Board of Advisors
The Board of Advisors guides the development of campus programs, services and partnerships in the greater Kansas City region. The board has consulted on high-level issues such as access, cost and strategic program growth.
Board of Advisors
Before she retired, Mary Birch was Lathrop & Gage’s government relations coordinator and chair of the firm’s government relations practice area, Mary tracked issues and developments that affected businesses on the local, state and national levels, and consults with clients as to how they may participate in the decision-making process. As the head of the government relations department she worked for strategic solutions and to help the firm’s clients get the best Lathrop & Gage attorney for their issue. Mary has nearly two decades of experience in government relations and consulting, particularly at the local level. From 1984 to 2002, she served as president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, where she directed efforts to attract an unprecedented level of business to the city. During her tenure, 62,000 jobs and 4,000 new companies were created in Overland Park. During her time with the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, Mary facilitated the government relations efforts for the organization and its members at the local, regional, state and federal level. She has established relationships with elected officials and staff at various levels and worked primarily in the area of strategic issue management. In 2002, she was named “Johnson Countian of the Year” by Johnson County Community College.
Mike Boehm was elected mayor in January of 2003 by the city council to fill the Bowman term and has ran unopposed in all subsequent elections. He is a lifelong resident of Lenexa. He is senior vice president at Commerce Bank and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kansas.
Mike is actively involved in community, city and state organizations involved in municipal policy and leadership. He serves on a number of public and community service organizations including:
- Johnson County Community College Foundation Board of Directors (2015 to present)
- Johnson County Research Triangle Board of Directors (2008 – 2017) (Vice-Chair)
- League of Kansas Municipalities Board of Directors (President 2005-2006)
- Lenexa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (ex officio) (2003 to present)
- Lenexa Chamber of Commerce - Lifetime Member
- Johnson County Community College Carlsen Center Program Advisory Committee
- Lenexa Historical Society - Lifetime Member Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Brian Bracco is one of the television industry’s most-respected news executives and was named vice president and general manager for KSHB in Kansas City, Mo., in December 2012. He holds the same title at KMCI, the sister station of KSHB that is located in Lawrence, Kan. Brian manages seven television stations in Kansas City. KSHB 41 Action News, KMCI 38 the Spot and five other digital channels: Bounce, Cozi, Laff, Grit and Escape. Brian joined Scripps from Hearst Television, Inc. where he was senior vice president of news for the company’s station group. He was based in Kansas City and also had an office in New York for more than a decade. During his tenure with Hearst he was responsible for 23 stations across the country. His oversight included all news and digital platforms.
The veteran newsman is remaining loyal to his Kansas City roots where he had tremendous success as news director for more than a decade at KMBC, the Hearst station in Kansas City. In addition to his expertise in news management, he has experiences working in the journalism field as a managing editor, reporter and anchor in Wichita, Kan., Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Ala. Brian is a past chairman of the ABC news advisory board. He also is a member of the Radio Television News Directors' Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He is on the Foundation Board of the William Allen White School of Journalism. He and his team members have received numerous national recognitions including the Edward R. Murrow award, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards and Emmy awards.
Jeff Briley has been with CBIZ for more than 23 years and is regarded as one of the most valuable resources in the Financial Solutions Group. He is a member of the CBIZ Estate Planning Group and is recognized in the CBIZ Expert Network as a specialist. Jeff’s expertise is highly sought after; he regularly contributes to companywide meetings, teleconferences, webinar events and newsletters. For more than 41 years in the wealth management industry, Jeff has successfully worked with business owners and professionals to help them make their estate and transfer goals a reality. His philosophy when dealing with his clients has always been to “serve first”.
Active in his community, Jeff currently serves on the Advancement Board for the KU Medical Center/Hospital. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the KU Edwards Campus and the Village Church Food Pantry. Additionally, Jeff has held positions on many civic, athletic and educational boards. He is the past chairman of both the University of Kansas National Alumni Board and the Kansas City chapter of the KU Alumni Association. He served on the board of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce and is the past chairman of the Overland Park Planning Commission. He is a former assistant commissioner of the Great American Baseball league, past co-president of the Shawnee Mission South Parent Teacher Association, and is a session elder and member of Rolling Hills Church.
Jeff graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas.
