A role model for excellence
Allen Schmidthorst receives honorary degree from BGSU
The name Schmidthorst is familiar to the Bowling Green State University community from the Schmidthorst Pavilion at the Stroh Center, BGSU’s convocation center and basketball arena. At the University’s December commencement ceremonies at the Stroh Center, BGSU presented an honorary doctorate of business administration to Allen W. Schmidhorst after whom the pavilion is named, in honor of his leadership gift for the facility and his ongoing support of the University.
Schmidthorst grew up on a farm in the Cincinnati area and attended BGSU for one year in the mid-1950s before launching his business career. Today he oversees AWS Properties, a hotel property acquisition, site development and management firm. A longtime leader in the hotel and restaurant businesses, Schmidthorst has made excellence, customer service and personal attention to all his projects a hallmark of his career.
“Receiving this degree from Bowling Green State University is one of the great honors of my life,” Schmidthorst said. “I deeply appreciate it, and I’m proud to be a supporter of the University. BGSU does so much to prepare students to lead successful lives, and today a quality education is needed more than ever.”
In addition to their contribution toward making the Stroh Center a reality, Schmidthorst and his wife, Carol, have pledged support for a weight room at the Sebo Center and for upgrades to the Athletics Walk of Fame and History at the Stroh.
From 1968-97, Schmidthorst owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants throughout Ohio and became the largest licensee in the state. Even in the early days of fast food, he was recognized by the corporation for his focus on the customer dining experience.
He became involved with the Holiday Inn hotel chain, his ventures taking him all over the United States. He soon was identified by the company as among the top 8 percent of managers of its nearly 900 properties.
Schmidthorst returned to Ohio in the late 1960s to expand his business enterprises. Over the years, AWS has been involved in dozens of hotel properties in Ohio and surrounding states, and he is known for his personal oversight of each project, working closely with contractors and sub-contractors to ensure deadlines are met, budgets kept and that post-construction operations are functioning smoothly.
He is an expert in the concept of brand-matching, identifying the best brand for a particular location. He is also exploring dual branding, in which two brands, such as Hilton and Marriott, are located adjacent to one another to increase efficiencies and return on investment, and is expanding further into the properties’ potential as event spaces for conferences, weddings and other activities to maximize the auxiliary services hotels can provide.
The Schmidthorsts are dedicated to supporting their communities through economic development initiatives and generous gifts. They provided funding for a new community center in Lima, Ohio, and for a new facility at the Allen County Fairgrounds with seating for 500 to enable the fairgrounds to host large events. In his promotion of opportunities for youth, Allen Schmidthorst has also always been involved with and a supporter of 4-H programs.