Kansas Business Hall of Fame announces 2012 inductees

March 7, 2012

A Kansas native whose rural upbringing has propelled him to the top of corporate America and an aviation pioneer who turned Cessna Aircraft Co. into the No. 1 light plane manufacturer will be inducted this summer into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame at Emporia State University.

Greg Brenneman, chairman of CCMP Capital and chairman and CEO of TurnWorks, Inc., and the late Dwane L. Wallace, who spent his life revolutionizing the aviation industry, will be recognized at the KBHF induction ceremony during the 40th annual Kansas Cavalry Encampment on Tuesday, June 12, at Kanas State University in Manhattan.

Gov. Sam Brownback will attend the ceremony to recognize these two men who have added to the business community’s prestige and growth. This is the 24th year for the Kansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The Kansas Business Hall of Fame is located at Emporia State University. Business leaders selected for the KBHF are widely known for their contributions to Kansas, and are recognized as role models. The KBHF recognizes historical contributors and present-day leaders who have made private enterprise work in Kansas and throughout the country.

Previous inductees include such prominent Kansans as Pizza Hut founders Dan and Frank Carney, Clara and Russell Stover of Russell Stover Candies, Don Hall of Hallmark Cards, Clyde Cessna of Cessna Aircraft Co., Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corp., and William Allen White, entrepreneur and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Emporia Gazette.

The only program of its kind in the state of Kansas, the Kansas Business Hall of Fame serves as a chapter of the American National Business Hall of Fame.

 

Greg Brenneman

Corporate leader

Contemporary inductee

Greg BrennemanGreg Brenneman is a small town boy with a strong Kansas work ethic. A native of Hesston, Kan., Greg graduated from Hesston High School in 1980. He received a bachelor of administration of business in accounting and finance from Washburn University where he graduated summa cum laude. He also holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard. It is not his academic achievements that have brought him fame, however. He has gained a well-deserved reputation in the corporate world as a man who can turn troubled corporations around.

After graduating from Harvard in 1988, Brenneman joined Bain & Co. Inc., and helped resuscitate real estate powerhouses TrizecHahn and Trammel Crow. He made partner in four years, at the age of 31, and in 1993 landed a consulting position with Continental Airlines. His success with that assignment impressed Gordon Bethune, a former Boeing executive who was trying to rescue the then-troubled airline. Bethune convinced Brenneman to join Continental as CEO in 1995, and by 2001 the airline boasted a long list of accomplishments and awards and was ranked 18th on Fortune’s list of the “Best Companies to Work For”. In addition, during the period of Brenneman’s tenure as CEO, Continental’s stock price rose from $6.25 per share to $120 per share (pre split).

In 2001, after six years at Continental, Brenneman returned to TurnWorks Inc., a company he had helped found in 1994. TurnWorks is a Houston-based private equity firm that focuses on corporate turnarounds. TurnWorks principles undertake long-term assignments in companies with the goal of dramatically improving financial performance, delivering best-in-class products and services, and creating an environment where employees like coming to work.

In 2004, at the age of 42, Brenneman accepted the position of Chairman and CEO of Burger King Corp. Burger King’s profits and market share had slipped dramatically in the year’s preceding 2004 and the board of the privately held corporation felt that Brenneman might be able to turn things around. Within one year of Brenneman taking over as Chairman, Burger King enjoyed positive comparative sales, a 40 percent reduction in the cost of building a new restaurant, delivery of outstanding new products, award-winning advertising, dramatically improved service in the restaurants and a complete rebuilding of relationships with franchisees.

When asked the secret of his success, Brenneman acknowledges his educational background but often credits his upbringing in Kansas as the true secret to his success. He believes Kansas instilled within him a strong work ethic. He has been quoted as saying “I got more out of the farm than Harvard Business School.”

Brenneman was appointed Chairman of CCMP Capital (Airmark, AMC Theaters, Quiznos, Francescas, etc.) and a member of CCMP’s Investment Committee in August 2008. He served as executive chairman of the board of Quiznos, a national quick-service restaurant chain, from August 2008 to July 2010 and as president and chief executive officer of Quiznos from January 2007 to August 2008. He has been the chairman and chief executive officer of TurnWorks, Inc., a private equity firm since November 1994. Brenneman also serves on the board of directors of Home Depot, Inc. and Automatic Data Processing.