Dr. Andy Bowne served for almost 17 years at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan and at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. While at Ivy Tech, he served as regional chancellor with six campuses in East Central Indiana, and for the past four years he guided the leadership teams of 18 campuses as Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. At Grand Rapids Community College, Andy (which he prefers to be called), led two distinctively different teams: fundraising and non-credit training.
Dr. Bowne earned his Doctor of Education degree from Western Michigan University, where he also earned his master's and bachelor's degrees. Andy has over 12 years of adjunct faculty teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Throughout his career, Dr. Bowne has had a love for students and he has enjoyed engaging with them whether at their performances, sharing a meal together, attending athletic events, or participating in student leadership development programs.
Dr. Bowne's career has included training and organizational development work in manufacturing and non-profit organizations. He has always blended his love of people development together with the desire to see communities and regions prosper while serving in the economic development arena.
Tim Cowden leads the strategic direction and vision for the Kansas City Area Development Council from day-to-day operations to KCADC investor and client relationships. The KCADC team drives new corporate attraction in partnership with economic development leadership across the 18-county, two state Kansas City region. Tim has more than 25 years of experience in economic development, including senior positions in Texas, Utah, and Kansas City. He has been with KCADC since 1998.
Cowden and his team successfully work with a variety of industries including advanced energy, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, technology and animal, bio and life sciences. He has aided large corporations in expanding or relocating into the Kansas City area, including Netsmart Technologies, Mars Chocolate North America, Kimberly-Clark, Lowe’s, FedEx Ground, Wal-Mart, Farmers Insurance, Sara Lee, Apria Healthcare, Aviation Technical Services, mySidewalk, Sedgwick, Sungevity and Excel Industries.
Previous to his work for the KCADC, Cowden held senior economic development positions in Texas and Utah. Aside from economic development, Cowden worked in the private sector in commercial real estate and business management.
He graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma. Tim is married to Monique and they have four children: Sarah, Joe, Anna, and Jack.
About the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC)
As a regional economic development council, the KCADC represents two states, 18 counties and more than 50 communities. Since its inception in 1976, the KCADC and its partners directly assisted more than 500 companies and organizations relocate or expand into the Kansas City region. As a result, these companies have created more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs for the Kansas City area.
Ray set out to create a unique and personal approach to wealth management when he founded Pegasus Capital Management more than 25 years ago. His dissatisfaction with the one-size-fits-all approach in his industry lead to the creation of a firm that brings together a customized team of specialists. Today, Ray serves high net-worth clients and their families offering a suite of services to help those families and businesses reach their objectives.
Ray is a big supporter of the University of Kansas where he currently serves as a trustee on the board of the KU Endowment. He is also serving on the advisory boards for KU’s Edwards campus and for the KU Medical Center Cancer Partners. He is also the past Chairman of the National Board of Directors for University of Kansas Alumni Association. Ray was recently recognized with the Ellsworth Medallion Award by the KU Alumni Association for all his work for the university.
He also supports many charitable organizations including Catholic Education Foundation, Higher Impact and the Keith Worthington Chapter of the ALS Association.
In addition, Ray adds the title of author to his many roles. He has written articles for the Kansas City Business Journal and Wealth Resources and contributed to the book You Can't Afford the School of Hard Knocks.
Ray received a Bachelor of Science in Business and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas.
Mike Goff is an accomplished marketer with a career that has spanned a variety of brands and marketing assignments.
Goff is currently chief marketing and development officer at United Way of Greater Kansas City, an organization that generates $30 million in funds that are then used for the good of 140 partner agencies and 200-plus associated programs that improve the health, education and financial stability of citizens of the metropolitan Kansas City area.
Prior to United Way, Goff was the founder of Goff + Marketing, a strategic consultancy that provided chief marketing officer experience and solutions to businesses locally and nationally.
Goff has served as executive vice president at Barkley, the largest employee-owned advertising agency in the U.S., where he co-managed the account management team. He also was president of Premier Sports Management, where he led that company’s work to name, brand, position and launch the new College Football Playoff in 2013.
