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We’re creating the blueprints for tomorrow’s big ideas. Innovation happens when we color outside the lines, pushing the creative boundaries to enhance the world around us. Whether it’s drawing plans for a power plant or an international airport, we put our heart and soul into each and every project. With offices worldwide, our creativity can cross many platforms, paving the way for more inspired yet secure cities and communities for us all. Start your journey at

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in ller W AN th illi K e M am E idw s Rea D es l Esta #1 t – te 20 Team 15

WE MAKE RELOCATION EASY. Group O’Dell serves more clients relocating to the Kansas City area than any other real estate group. Since 1995, our team has been serving ALL of Kansas City with our concierge-level professional service. We’ve helped hundreds of individuals and families make the transition to Kansas City a successful one and we’d love to help you too.

EXPERIENCE THE GROUP O’DELL DIFFERENCE. For more information, or to schedule a no-obligation consultation,

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Kansas City

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Kansas City Business Journal

SIN CE 2002


K A N S A S C I T Y R E A L E S TAT E in the Midwest






KELLER WILLIAMS Realty Partners, Inc












Royals’ Salvador Perez wins the hearts of Kansas City


Unsung heroes who make up the fabric of our city


People and places in Kansas City gaining recognition the world over




Professionals from around the world come to Kansas City to live their dream


The Kansas City metro is a network of lively, unique neighborhoods


From music and museums to sports and food, Kansas City has plenty to keep you busy


CREATIVE CROSSROADS Up close with some of Kansas City’s most creative people



Writers BETH BAHNER A public relations consultant most of her career, Beth Bahner writes life-inspiring family stories that are preserved for future generations. She believes that a written legacy is a treasured gift to be passed down to our children and grandchildren.

JUDY HARPER GOPPERT An avid outdoors girl, Judy enjoys all seasons especially summer. She draws on the extraordinary stories of the many intriguing lives and nuances in Kansas City. Her work has appeared in numerous publications.

SUSAN FOTOVICH MCCABE Fotovich McCabe has contributed to KC business, KC magazine, Flourish and Leawood Lifestyle. Her expertise spans a wide array of industries that include agribusiness, aviation, animal health, consumer products, commercial development, biosciences, architecture and children with special needs.

2016/2017 Edition

Editor-in-Chief, KC Options KCADC Managing Director, TeamKC Jessica Nelson KCADC Vice President, Design & Creative Jonathan Knecht KCADC Vice President, Communications Ashlie Hand KCADC Manager, Creative Services & Digital Content KARA BROCK KCADC MANAGER, DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS Angela Orr PUBLISHER, ROBIN ATKINS contributing WRITERS BETH BAHNER, JUDY HARPER GOPPERT, SUSAN FOTOVICH MCCABE, Porcshe M. Moran, Matt Smithmier contributing Photographers Cameron Gee, kim golding Thanks to our teamkc advisory board for guiding us on editorial: AMC Entertainment Inc., Jennifer Schnack


Black & Veatch, John McLaughlin

Porcshe Moran is a lifestyle journalist and content creator. She operates a freelance business called PNM Media. She develops multimedia content on a variety of topics, including food, travel, home and garden, fashion and business. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Cerner Corporation, Erin Dill

Burns & McDonnell, Jennifer Parker Children’s Mercy Hospital, Molly Weaver Garmin International, Inc., Michelle Cormack Group O’Dell, Maria O’Dell H&R Block, Carolyn Walters


Hallmark Cards, Inc., Erin Roebuck

With a specialty in news and feature writing, Matt’s work has also appeared in the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, Missouri Life, Northland Lifestyle, and many others. He lives in Parkville, Missouri, with his wife and three children.

Lexmark, Emily Eugster

KPMG, LLP, Kyri Gorges Morgan Hunter Companies, Stephanie Smithmier Russell Stover Candies, Tara Boldridge Sedgwick, LLP, Cherie Zeier

Photographers KIM GOLDING

State Street, Steven Green Sungevity, Derrick Miller UMB Bank, Rebecca Christie University of Kansas Edwards Campus, Carolyn McKnight VML, Abby Ventrillo

Golding is a KC-based freelance photographer. Prior to working at Hallmark Cards, she had a studio in Los Angeles and shot photos for a variety of publications and personalities. She was educated at Plymouth College of Art in England.

CAMERON GEE Based in the Crossroads Arts District in KC, Gee explores his craft through both commercial and personal work. Holding his images to a minimal aesthetic in an attempt to slow people down in our fast-paced, digital world, he offers a glimpse of a genuine version of his subjects, as opposed to a constructed persona. Additional photography courtesy of Gene Starr, Brian Rice Photography, Howe Creative Photography, KKFI Photo, ISI Photos for KC Pro Soccer, Kansas City Chiefs, and Lauren Leduc Yoga.



PROUD MEMBER OF KCADC Showcase Publishing, Inc. ©2016. All rights reserved. Any reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited without written consent of the magazine publisher.



Welcome to a championship city – Kansas City. Facebook America’s Creative Crossroads Twitter @ithinkKC Instagram ithinkKC Vimeo KCADC

From all-star athletes, and Pulitzer Prize winners to entrepreneurs and up-and-coming young professionals, Kansas City is full of game-changers.

Sure, our Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series, but there’s even more to Kansas City’s championship culture. It’s the companies and startups in our community driving world-renowned innovation, the affordable lifestyle, and the people who call KC home. It’s the profound pride we have for our region that translates into all aspects of business, arts and culture, and lifestyle. It’s real and you can feel it everywhere in our city. Kansas Citians are the perfect balance of humble, nice and hospitable, but we are also fiercely competitive, passionate and driven. From all-star athletes, and Pulitzer Prize winners to entrepreneurs and up-and-coming young professionals, Kansas City is full of game-changers. The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Travel+Leisure and The New York Times agree, Kansas City is a top place to live and work. Throughout the pages of KC Options you’ll see our city through the voices of champions that live and work here, including 2015 World Series MVP, 2016 All Star MVP and KC Royal, Salvador Perez. You’ll explore Kansas City’s dynamic tech scene and the companies developing revolutionary products and services, while getting the scoop on our region’s commitment to health and wellness. We’ll dive into Kansas City’s artistic culture, featuring premier fashion designers, musicians, authors and makers. You’ll also meet some of our community’s most creative people and discover the area’s iconic lifestyle assets. Once you’ve flipped through the pages of KC Options, we hope you’re as excited and passionate about Kansas City as we are. We can’t wait to welcome you as a member of our championship team in KC.

Jessica Nelson Editor-in-Chief, KC Options 6

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of the People ROYALS’



Six-foot-three is tall, sure – but not that tall. Still, Salvador Perez, the 26-year-old catcher for the Kansas City Royals, seems larger than life. He’s bigger than typical catchers in the major leagues, but that hasn’t kept him from three Gold Gloves and four American League appearances in the AllStar Game. Perez was also instrumental in leading the Royals to its first World Series win in 30 years in 2015, and was named the Series MVP. columnist Mike Petriello even called Perez the AL’s “most irreplaceable star.” Those accomplishments alone can create a type of celebrity and popularity worthy of thousands of fans, but it’s Perez’ energy and enthusiasm when he’s not on the field that attracts the most attention and love from the people of Kansas City. “No matter what kind of game he’s having, he has a smile on his face and so much positive energy that boosts the team,” said Katie Timbers, a lifelong Royals fan. “All around great player to watch.” From his Gatorade bath tradition to his social media antics with other players, his personality is as bright as his smile – and just as big. If you ask him, of course, it’s simply a byproduct of doing what you love. As a child growing up in Perez was instrumental in leading the Royals to its first World Series win in 30 years in 2015.

Venezuela, he started playing baseball at age 4 and discovered a passion – as well as some life lessons – during each game he attended with his mom. “I’m here because she taught me the right way,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with my dad, so she had to work as mom and dad. Everything I have right now is for her.” Due in large part to his mom’s encouragement, that love for the game that’s so evident to fans now is really just a continuation of the enthusiasm that began in his youth. “When someone says to me, ‘So tell me about your life,’ I just tell them ‘baseball,’” he said. “All my life – baseball.” Being so far away from the home he once knew, Kansas City has become a new family for Perez. After getting the call to the majors in 2011, he’s spent all of his professional years with the Royals and just signed a new contract through 2021 to stay in Kansas City. “They gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues,” he said. “I have fun with the fans, and I want to stay here for the rest of my career.” While the city definitely supports him, he’s returning the favor in more ways than one. He’s shown to not only support a winning team but also a number of charitable causes around the area, including Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer, the annual Gloves for Kids fundraiser, and events at the Guadalupe Center. Perez also made headlines this year with his $1 million donation to the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, a baseball academy for children ages 6 to 18 that focuses on education and cultivating a love for the game. City leaders broke ground on the project in April 2016, and they hope to construct two major-league-size baseball fields, one college-size softball field and one Little League field – one of which will be named for Perez. The academy will also provide access to tutoring, college preparation and career fairs, and will teach math by using baseball statistics. For Perez, the donation seemed like a no-brainer. “I think a lot of kids just need a little bit of help from everybody,” he said. He’ll also continue to help the Royals as they seek additional success on the field. Even after winning it all, Perez said, his goals remain simple. “I want to play baseball until I die,” he said. “That makes me happy every day.” n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017





Champions While it’s usually the major league sports teams and celebrities who get a lot of the attention in any major metro area, it’s the unsung heroes who truly make up the fabric of a championship city. Here are just a few local champions – both individual and organizations – making a splash in Kansas City with their efforts the past few years.



A city’s future depends greatly on the success of its schools, and the region definitely has a few shining stars who have made the grade recently: • Daryl Johnson, a high school English teacher in Smithville, Missouri, and Beth Vernon, an 8thgrade Earth and Space Science teacher in Blue Springs, Missouri, were both inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame in the 2013 class. • Robert Lundien, the school counselor at Staley High School in Kansas City, Missouri, was named one of five national finalists for 2016 School Counselor of the Year. “He is the finest school counselor I have ever had the opportunity and pleasure to work with in my 33 years of education,” said Clark Mershon, Staley principal, in a release. “There isn’t a more qualified educator to help lead the everevolving role of the school counseling profession than Rob.” • Kansas City is also home to the top schools in both Missouri and Kansas. In the 2016 rankings from U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools,” Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

in Kansas City, Missouri, was ranked the top high school in Missouri, and Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, snagged the top honor for Kansas. Kansas City is increasingly recognized for its food and drink scene, and these folks are a big reason why: • Barbecue is a cherished tradition here, and you can easily start an argument over the best spot in town. But it seems everyone recognizes Kansas City as the best: Travel + Leisure magazine named Kansas City as “America’s Best City for Barbecue” in 2015, and Yelp reviewers have

Fact: More people who come here live.

© The University of Kansas Hospital

Why would you go anywhere else? The University of Kansas Hospital, as the region’s premier academic medical center, routinely treats the sickest of the sick – patients who were not expected to live. But more of them come here and survive. Which is one reason why we’re among a few hospitals in the nation to be ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 50 in all 12 data-driven medical and surgical specialties. Put the power of academic medicine to work for you. Call 913-588-1227 or visit






























named Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue as the best barbecue in the United States. Q39 was also voted the best new restaurant in Kansas City in 2015 by Feast magazine. • Pete Licata of Kansas City, Missouri, was named the World Barista Champion in 2013 in Melbourne, Australia, using coffee roasted by Kansas City’s Parisi Artisan Coffee. Licata, along with business partner Holly Bastin, now run Licata Coffee Consultants to share their knowledge with competitors and roasting programs across the globe. This is definitely a competitive town, and while everyone may recognize the 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals, the area is scoring points in other ways as well: • Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, has always been loud, but now it’s official. The stadium is now certified by Guinness World Records as the “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium.” The record-breaking roar hit 142.2 dbA during a Sept. 29, 2014, win against the New England Patriots. • One of the players in that stadium, Eric Berry, won the 2016 George Halas Award for overcoming adversity to succeed. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, Berry returned to play in 2015 for an All-Pro season. He was recognized by the Professional Football Writers of America and is the first Chiefs player to receive the award. Berry was also named the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2016. • FC Kansas City, the professional women’s soccer team, just began play in 2013, but the team has already captured two national league championships. • And, yes, air guitar competitions are a thing, and it turns out we’re pretty good at them. Lawrence, Kansas, resident Eric “Mean Melin” Melin shredded his way to the world title in the 2013 Air Guitar World Championships and also took 3rd place the following year. Finally, although our population and geographic area may be large, we’re still just one big community at heart. One radio station has been bringing us together since 1988. KKFI 90.1 Community Radio was recently recognized on internationally distributed Paste magazine’s list of “10 Public Radio Stations You Wish Were in Your Town.” To answer what makes the station unique, the magazine wrote, “These guys win for variety.” After all, champions come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and frequencies, and Kansas City is proud to be the home for them all. n



Kansas City has the range of personalities and landscapes to satisfy any imagination or desire, with access to a wide variety of housing, entertainment and career



roughly 9,193 square miles, the Kansas City region is about the same size as New Jersey. The 2.6 million residents live and work in 18 counties in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.

The Lowdown on

Our Town

Here’s a Quick Glance With a median age of 37, the annual per household income is $76,444. The median home price in the metro is a manageable $167,500. Also, KC boasts one of the country’s most well educated populations with 87 percent high school educated, and 30 percent earning a college degree.

We’re a Giving, Creative Group In the U.S., the arts industry accounts for $698.7 billion, or 34 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. In Missouri, non-profit arts and culture organizations generate $1.1 billion each year, and in Kansas the non-profit arts and cultural sector is a $273 million industry. The KC metro produces $279 million through arts and culture organizations.


There is a strong KC pride movement across the entire community. In particular, young professionals in this region have a strong sense of city pride, regularly touting the region’s best assets via social media, and making KC-branded t-shirts and accessories part of their everyday wardrobe. There has also been a lifestyle boom in this region with pockets of urban experiences throughout, from downtown KCMO to suburban lifestyle centers like Prairiefire and City Center.

There are Plenty of Goodies Here Google Fiber, for one, is sweeping through the city, bringing internet speed to a level like nothing else. The caliber of job opportunities is unmatched, especially in the tech scene, animal health and engineering sectors. Digital designers have found a wellspring of jobs as well. Those wanting a richly filled lifestyle will find it in the food scene, arts and culture.

JUST IN… Smart + Connected Communities is the Cisco Smart City solution with intelligent networking that provides real-time information and services for city leaders to create more livable cities. Along the 2.2-mile streetcar line and adjacent districts of the River Market, Power & Light and Crossroads, straphangers, walking at night, watch as lights brighten to their arrival and fade behind them. A network of digital kiosks serve as portals to listings for local businesses, events, maps and transit arrival times. CityPost, the maker of the kiosks, broadcasts information to smartphone users in the vicinity – over a municipal WiFi network built and run by KC-based Sprint. Parking spot sensors funnel information about empty spaces to an app for drivers. Cameras mounted on lampposts send tram drivers warnings about obstacles on the tracks. This initiative, coupled with Kansas City Power & Light’s Clean Charge Network, puts Kansas City on the cusp of the technological future. n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017





The Kansas City region is the most centrally located metropolitan community in the U.S., and due to our location, we experience the beauty of all four seasons. Each is highlighted by events that showcase the weather’s dramatic beauty. The weather is often quite spectacular with many days having high temperatures in the 70s and an average of 215 sunny days per year. The four seasons are well defined with autumn, perhaps, being the most beautiful season due to the dramatic shift in the region’s foliage. The leaves begin changing color in early to mid-October with vibrant reds and yellows blanketing the city for weeks. Outdoor events flourish, including the popular Plaza Art Fair, the excitement of Chiefs’ football games at Arrowhead, racing at the renowned Kansas Speedway, the incomparable Renaissance Festival and dramatic Waterfire on Brush Creek. Winter can be rather cold with some frigid outbreaks usually lasting around a week at a time. While there are days where the wind is blowing and it stings your face to be outside, winter in this area can also include beautiful sunny days that


make the cold bearable. To warm the soul, attend the Kansas City Repertory Theater’s A Christmas Carol, take a drive or carriage ride through the spectacular lights that illuminate the Country Club Plaza, enjoy the KC Downtown Dazzle events, or Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake. The Crown Center ice terrace is a favorite, as is the classic Nutcracker at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Kansas City averages just less than 20 inches of snow per year and has experienced snow as early as October and as late as early May. Even though there is the occasional harsh winter, it isn’t as cold in Kansas City as it is to the north of us in the upper Midwest. By March, spring arrives and the weather can be the best of the entire year. April has been known to produce weather that rivals cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Springtime brings opening day at the K for the World Champion Royals, and the KC Auto Show, food truck festivals , and Middle of the Map Fest. For those worried about severe weather in spring months, Kansas City is located outside of

Tornado Alley. There are people who have lived in Kansas City their entire lives without seeing a tornado. The Gulf of Mexico is due south of KC and is the moisture source for thunderstorms and summer humidity. On average, Kansas City will have 39 inches of rainfall which account for 50 days of thunderstorm activity. Summers can be quite hot with the hottest temps ever recorded of 113 degrees on August 14, 1936. There is an average of around five days that reach 100 degrees, with the hottest time of the year taking place the last week of July into the first week of August. Most summers provide many days for people to enjoy local outdoor pools and lakes, and while humidity can be a factor in the area, those periods don’t last too long. Warm up to events such as Boulevardia in the West Bottoms, First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, and ride the new Streetcar through downtown. Starlight Theater, many Fourth of July celebrations and the Riverfest on the Missouri River are just a few ways to make summer sweeter. Needless to say, everything to do in Kansas City is definitely enhanced by the weather variety. n


I help engineer a new reality for expectant mothers. With postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) fatalities on the rise, it is a moral and practical imperative to provide nurses with vital, timely clinical information to tackle this issue. I led a team that developed a program that automates the calculation of quantitative blood loss (QBL) rather than the traditional EBL, or estimated blood loss. Using QBL calculation, health care providers can gain a more accurate reading of blood loss and help to address the issue quickly and efficiently. The impact? Our program identified a patient’s previously underestimated blood loss—over 5 quarts. Through our solution, we helped save a life and likely many others. My name is Krystal. I’m a Software Engineer. A mother’s lifeline. I’m a Cerner associate.


