Four local leaders named to Lawrence Business Hall of Fame

Larry McElwain, Mike Amyx, Jean Milstead and Miles Schnaer were named Thursday, May 4, 2017, as inductees into the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame.

Junior Achievement of Lawrence has named four local leaders — a barber, funeral director, banker and car salesman — to be inducted into the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame.

Mike Amyx, Larry McElwain, Jean Milstead and Miles Schnaer were named Thursday as the 2017 inductees into the hall of fame. Beyond their respective careers, all four inductees have made a name for themselves in Lawrence in other ways.

Junior Achievement board member Brad Burnside said the Business Hall of Fame is the final piece of business education for Junior Achievement students.

“Those chosen for this award can be held up as role models to the children in the community,” Burnside said at an announcement of the laureates at the Lawrence Country Club. “We can now display prime examples of giving, caring and enthusiastic community leaders at our Business Hall of Fame.”

The Business Hall of Fame recognizes prominent business people who have made “extraordinary contributions” to Lawrence. Junior Achievement looks at candidates’ business excellence, leadership ability and community impact, among other criteria.

Amyx has lived in Lawrence his entire life and is owner of Amyx Barber Shop. A longtime city commissioner, Amyx has served as mayor six times. He is also the former chair of the Kansas Board of Barbering and is currently co-chair of the Horizon 2020 Steering Committee and board member of the Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center.

When he went into the family barbershop business, Amyx said he couldn’t have imagined being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.

“If you would have ever told me about 30 years ago this could happen, I would have said, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to be in business long enough,'” Amyx said. “… I feel very honored to be recognized by Junior Achievement and to be a part of the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame.”

McElwain has served as the president of the The Chamber of Lawrence since 2014. He is the co-founder and former chairman of the Board of Managers of 21st Century Funeral Company, which included Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. He has served on various community boards and currently serves on the board of Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center.

McElwain said when he thinks about prior inductees to the hall of fame, he’s grateful to be in their midst.

“We have laureates here that I know and I’ve relied on their counsel for many different things,” McElwain said. “I’ve needed a lot of role models, and I’ve had a lot of role models, and I’m very grateful for that.”

Milstead worked numerous positions at Douglas County Bank for 34 years and has served as interim vice president of economic development and of operations for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. She is a founding member of Leadership Lawrence and the Fairy Godmother Fund.

“I am blessed to live in this community and am honored to be asked to join the leaders already named to the Junior Achievement Lawrence Business Hall of Fame,” Milstead said.

Schnaer has spent more than 46 years in the automotive business. He bought Crown Automotive in 1994 — now Crown Toyota Volkswagen — and the company now employs about 110 people from the Lawrence area. Schnaer has twice been on the board of directors of the Lawrence chamber of commerce and is on the board for the Cottonwood Foundation and the director of Bill Self’s Assists Foundation.

“I could not have been in this position if it were not for a lot of people who believed in me and the way that I wanted to do things, particularly my employees, my friends and my family,” Schnaer said.

This is the eighth year of the Business Hall of Fame, which is located on the lower level of the Lawrence Public Library. The laureates will officially go into the Hall of Fame at a tribute dinner in October.