The majority of Goff’s career was spent at Sprint serving in a variety of marketing roles. His responsibilities at Sprint included brand strategy, brand management, brand identity and brand communications; advertising, digital communications and social media; retail communications, collateral and packaging; direct marketing; and campaign integration. He managed a top 10 U.S. brand (as measured by media spending) and was instrumental in leading Sprint’s brand health turnaround in 2010-2012 – a period where the brand experienced growth that dramatically outpaced the competition. He led the “Now Network” campaign that won a Cannes Gold Lion for Integrated Campaign – the most prestigious award in advertising.\
He has been recognized nationally and locally for his career accomplishments. Goff was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Sports by The Sporting News during his sports marketing tenure at Sprint. And, in 2012 he was recognized by the Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators as that group’s Arthur E. Lowell Award winner, given to communicators in Kansas City who have combined exemplary career accomplishments with ethical excellence and a commitment to the local community.
Goff is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He and his wife, Bobbi, live in Leawood, Kansas.
Donald J. Hall, Jr. is chief executive officer of Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark Cards, Inc. He also is vice chairman of the Hallmark board of directors and serves on the boards of directors for Crown Media Holdings, Inc., and Hallmark International.
Hallmark is known for greeting cards and personal expression products sold in retail stores and online, as well as television programming through the properties of Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Hall of Fame productions. Hallmark also owns Crayola, the Easton, Pa.-based firm that inspires creativity in children through Crayola® crayons and other innovative art tools, crafting activities and toys.
Donald, a grandson of company founder Joyce C. Hall, joined Hallmark in 1971 and has worked in manufacturing, customer service, product development, and sales. He has served as a member of Hallmark’s board of directors since 1990.
In 1993, Donald was promoted to general manager of Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, the company’s Christmas ornament brand. In 1995, he was named vice president of creative and became a corporate officer. Donald became vice president of product development in 1997, and in 1999, he was named executive vice president of strategy and development. He assumed the role of president and CEO in January 2002, becoming the third generation of the Hall family to lead the company. In 2015, his brother, David E. Hall, was named president; Dave now joins Donald in leading all aspects of Hallmark’s portfolio of businesses.
Donald is active in the Kansas City community as a member of the MRIGlobal Board of Trustees, University of Kansas School of Business Board of Advisors, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Board of Trustees, the win|win Board of Directors and the Kansas City Civic Council. He recently completed his term on the National Board of Trustees of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Recognized for creativity, quality, innovation and brand leadership, Hallmark continues to expand both its product offerings and its distribution channels, today offering product and services in more than 30 languages available in 100 countries.
Kevin Harden is Managing Partner of GastingerWalker&. He received a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from The University of Kansas in 1979. Kevin’s guidance and leadership over the past 39 years has led to dozens of successful projects throughout the United States. He has diverse experience in master planning, programming and design with budgets ranging from $200,000 to $300,000,000. Though new to the KU Edwards Advisory Board, Kevin has long been an active supporter of the University of Kansas serving as Chairman of the School of Architecture Advisory Board and a Past Co-chair of Rock Chalk Ball, to name a few. Additionally, Kevin is involved in several community organizations including past chairman Mission Hills, Kansas Planning Commission, Kansas City Businessmen’s Club, Secretary Kansas City Architectural Foundation and past President AIA Kansas City. Kevin recently lead the design efforts for KU’s Capitol Federal Hall School of Business and the renovation of Dyche Hall.
Dr. Hubbard is a 17-year resident of the district, and is a parent of Shawnee Mission students. She has served for six years in the district as an associate superintendent, and was appointed deputy superintendent in January 2021.
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Drue Jennings is a former chairman and CEO of Kansas City Power & Light Co. and served as interim athletic director for the University of Kansas. He is a retired senior counsel for Polsinelli PC. and also worked at the law firm of Shughart, Thomson & Kilroy, P.C.
Jennings served as the chief executive officer of Kansas City Power & Light Company from 1988 to 2000. He served as the chairman of Kansas City Power & Light Company from 1990 to 2001. He was vice chairman of Midwest Research Institute Inc. and served as its director. Jennings was also a director at Crown Media Holdings Inc. He served as the interim athletic director at the University of Kansas in 2003.
Jennings has long been an advocate for KU Med and its efforts to create The University of Kansas Cancer Center and seek National Cancer Institute designation. He was a founding member of the University of Kansas Medical Center Advancement Board, which works to support KU Med, The University of Kansas Hospital and The University of Kansas Physicians. He also helped create a subcommittee of the board that focuses on raising money for KU Cancer Center.
