More than 500 people from the Kansas City community joined The Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management for the 27th annual Entrepreneur of Year Awards on October 16 at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Honorary dinner chairs for this year’s event were Peter deSilva, president and COO of UMB Financial Corporation, and his wife, Michelle deSilva.
This year, the honorees were:
International Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Lamb, founder and executive chairman of C-SPAN
C-SPAN is the American cable network which provides coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as well as other public affairs events. Lamb has been a part of the public affairs channel since he helped the cable industry launch it 33 years ago in 1979. Today, C-SPAN employs approximately 270 people and delivers public affairs programming on three television channels to the nation’s cable and satellite customers; globally to Internet users via C-SPAN.org and 15 other internet sites; and to radio listeners through C-SPAN radio – an FM station in Washington that can also be heard on XM satellite service nationwide.
Lamb also spent time earlier in the afternoon talking to one of the Bloch School’s entrepreneurship classes, where he both took questions and posed them. He peppered the students with thought-provoking questions regarding what it really takes to be an entrepreneur.
Regional Entrepreneur of the Year: John McDonald, founder, Boulevard Brewing Company
In 1989, John McDonald put down his carpenter’s tools and founded Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company, instantly making it Missouri’s second largest brewery. Boulevard retains that title to this day and also now the largest American-owned brewery in the state. Boulevard enjoys a strong reputation and full distribution in 13 Midwestern states, with selected offerings distributed in an additional six states. McDonald, along with other Boulevard colleagues, established Ripple Glass, the only glass recycling operation in Kansas City.
Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship: Robert D. Regnier, Victor A. Regnier, and Catherine M. Regnier (Victor and Helen Regnier Family Foundations)
The Regnier siblings used a portion of their parent’s estate to establish the Regnier Family Foundations. The Foundation is intended to reflect the values and passion of their parents, Victor L. and Helen Benning Regnier, and primarily focuses on higher education, children’s programs and libraries in the Kansas City area.
Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Evan Kirsch, Folioboy
Bloch School senior Evan Kirsch developed Folioboy, vetted the idea through the Bloch School Regnier Venture Creation Challenge and launched the company through the Bloch Schools E-Scholars program. Folioboy helps students (or anyone) design online portfolios and share them with colleges and employers.
Proceeds from the dinner benefit UMKC’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, one of Kansas City’s premier resources for educating and creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.