Lawrence Business Hall of Fame 2019 Laureates Announced | Junior Achievement of Kansas

Lawrence Business Hall of Fame Laureates 2019 Announced

Lawrence, KS – The 2019 Lawrence Business Hall of Fame laureates were announced at a press event on Wednesday May 15 at the Lawrence Public Schools office; Lawrence, KS.

The 2019 class includes: Dee Bisel, Minuteman Press; Steve Edmonds, Edmonds Duncan Registered Investment Advisors; the late Alan "Al" Hack, Jr, The University Shop / Lawrence National Bank and Trust Company; and Sandy Praeger, retired Kansas Insurance Commissioner.

Dee Bisel is the retired President and CEO of Minuteman Press. After receiving her Business Degree from Washburn University in 1970 and marrying her high school sweetheart, Ron, Dee immediately started in the printing industry. Her career began at General Printing and Paper in Topeka, Kansas, as the sales manager. After six years, she moved to Hallmark as their first female production manager, overseeing over 800 employees and achieving ambitious corporate objectives for large manufacturing plants in Kansas, Missouri, and Mexico. She founded Minuteman Press in 1993. Bisel grew Minuteman from a start-up to a company that oversees more than 1,000 client accounts. Minuteman Press was the first printer in Kansas to earn the coveted Sustainable Green Printer certification.

Bisel was awarded the 2019 Washburn University Alumni Distinguished Service Award, 2012 Printing and Imaging Association of Mid-America Executive of the Year, 2009 Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, 2007 Society of Financial Service Professionals Northeast Kansas Business Ethics Award, 2004 American Business Woman's Association Woman of the Year, 2002 Small Business Magazine 25 Best Companies Under 25 Employees, 2001 SERTOMAN of the Year, 1999 Sam Walton Business Leadership Award, 1998 ATHENA Award for Excellence in Mentoring Women and is a Leadership Greater Topeka graduate.

Bisel currently serves on the Washburn University Foundation Board, the Central National Bank Board, Printing Industries of Mid-America Executive board, SERTOMA board and is a Lawrence Heights Christian Church Trustee. Previously, she served as President and Chair of SERTOMA, and was a previous board member of Junior Achievement of Kansas – Douglas County District, United Way, Crime Stoppers, Meals-on-Wheels and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

Bisel enjoys spending time with her children Ryan and Kristi and her grandchildren: Evelyn, Grant, Phoebe and Moses.

Steve Edmonds was born at Lawrence Memorial Hospital on October 8, 1942. He attended Lawrence schools and graduated from Kansas University with a degree from the School of Business in 1965. While growing up in Lawrence, Edmonds worked for his father and grandfather in the family grocery business where he stocked shelves, cashiered and most importantly, learned the value of hard work, integrity and developing genuine personal relationships with customers. 

After graduation he went to work for Proctor and Gamble in Kansas City and was soon transferred to the company's Sacremento office where he became a manager. He and his wife, Chris, lived and worked in Sacremento until 1969.

While working in California, Edmonds developed an interest in the financial markets, and began investing in his own account. 

As the Edmonds were expecting their first child, they decided to return to Lawrence where he was hired by Paine Webber. His successful 47-year career began with three months of training at the Wall Street office in New York City. Edmonds became the Branch Office Manager for Robert W. Baird, Piper Jaffray & Co. and was a Senior Vice President with Morgan Stanley before joining his business partners Jason Edmonds and Don Duncan, founding Edmonds Duncan Registered Investment Advisors.

During his business career, Edmonds has also been an active member of many philanthropic and service organizations, including Kiwanis, Jaycees, and Optimists. He has led and served on the boards of the KU Biodiversity Institute, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Arts Center and Outside for a Better Inside. He was president of the KU Round Ball Club and chaired the KU Relays Marathon for several years.  Since retirement, Edmonds has served as Treasurer of Audubon of Kansas, President of the Friends of the Lied Board and with partners Edmonds and Duncan, has sponsored the Jazz at the Lied Center series since 2015. He was also honored with the Baker University Business Person of the Year Award. 

In addition to his career as a Broker and Financial Advisor, Edmonds and his wife have planted and sold Christmas Trees and was President of the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association. He has raised and shown horses, serving as President of the Kansas Paint Horse Association. Edmonds has planted literally thousands of daffodils, daylilies and trees!

Alan "Al" Hack, Jr., was born and raised in Pennsylvania. Hack served in the U.S. 13th Army Airborne Division as Military Police Platoon as well as the 82nd Airborne Division as Technical Sergeant in Auxerre, France. In 1948, he graduated from Pennsylvania State University with his degree in Commerce and Finance Administration.

