Four business leaders recognized for industry, community contributions in the Topeka Business Hall of Fame
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Four business leaders have been recognized for their contributions and dedication to their companies and communities by being inducted to the 2023 Topeka Business Hall of Fame.
The four laureates were announced at a brunch event at the Topeka Country Club, located at 2700 SW Buchanan St., on Tuesday, September 13. The four Hall of Fame laureates are:
- Dan Foltz: KBS Constructors, Inc.
- Marsha Sheahan: Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce
- DL Smith: DL Smith Electrical Construction
- Keith Warta: Bartlett & West
Dan Foltz was born and raised on a farm near Garnett, Kansas, who grew up to become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KBS Constructors, Inc.
KBS is a Midwest commercial and Industrial construction company that, according to the Junior Achievement of Kansas, focuses on assisting mission-critical and sensitive environment-type projects with management services and construction.
Foltz also serves one several economic boards, such as the GO Topeka Economic Development board, where he is a member and past chairman, along with serving on its Innovation Advisory Board.
He is currently a Board Member, Trustee, and Finance Committee member for the Washburn University Foundation and is also on Washburn’s MBA (Master of Business Administration) Advisory Council for the School of Business.
Foltz also currently serves on the Topeka Country Club Board.
One organization he has served on in the past was the Board for Midland Care as Chairman.
Dan Foltz, unfortunately, could not make it to Tuesday’s announcement brunch.
Junior Achievement of Kansas says that Marsha Sheahan has acted as the vice president of public relations for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce for more than 35 years; from July 1979 through January 2015.
As the vice president, she over-saw the marketing, publications, website development, and special events for the Topeka Chamber, along with multiple administrative functions.
Sheahan retired in January 2015 but returned to the organization back in 2016 to once again direct the Leadership Greater Topeka program that she has directed since it first started in 1984. After retiring, she has assisted non-profit organizations with networking, leadership skills, strategic planning, and boardsmanship.
According to Junior Achievement of Kansas, Sheahan championed the program Fast Forward (now called Forge), which is the Chamber’s professional program for youth, and worked with Heartland Visioning on its management and steering committees from 2008 to 2015.
Sheahan also collaborated with colleagues from the Junior League of Topeka to create the Topeka Community Foundation. Shae served as the first board chair for two years.
Sheahan has been involved in multiple organizations, volunteering for Junior League of Topeka, the Topeka Community Foundation, Topeka High School Historical Society, United Way of Greater Topeka, Women United, Safe Streets, Topeka Public Schools, CASA of Shawnee County, Stormont Vail HealthCare Community Advisory Council, Washburn Leadership Institute Advisory Council, and the YWCA.
After DL Smith received his education at Hayden High School, Washburn University, and Kansas State University, Smith then founded the company DL Smith Electrical Construction in 1972.
Smith became an active member in the electrical industry by joining the Kansas chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association as the President, Governor, and member of its negotiating committee and apprenticeship committee.
Under the National organization, Smith served as the District V (5) vice president, chairman of the National Government Affairs Committee, member of the National Joint Apprenticeship, the Training committee, as wells as the NECA National Political Leadership Council.
Smith received the Associations Comstock award in 1997 for his contributions in the field, and the James A. McGraw award for the advancement of the electrical industry in 2000.
Smith served as a member with the Board of Trustees of the Associated Specialty Contractors of America and as chairman from 2000 to 2001, was member of the Associated General Contractors of Kansas, and was a member of the Kansas State University AGC Construction Science Advisory Board.
Smith regularly volunteers at the Christ the King Catholic Church.
Keith Warta has served multiple separate positions for Bartlett & West for more than 13 years, including the role of CEO and currently serves as Chairman for the company’s Board of Directors.
Bartlett & West, Inc., is an engineering, architecture, technology, and construction company that wants to positively affect every position and organization in the community.
Warta mainly focused on the design and management portion of transportation and flood control projects using his experience in hydrology and hydraulics in urban infrastructure. Warta even examined design storm assumptions and what kind of impact they would have on flood control system costs as a graduate study.
Junior Achievement of Kansas says that Warta normally volunteers for leadership positions in organizations that investigate community economic development, education, and senior services. He has also sat as co-chair committees that created and implemented Topeka/Shawnee County’s first holistic community strategic plan and sat as chair on Midland Care’s board of directors during the first integration of Meals-On-Wheels for Midland’s senior services.
“It is an honor because it comes from Junior Achievement, which is such an outstanding organization within our community,” said Warta. “It’s an honor because of the people that are in the same class.”
A dinner to honor each of the laureates is scheduled for March 23, 2023, at the Hotel Topeka at City Center in the Maner Conference Center.
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