Audrey Langworthy served in the Kansas State Senate from 1984 through 2001. Among her many assignments was chairman of the assessment and taxation committee from 1992 through 2000. She was also on the National Conference of State Legislators, serving on the executive committee from 1997 through 2000. She also served on the Prairie Village City Council, 1981-1983.
A former teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District, Langworthy, a graduate of the University of Kansas, was named to KU’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008. The JCCC Foundation’s Board of Directors Leadership Scholarship was named in her honor in 2005. In 2004, she won the Patron Award from the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation and was also named Volunteer of the Year by the Volunteer Center of Johnson County. She received the Regional Leadership Award from the Mid-America Regional Council in 1999, the Kansas City Spirit Award in 1996, the Prairie Village Distinguished Public Service Award in 1995, and recognition as a Consensus Achiever from Kansas City Consensus in 1993 for her leadership in passage of the Bistate Cultural District legislation, which made possible the restoration of Union Station.
Among many other organizations, Langworthy worked with the United Way of Greater Kansas City and served as chair of the 211 committee. She is a member of the Advancement Board of the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center Advisory Council at St. Luke’s MidAmerica Heart Institute, and she is on the University of Kansas Edwards Campus Board of Advisers, the St. Luke’s South Hospital Board, and the JCCC Foundation Board, serving on the Some Enchanted EveningSM Committee from 2002 through 2010. Langworthy has served on two national boards – the Youth Volunteer Corp of America and the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross. On the Red Cross Board she helped the former president of the Red Cross, former Senator Elizabeth Dole, reorganize Red Cross Blood Services in response to the HIV (AIDS) crisis.
Langworthy has also served on the Community Foundation of Johnson County board of directors; the Kansas State Historical Society Board; the Heart of America United Way board of directors; the Reach Healthcare Foundation advisory board; Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ Governor’s Education Policy Team; the Shawnee Mission Medical Center Foundation board of directors; the Junior League of Kansas City, Mo. (president 1976-1977); the Kansas City Eye Bank (president 1980-1982); the Committee for Excellence in Shawnee Mission Schools; and on the PTAs of Shawnee Mission East High School, Indian Hills Junior High School and Highlands Grade School.
David Lindstrom has long been active in his community and State; He is currently elected to the Board of Trustees for Johnson County Community College; He previously served for ten years on the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners; prior to his service to the Commission, Lindstrom was the Republican nominee for Kansas’ Lieutenant Governor in 2002.
Today, David manages his Real Estate business and is certified by the Kansas Supreme Court as an Approved Mediator. He also serves on the Boards of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita, the Bi-State Commission and the Shawnee Mission Medical Center Foundation.
Lindstrom is a graduate of Boston University and a nine-year veteran of the National Football League. While playing for the Chiefs, he gained a hands-on education in the business world. He joined the local firm Kessinger-Hunter, based in Kansas City, and worked as a commercial real estate associate and also worked as a registered NASD Broker for Yarmouth Brokerage. Upon his retirement from the NFL, he owned and operated Burger King ® restaurants – located in Overland Park, Louisburg, and Kansas City.
A resident of Overland Park, Lindstrom has lived in Johnson County since 1979. He and Mary, his wife of 39 years, are the proud parents of two daughters, Halee and Adrienne.
Fred Logan is an attorney and partner with the law firm of Logan Logan & Watson, L.C. in Prairie Village. His practice is focused primarily in the areas of business, real estate, and public and education law. Fred has served in a number of regional and state leadership roles. In July, 2011, he was appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback to serve on the Kansas Board of Regents, the governing body for higher education in the sunflower state. He served as Chair of the Board in 2013-2014 and completed his term in office in June 2015. In 2008, Fred chaired the successful campaign to pass a first-in-the-nation local sales tax to benefit life sciences and higher education initiatives. The Johnson County Education Research Triangle, which was overwhelmingly approved by Johnson County voters, benefits the University of Kansas Medical Center’s KU Cancer Center, Kansas State University’s Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety in Olathe and the University of Kansas Edwards Campus. Fred served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Johnson County Community College from 1992-1997. Initially appointed to a board vacancy in 1992, he was subsequently elected by the citizens of Johnson County to serve a four-year term in 1993. Fred served as chairman of that board for three years. Fred has served as a Vice Chair and member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. He is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City. He presently serves as a member of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics Advisory Board and as a member of the Board of Trustees of MRI Global.