TOUCH TOMORROW CE R N E RCAR E E RS .CO M Cerner is an equal opportunity employer/disability/vets


Arts & Culture The cultural arts scene in Kansas City has a long legacy of influence with international names peppering the wide array of artistic, historic, cultural and entertainment offerings. On any given day there are plenty of arts destinations to feed the creative appetite. One such venue is Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which consistently draws an impressive lineup of talent to our Midwestern city. Home to the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, Kansas City Symphony and other unmatched programming like a National Geographic series and TEDxKC, this state-of-the-art center embraces all manner of audiences with varying tastes, interests and passions. Union Station, which boasts a more than 100year history, serves as a hub of culture, education and entertainment. This iconic setting brings traveling national exhibits, features 3D movies on its Extreme Screen and an experiential learning center called Science City. A visit to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art plunges the creative spirit into bliss, metaphorically speaking of course. With free admission, 500,000 plus visitors enjoy the space annually. The Bloch building is an addition to the museum that was made in 2007 and contains the Contemporary Art, African Art, Photography and special exhibits. It has been said that this venue, voted best museum in the U.S. by Time magazine, is the size of a 60-story building on its side, and perusing through each corner is an adventure. Young Friends of Art invites young people to color outside the lines and enjoy special events including the Summer White Party, picnics, happy hours and other activities. The pair of giant, iconic shuttlecocks on the front



lawnscape, the creative genius of husband-andwife artistic team Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, is unmatched in the world. Kansas City’s acclaimed Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened its doors in 1994 and each year draws more than 100,000 visitors. Guests venture to the museum with an active imagination and the desire to experience, learn and engage. The museum boasts three locations and a rapidly growing permanent collection of modern and contemporary works of art from around the world. The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the largest contemporary art museums in the Midwest and hosts 16 traveling exhibits each year, featuring art from international, national and regional artists. With a mission to preserve the rich history of African Americans in baseball, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990. This privately funded, nonprofit organization offers visitors the chance to explore hundreds of photographs and artifacts dating from the late 1800s through the 1960s. This museum shares space with the American Jazz Museum, the only museum in the world solely focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music. The American Royal not only boasts the world’s largest barbecue competition in the country each year, but is also host to one of the Midwest’s largest and oldest livestock exhibitions, professional rodeos and prestigious horse shows including the National Championship Saddlebred horse competition. During the year, more than 270,000 people attend events at the American Royal. This year, the American Royal Barbecue contest will be

held at the Kansas Speedway to accommodate the more than 600 teams and 50,000 attendees. The dedication of the Liberty Memorial took place in 1921, when more than 100,000 gathered. Construction on this classical Egyptian Revival-style monument was completed in 1926 and the structure was dedicated by President Coolidge. In 2004, the Museum was designated by Congress as the nation’s official World War I Museum and Memorial. The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures opened in the early 1980s to house the collections of Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall. Today, the 33,000-sq.-ft. museum displays 72,000 objects. It’s magical to discover the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection and one of the nation’s largest antique toy collections on public display. Attention history buffs: Downtown Independence is home to the Truman Library and Museum. This museum outlines the personal and presidential life of native Missourian, President Harry Truman. Visit and learn of Bess and Harry’s love story, and see why he was known as the “walking president.” Or spend time examining Thomas Hart Benton’s mural, “Independence and the Opening of the West.” The atrium, with its wall of glass and view of the amazing landscaped courtyard, is ideal for meetings and gatherings, as are the other prestigious spaces. Events for all ages take place throughout the year. The Museum at Prairiefire is a unique collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, as well as other cultural and educational institutions across the U.S. The museum offers world-class exhibitions, programming and exhibits highlighting natural history and science as well as supporting STEM education in the KC region. n




Kansas Citians have convenient access to some of the highest quality healthcare in the country. U.S. News & World Report recognizes two local medical centers on its 2016-2017 review of “Best Hospitals.” Out of nearly 5,000 hospitals throughout the nation evaluated, only about three percent made the annual list. The University of Kansas Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City are among the 153 hospitals in America that rank in the top 50 in at least one specialty. U.S. News & World Report also identifies Children’s Mercy Kansas City as one of America’s finest pediatric centers on its 2016-2017 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals.” In 2016, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recognized HCA Midwest Health as a premiere care provider for heart failure and stroke patients. The University of Kansas Hospital is an academic medical center with physicians representing more than 200 medical specialties and services. The hospital’s doctors are faculty members at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. They also lead groundbreaking research at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The physicians at The University of Kansas Hospital often collaborate with other specialists across disciplines to provide patients with exceptional diagnostic and treatment options. In the U.S. News & World Report ranking, the hospital earned national honors in 11 medical and surgical specialties, and has appeared on the prestigious “Best Hospital” list for 10 years in a row. “This consistency comes from the dedication of our doctors, nurses and other healthcare

professionals,” President and CEO of the KU Hospital, Bob Page said. “Their commitment to providing leading-edge academic medicine puts us regularly among the nation’s best.” Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City has a network of more than 600 physicians in more than 60 medical specialties. Saint Luke’s Hospital is part of the Saint Luke’s Health System. The system includes 10 hospitals across the Kansas City region. It also has home care and hospice, behavioral health care and dozens of physician practices. Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City serves as a primary teaching hospital for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Patients get the highest level of comprehensive injury care at Saint Luke’s Level 1 Trauma Center. The hospital is one of less than 80 in the country with a Comprehensive Stroke Center that is able to treat the most complex stroke cases. Saint Luke’s has programs for liver and kidney transplantation, and one of the top adult heart transplant centers in the Midwest. HCA Midwest Health has a medical staff of 700 doctors in 59 medical specialties. The comprehensive network consists of more than 150 locations that include seven hospitals and outpatient centers, clinics, physician practices, surgery centers and other healthcare services throughout the Kansas City metro. Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park and Overland Park Regional Medical Center have all received national designations for following the most up-to-date, research-based standards for treating heart failure and stroke patients.

“HCA Midwest Health and its family of hospitals throughout the Kansas City region are dedicated to improving the quality of care for our heart failure and stroke patients,” said M.L. Lagarde III, president of HCA Midwest Health. Children’s Mercy Kansas City is the only freestanding children’s hospital between St. Louis and Denver. The medical staff at Children’s Mercy has more than 750 pediatric experts providing care in more than 40 concentrations. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. It is a principal teaching hospital for the University of Kansas Medical Center. More than 100 physicians, scientists, nurses, fellows and residents at Children’s Mercy are involved in innovative research projects aimed at finding the best ways of treating, diagnosing and preventing complex childhood diseases. U.S. News & World Report ranks the hospital nationally in 10 pediatric specialties. Their pediatric nephrology department, which treats children and teens with kidney and urinary tract disorders, was ranked the No. 6 best in the U.S., and the hospital’s programs in urology, orthopedics and neonatology are among the nation’s top 25. Dr. Randall O’Donnell, president and CEO of Children’s Mercy, said, “The whole hospital and all its employees are a part of what makes us outstanding. And we aren’t done yet. Much more can, and will be, accomplished as we practice, teach and research the best ways to deliver quality pediatric care and provide the best outcomes for our patients and families, today and in the future.” n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



A guide to Kansas City’s most popular festivals and events



Whether it’s history, culture, music or even beer, Kansas City finds a reason to celebrate. Festivals throughout the year give us all a reason to eat, drink and be merry:


• Folk Alliance International – This four-day indoor event nurtures the folk music community with multiple stages, plenty of music by folk artists from around the world, and an artisan marketplace.



• Boulevardia – Dubbed as a “country within a country,” this three-day festival hosted by KCbased Boulevard Brewing Company combines beer, food and music, with a focus on recycling and sustainability. • Kansas City PrideFest – A celebration of the LGBTQIA community, this long-running event, which first began in 1975, features live music, a youth hangout, volleyball, a food fair and much more.

• Kansas City FilmFest – After more than 20 years, this event is still going strong, and features more than 100 local, national and international films, plus a host of special events for adults and children. • Middle of the Map – Spread across multiple venues (and multiple days usually spanning the end of April and beginning of May), this celebration of rock and culture features more than 100 local and national bands, a film festival and an innovation forum. • 18th and Vine Jazz Festival – A partnership between Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley and the American Jazz Museum, this three-day festival features a performance from middle school, high school and college students, following clinics and educational opportunities with jazz experts.



• Plaza Art Fair – Founded in 1932 and now drawing crowds of more than 250,000 – and one of the nation’s largest juried art fairs – this event stretches over nine blocks and features hundreds of artists from around the country, along with live music, restaurant vendors and an interactive children’s art area. • Kansas City Irish Fest – A Labor Day tradition, this Celtic pride event features seven stages of live music, heritage workshops and displays,

• Celebration at the Station – A patriotic kick-off to summer, this outdoor Memorial Day event at Union Station features music from the Kansas City Symphony and an impressive fireworks display over Liberty Memorial the National World War I Museum. • Rockfest – Credited as the largest one-day music festival in North America, Rockfest features some of the nation’s biggest hard rock acts. 20

• KC Fringe Festival – This 11-day performing and visual arts extravaganza caters to both traditional and eclectic tastes with a mission to support artists, celebrate expression and engage the community.


• Bacon-Fest KC – Beer, music and lots and lots of bacon, all for a good cause. What’s not to love? • Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival (POP Fest) – Get a front-row showcase of some of the nation’s most creative bartenders at this annual celebration of the cocktail. The event features educational seminars, after-hour jazz parties and a spirited competition.


comedy, genealogy, a massive children’s area and plenty of Irish libations.


• American Royal World Series of Barbecue – It’s the best of the best – in the best city for barbecue! First held in 1980, the event pits barbecue teams from around the globe in the quest for the top prize. The barbecue portion caps off weeks of American Royal events, including livestock exhibitions, a professional rodeo, prestigious horse shows and the National Championship Saddlebred horse competition.


• College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic – Kick off college hoops at the Sprint Center with this early-season tournament featuring eight Division I teams from across the country. Of course, be sure to visit the College Basketball Experience next door before the games to get you ready for tip-off! • KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony – This Thanksgiving Day celebration officially kicks off the holiday season! An annual tradition since 1925, the lighting event transforms the Country Club Plaza with thousands of shimmering lights outlining every structure.

December • Downtown Dazzle – Head downtown to truly enjoy the holiday season, with free Holiday Trolleys, a life-size Snowglobe Photo Station, and more than 100 exhibits, shows, light displays and attractions. n




7:35 - 7:50 - Bike to work 11:00 - Brunch at the Topeka Civic Theatre 3:00 Volunteer at Kansas Children’s Discovery Center


Wednesday Thursday 7:35 - 7:50 - Bike to work

9:30 - Coffee downtown w/Kristen & 12:00 - Lunch Nick w/ Erin on the Capitol

4:30 - Meet Matt for drinks at 6:00 - Visit Celtic Fox brewery tasting at The Wheel Barrel in NOTO Arts

10:00 Attend brewery opening in NOTO Arts



7:35 - 7:50 - Bike to work 11:00 - Capital City Food Truck Festival 12:30 - Lunch with family w/ Josh at College Hill Pizza Pub

3:00 - Yoga 5:00 - Fast on the rooftop Forward Young downtown with 6:00 - First Professionals Molly Friday in NOTO Networking Arts District 7:00 - Topeka Social Train Robbers Baseball Game

How was your week? Find out how to make your week more awesome at




Kansas City has deep roots in the fashion world. From the early 1920s through the 1940s, businesses in the Garment District employed more than 4,000 people. The manufacturing of clothing was the second largest local industry, and 14 percent of women in the United States were purchasing styles made in Kansas City. The Kansas City Museum explores this golden era with a collection of more than 300 pieces of Kansas City-made apparel and accessories from the 1920s through the 1970s. The founder of Hallmark Cards, Joyce C. Hall, made fashion history in Kansas City in 1916 with the development of the Halls department store. A century later, the iconic Halls continues to provide Kansas Citians with a state-of-the-art shopping experience. The contemporary 60,000-sq.-ft. store is located downtown on the third floor of Crown Center. Besides luxury labels from around the world, Halls sells exclusive items from Kansas City-based designers, such as vintage sportswear line Charlie Hustle and modern jewelry brand Janesko. The Rightfully Sewn organization strives to reestablish Kansas City as an epicenter of garment design and manufacturing. To this end, they provide seamstress training for at-risk women and assist with job placement. They also help emerging fashion designers gain access to work space, staffing resources and cutting edge technology.


The West 18th Street Fashion Show has put a spotlight on Kansas City’s forward-thinking garment and accessories designers since 2001. The annual outdoor showcase turns the Crossroads Art District into a catwalk the second Saturday in June. Kansas City Fashion Week is the city’s largest multiday fashion show. Every year, boutiques, designers, photographers, models and stylists come together for an exciting lineup of runway shows and parties. Andrea Marie Long has shown her work at both events. She launched her ready-towear women’s garments business, Andrea Marie Long Designs, in 2016. The Kansas City native, who designed in Seoul, Korea, for three years, uses her extensive background in theater to create collections that tell unique stories. Whitney Manney is also an alum of Kansas City Fashion Week. The designer is a 2012 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute where she earned a bachelor of fine arts in fibers. Manney describes her garments and textile designs as wearable art. Her collections have been retailed at Halls and showcased in 10 local/regional shows, including solo exhibitions at The Box Gallery, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Gallery of Art, the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and Saint Louis Fashion Week. Jewerly designer Lily Dawson relocated to Kansas City in 2014 from her hometown of

Columbia, Missouri. Through her business, Lily Dawson Designs, she specializes in handcrafted bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and bridal accessories. Celebrities such as Sophia Bush and Michi Marshall have worn her baubles. Dawson sells her statement pieces on her website, and at boutiques, craft fairs, trunk shows and pop-up shops in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest. Kansas City’s fashion community collaborates at The Garment District boutique, located downtown in the Power & Light District. The retailer features trends for men and women from Kansas City-based brands, including clothing and lifestyle label Made Urban Apparel, premium shirt line Freelance Clothing and men’s clothier Paolini Garment Company. The store’s full-service bar allows customers to sip on wine, craft beer and sparking cocktails while they shop. The next generation of fashion design in Kansas City is on the horizon. One example is 17-yearold Wasilah “Wuz” Smith, the owner and creative director of streetwear label ASID Luxury. Smith’s grandmother taught him how to use a sewing machine. His bedroom serves as a workshop and showroom for his custom hats, T-shirts, hoodies, jeans and more. The teen entrepreneur has customers across the country, including rap stars who have worn his designs for TV appearances, music videos and red carpet events. n




Many local artists are making waves across the U.S. music industry and around the world. Katie Guillen and the Girls, Jessica Page and Julia Haile are just a few Kansas City artists that have brought the KC music scene into mainstream media. Janelle Monáe was born in Kansas City, Kansas, where she spent her early years before launching a career as a singer, songwriter and composer. Monáe’s music has garnered her six Grammy Award nominations, and she partnered with the band FUN on the song “We Are Young.” Katy Guillen & The Girls bring a vivacious brand of blues rock to listeners in KC and beyond, playing in both blues roadhouses and packed venues. Their debut self-titled album was released in 2014, and their new release ‘Heavy Days’ debuted in 2016 on VizzTone Label Group. Katy is a hometown girl, and picked up the guitar at age 8, playing in blues jams around KC at age 14. When she met bassist Claire Adams and drummer Stephanie Williams, there was an immediate chemistry. The group opened for the Doobie Brothers in San Diego, and participated in the Middle of the Map Festival (2015), Boulevardia (2016), play at the iconic Knuckleheads venue in KC’s East Bottoms and played at SXSW (2015). In addition to a cross country performance schedule,

they played on Joe Bonamassa’s 2015 Keeping the Blues Alive Sea Cruise, and in 2014 played a 10day tour of Sweden. University of Missouri-Kansas City Music Conservatory grad, Julia Haile, feels lucky to have been in the band The Good Foot, a Motown and Soul cover band that played all over KC. More recently she has been in The Buhs, a band that reflects hip-hop and R&B with jazz influences. It was the involvement with this project that allowed Julia to go to Paris in early 2016 and shoot a music video. She also recently wrote the lyrics for the song, “Can’t let Go,” with Kansas City’s notable trumpet player, Hermon Mehari. “What an experience. I’m ready to go back! I’ve been working in a new band called Hi-Lüx with Tim Braun on guitar, Nick Howell on keys, Kian Bryne on drums and Peter Liebert playing bass. We played a pop-up show at the [local live music venue] Record Bar a couple weeks ago and are excited to be hitting the scene during such a great musical wave here in KC. The music is a mix of genres. Rock, reggae and a little funk,” she noted. “I like staying out of one category because the possibilities for inspiration/creativity are endless. There is so much great talent in this town and I’m working with some of the best. ” Vocalist and committed wanderer, Jessica

Paige, grew up on a Kansas farm and at age 6, recalls singing into her plastic microphone and jumping on her bed and declaring herself a singer. As a teen, she put music to her melodies and lyrics she had been writing and began performing. She combines classic/rock/blues with the tone and style of Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder and modern artists, Norah Jones, Sara Barallis and Sam Smith. Her “Sweet Nothings” album exhibits her soulful, storytelling structure and sound. “I travel acoustically across the U.S. and tell stories through music given to me by other souls. With a full band in Kansas City, I am laying the groundwork for my next album,” she says. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear took the spotlight in 2015 on the CBS Morning Show, as well as the Late Show. The mother-and-son duo, Ruth and Madisen Ward, are the hottest thing out of Independence, Missouri, a place Madisen calls, “A beautiful city full of pride, support and an artistic integrity that keeps you on your toes.” The two recently finished their first European tour, and their first album, “Skeleton Crew.” Three brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri, make up the band, Radkey. The group’s debut fulllength album, “Dark Black Makeup,” debuted in August 2015, and the band recently played at SXSW, touring nationally and in the UK. n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017





No shortage of artistic talent here! In fact, many of Kansas City’s top artists are getting attention both at home and around the country. Hector Casanova is an assistant professor at Kansas City Art Institute and spent much of his career as a digital illustrator, including 15 years at The Kansas City Star. His work included editorial illustrations and a comic strip, Guffman & Godot. However, he missed the more tactile aspect of art and has recently begun creating murals. His largest to date is a 70-footer at The Grove Park, and he’s working on another with his students that will cover the exterior of an abandoned school. Born in Mexico, he’s called many cities home, but after 20 years here, he doesn’t plan on leaving. “Kansas City has a culture and a receptiveness to the arts I’ve never encountered anywhere else,” he said. “Kansas City shaped me, and being able to now give back and shape Kansas City is really rewarding for me.”


Making the leap out of the corporate world turned out to be a smart decision for sculptor Tom Corbin. Following gigs at a box factory and an ad agency, he knew he was meant for more. “After two years, I woke up one morning and decided I needed to make a change.” Inspired by his mother, an elementary school art teacher, his bronze sculptures can now be found in 22 galleries around the world, as well as in the homes of notable individuals such as Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman. His public installations can be found at the United Nations, the Kauffman Foundation and the Firefighters Fountain and Memorial, and his work has shown up in major motion pictures. His current work is more abstract and often features the elongated female form. Corbin credits Kansas City’s appreciation of the arts for much of his success. “I could not write a better script for how my career has flourished,” he said. “As a whole, I feel the city continues to provide considerable support for all the arts, which I have witnessed firsthand.”

Also an experienced furniture designer, which he calls “functional art,” Corbin most recently began painting. “A work in process has a mind of its own,” he said, “and can take you down a totally unexpected but more satisfying path.” Todd Aaron Smith is an experienced animator and illustrator based in Gardner, Kansas, and now illustrates famous superheroes and movie characters on licensed trading cards for Lucasfilm Ltd., DC Comics, Marvel, Columbia Pictures, CBS and others. Before that, he contributed animation and storyboard art to shows such as Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, Family Guy and more. “I feel like my mind goes into another world as I’m illustrating,” he said. “It’s a world I can create as I go, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to how I want to convey an idea. I like to think that much of the work I do is storytelling and the challenge is to tell it in a way that it hasn’t been told before.” n

WHERE IMAGINATION TURNS INTO REALITY At UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering, students are challenged to meld innovative thinking with technical principles. With our unique location in the heart of Kansas City — an emerging STEM hub — students have opportunities to land great internships with tech and engineering companies. Graduates leave SCE fully prepared for 21st-century careers, ready to change the world.




