Bernard “Bernie” Butler, a Manhattan business owner and community leader, has been named Business Leader of the Year and inducted into the Kansas State University College of Business Administration’s Distinguished Business Leader Hall of Fame.
Butler owns 60 Pizza Hut restaurants throughout Kansas and North Carolina, including the Aggieville location, the oldest Pizza Hut still in its original location.
“We could not think of a better person to receive this award,” said Ali Malekzadeh, Edgerley family dean of the college. “Bernie is a true business leader, devoted to his own businesses as well as to the success of the community around him.”
The honor is given by the college to members of the Dean’s Business Advisory Council who have excelled in their fields and shown unparalleled dedication to improving the college.
Butler has been with Pizza Hut for 52 years. During this time, he has seen the company expand from a Kansas-only chain to an international brand, and to a publicly traded company, which is now part of Yum! Brands.
In addition to his business ventures, Butler is an active community leader. He is currently on the advisory boards of the Manhattan airport and is a member of the Kansas Restaurant Association and the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Passionate about Kansas State University and a die-hard Wildcat fan, Butler has served on a number of committees and advisory boards for the university and the college. He is an Ahearn Fund member; lifetime member of the K-State Alumni Association; member of the K-State President’s Club and the Milton S. Eisenhower Society; a member of K-State 1863 Circle - bronze level; a current Kansas State University Foundation trustee and a Colbert Hills founder and board member.
Originally from Topeka, Butler attended Washburn University and K-State. He never finished college, as he went to work managing the eighth Pizza Hut ever in Aggieville — the one he now owns.
Butler lives in Manhattan with his wife, Sherry. They have two children, Mark and Brenda, and four grandchildren.