Mike Maddox is president and CEO of CrossFirst. Maddox attended the University of Kansas from which he received a bachelor’s degree in business degree in 1991 and a law degree in 1994. While at KU, Mike was a four-year basketball letterman and a member of the KU team that won the National Championship in 1988. He was captain of the 1991 team that was the national runner-up.
Maddox practiced law in Lawrence, Kan. for more than six years and has been in banking for almost thirteen years. Prior to joining CrossFirst Bank in 2008, he was a regional president for Intrust Bank, where managed the bank's operations in Northeast Kansas. Maddox completed the Graduate School of Banking in Wisconsin - Madison in 2003.
Maddox is currently Chair of the Young Presidents Organization Kansas City Chapter, executive committee member of Kansas Chamber of Commerce Board, executive committee member of University of Kansas School of Business Board, past Chair of Kansas Chamber of Commerce Board and past chair of University of Kansas School of Business Board.
Dr. Tonya Merrigan is a skilled educational leader with more than 30 years in education that began as a math teacher. Merrigan assumed the role of Blue Valley Schools Superintendent in the summer of 2020, making her the eighth Blue Valley superintendent and the first female superintendent in district history. Since joining Blue Valley in 1999 as a high school counselor, Merrigan has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, including assistant principal, associate principal, district administrator for Virtual Education, director of Student Programs, executive director of Curriculum and Instruction, assistant superintendent of Academic Services and Deputy Superintendent.
Dr. Merrigan earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota, and a doctorate degree from Saint Louis University. A long-time staff member and supporter of Blue Valley Schools, Dr. Merrigan considers it is an honor and a privilege to serve the Blue Valley community. She describes her leadership style as team-centered and looks forward to working closely with the dedicated Blue Valley staff and community of supporters to meet the district’s strategic efforts and help all students achieve personal success.
Susan graduated with a degree in Education from the University of Kansas in 1972. She has previously taught Elementary School, and has had careers in the insurance and real estate industries. She has held numerous leadership roles in volunteer positions that include serving on numerous boards of directors and is a member of the Williams Education Fund and the Kansas Alumni President’s Club She is treasurer of the Pi Beta Phi Educational Foundation.
She manages two smaller companies.
Laurie Minard has more than 26 years of experience in human resources. Her career at Garmin began in 1996, when she was hired to establish the human resources department. She was promoted to Director in 2002 and has served as the vice president, human resources since 2007. Laurie is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for Garmin’s HR policies and programs. Since 1999, Laurie has served on the Board of Directors for Employment Practices Network of Kansas City. Laurie has served the community in a variety of board roles including the KANSASWORKS State Board, Olathe Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors & Executive Committee, Olathe Medical Center Board of Directors, Olathe Salvation Army Advisory Council, YMCA of Greater Kansas City Board of Directors and the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Executive Women’s Leadership Council. She collaborates with JCCC, KU and K-State through her work on the KU Edwards Campus Board of Advisors and Workforce Development Advisory Board, the KSU Olathe Advisory Board and is a JCCC Foundation Board Ambassador. Laurie was recognized by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce as Volunteer of the Year in 2007 and as Citizen of the Year in 2012. She was also selected to the Kansas City Business Journal’s Class of 2008 Women Who Mean Business and graduated from the Leadership Olathe program in 2010. Laurie earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas.
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John Olander is the chief operating officer of Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City based engineering firm employing over 7500 worldwide. As the first COO in the firm’s history and now the second-highest ranking officer, Olander was tapped to provide robust management support during a time of continuing rapid company growth and increasingly complex business operations. He focuses on implementing a range of best practices across the entire company while continuing to lead the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) Group along with supporting the Information Technology and Strategic Initiatives groups.
As president of the T&D Group, Olander leads 1,700 engineering and technical professionals and hundreds more employee-owners in other divisions who support T&D projects. Burns & McDonnell is perennially ranked as the industry’s No. 1 Transmission and Distribution engineering design firm by Engineering News-Record magazine. The work contributes to the reason Burns & McDonnell expects to hire 1,000 or more new employees each year for the foreseeable future. The T&D Group works with all the largest electric utilities in North America including execution of multibillion-dollar programs and EPC projects.