Youth Sports


Kansas City’s diverse array of youth sports caters to almost any interest. From baseball and basketball to martial arts and cheerleading, young athletes are building confidence, developing leadership skills and making new friends in fun, safe and supportive environments. Ten community centers and more than 200 parks make up the Kansas City Parks and Recreation system. Throughout the metro area, kids have access to a variety of sports activities such as dance, hockey, golf, swimming, boxing and ice skating. Private and semi-private surf lessons at The Bay Water Park give children a chance to ride the waves without leaving the city limits. A series of evening sports programs called Mayor’s Nights provides leagues for ages 10 to 17 in basketball, soccer and girls volleyball. Besides athletic competition, the program’s youth enrichment component focuses on health and wellness, mentoring, financial literary and professional development. Kansas City has three professional soccer teams, so it is no surprise that the sport is popular among the city’s youth. The world-class Swope Soccer Village is home to three youth soccer organizations, including the Sporting KC Academy, Brookside Soccer Club and Heartland Soccer Association. It also hosts professional teams and championshiplevel events. The over $20 million venue has six synthetic turf fields and three natural grass fields. Several U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships have been played at Scheels Overland Park Soccer


Complex in Overland Park, Kansas. The twelve regulation-size fields are lighted and have a cooling system to control the temperature of the synthetic turf. Other amenities include a permanent first aid office, three restaurants, electronic video boards for game results and information, multiple playgrounds and more. The KC Legends indoor soccer facility in Merriam, Kansas, has large synthetic turf fields and a mirrored techinical training area. Their unique box soccer courts allow two players to compete against each other and develop first time finishing skills in a realistic and repetitive environment. The Northland Sports Alliance provides programs for boys and girls ages 4 to 17. They have both recreational and competitive offerings in soccer, basketball, softball, baseball and football. The coaches at the alliance are parent volunteers. They strive to help young people develop athletic abilities along with strong characters. Beyond playing, youth have the opportunity to assist with coaching and officiating. Low enrollment fees and non-competitive teams for children of all ability levels are hallmarks of the organization’s philosophy. The KC Sports Lodge is a premier 70,000-sq.-ft. indoor sports facility. Youth athletes can take part in soccer, basketball, volleyball and flag football. Toddlers and pre-K children get an introduction to soccer through the DinoMites program. On weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the turf fields

and basketball courts are available for open play. The Legends Basketball program brings yearround, competitive AAU basketball tournaments and leagues to youth in Kansas City’s metro, suburban and rural areas. Team try-outs are open to boys and girls in grades three through 12. Players receive training and continued monitoring to advance their individual skills. College and university recruiting scouts use Legends as a platform to observe young athletes for future scholarships. The Kansas City Chiefs NFL team host a non-competitive cheerleading program for young girls. Participants cheer and dance with the Chiefs Cheerleaders at monthly clinics, and receive one-on-one mentoring in leadership and public speaking. They also perform with the Chiefs Cheerleaders during a halftime show at Arrowhead Stadium. The Angel Chiefs Cheerleaders is for ages 3 to 5. The Junior Chiefs is for ages 6 to 12 and the Teen Junior Chiefs is for ages 13 to 17. Honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and confidence are at the heart of The First Tee of Greater Kansas City. This youth development program uses the game of golf to promote character and provide educational opportunities. Junior golfers ages 7 to 17 can enroll in the spring, summer and fall sessions at six locations across the metro area. n

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Transportation It’s really OK – leave your car in the garage if you want. Kansas City offers a myriad of transportation options to get you around the city safely and quickly. The most recently added option is actually a new version on a Kansas City classic. After more than 60 years, streetcars are back in downtown. Connecting several downtown neighborhoods, the RideKC Streetcar runs from the River Market on the north end of the line to Crown Center and Union Station on the south end, with 16 stops along the way. Best of all, it’s free to ride! Plus, Kansas City is now one of Cisco’s “Smart Cities,” which means the streetcar line is located within a downtown intelligent network that features public Wi-Fi and interactive community kiosks at each stop along the route.



Kansas City’s public transit service also includes The Metro bus service, the Metro Area Express (MAX) Bus Rapid Transit service, MetroFlex demand-response routes, Share-A-Fare paratransit service for the elderly and the disabled, and AdVANtage vanpool service. Find schedules, maps, fares and more at If you prefer the more hands-on approach, Kansas City’s B-cycle system offers bike sharing 24 hours a day, with 27 stations throughout downtown, Westport, the Country Club Plaza, the 18th & Vine Jazz District, and along the Trolley Track Trail. Offered by the nonprofit BikeWalkKC, bike rates start at $3 per half hour and annual memberships are available. BikeWalkKC is also committed to working with cities to build sidewalks, trails, crosswalks

and bike lanes, as well as provide education about bicycle safety and better access to bikes throughout Kansas City. Finally, when you need faster transportation, turn to one of several taxi services in town, or summon an Uber with your smartphone. Uber drivers are now available for pickups at Kansas City International Airport and for trips all around the metro area. And for those times when you simply need your own ride, never fear: According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Kansas City has the fifth shortest commute time when compared to the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. All of that makes for one sweet ride. n

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10th Edition 2015










If people are the most valuable company resource, it’s no surprise employers are encouraging healthy lifestyles among employees. Kansas City companies are no exception, and many of the region’s top businesses have rolled out extensive wellness offerings designed for health and happiness.


KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Burns & McDonnell is a Kansas City engineering, architecture and construction firm with an approach to wellness that’s really about convenience – providing healthy offerings on-site so employees can easily incorporate them into their day. The company offers services such as dermatology screenings, a fitness center, fresh produce delivery, massages and biometric screenings, and employees can also take advantage of an on-site pharmacy and health center, which has helped reduce absences and boost productivity. Participation in the company’s wellness incentive program also earns employees discounts off insurance premiums. The company is a presenting sponsor of Kansas City Corporate Challenge, an Olympicstyle event allowing area companies to compete through sporting events. Lauren Dunn, benefits administrator, said the yearly event has helped drive healthy behavior. “A little friendly competition goes a long way!” she said. “We communicate our standings, recognize our participants, and offer words of encouragement. This is a great reminder of how Continued


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participating in health- and wellness-inspired events can be rewarding and fun.” With more than 300 employees, the Kansas City office of KPMG is one of the oldest and largest accounting firms in the area. The company encourages wellness by focusing on stress reduction and giving back. At a recent Yoga in the Park event, attendees were able to enjoy a relaxing environment and unwind at the end of the work week. Philanthropy is also a major focus, and each employee is given 12 hours of paid annual volunteer time. KPMG created the nationwide KPMG Family for Literacy program, which provides new books – nearly two million in total – to children from low-income families. The


Kansas City office has been involved since 2012 and distributes around 600 books to families in the area and hosts literacy events as well. Kyri Gorges, KPMG college relations manager, said the company’s philanthropy improves morale by allowing employees to make a positive impact in the community and interact with other staff members. “Community service projects are important to KPMG because they build bridges and connect employees, not only with our community, but with each other,” she said. “They also offer our employees a ‘mental refresh,’ allowing them to renew their energy and restore a positive attitude.” Yoga is a valuable wellness tool at Sedgwick LLP, an international litigation and business law firm in


Kansas City. The weekly classes are just one part of the overall Healthy Practice program, which also includes healthy challenges, coaching and online learning. Participation can lead to prizes and even reduced insurance premiums. “It’s an exciting and engaging way for employees to be aware and directly involved in their own health and well-being – and be rewarded for it,” said Caran Smith, director of communications. With an emphasis on improving the health of communities right in its mission statement, it’s no surprise Cerner offers a full range of wellness options to employees. The world’s largest publicly traded health information technology company, headquartered in North Kansas City, Missouri, Continued

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



created its own internal health economy called Healthe. Employees can visit a primary-care physician, chiropractor, behavioral therapist, dietitian, fitness specialist and health coach – all on-site. The various campuses located in the area also feature pharmacies, full-service fitness centers, cafés with healthy options, weight loss programs, a maternity navigation program and a monthly farmer’s market during the local growing season. “Wellness is a significant component of Cerner’s culture,” said Arielle Bogorad, senior director of benefits and wellness. “We believe there’s too much emphasis on reactive sick care, and not enough on proactive health.” At McCownGordon Construction, healthy competition can be a big motivator. The Kansas City company not only offers a healthy market, biometric screenings, Garmin activity trackers and an on-site fitness center with a steam room and sauna, but it


participates in Kansas City Corporate Challenge and hosts regular fitness challenges among employees. One recent competition included a walking challenge where employees teamed up to compete for big prizes. “There’s a special bond that forms when competing as a team for a flag football championship or a track meet,” said Nancy Whitworth, vice president, human resources. “That team spirit carries over into the workplace.” Whitworth said that programs like Vitality, the company’s interactive wellness program, not only reward employees with material prizes but also the pride in achieving a personal goal. Plus, insurance premiums stayed flat at the company in 2016, and she believes wellness played a role in that. “Wellness is smart business,” she said, “but our main concern is for the wellbeing of our associates and their families. We’re a family, and we care about each other.” n










Kansas City home. Here are profiles of five of these extraordinary vets that describe why they believe Kansas City is a veteran-friendly community.




Jess and Aroyn Borries decided Kansas City is the “best place to plant their roots.” Both veterans, the couple is expecting their first baby in December. “We are impressed with all of the great schools here and charming homes,” said Jess. “It was hard to decide where to live because there are so many options like lofts and One Light Luxury Apartments downtown. We chose to live in Overland Park so we could have a large yard for our two Dalmatians, Echo and Apollo. We also put in a great vegetable garden.” The couple met playing tennis, a sport Jess has played since she was three years old. Both are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. They were stationed at the same military base in Iraq where Jess served as an intelligence officer. “I analyzed enemy activity to keep our soldiers safe,” she said. Aroyn was an infantry officer and was often on the front lines. “We were lucky to be on the same base,” said Jess. Today, the couple works at Burns & McDonnell where Jess is a mechanical engineer in the Water Group and Aroyn is an electrical engineer in the Global Facilities Group. “For us, finding a place that met our professional goals and active lifestyle was key,” said Aroyn. “Kansas City offered exactly what we were looking for – a hometown feel you won’t find elsewhere. Jess and I came to Kansas City because


of Burns & McDonnell and quickly discovered a city with so much more to offer.” They gave back to their country while serving five years in the military, now they are giving back to their community. Jess serves on the Burns & McDonnell Corporate Citizenship Committee, which interacts with the Burns & McDonnell Foundation to select charities to support each year. She is also involved with Community LINC, a local organization that works to end homelessness in Kansas City. Together, they participate in Kansas City’s Corporate Challenge. “We dominate in the mixed doubles tennis competition,” said Jess. They also participate in the half-marathon, track and swimming events. “This summer-long event is an amazing, unique event for Kansas City. It is tons of fun!” she said. In their rare free time, this busy couple enjoys going to the City Market and First Friday’s; antiquing in the West Bottoms; and walking their dogs on one of the many area parkways. Clay Daniels, vice president of Midwest Services and Solutions at US Engineering, could have lived anywhere, but chose to return to his hometown of Kansas City. “I like the fact that I am raising my three children in the same city where I grew up,” said Continued


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Clay. “There are great school districts here and having professional sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals are a bonus.” Clay noted that “Kansas City is a relationshipdriven town. Even though I was gone for 15 years serving in the military, the relationships I have were instrumental in helping me find a job.” After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2000, he served 10 years in the Army and five years in Special Forces as a Green Beret with the 10th Special Forces Group. He had three combat deployments to Iraq, two while serving in Special Forces. Clay noted that there are many Kansas City companies willing to hire veterans. “Veterans may not have the specific technical skills a company is looking for, but fortunately many Kansas City companies are willing to invest in developing technical skills because veterans already have valuable intangibles, like loyalty, leadership, and integrity that they developed while in the military,” he said. When Clay is not coaching basketball, soccer and flag football for his children’s teams, he teaches a class for the Mechanical Contractors Association of Kansas City and tries to stay involved with the Chapter 29 Special Forces Association. Although rare with three children, he and his wife, Mallory, also enjoy date nights on the Country Club Plaza and special-occasion dinners at the Capital Grille. Melanie Nelson, RN, MSN says she was a “military brat” growing up in Florida where her father served in the Coast Guard. After graduating


from the University of Florida with a degree in nursing, Melanie decided she wanted to see the world, so she joined the United States Air Force and ultimately became an accomplished lieutenant colonel and chief flight nurse. Before retiring from the United States Air Force Reserve, Melanie earned four meritorious service medals as a deployed leader for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Hurricane Gustav. An opportunity to work for Cerner brought Melanie to Kansas City in 2005. She currently serves as a Cerner vice president in the consulting organization where she focuses on organizational change management strategy to help associate and client leaders drive transformative change. “There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Kansas City and all are unique,” said Melanie. “It was not easy deciding where to live until I saw a sign for Liberty. Being in the military, I took that as a good omen. I’ve lived in Liberty ever since.” Melanie has enjoyed observing the rebirth of Kansas City’s downtown and community spirit. “It is incredible to watch,” she said. “There is a lot of civic pride in Kansas City. Whether it is the barbeque, the World War I Museum, Union Station, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Sprint Center, the Country Club Plaza, or the professional sports teams, Kansas Citians are proud of the city’s many wonderful amenities. It also is a great ‘foodie’ town. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy,” noted Melanie. Perry Puccetti credits family and an exciting

job opportunity with Sprint with bringing him to Kansas City in 1999. A Massachusetts native, Perry traveled the world during his service with the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as a Lieutenant Colonel, an Attack Helicopter Pilot and a Weapons and Tactics Instructor. Perry is now vice president, client engagement for Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Inc. “I am not a native of Kansas City, so I lend an outsider perspective,” he said. “It has been my experience living here that Kansas City represents a unique combination of Midwest values and innovation. The area is a blend of great, friendly people and a city that is going places,” he said. “There are many upsides to living and working in Kansas City, particularly the strong professional relationships that can be made. It also is a wonderful place to raise a family.” Perry pointed out that Kansas City has a large veteran population, offering employers a great hiring pool of people who have the values and work ethic most companies seek. “There are a number of military resources near Kansas City, such as Fort Leavenworth and Whiteman Airforce Base, making this area a draw for veterans. As a result, there is a lot of talent here. It would be nice to see Kansas City become the most veteran friendly city in the country,” he said. He serves on several boards, including The Bunker KC and Veterans Voices. He also enjoys kayaking at Shawnee Mission Park Lake. “I’ve had opportunities to work in many other cities,” said Perry. “But, Kansas City is home.” n

NEW AND INNOVATIVE IDEAS That is what fuels our organization to bring your vision into focus. Just as we relentlessly pursue success for our clients, CRB is committed to helping our employees successfully achieve their vision. If you are in search of a career opportunity in which you will be challenged to grow, provided the resources to succeed, and surrounded by colleagues who have an unmatched passion for their work, CRB is the right place for you! For more information, please visit CRB is an equal opportunity employer.

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Black & Veatch

Rachel Attebery & Adriana Porter ARE BUILDING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE



Rachel Attebery, 26, and Adriana Porter, 27, were fresh out of college when they made the move to Kansas City. The women, who are both engineers, relocated for jobs at Black & Veatch. The global leader in engineering, procurement and construction has its world headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. Attebery hails from St. Charles, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a minor in business at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. During college, she worked 10 miles northwest of Kansas City at Heartland Camp in

Parkville, Missouri. Porter was just as confident in her decision to come to Kansas City. She had done a summer internship at Black &Veatch while in college. “The internship program at Black & Veatch was a wonderful introduction to the company and to Kansas City,” said Porter. “Besides getting hands-on work experience, I had a great opportunity to network with fellow interns and employees through social events. These included a concert at Sprint Center, a Royals game and a visit to Kauffman Memorial Gardens.” Overland Park is home for Attebery, her husband

B L A C K & V E AT C H

Aaron and their cat. The couple spends much of their free time exploring Kansas City’s culinary scene. Stone Pillar Vineyard & Winery in Olathe, Kansas, and Jowler Creek Winery in Platte City, Missouri, have become two of their favorite hangout spots. They are also fond of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant at The Country Club Plaza and Beer Kitchen in Westport. For entertainment, the Atteberys watch Broadway-style musicals at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee, Kansas. It is the largest outdoor community theatre in the country. They also frequent the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. “I love Kansas City,” Attebery said. “It has the best parts of city life with access to the country just outside of the city limits. You don’t have to drive more than five minutes for shopping, dining or entertainment. It is very affordable compared to cities on the coasts.” Before coming to Kansas City, Porter lived in small towns. Her hometown of Howe, Indiana, has 691 residents. She graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. That city has a population of 71,111. Now, Porter lives in the lively Union Hill neighborhood with her husband Joshua. The pair are avid runners and have participated in the Kansas City Marathon. They love to run throughout Kansas City, at places

such as Loose Park and the Liberty Memorial. For eats, the Porters dine at Coal Vines, a pizza and wine bar at The Country Club Plaza. They also like Beer Kitchen and Port Fonda in Westport. “Kansas City is the biggest place that I’ve ever lived, but it has never seemed overwhelming,” said Porter. “You can get to know people, and you see them when you are out and about. We are enjoying the experience of living downtown.” Community involvement has helped Attebery and Porter build both their professional and personal lives in Kansas City. Both are members of the Kansas City section of the Society of Women Engineers. Attebery volunteers for the organization’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED). Porter is the group’s section president. “My advice to anyone moving to Kansas City would be to find a group to get involved with,” said Porter. “The professional organizations here are very active. There are groups that are targeted to young professionals, and to different hobbies and interests. It is a great way to meet people that share your passions.” Passion is a trait that Attebery and Porter bring to their positions at Black & Veatch. Attebery is a business technology analyst. She has earned her Business Excellence Green Belt certification through Black & Veatch’s Six Sigma program. For the past two years, Attebery has organized the company’s annual Hackathon competition.

The day-and-a-half event brings together teams of college engineering students and Black & Veatch professionals and interns. They collaborate to solve problems or improve existing solutions on a given topic. Each team presents their plans to a panel of Black & Veatch executives and Business Excellence (Six Sigma) Black Belts. The judges award prizes for first, second and third place. “The Hackathon promotes strategic thinking, diverse skill sets and broad perspectives,” said Attebery. “Black & Veatch has been around for 100 years, and now we are thinking about the next 100 years. We are focused on innovation and reinvention. New ideas are recognized and encouraged.” Porter is a civil engineer in the Black & Veatch power delivery group. She helped develop the firm’s women’s employee resource group to promote diversity, inclusion and retention of female employees. She also spearheaded the return of the company’s Cultural Festival. The event features booths, presentations and activities that showcase the varied cultures of Black & Veatch’s international team of professionals. “There are great people here,” said Porter. “I’ve met mentors who I attribute to helping me get to where I am in my career. The managers at Black & Veatch place importance on the advancement of our technical skills and soft skills. Career and personal development is valued here.” In September 2014, Black & Veatch completed a $60 million renovation and expansion project at its Overland Park office. The open-officestyle design features collaboration spaces and nontraditional work places. With a long record of awards and distinctions, Black & Veatch holds the number one spot on the Kansas City Business Journal’s “Top Engineering Firms” list, and the employee-owned firm has more than 12,000 professionals working out of more than 100 offices worldwide. “The environment at Black & Veatch is professional, yet warm,” said Attebery. “It has been easy for me to form close relationships with my co-workers. We support each other through the busy and stressful times. I am really grateful for the people I work with.” n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Next Stop:

Kansas City


We’ve been told it’s not the destination that’s important, but the journey. For Erik Hansen, it’s actually a little of both. Now a proud Kansas City resident and vice president at Kansas City Southern, his route to the region included several stops along the way.


Born and raised in Denmark, he spent nearly 20 years in various locales around the globe, including Japan, Latin America and Mexico, in service of his previous employer, Maersk, a global transportation conglomerate. But as his son and daughter reached their teen years while the family was living in Mexico City, Hansen hoped for a transfer back to Europe. When that wasn’t available, he decided it was time for something new. He reached out to Kansas City Southern, which hired him in August 2014 as the vice president of its intermodal division. With several intercontinental moves under his belt, he acclimated to Kansas City quickly.

