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 Business Accomplishments

Founder of five companies:

  • NPC International, Inc. – world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee with 1100 stores;

35,000 employees nationwide

  • Pitt Plastics, Inc. – manufacturer of polyethylene can liners and other types of

packaging and storage bags, three domestic plants and affiliates in Asia.

  • National Mills, Inc. – manufacturer of t-shirts and provider of other screen printing services; affiliates in Latin America

  • Zouire – national promotional apparel and supplies company; client list includes major corporations 

  • M.S. Productions, Inc. – oil development and reserve operation

Additionally, has numerous investments in farm, cattle, motel, commercial properties and real estate.  Serves on the Board of Directors of Parkview Land Developers., and University National Bank.  

Public Service/Political Activities

  • Founded the O. Gene Bicknell Center for Entrepreneurship in the Pittsburg State University College of Business

  • Taught courses on entrepreneurship at Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University; served as an adhoc professor at Kansas State University, lectured at numerous universities across the country

  • Served on the national board of directors for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)

  • Appointed by Kansas Gov. Mike Hayden to state-wide economic development task force

  • Appointed by Kansas Gov. Bill Graves to co-chair a state-side task force on education

  • Served as president of the Highway 69 Association

  • Served as chairman of the Pittsburg State University Presidential Search Committee

  • Served on the board of directors for the Kansas City Board of Trade

  • Served on numerous Pittsburg community boards including Mt. Carmel Medical Center, Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburg YMCA, United Way, Salvation Army

  • Served in a leadership role in Pittsburg NOW!, a community-based economic development organization

  • Helped found the PSU Alumni Foundations; Served as president of the PSU Foundation, Inc., current member of the Foundation executive committee

  • Republican candidate for Governor of Kansas in 1986 and 1994

  • Delegate to the National Republican conventions in 1988 and 1992

  • Served as a precinct committeeman; Worked on the election campaigns of numerous public office holders including U.S. Senator Robert Dole, Congressman Joe Skubitz, Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Jim Ryun and several gubernatorial candidates; was active in the Bush-Quayle campaign


  • Established the Gene Bicknell Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament in 1991 with proceeds going to Pittsburg State University Athletics and Mt. Carmel Medical Center.  The annual golf tournament has generated more than $1.3 million for the university and medical center in its 15 year history

  • Served as chair of the $100 million Campaign for Pittsburg State University:  Centennial 2003 Fund which concluded successfully in 2000;  Previously chaired PSU’s first ever capital campaign, a $10 million campaign

  • Served as chair of the Elm Acres Youth Home capital campaign

  • PSU named its outdoor sports fields – The Gene Bicknell Sports Complex in recognition of leadership provided on the PSU Athletics Advisory Council as well as direct financial support

  • PSU named a wing of the PSU Kansas Technology Center – The Gene Bicknell Technology Building in recognition of financial support and leadership provided in the fundraising campaign to build the $27.7 million facility

  • City of Pittsburg named a stretch of the Pittsburg bypass – The Gene Bicknell Expressway in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the community

  • Provided direct financial support and leadership to fund drive campaign to expand and improve facilities at the Pittsburg YMCA and the Pittsburg Aquatic Center

  • Personally supported and provided leadership in two separate fund drives to renovate and expand PSU’s Carnie Smith Stadium

  • Provided anonymous financial support to numerous efforts in the community and region

  • Served on numerous fund drives in the community through the years including United Way, Salvation Army, Pittsburg State University Community Campaign, Mt. Carmel Cancer Center Capital Campaign, Red Cross, Elm Acres Youth Home, church and school campaigns

Select Awards

  • 2004  Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award

  • Honorary Doctorate of Humanities – Pittsburg State University

  • Pittsburg State Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award

  • Distinguished Service Award – City of Pittsburg

  • Distinguished Service Award – Junior Chamber of Commerce

  • Exceptional Service Award – United Way of Pittsburg

  • Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year – Heartland Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising   


  • Inductee into the National YMCA Hall of Fame

  • 1999 Father of the Year Award presented by the Greater Kansas City Juvenile Diabetes Foundation

  • 1999 NCAA Division II Donor of the Year Award presented by the National Association of 

       Athletic Development Directors    

  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, 

       Recreation and Dance for support of projects that            encourage good quality of life for Kansans.

  • 1996 Inductee into the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame

  • Pizza Hut Hall of Fame

  • Baxter Springs, Kansas Hall of Fame


  • Bachelor of Business Administration degree and Master’s of Business Administration degree, both from Pittsburg State University.​

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