KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City celebrates Kansas Citians for their entrepreneurial spirit and innovative business success.
The inductees – an impressive list of the community’s foundational entrepreneurs – demonstrate Kansas City’s position as “America’s most entrepreneurial city.” They include a jeweler, real estate developer, pharmaceutical company founder and beer brewer. Henry W. Bloch, the school’s namesake, also is one of the class members. The new hall of fame and its inaugural class of inductees were officially dedicated on Friday, Dec. 5.
The hall is a result of a vision and a generous gift from Joe and Judy Roetheli, founders of the Lil’ Red Foundation. It was their vision to have a three-dimensional physical presence for the hall of fame – a place where students and visitors could come for inspiration. It is located on the main level of the Bloch Executive Hall, 5108 Cherry St. Admission is free.
“The Entrepreneur Hall of Fame is a natural outcome of our strategic mission – to support entrepreneurship in Kansas City,” said David Donnelly, dean of the Bloch School. “This hall serves as a teaching tool as it provides role models for our students, graduates and the community to emulate.”
The criteria for admission to the hall of fame is high. The selected individuals either 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.
“Creating an Entrepreneur Hall of Fame is exactly what we should be doing as Kansas City’s university,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “It’s about honoring and preserving the past; educating and inspiring the present; and laying the foundation for the future.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation have always been key to Kansas City’s growth and development, starting with the Hannibal Bridge in 1869. The bridge was the first railroad bridge to cross the Missouri River, establishing Kansas City as a major metropolitan center,” continued Morton. “Each succeeding generation has learned from, and been inspired by, the one before. The hall of fame will provide a focal point for our finest role models and the inspiration they provide.”
Peter deSilva, President and COO, UMB Financial Corporation and Vice Chairman, UMB Bank, was the master of ceremonies at the induction ceremony; deSilva led one of the “Big 5” campaigns sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the effort to brand Kansas City as “America’s Most Entrepreneurial City.”
“With resources like the Bloch School, KC Sourcelink, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Digital Sandbox, the Start-up Village, Google Fiber and others too numerous to mention here, we have a healthy, vibrant environment for entrepreneurs,” said deSilva. “With the right conditions in place, there are no limits to what visionary entrepreneurs can accomplish.”
The inductees, who were able to thrive as a result of Kansas City’s supportive/creative environment, will be recognized with a display that shows not just their faces and their history of value creation, but also an artifact – a tangible representation of their success. Exhibits of the Hall include an interactive touchscreen featuring inductee biographies, educational kiosks, artifacts from the lives of the entrepreneurs, a QR-code-enabled mobile video experience and words of inspiration from the entrepreneurs themselves.
The 2014 Inaugural Inductees
Kenneth Baum, George K. Baum and Company
Henry W. Bloch, H&R Block
David Brain, EPR Properties
Mike Brown, Euronet Worldwide
William Dunn, Sr., JE Dunn Construction
Barnett and Shirley Helzberg, Helzberg Diamonds, Inc.
Lamar Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Ewing Kauffman, Marion Laboratories
Bonnie Kelly, Teresa Walsh, Jerry Kelly, Silpada
John T. Lockton III, Lockton Insurance Cos
Dan Lowe, RED Legacy
John McDonald, Boulevard Brewing Company
Regnier Family, Regnier Family Foundations
John Sherman, Inergy
Terry Van Der Tuuk, Graphic Technology, Inc.
William Zahner, A. Zahner Company
Hugh Zimmer, Zimmer Companies