FULFILLING A DREAM: DIANE HENDRICKS
Diane and Ken Hendricks had a dream for how they wanted their lives to play out.
“In 1982, Ken and I had a vision,” says Diane, chairman of ABC Supply Co., Inc., the company she co-founded with her late husband. “We wanted to be productive with our lives, make a difference in our industry and give back to those who helped us achieve our dreams. Ken and I were blessed to be born in this great nation, where we are born with the gift of opportunity and freedom. Our vision was to live the American dream by working hard, working smart, and having fun.”
Ken passed away in 2007, but Diane has carried on, continuing the dream the couple started together. Today, ABC Supply, a Beloit-based corporation, is the largest wholesale distributor of exterior building products in the United States. It is a nearly $5 billion company with more than 450 branches in 45 states and approximately 7,000 associates. The company has received eight consecutive Gallup Great Workplace Awards, which honors the most engaged and productive workforces in the world.
Diane also presides over a large national portfolio of industrial and commercial real estate and is Chairman of Hendricks Holding Co., which includes a diverse collection of domestic and international companies in construction, insurance brokerage, manufacturing, recycling, transportation and logistics, pharmaceutical research, and other business sectors.
“Diane has an unparallel commitment to the community that you don’t find very often,” says Andrew Janke, economic development director for the City of Beloit and the executive director of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. “Ken and Diane could have chosen to make their home elsewhere – it might have been easier and it might have been more profitable. But their commitment to the community is profound. From the companies they’ve founded and the organizations they’ve supported, it’s been amazing.”
Beloit is comprised of many citizens willing to contribute in making Beloit the great community that it is, says Diane. “It’s the people that make Beloit a community. We are fortunate to have strong city and economic development teams, financial institutions, and industry leaders dedicated to the future prosperity of Beloit. They are individuals who are willing to invest their time and money to create reasons to live, work and play here. We revive buildings for economic development but, it’s what’s inside them that count the most. Beloit is a wonderful community and I am extremely proud to call it my home.”
Hendricks is co-chair of the local economic development organization Rock County 5.0, has served as a director at Blackhawk Bank, is a trustee of Beloit College and serves on the boards of many other local and state organizations. In 2007, Beloit College presented Hendricks an honorary doctorate degree for her contributions to civic and business life in the community. Diane is a major supporter of economic development and education throughout the state, including underwriting the Wisconsin Eye Public Affairs Network, the first privately funded public affairs broadcast network.
“I see it as my civic responsibility,” says Hendricks, who has seven children and 17 grandchildren. “I’ve had wonderful opportunities in my life and feel it is my duty to help create opportunities for others. I believe that the key to economic sustainability is a thriving private sector that provides good careers, paired with a strong educational system.”Back To The Beloit Experience