Three Inducted to Topeka Business Hall of Fame at Annual Ceremony
Topeka, KS – Dr. Shekhar Challa, Ken Daniel and David Porterfield joined the ranks of over 70 other businessmen and women as they were inducted into the Junior Achievement (JA) of Kansas Topeka Business Hall of Fame at an annual dinner on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
The event, a fundraiser for Junior Achievement of Kansas started with reflections with Dr. Pilar Mejia, Principal at Scott Dual Language Magnet School. Dr. Mejia noted that the tools and passion that JA volunteers bring to the students, as well as their work experience, translate into relevant, applicable, tangible and exciting lessons for students to take with them long after the conclusion of JA programming.
Ashley Charest, Junior Achievement of Kansas President, highlighted the activities of JA over the past year. Special highlights included the expanded programming into Wanamaker Elementary School, the addition of the Personal Finance Symposium and JA programs reaching 11,910 Topeka and Shawnee County students in the 2018-2019 program year.
The evening was emceed by KSNT News anchors Jace Mills and Brooke Lennington. Mills and Lennington, along with student presenters from local school districts that JA serves, introduced the laureates throughout the evening.
Dr. Shekhar Challa, Kansas Medical Clinic, thanked his team and marked himself "lucky" to be surrounded by such a supportive family throughout his career. He reflected on his 33 years in Topeka with fondness, noting that while entrepreneurship and leadership come with risk, hard work and long hours, its rewards are worth it. He gave advice to future business leaders, encouraging them to always do the right thing, give back, mentor others and don't forget your beginnings.
Ken Daniel, retired Founder of Midway Wholesale, told stories and of his upbringings traveling multiple states throughout his childhood. Throughout his many experiences, Daniel learned the importance of different exploration processes and how they led him to different ways of thinking and therefore, success, throughout business ownership. His dad, also in the construction and equipment business, inspired him along the way.
David Porterfield, Porterfield's Flowers and Gifts, celebrated his absolute love for his work. He fondly told the audience that he couldn't think of anything he would rather do or any place that he'd rather be, taking special time to recognize that Topeka is fundamental to his character. He introduced multiple staff members and credited his success to his parents, who started Porterfield's in May 1965. Porterfield concluded with absolute gratitude for being able to do what he loves each day with Earth's most wonderful gifts.
The Hall of Fame also marked the introduction of the Inspiration Society, a new way of giving back to Junior Achievement of Kansas. The Inspiration Society focuses on an individual, multi-year commitment and was introduced by 2017 laureate and Inspiration Society founding member, Martha Bartlett Piland.
This year was the 18th year, and the addition of Dr. Challa, Daniel and Porterfield marked inductees #79 - #81. To learn more about 2020 laureates and for a full list of past laureates, visit kansasja.org. The permanent exhibit of the Topeka Business Hall of Fame can be found in Henderson Hall at Washburn University.
"Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."
"Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."
"I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."
"I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."