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.
John Allison has worked in public education for the past 29 years. Prior to starting in Olathe in 2017, he served as superintendent in the Wichita Public Schools and the Mt. Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania. He has also worked as a district administrator in the Grapevine-Colleyville School District in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, associate superintendent for education services for the Shawnee Mission School District, and as a middle school and high school building administrator. He began his teaching career in Spring Hill, Kan. as a high school social studies teacher and coach. Allison obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas, and his Masters of Science from Emporia State University. He has completed doctoral course work in Education Leadership at St. Louis University and Southwestern College. His wife, Ramie teaches in the Olathe School District. They have 2 grown children.
As Lathrop & Gage’s government relations coordinator and chair of the firm’s government relations practice area, Mary Birch tracks issues and developments that may affect 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 works 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
Dick Bond received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1957 and his juris doctorate from KU School of Law in 1960.
In law school, he was a member of Phil Delta Phi, President of the Student Bar Association and represented the law school in the National Moot Court competition. Upon graduation, he practiced law in Mission Kan. and was the first city attorney for Overland Park, Kan.
He served for nearly 25 years as chief of staff to three members of Congress from the 3rd Congressional District of Kansas. Later he served 14 years as a Kansas State Senator and retired in 2001 after serving four years as Senate President. Dick has been a director, officer and investor in several Kansas bank and trust companies and currently with the Bank of Blue Valley.
He serves on several foundation boards and has served on numerous statewide and metro non-profit boards in leadership and fundraising capacities. Dick is past co-chair for Jayhawks for Higher Education; past chair of the Advisory Board of the KU Edwards Campus; member of the KU FIRST Law School Capital Campaign; and past president of the KU Law Society. He served as a member of the Kanas Board of Regents and as its chairman.
Dick has received numerous honors and awards including: KU Law School Distinguished Alumni; Kansas City Spirit; Johnson Countian of the Year; The Fred Ellsworth Medallion; and The Distinguished Services Citation – KU’s highest alumni award.
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.
David is a member of the University of Kansas leadership team, serving as the vice chancellor for the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kan. Cook assumed his role in April 2013. He is also a professor with tenure serving in faculty positions in the communication studies and the health policy and management programs.
Under Dr. Cook’s leadership, the Edwards Campus will continue its 21-year history to bring the high-quality academic programs, research and public service of the University of Kansas to Greater Kansas City. With a focus on building strong partnerships with community colleges, K-12, government and industry leaders, the campus has launched eight new degree programs, and new graduate certificates in business and international studies since his short time as vice chancellor.
One of his most significant achievements is the addition of KU’s Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) division to the Edwards Campus. The integration of PCE to the campus creates a regional hub for undergraduate, graduate and continuing professional development and training.
While serving as associate vice chancellor for community engagement at The University of Kansas Medical Center, he led a statewide infrastructure dedicated to working with communities, business partners, and regional leaders to advance the health of Kansas and beyond. David also served as the associate director of the Institute for Community and Public Health, an entity dedicated to developing a new School of Public Health at the University of Kansas.
David completed a highly selective American Council on Education Fellowship where he was mentored by the provost at the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill. He serves on several community boards including Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, United Community Services of Johnson County and KidsTLC. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Dr. Cook holds a master’s degree and doctorate in organizational communication. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.
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 has extensive experience in brand leadership, management, advertising, communications, sports and entertainment marketing, corporate social responsibility and overall marketing operations. Prior to joining Barkley in 2015, Mike was president of Premier Sports Management where he was responsible for day-to-day agency operations and business-development activity. He led the company’s partnership with the then Bowl Championship Series as it re-branded and re-launched as the College Football Playoff.
He spent 21 years at Sprint, most recently as vice president, corporate marketing, where he led the company’s advertising and marketing communications efforts. While there, some of Mike’s work highlights included leading a team that won a Cannes Gold Lion for Integrated Campaign, guiding the communications for the very successful launch of the Sprint iPhone, and negotiating the naming rights agreement for Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City.
Mike was a 2012 recipient of the Arthur E. Lowell Award, the highest honor given by the Kansas City chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. The award recognizes business communicators in the Kansas City area who have demonstrated expertise in communications, sustained support to the profession, helped foster an environment conducive to the professional growth of those involved in the communications business, and demonstrated high levels of personal ethics and service to the community and the profession.
