2017 Dubois County Business Hall of Fame Laureates Announced

Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana announced the 2017 Dubois County Business Hall of Fame laureates at a news conference Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.  The 2017 laureates are: Robert H. “Hank” Menke, Active Laureate and Gervase Schwenk (1923-2010) Historical Laureate.

 

Menke, President and CEO of OFS Brands and Schwenk, former CFO Jasper Engines and Transmissions will be inducted into the Dubois County Business Hall of Fame at a breakfast ceremony at 7:30 a.m. on April 27th 2017, at The Huntingburg Event Center.

 

“Hank Menke and Gervase Schwenk are the kinds of role models our young people need,” said Interim Dean of Vincennes University Jasper Campus, Dean Ackerman.   “They are strong leaders who have made significant impact on our community.”

 

The purpose of the Dubois Business Hall of Fame is to honor members of the Dubois Business Community who exhibit:  strong vision, innovation, inspiring leadership and who are visionaries within their respective industries. A crystal eagle symbolizing the spirit of free enterprise is presented to each laureate. A monument with a citation and image of each laureate will also be displayed at the Dubois County Museum.

 

In addition to honoring Hank Menke and Gervase Schwenk, the Dubois County Business Hall of Fame will raise funds benefitting Junior Achievement programs in Dubois County. We are excited to have Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLC as our returning title sponsor.  Sponsorship information, table reservations, or individual tickets can be obtained from Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana at 812-425-8152.

 

ROBERT H. “HANK’ MENKE: OFS Brands, Inc. (Active)

 

In 1978 Robert H. “Hank” Menke joined the family-owned business and in 1982 became its President and CEO.  Menke was instrumental in the company’s decision to focus on manufacturing wood furniture under the name OFS.  Under his leadership, OFS expanded its product offerings to include a diverse line of case goods, conferencing furniture, and upholstered seating.  The success of these endeavors can be measured in the phenomenal growth of the company over the past 30 years.  OFS currently has over 1,700 employees in Dubois County.

 

Menke encourages his employees to be active citizens by empowering them to play leadership roles in the Dubois County Community on various committees and boards with the support of OFS and Menke.

 

Hank and his family have given generously in support of the Huntingburg Fire Department, Huntingburg Stellar Endowment, Dubois County Community Foundation, the preservation of Old Town Hall in Huntingburg, and were a major contributor to the building of the Huntingburg Event Center. Most non-for-profit entities in Dubois County have received contributions from Menke or his family.

 

GERVASE SCHWENK: Jasper Engines and Transmissions (Historical)

 

Gervase Schwenk was more than the Chairman of the Board to the Associates of Jasper Engines and Transmissions. He was a humble man who made sure all were appreciated and respected.

After serving in World War II, which included his participation in the invasion of Normandy, Gervase began working as a bookkeeper for Alvin C. Ruxer and his Ford Dealership in 1946. It wasn’t long before Gervase’s talents were recognized and he became an integral part of Ruxer’s new business enterprise, Jasper Engine Exchange and eventually, Jasper Engine and Transmission Exchange.

 

Gervase Schwenk was a man of service to others. He served in various capacities with Memorial Hospital, the Evansville Catholic Dioceses,  Precious Blood Church, Sisters of Saint Benedict, VU Foundation, St. Meinrad Archabbey, Dubois County Community Foundation and as President of the Jasper Band Parents for  a number of years.  He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Buffalo Trace Council of the Boy Scouts. Even in his various respected positions, he liked to stay in the background, allowing others to receive the credit and the praise. One of his favorite axioms was “To lead by example, not in what we say, but in what we do with our family, friends, favorite charities, and work”.

 

About Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana (JASWIN)

Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana’s K-12 programs foster financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship skills. We are empowering young people with a belief in themselves through these volunteer-based educational experiences teaching students how money, careers and business ownership work. JASWIN serves 11 counties in Southwestern Indiana and Southeastern Illinois, and began in 1964. In 2015-2016, JASWIN provided JA programs to 28,369 students in 1,293 classes resulting in 164,823 hours spent between volunteers and the students they inspire.  In the 2015-2016 school year, Junior Achievement in Dubois County provides over 170 JA programs serving over 3,800 Dubois County students.  For more information, visit www.jaswin.org.

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