Olander joined Burns & McDonnell in 1991 and has been part of the T&D Group since 1995. By 1998, he had been promoted to a project management role, leading a challenging engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project in Texas that soon led to other similar roles on progressively larger EPC projects, including one in 2005 that was then the largest in the industry. In 2008, Olander was promoted to vice president and in 2012 was named general manager. He received his engineering degree in 1989 from North Dakota State University and in 1996 received his MBA from the University of Kansas.
In addition to his professional roles, Olander serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mid America Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and serves on its governance committee. As a predecessor to joining the KU Edwards Board of Advisors, he served as an Advisory Board Director for the Blue Valley School District Center for Advanced Professional Studies program, a nationally recognized initiative that enables high school students to accelerate their entry into higher education or a career track into high-skill, high-demand jobs.
Robert Owens serves as the managing director of commercial banking for CrossFirst Bank in Kansas City, one of the area's fastest-growing banks headquartered in Leawood, Kansas. He leads a team of experienced bankers in growing a portfolio of commercial and industrial banking relationships in the Kansas City area.
Prior to joining CrossFirst Bank, Owens spent seven years at First Citizens Bank as its top market executive. He was responsible for administration, coordination and facilitation of all commercial, business and consumer banking activities for the Kansas/Missouri region. Owens also has seven years of experience as a market president at Enterprise Bank & Trust.
Owens earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and his Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
In addition to his 12-year tenure on the Edwards Campus Board of Advisors, Owens currently serves on the Board of Governors for Indian Hills Country Club and was recently selected to the 2019 Class of Leadership Kansas, an affiliate program of The Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
Tim Petty has been with U.S. Bank for more than fifteen years and currently is the line of business head and team leader for U.S. Bank commercial banking – Kansas City and Oklahoma. He enjoys working with businesses and has more than 30 years in the industry. Tim has been recognized for his top performance within the company as a repeat Vanguard winner, representing the top 5 pecent of all commercial bankers.
Tim has been involved in numerous community organizations, including serving on various committees and boards of the following: Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC); Kansas State University – Olathe; Association for Corporate Growth (ACG); Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Greater Kansas City (LLS); Board Greater Kansas City United Way - Johnson County Local Operating Board; U.S. Bank team captain for March for Babies; March of Dimes; Olathe Economic Development Board; Kansas City Tomorrow; and Millcreek Community Church.
As Vice Chairman of Commerce Bank in Kansas City, Jay is primarily involved in the commercial side of the Bank. He is active in calling on strategic commercial customers and prospects in the Kansas City Region. Reardon also has direct oversight of the International Department and works closely with the Retail Banking Administration, with special focus on strategic bank acquisitions, new branch and ATM placements, and consumer lending and deposit gathering. Reardon also oversees the Commerce Banks in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, St. Joseph, Lawrence, Leavenworth and Harrisonville and is active with the senior management of the Commerce Bank in Denver.
A graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Business Administration, Reardon has been in the banking industry over 35 years and at Commerce Bank since 1990. He is active in the community and is board chair for the University of Kansas Edwards Campus. He is on the board of trustees for Rockhurst High School and on the board of the Greater Kansas City Crime Commission. Reardon is the past board chair of Carondelet Health and the Saint Joseph Medical Center Foundation and is a long-serving volunteer for the Greater Kansas City United Way and Catholic Charities of North East Kansas.
Joe Reardon is President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the area’s oldest and only regional chamber of commerce. Joe assumed his post in March 2016. Prior to his appointment as President/CEO of the KC Chamber, Joe served as President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), the $86-million public transportation authority serving the KC region. Among his accomplishments at the KCATA: • developed a seamless regional transit system by negotiating and implementing strategic partnerships to manage service in Johnson County and Independence. • negotiated and entered into a Cooperative Agreement with Jackson County to acquire the 17-mile Rock Island Rail Corridor for future public and transit use. • developed the first of its kind public/private partnership to deploy Bridj, an app-based microtransit system in Kansas City. Joe also served two terms as the Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan. Notable accomplishments include: • led the successful effort to bring Google high-speed fiber to his community in a competition that included more than 1,100 cities across the nation • opened Sporting Park Soccer Stadium as the state-of-the-art home of Sporting Kansas City • announced Cerner Corp. would bring 4,000 new jobs to a new campus in the Village West area. As an adjunct professor at Rockhurst University, Reardon developed and co-taught an MBA level class on regionalism, an interdisciplinary course focused on the political and economic aspects of metro areas, with Kansas City as a case study. A lawyer by training, Reardon also served as a Partner at McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, PA, with a practice focused on economic development, public/private partnerships, and digital infrastructure projects. He earned his juris doctorate from the University of Kansas and his bachelor of arts in political science from Rockhurst University. His awards include: • Wyandotte Countian of the Year • Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers Recipient • Kansas Mayor of the Year, Kansas Mayors’ Association • OneKC Award, Kansas City Area Development Council
Bob Regnier is executive chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of Blue Valley. Prior to its combination with Heartland Financial in May of 2019, he had been president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Blue Valley since its formation in 1989. He has also been the sole director, president and chief executive officer of Blue Valley Investment Corporation since its formation in 1995, and of Blue Valley Building Corp. since its formation in 1994.
