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R. David Thomas

January 1, 2019

Founder and Senior Chairman of the Board Wendy’s International, Inc. (Deceased) – Dublin, Ohio

R. David Thomas started work at the age of 12 and has been in the restaurant business since his days as a busboy in Fort Wayne at 15. After his employer became an early Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1956, Mr. Thomas worked closely with Colonel Sanders, instituting now-famous innovations and acquiring his own hugely successful Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Columbus, Ohio, from stores he ‘turned around.’ He later returned to KFC management, in charge of 300 stores. After helping launch Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips as an original investor, he opened the first Wendy’s in Columbus on November 15, 1969. “My first love has always been hamburgers,” he states. His dedication to quality, efficiency, flexibility, development of managerial talent and customer relations sparked the growth of Wendy’s to its present 3,300 + stores and sales of over $2.4 billion. Mr. Thomas is a dedicated civic leader and free enterpriser. “My daughter went to Northwood … that’s how much I think of this college.”