Kansas Business Hall of Fame Announces 2012 Inductees

By: From Emporia State University
By: From Emporia State University

EMPORIA — 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:

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. 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.

Dwane L. Wallace, Aviation Pioneer, Historical Inductee:

Known 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, Kansas, on October 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.

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