Prior to forming Blue Valley Bank Corp., Regnier held various managerial positions with Boatmen’s Bank and Trust and Boatmen’s First National Bank of Kansas City. He has over 45 years of experience in a number of banking areas, including lending, investments, personnel, administration, trust, operations, new business development and mergers.
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CiCi Rojas is a nationally recognized thought leader able to build consensus and create collaborative, high-performance environments. She has served as the president and partner of Tico Productions LLC since 2016. Tico Productions LLC is a full-service multi-media, multicultural marketing and production company, specialize in the areas of marketing, advertising, strategic creative development, digital and social media. Tico helps companies arrive at innovative and culturally-inspired ideas that move people to action. Tico Sports develops Spanish language broadcasts and community engagement platforms for professional sports teams. The first partnership was formed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, and they have since worked with the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Jose Sharks.
The four years prior to that she was the president and chief executive officer of Central Exchange (CX) in Kansas City. CX provides the venue and voice for more than 1000 women seeking to reach their full personal and professional potential.
Rojas is an entrepreneur with proven success in driving groundbreaking initiatives and strategies, in emerging markets, across business, healthcare, government and non-profit sectors. Significant experience with early stage enterprise, non-profit governance, operations, and turn-around strategies.
Rojas has leveraged broad-based experience in business, healthcare, PR, marketing, lobbying, development, project leadership and agency management to achieve objectives critical to all stakeholders. She has served as vice-president of community engagement for Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, president and CEO of Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, vice-president of strategic alliances and special projects for United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Kansas City.
Rojas has twice been featured among the Kansas City Business Journal's Power 100, a feature profiling powerful businesspeople in the Kansas City metro area. She serves on the board of Arvest Bank Kansas City Region, YMCA of the USA, Friends of the American Latino Museum and the Stowers Research Institute.
Robert D. Simari, M.D., has served as executive dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine since March 24, 2014 and as interim executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center since July 1, 2017. As executive dean, Dr. Simari serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for the School of Medicine and provides leadership in medical education, scholarly activity, research, patient care and service. He is responsible for ensuring that all of the school’s missions of research, practice, education are supported and carried out at the campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. In the role of executive vice chancellor, Dr. Simari oversees the educational, research, patient care and community engagement missions of the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, with their total annual enrollment of more than 3,500 students; a workforce of more than 2,100 faculty and more than 4,000 staff; research funding of nearly $100 million, campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina, Kansas, and activities in every county in the state of Kansas.
Dr. Simari earned his baccalaureate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and his medical degree from the University of Kansas. Following medical school, he completed his residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, MA, then fellowships in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Following his clinical training he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Nabel at the University of Michigan. He then returned to the Mayo Clinic as a physician scientist and cardiologist achieving the rank of Professor of Medicine. He served as vice chair for the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and co-principal investigator of the Center for Translational Science Activities. Dr. Simari’s laboratory made fundamental discoveries in the areas of thrombosis and identification of vascular stem cells, and he has led the NHLBI-funded Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) since 2008. The CCTRN performs early phase clinical trials in cardiovascular cell therapy.
Before beginning his current position as Deputy Superintendent for the Shawnee Mission School District, Dr. Kenny Southwick spent a total of 34 years serving students in three Missouri school districts. Maryville became home for Dr. Southwick after graduating from William Jewell College in 1976. After working as a social studies teacher, counselor and coach of football and baseball, he moved back to his home town of Excelsior Springs to teach and coach in the summer of 1979. Coaching and counseling once again became his passion and in 1980 he became the head football coach of the Tigers. In 1985, he moved to the Central Office to become the Director of Special Education.
