The Don Volker Leadership Award was established by the 1983 Class of Leadership Lawrence to honor a Lawrence leader in memory of Don Volker.
Don Volker was the primary force in establishing the Leadership Lawrence program and served as its first chairman until his death in December 1982 during the program year of the first Leadership Lawrence class. The 1983 Class contributed funds to provide a permanent plaque to which the name of each year’s honoree can be added, plus an individual award for the first year’s recipient, Nelson Krueger. It was the expressed hope of the class that each future Leadership Lawrence Class would select a person to be honored with this award at the class graduation ceremony. The members of the initial class, who benefited from Don Volker’s participation in the early class sessions before his death, suggested the following criteria for the selection: The person honored by the Don Volker Leadership Award need not be connected in any way with the Leadership Lawrence program. The man or woman should be a leader in Lawrence who demonstrates the enthusiasm that surrounded Don Volker for projects, people and Lawrence. The recipient should have the ability to instill in other people the belief in their own ability to succeed.
2016 Elizabeth Keever – Just Food
2015 Linda Clay – Lawrence Public Library
2014 Amber Nickel – Pawsh Wash
2013 Sarajane Scott Koch – Scott Temperature Equipment Co.
2012 Sue Hack – Leadership Lawrence
2011 Brad Finkeldei – Stevens & Brand LLP
2010 David Ambler – University of Kansas, retired
2009 The late Lt. David K. Dillon – Douglas County Sheriff’s Department
2008 Shirley Martin-Smith – Adecco and Martin Personnel Services
2007 Janet Murphy – Boys & Girls Club
2006 Lynne Green – Van Go Mobile Arts
2005 Don Gardner – Community Volunteer
2004 Paula Phillips – Douglas County Emergency Preparedness
2003 Judy Wright – KU Endowment Association
2002 John Tacha – Bureau of Lectures & Concert Artists, Inc.
2001 Sandra Shaw – Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center
2000 Jo Bryant – Director, United Way of Douglas County
1999 Steve Jansen – Director, Watkins Community Museum
1998 Barbara Ballard – Assistant Dean of Student Life, KU
1997 Jean Shepherd – Judge, Douglas County
1996 Bob Johnson, Sr. – Charlton-Manley, Inc.
1995 Dr. Emily Taylor – Former Dean of Women, KU
1994 Charley and Tensie Oldfather – Actor, former KU Professor of Law
1993 Alice Fowler – Lawrence Fire Department
1992 Deanell Tacha – Judge, US Court of Appeals
1991 Hank Booth – General Manager, Lawrence Broadcasters, Inc.
1990 Sandy Praeger – VP of Community Affairs Douglas County Bank
1989 Bob Billings – President, Alvamar, Inc.
1988 Bob Stephen – President, Stephens Real Estate
1987 Arden Booth – President, Lawrence Broadcasters, Inc.
1986 Nancy Hambleton – Community Volunteer
1985 Joel Jacobs – Resident Manager, FMC Corporation
1984 Earl VanMeter – Director, Douglas County Extension Service
1983 Nelson Krueger – Secretary’s Representative, United States Department of Labor
2016 – Diane Stoddard – City of Lawrence
2015 – Reggie Robinson – University of Kansas
2014 Evan Ice – Stevens & Brand, L.L.P.
2013 Matt Llewellyn – 23rd Street Brewery
2012 Jana Dawson – CornerBank
2011 Charles Branson – Douglas County District Attorney
2010 John Ross – Laser Logic
2009 Brad Finkeldei – Stevens & Brand, L.L.P.
2008 Al Hack – CEK Insurance
2007 Jo Bryant – United Way of Douglas County
2006 Pat Flavin – Lawrence Realty Associates
2005 Judy Wright – KU Chancellor’s Club
2004 Mark Buhler – Stephens Real Estate
2003 Julie Love – Intrust Bank
2002 Nancy Longhurst – Chamber of Commerce
2001 Susan Hadl – Lawrence Police Department
2000 Charlie Becker – Campbell Becker
1999 Larry McElwain – Warren McElwain Mortuary
1998 Sarah Jane Russell – GaDugi Center