Business Hall of Fame to Induct Three New Members; Foust to Receive Business Builder Award

The Southwestern College Business Hall of Fame will add three new names Saturday, April 12.  James Richardson, Hutchinson, Merle Sharick, Prosperity, S.C., and Rodney Kreie, Newton, will join the ranks of other distinguished business leaders in Southwestern College history. The Business Builder Award will also be presented to Sandy Foust, Winfield.

The agenda for the hall of fame induction begins with the unveiling of plaques at 12:30 p.m. in Deets Library.  Next, a luncheon at 12:45 p.m. will be followed by the induction and the presentation of the inductees.  Cost of the lunch is $15 and limited seating is available. 

Sandy Foust, Winfield, will be presented the Business Builder Award.  This award recognizes business leaders who have created jobs, supported community institutions, and through their hard work and civic contributions have made a lasting impression on the local quality of life.  

Foust is founder and chief executive officer of S and Y Industries. Starting with a vision to generate extra income for the family, she began fabricating printed circuit boards on the back porch of the 19th century farmhouse she and her husband, Gary, owned in rural Kansas. The company quickly grew beyond a part-time job and now S and Y continues to grow with Foust actively at the helm. Under her leadership the company has received awards including “Inc. 500 fastest-growing companies in America” in 2009 and 2010. Today the company has more than 70 employees and operates in more than 50,000 sq. ft. of space.  Her community involvement includes ownership of retail stores in downtown Winfield, and active support of various philanthropies. 

The Business Hall of Fame inductees include:

James L. Richardson ’70 has been involved in management and growth of the same institution since 1972 and now is chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Prairie Bank of Kansas in Stafford and Farmers National Bancshares, Inc. He has administrated, developed, and implemented all bank operational, investment and lending policies and procedures, successfully managing the bank through the 1980s and current financial crisis. During this time he has managed the increase of bank’s assets by 400%, has overseen growth through acquisition and managed growth in new markets, and was responsible for managing loan growth of 500%. He has been a member and executive committee member of the Southwestern College Board of Trustees, an active member of the Kansas Bankers’ Association, and an advisory board member of the Hutchinson airport.

Merle D. Sharick ’68 is a Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB), supporting all business development activities for LexisNexis in mortgage/real estate. This includes the Mortgage Asset Research Institute’s (MARI) MIDEX data base.  His expertise supports a team that markets LexisNexis data solutions to the mortgage and real estate industries.  Sharick earned the CMB designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association of America in 2007.  Prior to joining MARI, Sharick was a risk management and business development executive in the private mortgage insurance industry for 21 years.  He also has background in public record retrieval, pre-employment background screening, and real estate property disposition, and started several businesses.  He had been a successful teacher and coach, public school administrator, and in the real estate and auction business.  He is a licensed auctioneer and real estate broker in several states. 

Rodney C. Kreie ’77 is a certified public accountant. In 1985 he started his own practice in Ulysses, merging in 1989 with two other Kansas firms to become part of the CBIZ professional network. Kreie left public accounting in 1999 to pursue other business ventures including irrigated and dryland farming, a bank (where he was president and CEO), a property and casualty insurance agency, a software development start-up, and other small companies. His current companies specialize in developing renewable and alternative energies in an effort to increase to amount of dependable sustainable power in the marketplace. Kreie has been an active volunteer. In Ulysses he helped form the first teen center, worked with local schools developing leadership programs, and served as chair of the Grant County Economic Development Council. He has also served on the Southwestern College Board of Trustees.

The induction ceremony is a part of Founders Day Weekend at Southwestern Friday and Saturday, April 11-12. 

For more information or luncheon reservations, contact Susan Lowe, director of alumni programs, at (620) 229-6334.

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