Antenna supplier Winegard announced that founder John R. Winegard and his son and current CEO, Randy Winegard, will both be inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame.
The Iowa Business Hall of Fame was founded by the Greater Des Moines Committee in 1975 to honor the achievements of Iowans who have made outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of Iowa’s business climate.
The inductees will be honored during the Greater Des Moines Committee’s annual event to be held Dec. 1 in Altoona, Iowa.
John Winegard founded the Winegard Company in 1953. His love for electronics started at a young age. At 13 he built a one-tube radio so his family could listen to Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats. Before founding his own company, he designed a television antenna which allowed the people of Burlington, Iowa to watch President Truman’s inauguration from Chicago station WBBM. In 1956, three years after starting the company, he received a citation of merit from Iowa Governor Leo Hoegh for outstanding industrial growth and for his service to the state.
Winegard was awarded more than 30 patents by the U.S. Patent Office. He also founded Home Lawn and Garden Services and the Pzazz! Restaurant Complex. The companies he started today employ more than 1,000 people in Burlington.
In 1965, Winegard received Iowa’s Outstanding Businessman Award. In 1969, he received the Recognition of Service Award from the Manned Spacecraft Center and Philco Houston Operations for notable contributions to the success of the Apollo 11 space mission, the first lunar landing. He was also honored by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce in 1989 for his lifelong contributions to the local economy.
Philanthropically, Winegard donated 15,000 trees to individuals to be planted in Burlington after the city’s elm trees were ravaged by Dutch Elm disease.
Winegard died in 2002. He was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall Of Fame (now the Consumer Technology Hall Of Fame) posthumously in 2005.
Winegard’s son and fellow Iowa Business Hall of Fame honoree Randy took over Winegard in 1977 when his father retired.
He took the company in new directions, expanding beyond the manufacture of traditional over-the-air (OTA) TV antennas, mounts and accessories into satellite TV hardware and commercial 2-way VSAT real-time broadband technologies. The company’s markets now include the home, recreational vehicle, trucking, automotive, tailgating, marine, medical, military, emergency response and oil, gas and shale drilling industries in the U.S. and abroad.