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Midwest Health Founders join esteemed group in the JA Business Hall of Fame

The co-founders of Midwest Health were inducted into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame on June...
The co-founders of Midwest Health were inducted into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame on June 9th.(Ralph Hipp)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 8:13 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Junior Achievement welcomed the Capital City’s business community back to its yearly induction of new members of the Topeka Business Hall of Fame Tuesday night. The event, which began in the Sunflower Ballroom, returned to what is now the StormontVail Events Center in welcoming guests back inside Landon Arena.

The class is another distinguished one. The 2021 laureates are Dan Chavez, Chavez, Inc.; Jim Klausman and Butch Eaton, both of Midwest Health; Mike Kiley, Security Benefit; and Christel Marquardt, who was posthumously honored at the banquet.

Dan Chavez is the Owner of Chavez Inc., a 53-year-old business providing Water and Fire Restoration, Environmental Cleaning services to Topeka, Lawrence, and NE Kansas. Dan has been with the company for 42-years. He began his career as a production employee, supervisor, and project manager. Dan is currently working with his son and daughter as he navigates and guides the family business onto its 3rd generation of service.

Jim Klausman has been President and CEO of Midwest Health since 1977. He received his BA in Political Science from Washburn University, Topeka, in 1974. Klausman has been a licensed adult care administrator since 1974 and has served as administrator of several of the company’s facilities. He currently is responsible all company operations, and has also served as President of the Kansas Health Care Association, the industry’s largest trade association, in 1979 and again in 2007-2008. He is a past Chairman of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

Butch Eaton is the co-founder and principal leader of Midwest Health Inc. who started the firm alongside Klausman in the late 70s. Originally from Iowa, Mr. Eaton attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College. In 1966 he enlisted in the United States Air Force. At the conclusion of his service in 1970, Mr. Eaton enrolled at a local university to complete his degree. Mr. Eaton has been an active part of the Kansas Health Care Association, previously serving as Chairman and in multiple positions on the Board of Directors. He has also been active at the national level in the American Health Care Association.

Mike Kiley is the Chief Executive Officer of Security Benefit Corporation, the 4th largest employer in Kansas (by revenue). Security Benefit is comprised of Security Benefit Life Insurance Company and SE2. During his tenure, Security Benefit has become a leader in multiple segments of the U.S. Retirement market and in the competitive business process outsourcing industry. Mike came to Topeka in 2010 with the mandate to revitalize and grow Security Benefit, a 128-year-old Topeka institution. While Mike has served as CEO, Security Benefit has grown to more than $41 billion in assets under management (as of December 31, 2019), generated over $38 billion in sales, and created hundreds of new jobs in northeast Kansas. Forbes named Security Benefit a Best-in-State Employer in Kansas in 2019, and the company has been named to Ward’s 50® for 2020, a list of the top performing insurance companies in the U.S.

As an attorney, Christel Marquardt worked for Cosgrove, Webb, and Omen in Topeka, becoming a partner, and then started the law firm Palmer, Marquardt and Snyder. In 1985, she was named one of the Top Ten Business Women in America by the by American Business Women’s Association. In 1986 she became the first woman President of the Kansas Bar Association. She also received the KBA’s highest award – the Phil Lewis Medal of Distinction, and now her namesake award – the Christel Marquardt Trailblazer Award. She continued to practice law in Topeka, but when her kids settled in Kansas City and Chicago in the early 1990s, she moved to Lenexa and started a law practice with her son Andrew. After eighteen months, she was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals where she served as a judge for 17 years. Judge Marquardt passed away on March 8, 2020 and her son Andrew joined in representing the family to receive her Hall of Fame honor.

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