Four of Kansas City’s most celebrated innovators make up the 2017 class
The Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management welcomes some of Kansas City’s most exemplary entrepreneurs as its second class of honorees.
The hall is a vision and a gift from Joe and Judy Roetheli, founders of the Lil’ Red Foundation. Their vision was to have a permanent, immersive and interactive hall of fame, designed to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. The hall is located on the main level of the Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry St.
“The goal of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame is to celebrate the stories of Kansas City’s most iconic entrepreneurs – those who built businesses from the ground up,” said Beverly Stewart, director, Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. “I can’t think of a better representation than these four individuals.”
The criteria for admission to the hall of fame is selected individuals who founded or substantially grew a for-profit business; gave back to the community in a meaningful way; and live in or have ties to the Kansas City region. The inaugural class of honorees was inducted in 2014.
The new inductees will be formally inducted at a ceremony on March 3, 2017, with an unveiling of their individual exhibits. Each exhibit tells the honoree’s personal story of entrepreneurial vision and achievement, including an artifact from their career serving as a tangible representation of success.
The 2017 Inductees
- Kate Spade – A Kansas City native, Spade co-founded with her husband, Andy, a stylish, practical line of handbags. As her brand grew around the world, she included totes and luggage, shoes, eyewear, stationery and a home collection. Following a hiatus from the business, she returned in 2015 with a shoe and handbag line under the label Frances Valentine.
- Ollie Gates – Gates has been an innovative change agent since 1932. After working in the family restaurant, completing his bachelor’s degree and serving in the U.S. Army, he became president and CEO of Gates Bar-B-Q in 1970. The family’s first restaurant opened in 1946. Under Gates’ leadership, it expanded to six family-operated locations and is known worldwide for delectable meats and unparalleled customer service.
- Annie Hurlbut Zander – Zander is CEO and co-founder of Peruvian Connection, an apparel company based on ethnographic and historical textile inspiration. She discovered her entrepreneurial passion while visiting South Africa as an anthropology student at Yale. For the last 40 years, her business has grown from her love of woven textiles into a thriving direct-marketing business, releasing five internationally-renowned collections a year through catalogs, online and in the brand’s retail stores across the U.S. and in the U.K.
- Tom McDonnell – McDonnell joined DST in 1969, a newly launched information processing and computer software services company. While serving as president and CEO of DST Systems Inc. from 1973 to 2012, he was instrumental in the organization’s explosive domestic and international growth. He served as president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which also benefited from his entrepreneurial expertise.