“I think it has to do with openness more than anything,” he said. “It’s the attitude you come in with. If you come in expecting to find the same country you’re used to, then you will fail.” After so many moves, he said, the trick is to always refer to the new location as “home,” which helps keep his family in the right mindset. “Living outside of your own culture is a 24/7 challenge,” he said. “You’re never completely in your comfort zone. And I enjoy that. Experiencing other cultures, trying to learn what makes them tick is what drives me, and it’s been a trademark for the family as well.” Continued

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While his family continues to settle in, Hansen heads up KCS’ intermodal division, which includes transportation of anything that can fit in a shipping container. The job regularly takes him throughout the U.S. and Mexico as he works with customers all along the network. He and his team also manage the intermodal terminals, where containers are removed from trains and loaded onto trucks, or vice versa. Generally speaking, intermodal transportation is growing, as the cost to ship by train is cheaper than shipping by truck over longer distances. And at Kansas City Southern, it’s a major focus. In fact, the catchphrase around the office is, “Anything can move in a container,” and pretty much anything does – everything from the raw materials to make a carburetor to a completed and polished washing machine, and really anything in between. Of course, Kansas City has always been an important transportation hub, and rail continues to impact the local economy today. “That whole role as a railroad hub is something I think is important for the community in terms of economic health,” Hansen said. “And I think


that’s shown in the success the region has had in attracting businesses in the last 10 to 15 years.” Hansen also sits on the board of KC SmartPort, a local nonprofit working to attract freight-based companies to town. “The whole transportation infrastructure is critical to companies’ decisions in terms of where to put their next facility,” he said. “We’re basically in the geographic center of the country, so we can connect in any direction and reach any market in the U.S. in two days. It’s a good strategic location, and I think Kansas City is benefiting from it.” The benefits are also extending to the Hansen family, who are enjoying their new hometown. When he’s not in the office or on the road for work, Hansen and his wife enjoy dining out, Louie’s Wine Dive and Bristol Seafood Grill are two favorites, as well as playing tennis and cheering on the Royals. For these international travelers, Kansas City is already feeling very much like home. “Kansas City is a very attractive place to be,” he said. “It’s very vibrant, very worldly. It’s a part of the country that has a lot of character in terms of its culture and its work ethic. It has everything!” n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Winning at

Work-Life Balance By PORCSHE N. MORAN

Kelly and Anthony Hancox set down roots in Kansas City almost two decades ago. Anthony, 39, grew up in the Kansas City metropolitan area in Independence, Missouri. He attended college at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in Springfield. Kelly, 38, grew up 108 miles southwest of Kansas City in Emporia, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan. The pair met the summer before their senior years of college. They were interns at Sprint’s corporate headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. After graduation, they both landed jobs at the telecommunications company. “Kansas City is very attractive for young professionals,” said Kelly. “For us, the chance to be near our family and friends while working with groundbreaking technology at a top company was exciting.” After four years at Sprint, Anthony took a position with another Kansas City-based corporation: Garmin. The company is a worldwide provider of navigation products in the wearable technology, automotive, aviation, marine and outdoor recreation markets. Anthony is Garmin’s director of global finance. In 2008, Kelly followed in her husband’s footsteps. She now serves as the


director of business development and strategic partnerships at Garmin. “Garmin’s position as a global company has given us some amazing opportunities,” said Anthony. “We have traveled all over Europe. We take conference calls at 9 p.m. with business partners in Taiwan. These experiences have been life-changing and eye-opening.” Even with their international adventures, the Hancoxes are still excited about life in Kansas City. The couple, and their 4-year-old twin daughters, Gabby and Alexa, live in Leawood, Kansas. The suburb is often ranked as one of Kansas City’s best. It is known for its excellent schools, sprawling parks and well-maintained neighborhoods. “It is a wonderful community in such a convenient location,” said Kelly. “We can get on the highway and be at The Plaza or downtown in 20 minutes.” Anthony and Kelly love The Country Club Plaza, a 15-block retail, dining and entertainment district. Their favorite Plaza restaurant is an upscale steakhouse called Capital Grille. They also enjoy the progressive American cuisine at Bluestem in the Westport neighborhood. For family time, Kelly and Anthony take Gabby and


Alexa to the Kansas City Zoo, Union Station and Worlds of Fun. They also watch Royals baseball games at Kauffman Stadium. The girls take lessons at Priscilla and Dana’s School of Dance in north Kansas City. They are also members of the Junior Chiefs Cheerleaders, a youth program sponsored by the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders. “We want our kids to be exposed to life beyond the suburbs and to have the chance to meet different people,” said Kelly. “We like to take advantage of all the great things that Kansas City has to offer.” In their free time, the Hancoxes have pastimes to keep them busy. Kelly likes to work out and take runs around Leawood. Anthony plays golf and goes road cycling. “Mission Road is near our house, and it is great for road cycling,” said Anthony. “I go from 85th street all the way to 220th street. The route is scenic and hilly with a lot of twists and turns.” The couple said their most meaningful hobbies are those that get them involved in the community. Kelly is a member of the Junior League of Kansas City, a organization of women committed to community improvement through volunteerism. She also mentors entrepreneurs and startups at Digital

Sandbox and the Sprint Accelerator. Anthony is on the Kansas City Global Cities Initiative committee, an economic development project started by The Brookings Institute and JP Morgan Chase. Its mission is to help U.S. metropolitan areas have better engagement in world markets. Anthony is also on the board of Heartland Community Church. Together, the Hancoxes volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. “Kansas City is such a giving and caring community,” said Kelly. “There are so many nonprofits that support nearly every charitable cause.” Kelly and Anthony spend their working hours with about 3,000 other employees at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe, Kansas. The 1.3 millionsquare-foot campus has an on-site cafeteria, a Starbucks, walking trails and a fitness center. In 2016, Symplicity named Garmin one of the top 25 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads. Kelly said working on product development with well-known brands such as Nike, Spotify and My Fitness Pal has been a highlight of her time at Garmin. “I absolutely love my job,” she said. “It is fun and rewarding. Garmin has such talented engineers and

associates who are creating innovative products in a highly competitive consumer electronic space. I get to work with these talented colleagues, and amazing partners and brands every day. Innovation is at the core of our company culture. We live and breathe the products that we create. Everyone is passionate about what they do.” Kelly is also proud of her part in establishing Garmin’s Women’s Business Forum in 2015. “Garmin really puts an emphasis on diversity,” she said. “The company empowered us to start a women’s forum to give female associates more opportunities for mentoring and networking.” As an active young family with fulfilling careers and a commitment to community service, the Hancoxes are pleased with their choice to live, work and play in Kansas City. “I always pictured myself coming back to Kansas City after college,” said Anthony. “I love that it is a big metro area that offers a wide range of lifestyles. Each neighborhood has its own personality. There is something for everyone whether you are single or starting a family. There are a lot of fantastic employers here that have fun and inspiring work environments.” n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Litigator Pursues

Justice and Progress IN CITY SHE TREASURES


As a partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, employment litigator Kristen Page gives back to her community in many ways.

A leader in civic and professional settings, she is driven to make progress, both at work and at home, and she enjoys being a part of the progress happening in our city. She was born and raised in Kansas City, and it holds a special place in her heart for many reasons. “I chose to stay in Kansas City,” Page said. She graduated magna cum laude from Truman State University in 1997, earned her J.D. from UMKC School of Law in 2001, with honors, and earned an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management last year. “Kansas City is the right speed for me. There is an energy in the city, and my husband and I are really into Royals baseball and going to the K [Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals MLB team]. My boys are very much into baseball as well, and there is no better place to be for baseball right now,” she expressed. “Over the past couple of years, it’s been amazing.” Before joining Shook in 2003, Page served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Scott O. Wright of the


U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri. Page’s experience working in the federal judiciary provides her with a meaningful perspective on litigating employment matters, addressing complex discovery issues and trying cases. She and her husband, Kevin, and their two young sons, Ben and Will, live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The boys attend Longview Farm Elementary, and Kevin is a teacher and head football coach at Raytown High School. Many of their extended family members also live in Kansas City. “On weekends I like to spend time with my family and fit in time for a little shopping. There are many good places to shop in the KC area, including the Plaza, Westport, Crossroads and South KC. I also like to spend time with my little sister, Lindsey, who has Down’s Syndrome. She lives in an Independent Specialized Living (ISL) duplex with a roommate and has round-the-clock staff. I spend a lot of time at her new place, helping her learn to become more independent and enjoy life in a new way, and in a new setting,” said Page.

She is passionate about those with special needs and is on the board of the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center (CTLC). She loves the agency’s mission of providing therapeutic services to children with special needs at an early age. The CTLC also has a special focus on services for children with autism, which is important to Page, as her older son Ben is autistic. “There are many great agencies in Kansas City that provide important services to children and adults with special needs. I have a soft space in my heart for them, and feel this is an area where there is a lot more to be done,” she added., “We need to continue building and supporting the network of providers for those with special needs because there is an increasing demand, more so than in the past. KC is a very giving community. That generosity makes us better as a whole.” How does she spend her busy day? She shares this story: “We came down to Crown Center over Memorial Day weekend for the annual Celebration at the Station. We went up to my office afterwards, and the boys asked, ‘What do you do at work, Mom? Do you sit in your office and look out the window, talk on the phone, and type on your computer all day?’ As an employment litigator and trial lawyer, I spend a lot of time working through litigation steps, preparing motions and briefs, working with other counsel, talking with clients and making court appearances. I also serve in leadership roles for my firm, including as Vice Chair of our Associates Committee and as Flex Policy Advisor. So, basically, I think my boys’ assessment of what I do was mostly right!” While Page contributes to many organizations in Kansas City, the one she deems most important doesn’t come with a title, office or job description. She added, “My biggest leadership role is for my family. I’m the oldest of four children. I enjoy doing what I can to make sure that we take care of each other and stay connected.” n



Great Place TO START AND


Living in Kansas City wasn’t always the plan for Lexi Swope. The 28-year-old Atlanta native thought she would move back to her hometown or relocate to Dallas after graduating from Kansas State University. But, when Renaissance Financial offered her a job in early 2013 everything changed.

Grow a Career

“I have family and friends who are from Kansas City,” she said. “I spent a lot of time here during college. I realized how much I enjoyed Kansas City. I could see myself having a life here and eventually raising a family here. I had a gut feeling that this is where I wanted to be for both the city and the position at Renaissance.” Swope and her husband Chris live in the Brookside area of Kansas City. The pair appreciates the mix of young professionals and retired people in the established neighborhood. “Brookside is a great place for young people and young families,” said Swope. “Everyone looks out for each other. The housing market is great. It’s close to downtown and The Plaza. We can walk to restaurants. We like the lifestyle here.” Checking out Kansas City’s diverse selection of restaurants, bars and live music venues is a favorite pastime for Swope and her husband. “We like to go out to eat and get drinks with friends,” said Swope. “There are always new restaurants to try and inexpensive concerts that are fun to go to.” The city’s cultural scene is also of interest to Swope. The creative energy, and eclectic mix of galleries, studios and locally-owned storefronts, draws her to the Crossroads Arts District. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is another one of her favorite spots. “The arts community here is fantastic,” she said. “The Nelson-Atkins is one of the best museums that I’ve ever been to.” When it comes to shopping, two of Lexi’s preferred places are just outside the city in Leawood, Kansas. She likes the open-air retail experience at Town Center Plaza & Town Center Crossing. She also likes to browse the specialty shops and boutiques at Park Place. Swope also spends her time giving back to the community. She volunteers with a group called Giving the Basics. The 501(c)(3) charitable organization provides Kansas and Missouri families with necessities that aren’t covered by government assistance programs, such as cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. “I like getting my hands dirty and seeing how I can help to make things better for other people,” said Swope. Swope’s passion for helping people transfers to her job at Renaissance. As a financial advisor, she creates comprehensive strategies for individuals, families and businesses to help them achieve their financial goals. Swope is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, a global, independent

association of more than 43,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals. In 2013, Securian Financial Services recognized Swope as a member of their Achievers Club for her individual talent and dedication to her clients and business. Securian also named Swope as a winner of their 2015 “Excellence in Performance” award. She credits much of her success to the resources, support and collaborative atmosphere at Renaissance. “We have a great culture at Renaissance,” said Swope. “My co-workers and I have great friendships among us. We are each building our own client bases, but we do 90 percent of our work in teams. I’ve had the opportunity to work with brilliant people with a lot of experience in the field. I see myself having a long career here.” Renaissance Financial’s local office is in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The firm made the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of the “Best Places to Work in Kansas City,” and describes its environment as “fast-paced, energetic and enthusiastic.” Investing in employees is a top priority for Renaissance. Their associates receive an extensive training and development program, mentoring from managers and access to cutting-edge technology. Renaissance employees enjoy a 401(k) match, a wellness program, wardrobe allowance for professional clothing and family-friendly events throughout the year to help build the culture. One of Renaissance’s more uncommon perks is its biannual, all-expenses paid company vacations. During her time with the firm, Swope and her husband have traveled with her co-workers to Paris and the Amalfi Coast. “Our company is big on people being wellrounded and having life experiences,” she said. “It is really fun for us all to get to celebrate our firm doing well by taking these trips together. It is incredible. Renaissance takes great care of us.” Swope said she is grateful that her career path led her to Kansas City. She said the guidance that she has obtained at Renaissance, and from mentors in the community, have gotten her to where she is today. “Kansas City is a great place to start and grow your career,” she said. “One of the things I love about Kansas City is that the business community is very engaged in developing young professionals as future leaders. People have taken me under their wings. If you embrace the resources here there is tremendous opportunity.” n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017






George Abraham, M.D., a native of India who lived many years in Qatar, likes the multi-cultural and family feel of Kansas City. He also likes the fact that you can live in a suburban neighborhood and be close to city life. “I’ve lived in many different cities all over the world that have many different cultures,” said Dr. Abraham. “I’ve lived in the inner city, rural areas and everything in between.” Chicago, Bloomington, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., are among the cities he’s called home throughout his career. “For me and my family, Kansas City offers the best of all worlds. We live in Shawnee [Kansas] where there are beautiful rolling hills, yet we are very close to the city,” he added. “I enjoy living in an area with a

nice, big yard. I like the large space,” he said. “When I am home, it is amazing to think that I am just a few minutes from downtown Kansas City and all of its exciting amenities.” Children’s Mercy Hospital was one reason why Dr. Abraham decided to move to Kansas City. A pediatric emergency medicine physician, he was drawn to Children’s Mercy Hospital’s medical simulation program, which in his opinion, is “far advanced” in comparison to any other program. Dr. Abraham explained that medical simulation recreates real-life medical conditions and real-time physiological responses on mannequins that are used for training purposes.

C H I L D R E N ’ S M E R C Y H O S P I TA L

“I’ve recently written an article on medical simulation and have spoken on this topic at a national conference,” he said. “I enjoy teaching medical residents and fellows using medical simulation, so when I heard of Children’s Mercy’s program, I knew I wanted to work here.” “I like working in trauma centers where we have a high acuity and I can help really sick and injured children,” said Dr. Abraham. “You can only get this experience in a large city like Kansas City.” He attended the International Center for Health Sciences in India where he earned a degree in pre-medical sciences; the University of West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago where he earned his medical degree, and he participated in the post-graduate foundation medical program in the United Kingdom. He moved to the United States in 2009 to attend the pediatric residency program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Upon completing his residency, he served as a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Washington

University in St. Louis prior to moving to Kansas City in 2015. Dr. Abraham and his wife, Pinky, like the fact that their three-year-old daughter, Zara, is exposed to Indian culture in the heart of the Midwest. The couple is expecting a baby boy in November. “It is important to us that our children learn about their heritage, the language and traditions. We are fortunate that there is a large Indian population and Indian venues in the Kansas City area for us to enjoy,” he said. “Many Indian natives living in Kansas City have backgrounds in information technology and in the medical field like me,” he said. The Abrahams and some 400 other families from Kerala in India enjoy attending the annual Onam Festival – a harvest celebration – at Blue Valley High School where they partake in traditional food and music. A few of his favorite restaurants are the Chili N Spice Indian Bistro and Ruchi Indian Cuisine Restaurant, both in Overland Park; Korma Sutra Cusine of India with locations in Overland Park and Liberty, and Blue Nile Café in City Market. “I am a huge movie buff,” said Dr. Abraham. “So, I was particularly pleased to see that several independent and regular movie theaters in Kansas City show movies from India that are spoken in Hindi and Malayalam.” AMC Studio 28 in Olathe and Cinemark 20 in Merriam are two of the theaters that feature Indian movies. The Indian Association of Kansas City serves the cultural and educational needs of the Indian community living in the metro area. The organization holds a number of events ranging from Indian dance competitions and expositions to musical concerts. “They are a great resource for our community,” noted Dr. Abraham. “I have lived all over the world and now I call Kansas City home. Like my colleagues at Children’s Mercy, people here are supportive, friendly and welcoming,” he said. “It is wonderful that Kansas City embraces people from many different cultures.” n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Living the



Mark McLaughlin, vice president of sales at Russell Stover Candies, moved from Toronto, Canada, to Kansas City just before the Royals’ exciting Major League Baseball playoff season last summer.

During the playoffs, Mark’s brother joined him in KC to catch a game. Decked out in their Toronto gear, they were pleasantly surprised when Royals fans started welcoming them. Mark had to explain to his brother that KC is all about hospitality, and the people in the city really were just that friendly to visiting fans. Mark has immersed himself in that KC spirit since then. He was drawn to the area by the incredible job opportunity with Russell Stover. In July 2014, the Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt bought Russell Stover Candies, and Mark’s primary goal as part of the executive management team is to ensure the integration of Lindt and Russell Stover is on track and delivering the results expected. “As the head of the sales department I am very much focused on ensuring my team has strong business plans developed that are supporting the business during our key seasons, as well as against the recent launch of a new everyday product range that began shipping in March 2016,” he noted. “We continue to work on finding a positive balance of leveraging the strength and experience of the Russell Stover history and enhancing it with new business ideas and process based on the Lindt business model. The company is very exciting and challenging at the same time as we work to establish a new direction and path for the future.”


When not traveling for business, Mark and his wife and two young daughters, ages 8 and 5, are enjoying their Midwest experience and all Kansas City has to offer. Weekends are very focused on his family and children’s activities. Both girls are involved in a number of sports and dance that keep them hopping from place-to-place. Plus, they are trying to experience some of the things that the community offers, such as strawberry picking and pumpkin patches. He added, “My wife took the girls to the sunflower fields in Lawrence last fall, and my oldest daughter and I recently tried fishing and have been spending some time at the local pond together.” He likes that his new neighborhood is familyfocused and social, and they have made a lot of new friends. They enjoy attending local concerts and have been to most of the major music venues, including Bonner Springs, Uptown Theatre and Starlight Theatre. He also recently began volunteering with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program in Kansas City, which he was involved in for many years as a young man in Toronto. He is a mentor for a 14-year-old boy here. “We have been together for just over two months and enjoy hanging out playing and watching sports. I am a very big Blue Jays fan and he supports the Royals, so we have a mutual agreement to support

different teams. As a big sports fan, I have enjoyed the increased exposure to baseball, football and basketball….as a Canadian, however, I have noticed the lack of hockey,” McLaughlin smiled. His wife, too, is enjoying more family time. “The move for us was a very big decision, as I was born and raised in Toronto and my wife has been local to Toronto for over 12 years. The decision to move was very much focused on opportunity to continue to develop my career while offering a great chance to experience something new as a family. KC has offered an opportunity for my wife to spend more time at home with our children while she starts a new career challenge based out of home with much more flexibility in her day,” he explained. He likes the amazing schools and programs for his children to be part of with many new friends. “We really didn’t know much about KC before we moved here but it has been exactly as advertised in terms of raising a family and a true Midwest experience with great friendly people around,” he says. “The lower cost of living in the Midwest has allowed us the chance to purchase a very small recreational property recently that we intend to use as a weekend family break from the city and spend some time fishing and being outdoors with the kids. My girls, wife and I absolutely love living here.” n


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KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017






Starting from scratch is a way of life for Ant Tull. The 25-year-old left his hometown of Nashville in 2009 to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta. He graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in English language and literature. Next, he headed north to study copywriting at the Chicago Portfolio School. Less than a year after finishing the program, he packed his bags again. In April 2016, he relocated to Kansas City to launch his career. Tull is now an associate copywriter at VML, a full-service global marketing and advertising agency.