After a total of nine years in Excelsior Springs, an opportunity arose to go to Belton. He spent 22 years in the central office of Belton School District. In Belton, he served as Director of Special Education, Director of Secondary Curriculum, and 12 years as Superintendent. Belton was a great place to work with tremendous support from staff, the Board of Education and the community. Always focusing on the "Strategic Vision" developed by key stakeholders, much was accomplished during his tenure. With the passage of two major operating levies and four bond issues, the 10-year strategic vision for the District became reality. He is most proud of the culture that was developed in the Belton School District and the belief that "we never give up on any student."
Dr. Southwick retired from the Belton School District in 2010 and began working as an educational planner for ACI Boland Architects. Reflecting on his career in education at the time of his retirement, Dr. Southwick said, "I was blessed to have spent 34 years doing exactly what I wanted to do, with the people I most wanted to do it with."
Dr. Southwick has been spending time with Suzette, his wife of 40+ years. Dr. Southwick and his wife Suzette have one son, Josh, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif. They have recently been blessed with their first grandson, Hudson Marc.
In May 2014, Dr. Southwick returned to public education taking on the role of Deputy Superintendent for the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD), which serves students living in 14 cities in northeast Johnson County, Kan. During that time, he oversaw a massive capital improvement initiative made possible by the voter-approved $233 million bond issue in January 2015 and served as the lead negotiator in teacher contracts. In February 2019 he announced his retirement from SMSD effective in July. In September, he will begin his new position as the executive director of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City.
Charles Sunderland currently serves as a trustee and chief investment officer for the Sunderland Foundation.
The Foundation focuses on providing grants for projects including planning, design, construction, renovation, repairs and restoration for 501c3 charitable organizations.
Prior to this role, Sunderland served for 38 years in various roles with the Ash Grove Cement Company. His duties there varied from leading the real estate group developing the Cedar Creek master planned community and development of the Shadow Glen Golf Club, through risk management, and corporate development including mergers and acquisitions. Sunderland assumed the role of chairman and chief executive officer of Ash Grove in 2000 serving in this capacity until the acquisition of Ash Grove by CRH plc of Dublin, Ireland in June of 2018.
Civically active, Sunderland served on numerous boards of banks, colleges and universities, and human service organizations. He served on the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board for 18 years, chairing the quality committee for most of that tenure.
Sunderland chaired the major industry organization, the Portland Cement Association in 2007 and 2008.
Sunderland is a graduate of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. He is married to Angela and has three adult children and three grandchildren.
Leigh Anne Taylor Knight is Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of The DeBruce Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. To stimulate economic progress, the foundation’s mission includes initiatives and technologies that will improve workforce readiness in the greater Kansas City area creating a model to have national impact. Building on workforce economics and development research, the Foundation seeks to increase the success of individuals while increasing employers’ opportunities for finding and retaining a highly productive, stable and diverse workforce. Dr. Taylor Knight served as Executive Director of the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium, facilitating the collaborative efforts of four research institutions to provide powerful tools for data-driven educational research informing practice and policy. As a former high school teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, she has expertise in bringing together stakeholders to improve learning experiences. She has consulted with school districts across the nation, as well as led curriculum development for an international technology company. Leigh Anne holds graduate and advanced degrees in educational leadership and policy from the University of Missouri, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas. Leigh Anne enjoys trail biking and watching her two sons play college baseball. In her spare time, she can be found in her Lenexa, Kansas kitchen testing culinary creations on her husband, Doug while practicing to be the next Food Network Star.
Ken Williams is a Member of the Board of Directors, Chief Financial Officer and President of the Finance organization for Black & Veatch, a global leader in providing engineering, consulting and construction services for Energy, Water, and Telecommunication Sectors.
An engineer and financial leader with deep business development, strategy and risk management expertise, Williams has experience from several roles with global engineering and construction companies. As CFO, he is responsible for establishing corporate financial policies and for leading the company’s global financial, real estate and facilities operations.
With revenues of $3 billion, Black & Veatch is consistently ranked in the top ten categories for power generation, power delivery, water infrastructure development and telecommunications in Engineering News-Record magazine and is ranked in the Top 150 of the Forbes list of Largest Private Companies. The company is the 12th largest employee-owned corporation in the United States according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.