Ben Saylor is a board member for the Danville Schools Education Foundation & Alumni Association and a 2011 Danville High School graduate.
He graduated from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville with a degree in civil and environmental engineering. He now lives in Louisville with his dog, Leo, and cat, Oliver.
After college, Saylor worked for both the state government and a conglomerate of Louisville start-ups that vary from AI-powered generative software to 3D bioprinted human organ research and development. Recently, he transitioned back to a passion of his and is a traffic engineer for HDR. He designs traffic signals, roadway signs, traffic patterns and roadway lighting. In 2020, Saylor was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Andy Beshear for his service to the community.
Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
I attended Mary G. Hogsett Elementary School for preschool, Jennie Rogers Elementary, John W. Bate Middle, and Danville High School. A highlight would be Gail Wright (then Thompson) reading to us at Jennie Rogers. I always looked forward to her reading to us and using silly voices. As seniors in high school, we had to bring in someone who impacted our life, and I chose her to come read to us because it always was a poignantly chosen story to help us become better leaders and better citizens. I am thankful as an adult that I can call Gail a friend.
What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
The leadership skills I learned at the Danville Schools helped mold me into the person I am today. Being able to experience non-academic things like running sound in Gravely Hall, working in the front office in high school, being the daily quote reader in middle school, or the front sign-changer in elementary school, helps build a sense of volunteerism and silent leadership. Both of these aspects have contributed to my career, personal life and overall sense of direction. I would recommend any student start asking their teachers "what can I do for you?" Those few extra minutes of completing a task will teach you so much and help you understand how the world works.
When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
The teachers and staff had a significant impact on my success. I often think back to my kindergarten and first-grade teacher, Elizabeth Stamps. She took a scared little boy under her wing and helped teach him how to survive school. I also think back to the love and care of Rockin' Robin Gilliam who loved my class so much, and was with us in the Jennie Rogers cafeteria and at Bate. Or the patience learned from Jane Dewey, when I would break things in Gravely preparing for a play. I would also be remiss to not mention the amazing Chasati McCowan who, while teaching Spanish, taught us how to care for everyone in our community and who became a second mom of sorts to me during a hard time in my life.
As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
You know, I don't have kids of my own, but I would still recommend parents send their kids to the Danville Schools. The teachers and staff deeply care for their students and genuinely want them to succeed. Additionally, Danville children learn to embrace diversity and accept all people. I truly believe, and have seen it firsthand, that you will not succeed in a professional setting if you can't or are scared to do these two things. I couldn't imagine wanting to send your kids anywhere else but Danville if you had the opportunity.
As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
I want Admirals and Bulldogs to be well-rounded and experience new things at school. For the past few years, I have served on the board of the Danville Schools Education Foundation & Alumni Association. Working with the DSEFAA, I have gotten to see "behind the curtain" of the school system. I would encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved with the school system to reach out to us at givedanville.org, and we can help get you plugged in to the philanthropic arm of the schools.
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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