William F. “Bill” Vernon, CEO of industry distributor The Vernon Company, was inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame by Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds at a special recognition ceremony held at the Iowa State Capitol on February 21, 2012, in Des Moines.
Being inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame is the most prestigious state-level honor an individual can receive for their volunteer work. The people selected are those who have changed their community, state or the nation through their volunteer service and action.
Governor Branstad said, “Volunteering enriches the lives of Iowans, and it pleases me to see that we have such great citizens of the state who are determined to make a difference in their communities.”
Vernon earned his induction by serving on numerous civic, government, cultural and educational committees and was one of the co-founders (serving as board chair for several years) of Progress Industries – a nonprofit organization designed to provide job skills and independence for citizens with disabilities. His vision helped Progress Industries grow from providing only vocational services to less than 50 adults into a highly respected agency that provides vocational and residential services to more than 375 adults throughout Central Iowa. He also created the Iowa Sports Foundation (ISF) and served as board chair for its first seven years. During his leadership, the ISF introduced the Summer and Winter Iowa Games to athletes in our state. Iowa had the second largest start up Summer Games with over 7,000 athletes in 1987. He helped design the Games’ logistics to be handled by volunteers; thousands of volunteers make the events successful because of Bill’s initial leadership.
In addition, he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (third highest civilian award) from the Department of the Army for his two terms as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Iowa.
Bill was previously inducted into the Hall of Fame for the industry (PPAI) and Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, IL.
The Vernon Company, headquartered in Newton, IA, was started by Bill’s grandfather, F.L. Vernon, in 1902, and is one of only 30 companies in America that is over 100 years old, still owned by the founding family, and continues to be in the same industry.
About The Vernon Company
The Vernon Company, a fourth-generation family business founded in 1902, manufactures and markets promotional products designed to help other businesses increase sales and improve profits. The company has over 30,000 customers, served by 330 account executives and sales managers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico and 190 administrative and production employees in its Newton, Iowa, headquarters and two sign graphics manufacturing subsidiaries based in Missouri and New Jersey.