Bloch Student Team Places Second at CSBS Competition

A team of five Bloch School undergraduate students – Alison Irwin, Justin Loerts, Mason Paulus, Tristan Perkins, and Conrad Schrof – took the second-place prize at the 2018 Community Bank Case Study Competition sponsored by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).

The student team, advised by Finance Faculty Members Bill Keeton and Forest Myers, analyzed how community banks are using technology to streamline processes and better serve their customers. Each team in the competition produced a paper and video based on interviews with management of a partner bank and other experts. The Bloch team advanced to the finals through two rounds of judging, competing against 50 other teams from 44 universities nationwide.

The Bloch team partnered with Citizens Bank & Trust, which provided vital insights and connected the students with the CEO of Jack Henry and Associates and other leadership.

“This year’s competition has been very exciting due to sheer volume and the high quality of case studies,” said CSBS Senior Executive Vice President Michael Stevens. “It is a wonderful way to highlight student work and gain insights to how banks are deploying technology.”

Each student on the Bloch School team will receive a $500 CSBS scholarship. The team’s paper will also appear in the Journal of Community Bank Studies, a journal published by the CSBS to showcase the work of the top three undergraduate teams.

“The CSBS competition has been a great opportunity for Bloch School students to get out of the ivory tower and learn about real-world banking, said faculty adviser,” Bill Keeton.  “It’s just one example of the synergies possible between the Bloch School and the vibrant financial services sector in Kansas City.”

Music, Movement and a Message

H3 Enterprise wins 2018 RVCC

H3 Enterprise is announced as winner of the 2018 Regnier Venture Creation Challenge. Photos by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.

Educational Hip Hop firm wins Regnier Venture Creation Challenge

Roy Scott was a hard-edged rapper whose music, he freely admits, promoted drugs and violence and disrespected women.

That was until he heard his five-year-old son repeating his lyrics. It was a life-changing moment, and he resolved to take his music in a completely different, socially responsible direction.

The result is H3 Enterprise (Healthy Hip Hop), a program that conveys positive messages about education and health to a powerful hip-hop beat. During a presentation in early May at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he called it “Sesame Street for the 21st century.”

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Bloch Students Select Faculty Impact Award Winners

Each year, the Bloch School recognizes two faculty members who make lasting impressions on our students’ lives. Each spring, students vote for the faculty members who have had the most positive impact on them throughout their career at the Bloch School.

This year we are honored to award Nathan Mauck, Ph.D. and Doranne Hudson, MBA as Bloch School Graduate and Undergraduate Faculty Impact Award Winners (respectively).

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SeniorVu is the Focus of UMKC’s Annual Case Competition

Undergraduate Bloch School student teams present their case analyses for SeniorVu

SeniorVu was the focus of the Ninth Annual Strategic Management Case Competition, where undergraduate students perform a holistic analysis of a real-life case and provide recommendations to a leadership panel of the case organization’s leadership and Kansas City area executives. Those business leaders then judge the groups on everything from research to communication skills.

“We were honored to have had this group of bright young minds digging into what could be a new business opportunity for SeniorVu,” CEO Tim Donnelly said.  “Their thoughtful research into the senior living industry and into what we do at SeniorVu sparked several great ideas for our company.”

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UMKC Enactus Wins Regional Competition, Advances to Nationals

The UMKC Enactus team continues its tradition of success. The team of first-time presenters took top prize at the regional competition in Chicago, Ill., qualifying them to compete at the United States National Exposition. The national competition is being held locally, taking place at the Kansas City Convention Center May 21-22.

“This UMKC Enactus team has done an incredible job,” said Ben Williams, Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Assistant Director and Enactus Advisor. “It is a testament to the quality of UMKC students that we have so many students from all over campus coming together to solve problems in their communities.”

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Dr. Jeff Hornsby Earns Top System Honor

UM System Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award to Chair of the Department of Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation

University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch/Missouri Endowed Chair Dr. Jeff Hornsby has been named the UM System Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year for his distinguished activity in developing and nurturing entrepreneurs.