“I moved from Chicago to Kansas City quickly, and I didn’t know anyone here,” said Tull. “Everyone has been really friendly. My co-workers helped me a lot with finding a place to live and getting oriented to the city.” Tull lives in the Midtown-Westport area. In his spare time, he has explored what his neighborhood has to offer. He likes to play pool at The Blind Tiger, a bar that specializes in gourmet sandwiches and cold beers. Tull’s other hobbies include drawing and painting. “I’m still getting to know the city,” said Tull. “I like it. It reminds me of Nashville in some ways. I am looking forward to finding ways to get more involved with the art scene here.” For now, Tull’s main focus is work. He is part of VML’s Wendy’s team. VML became the creative agency of record for the fast food chain in March 2016. They had served as the brand’s digital agency of record since 2012. VML leads Wendy’s creative and strategic development across its digital, social and traditional communications channels. VML’s work for Wendy’s has won dozens of awards including Cannes Lions, Effies, One Show, and Facebook Studio. In a statement, Wendy’s chief concept and marketing officer Kurt Kane praised

VML for its ability to “tell the Wendy’s story in a modern and compelling way that drives winning business results.” “The talent here is amazing and everyone is generous with what they know,” said Tull. “Everyone collaborates to build the best creative team possible. I am soaking up the knowledge of the people above me.” VML’s other clients include Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Ford, the Kellogg Company, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, PepsiCo and Sprint. The agency has more than 2,500 employees with principal offices in 28 locations on six continents. This year, Advertising Age ranked VML 9th on its “Agency A-List.” John Valentine, Scott McCormick and Craig Ligibel founded VML in 1992. The agency’s name is a combination of the founders’ last initials. VML become a member agency of WPP, the world’s largest marketing communications services company, in 2001. There are more than 500 employees working at VML’s global headquarters in Kansas City. The company’s primary office is in a terminal building at the still-active Charles B. Wheeler Airport downtown. The second location is at 2020 Baltimore Avenue in the Crossroads Arts District. The office space includes the VML Wise

Gallery. It hosts free, public art exhibits throughout the year. Both offices are set up to keep creative juices flowing. The kitchens are always stocked with free snacks, coffee, soda and beer. Employees can gather together on outdoor patios and in common lounge areas. Each office has a committee called the Ministry of Fun. The group plans parties and special events. They also organize employee outings, such as going to a Royals baseball game or a Sporting KC soccer match. “We work hard, but the environment here is fun and relaxed,” said Tull. “It’s a cool place to be as a young creative.” Employees at VML also enjoy a generous benefits package. The company offers subsidized medical insurance, fully paid dental insurance, and matching contributions up to $1,000 on medical flexible spending or health savings accounts. They provide a 401(k) match, fully paid basic life insurance, adoption and parental leave benefits, and more. Some of the uncommon perks include a monthly technology allowance, a sabbatical program, paid time off on summer Fridays and 15 paid holidays. The company culture at VML is also built on giving back. The agency has several programs that encourage employees to contribute their time and talent to help the community. For instance, VML provides employees with 16 hours of paid volunteer time. They can use the time to support any nonprofit or special cause that they choose. The employee-led VML Foundation manages the company’s community outreach. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that donates both money and volunteer hours. In 2015, the foundation gave over $200,000 to charitable organizations. On the company’s annual Foundation Day, all VML offices across the globe close down during normal business hours. Instead of working, employees spend the day volunteering. Inspiring projects, high morale and a vibrant culture are the attributes that attract many young professionals to VML. As Tull continues his transition into life in Kansas City, he said working at VML has made each new experience more pleasant. “I am excited to be starting at ground zero and figuring stuff out,” said Tull. “My job and the company culture has shaped my enjoyment of Kansas City,” he said. “The people that I work with are great, and that is just as important as the work.” n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017











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KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Smart City So how did this traditional cowtown quietly become the new hotspot for technology and entrepreneurship? While places like San Francisco and New York might still get top-of-mind billing, Kansas City has skyrocketed to the top of the list of up-and-coming tech hubs – a legitimate innovation center in what’s known as the “Silicon Prairie.” Kansas City was also recently recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as one of 9 Hot Startup Cities and named the No. 2 city for women in tech by SmartAsset. Many believe Google played a big role in the region’s transformation. “We believe ultra high-speed bandwidth has pushed not only the web but also the Kansas City region to even greater heights,” said Rachel Merlo, community impact manager with Google, based in Kansas City. Google chose Kansas City in 2011 over more than 1,100 cities that applied to be the first in the nation to have Google Fiber, the company’s ultra high-speed internet service. Merlo said the arrival of Fiber jump-started a tech boom that had already been building. Continued



Thriving Hub of Innovation By MATT SMITHMIER

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



“Even before Google Fiber landed here, Kansas City was a hub for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, with a diverse population that represents the rest of the country,” she said. “Google Fiber has played a role in furthering that growth in Kansas City.” Fiber has made a profound impact on the rise and strength of KC’s startup community, including Startup Village, an entrepreneur-led neighborhood that seeks to support Kansas City startups and increase opportunities for local business owners. The village is located in the first neighborhood hooked up to Fiber, and the community grew organically. “Although the village wasn’t started or created because of the arrival of Google Fiber, it’s certainly been a catalyst in the traction and popularity of our growth,” said Matthew Marcus, co-leader of Kansas City Startup Village. “We had a lot of eyeballs on our young community, and it resulted in many entrepreneurs and startups reaching out to us to find more information on basing their companies in the village.” Marcus said while the immediate benefits of Fiber were apparent, it also led to long-term growth that helped create the tech hub we know today. “When Google chose KC, it set off a chain of events, which has not only strengthened our startup community overall but also inspired the creation of many other tech-focused organizations and projects,” he said. One of those projects is the deployment of a Cisco Smart+Connected city framework, a more than $15 million public-private partnership and one of the first economic development projects credited to the


city’s streetcar. The Cisco framework is intelligent networking with the capability to connect public services such as street lighting, transportation services, water management, public safety and more. The first phase follows the 2-mile streetcar corridor and includes public Wi-Fi and interactive digital kiosks along the route. Cisco partnered with Sprint to complete the deployment. “Kansas City has become a global leader in the Smart+Connected cities initiative,” said Kim Majerus, Cisco’s vice president of its U.S. Public Sector. “Other cities are learning from Kansas City’s success, and because of this we feel that there will be an increasingly positive economic impact in the city for years to come, particularly with local tech startups.” And as the new streetcar draws more residents and visitors downtown, the new interactive kiosks are already having a positive impact. With 24/7 availability, up-to-date entertainment options, and location-based information and alerts, the kiosks also increase public safety by providing another access point to 911 emergency services. “Not everyone has access to a smart phone or tablet,” Majerus said, “and the kiosks are an excellent use of technology to help ensure all can have access to rich Kansas City tailored content. The kiosks also generate revenue and contribute to a vibrant city center.” As the Smart+Connected city framework evolves, the data produced by this new network is serving as a “living lab” for local entrepreneurs and tech startups, and the city hopes it will play a big role in future innovations, especially in the Internet of Things tech sector. n

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KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017








Missouri Communities By BETH BAHNER

Missouri, known widely as the “Show Me” state, is home to at least half of the Kansas City region’s communities, neighborhoods and residents. True to its moniker, everywhere you look you will see new housing, retail, office space, and entertainment venues popping up everywhere, creating contagious excitement.


Kansas City, Missouri’s downtown is the place to be. The new KC that runs from the River Market to Union Station, coupled with a building boom of lofts, apartments and office space, have further transformed the area into a lively, energetic city center. People from around the region flock to the nearby Crossroads Arts District to participate in First Fridays exploring art galleries, listening to street music and dining with friends. The Country Club Plaza is an iconic 15block destination featuring beautiful Spanish architecture, 150 high-end shops and boutiques, as well as restaurants, bars and coffee shops. It is known for its annual Plaza Art Fair held each year in September, and Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving night. Historic Westport boasts unique Kansas City night spots, entertainment, and local eateries. Recognized as Kansas City’s original entertainment


district, the neighborhood dates back more than 150 years when it served as the first stop along the Western Frontier. Kansas City offers many living options outside its downtown, including historic homes in Hyde Park and Brookside. Beacon Hill is an ideal location to live for those working downtown, offering new housing with beautiful views. The historic 18th & Vine District, known for great jazz and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will soon be home to a world-class MLB Urban Youth Academy that will bring young people and their families from across the city to the area. Independence Square in Independence, Missouri, is a revitalized, mixed-use destination bustling with energy. This walkable community features art galleries, restaurants, a retro movie theater, bowling alley, boutiques and antiques. A 12-unit condominium called the Market Place, will join lofts and bed & breakfasts on the square later this year, creating a diverse mix of living options for professionals and retirees. Cindy and Ken McClain’s vision for Independence is readily seen in all of the new housing, retail and office space, making the Square a “hip” place to live and work. “We love Independence and are proud to live and work here,” said Cindy. “In the late 1990s we noticed that the Square needed a

facelift, so we did something about it.” Since then, they opened Ophelia’s Restaurant, followed by 10 other eateries, five retail shops, a Pilates studio and a theater. The annual Wine & Brew Walk and free summer outdoor movies, both on the Square; and Third Friday’s Art Walk in Englewood Plaza, a designated art district, create a lively night life. While in Englewood Plaza, stop in at Vivilore for a fine dining and shopping experience. Housed in a historic brick building with a beautiful courtyard, Vivilore’s eclectic menu, art gallery and antiques are worth the visit. The Main Event – a new Independence venue – is a fun entertainment destination with state-of-theart bowling, laser tag, high ropes adventure courses, billiards, video games and dining.

Lee’s Summit is one of the area’s fastest growing cities with new businesses and housing developments springing up everywhere. Amtrak rolls into the city’s downtown station several times daily, offering an easy and affordable way to travel to other Missouri cities, as well as afternoon and evening options to Kansas City’s Union Station and downtown area without the hassle of driving and parking. The W – which stands for wraith, meaning spirit – is a hidden gem in the city’s downtown. A speakeasy, the W specializes in hand-crafted cocktails using fresh ingredients from the nearby Farmer’s Market. The Exit Room is a live-action entertainment adventure perfect for team building, or a fun time with friends and family. Continued KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



The city is surrounded by multiple lakes, including Lakewood, Longview, Lotawana, Raintree and Winnebago, offering residents a variety of options for boating, swimming and fishing. The Historic Longview Mansion, located near Longview Community College, is a magnificent setting for special events. Platte County is a vibrant community and home to Kansas City International Airport. Rated the number one county in Missouri for quality of life, the area offers a variety of living, working and entertainment choices to satisfy just about anyone’s needs and interests. The county is home to the Harley Davidson Assembly Plant and Visitor’s Center. Aviation Technical Services is located in an overhaul base that spans two-million sq. ft. where more than eight jets can be worked on simultaneously. Zona Rosa, Tiffany Springs Market Center and Burlington Creek are popular dining and shopping destinations that attract customers from throughout the metro area. 76

Weston is a favorite day trip for many Kansas Citians. Unique boutiques line the town’s downtown. Three wineries, the McCormick distillery – the oldest in the United States, an Irish Pub located in limestone cellars of the Weston Brewing Company and the Snow Creek ski resort are just a few of the fun things to see and do in this historic town. English Landing Park in Parkville is a 68-acre outdoor enthusiasts dream on the Missouri River, offering boat ramps; picnic shelters; scenic trails for hiking, walking and biking; a sand volleyball court and a disc golf course. Sitting above the park overlooking the Missouri River is Park University where students from across the U.S. and around the world choose to attend this 141-year-old university. Pleasant Hill in Cass County is a destination stop along the multi-model Rock Island Trail currently under development. The trail will wind along the old Rock Island Rail Road track and connect the city with such Kansas City destinations as Arrowhead and Royals’ stadiums. The bicycle and

pedestrian segments will link with the statewide Katy Trail, allowing hiking and biking enthusiasts the ability to traverse the State of Missouri. A commuter rail line is expected to be completed in late 2017, offering even greater access between Pleasant Hill and Kansas City. The Missouri Arts Council recognized Peculiar’s vibrant Downtown Arts and Cultural District with the 2015 Creative Community Award for the way it has made art accessible to all residents. One of the city’s most popular businesses is the award-winning Elmwood Reclaimed Timber that produces plank flooring, countertops and paneling from old wood found in homes, barns and schools for homes and businesses throughout Kansas City. Belton’s Memorial Park is the community’s gathering spot for hiking, ball games, picnics and swimming. The park also features an Inclusive Playground, the first of its kind in the area, where children of all ages and abilities can play and have fun. The city also is home to seven parks and trails, and a 60,000-square-mile wellness center and waterpark. The Village of Loch Lloyd is a tranquil, gated community featuring a Tom Watson Design golf course, executive homes, park-like surroundings, a lake for boating and fishing, tennis courts and a swimming pool, making it a resort retreat just minutes from Kansas City. Chillicothe – the official home of sliced bread – is the progressive hub of Northern Missouri with many of the amenities of a large city. Many of the town’s facilities were paid for with private donations, including the $40 million Hedrick Hospital that has Northern Missouri’s first 3-D mammography unit, and Chilli Bay – the largest aquatic park in North Central Missouri. The town’s YMCA is the fourth largest in Missouri. The vibrant downtown bustles with business and entertainment. An empty downtown lot, donated to the city by the owner, is now a “pocket park” that features a stage for bands, fountains and murals on the walls of the adjacent buildings. The park system is second to none with baseball and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, and walking trails. n


One beautiful spring day, I decided to explore St. Joseph, just a quick 20 minute shot up Interstate 29 from the north side of Kansas City, Missouri.. Before heading out, I asked Dana Massin, a self-employed instructional designer who knows a lot about St. Joseph, for advice on what to see and do. She did not lead me astray.

12 Hours in

St. Joseph

8 a.m. — COFFEE AT PARADOX COFFEE & THEATER I started my day at Paradox Coffee & Theater where I settled in with the most wonderful cup of pour-over coffee and a warm Oooey Gooey Nutella Beignet. Heavenly! Paradox is in the heart of downtown in an old brick building that features local artwork. It has a lovely event space perfect for weddings and parties. A band is playing here later. I must come back. 9 a.m. — VIEW MURALS AND SCULPTURES DOWNTOWN I walked off the yummy pastry, exploring downtown and the larger-than-life murals and sculptures. Much of the artwork depicts St. Joseph’s rich history. My favorite mural is at the Coleman Hawkins Park at Felix Street Square that features notable St. Joseph musicians. 10 a.m. — SHOPPING! LOTS OF FABULOUS FINDS A girl can do some serious damage at all of the fabulous boutiques. I could not resist the hand-made jewelry at Mod Podge and I purchased a darling baby gift for my great-niece. I discovered amazing vintage clothing and vinyl records at The Lucky Tiger. Next, I stopped in at Nesting Goods and found interesting antiques

and home furnishings. It was hard to leave and not buy something. I did not leave empty-handed, I assure you. 12 Noon — LUNCH AT DELISH All of that shopping made me hungry, so I had lunch at Delish. It is called this for a good reason. Dana told me their cupcakes are absolutely the best, so I had dessert first. The strawberry cupcake was so soft, moist and creamy that it melted in my mouth. I saved room for a chicken salad croissant that hit the spot. 2 p.m. — EXPLORE MUSEUMS The story of the Pony Express has always intrigued me, so a stop at the Pony Express Museum was at the top of my list. I am so glad I did. The extraordinary exhibits bring this important time of our country’s history to life. There are many other museums to explore, like the Glore Psychiatric Museum, the Wyeth Tootle Mansion and Pattee House. I will definitely visit them on my next trip. 4 p.m. — STROLL THE PARKWAY I walked parts of the scenic Parkway that winds 26 miles throughout St. Joseph. The parks, ponds and large trees lining the paved path made for a peaceful afternoon get-away. My stroll took me to Lover’s Lane where the large historic homes are magnificent.


