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Contemporary Honors Award Recipient

Howard R. Fricke

2008
Business and Civic Leader
 

Howard R. Fricke led Security Benefit, one of the most highly regarded companies in the financial services and retirement planning industry, as Chairman of the Board. Effective Jan. 1, 2006, he stepped down as Chairman, although he continued to serve on the board through the expiration of his term in June 2007. Fricke first joined Security Benefit in 1988 as CEO and in that time his innovative leadership helped the company's assets under management grow from $2 billion to more than $15 billion. Under his leadership, both Fortune magazine and Working Mother magazine selected Security Benefit as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America.

Fricke also headed the state's lead economic development organization as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce through December, 2006. Fricke oversaw the state's efforts in creating jobs through business recruitment and expansion, agriculture marketing, workforce development, community development, international trade, and travel and tourism.

Prior to joining Security Benefit, Fricke served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Anchor National Companies in Phoenix, Arizona. He also has previous state service, including serving as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration. While leading the central service resource for Kansas government functions, Fricke's ability to manage and thrive through challenging times stood out as the department strove to refocus its attention to quality customer service and the efficient delivery of services. Fricke also led the Infrastructure Team within Governor Kathleen Sebelius - Kansas Budget Efficiency Savings Team (BEST), and served as the Cabinet Secretary of Business and Economic Development for the state of Illinois in the early 1970s.

Fricke is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Business, Advanced Management Program.  He is also a registered principal of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

A leader in the community, Fricke set the pace for Security Benefit's nationally recognized volunteer program.  He served as a director for the Menninger Foundation and Stormont-Vail HealthCare and is Chairman of the Board for Collective Brands, Inc. (formerly Payless ShoeSource).  He is past Chairman of both the United Way of Greater Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

Fricke has also been active in financial services organizations.  He is a past chairman of Life Office Management Association (LOMA) and served on the board of directors of the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI), the preeminent trade associations of the life insurance and financial services industry.  He is a past director of the Kansas Insurance Education Foundation, which in 1998 inducted Fricke into the Foundation's Hall of Fame.

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