Mike serves on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City, and is a past board member of Starlight Theatre and the Kansas City Area Economic Development Council. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the William Allen White Foundation, William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Steve Rose is the former owner of Sun Publications and is currently a columnist for The Kansas City Star. He is a regular panelist on “Ruckus,” a roundtable program on the local PBS station. Steve was the co-chair of the successful Bistate campaign to restore Union Station. He has served on numerous boards, including past chairman of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce and Vice Chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He was selected Johnson Countian of the Year in 1999 by the Johnson County Community College Foundation.
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.
Dr. Joe Sopcich is the fifth president of Johnson County Community College (JCCC). He has been with JCCC since 1992, serving over the years as executive director of institutional advancement and executive vice president/chief financial officer. He taught as an adjunct in the college’s business division from 2006-2014.
Joe’s honors include a Fulbright Award in 2011, when he traveled to Russia to present seminars on the merits of American community colleges; the Colleague of the Year award from the JCCC Foundation in 2010 in recognition of his dedication to JCCC students and programming; and the Faculty Leadership award in 2008 given by the JCCC Faculty Association in recognition of his leadership and support of JCCC’s faculty. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.
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. 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, which serves students living in 14 cities in northeast Johnson County, Kan. As of July 1, he will be assuming the responsibilities of the Interim Superintendent for the Shawnee Mission School District for the 2017-2018 school year.
Robert (Bob) A. Kipp (retired) – Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Pete Levi — Polsinelli Shughart PC
Bob Marcusse — Kansas City Area Development Council (retired president/CEO)
Ron Wimmer — Olathe School District (retired superintendent)
Walt Womack — Burns & McDonnell (retired T&D president)
David Wysong – Wysong Family Foundation
Workforce Development Advisory Board
The Workforce Development Advisory Board critiques and informs campus administration on academic programs and services the campus offers or should offer to the employers of the region. This board is an important element in helping to build a well-qualified workforce in Greater Kansas City.
Dr. Michael Banks has served as the President of Metropolitan Community College's Blue River Campus in Independence since 2012.
Before joining MCC, Banks served as vice president for academic and student affairs, and dean and division chair of Arts and Humanities at St. Charles Community College in Missouri. Previous to his time at St. Charles, he served as an assistant professor of speech and theatre and director of performing arts at Urbana University in Ohio, and as theatre department chair and assistant professor of theatre and design/technical direction at Xavier University in Ohio.
Dr. Banks has a Ph.D. in American studies from St. Louis University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in design and technical theatre from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a bachelor's degree in theatre from St. Louis University.
Kelly Tyler Byrnes brings more than twenty-five years of experience to her role at Voyage Consulting Group: fifteen years leading HR and OD, training, client services, and operation teams within corporate settings; ten years of consulting with clients in financial services, customer service, hospitality, consumer goods, telecom, and research industries. She is an adjunct professor in the MBA and undergraduate programs for Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management. She also is an author and professional speaker. Kelly’s OD strengths are in culture, engagement, change management, and leadership development for mid-sized, high-growth companies who know the value of their people.
Kelly’s undergraduate work in history and business at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame and her graduate work (MBA) at Rockhurst University laid the groundwork for her diverse career path and sparked her interest in leadership behaviors in business. On a personal note, Kelly is married to Bob. They enjoy spending time with their daughter in Montana, gathering with family in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, and cheering for Notre Dame football, Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, and Kansas basketball. Rock Chalk!
Dr. Cathy Donovan has been a member of the KU Edwards Campus Workforce Development Advisory Board for more than 10 years. Dr. Donovan started her career as an elementary teacher working in both Oklahoma and Kansas from 1983. In 1991, she took a position as a elementary principal in the Olathe School District and served in that capacity until 1996, when she assumed her current role as the Human Resources Executive Director. Dr. Cathy Donovan is a graduate of the University of Kansas.
Kelly Eschweiler currently serves as SVP and Director of Talent Development for UMB Financial Corporation, a full service financial provider for commercial, institutional and personal clients across the United States.
In this role, Kelly has been asked to lead the delivery of enterprise solutions through strategic and targeted execution of talent management, learning and development solutions. Along with her team, she designs, develop and delivers talent management tools and processes in the areas of talent planning, selection, engagement, performance management, succession planning, leadership assessment, leadership development, and talent-related research/analytics.
From a very early age, Kelly developed a passion for helping others achieve their goals. That interest has stayed with her and fuels her passion for what she does. She feels fortunate to be in a role where she can truly help the company, leaders and associates achieve their desired outcomes and set themselves up for success. Kelly has been with UMB since 2007 in an variety of roles throughout the Human Resources department. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in Organizational Development from Avila University. She is originally from Gower, Missouri and will always be a farm girl at heart. When not working, you can probably find her at a football game (Mizzou or Iowa Hawkeyes), buying another pair of shoes she says she “doesn’t need” or spending time with her husband, Seth, and their dogs, Jax and Lola.
