William Woods Welcomes Three New Trustees

Executives from Burger King and Central Bank, as well as a Missouri state senator, have accepted appointments to the William Woods University Board of Trustees.


Ben Wells, Burger King executive vice president and chief financial officer; Dan Westhues, Central Bank senior vice president, consumer banking, and Luann Ridgeway, state senator from Missouri’s 17th District, are the newest members to join the WWU board.


Wells has more than 25 years of financial experience and currently serves as a key member of the Burger King executive leadership team. He has also served as the senior vice president, treasurer of the company. Prior to Burger King, he was vice president, corporate treasurer at Compaq Computer Corporation. Before that he held various financial and treasury responsibilities over a 10-year period at British Petroleum.


He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, master’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from Canisius College.


Westhues, who will serve as treasurer of the WWU Board of Trustees, has held his current position with Central Bank in Jefferson City since 2001. Previously he was director of E-commerce for Central Bancompany in Jefferson City.


A 1993 graduate of Westminster College, he earned his master of business administration (MBA) at William Woods University in 1997. He also attended the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University.

Westhues is active in the Jefferson City community, serving as chairman of the community campaign for United Way of Central Missouri last year and as funds allocation panel chair since 2001. He is treasurer of the Missouri River Regional Library. He has served on the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as chair of Leadership Jefferson City. He has been on the board of directors of both the Capitol City Council on the Arts and the Jefferson City Community Concerts Association.

Ridgeway has served as a state senator since 2004. Previously, she was the state representative for Missouri’s 35th District, 1992-2002. A Moberly, Mo., native, she graduated magna cum laude from William Woods University in 1978 with a bachelor of arts degree. She studied at Oxford University in England and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1981 with a juris doctor degree.


As a state representative, she was assistant minority whip of the House Republican Caucus, 1995-1999. As a state senator, she was elected to the majority caucus chair leadership position in 2007. In addition to her law career, she is active in local organizations and serves as pianist at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Smithville.