Parsons alumni Thompson, Burger to be honored Saturday
The eighth annual Parsons College Wall of Honor is at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
The Parsons College Foundation Board is inviting alumni and friends to attend the Wall of Honor induction ceremony. Registration starts at 9 a.m., and pre-registration is recommended for anyone attending the 3 p.m. reception Friday at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club or the luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Elks Lodge.
For more information, contact Dave Neff, president of the Parsons College Foundation Fund at 919-4640.
The Ledger has featured two of the 10 honorees each day in the lead up to the ceremony. Today, in our final installment, we highlight David Thompson and William Burger.
David Thompson ’71
Thompson is president & CEO of TEC Equipment, Inc., which is the largest multi-point truck and trailer dealership on the west coast. TEC carries the largest inventory of Volvo and Mack trucks in the United States. Thompson’s empire of dealerships now includes 26 locations spread over 16 cities, five states, which are Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Arizona, nearly 1,500 employees, and serves a population base area of over $40 million.
Each dealership started from the bottom, and all of the locations and facilities are company owned. Thompson started with one dealership in Portland, Oregon in 1976 and now owns 26. His methodical strategy has yielded an incredible streak of 39 years of profitability. The firm’s revenues exceed $740 million. In 2017, the company plans to add a “state-of-the-art” facility in Fontana, California. With 174,000 square feet of space, it will be the largest Truck Dealership in North America. Among many other accolades ranking at the top of Thompson’s list was being named “North American Dealer of the Year.” TEC is the only dealership to have won the award twice.
Parsons and Fairfield had a big impact on Thompson’s life, laying the foundation for his future. With the demise of Parsons, Thompson decided not to join the exodus of departing students. He remained loyal to the college that accepted him, and to the friends with whom he formed lifelong relationships. Thompson credits the college and his Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity brothers for drawing him out socially and giving him the self-confidence to go forward.
Giving back to the community has become more of a routine than an annual event. The numerous local and national causes and charities of which Thompson is involved, as a founder, sponsor, donor, chairman and/or board member, are also too many to mention. However, his contributions and the founding of a vocational program directed at improving the graduation rate at a local high school garnered much attention. The program, which also included providing a computer lab, received community-wide recognition and was profiled by local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates. Thompson, who resides in Tualatin, Oregon, with his wife Ann, is attending a Volvo Trucks board of directors meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden this week. Eric Duffield, Thompson’s friend and fraternity brother, will present him to the Wall of Honor.
William Burger ’60
Burger’s enrollment at Parsons opened the doors for him to flourish as an impacting and effective leader. As a sophomore, he was named Chairman of the Homecoming Committee. In his junior year, Burger was voted President of his Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. And his senior year was highlighted by election to President of the Student Body.
His march to a successful and distinguished business career began as a Trust Officer at the National Bank of Waterloo, following graduation from the University of Iowa with a law degree. It culminated in 2007 with retirement, after serving as president of the Iowa City Market for USBank. Sandwiched in between were his 27 years serving as senior vice president head of the trust department, and president of the Iowa Trust Association. Terms as senior vice president and senior trust officer at First National Bank in Iowa City followed on Burger’s path to his final position at USBank. Also included and paralleling that journey was his indelible commitment to community service and caring for others.
Early experiences with the US Jaycees in Waterloo solidified Burger’s lifelong commitment. The Iowa State Jaycees recognized his contributions as president, when he was named “Outstanding State Governmental Affairs Chairman” in 1965. Burger’s incredible and relentless participation in community affairs also included chairing drives for the Iowa Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Blackhawk County United Way.
To top it off, he’s served as president of the Chamber of Commerce in Waterloo, and was named “Outstanding Citizen of the Year” in 1973. Burger’s community contributions led to his appointment by then-Gov. Robert Ray to the Iowa Development Commission, which he chaired for four years. His other passions included libraries, sports and looking after the elderly. Burger’s involvement as chairman of the Waterloo Public Library Board led to sweeping changes, the issuing of bonds and consolidating two libraries into one.
After retirement, Burger and his wife of 56 years, Celia, moved to Gainesville, Florida. One might have thought he would have slowed down. Such is not the case. Although Burger makes time to enjoy his family of one daughter, three sons, families and six grandchildren, he volunteers as a ranger at a local golf club, still serves on a number of boards and has been instrumental in reviving his third Methodist Church Foundation. Burger’s friend and fraternity brother, Gene Copeland, will present him to the Wall of Honor.