University of Southern Indiana

President Rochon announces 2020 JA Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame Laureates

President Rochon announces 2020 JA Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame Laureates

11/14/2019 | University Communications
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Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana and the Evansville Courier & Press announced the 2020 Junior Achievement Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame Laureates at a press conference Wednesday, November 13, at the University of Southern Indiana.

The 2020 Active Laureates are Daniel S. Hermann and Christina Ryan. The 2020 Retired Laureates are Wendell Dixon and Norman P. Wagner. Laureates will be inducted into the JA Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame at a celebration breakfast at 7:00 a.m. (CT) on March 19, 2020, at the Old National Events Plaza.

The announcement was made by University of Southern Indiana President Ronald S. Rochon, who served as co-chair of this year's Laureate Selection Committee. “As anyone who has had the pleasure of working or associating with them know, these four individuals represent the finest our region’s business community has to offer.”

Individuals are nominated for their outstanding civic and business contributions to the southwestern Indiana area and recognized for their business excellence, vision, innovations, inspiring leadership, courageous thinking, and community service. A crystal eagle symbolizing the spirit of free enterprise is presented to each laureate.

Daniel S. Hermann: President American Patriot Group
Daniel S. Hermann serves as President of American Patriot Group, LLC which is involved in the start-up and investment in companies. Graduating from Indiana State University in Evansville, Indiana in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science Degree, Hermann began his career in public accounting with Harding Shymanski & Company and became a licensed Certified Public Accountant. In 1982, he joined Black Beauty Coal Company where he held various titles, including President and Chief Executive Officer. During his 23 years at Black Beauty, he was part of a successful team that grew the Company to the largest coal producer in the Illinois basin. In 2003, Black Beauty was acquired by Peabody Energy and Hermann spent the next two years as Group Executive for Peabody’s Midwest Division. Hermann also served as Chief Executive Officer of AmeriQual Group, LLC (2005-2015). AmeriQual, a food packaging company, is a leading supplier of field rations to the Department of Defense and is a contract packager for major food companies. Hermann has served on the Board of Directors of Deaconess Health System, Fifth Third Bank Southern Indiana, Foresight Energy, Evansville Catholic Foundation, The Boys & Girls Club, Evansville Regional Business Committee, and on the Board of Visitors for both the University of Southern Indiana and University of Evansville. He is also an actively engaged member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

Christina Ryan: CEO The Women’s Hospital
In 1999, Christina Ryan was recruited to help develop the initial plans, manage the construction and open the Women’s Hospital in Evansville. Ryan was then appointed as the CEO. During her tenure as CEO, Ryan has been recognized as a hospital and health care leader by Becker’s Hospital Review. Under her leadership, the Women’s Hospital has won numerous awards, such as Service Excellence by JD Power (three-time winner) and a ranking on the Modern Healthcare: “Best Hospital to Work” list. Ryan received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in psychology from Elmhurst College and has also received her Master of Health Administration at Indiana University. Ryan’s civic and community involvement includes a long list of local organizations. She actively serves on the boards of Welborn Baptist Foundation, Building Healthier Communities, Leadership Evansville, Secretary Advisory Council for Infant Mortality and The American Hospital Association Governing Council for Maternal Child Health. Ryan’s community leadership also includes service as the Southwest Region chair for the March of Dimes. Ryan’s awards and accomplishments include being appointed to the Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, Spirit of Women Next Generation of Women’s Health Leaders Award, March of Dimes Nurse Recognition Award, United Way Gold Award, Indian State Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society Recognition Award, Athena Award, and the Leadership Evansville – Individual Achievement Award in Health and Social Services.

Wendell Dixon: Interstate Finance/CrediThift Financial
Wendell Dixon was a true visionary for Interstate Finance/CrediThrift Financial, demonstrating substantial management and organizational acumen allowing the company to achieve a significant national presence and creating hundreds of jobs in the Evansville community. Starting as a management trainee in 1946, he was promoted to chairman and CEO in 1973. He led Interstate Finance, a small Evansville-based consumer finance company, to national prominence. Interstate/CrediThrift, the predecessor companies to what was later American General and today as OneMain Financial, grew under his leadership from 500 employees in 31 states to becoming the second largest consumer finance company in the U.S., with 1,400 employees, operating in 42 states. Dixon served on the University of Evansville Board of Trustees and on the Board of Directors of Welborn Baptist Hospital, Evansville Chamber of Commerce, Citizen’s National Bank, Tri-State Youth for Christ, Evansville’s Future, and the American Financial Services Association, serving as chairman from 1984-85. He was also past president of the Welborn Baptist Hospital Foundation. Dixon’s awards and community recognition include Lifetime Rotarian, Distinguished Citizen Award-Buffalo Trace Council (1988) and University of Southern Indiana Executive in Residence (1975).

Norman P. Wagner: SIGCORP
Norman P. Wagner was responsible for growing the utility provider SIGCORP, now Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy Company, into a large Indiana-based public company. Wagner made tremendous contributions to SIGECO and because of his expertise and efforts; the Company is one of the nation’s lowest cost energy providers. Prior to joining SIGECO, Wagner served as Works and Project Manager at Babcock and Wilcox. Wagner’s career began at SIGECO in 1968 as the Director of Marketing. He worked his way up through the ranks of the company to become Chairman of the Board, President and CEO in 1986. During his tenure, SIGECO grew from servicing 80,000 customers to over 115,000 upon his retirement. Wagner’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit was also the foundation of Southern Indiana Mineral and Southern Indiana Properties. Wagner was not only dedicated to the growth of SIGECO, but also to the growth of the Tri-state Community. His vision for the community included the development of an economic development framework for our area which gave birth to Vision 2000 and also game new life to the Old Post Office with his restoration project. Wagner was an inspiration and mentor to numerous Tristate leaders. He provided leadership to many organizations including: the Metropolitan Evansville Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Electric Association, United Way of Southwestern Indiana, Evansville Industrial Foundation, University of Evansville Board of Trustees, Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, Edison Electric Institute, Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, Deaconess Hospital Service Corporation and the Indiana Gas Association. In 1989, he won the Buffalo Trace Council of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen’s Award for his contributions. He was counted as one of the top 1000 CEOs in the country by Business Week magazine.

For more information about the press conference, contact Junior Achievement at 812.425.8152.

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