Famous Kansans » Business
- Born: December 28, 1939
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Russell
Philip Anschutz is an oil and land magnate who has dabbled in a little bit of everything in the business world. He owns 9 million acres along the Utah and Wyoming border that sits on a 1 billion barrel oil pocket. He owned Rio Grande Railroad and Southern Pacific Railroad and when they merged with Union Pacific Railroad he became Vice-Chairman. He founded Qwest Communications and today heads Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) which owns stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings and other teams around the world. AEG is the world's largest owner of sports teams, sports events and sports venues. He co-founded Major League Soccer (MLS) as well founded several MLS teams. He is currently #38 on Forbes' Richest People in America list.
Charles & David Koch
- Born: Charles - November 1, 1935, David - May 3, 1940
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Wichita
Charles and David Koch are principle owners of Koch Industries, a multinational corporation in Wichita and second largest privately owned company in inthe United States with core industries including petroleum, chemicals, energy, paper, ranching and finance. The are currently #4 on Forbes' Richest People in America list and were listed among the 100 Most Influential by Time magazine in 2011.
Harry Ford Sinclair
- Born: July 6, 1876
- Died: November 10, 1956
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Independence
Harry Ford Sinclair was an industrialist who founded the petroleum company Sinclair Oil. He got his start in the oil business by selling lumber for oil derricks in the booming southeast Kansas oilfields and started dealing in oil leases on the side. He was a millionaire by age 30 and formed Sinclair Oil in 1916 from the assets of eleven smaller petroleum companies. By World War I Sinclair Oil was the largest independent oil company in the United States and by the end of the 1920s was producing 80,000 barrels of oil a day and had built almost 900 miles of oil pipeline.
William W. Hodkinson
- Born: August 16, 1881
- Died: June 2, 1971
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Independence
William W. Hodkinson was the founder of Paramount Pictures and was known as "The Man Who Invented Hollywood." He opened on of the first movie theaters in Ogden, Utah in 1907 and within a few years changed the way movies were produced, distributed and exhibited. In 1914 he founded Paramount Pictures, the first nation-wide film distributor and is credited with doodling the mountain that became the famous Paramount logo.
- Born: November 26, 1880
- Died: December 13, 1863
- Connection to Kansas: Born in St. Mary's, lived in Wichita
Walter Anderson was a businessman who co-founded the White Castle fast food restaurant chain. In 1921 he teamed up with E.W. Ingram and created the first White Castle restaurant in Wichita. Known for it's sliders (little hamburgers), White Castle was the first hamburger chain in the United States. He is credited with invention on the hamburger bun, a new method of cooking hamburgers and the development of an assembly line kitchen. By 1931, White Castle had expanded to 116 location in 11 different states. Today White Castles can be found primarily in eastern and midwest states.
Dan & Frank Carney
- Born: Dan - 1931, Frank - 1938
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Wichita
Dan and Frank Carney are the founders of the Pizza Hut restaurant franchise. Pizza Hut was founded in 1958 in Wichita when a friend suggested to the Carney's that they open a pizza parlor, then a rarity. They borrowed $600 from their mother and rented a small building in Wichita and started making pizzas. In 1959 Pizza Hut was incorporated in Kansas and the first franchise was opened in Topeka. Today there are more that 6,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in the United States and more than 5,000 restaurants in 94 countries and territories world wide.
- Born: June 27, 1835
- Died: February 7, 1901
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Leavenworth
Fred Harvey was an entrepreneur who developed the Harvey House lunch rooms, restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels which served rail passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and other railways. He is credited with creating the first restaurant chain in the United States and was also a leader in promoting tourism in the American Southwest it the late 19th century.
- Born: May 6, 1888
- Died: May 11, 1954
- Connection to Kansas: Born near Alton
Russell Stover, along with his wife Clara, was the founder of Russell Stover Candies. He got his big break in the candy business in 1921 when he helped develop the Eskimo Pie, the world's first chocolate covered ice cream bar. In 1924 he and his wife started Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies out of their household kitchen, making boxed chocolates. In 1925 they opened their first candy factory in Denver and another in Kansas City and in the 1940s the company name was officially changed to Russell Stover Candies. Today Russell Stover Candies is the nation's leading manufacturer of boxed chocolates and the third largest American chocolate manufacturer.
William Coffin Coleman
- Born: October 20, 1870
- Died: November 2, 1957
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Labette County, lived in Wichita
William Coffin Coleman was the founder of the Coleman Company, a company known for its lanterns, coolers and other camping equipment. He began producing portable lanterns in 1903 and in 1905 showcased the power of his laterns during the first night football game west of the Mississippi River. The Coleman Company played an important role during World War II by creating a portable cooking stove used by G.I.s. In the 1950s the company developed its famous coolers and added tents and other equipment later on.