6 p.m. — BROWSE BOOKS, SIP COCKTAILS AT THE TIGER’S DEN Next, I stepped in at The Tiger’s Den where I browsed through a unique selection of used books and sipped on a glass of “50 Shades of Earl Grey” — one of their many unique craft cocktails. This quiet bookstore and bar was the perfect place to unwind. 7 p.m. — DINE AT IL LAZZARONE The aroma of pizzas cooking in the open ovens made my mouth water when I walked into this authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. This is definitely a favorite dining spot — the restaurant was abuzz with friendly conversations and laughter. I chose a patio table where I savored a delicious Marinara pizza. 8 p.m. — HI-HO BAR & GRILL: A PERFECT END TO A PERFECT DAY I stopped in at this Irish-themed local favorite and take-out restaurant on my way out of downtown for the perfect midnight snack – a couple of $2 fried beef tacos. There is so much more to see in St. Joseph, and I’m already planning my next visit to this historic and trendy outpost. n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



New & Notable Some of the best new restaurants and businesses in the downtown core: • Blvd Tavern (320 Southwest Blvd.), modern American cuisine in a hip and casual setting • Cleaver & Cork (1333 Walnut St.), gourmet butcher-driven gastropub • Houndstooth (507 Walnut St.), fine men’s clothing and tailor shop • Posh KC Blow Dry Bar (1211 Main St.), premier “blow-dry” and cosmetic bar • Tom’s Town Distilling Co. (1701 Main St.), craft distillery and lounge with art deco flair

The Lights are

‘Much Brighter There’ By MATT SMITHMIER



Alive! That’s the term used by many long-time residents when they describe the downtown core of Kansas City, Missouri. What was once a quiet and less popular place to live or find entertainment only a decade ago, is now bustling with life and energy. Construction cranes are common, bars and restaurants are not only plentiful but also buzzing with customers, and an influx of residents have moved back downtown to be close to the action. Many old buildings have been renovated into luxurious downtown lofts in recent years, and more than 30 residential developments, both new construction and adaptive reuse, are in the works right now. The downtown scene is especially attractive for young professionals. Yared Tekle, 28, moved there in 2014 and enjoys his close proximity to the Power & Light District. “Everything I need is within walking distance from my building,” he said. “I love the feeling of being right in the middle of all the action. It’s a fun, vibrant atmosphere, and with a constant schedule of activities, you can always find something to get into.” Just south of downtown lies the Crossroads Arts District, which is evolving into a vibrant and

creative environment that’s attractive to residents and businesses alike. While the area has seen plenty of adaptive reuse of many of its older buildings, one of the most notable developments is new residential construction in the area. David Johnson, president of the Crossroads Community Association, said the energy of the Crossroads is even attracting larger companies and those not typical to the area – such as law firms and engineering firms – because they’re drawn to the creative culture. North of downtown, the River Market is booming as well. Morgan Miller, a professional photographer, opened River Market Event Place in 2010. She’s seen firsthand the benefits Google Fiber and the new streetcar have had on the region and her business. “This is where our city started, after all, and businesses have really flourished and grown,” she said. “We’re seeing more and more people come and explore with the ease and convenience of mass transit. It’s an excellent community.” And the downtown growth shows no sign of stopping. In fact, the Downtown Council of Kansas City projects nearly a 40-percent population increase in the neighborhoods that constitute the downtown region over the next five years. n


Live and Play

Happy in Gladstone


The city of Gladstone, Missouri, a vibrant area north of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is moving into the future full speed ahead with a newfound renaissance attitude. This is due to some notable new additions to the community, such as the The Heights at Linden Square. These 224 unit apartments opened in Spring of 2015, and are a pivotal point in Gladstone’s growing environment. The Heights is the center of this new downtown, which is surrounded by a wellspring of restaurants and lounge venues, including Snow & Company, featuring craft, made-from-scratch frozen cocktails with real juice, premium spirits and handmade syrup. Snow & Co. also offers wine and beer, including Kansas City’s Boulevard beer on tap, hot and traditional cocktails, and a distinguished menu with everything from small bites and flatbread pizzas to sandwiches and salads. Andy Talbert, co-owner, lives in the area and said, “A couple of years ago we were looking at opportunities and had a conversation with the City of Gladstone about its vision for North of the river and Gladstone. We researched it, and believe a lot of the growth opportunities for creating cool neighborhoods are here. Over half a million people

live North and there are not as many craft beverage places, so we saw an underserved market and wanted to take advantage of it. We realized people were driving for First Fridays downtown at [our other location] so we wanted to provide one closer to home for them.” The Laughing Place Bakery is another popular Gladstone destination. Owner Alicia Hommon creates homemade cookies, bread, scones, pies, cinnamon rolls and cakes. The menu literally changes daily. Alicia began making custom cakes in her home, and met with the City of Gladstone to find a space in the Linden Square area. She also teaches classes through the North Kansas City Community Education Program, including pie baking, cookie decorating, creating cream puffs and other desserts. She explained, “I love this city, and truly cannot say enough good things about it. This is a city whose focus is not just on growing into the future, but also honoring and preserving the past.” Founded in 1985, Margarita’s has become one of the Kansas City area’s favorite Mexican restaurants, now with five locations. The owners, Ron Abarca, Larry Gromer and Dave Quirarte have kept their local business thriving over the last 31 years. The

location in Gladstone is in the center of it all, and maintains a loyal customer base. All this fun and excitement is located along a KCATA bus line, is a mere 10-minute drive from downtown and 15 minutes from Kansas City International Airport. In the fall of 2016, the Northland Innovation Campus (NIC) opened a 90,000-sq.ft. office building. It demonstrates an excellent example of what secondary education instruction can be like, and is a model for other districts to emulate. “The NIC opened fall semester 2016, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the city and school district on their vision for the future of Gladstone,” noted CBC Development Manager Jason Glasrud. “Their leadership made this project possible.” The Gladstone Community Center hosts many activities each year including wedding receptions, both USA and North Kansas City Schools swim meets, birthday parties, health fairs, retirement and anniversary parties. The center offers opportunities for individuals of all ages to get involved through swim lessons, senior card groups, fitness classes, water aerobics and more. Center staff pride themselves on offering exceptional customer service and maintaining a clean facility for visitors and members. “The center has become a real asset to the community as evidenced by the more than 200,000 people who visit it each year. It is always a great feeling to walk through the center and see the bustling activity by people from all walks of life. It truly supports the definition of ‘community center’,” said Justin Merkey, director of parks, recreation and cultural arts, City of Gladstone. Additionally, downtown Gladstone is a host site for the Corporate Challenge swim events with its state of the art natatorium that was built in partnership with North Kansas City School District. In addition to the swim facilities there is more than 5,000 sq. ft. of workout space and a child care facility at the site. The Linden Square Amphitheater is a civic arena that offers music, shows and entertainment in the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, the site transitions to an outdoor ice skating rink. n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017






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KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Sunflower State



A mix of old and young communities, the Kansas side of the metro region provides a wealth of retail, industrial and educational offerings that add a valuable boost to the strength of the Kansas City area.



Founded in 1960, Overland Park is the second largest city in the state and offers a variety of amenities – including park and recreation facilities – that contribute to a high quality of life for residents. Recently, the city brought new retail and entertainment options to town, such as Topgolf and iFLY Indoor Skydiving, and the schools are consistently ranked as some of the best in the state. Downtown Overland Park offers one of the area’s largest farmer’s markets and is currently adding new retail and luxury apartment offerings. Just to the north in Wyandotte County you’ll find Kansas City, Kansas, as well as the communities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville. The historic downtown of Kansas City is rich with a mix of cultures: Visit the Quindaro Ruins and Underground Railroad, or soak in Strawberry Hill, a quaint neighborhood where immigrants from Croatia and Slovenia settled above the rivers. The west side of Wyandotte County has been booming in the past decade, with the addition of

Kansas Speedway and the Village West shopping area, which includes Cabela’s, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Great Wolf Lodge. The area grew further with the addition of Schlitterbahn, a new water park, as well as Children’s Mercy Park, the home of Major League Soccer Team Sporting KC, and numerous outlet stores and hotels. Named for the Shawnee Indians who relocated here in the late 1820s, the town of Shawnee is known for its outstanding parks and trails, including the 1,600-acre Shawnee Mission Park, as well as its emphasis on youth recreation and athletics. Over the past four years, the city has seen $250 million of committed investment in the form of housing and major industrial developments, as well as office and mixed use spaces. Still, it’s the citizens that draw many residents to town. “We have really enjoyed the people,” said Julie Robinson, who has lived in Shawnee for 21 years. “The city has a strong sense of tradition with multigenerational families calling it home, but they’re also very welcoming to ‘newcomers’ like us.” Continued

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Located in southern Johnson County, Olathe has seen major growth in recent years, including expansions at both Olathe Medical Center and Garmin, as well as the addition of a new Embassy Suites, the Furniture Mall of Kansas and Menards. The area also offers two wineries – Stone Pillar Vineyard & Winery and KC Wine Co. – along with the historic Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm, the last remaining stagecoach stop open to the public on the Santa Fe Trail. Retail growth also continues, and the city will open a fifth high school in 2017. Just southwest of Olathe sits Gardner, founded in 1857 where the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon/California Trails divided. Offering high-quality schools, a comprehensive Parks and Recreation Department and several family-friendly activities, the city is also adding new commercial and warehouse space as well as several new subdivisions. Northeast Johnson County includes communities like Fairway, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, North Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood and Westwood Hills. These well-established communities offer mature tree-lined streets, sprawling ranch homes and updated bungalows as well as a mix of retail shopping, quiet neighborhoods and extensive parks and trails. The area’s convenient location is attractive for many residents. Adele Hoch moved to Roeland Park in 2015 and enjoys living so close to the Prairie Village shops and the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. She said the location and the people drew her to the community. “I couldn’t have asked for better neighbors,” she said. “Some people have lived there for 30 years, some are newly married. Everyone’s in a different stage in life, so it’s very exciting to meet and talk to people.” Just south of these communities you’ll find Leawood, traditionally one of the more affluent


areas of town. With tree-lined streets and more than 200 acres of public parks, the city offers high-end retail shopping at Town Center Plaza, an award-winning golf course, and more than 50 restaurants. Recent developments include Mission Farms, a mixed-used project with estate homes, retail and restaurant space, and more than 15,000 sq. ft. of office space. Travel just outside the immediate metro area and you’ll find Lawrence, home to two universities – the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University – and the Bioscience & Technology Business Center. Known for its eclectic culture and arts scene, Lawrence has also added a variety of new businesses, including animal health companies, manufacturing, restaurants and retail shops. The city also remains an affordable place to live, with the cost of living 7 percent below the national average. n


As the capital of Kansas, Topeka is a city with a rich history and a bright future.




enjoy a low-cost of living, plentiful recreational options, a vibrant cultural scene and a robust economy.

12 Hours in


7 a.m. — For early risers, Blackbird Espresso Bar and Bistro opens at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends. Fresh baked goods, quiches, coffees and teas. as well as a selection of sandwiches, soups and craft beers, fill the menu at this cozy cafe. I started my day with their hearty egg, cheese and bacon breakfast wrap and a side of grapes. 8 a.m. — My husband and I decided to visit Gage Park (an eight-minute walk from Blackbird). Since its founding in 1899, the green space has been a Topeka treasure. We scoped out the park’s attractions via Topeka Metro Bikes (TMB), a public network of 100 bicycles for rent and more than 10 stations throughout Topeka. As dog owners, we were excited see the Hill’s Bark Park, a spacious and secure dog park where pups to play leash-free. Our next stop was the beautiful Reinisch Rose Garden, which features more than 6,500 plants and 400 varieties of roses. From there, we rode to the park’s playgrounds. A whimsical mini-train filled with children and adults departed from the depot on a guided, one-mile trek around the park. We also passed by the park’s aquatic center, the Helen Hocker Theater, a 1908 carousel, the Von Rohr Victorian Garden and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. 9 a.m. — Gage Park is also home to the Topeka Zoo. The modest menagerie has a number of

exhibit areas and more than 300 animals, including black bears, elephants, giraffes, tigers, lions and gorillas. We loved watching the hippo swim around his 28,000-gallon outdoor pool. 11:30 a.m. — We had an early lunch at the Burger Stand, a lively restaurant located in the College Hill district near Washburn University. The menu features gourmet burgers, sandwiches and hotdogs with options for vegetarians and vegans. The full bar has classic cocktails and an expansive beer list. Our satisfying lunches left us too stuffed for dessert, but the locals say the funnel cake fries, served with marshmallow sauce and strawberries, shouldn’t be missed. 1 p.m — We took a tour of some of Topeka’s historic sites including the Kansas State Capitol, Cedar Crest, the 6,000-sq.-ft. governor’s mansion, and the Kansas Museum of History. Our guide took us through the capitol’s five floors and we marveled at the building’s murals, and the gorgeous glass panels, brass and copper of the inner dome. At Cedar Crest we explored the estate’s first floor from the living room, sunroom and study to the dining areas and kitchen. The mansion looks out into the 244-acre MacLennan Park. After our tour, we explored the park’s woodlands, meadows, ponds, and interpretive nature trail. Opportunities for fishing, hiking


and mountain biking make the park a popular spot for locals. 5 p.m. — My husband and I rented a paddle boat at the marina at Lake Shawnee and cruised around a quiet cove on the west side of the reservoir. There were people water skiing in the distance and a group of ducks resting near us on the shoreline. The park surrounding the lake features a multi-use trail, tennis and sand volleyball courts, an RV and tent campground, a golf course, playgrounds, a swimming beach with water slide and more. There is also a 20-acre botanical garden. 7 p.m. — The North Topeka (NOTO) Arts District is an energetic area of downtown that is home to art galleries, antique shops, event spaces, restaurants and other locally-owned businesses. Here, we found a casual, contemporary restaurant called The Wheel Barrel. The interior features exposed brick walls and a bar top made from pennies. The menu has both sweet and savory gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, housemade soups and soft pretzels with dipping sauces. For sipping, the Wheel Barrel offers patrons craft cocktails, eight rotating drafts on tap and a selection of bottled beers and ciders. At the end of a busy day in Topeka, it’s a treat to kick back in the eatery’s spacious beer garden while listening to live music. n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Lenexa: CITY OF



Since the 1980s, Lenexa, Kansas, has been one of the fastest growing cities in Johnson County. What was once a small farming town is now a vibrant suburb with more than 50,000 people. The city has excellent schools, beautiful parks, low crime rates and a strong economy. Lenexa’s convenient location is less than a 30-minute drive to downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The population of Lenexa doubles in size each workday with its employment base. Many companies chose Lenexa as a corporate headquarters location. Examples include the multidisciplinary engineering firm Henderson Engineers, Inc., precision components manufacturer Machine Laboratory, LLC, global medical equipment manufacturer Sizewise and leading agricultural news brand Farm Journal Media. The 200-acre Lenexa City Center is a new project slated to open in mid-2017. The mixed-use urban development will be pedestrian-friendly, and will serve as a new downtown and a central meeting place for residents. The City Center will include a 200,000-sq.-ft. civic campus with new city hall offices. The civic center will have the only fully indoor public marketplace in the Kansas City area. The 8,750-sq.-ft. Lenexa Public Market will feature owner-operated businesses selling fresh foods and artisanal products. The area will also include a competitive aquatic facility and a branch of the Johnson County Library. “Lenexa City Center reinforces a major goal of the city’s long-term strategic vision: creating a central gathering place for our community,” said Deputy City Administrator Todd Pelham. “Not only does City Center have residential and commercial components, but it will have recreational, retail, civic and cultural amenities. The civic campus we are building demonstrates the kind of mixeduse development we want to see throughout City Center.” Attractive neighborhoods with affordable housing are a point of pride for Lenexa. In Johnson County, buyers can purchase a 2,200-sq.-ft. home with four bedrooms, two-and-a half bathrooms and a two-car garage for more than $62,000 below the national average. The city has more than 40 neighborhood associations that represent both established and new developments. The homeowners in these groups get 86

together throughout the year for parties, picnics, holiday activities and other special events. One of the largest neighborhoods in Lenexa is Four Colonies, which was developed in 1971. The 100-acre area features hundreds of architecturally diverse homes. Residents enjoy a park, swimming pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, walking paths and a community library. “This is a tight-knit neighborhood,” says Four Colonies property manager Becky Powell. “The homeowners have exclusive use of so many great facilities. There is a social committee that plans functions like Bunco games, book club and an annual holiday party.” Three of Kansas’ top K-12 school districts, DeSoto, Olathe and Shawnee Mission, serve Lenexa. Lenexa is also home to St. James Academy, a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Kansas City. Lenexa boasts more than 30 public parks. They have amenities such as swimming pools, trails for walking, hiking and biking, and lakes for fishing and boating. There are also facilities for tennis, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, baseball and disc golf. Shawnee Mission Health is well-known for its superior health care services. The Prairie Star campus in Lenexa is a comprehensive medical facility. It has a 24/7 emergency department, physician specialty offices, primary care and a surgery center. Patients have local access to centers that specialize in orthopedic and spine, pain medicine, imaging, wound care, and physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Within five miles of Lenexa, residents can also receive first-rate care at Children’s Mercy South, Menorah Medical Center, Olathe Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Saint Luke’s South Hospital. Lenexa’s community events have earned it the nickname “City of Festivals.” The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle has been a highlight of Lenexa’s summer calendar since 1982. In 2016, 185 teams composed of cooks from all over the country competed at the two-day festival. The Spinach Festival draws thousands of visitors each year. Activities include a spinach recipe contest, cooking demonstrations, fine art and craft booths, and history exhibits. Organizers use 150 pounds of fresh, washed spinach to prepare the “World’s Largest Spinach Salad.” The Lenexa Chili Challenge in Old Town Lenexa showcases 200 teams. They compete in chili, salsa and hot wing contests. There is also live music, fireworks and a hot pepper eating contest. Children age 12 and under can enter the cornbread cooking contest. The juried Lenexa Art Fair has fine art booths, a wine and craft beer tasting, live jazz music and food truck concessions. “Lenexa’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts more than a dozen major events each year, and thousands of people attend them,” said Pelham. “It’s really important to the city that we offer great recreational and cultural opportunities for residents to connect with each other. These experiences build powerful memories year after year, and they strengthen our sense of community.” n



Miami County

On the southern edge of Kansas City’s metro area, Miami County offers an easy pace of life that is still within reach of urban amenities. The county contains the communities of Paola, Louisburg, Osawatomie, Spring Hill and Fontana. While each city has its own unique character, all their residents reap the benefits of outstanding schools, affordable housing, bountiful recreational opportunities and historic charm. The area’s major industries of manufacturing, government, healthcare, retail trade, construction and farming employ almost 9,000 people. Miami County’s picturesque Somerset Wine Trail is worthy of a day trip. Paola is the governmental center of Miami County and home to several corporate headquarters. Paola’s Miami County Medical Center offers 24/7 emergency care and physicians who specialize in general surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, podiatry and family medicine. The Hillsdale Learning Center and Miami County Campus of Fort Scott Community College offer training in healthcare, nursing, environmental technology, and criminal justice. The Historic Downtown Park Square is home to special events such as The Harvest Festival and Chili CookOff, the annual, two-day Roots Festival, and the mayor’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The 725-acre park at Lake Miola is suitable for boating, skiing, swimming and fishing, camping and hiking. Residents of Louisburg enjoy nationally ranked schools, low crime rates and family-friendly attractions. The Louisburg Unified School District 416 offers a virtual learning center for grades nine to 12 and adults. The promise of freshpressed apple cider and delicious cider donuts lures crowds to the famous Louisburg Cider Mill each fall. During the holidays, families flock to the Powell Pumpkin Patch and D&G Christmas Tree Farm. The Astronomical Society of Kansas City operates the Powell Observatory, which has one of the largest telescopes available for public viewing in a five-state area. For recreation, the Lewis-Young Park has soccer and baseball fields, wooded trails, a fishing lake and a playground. History buffs will find much to do in Osawatomie. The John Brown Museum is in the log cabin that served as Brown’s headquarters and as a station on the Underground Railroad. It has exhibits and artifacts centered around the abolitionist and Kansas’ struggles during the Civil War. The downtown business district is a treat for antique shoppers. The five-day John Brown Jamboree music festival has been Osawatomie’s signature event for more than 50 years. The Border War BBQ contest and the Civil War reenactments at Freedom Festival take place each year in the 23-acre John Brown Memorial Park. The Osawatomie School District 367 owns the


OZone Sports and Fitness Zone, which functions as a community activities center with fitness classes, youth and adult sports leagues, indoor and outdoor tracks, a full-size gym and indoor pools. The facility also has an outdoor aquatic center, and complexes for baseball, softball and soccer. Those who desire a quiet, rural lifestyle should look no further than Fontana. The 101-acre Miami State Fishing Lake is the perfect place for hunting, fishing and birding. The Fontana City Park is in the center of town where quaint community events bring Fontana’s citizens together throughout the year. Every June, the Fontana Community Picnic features live music, food, drink, games and an inflatable waterslide. Spring Hill is one of the top five fastest growing cities in the Kansas City metro area. Both Miami and Johnson counties split the city’s 5,437 residents. All district schools average above state and national academic benchmarks. The Spring Hill Aquatic Center has a lazy river, toddler and family slides, diving boards, a floatable walk/ obstacle course and a climbing wall. Spring Hill City Lake is a haven for fishing with crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish. The Fall Festival is Spring Hill’s biggest public event of the year. Activities include a lively parade, a downtown street dance, arts and crafts vendors, entertainment and a beer garden. The annual Christmas festival, Hometown Holidays, takes place downtown on Main Street. The highlight of the celebration is the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree and the arrival of Santa Claus. n

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The Blue Valley School District’s Center for Advance Professional Studies (CAPS) in Kansas and Northland CAPS, which serves several Missouri school districts, are both changing the way high school students learn. The programs allow pupils to explore professional areas of interest through an industry-based, experientiallearning method, driven by changing workforce needs. “CAPS is very intentional about fast-forwarding students by giving them real-world, professional work as their curriculum,” said Blue Valley CAPS Executive Director, Corey Mohn. “Students quickly adapt and develop critical professional skill sets-or “soft skills”that propel them with confidence to discover their passions and reach for their dreams.” The Lean Lab, another K-12 effort, is a nonprofit education incubator for educators to develop new school models, services or products that improve learning for Kansas City, Missouri students. The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri is an independent college preparatory school serving students age 2 through 12th grade, while Crossroads Academy in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is a tuition-free charter school that offers a rigorous K-8 education with a focus on civic, artistic and cultural amenities. Crossroads Academy opened the Quality 88

Hill Academy in August 2016. The new elementary school is currently open to students in kindergarten through third grade. Preparing Kansas City’s urban students for college and careers is the focus of PREP-KC. Working with five bi-state, urban school districts and two charter schools serving mostly low-income students, PREP-KC supports a more advanced math curriculum, provides the opportunity to earn college credit in high school and offers career-readiness experiences. The Olathe School District’s 21st Century High School Program was the first in the region to offer an innovative approach to learning. From aerospace engineering to sports medicine, the program provides experiential learning through its four-year customized curriculum. The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) has designed a bridge from high school to college. This partnership between the Lee’s Summit, Missouri R-7 School District, University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners enables high school juniors attending Summit Technology Academy to earn an associate degree at approximately the same time they graduate from high school.