Mark McIntosh, University of Missouri System vice president for research and economic development, presented the award April 6. It was the second annual award, and the 2017 award winner also was a member of the UMKC faculty, Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law Anthony Luppino.

“Cultivating entrepreneurs who contribute to the economic vitality of the state is part of our critical mission as a public research university. We are thrilled to have educators like Dr. Hornsby leading these initiatives,” McIntosh said. “Jeff represents everything an entrepreneurship educator should be and his many contributions are greatly appreciated.”

Hornsby joined the UMKC Bloch School of Management in 2013 where he also serves as the Director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Chair of the Department of Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Prior to UMKC, Hornsby spent more than 20 years as an entrepreneurship educator at both Kansas State University and Ball State University. In his five years at UMKC, his many accomplishments include raising more than $1.5 million in grants and other funding, facilitating the mapping and redesign of entrepreneurship curriculum, developing the Kangaroo Idea Jump Competition and Entrepreneurship Ambassadors Program and continuing to grow existing programs such as E-Scholars. As a scholar of entrepreneurship, Hornsby has published more than 160 articles, six books and been cited more than 8,000 times.

Judges for the award were Dr. Nathalie Duval-Couetli of Purdue University and Mr. Kevin McCurren of Michigan State University. They noted that Hornsby is a well-rounded educator with contributions to the scholarly discipline as well as student learning. They appreciated not only his scholarly contributions, but his efforts in cultivating many student entrepreneurs, as well as his national service to the profession.

The award presentation took place during the second annual UM System Entrepreneurial Educator Summit. More than 80 educators from all four UM System campuses gathered for two days in Columbia to focus on entrepreneurial education. The conference provided a collaborative environment for the attendees to share best practices, brainstorm new approaches, and better understand the resources available to them as part of the UM System.

UMKC Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Competition Announces New Category

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City Healthcare Innovation Prize supports patient-focused advancements in the healthcare industry

One of the region’s richest entrepreneurship competitions, the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, returns in May – and for the second year in a row, the pot of prize money has grown significantly.

The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management will host the 7th annual Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Competition May 3-4, 2018. Eligible teams will compete for $75,000 in total awards and seed scholarships, made possible by generous support from the Regnier Family Foundations and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Students will compete in the Challenge by creating a business plan and pitching new student ventures. Applications are open to university students in Missouri and Kansas and current Bloch School Entrepreneurship Scholars.

In 2017, the prize for the overall first-place team doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. This year, the Challenge is adding a totally new category with $25,000 in additional awards. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) is sponsoring The Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize.

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UMKC Alumni Association Names 2018 Campus-Wide Alumni Awardees

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association and the campus celebrate the outstanding achievements of UMKC graduates through the Alumni Awards Gala. This year’s program honoring the class of 2018 recipients will be held on June 15.  For tickets or to become an event sponsor, click here.

The following Bloch alumni were named as awardees for the class of 2018:

Kay Barnes (M.A. ’71, M.P.A. ’78)

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri’s current prosperity and growth is a result of the blueprint created by former mayor, the Honorable Kay Barnes. The city’s downtown residents surged from 4,000 in 2002 to 26,000 in 2017, just one piece of the transformation at the city’s center. Barnes’ tenacity and leadership as mayor from 1999–2007 inspired a multi-billion dollar campaign for the revitalization of downtown Kansas City — including construction of the Power & Light District and the Sprint Center. In addition to her role as a national political figure and the first (and only) female mayor of Kansas City, Barnes has been a tireless champion for women. She helped establish the Central Exchange, a local organization committed to helping women achieve their greatest potential, as well as the UMKC Women’s Center, providing programming and support for women on campus. In 2015, Barnes was inducted into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame. She now serves as Senior Academic Liaison and Ambassador for Park University and has been as frequent guest lecturer at UMKC’s Bloch School of Management.