With his family, Hack moved to Lawrence in 1951 to pursue a business ownership opportunity with his brother-in-law, Ken Whitenight. Hack was 50% owner and manager, with Whitenight, of The University Shop, a men's clothing store. Located just west of the KU campus, Hack remained with The University Shop for 21 years, until 1971. He then became a bank officer with Lawrence National Bank and Trust Company in 1971, elected Vice President in the same year. Hack moved into the role of Senior Vice President in 1975 and in 1978, President, where he remained in that role until 1981. From 1981-1987 he served as Executive Vice President and Corporate Treasure for Brock Hotel Corporation. In semi-retirement, he worked in the real estate with Calvin, Eddy & Kappelman Real Estate and capital management industries with Campbell-Becker Inc.

Hack was deeply involved in the community. Hack was the Founding Director of Achievement Place for Girls in Lawrence. He served as Moderator, Trustee and Senior Deacon at Plymouth Congregational Church. He also served as Chapter Advisor of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, President of Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and President of Warm Hearts. His family was the 1972 Kiwanis Family of the Year. He was awarded the 1995 Baker University Achievement in Business Award, 1996 Kiwanis Substantial Citizen Award, was a 1999 Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, 1999 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and the 2005 CornerBank Community Cornerstone Award.

Hack greatly enjoyed golfing, first having success at age 12 with two holes-in-one and a double eagle. He was a member of the 1948 NCAA Golf Championship team at Penn State, golf club champion at Lawrence Country Club, and former Lawrence City golf champion. 

Hack enjoyed spending time with his wife, Julie, four children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren until his passing in 2009. 

Sandy Praeger is a Kansas native, hailing from Paola, Kansas. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Education.

In 1977, Sandy and her husband Mark moved to Lawrence after time in Colorado, at which time she began her career in education, teaching in the Kansas City area. She worked in the arts industry before assuming the role of Vice President of Community Affairs for Douglas County Bank. She was in that role until she assumed the role of Director of Marketing for the Brandon Woods Retirement Community in Lawrence.

Praeger served on the Lawrence City Commission from 1985-89, holding the title of Mayor from 1986-1987. While on the City Commission, Sandy was a strong advocate for small business and keeping Downtown Lawrence as the main focus for Lawrence business in the community.

She served one term in the Kansas House of Representatives and then was elected to the Kansas Senate in 1992, 1996 and 2000. While in the legislature, her focus was on health insurance and care, successfully leading the 2001 campaign for mental health parity.

She was first elected as Kansas' 24th Commissioner of Insurance on Nov. 2, 2002. Commissioner Praeger was responsible for regulating all insurance sold in Kansas, overseeing approximately 1,600 insurance companies and more than 108,000 agents licensed to do business in the state.

Commissioner Praeger was President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2008. She served as chair of the NAIC Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee, as well as other NAIC committees and task forces.

In her tenure, Commissioner Praeger advocated for health care and small business insurances reforms, appearing multiple times in front of various U.S. Senate committees. She was frequently called upon by national media to discuss health insurance issues and has been recognized by the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved and The Center for Populations Options for her leadership.

After three terms, Sandy Praeger retired as Kansas Insurance Commissioner on January 12, 2015.

Praeger is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Dr. Nathan B. Davis Award, bestowed annually by the American Medical Association to individuals who have made a significant contribution to public health through elected and career government service.

Commissioner Praeger has received the 2013 Kansas Hospital Association Distinguished Health Care Advocate Award, 2013 Kansas Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness State Impact Award,  2014 MCQA Health Quality Award and the 2012 NAIC Consumer Representatives Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award. Additionally in 2014, she received the President's Award, given at the discretion of the President, for distinguished service as a commissioner-member of the NAIC. In her time as commissioner, she was recognized by AARP and Kansas Wildlife Federation as the Legislator of the Year. 

Praeger is a founding member of three local Lawrence boards: CASA, Haskell Indian Nations University Foundation, and Health Care Access. She previously served on the United Way of Douglas County board, and currently serves on the board for the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and VanGo Arts

Praeger lives in Lawrence with her husband, Dr. Mark Praeger. They have two children: Gretchen and her husband Erik; and J.D. and his wife Sevrin. They have three grandchildren: Clara Lee, Jakson and Ava Margaret.

The 2019 Lawrence Business Hall of Fame will be on October 8, 2019, at the DoubleTree by Hilton (200 McDonald Drive; Lawrence, KS). To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, contact Debbie Harman at 785-841-8245 / 785-331-7380 or debbie@kansasja.org

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