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Topeka Business Hall of Fame to welcome four leaders in 2022

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 2:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The laureates for the 2022 Topeka Business Hall of Fame were announced at brunch on Tuesday.

Junior Achievement Topeka says leaders announced the 2022 Topeka Business Hall of Fame laureates at a brunch on Tuesday, Sept. 14. It said four business leaders will join the Hall of Fame in March 2022.

According to JA Topeka, the 2022 laureates are Grant Cushinberry, posthumous; Vince Frye; Marvin Spees, Capitol City Oil; and Matt Strathman, Strathman Sales.

JA Topeka said the 2022 Topeka Business Hall of Fame dinner to honor the laureates will be held on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Hotel Topeka at City Center, formerly Capitol Plaza Hotel, Maner Conference Center.

Grant Cushinberry

Born in Nicodemus in 1921, JA Topeka said after working for the railroad, Cushinberry enlisted in the Army as a Combat Medic in the Philippines from 1943-47. Following an honorable discharge, he settled in Topeka and worked for Winter General Hospital (now known as the VA Hospital) for 30 years while simultaneously starting and running his own waste management company, Cushinberry and Sons, which also served as a lawn service in the summer.

According to the organization, Cushinberry was dubbed Topeka’s most generous landlord as he managed almost a dozen rental properties. He was also well known for his community service as the co-founder and organizer of the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner for three decades. He was well-known for giving hundreds of children free tickets to see the Arab Shrine Circus and Saturday morning movies.

Cushinberry was honored with numerous awards, including the 1975 humanitarian Kansas of the Year from the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Governor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award and the American Legion Award in 1989. A park on the city’s east side bears his name and Washburn University named him to the Sagamore honor society the same year he won the Topeka Chamber of Commerce Small Business award, 1994.

Cushinberry passed away on July 1, 2008.

Vince Frye

Born in Kansas City, Mo., JA Topeka said Frye graduated from the University of Kansas in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Upon graduation, Frye was recruited to work for KTSB-TV as an advertising account executive and moved to 13 NEWS WIBW-TV in 1973 as General Sales Manager until 1997.

Frye worked with hundreds of businesses and various local and national agencies. In 1997, he joined FryeAllen Advertising as a partner with founders Dana Rulon Frye and Michael Allen. The Company grew with the addition of FryeAllen Films and FryeAllen Digital, a film production company and an animation and computer design company. The agency helped hundreds of local clients and created successful campaigns including the Shawnee County economic development sales tax, expansion of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Hummer Sports Park, Great Overland Station, Charles Curtis Building and various other political campaigns.

In 2012 Frye was named as the CEO of Downtown Topeka, Inc. where he helped revitalize downtown by aiding in the fundraising of over $4 million for pocket parks, fountains, arches and statues. He helped create 35 downtown events that attracted over 100,000 people each year and was honored by the International Downton Association, Arts Connect and Topeka Civic Theatre for his contributions.

In 2018, JA Topeka said Frye successfully led Downtown Topeka into a merger with GO Topeka, Visit Topeka and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce to form the Greater Topeka Partnership. He retired in December 2020, but not before he helped plan and fund Evergy Plaza, oversaw the strategic marketing plan for downtown and helped create three downtown historic districts and the Dynamic Core Tax Increment Finance District.

Marvin Spees

Born and raised in Topeka, Spees worked for Youth for Christ International as Director of Camps, Conferences and Ski Trips for a ten-state region after he graduate from Topeka High School then earned his General Business degree from John Brown University.

Spees returned to Topeka in 1983 to help his father run the family business and purchased Capitol City Oil from his father and partner in 1985. Capital City Oil is a full-line petroleum distribution company that serves commercial, industrial and agriculture customers from Kansas City to Salina.

According to JA Topeka, Spees is a member of the Silver Lake Bank Board, John Brown University Board of Trustees and Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Association of Kansas Board. Additionally, he auctioneers several local charity events.

Matt Strathman

JA Topeka said Strathman is a lifelong Topekan having graduated from Hayden High School in 1979 and earning his business degree from Emporia State. He worked with his father Art at Strathman Sales in the summers until he graduated and then became a full-time employee. He became the sole owner of the business in 2006.

Strathman’s son, Colton, joined Strathman Sales in 2014 and is successor manager. Stratman competes in SCCA racing with his other son, Hunter. He has been known to volunteer for 20-30, GO Topeka, the Small Business Council and the Plaza Planning Committee.

For more information about the laureates, click HERE.

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