EMPORIA, KAN. — A Kansas native who runs a national retail company and a railroad builder who developed Johnson County will be inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame next month at Emporia State University.
David Dillon, chairman of the board of the Kroger Co., and the late William B. Strang, who built the interurban Strang Line for rail travel between Kansas City and Olathe, will be recognized at the KBHF induction ceremony during the 42nd annual Team Kansas Awards Banquet on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at Wichita State University.
Dillon is a Hutchinson native, born March 30, 1951. He attended Hutchinson public schools and graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1969. He attended the University of Kansas where he received a bachelor’s degree in business. He then went on to earn a law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from SMU, Dillon returned to Kansas to work for the Dillon Company, a grocery store chain that his grandfather had founded, which had been acquired by the Kroger Co. in 1983.
Strang was born in Syracuse, New York, to Irish emigrant parents on Nov. 8, 1857. He received his education in the public schools in New York, Wisconsin and Iowa. In 1892, at Wellington, Kansas, he was married to Margaret Morrison of Wellington. They made their home in Overland Park, Kansas, a subdivision outside Olathe that Strang platted. From the time he was 15, Strang worked building railroad lines in Kansas and across the United States and Canada.
The ceremony marks the 26th year of inductions into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame, which is located at Emporia State University. Business leaders selected for the KBHF are widely known for their contributions to Kansas, and are recognized as role models. The KBHF recognizes historical contributors and present-day leaders who have made private enterprise work in Kansas and throughout the country.
Previous inductees include such prominent Kansans as Pizza Hut founders Dan and Frank Carney, Clara and Russell Stover of Russell Stover Candies, Don Hall of Hallmark Cards, Clyde Cessna of Cessna Aircraft Co., Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corp., and William Allen White, entrepreneur and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Emporia Gazette.
The only program of its kind in the state of Kansas, the Kansas Business Hall of Fame serves as a chapter of the American National Business Hall of Fame.