Butler Community College inducted a new class of entrepreneurs into the Mid-America Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Oct. 18 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.
Celebrated for their creative and innovative spirit that exemplifies the Midwest’s entrepreneurial heritage, Butler recognized Justin McClure as a rising entrepreneur, the K.T. Wiedemann Foundation as a social leader, and Ted and Barb Dankert as business entrepreneurs, adding them to a long and illustrious list of past inductees.
The Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is designed to publicly acknowledge and honor each class of inductees for their entrepreneurial spirit.
The Hall of Fame recognizes the perseverance, insight and achievements of visionaries who have demonstrated their commitment of time, effort and resources to create a positive impact on the economic and social well-being of the region.
“We gather to honor the vision, passion, dedication, drive and creativity of some very unique individuals whose impact on their communities can likely never be adequately measured,” said Stacy Cofer, Butler chief advancement officer. “This ceremony is of course designed to honor very special people, but it’s also one of the many opportunities we offer to the community to pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Proceeds from the celebration support student scholarships at Butler Community College.
More on this year’s honorees:
• Justin McClure – Rising Entrepreneur
After graduating in 1996, El Dorado native Justin McClure attended Butler Community College and Fort Hays State University to study computer-assisted graphic design before moving on to hone his skills as an art director in Chicago for top-ten-ranked U.S. ad agency Leo Burnett.
From there he worked for the largest employee-owned ad agency in the U.S. at Barkley in Kansas City and eventually took a post with CMT in Nashville, working on motion graphics for broadcast television, all the while balancing his ever-increasing freelance work. Recognizing the importance of family, Justin and his wife Shelly have settled their four children back home in Wichita.
Etching his dreams into reality he started JustinMcClure.tv a motion graphics studio, which is now evolving into the full service creative team, Justin McClure Creative, specializing in digital and new media technologies.
The agency’s portfolio includes work for Discovery Channel, SyFy, National Geographic, Dell, Sprint, EA sports and more.
Beyond his impressive client list, Justin sees the importance of giving back to his community and has also done work locally for non-profits like Rainbows United, Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
On top of all that, Justin can now also add the cover design of a New York Times Best-Seller to his list of accomplishments.
Page 2 of 2 - • K.T. Wiedemann Foundation – Social Entrepreneur
In the 1920s, Karl T. Wiedemann had established the gasoline and fuel distribution business with service stations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.
Originally from El Dorado, Mr. Wiedemann met his wife Gladys in 1944 when she came to work for him as a secretary at Tanker Gas Company in Minneapolis, Minn.
In 1950, they moved to Wichita to attend to other business interests acquired by Mr. Wiedemann over the years, including pursuits in both oil and cattle.
Just two years before his death in 1961, the Wiedemanns worked together to establish a foundation that could provide a finer quality of life in Kansas as well as much-needed support to programs that assisted the community.
For nearly 60 years, the Wiedemann Foundation has recognized the importance of giving back to one’s community, by supporting a wide array of organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs, Butler Community College, Envision, Exploration Place, Kansas Food Bank Warehouse, Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital, Symphony in the Flint Hills, United Way, Youth Entrepreneurs, and the Wichita Art Museum, among many more.
• Ted and Barb Dankert – Business Entrepreneurs
In addition to his 28 years of service with the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, Ted Dankert struck out in 1973 and braved the creation of El Dorado-based Dustrol, where he and wife Barbara began selling emulsions for sealing asphalt and controlling dust.
The initial years were sometimes tumultuous, but the couple powered though the bumpy road to lay a foundation to success.
Since branching out into the construction business of asphalt milling and hot in-place recycling in 1979, the company has acquired other competitive companies and expanded its territory.
In the nearly 40-year company history, Dustrol has grown to approximately 400 employees and focuses primarily on the recycling of asphalt roads.
It now has satellite offices in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska and a presence in additional states.
An innovator in the arena of asphalt recycling, Ted took an active leadership role among those in his business community. More than that, the Dankerts have made an indelible mark in their community, bringing their humble service and leadership to numerous organizations that include USD 490 Partners in Education, Butler Community College Board of Trustees, Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, El Dorado City Planning and Zoning Board, City Council and many more. The Dankerts have two married daughters and two grandchildren.