Skip is a strategic human resources executive with global growth experience who has produced positive results in both profit and not-for-profit sectors. He has experience in both human resources and operations, and has had career success building the structure, skills and talents of individuals and teams to support execution of business strategies. Skip’s professional experience includes positions of increasing responsibility encompassing all areas of human resources including leading human resources functions at a top tier global engineering company, heading the human resources function for the ninth fastest-growing, privately held company in the United States. He has served as Board Chair for a not-for-profit children’s health agency, leading them from a volunteer organization with an annual budget of $600,000to an organization supported by full-time staff and an annual budget of $3 million.
Consulting practice focuses on:
- Strategy - Strategic Planning, Stakeholder Analysis, Change Management
- Leadership - Branding, Coaching, Transition
- Organization - Structure, Succession Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions
- People - Talent, Engagement, Retention
Sheri Gonzales Warren has been involved in economic development since 2001. She began this work at a large, public university to help develop curriculum in response to workforce needs. She then spent a series of years living and working overseas to create market-driven, community development systems that address basic human needs. She joined Mid-America Regional Council in 2015 to help spur inclusive economic opportunity in the place she calls home – Kanas City
Sheri Gonzales Warren is MARC’s Program Director for its postsecondary attainment and workforce development efforts – known as GradForce KC. She also leads MARC's work on human capital as part of the KC Rising initiative, a business-led economic development initiative for the Greater Kansas City region.
Sheri holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.
Chris is the AVP & Director of Global Talent Acquisition & Mobility at Black & Veatch. He has been in HR consulting over 20 years and is considered an industry expert in social media, sourcing and recruiting. Chris is also known for his ability to influence, execute, motivate and implement change within complex matrix environments. He has been responsible for global teams as large as 175+ people delivering 12,000 corporate hires and 85,000 client hires. Chris is a requested speaker on topics related to social networking, recruiting and human resources and his work has resulted in press interest including The Wall Street Journal and SHRM HR Magazine. Chris is on Direct Employers Board of Directors and the Workforce Magazine Business Intelligence Board.
Luke McGlynn brings a broad experience base to the practice of human resources, including experience in employment law, a wide variety of work forces, work environments and technical disciplines. His overriding passion and focus is on developing individuals into leadership roles at all levels of the organization. Luke’s technical experience includes work in both generalist and specialist fields within human resources including line-facing client service in organizations ranging in size up to 12,000 people, and organization development, staffing and recruiting, total rewards, employee and labor relations.
As managing director of TeamKC: Life+Talent at the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), Jessica Nelson drives communication strategies to attract corporate investment, jobs and talented people. Working to showcase the business and livability assets in the KC region, she encourages the world to recognize Kansas City as a hub for creativity and innovation.
Jessica works with the top 250 companies in the region to showcase Kansas City’s lifestyle to talented individuals from around the world. Jessica oversees an exclusive group of global HR and recruiting executives in the KC community, and she acts as publisher of KC Options magazine.
In the community, Jessica serves on the Executive Committee of the KU Edwards Campus Workforce Advisory Board, Olathe School District Business and Technology Advisory Board, and is the executive vice president of the Kansas City Network KU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
In 2015, Jessica was recognized as a NextGen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal and one of Kansas City’s most influential women by KC Magazine, and most recently was accepted into the KC Chamber’s prestigious Centurions Leadership Program.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Minor in Business from the University of Kansas. Jessica joined KCADC in 2011 and is a native of Kansas City
Keely J. Schneider is the Executive Director for Workforce Partnership, the local workforce development board for Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas. She directs federal and state funds for workforce development programs for adults and youth including classroom training, on the job training and other work-based learning experiences. In addition, she assists the Workforce Partnership Board in its strategic and fiscal oversight of the comprehensive workforce system under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which, in addition to the adult and youth programs, includes programs for adult basic education/ESL, employment services under Wagner-Peyser Act and vocational rehabilitation services. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director in October 2016, Ms. Schneider was Associate Director for the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, a member organization comprised of CEOs of the largest companies and partnerships in the greater Kansas City region. There she directed all human capital development initiatives, including both higher education and workforce, as well as directed the Civic Council’s “Kansas City Tomorrow” leadership program. Ms. Schneider began her second career in non-profit over 9 years ago as the development director for a charter school serving at-risk youth in Kansas City, MO. Before making the leap to the non-profit arena, Ms. Schneider practiced law in the areas of transactional and regulatory healthcare and commercial real estate.
*Indicates executive board member.