Elected: April 10, 1997
Inducted: September 27, 1997
Born: April 17, 1943 – Steele City, Nebraska
Family: Married Mary Swoyer, February 14, 1973 at Kansas City, Kansas
Children: Paula, Patrick (Deceased), Phillip and Pamala
Don, having been raised on a farm near Hanover in north central Kansas, has had a life-long appreciation for farm machinery and trailers. He built his first trailer as a sophomore in high school winning honors at the Kansas State Fair.
On December 16, 1963, the very day remembered for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Don at the age of 20 became a partner in a business called Quick Service Welding Company. This was a typical welding, radiator repair and blacksmith shop. In the summer of 1967, Don’s partner returned to the railroad and Don became the sole owner. By 1969, Don was producing Landoll branded products for the farming industry. In 1970, Don designed and introduced the hydraulic traveling axle trailer. Within a few short years, the towing and recovery industry had become a primary market for the Model 317 trailer. By the early 80’s, Don had expanded his product line with several models of trailers and the introduction of a unique aluminum car carrier featuring a low load angle, “The Centerfold”.
Landoll’s products changed the towing industry by “diversification”. Don’s business principle of “diversifying” followed through to his customers. Towing and recovery companies began offering transport service. The use of Landoll products allowed these companies to attract new customers by transporting all types of equipment. The construction, rental, industrial and forklift industries needed this service to move a large variety of equipment which Landoll products handled very well. Landoll Corporation has continued to diversify and grow, now serving many industries by supplying farm tillage equipment, forklifts OEM manufacturing, government contracting and a large number of specialty transport trailers. Diversification includes the design and production of 211 military wreckers for the FMTV Program.
Don has been granted numerous patents for his product designs. These patents formed the basis for Landoll Corporation becoming a leading manufacturer in many industries. Landoll Corporation was recognized by the SBA as the National Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year in 1986. This honor is only bestowed on one business in our nation yearly. Landoll Corporation continues to be a strong supplier and supporter of the towing and recovery industry. Diversification has allowed Don’s “small welding shop” to become a multi-million dollar company employing 500 people from 52 different zip codes. Landoll Corporation has expanded its manufacturing facility to 350,000 square feet located on 22 acres, fully equipped with modern computerized machines and processing systems.
Although busy with company activities, Don continues to participate in several proactive groups directed at health care, community development and community service. As Chairman of Landoll Corporation, Don remains the driving force behind the innovation and total quality of all Landoll products.