Dr. Fredrick N. Manasseh (Pharm.D. ’07, EMBA ’12)

Fredrick N. Manasseh arrived in Wichita, Kansas, from Nairobi, Kenya, with nothing more than a suitcase of clothes and enough money to pay for two months of room and board. As an undergraduate, he worked three jobs to pay for his education and support his family in Kenya. Despite losing everything he owned in an apartment fire within three months of arriving, Manasseh graduated with honors from Butler Community College and Wichita State University. While earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UMKC (and later, his EMBA), he established a student chapter for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP). He also went on to earn a Certificate of Health Information and Management Exchange Specialist from Columbia University, a Graduate Certificate of Finance from UMKC and a Strategic Management Certificate from Harvard University. In 2011, Manasseh founded The Monica E. Manasseh Scholarship, named for his mother, at UMKC to aid minority students who encounter financial barriers to higher education. Now, principal and managing consultant at Rx Prowess LLC, he serves as board chair and president for Riverview Health Services, an organization that connects indigent, uninsured and underinsured adults and children with health care services, education and medical supplies in Wyandotte County the Kansas City metropolitan area. He is also an executive board member for Child with No Father, an organization that provides educational support and resources to orphan children raised in developing countries. Additionally, Manasseh is a practicing pharmacist, adjunct professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and serves on the board of Community Development Financial Resources, an organization that aims to teach financial literacy and money management in communities that are financially underserved.

The Eisler-Ferguson Family (Patrick Eisler, M.P.A. ’98, Heather R. Beaird-Eisler, B.B.A. ’90, Haley Ferguson-Eisler, B.B.A.)

Within the Eisler-Ferguson family, there are more than a dozen Roos spanning two generations. William O’Neill Eisler graduated from the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) in 1958 and went on to receive his law degree. Bill practiced law for 45 years, with 20 years spent as a partner at the Whipple, Eisler & Kraft Law Firm and another 25 years in independent labor arbitration. Bill’s sons, Patrick and Sean, both attended UMKC and graduated with degrees in History and Mechanical Engineering, respectively. Patrick went on to earn his M.P.A. and worked for Apria Healthcare for 20 years before moving to his current position at Netsmart Technologies. His wife, Heather R. Beaird-Eisler, received her B.B.A. from UMKC. Sean began his career at Henderson Engineers, where his is currently a vice president. Sean often promotes School of Computing and Engineering events within his company and was instrumental in securing a multi-year scholarship from Henderson Engineers for SCE students. Although they attended high school together, Sean met his wife Haley Ferguson-Eisler at UMKC, where she earned her B.B.A. Haley’s parents, Marvin and Sandra Lynn Ferguson, attended the School of Law and have practiced together in North Kansas City for more than 50 years. Haley’s brother, Mark, and his wife, Margaret Costanzo-Ferguson, also both attended the UMKC School of Law. Mark has his own practice and has worked in the same building as his parents for over 25 years.

Frank Wewers (MBA ’69)

Frank Wewers founded Manning Systems, Inc., a leader in the gas detection industry. After selling Manning Systems to Honeywell, Wewers went on to found FLI-TEK Consulting, LLC, which provides strategic and tactical advice in the gas sensing and analyzer industry. In 2010, Wewers joined the UMKC Bloch Advisory Council and in 2013, a $1 million bequest established the Frank J. and Helen L. Wewers Scholarship Fund to provide financial support for Bloch School students. He presently serves on the board of the Kansas City Art Institute and the UMKC Foundation. He and his wife Helen are supporters of arts and public education, including organizations such as the University of Kansas School of Engineering, the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas Families for Education, the Alliance for Epilepsy Research and Children’s Mercy.

The Bloch School extends congratulations to the other campus-wide award winners:

Carla Conway Wilson (B.S. ’88)

UMKC’s Director of Athletics, Carla Conway Wilson has a vision and focus on service to athletics and student-athletes that has put her, and UMKC, in the national spotlight. In 2017, Wilson was elected as the third Vice President of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association and appointed to the NCAA Division I Council. She was also chosen to serve on the Executive Committee for the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association. The first female and minority leader of athletics at UMKC — and one of only a few female athletic directors among the NCAA’s 351 Division I institutions — Wilson was named Division I Administrator of the Year in 2012 by the Women Leaders in College Sports and one of the “Top 25 Women in Higher Education” in 2015 by Diverse magazine. In 2016-17, Wilson led the Roos to five Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championships, five second place finishes and two third place finishes. UMKC student-athletes also excelled in the classroom, earning a program-record cumulative grade point average of 3.34, with 122 student-athletes earning All-WAC academic honors. Wilson is active on a number of community boards including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City Sports Lab Advisory Board, Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City (WIN for KC) and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board for the UMKC’s Women’s Center.

