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K-State Today

April 17, 2012

Tips From the top: Former Marion Laboratories executives to discuss Ewing Kauffman's business leadership lessons

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Business leaders from the Kansas City area will share what they learned about entrepreneurial success from a Kansas City icon in a free, public lecture at Kansas State University.

The lecture, "3+3=Leadership, The Marion Way, Ewing Kauffman's Formula for Success," will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. A social will immediately follow.

The lecture will provide a relevant and practical guide to entrepreneurial success as created by Ewing Kauffman, who was one of Kansas City's most prominent entrepreneurs. Three former executives of Kauffman's Marion Laboratories -- Jim McGraw, Bob Rogers and Michie Slaughter -- will use firsthand accounts of their years with Kauffman. They will reveal the business practices and values that made Marion Laboratories one of America's most admired and successful companies. They will also show how to apply these simple and effective lessons to business today.

Kauffman started Marion Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company, in the basement of his home following his service in World War II. He grew his business, which was making a $1,000 net profit in 1950, into a global diversified health care giant with $1 billion in sales and 3,400 employees in 1989, when the company was sold to Merrell Dow. In 1968, Kauffman purchased the Royals baseball franchise, bringing Major League Baseball back to Kansas City. The team has won six division titles, two American League pennants and the 1985 World Series.

McGraw joined Marion Laboratories as president of the pharmaceutical division and member of the board of directors. He rose to the position of senior executive vice president and chief operating officer. He has also served on the Kauffman Foundation board of directors for 14 years.

Rogers joined Marion Laboratories as corporate controller and held a wide range of positions before being named vice president of community affairs and president of the Marion Foundation. He became president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 1990 and was named chairman of the board of directors in 1993.

Slaughter served as vice president of human resources and member of the board of directors of Marion Laboratories. He helped found the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and served as its first chairman and president. Today he is a business consultant, an angel investor and a mentor for the Helzberg Entrepreneur Mentoring Program in Kansas City.

The lecture and social are sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration and the university's School of Leadership Studies.