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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Jack P. DeBoer will be inducted into the state Business Hall of Fame

  • Jack P.  DeBoer, entrepreneur, real estate developer and chairman of the board of the Hix Corporation, Pittsburg, will inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame on June 11.

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  • Jack P. DeBoer, entrepreneur, real estate developer and chairman of the board of the Hix Corporation, Pittsburg, will inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame on June 11.
    His induction will come during the 41st annual Team Kansas/Kansas Cavalry Awards Banquet at Emporia State University.
    Also chosen for induction in the Hall of Fame is the late Dr. Mark Morris Sr., who developed the pet food formulas that became Hill’s Prescription Diet and Hill’s Science Diet.
    DeBoer is founder of Residence Inn, Summerfield Hotel Corp. and the Candlewood Hotel Co. He is also trustee of Innkeepers Real Estate Investment Trust and chairman of the board of trustees of Youth for Understanding, the world’s leading student exchange organization.
    A Michigan native, he graduated from Michigan State University in 1952 with a degree in business. However, he began his career selling real estate during the summers while in high school in Kalamazoo, Mich. After serving two years as a military police officer during the Korean War, he teamed up with his father to build homes in southern Michigan.
    In 1966 DeBoer began building apartments, and by 1973 his company had built more than 16,000 apartments in 30 cities across 25 states. He was recognized by National Real Estate Investor as the “second-largest multi-family developer in the United States.” He also planned and assembled the property for a 4,000-acre planned unit development on the northeast side of Wichita called Comotara.
    In 1975 DeBoer designed and built the first Residence Inn all-suite hotel located in downtown Wichita. A pioneer in the all-suite hotel concept, he built or franchised 100 hotels before selling the Residence Inn Company to the Marriott Corporation in 1987. In 1988 DeBoer co-founded Summerfield Hotel Corporation, a second-generation, upscale all-suite hotel chain that has, to date, developed 30 hotels. He resigned as co-chair of Summerfield in 1993.
    In 1995 he founded the Candlewood Hotel Company and was chairman and was chairman and CEO of the all-suite hotel chain until it was purchased by Intercontinental Hotels Group in 2003. He is also in Manning & Smith, a national insurance agency insuring more than 1,400 hotels;
    In 1989 DeBoer and partner Bruce Huelat, now Hix president/CEO, purchased the Hix Corporation, Pittsburg, premier manufacturer of printing equipment utilized worldwide by the imprinted sportswear industry.
    DeBoer visited Pittsburg in October 2012 when Hix celebrated its 50th anniversary. He said that he and Huelat met while at an aircraft company in Wichita.
    “I told Bruce to go run a company for me, that was on Thursday,” he recalled. “On Sunday morning Bruce said the company was a bottomless hole and I had to get out of it. I said, ‘Look, let’s fulfill our commitments to our customers, lock the door and walk away.’ Then we met Dan and Cliff Hix.”
    The Hix brothers started Hix Automotive in 1962, but switched from cars to screen printing equipment after a man brought them a dryer for drying ink on screen printed items such as T-shirts.
    Page 2 of 2 - DeBoer is active in many business and civic organizations. Past president of the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, he is a founder of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University. In 1990 he spearheaded a movement to renovate downtown Wichita.
    In 1992 DeBoer was given the highest recognition by the Wichita Business Hall of Fame, and in 1999 was included in the National Registry of Who’s Who. In 2001 he received UCLA’s Hotel Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.
    He has also devoted much effort to helping the poor in foreign nations. In the early 1990s, DeBoer, an avid pilot, and his wife set off on a 3 1/2-month trip around the world, and were stunned by the poverty and poor living conditions they say.
    This trip inspired DeBoer’s Candlewood Suites, a mid-price, extended-stay hotel concept that would focus on contributing capital to the DeBoer Family Foundation for the purpose of giving loans to small businesses and improving living conditions of the poor.
    The DeBoer Family Foundation established the first of four health clinics in Burma in 1988, a humanitarian project that could have led to the deaths of DeBoer and wife Marilyn. They found themselves in the middle of a violet riot that led to the deaths of thousands of Burmese citizens.
    The U.S. Embassy urged the DeBoers and their traveling party to flee the country, which they did. However, it did not discourage their desire to help the poor of Burma, and since that time they have returned to Burma five times.

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