Jack DeBoer understands business. Entrepreneurship. Building something new. He’s recognized worldwide as a pioneer in the all-suite hotel concept and a guy who shakes up the status quo.
He designed and built the first Residence Inn all-suite hotel in 1975 and sold it to Marriott in 1987. A year later he co-founded Summerfield Suites, which he subsequently sold to Hyatt. In 1995, he founded Candlewood Suites, purchased by InterContinental Hotels in 2003.
DeBoer trailblazed a short-term apartment concept with his founding of Value Place in 2002. It continues to enjoy rapid expansion with 178 Value Places open as of October 2012. He also co-owns Pittsburg-based Hix Corporation and serves as chairman of the board for this global supplier of equipment for the food and printing industries.
The Early Years
DeBoer began his career as a teen in Kalamazoo, Michigan, selling real estate during his summers breaks. He attended Michigan State University, where he graduated in 1952 with a degree in business.
Following two years as a military police officer during the Korean War, DeBoer teamed up with his father to build homes. In 1966, DeBoer shifted his focus to apartment construction and, by 1973, his company had built more than 16,000 apartments in 30 cities across 25 states. National Real Estate Investor recognized DeBoer as the country’s second-largest multifamily developer.
DeBoer’s extensive community and civic support includes serving as president of the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, board chairman for Youth for Understanding, board member of the Wesley Medical Endowment Foundation and the Greater Wichita Community Foundation, and helping found Wichita State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
His many honors include the Wichita Chamber of Commerce “Uncommon Citizen” award, induction into the Wichita Business Hall of Fame and the Hospitality Hall of Honor at the University of Houston, UCLA’s hotel industry Lifetime Achievement Award, Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni Award, doctorate of humane letters from Sterling (Kansas) College, the Lodging Conference “Above and Beyond” award and Lodging Inspiration Award selected by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Life at Jet Speed
From his home in Wichita, Kansas – the Air Capital of the World – DeBoer loves to fly. An active pilot, DeBoer has flown the corporate aircraft as captain. He also holds the 3-kilometer world speed record for jet aircraft under 18,000 pounds.
In 1988, he and his wife completed a round-the-world trip in their Gulfstream II, following mankind’s history over the past 7,000 years. This trip enabled them to directly assess world needs and from this experience to become ever more involved in World Vision projects in Burma. DeBoer writes in his book, “Some people don’t have to go to the other side of the world to wake up to what’s important. I did.”
Jack and his wife, Marilyn, have two grown children and three grandchildren.