Olive Ann Beech
- Born: September 25, 1903
- Died: July 6, 1993
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Waverly, lived in Wichita
Olive Ann (Mellor) Beech was an aviation pioneer and businesswoman. She got her start in aviation as a bookkeeper and secretary for Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita and eventually became office manager and personal secretary to Walter Beech. She married Beech in 1930 and in 1932 they co-founded Beech Aircraft. She took control of the company in 1940 when Walter became ill and guided the company through the manufacturing boom of World War II. After Walter's death she became company president and tripled sales during her 20 years at the helm. She was the first woman to receive the National Aeronautic Association's Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, served on the board of Raytheon Aircraft Company and became Beech Aircraft's first chairman emeritus and held the position until her death. She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973.
- Born: January 30, 1891
- Died: November 29, 1950
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Wichita
Walter Beech was an American aircraft designer, aviator and co-founder of Beech Aircraft Company. He designed and built his first glider at age 14 and later served as an U.S. Army pilot during World War I. Following the war he joined the Swallow Airplane Company as a test pilot and later became general manager. In 1925 he teamed up with Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman to form the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichta and the company soon became one of the leading U.S. aircraft manufacturers. In 1932, he and his wife, Olive Ann Beech, co-founded Beech Aircraft Company. During World War II, Beech Aircraft produced over 7,000 aircraft. Today, Beechcraft produces single engine planes, twin engine planes, business jets and military training planes. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1977.
- Born: December 5, 1879
- Died: November 20, 1954
- Connection to Kansas: Raised near Rago
Clyde Cessna was an American aircraft designer, aviator and founder of the Cessna Aircraft Corporation. In 1911 he built his first airplane named "silverwing" and taught himself how to fly it. In 1916 he aquired a vacant building and began building single-wing aircraft out it with it doubling as a flight school. In 1925 he teamed up with Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman to form the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichta. After two years he left to start Cessna Aircraft and in the following decade the company produced many racing and sports aircraft generally known for their tradition of safety, performance and economy. Today Cessna produces single engine planes, turboprops and business jets. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1978.
Walter P. Chrysler
- Born: April 12, 1875
- Died: August 18, 1940
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Wamego and raised in Ellis
Walter P. Chrysler was an American automotive industry executive and founder of the Chrysler Corporation. He began his automotive career working for Buick Motor Company, eventually becoming president and after leaving Buick, created his own automobile line in 1925. In 1928 he financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City and was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1928. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1967.
Cyrus K. Holliday
- Born: April 3, 1826
- Died: March 29, 1900
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Topeka
Cyrus K. Holliday was an executive who singlehandedly wrote the charter for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad company. He was named director and was the first president of the new railroad. During his tenure as president he secured land grants from the federal government that would be used by the railroad to populate the western portion of Kansas. He would serve on the railroad's board of directors from 1860 to 1865 and again from 1868 until his death in 1900. A number of railway locomotives have been named after him.
See also under Government.
- Born: December 21, 1837
- Died: October 19, 1915
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Abilene
Joseph McCoy was an entrepreneur who founded the town of Abilene, one of the first cow towns in the west. He was instrumental in bringing Longhorn cattle from Texas, via the Chisholm Trail, to the Kansas Pacific Railway railhead at Abilene for shipment to larger cities in the eastern United States.
Carl Bernhard Schmidt
- Born: September 7, 1843
- Died: 1921
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Lawrence
Carl Bernhard Schmidt was a German immigrant who worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad as its commissioner of immigration from 1873 to 1885. He distributed brochures in German to every German- speaking community in the United States in the hope of attracting the German speaking populace to Kansas. He traveled to Europe and Russia numerous times to convince German Mennonites to resettle in the more hospitable conditions of Kansas. He is credited with bringing 15,000 Germans to Kansas and earned the appellation "Moses of the Mennonites."
- Born: October 26, 1898
- Died: April 3, 1975
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Wellsville
Lloyd Stearman was an aviator and aircraft designer and founded Stearman Aircraft Corporation in Wichita. He learned to fly in 1918 while a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War I and in the mid-1920s got his first exposure to aircraft manufacturing by working as a mechanic for the Swallow Airplane Company. At Swallow he worked his way up to Chief Engineer and would meet Walter Beech. In 1925 he teamed up with Walter Beech and Clyde Cessna to form the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichta. In 1927 he left to form Stearman Aircraft Corporation and would design planes for mail and cargo delivery, military training and for crop dusting. He became president of Lockheed Aircraft Company in the early 1930s, resigning in 1935 and would return to Lockheed in 1955 as a senior engineer. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989.