuine attention out of a care for others,” he advises. “Build your personal communication skills into a finely-tuned craft. The ability to engage in effective interpersonal communication is the vehicle that ensures the rest of your skills and talents will be given opportunities. Adults of any age are still charmed by old-fashioned communication habits. People are starved for them but they are in shorter and shorter supply.”
Nathan and Paige both graduated from Baylor University. They now live in Dallas and have three children: Isaac, 8; Lydia, 6; and Levi, 4.
Sunnyvale alumni are encouraged to donate to the Gwinn Blankenship Scholarship Fund, which was established last fall. Named in honor of the long-time and beloved Sunnyvale superintendent, the scholarship will benefit a graduating senior each year and will be stewarded by the SISD Alumni Association. Please visit http://www.sunnyvaleisd.
com/alumni to donate.