The University of Kansas’ Degree in 3 program helps students reach the workforce faster. Available at its Edwards campus in Overland Park, Kansas, the program gives high school students an early start to a degree, ultimately earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in three years. Students like the access to internships the program provides and fast-tracking into a job they enjoy. For working professionals, the KU Edwards campus offers late afternoon and evening classes for more than 30 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Qualified Missouri residents, who are enrolled in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses at KU Edwards, can use the MetroKC program to lower their tuition to the same as the Kansas in-state rate. The Edwards campus is also home to the KU Professional & Continuing Education program. It provides noncredit professional development opportunities in aerospace, architecture, behavioral sciences, continuing legal education, leadership and management, engineering, law enforcement, and fire and rescue. These trainings are presented in multiple formats, including workshops, webinars, and online courses. KU Professional and Continuing Education also offers academic conferences, research dissemination support, new employee training programs and other services. Park University has more than 60 degree programs for undergraduate and graduate studies. The school is known for its affordable tuition and flexible class schedules. Students can take classes at the Parkville, Missouri campus, online or at 40 other campus centers nationwide. Besides traditional 16-week classes, they also offer accelerated eight-week terms for most degree programs. They have many benefits and resources for members of the Armed Forces, such as a 25 percent discount on graduate courses for active duty military persons. They have programs that help veterans with topics such as transitioning to college, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, education and finances. The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of MissouriKansas City (UMKC) encourages and supports entrepreneurs and innovators. Their programs help to cultivate early startups from idea to launch. Enrolled UMKC students across all disciplines have access to formal education options including two doctoral degree programs, MBA and Executive MBA programs, a specialized master’s degree in entrepreneurial real estate, an undergraduate program and certificate programs. They also offer community programs for early-stage entrepreneurs and those looking to grow an already established business. These include intensive workshops and seminars, mentoring and an incubator. The UMKC

Small Business & Technology Development Center provides entrepreneurs with resources, tools, expertise and contacts. They are the local affiliate for the Kauffman Fast-Trac program, which includes specialized trainings designed for budding entrepreneurs, technology and sciencebased entrepreneurs, and those who want to grow an existing enterprise. The Center’s experienced counselors provide coaching at no-cost to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Their ScaleUp! Kansas City initiative helps seasoned small business owners tackle the challenges of expansion by giving them the chance to connect with peers, mentors and resources. LaunchCode is a nonprofit organization that matches developers and technologists with jobs and paid apprenticeships. They also offer free, inperson computer education and skills training. Jim McKelvey, co-founder of mobile payments company Square, co-founded LaunchCode in 2013 to address the rising demand for tech talent in the United States. The organization’s Kansas City office is inside the Sprint Accelerator in the Crossroads Arts District. LaunchCode’s local employer partners include UMB Financial Corporation, Blooom, Venture360, Univision Communications, Inc. and Fusion Marketing. UMKC serves as an education partner. Participants in the LaunchCode program must submit an online application and complete an interview. LaunchCode pairs successful candidates with companies for 12-week apprenticeships. During the apprenticeships, LaunchCoders receive mentoring and work side-by-side with experienced tech professionals. Ninety percent of apprentices are hired for permanent employment at their company. The KC Animal Health Corridor, the world’s largest concentration of animal health companies, introduced the Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) Certification program to Kansas City in August 2015. MT1 provides workers with basic skills in manufacturing and production. The credentialbased certification comes from the Manufacturing Skills Institute. It covers core competency areas of math and measurement, spatial reasoning and manufacturing technology, and quality and business acumen. The National Association of Manufacturers endorses MT1, and includes it in the National Skills Certification system. The more than 300 companies in the KC Animal Health Corridor give preference to job candidates who have MT1 certification. Workers can obtain their MT1 certifications through Missouri Western State University, Metropolitan Community College, Lee Summit R7 School District (partnership with Summit Technology Academy), Kansas City Public Schools or the Innovation Stockyard (partnership with Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph). n

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Parenting A LITTLE

More Carefree


Parenting is just a little easier in Kansas City, with a variety of attractions and groups designed to provide entertainment, education, and camaraderie around the region. First, head to Crown Center for two of the most popular children’s attractions. The LEGOLAND Discovery Center offers kids aged 3-to-10 a chance to explore a world of color and creativity. The center includes rides, a 4D cinema and lots of the popular building blocks. Then, bring the whole family to the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium, an amazing underwater world of sharks, starfish, seahorses and a sampling of the most colorful aquatic life. Don’t forget to say hello to Gertrude, a green sea turtle rescued from tangled fishing line off the coast of Florida. Crown Center is also home to the world headquarters of Hallmark, which offers Kaleidoscope, a popular educational adventure that allows children to feed their creative spirit.


This free attraction invites kids to use their imagination to create art using materials from the company’s manufacturing processes. Next, head to Overland Park, Kansas, to the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, a 1900s turn-of-the-century farm that houses nearly 200 animals and birds, vegetable and flower gardens, a one-room schoolhouse, fishing pond, pony rides and more. The 12-acre “children’s farmstead” opened in 1978, and welcomed more than 470,000 visitors in 2015. Looking for advice, support and friendship from other parents? Plenty of resources are available to build a sense of camaraderie for parents across the city. Here are just two: The Kansas City Moms Blog is written by moms for moms and provides not only information on what to do around town with your kids but also how to get involved in the community. The site also features personal essays from local moms and provides a list of local mom groups located throughout the metro area. For the fathers, KC Dads was founded in 2002 and includes families from around the Kansas City region. The group organizes play dates at members’ houses, regular Dad’s Night Out events, a summer picnic and more. Designed for both veterans and newbies, the group focuses on sharing best practices and providing support for all dads. n


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Diversity is spoken here. Lansing, Kansas – One of the safest cities in Kansas with a top-rated school system and numerous community festivals and events throughout the year. Located just minutes from Fort Leavenworth, Village West and the Legends, and 30 minutes to KCI and Downtown Kansas City.

Diversity is the core of our communities and its richness helps us discover new perspectives, inspire change and unite for a better world.


Learn more at

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



Whether your tastes lean towards meat and potatoes, farm to market, sushi or International fare, Kansas City’s restaurants and food trucks fit the bill. Some of the most successful chefs are spread across the metro, and it is possible to find a new locale to try every day of the year.



Amaze Your Palate By JUDY GOPPERT


Two of the most forward thinking chefs in the area, James Westphal and Mark Kelpe, are up to the task. As the owners and innovative minds behind four popular food destinations for young, urban professionals in Westport, all within blocks of each other, their menus are unique to each individual concept. Welcome Charbarians to Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements. The playground where carnivores, herbivores and locavores drink, eat and play lawn croquet, bocce and ping pong together. All while noshing on barbecue competitor extraordinaire Mitch

Benjamin’s award-winning saucy creations. Low and slow describes the timeless art of charring, smoking and grilling and it’s all on show here. The other three in this inviting foodie clan are Beer Kitchen, which is a beer lover’s dream. Walk inside the historic building, and your server will introduce you to the likes of Longfin, Nitro Merlin and Hoptimum served alongside corned beef hash, premium burgers and breakfast all day. Across the way is McCoy’s Public House, named after John C. McCoy, Westport’s founder. This pub invokes the spirit of public houses of Continued

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old, and has produced KC’s best handcrafted ales and lagers for more than 19 years. Many of the beers are nationally recognized award winners, and Head Brewer, Morgan Fetters, recently won a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal for her Imperial Brown called Ursa Minor. You’ll want to indulge in the mac and cheese alongside your pint. This delight has won awards with more than 135,000 servings sold since 1997. The Foundry is a late night urban beer palace that attracts a wildly diverse crowd, serving up McCoy’s beer options. Music ranges from new wave to underground hip hop to the 90s and is open late for those that just don’t want the night to end. Port Fonda, also in Westport, was recently named the best newage Mexican restaurant in the country by the New York Times. Over the course of his 20-year career as a chef, Patrick Ryan has focused on simple, ingredient-driven food influenced by the flavors of rustic, Mexican cantina cooking. Instrumental in the farm-dinners of Green Dirt Farms, Patrick brings that focus on authentic ingredients to Port Fonda where he was nominated for Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef Midwest 2013 and 2014 and most recently nominated for James Beard Awards’ Best New Chef-Midwest 2015. Food trucks have taken the food scene by storm, and Kansas City boasts a wide variety. Parked at events and locations throughout 96


the city, Wilma’s Real Good Food brings comfort food with a twist, while the Taco Republic truck serves up sensational street tacos. Schimeca’s Italian Sausage takes fennel-flecked Italian sausage to the masses, and The Moose Truck is stocked with everything from corn dogs to Philly cheese steaks to barbecue burnt ends. Aixois is a classic French bistro in Kansas City’s Brookside neighborhood, offering one of the best outdoor patios and an intimate, relaxed dining room. Emmanuel Langalde, a native of Aixen-Provence, opened Aixois with his wife, Megan, in 2001. Inspired by the techniques and recipes of his native France, he offers a distinct menu focused on fresh, organic, seasonal ingredients. He works with area farmers, butchers and bakers to bring local flavor to his classic French cuisine. Satisfy your curry cravings with authentic Indian cuisine served up at Moti Mahal I and II, with locations in Zona Rosa and Westport. Colby and Megan Garrelts are the chef-owners of the wildly popular Rye Restaurant in Mission Farms, and Bluestem in Westport. They both have had careers working in top restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Chef Colby is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest and 2005 Food & Wine Top 10 Best New Chef. Chef Megan is a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Pastry Chef. Continued

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Cafe Gratitude, in the Crossroads Arts District, is one location of a collection of 100 percent organic plant-based restaurants specializing in naturally unique gourmet cuisines. Tables are situated close together, invoking conversation and fellowship with the eclectic crowd drawn inside. Each dish has a name to empower the diner, including Thriving, Comforted, Gorgeous, Awesome and Happy. As the server places the selected dish before you, he or she states, “you are thriving,” “you are comforted,” etc. The raw, chilled lasagna, aptly named Fabulous, is renowned and the smoothies and shakes will change your world, one coconut milk, kale, chia seed, vanilla bean sip at a time.


Care to dine on food harvested from local farmers and suppliers, in a castle setting? Then head to Shawnee, Kansas, and experience Renee Kelly’s at Canaen Castle. Shatto Milk, Two Sisters Farm and many other area providers contribute to the unique food offerings created by acclaimed, energetic chef Kelly, who recently competed on Top Chef. The menu changes often to reflect what the farmers are harvesting in that season. This is truly the definition of farm to table. And the venue is a magical locale for wine tastings and events – who doesn’t want to get married in a fairy tale castle? n


creativity &

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Sometimes you feel like a night out but you’re looking for a little more excitement than just a barstool at the local pub. Thankfully, Kansas City is full of fun alternatives to stimulate the body and the mind.

A Recreation





How’s your pickleball game? Chicken N Pickle, a new North Kansas City indoor/outdoor entertainment venue invites you to find out. The complex offers casual dining, a bar, fire pits and outdoor lawn games such as bocce and Jenga, along with eight pickleball courts. The racquet sport is a mix of badminton, tennis and table tennis, and it’s catching on around the country. Perfect for golfers and nongolfers alike, Topgolf in Overland Park is a golf entertainment complex that invites everyone to pick up a club and play any number of addictive point-scoring games. And when your arms get tired, relax inside (or out) with a cocktail and some food – or rack ‘em up at the billiards table. Kansas City is also home to two vintage arcade bars. Tapcade in Downtown features a full restaurant and bar as well as more than 45 classic arcade games, three large projection screens, and a dine-in theatre at the adjoining Screenland Theatre

that features a mix of independent and mainstream films every month. Up-Down in the Crossroads keeps the craft beer flowing and the gaming prices low – play more than 50 arcade games for the oldschool cost of just 25 cents each. Or, give your trigger finger a break and head out to the patio for some life-sized Jenga and Connect Four. Maybe those options all sound fun, but you’re looking for a little more adrenaline? Realize the dream of flight without the risk of falling from the sky at iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Overland Park for the feel of true freefall in a vertical wind tunnel. You can also fly through the air at Go Ape Treetop Adventure in Swope Park. The outdoor adventure course offers treetop obstacles and zip lines through the forest canopy with truly picturesque views. Sky Zone in Shawnee, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, specializes in “fun fitness” for all those who fancy themselves thrill


seekers. The indoor trampoline park offers the weightlessness of bouncing and flipping on trampolines as far as the eye can see, or try the SkySlam basketball court, Ultimate Dodgeball or the Foam Zone. If you’d prefer to get your thrills with a side of chills, head to the Twelfth Street Bridge Historic West Bottoms District just west of Downtown. Ever since the Edge of Hell opened in 1975, the area has been home to some of the nation’s best haunted houses. The Beast opened next door in 1991, followed by Macabre Cinema and The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe. Kansas City has also been home to many real-life scary characters throughout history. Learn more about the city’s organized crime past, especially the years of 1920 to 1945, with the Gangster Tour. The interactive bus tour recounts infamous crimes such as the Union Station Massacre and points out locations of speakeasies and gambling halls, as well as homes and workplaces of major crime bosses. A night out can also mean a good brain teaser. The Kansas City area is home to plenty of “escape rooms,” which are rapidly growing in popularity: You and a few friends are locked in a room full of clues and it’s up to you to solve the puzzle to escape. Escape Room has locations at Union Station and in the River Market, Breakout KC is also in the River Market, The Escape Artist KC is located just east of Downtown, and Clue Pursuit offers three popular game rooms in Midtown. In the suburbs, try The Exit Room and TrappedKC in Lee’s Summit and Escape KC in Overland Park. Vince Wagner helped solve the puzzle with his co-workers at Escape Room as part of a company outing. “It was an awesome experience!” he said. “As a team-building exercise, it gave us a common goal to work toward and rewarded us with the thrill of discovery and accomplishment. Our group left feeling exhilarated and energized.” So, the next time you’re feeling like a little more adventure than just “hanging out,” explore more of what Kansas City has to offer. n

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Made in


Successful people thrive in Kansas City, because Kansas City catapults them into the limelight and produces veritable champions. So many innovative business ideas continue to launch here every day. Here are some shining examples of this forward thinking work ethic in action. Charlie Hustle has earned icon status in Kansas City. The vintage T-shirt company is out to preserve “the old school” using T-shirts as a canvas for expressions of KC pride. The “KC Heart” T-shirt is a staple of the Charlie Hustle brand, representing its hometown of Kansas City, and worn by localborn celebrities Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis among others. “There is an electric feeling in this city right now that you can’t help but feel and want to be a part of. We all want to see our friends succeed and explore their passions. That’s what builds a city, and I think you’ll find out that there is no better place right now to start something, whatever it may be,” said Holly Meairs, director of public relations and business development for Charlie Hustle. “The resources available to young entrepreneurs are incredible and the community is willing to get behind it. We’ve been blessed to be able to work with some key players within Kansas City and it’s a


competitive edge that you can’t necessarily find in the bigger cities.” Meairs also notes that Made in KC, with locations in Overland Park, Prairie Village, Briarcliff and Crown Center, Kansas, is a perfect example of what happens when there are some key visionaries doing something they love. She explains the grand scheme is bigger than just a shop, it’s creating buzz around the pride this city has and the love our people have for it. Indigo Wild is an eclectic company with a factory in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The company’s products include Zum bar soap, dragon’s blood massage and body oil, face products, lip balm, liquid soap, laundry soap, soy candles and more. Goat’s milk, the main ingredient in Zum Bars, is naturally ultra-moisturizing, naturally balanced for the skin, and naturally homogenized. A portion of their proceeds benefits breast cancer patients and survivors, and the KC Sheltie Rescue. Continued

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Matt Baldwin, founder and designer of Baldwin Denim and Standard Style, uncovered his desire to be a part of the action sports industry while snowboarding in Colorado. He spent some time in Huntington Beach, California, where he received a degree in Apparel Manufacturing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. After spending time working for various fashion brands, he and his wife returned to their Midwest roots, settling down in Kansas City. In 2003 they opened their first men’s and women’s designer boutique in Kansas City, and have stores on the Country Club Plaza and in Leawood, Kansas. Tiffany Heaton King and Suzanne Southard founded SouveNEAR in 2014, which sells distinctive wares made by Kansas City artists, designers and makers, unveiled its first vending machine at Kansas City International Airport. The SouveNEAR vending machine offers jewelry, artwork, clothing and other easy-to-carry uniquelyKC souvenirs. The merchandise includes post cards from Hammerpress, T-shirts from Normal Human featuring iconic KC sculpture, and more. In addition to providing a showcase for local artists, SouveNEAR manufactures its own items for six vending machines located at KCI, the Nelson-Atkins Museum Store, Union Station and Unique Finds and the General Store & Co. They also have an online store and just expanded to San Francisco. Christopher Elbow Chocolates, which are a top seller for SouveNEAR, are uniquely Kansas City as well. Christopher Elbow actually helped celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, open Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian in Las Vegas, then moved to Paris to assist acclaimed chef Jean Joho open the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Upon his return to KC, he became pastry chef at the American Restaurant, where he perfected his chocolatemaking skills. Demand was so high that he opened his own company, which is a sweet addition to the group of Made in KC products. His creations are sold at his other store in San Francisco, at various local locations around KC, across the U.S. and online. What’s more, Roasterie Coffee has a Christopher Elbow dark chocolate blend, and his chocolate creations even caught Oprah’s attention, plus have been featured in USA Today, Bon Appetite and others. His signature collection features gourmet artisan chocolates, infused with spices, fruits, exotic flavors…each authentic, each one of a kind. n





64% of KSU grads would stay in Manhattan if they could find ____ in their field.


Between 2000 and 3000 military personnel transition annually from __________ and about 50% want to stay and work in the Manhattan area.

6. Slated for completion in 2022, DHS’s $1.2 billion ____ (National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility) next to the KSU campus is adjacent to thousands of square feet of available and planned office and research space.


Forbes named Manhattan one of the “Top 30 Best Small Places for ________ and Careers” six years running.

4. Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization facilitated about 1500 __________ between businesses and KSU over a three-year period. 5.

_________ was named “Best College Town in America” in 2015 by


_____ corporations like Garmin, US Engineering, and GE Aviation know that proximity to KSU student intern talent means they have a great shot at hiring those smart grads.

8. ____________ among the business community, KSU, and Fort Riley make Manhattan a uniquely profitable place to set up shop. 9. __________ is less than a two-hour jaunt west of Kansas City on Interstate-70. 10. KSU was granted 21 _______ in 2015 and, and it has over 220 in its active portfolio.






