Entrepreneurial couples bring their stories to FHSU program dedicated to entrepreneurship

HAYS, Kan. - A pair of special entrepreneurial teams will be the featured attraction at the fall 2017 edition of Fort Hays State University's Entrepreneur Direct Lecture Series - two married couples who have built successful business entrepreneurial careers and lives.

Admission is free and the public is invited.

Rick and Gail Kuehl, Hays, and Gail and Cindy Boller, Norton, will present their stories from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the Eagle Communication Hall of the Robbins Center on the university's campus.

The Kuehls opened their first McDonald's restaurant in 1979 in Hays. They have continued to grow their organization, and currently own two restaurants in Hays, one restaurant in Russell and another in WaKeeney.

"Their philosophy is 'people first' as they work with a team of 210 employees," said Dr. Mark Bannister, dean of Fort Hays State's W.R. and Yvonne Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship. "They believe in giving back to the communities they serve, and are supporters of education at all levels."

Early in their careers, the Kuehl's also owned three radio stations and founded Media-Net, Hays' first Internet provider.

Gail Boller founded Natoma Corp. in 1982 in Natoma. Two years later, he moved the company to Norton. The corporation is a world-class contract manufacturer. The company's primary customers are aerospace, medical, and energy related. Natoma Corp.'s assets were sold to the Natoma Manufacturing Corp. in April 2017.

"The owners of Natoma Manufacturing are home grown Nortonites," said Bannister. The company currently employs more than 80 people.

In 2009, working with a partner, Cindy Boller founded Destination Kitchen, a unique retail kitchen store in Norton.

"Destination Kitchen is a destination for delectable desserts, California Roasted Peets Coffee, a top line of teas and an exciting menu of baked goods, sandwiches and lunch items, and provides essential tools and gifts for the home cook," said Bannister.

Entrepreneur Direct is a speaker series conducted by the university's Robbins College, featuring successful entrepreneurs in an informal setting accessible to students, faculty and the public. The program is intended to connect students with successful entrepreneurs who have stories and advice to share. A panel asks questions about entrepreneurship and encourages questions from and interaction with the audience.

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