Brenneman has been published in the Harvard Business Review and profiled numerous times in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fortune magazine and Chief Executive magazine. A partial list of his many awards and recognitions includes:

  • "Father of the Year," Houston Community Partners, August 2001
  • "Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World," Jr. Chamber of Commerce, November, 1998
  • "Ten Outstanding Young Americans," Jr. Chamber of Commerce, January, 1998
  • "Five Outstanding Young Texans," Jr. Chamber of Commerce, 1997
  • "Ten Outstanding Young Houstonians," Jr. Chamber of Commerce, 1997
  • "Honorary Degree-Doctor of Commerce," Washburn University, May, 1999
  • "Kansan of the Year," Topeka Capital-Journal, January, 1999 and 2005
  • "Distinguished Service Award," Leadership Houston Awards, May, 1999
  • "Executive-in-Residence for 1998," Washburn University, October , 1998
  • Boston Marathon, April, 1999
  • New York Marathon, November, 1999

He continues to support his alma mater (Washburn) and continues to add to the endowment for the Greg and Ronda Brenneman Professorship in Business Strategy.

 

Dwane L. Wallace

Aviation pioneer

Historical inductee

Dwane WallaceKnown as aviation’s “Tall Man,” Dwane L. Wallace was an industry pioneer and leader of the world’s largest producer of general aviation aircraft. He cast a giant shadow over the industry for more than 50 years as the man who had the greatest influence on the steady growth of general aviation.

Wallace was born in Belmont, Kan., on Oct. 29, 1911. He attended Norwich High School, and then went to Wichita to attend the university. On Sept. 8, 1941, he married Velma Lunt. They were blessed with four daughters. He resided in Wichita until his death in December 1989.

Wallace’s continuing vision and understanding of the needs of the marketplace enabled Cessna to grow from one airplane model line to a model line that covered the entire spectrum of business and private flying from the two-place Model 140 trainer to the turbo-fan Citation jet.

Wallace remembered the morning, at the age of 10, when he saw a Jenny winging overhead. Watching the little airplane until it was out of sight, the boy told himself, “That is what I want to do.” From that moment, Wallace was convinced that his future was in aviation, and he never wavered from that decision. During college days he flew gliders, then on March 18, 1934, he soloed in an OX-5 Travelair with only 1 hour and 45 minutes instruction. He held a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings, and was an active pilot until his death.

In 1929, he enrolled in the Municipal University of Wichita, one of only three universities in the country that offered a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. For three months following graduation in 1933, he joined Walter Beech at Beech Aircraft Co. as an engineer. In January 1934, Wallace persuaded his uncle C.V. Cessna to let him and his brother, Dwight, reorganize the Cessna Aircraft Co. — then closed because of the Depression. Wallace volunteered to be general manager, with Cessna as president and Dwight as secretary-treasurer.

Two years later, when Cessna retired, 25-year-old Wallace became president of the company and set out to make it the No. 1 light plane manufacturer. Wallace’s sharp engineering skills allowed him to create high-quality, low-cost planes that could be made on efficient assembly lines. Securing an important order from the World War II Allies in the early 1940s, Cessna went on to develop aircraft for military, consumer and business needs. By 1958, Cessna was producing more light airplanes than all four of its competitors combined and eventually controlled 53 percent of its market. Wallace was firmly credited as having single handedly built the light-plane industry.

Wallace held the position of president until 1964, when he moved up to chairman of the board. He headed Cessna in that position until he retired 1975. He continued to serve as a senior consultant until 1983. Wallace not only served as president, but engineer, salesman and test pilot, which included the testing of the company’s first twin-engine T-50 in 1939.

Following the war, Wallace quickly turned production at Cessna back to commercial aircraft, actively directing development of the company’s extensive product line. This also involved his participation in the organization of a distributorship chain with more than 1,000 employees in the beginning to 15,000, and was the first firm in the world to manufacture 100,000 airplanes, surpassing that mark in 1972. All but 200 of the aircraft built by Cessna were built during Wallace’s tenure.

Other awards and recognitions include:

  • Helped form the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association, and was named its first chairman in 1969.
  • Founded Aviation Progress Committee in 1968 to support the Airport/Airways legislation, passed in 1970.
  • International Daniel Guggenheim Medal, 1975, for great achievement in aeronautics, the first award to be presented in the field of general aviation.
  • Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, 1981
  • Helped form the Wichita State University Endowment Association and served as its first chairman.
  • Wichita State University Alumni Achievement Award, 1957
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, 1968
  • Kansan of the Year, 1971
  • Inducted into the OX-5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame, 1978; Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, posthumously, 1990.
  • First Wichita State University Distinguished Engineer Service Award, posthumously, 1992.
  • With wife, Velma, established in 1976 endowment for engineering scholarships at WSU.

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