Legacy Spotlight – Hassan and Jill Dana

Hassan and Jill Dana, along with their oldest son Osman, own and operate fifteen McDonald’s restaurants in the Texas Panhandle including the one across the street from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, which is frequented by students, faculty, and staff.  Hassan and Jill are blessed to have enjoyed many years of business success in the Texas Panhandle. They credit much of their success to hard work and community involvement. Hassan and Jill believe in giving back to the Texas Panhandle community that has contributed to their success.

Hassan and Jill Dana

Hassan was born in 1949 in Beirut, Lebanon. He studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt before making his way to Arizona for graduate school in international business. That is where he met Jill. They both studied at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. Jill grew up in a small town in upstate New York. Their different upbringings proved to be an asset and led to an instant connection.

They married in 1977 in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war – The first of many big decisions. In 1984, Hassan and Jill settled in Connecticut to raise their two children Osman and Kareem. Initially, Hassan worked on Wall Street while Jill worked as a Spanish teacher and raised their children. They joined the McDonald’s team in 1995 operating just one restaurant in a small town in Connecticut. That soon grew to two restaurants in 2000. Hassan and Jill always had larger ambitions, however and never shied away from carefully calculated risk.

When the McDonald’s restaurants came up for sale in the Panhandle, they saw an opportunity. Flying into Amarillo was a culture shock compared to the east coast. However, once they visited the restaurants in Amarillo area and met the crew, managers, and spent time in the community, they fell in love with Amarillo.

It is a very nice lifestyle. Calmer. People are always hospitable.

– Hassan Dana regarding the people of the Texas Panhandle

They made the decision to purchase the restaurants within a day of seeing them. The first order of business was to re-build and re-model all of the restaurants to make for a more comfortable and enjoyable customer experience. The Dana family now employs over 700 people. They credit much of their success to their involvement in the local community.

Hassan and Jill Dana at the Grand Opening of the Canyon McDonald’s with employees and community members in 2009

People think of us as a hamburger company, but we’re really in the people business.

– Jill Dana

The Dana’s have served many area organizations including The Ronald McDonald House of Amarillo, the Don Harrington Discovery Center, and the Globe News Performing Arts Center. They have worked to make their business a part of the community. The Dana’s believe that you build a business one person at a time. The Dana’s hope is to inspire innovation and thinking outside the box.

The Dana Family and West Texas A&M University

The Dana’s have been involved with West Texas A&M University for almost as long as they’ve been in Amarillo. While Hassan and Jill’s oldest son Osman joined in the family business, their younger son, Kareem, pursued more academic endeavors and began teaching as an Instructor at West Texas A&M University in 2012. He teaches Computer Information Systems in the College of Business.

Hassan Dana with the College of Business Advisory Board

Hassan is currently a member of the West Texas A&M President’s Circle and he served on the College of Business Professional Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011. Osman currently serves on the Professional Advisory Board. The Professional Advisory Board’s purpose is to provide the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business with a competitive advantage and opportunities to interact with the business community. Osman also donated the marquee sign at the 4th Avenue entrance to WTAMU. This service culminated in the creation of the Dana Professor of Business in 2015.

The Dana Professorship of Business

Hassan and Jill Dana established the Dana Professorship of Business in 2015. The professorship was created to support academic excellence, discovery and innovation for the faculty, students and regional community supported by West Texas A&M University and the College of Business. The first Dana Professor of Business was appointed in September 2015. 

Dr. Neil Meredith, then an assistant professor of economics in 2015, now an associate professor, was named the Hassan and Jill Dana Professor of Business.

Hassan and Jill remain active in the community and are still actively involved in the McDonald’s. They have passed some responsibilities to their sons and are planning to eventually retire back to Arizona.