Music Festival By PORCSHE N. MORAN

In 2005, Bill Sundahl was looking for a creative way to promote his band. He came up with the idea to host a concert in the Crossroads Arts District that featured his band along with several others in Kansas City. Eight bands performed on an outdoor stage at the former Grinders Stage (now CrossroadsKC), and Sundahl screened independent short films between each set. Local businesses had vendor booths, and about 200 to 300 people were in attendance. The Crossroads Music Festival was born. “I started it for somewhat selfish purposes, but I kept doing it because there is so much talent in Kansas City,” said Sundahl. “I took it upon myself to showcase that talent.” September 10, 2016 marked the 12th year of the Crossroads Music Festival. Nearly 40 bands from Kansas City and around the Midwest performed on nine stages within a two block radius in the Crossroads Arts District. Garage punk band Radkey from St. Joseph, Missouri, and blues musician Kelley Hunt from Lawrence, Kansas, headlined the event. Continued

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



“[When we started] Kansas City welcomed us with open arms, and we absolutely love playing here,” said Radkey. “This festival is important because it showcases local talent and gives people a chance to see the incredible music that’s being made in their own backyard.” The festival lineup covered several different genres from country, blues and hip-hop to reggae, rock, electronica and ska. Nathan Corsi is the guitarist and singer-songwriter for Kansas City-based rock band Not A Planet. He said the Crossroads Music Festival is a unique event that celebrates the diversity of Kansas City’s music scene. “The festival’s strong support of local music has played a major role in nurturing the creative development and proliferation of all the artists involved,” he said. “It’s truly a music festival that is by our community, for our community.” Each band gets to play for an hour. Sundahl arranges the schedule to allow people to catch snippets of many different shows throughout the night. This year, festival organizers transformed Good Golly, the studio and production space of Normal Human printing shop, into a VIP area. Passholders received upgraded perks, including special performances and complimentary food and beverage. The Mod Art Gallery, Collection restaurant and The Living Room Theatre were also turned into concert halls for the evening. RecordBar, The Brick, Tank Room, and jazz club Green Lady Lounge provided more traditional live music venues. “Kansas City, especially the Crossroads Arts District, has so many great spaces to put on shows,” Sundahl said. “Kansas City has the infrastructure to make art happen. Using multiple venues gives it a great community feel. Each place has a different flavor and personality. People are floating in and out of venues. Everyone is walking around and having fun.” Beyond music, the festival has an educational component. For many years, the Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts hosted Music 101 seminars that covered topics such as copywriting, licensing and band agreements. In 2016, Hunt led a three-hour session on women in music on Wednesday before the festival kicked off. It concluded with a panel discussion featuring Hunt, and Kansas City-based musicians Jessica Paige and Michelle Bacon. “We are trying to foster the next generation of musicians,” said Sundahl. “It benefits everyone when musicians know how to treat their art as a business.”



Since the beginning, Sundahl has organized the festival with the help of his wife Wende Williamson. His other co-founder, Jauqui Craig, handles artist relations, contracts and several other behind-thescenes tasks. The trio partners with Rhonda Lyne at Midwest Music Foundation (MMF), a nonprofit that provides programs and resources to area musicians. About 40 to 50 volunteers from the MMF work the festival each year. “The collaborative nature of Kansas City is the only reason I’ve been able to do this,” said Sundahl. “I’ve had so much help from people. So many man-hours have been donated to make this happen. People volunteer because they appreciate having something like this. I am constantly amazed at how people help each other here.” The Crossroads Music Festival became a fundraiser for KKFI 90.1 FM, the Kansas City area’s independent, non-commercial community radio station, in 2014. Sundahl, who is the special events, volunteer and underwriting coordinator at KKFI, said the festival has raised more than $50,000 for the station.

“When I started working at the station, I knew it was going to be a conflict of interest to keep doing the festival,” he said. “I didn’t want to stop, so I brought it to the station. It perfectly fits with the station’s mission to provide an outlet for music that has been overlooked or underrepresented.” Sundahl said the Crossroads Music Festival strives to expose people to new music. Over the years, he has seen Kansas City’s music community grow and mature. “The number of Kansas City bands that are highly qualified to play festivals has increased over the years,” he said. “The hardest thing now is choosing between so many great bands. There is no shortage of talent.” With more than a decade of festivals behind him, Sundahl said he is more sure than ever that Kansas City music is worth a listen. “Don’t underestimate Kansas City,” he said. “This festival is a cross section of what goes on every day. The music scene here is on par with what you’d find in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. On any given night, the music here is just as great as it is anywhere else.” n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



For a city famous for its barbecue, Kansas Citians also know how to eat healthy. In fact, the region is experiencing the same resurgence of local, organic food taking place throughout the country – and the city’s geographic location in the nation’s breadbasket gives it quite the advantage.

Healthy CAN ALSO

Be Delicious


A renewed focus on sustainable, healthy and local food is allowing more people around the area to eat a healthier diet and become more engaged with their community. Cultivate Kansas City is just one local organization committed to ensuring every resident has access to the resources for growing and eating local food, and the group is working to incorporate “food-producing green space” into neighborhoods across the metro. Kansas City also features a variety of farmer’s markets in many of the area communities. The largest is located in the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri, and is open year-round on Saturdays and Sundays. More than 140 vendors are on hand offering everything from fruits and vegetables to meat, baked goods and fresh-cut flowers. The market also offers a variety of produce from Missouri farmers so you can eat healthy and local. 110


Residents and visitors also have plenty of choices when dining out, and Kansas City boasts an abundance of restaurants and cafes offering organic, vegetarian, vegan and sustainably sourced menu items: • Unbakery and Juicery – Located in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, the restaurant offers many raw and unprocessed foods and juices. Unbakery also serves cold salads, bone broths and “unbaked” goods that are both raw and gluten-free. • Café Gratitude – With a mission to “honor the earth and ourselves,” Café Gratitude offers all organic, plant-based foods while supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture. The menu features everything from a Caesar salad and eggplant parmesan sandwich to a raw lasagna and pad thai. • Eden Alley – Voted one of Kansas City’s top 15 restaurants in 2015 by Movoto, Eden Alley on the Country Club Plaza offers a relaxed vibe and plenty of organic and local ingredients, and all of the menu items are hand-made and vegetarian, including many vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free options. The restaurant’s

mission is to create a “divine flavor for the conscious eater.” • Füd – Pronounced “food,” this restaurant began in 2007 as a pop-up and opened its official location in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, in 2010. The menu specializes in consciously grown and organically produced food in the greater Kansas City area and features appetizers, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, hot entrees and Latin selections. • Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse – Offering more than 20 flavors of cupcakes – plus muffins, scones (sweet and savory), cookies and bagels – this place proves even desserts can be vegan (and gluten-free in many cases). Mud Pie was opened in 2011 to serve those with dietary restrictions, allergies and health concerns without sacrificing taste. Plenty of restaurants also offer a good selection of both meat and vegetarian options while staying committed to using organic and locally sourced foods. The Farmhouse offers “farm to table fresh” while satisfying that need for comfort food in a warm atmosphere. The restaurant works with

Missouri and Kansas farmers to source its organic, non-GMO crops, and the seasonal menus are always offering something new. Even pizza is getting in on the act. Often voted one of the best pizza restaurants in the Midwest, Waldo Pizza offers all the traditional toppings as well as a vegan mozzarella and gluten-free crust options. The Westside Local features delicious burgers, beers and cocktails constructed from as many local suppliers and businesses as possible. And just a few steps away you’ll find Blue Bird Bistro, with organic and local meals for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Cross the state line and you’ll find Story in Prairie Village, Kansas, which offers many locally sourced ingredients – and a robust wine list – in an upscale setting. Michael Valverde, co-owner of Mud Pie, said it’s refreshing to see attitudes about eating evolve in Kansas City. In fact, his biggest challenge right now is expansion to keep up with demand. “The local response has been awesome and has been continuing to grow more and more each day,” he said. “The change I’ve noticed is that people don’t seem to be as afraid to try new and alternative things.” n KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017



No doubt about it: Baseball fever is still running hot through Kansas City. After thrilling back-to-back runs to the World Series, the Kansas City Royals clinched the crown in 2015 in five games over the New York Mets. The subsequent parade and celebration was one of the largest parties the city has seen, drawing hundreds of thousands downtown to rejoice in a win 30 years in the making.

It’s Game Time A





Even with crowds that large, however, fans didn’t seem to mind at all. “To see the sea of people was joyfully shocking,” said Erin Zubeck, longtime fan and Kansas City, Missouri, resident who attended the parade with her family. “It felt like the whole city and surrounding cities and states were hugging the team. I felt very proud to be a Kansas Citian!” Of course, for all of the love we give baseball, there’s still plenty to go around. In fact, just across the parking lot from Kauffman Stadium and home of the Royals, lies Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs and

currently the Guinness World Record holder for the loudest stadium. With a rich tailgating tradition and rabid fans, Chiefs Kingdom makes Kansas City one of the most energizing NFL cities. Speaking of loud, witness the excitement of NASCAR at Kansas Speedway. The 1.5-mile tri-oval track is suitable for all types of racing, and a six-turn, 2.37-mile road course added in 2012 twists through the infield. After a seat in the heat watching the race, cool down on the ice with the Missouri Mavericks, a member of the ECHL, the premier AA hockey Continued KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017


league. The team’s home is Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Missouri, where the Mavs have made playoff appearances in each of their first five seasons, including winning the 2014 Bud Poile Governor’s Cup. Professional basketball is also back in Kansas City. The Kansas City Majestics played their inaugural season in 2016 as part of the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League, which includes 40 developmental squads around the country. The team is coached by Sarah Campbell, who not only played for the city’s last pro team, the Kansas City Mustangs, but was a standout at the University of Missouri. “Having a Kansas City women’s basketball team means I’m able to give women an opportunity to execute their talents on a higher level to pursue their careers,” Campbell said. “Bringing women’s basketball back to Kansas City was very important. We feel it’s needed to show youth that determination, hard work, fitness and education can allow them choices and opportunities.” Over the years, Kansas City has also been home to several professional soccer teams, but none has generated as much excitement and thrill as Sporting KC, which plays to sellout crowds at Children’s Mercy Park. Formerly the Kansas

City Wizards, the team rebranded itself – and reenergized the city – in 2010. Sporting KC also owns the Swope Park Rangers, one of 31 teams across the U.S. comprising the United Soccer League. And FC Kansas City, part of the National Women’s Soccer League, is making a big statement as well, winning two national championships since the team’s inception in 2012. Don’t overlook some of the other hometown teams either, such as the Kansas City T-Bones, a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball; the Roller Warriors women’s roller derby team; Kansas City Storm, a women’s tackle football team; and the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club. Of course, Kansas City also loves its college sports. Home of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Kansas City’s Sprint Center Arena hosts the Big XII Men’s Basketball Tournament each year. Kansas City is only a short drive away from SEC action at the University of Missouri and Big XII play at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. Or, stay close to home and catch Division I competition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. See you at the game! n PHOTO BY HOWE CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY




FLIRT WITH NEW FLAVORS. Food on the money. Drinks on the rocks. Join us for a quick lunch, an intimate dinner or just a drink at the bar. Better yet, invite your friends and family for a private dining event. At Sullivan’s, the stage is always set for an experience full of flavor.

©2016 Sullivan’s Steakhouse

4501 W. 119th St. | Leawood, KS 913.345.0800 |

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The Spirit of Giving

Spreads Across Kansas City in Waves By JUDY GOPPERT

The Midwest has always been known for its heart, and our city and surrounding areas showcase this desirable trait in high fashion. Case in point, Kansas City has been recognized as the third most charitable city in the country by Charity Navigator, an esteemed honor and it’s no wonder. You truly don’t have to look far to find people doing, working and striving to make life better for so many in so many ways.


One of Kansas City’s most iconic philanthropic events is the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend. Starting in 2010, KC native Rob Riggle, called fellow Shawnee Mission High School graduates and KC natives Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis with the idea to host a poker tournament to raise money for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Each agreed and immediately called upon their family and friends to help pull it off. Since then, friends including Will Ferrell, Olivia Wilde, Selena Gomez, Director Adam McKay, Bobby Cannavele, George Wendt, Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte and area natives Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner have helped raise more than $3 million. The event has transformed in recent years from poker to a celebrity softball game, bowling tournament, and a celebration event and auction. Harvesters is a household name in Kansas City, as the food bank that provides resources for those

in need. In the late 70s, when nutritious food was ending up in landfills, concerned business people, faith leaders and social service agencies in the community came together to form Harvesters – The Community Food Network. The organization was one of the first to become an affiliate of the national effort, Feeding America. In January 2010, Harvesters became a partner and beneficiary of a popular new event, Kansas City Restaurant Week, which raised $56,000 in its first year. In 2015, Harvesters distributed more than 39 million meals to hungry people in the KC region. Another unique foundation in Kansas City was created by two beloved KC Chiefs players, Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith, to “sack” illiteracy among our urban youth. The Third and Long Foundation strives to keep this dream alive by changing the lives of 9 to 13-year-old urban

children facing challenging and even life-threatening situations. Through social, cultural, and educational activities and programs, the Third and Long Foundation helps participating children succeed in school and in an outside world despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Children International (CI), headquartered in Kansas City, is a top-rated humanitarian organization focused on ending poverty by helping children and youth. The local staff and volunteers deliver holistic programs in health, education, empowerment and employment to more than 300,000 kids through 70 community centers in 10 countries. CI is proud to partner with TOMS and its One for OneŽ model to give new shoes to children in the impoverished areas CI serves. By the end of 2016, this partnership will have resulted in more than 3 million pairs of TOMS Shoes being distributed to children in need. A dry baby = a happy, healthy baby. That is what Happy is about. Jill Gaikowski founded Happy Bottoms in 2010 after seeing what other cities have done. Now, HB is Kansas City’s diaper bank, working with social service agency partners to provide diapers to the estimated 21,000+ children of low income families who struggle to provide their babies with diapers. HB and their many volunteers also work to raise awareness of the diaper need in our community., founded by Gary White and Matt Damon in 1990, exists to bring water and sanitation to the world. From the Kansas City base, volunteers and committed workers are making life-giving water available to such countries as Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. There is a creative organization working behind the seams, so to speak, in Kansas City’s garment district. Rightfully Sewn is on a mission to provide seamstress training for at-risk women so to help them thrive in the specialized clothing design workforce. All the while, helping reestablish Kansas City as an epicenter of garment manufacturing. Partners and friends of the organization help propel Kansas City fashion designers to market. This is done by providing designated spaces with state-of-the-art fashion technology, and staffing resources. Ever seen a Batmanesque car with an outer body made of Spandex? Or a salvaged Indy race car designed into a fully electric vehicle? That is what is happening in the MINDDRIVE shop, an innovative after-school program for high school students in Kansas City. This independent, not-for-profit corporation puts the focus on automotive design. During the 2014-2015 program year, MINDDRIVE expanded the program to offer evening classes and summer programming serving over 80 students annually. These are just some of the innovative ways our community is serving needy. Dig deeper, and you will find even more. n

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017





is a photographer based in the Crossroads Arts District. He’s best known for his black and white portraits of modern-day Kansas City creative personalities displayed on the following pages.



Contact the Olathe Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Department (913) 764-1050


With its great mix of professional opportunities, economic growth and entertainment options, find out why

Olathe is a great place to LIVE, WORK and PLAY.

18001 W. 106 St. Suite 160, Olathe, KS 66061



is a mompreneur, balancing the role of mom and the role of owning her business named Decoylab, a design studio focusing on creating ecofriendly whimsical clocks, home décor and accessories.


At 18 years old, is a notable international model who has been a signature face for Alexander Wang, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marc Jacobs and Versace. She has appeared at Fashion Week in NYC and abroad, walking the runway for designers like Chanel, Saint Laurent, Fendi, Balenciaga and more. 122


began his restaurant career in Manhattan, Kansas, and went on to help open CoCo Bolos in 1998. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, Hanna opened his own restaurant, The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange, and later the Westport champagne bar, Ça Va.


is the founder and CEO of MADI Apparel – Make a Difference Intimate Apparel, a women’s underwear line that donates a pair of underwear to a woman in need for every pair sold.


is an authentic, authoritative rock band taking their vivacious brand to stages across the globe. Katy Guillen (lead vocal and guitar), Claire Adams (bass) and Stephanie Williams (drums) pack in crowds at blues roadhouses and prominent concert venues alike.

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017




owns Purple Label Luxury Barbershop. Since graduating from barber college in 1995 he has been the official barber of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and University of Kansas Jayhawks.



As acquisitions editor for Universal Uclick, is always on a quest for new content. She works with creators on developing comics from concept to publication in newspapers and other platforms.


A native Malaysian, worked as creative director at Hint, a premier production/experience enterprise in Kansas City, for 16 years. He currently is Art Director – Video Team Leader at Hallmark.

IAN BYRNE was born in County Wicklow, Ireland and is the lead singer of The Elders, and Irish folk band that originated in KC and has achieved international success. A resident of Kansas City for more than 20 years, Byrne is inspired by the region’s appreciation for the artistic community.


is sixth-year veteran for Kansas City’s MLS team, Sporting KC. He was named named’s Breakout Player of the Year in 2011, a 2012 MLS All-Star, and joined the U.S. Men’s National Team’s final roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017





is an artist who has lent his talents to nearly 30 children’s books. His work has received recognition from the White House, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Late Show with David Letterman.

, born in Leavenworth, Kansas, is a professional skateboarder who won the 2011 Street League Skateboarding championship. Since the start of his career, he has been supported by the Escapist Skate Shop in Kansas City, one of his sponsors.

Visionary, artist and sculptor are just a few ways to describe , the talented metal sculptor artist creating incredible metal pieces for both public and private sectors around the nation.




is a bartenderturned-restaurateur-turned-distiller. Beginning his career at Pierpont’s in Union Station KC in 1999, Ryan now owns and operates a speakeasy bar in KC called Manifesto. He is also a co-founder in J. Reiger & Co.


is co-founder and CEO of DEG, one of the nation’s fastestgrowing and most insightful digital consultancies. The company was recently named one of the Inc. Magazine’s “25 companies that are changing the world.”


is a professional trumpeter and composer. Recently, he won the 2015 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Competition and was a semifinalist in the 2014 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition.


is an internationally touring punk band from St. Joseph, Missouri, featuring three brothers: Dee as lead guitarist and vocalist, Isaiah on bass, and Solomon on drums.

KC OPTIONS 2016 | 2017




is the founder and CEO of Charlie Hustle, a vintage inspired T-shirt brand that incorporates past motifs with a modern twist. His top-seller, featuring a heart and the letters “KC,” can be spotted on the streets daily, favored by KC born celebrities Paul Rudd, Jason Sudekis and Rob Riggle.

TYRONE AIKEN is executive director of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, the second home of the NYC-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Starting out as an instructor in 1991, he became artistic coordinator in 1995 and received the Coming Up Taller Award from First Lady Laura Bush in 2003. 128


is a Kansas City-born fashion designer creating art in a wearable format under her emerging label WHITNEYMANNEY. Her work has been featured in numerous national art/ fashion blogs, as well as having a prolific regional following.


Kansas native plays centerback for Kansas City’s MLS team, Sporting KC. He was the first player from the state of Kansas named to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s final roster for FIFA World Cup in 2014. Besler was voted an MLS All-Star in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Profile for KC Options

KC Options | 2016-2017  

Welcome to a championship city. In this issue of KC Options learn about the companies and startups driving world-renowned innovation, the af...

KC Options | 2016-2017  

Welcome to a championship city. In this issue of KC Options learn about the companies and startups driving world-renowned innovation, the af...

Profile for kcoptions