Hannah Lofthus (B.A. ’07)

Hannah Lofthus is the founder and chief executive officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School and a committed member of the UMKC and Kansas City community. Her service to her alma mater began while she was an undergraduate student and member of the Honors College; she co-founded the service-learning program and founded a partnership with a local charter school to provide opportunities for Honors students to serve their community. This community partnership still exists today at the Kauffman School where 180 UMKC students have volunteered since the program’s inception. In 2010, Lofthus founded the Kauffman School with the mission of “creating college graduates.” The founding class of fifth graders entered the school in the bottom third of the state on fourth grade math and reading state exams. Four years later, their results ranked number one in the state of Missouri. Lofthus led the Kauffman School to state recognition: It was named the 2015 Missouri Charter School of the Year and earned a 100 percent Annual Performance Rating from the state the past two years, as well as national acclaim, achieving the Platinum Rating from the Leverage Leadership Institute and RELAY Graduate School of Education. The school was also named a 2017 “School to Learn From” by Teach for America. Lofthus was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame in 2015 and received the Accelerate Institute’s Ryan Award for transformational school leadership in 2016.


Kansas City REALTORS® Complete UMKC REALTOR® Leadership Academy

The Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City celebrated the 22 Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS® members who completed the inaugural class of the UMKC REALTOR® Leadership Academy.

The Academy is a 10-month leadership development program designed to support REALTORS® who are committed to advancing their careers through professional education and civic engagement. The Regional Association partnered with Bloch Executive Education and the Lewis White Real Estate Center at the UMKC’s Bloch School of Management for the creation and development of the Academy. UMKC Bloch School Dean Brian Klaas congratulated the students for their dedication to professional development and lifelong learning at the completion ceremony on Jan 10.

“Welcome to the Bloch School Roo family,” Klaas said. “You took the initiative. It will serve you well over time.”

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Bloch MBA Students’ Success Reaches the Global Scale

Shortly after receiving a graduate degree from the Bloch School, Scott Hansen (MBA, Entrepreneurship Scholars ’14) launched what is now ProfessionalChats, a website chat service specialized in high quality, online engagement. Shortly after, he was joined by fellow Bloch alumnus Trevor Flannigan (MBA ’14), who had a passion for growing companies. Three years later, these native Kansas Citians have done just that. ProfessionalChats now has more than 60 employees, serves five different industries and boasts more than 500 clients with up to $50 million in revenue among seven countries.

How did they do it? We set up an interview with them to find out.

What is ProfessionalChats?

Trevor Flannigan (MBA ’14), Chief Operating Officer, ProfessionalChats

Trevor Flannigan: “ProfessionalChats is a Kansas City-based website chat service that specializes in high quality, online engagement. We have multiple brands geared toward serving specific markets: OrthoChats for orthodontists, HomeServiceChats for residential service companies, HearingChats for audiologists, DentistChats for dentists and ChiroChats for chiropractors. Niching out our service lines as specific client-facing brands has helped us gain credibility within each industry better than generic marketed names. Live website chat has quickly gained traction as an essential part of any large business’s communication.”

How did ProfessionalChats start?

Scott Hansen (MBA ’14), Founder and CEO, ProfessionalChats

Scott Hansen: “I was managing my family’s orthodontic practice. We launched online chat on our website for two reasons: we wanted to convert more ‘shoppers’ into new patients, and we wanted to provide unparalleled customer service. It was a huge success.

However, being ultra-responsive with online chat while managing our normal tasks was difficult. So, we looked at outsourcing the service.  All of the services we could find used overseas labor and contracted chat agents to work from home.  Needless to say, the services offered relatively poor quality. So, instead of giving up, I hired a chat specialist, trained him, and started offering a premium chat service specifically for orthodontists, OrthoChats.” Continue reading