Contact: Carrie Blewitt
Pavestone Company Chairman and CEO Robert J. Schlegel Honored by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
Four Texas High School Scholars Also Recognized With $20,000 Scholarship
Washington, DC – (March 6, 2008) –The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is proud to announce that Robert J. Schlegel, chairman and CEO of Pavestone Company, L.P., will be presented with the 2008 Horatio Alger Award and inducted as a lifetime member of the Association during ceremonies in Washington, DC, April 3-5, 2008.
The Association is equally proud to announce four high school seniors from Texas will join Schlegel in Washington to be honored as Horatio Alger National Scholars. Horatio Alger National Scholars will receive $20,000 scholarships toward a college education. The students have demonstrated integrity, perseverance in overcoming hardships, strength of character, academic promise, a commitment to pursue a higher education and a desire to contribute to society.
This year's scholarship recipients from Texas are: Ariel R. Bailey from Sugar Land, Michele S. Gardner from Houston, Steven L. Meyer from Mckinney and Sam A. Williams from Harker Heights.
"Our 2008 members are a diverse group of individuals who serve as extraordinary role models for our nation's most ambitious youth. Each of them has leveraged hard work, courage and determination to overcome extreme adversity and achieve the American Dream of achievement and success," said Horatio Alger Association Chairman Dennis R. Washington. "For over 60 years, the Association has been dedicated to honoring those that have defied the odds. We are proud to continue that tradition this year."
The 61st annual events will take place in various historic landmarks in our nation's capital such as the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of State and DAR Constitution Hall. The events will provide an opportunity for some of the nation's most impressive and determined young people to learn firsthand about the philosophies and experiences that helped the 2008 Horatio Alger Award recipients surmount significant obstacles to achieve successful lives.
Also being inducted in April are William F. Austin, CEO, Starkey Laboratories Inc; J. Robert Beyster, retired chairman and CEO, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); Gary P. Brinson, founder and chairman, The Brinson Foundation; Joseph "Joe" Clark, chairman, Aviation Partners Boeing and chairman and CEO, Aviation Partners Inc.; Hadi Makarechian, chairman and CEO, Capital Pacific Holdings, Inc.; G. Wallace F. McCain, cofounder and vice chairman, McCain Foods Limited and chairman, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.; Lee E. Mikles, cofounder, president and CEO, FutureFuel Corporation; Joseph R. Moderow, senior vice president, general counsel and board member (retired), United Parcel Service; and Aulana L. Peters, retired partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
In response to receiving the Horatio Alger Award, Robert J. Schlegel stated, "The Association's unwavering mission of encouraging education is what makes it such an exceptional organization. I have learned through my own experiences that education is America's equalizer. If you combine education with persistence and hard work, anything is possible. The Horatio Alger Association strives to give young people the opportunity to develop these skills and I am proud to now be a part of that."
Schlegel was raised on a small farm in rural Ontario, Canada. He suffered many potential setbacks as an elementary school boy including a broken neck, which required him to attend school in a body cast; his family's home burning to rubble and being severely mauled by two Great Danes. Additionally, he had to repeat the ninth grade. These were all difficult challenges for a growing youth. However, at a young age, Schlegel found a passion for business. He had demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit by selling seeds, knives and first aid kits to neighbors, and then by purchasing a Pepsi machine that was installed at the local equipment repair shop, where he learned the meaning of cash flow!
Schlegel started his accounting career at Peat Marwick & Mitchell. He soon became a CPA and started his own accounting firm. Five years later, he sold the business and invested in two nursing and retirement homes in Texas. The business ultimately expanded to 15 centers. He and his wife, Myrna sold the business and started a charitable foundation. In 1980, Schlegel and a partner launched the Pavestone Company, which manufactured concrete landscape products. Today, the Pavestone Company has 20 manufacturing locations and employs more than 1,500 people. Their products are sold in 40 states and annual sales approach $400 million.
In 1994, the Schlegels founded the Schlegel Horizon Foundation to promote education and entrepreneurship, and later established the Schlegel Sports Foundation. Among the many grants the foundation has awarded include support to build a high school in Dallas, the establishment of the University Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in Canada and major sponsorships of capital campaigns conducted by Southern Methodist University and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Schlegel has received countless awards and honors, including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1998), the Humanitarian Award in 2000 from the National Research and Medical Center, the Tom Landry Award of Excellence and Volunteerism (2001), the Outstanding Philanthropist for 2002 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and induction into the Texas Philanthropy Hall of Fame (2002). However, he considers his greatest honor being recognized in 2002 as Dallas' "Father of the Year."
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers scholarships through three annual programs: the National Scholarship Program, State Scholarship Programs for high school seniors and the Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship Program for U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. The Association now awards more than $12 million annually in college scholarships, totaling $52 million in recent years. For more information about the scholarships, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
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