John R. Barney


IUN Chancellor's Medallion (2017)
IUN Chancellor's Medallion
Location: Gary
Presenter: William J. Lowe
Kelley School of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur (1992)
Indiana University Bloomington
Kelley School of Business
B.S., 1967


In 1967, John R. Barney received a bachelor's degree from the Indiana University School of Business, married Ann Pytel and began working in the hospitality industry for Indiana-based Burger Chef. A year later, the couple moved to Crown Point, where they remain active participants in the community.

By 1980, Barney owned and operated 12 Burger Chef Restaurants and several Rax restaurants. General Foods bought Burger Chef in 1969, and then sold the company to Hardee's in the early 1980s. At that time, all of the 19 franchises Barney owned became Rax. He eventually he sold some of them to Hardee's and in the mid 1990s, Barney began diversifying his company.

From 1994 to 2000, he owned a Beltone Hearing Center in the greater Cincinnati area. He opened Broadway Video in Chesterton in 1995, and the following year he began his partnership with John Walsh in Heat Wagons Inc., and Manufacturing Products Inc., the holding company for PHP. The Valparaiso-based companies sell commercial heaters and the related parts nationwide through a distributor and representative network.

Walsh, the president of Heat Wagons Inc. and Manufactured Products Inc., said he and Barney joined forces to buy the business when its original owner put it up for sale. Since 1997, Barney also has been the owner-operator of Wendy's Restaurants in Hammond, Lake Station, Hobart and Crown Point, and a partner in the Imaging Center in Munster. In total, Barney Enterprises has 225 employees.

Despite the demands of business, Barney finds the time to serve on the Crown Point Community Foundation as a board member and past chair, on the Indiana University Northwest Board of Advisors to the Chancellor and as an adviser to the Indiana University Northwest School of Business. He also is a member of the University Club, the Crown Point United Methodist Church, the World Presidents' Organization Chicago Chapter and the Chief Executives' Organization.

Barney formerly served a board member of Bank One in Merrillville, of St. Anthony's Hospital in Crown Point, Methodist Hospital in Gary, the Northwest Indiana Entrepreneurship Academy, and the Lake Area United Way. He also has been a director of the Mercantile Bank and served a three-year term as regional director of Harris Bank.

Barney's years of service have not gone unnoticed. Besides receiving numerous awards from different organizations involved in the restaurant industry, Barney has been honored with the Indiana Military Academy's Leadership Award, and the Indiana University School of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur award.