Lawrence Business Hall of Fame to induct 4 new members this week

Clockwise from top left: Richard Haig, Marilyn Heck, Roger Scott, and Gary Toebben. All four were chosen to be inducted into the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame

When Roger Scott learned he was being inducted into the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame, he was incredulous. He told the people who shared the news with him they had the wrong guy.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t think so. A lot of other people in Lawrence are more deserving than I am,'” Scott said. “But they said they weren’t taking no for an answer.”

Scott is one of four Lawrence Business Hall of Fame inductees being honored at a black-tie tribute dinner on Thursday at the DoubleTree by Hilton.

photo by: Contributed

Roger Scott

The other inductees are Gary Toebben, Marilyn Heck and Richard Haig.

In citing the strengths of this year’s inductees, Debbie Harmon, Douglas County district director for Junior Achievement, praised the candidates’ perseverance and generosity.

“They’re all very involved with supporting nonprofits and organizations in our community,” Harmon said. “I’m absolutely amazed at our small-business people and how they’ve navigated through COVID. … I admire each and every one of them for what they’ve done for the last two years.”

Recently retired from Scott Temperature, which provides heating and air-conditioning services, Scott said he has always made it a point to support local charities. A fourth-generation Lawrence resident, he has also mentored young people by teaching real-world economics through a Junior Achievement program for more than 25 years. By teaching personal finance and discussing how to enter the workforce, he has tried to empower young people so they feel equipped to become entrepreneurs and business owners themselves.

Like Scott, all of the civic and business leaders being honored have distinguished themselves by serving as models for local youth, Lawrence Business Hall of Fame Chair Chris Kollman said.

“I am very happy with this year’s laureate class,” Kollman said. “They have worked to lead our community to a better, higher level; individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame have demonstrated business excellence, are courageous thinkers, have vision, are innovative and inspiring leaders and are community minded.”

Marilyn Heck, a longtime commercial real estate broker in Lawrence, established her career in industrial sales and land development, with clients like Plastikon, Grandstand Sportswear and Glassware, LMH and Berry Plastics.

photo by: Contributed

Marilyn Heck

“Expanding and growing our industrial sector means those businesses are adding primary jobs that bring new money into our community,” Heck said. “Growing our physical and geographical footprint means that we are adding new dollars to our tax base. Those are two of the best ways our community can create greater, and more equitable, economic prosperity for everyone.”

Heck also serves on the boards of Cottonwood Inc. and Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center, and she is the chair of the Douglas County Economic Development Corporation.

“One of the most important lessons that virtually all my mentors taught me was to give back via community service,” Heck said. “They showed me that by example and opened doors for me to serve on various boards and commissions.”

Gary Toebben is being honored for his contributions as CEO and president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce from 1981 to 1999.

photo by: Contributed

Gary Toebben

“It is a great honor to be named by Junior Achievement as a member of the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame,” Toebben said. “I had the pleasure of serving four cities in four different states during my 43-year Chamber of Commerce career, but the 18 years I spent in Lawrence were the most rewarding.”

Most recently, Toebben served as the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, retiring in 2018.

During his tenure at the Lawrence chamber, Toebben promoted the construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway, advanced the construction of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and spearheaded a campaign to build Free State High School.

“The work of building a community is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “I am proud of the marathon we ran during the 18 years I had the honor of leading the chamber. … When I walk around Lawrence I see hundreds of people who joined hands more than 20 years ago to make these improvements happen. It will be fun to see some of those old friends (again).”

Richard Haig, owner of Westside 66 Inc., is being honored both for his business accomplishments and his leadership contributions. His business has won the Best of Lawrence contest for 10 years. He has also served on the Lawrence Aviation Board for more than a decade.

photo by: Contributed

Richard Haig

Attempts to reach Haig for comment were unsuccessful. He previously told the Journal-World that he’s owned the Westside 66 gasoline station since 1985. The station on West Sixth Street has gained attention for still operating full-service gasoline pumps, where Haig or a member of his staff come out and pump your fuel, wash your vehicle’s windows and conduct other maintenance checks.

“I would say that 90 percent of our customers are like family,” Haig told the Journal-World in a 2014 article. “We know when they are having struggles. We know when their kids are doing well with sports. A lot of this is the old ‘Cheers’ effect. People like to have a place where they know your name.”

Junior Achievement has been the lead organizer of the Lawrence Business Hall of Fame for more than a decade. The nonprofit, which uses the hall of fame event as a fundraiser, provides business and consumer education courses in Lawrence public schools, with many of the classes often taught by community volunteers.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.