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Iowa Business Hall of Fame Honors Angela Walker Franklin, Bill Lillis and Mike Wells

February 25, 2022

GREATER DES MOINES, IOWA (Feb. 25, 2022) – The Greater Des Moines Committee will recognize Dr. Angela Walker Franklin, William “Bill” Lillis and Mike Wells as the 2021 inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored during the Greater Des Moines Committee’s Annual Induction Event on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at The Meadows Events and Conference Center. The Iowa Business Hall of Fame honors the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.

Dr. Angela Walker Franklin

Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D. became the 15th president of Des Moines University in the spring of 2011. With a distinguished career in higher education spanning more than 25 years, she has held senior administrative positions at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Since becoming president of Des Moines University, Dr. Franklin has published the university history entitled, “Now is the Time, Des Moines is the Place,” launched the $50 million Purple & Proud fundraising campaign, led efforts to design a new campus in West Des Moines and much more. Dr. Franklin is widely involved in the Greater Des Moines community, serving on the boards of Bankers Trust, Greater Des Moines Partnership and The Harkin National Advisory Council. She is also Chair of the Assembly of Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and a member of the George Washington Carver Statuary Hall Project. Dr. Franklin is an inspirational servant leader and author of her 2014 memoir, “An Unconventional Journey…An Unlikely Choice,” which chronicles her journey to the college presidency and shares lessons learned in leadership.

Bill Lillis

The late Bill Lillis was the managing partner at the Lillis O’Malley Olson Manning Pose Templeman LLP Law Firm. Bill’s practice specialty was complex real estate transactions. He began his professional legal career at the Polk County Attorney’s office in 1968, and in 1970 joined the law firm that would eventually bear his name. He was recognized multiple years by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Super Lawyers and Martindale Hubbell. Bill loved being an attorney and was instrumental in real estate and zoning work throughout the Greater Des Moines community and had the ability to bring people together, enhancing business relationships. His insights and connections have been described as influencing nearly every significant real estate venture in central Iowa. Bill and his wife Kathleen were advocates for the the city of Des Moines and shared a passion for several organizations in the community including Anawim Housing, the Diocese of Des Moines, the Dowling Catholic Foundation, and United Way. Bill was also involved in Men on the Move, Des Moines Art Center, Drake University, Salisbury House, Easter Seals and Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

Mike Wells

Mike Wells started working in the family business in 1977 as a route driver while working his way through Morningside College in Sioux City. He joined the Blue Bunny sales force in 1981. Mike held various positions throughout the company including route sales, production, transportation, office services, and marketing, culminating with a series of senior management positions which eventually led to his title as COO and later President and CEO in 2007. In October 2021, he assumed his current position as CEO/Chief Engagement Officer of Wells Enterprises. During Mike’s 14-year tenure as CEO, Wells has seen explosive growth and performance improvements under his leadership. Mike serves on the International Dairy Foods Association Executive Council and is chair of the International Dairy Foods Association ice cream segment board, chair of the Siouxland Initiative board, vice chair of the LeMars Chamber of Commerce, and past chair of the Iowa Business Council. Mike and his wife Cheryl have a shared passion for their community and are partners with the LeMars Betterment Foundation, Library, Arts Center, Alzheimers Association, and the Floyd Valley Foundation.

Inductees to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame are selected on merit rather than endorsement. Past Hall of Fame honorees under the leadership of Chair Mike Tousley, Executive Vice President & General Manager of The Weitz Company, serve as the selection committee. The criteria for selection are as follows:

  • Business Leadership: The nominated individual should lead or have led a business that has provided valued jobs and economic development to his/her community and the state; creating both wealth and workforce opportunity.
  • Community Development Impact: The nominated individual should have made an impact by improving the economies of the community and the state through their leadership in such organizations as chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or centers of education.
  • Community Volunteerism/Leadership: The nominated individual should have personally given of their time and financial resources for the betterment of the community through support of charities and organizations.
  • Strategic Leadership: The nominated individual should have contributed to community economic growth through visionary leadership, community problem-solving and building strategic alliances.
  • Business Recognition: The nominated individual should be recognized by their peers as a business leader.

To register for the Greater Des Moines Committee’s Annual Induction Event on Wednesday, May 4, click here.

About the Greater Des Moines Committee

The Greater Des Moines Committee was formed in 1907 by a group of 30 local business leaders. Today, the Committee consists of 120 members and provides an opportunity for business leaders to come together for an information exchange about important topics in the community, the state and the nation. The Committee founded the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 1975 to honor the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.

The Greater Des Moines Committee’s purpose is to encourage, promote, develop and protect commercial, manufacturing and other business interests of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and the state of Iowa. The Committee is comprised of CEOs, or in the case of professional firms, the senior managing partner of DSM companies that have a vested interest in the growth and development of our community and state.