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Meet Bill

Bill Hanna is the retired President of Koch Industries and a long-time supporter of Youth Entrepreneurs. Bill embodies the YE spirit and knows first-hand that entrepreneurship can be a life-changing venture, leading to more than just financial profit. He believes “Entrepreneurship is the vehicle through which we’re teaching a way to live.” Meet Bill.

His roots: Inspired by his grandfather, Bill decided to pursue engineering in his higher education. No one in his family had ever gone to college, but he sought out a scholarship and attended Texas A&M, graduating in 1959 with a degree in Civil Engineering as well as the rank as Second Lieutenant in the Army. Hired by a petroleum company in Tulsa, Okla., Bill took a six month leave of absence for active duty, and then spent 7 ½ years in the reserves while working full-time. In 1968, he moved to Wichita, Kan., to continue his career at Koch Industries.

His YE involvement: Bill has been a part of the YE family for nearly two decades, participating as a YE volunteer even before his retirement from Koch Industries in 2001. He has supported YE in a variety of ways over the years and is an incredibly dedicated, long-time ally. He currently serves on the Governing Board, regularly attends leadership and development meetings in the Wichita, Kan. corporate office, and personally meets with many key YE donors. He’s also a big supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and loves the overlap in values and teachings between the two organizations.

What others say about Bill: When Phoebe Bachura, YE Vice President of Development, came to YE, Bill had already been involved for almost a decade. “Bill has been a vital part of my entire career at YE. His passion is building donor, volunteer and community interest, and he’s always been willing to help us raise funds from the philanthropic community to support YE. He is a man of high integrity, responsibility and work ethic. He’s always focused on the win-win and always thinking about creating value and opportunities.”

Bringing YE to Texas: Bill was essential in kicking off YE programs in the Dallas area. “His connections in Texas were the beginning of our launch in the DFW metroplex,” Phoebe described. “He introduced us to superintendents from school districts all over the area who came on board during our pilot year in Texas in the fall of 2016. He knows people everywhere and is a super connector.”

Thoughts on technology and its impact on students: Bill has also played a role in YE’s strategic and operational improvements related to utilization of technology to better reach teachers and students. He is a dedicated smartphone user, himself! While Bill misses the days when technology wasn’t so prominent in daily life, he understands its impact and is impressed by how young people use it to better their lives and futures. “It’s a much higher level of requirement of all of us, in particular the young people. If they’re going to find something they can do [for a career], they’re going to need to be really educated technology-wise.” Bill has seen the evolution of technologies like the cellular phone and computer in his lifetime, and is intrigued to see where technology will continue to take us. He hopes young people will take the fun elements they love about technology and apply them to entrepreneurship.

His take on the YE Foundational Values: Bill was there when the leadership team of Koch Industries was developing the Market-Based Management(R) (MBM) philosophy, which is the basis of YE’s own eight Foundational Values. While the values weren’t new to Bill in the way he managed his business and his life, framing them in this new way caused him to think critically and find new ways to apply those lessons. Now he sees the change in young people as they move through YE with the values as their guide. He describes the values as, “how people ought to live every day if they want to be not only a good employee, but a good person.”

Read more inspiring stories of those involved with YE on the blog.