Kansas City Business Kudos

Recent business promotions, awards, new hires and special announcements

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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

After a lengthy national search, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has named Rima Girnius associate curator of European painting and sculpture. Girnius, until recently a curator at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, specializes in early modern art of Germany and the Netherlands. She received her PhD in 2007 from Bryn Mawr College.

Rima Girnius. Photo by Kim Rice.

The search for an associate curator was launched in spring 2015, and candidates from both large and small institutions were interviewed.

“Rima is extremely well-regarded, and she has been involved in numerous highly collaborative exhibition projects at the Figge,” says Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts Catherine Futter. “It is Rima’s desire to return to her love of Old Masters that seemed a wonderful balance between scholarship and diverse exhibition experience that strongly appealed to us.”

The museum also recently named Anne Manning Director of Education and Interpretive Programs. Manning comes to Kansas City from The Baltimore Museum of Art, where she oversaw the Education and Interpretation, Library and Archives, and Exhibition Design and Installation Departments.

Anne Manning. Photo by Howard Korn.

“Anne will play a critical role at the Nelson-Atkins in advancing the museum’s strategy of engaging new audiences, as well as improving and deepening the experience of our visitors,” says Chair of the Board of Trustees Shirley Bush Helzberg. “Her energy and enthusiasm for all forms of education opportunities, for scholarly endeavors, and for audience evaluation make her a wonderful fit for this leadership position.”

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel

James Snow has been appointed general manager of The Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.

Snow returns to his native Kansas City with more than 30 years of operations, sales and management experience in the luxury, hospitality and fitness industries. Snow began his hospitality career with the Marriott Corporation and went on to lead multimillion-dollar projects in various cities throughout the U.S. Snow was most recently president of Private Equity Performance Group, a company that provides growth support to private equity-backed hospitality and fitness investments. He also served as president of Gold’s Gym International.

“I have always welcomed a challenge and now I am especially excited to come home to Kansas City and continue the acceleration of leisure and group bookings at one of the best facilities in the Midwest,” Snow says. “I will continue to build on the great work that has been carried out following the renovation of the property while maintaining the strong, award-winning employee culture at the complex, which I believe is the foundation of all great hotels.”

OneKC for Women

Sherry Turner, founder of OneKC for Women, was presented with the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction for her dedication to assisting women on their quest to professional, financial, and personal self-sufficiency at the 2015 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in St. Louis. Governor Jay Nixon recognized Turner’s impact in our community along with other outstanding leaders in business, community engagement and economic development.

Sherry Turner

Turner founded OneKC for Women in 2009, an alliance of organizations—Women’s Employment Network, Women’s Business Center, Women’s Capital Connection and WE-Lend—that help women pursue their professional and financial goals.

“Collaborations create a synergy and consistency in the resources offered to women in our community,” Turner says. “With a unified message profiling the strength of successful women in our region, we will continue to empower our clients as they grow in their careers, businesses and investments in our region.”

Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program

The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) announced a class of 13 entrepreneurs for its 2015 program, along with three new mentors. Designed to be a three-year, facilitated program beginning in the latter part of each year, HEMP has helped more than 300 entrepreneurs over two decades and currently has more than 36 active mentor/mentee pairs.

This year’s mentees include:  Will Buchanan, Treadwell LLC; Vicki Clayman, Partners N Promotion; Tom Elafros, American Midwest Distributors LLC; Ryan Elder, Facility Systems; Grant Gooding, Proof Positioning; Jeff Kreutz, KH Properties; Mimi Markel, Under the Palm Tree; Kat McDaniel, MEDiAHEAD; Craig Novorr, Paragon Capital Management; David Schleicher, Prairie Design Build; Sean Simms, SKS Studio; Jessica Underwood, Chief of Staff; and Mike Zimmerman, Beyond the Scores.

New mentors for 2015 include Duff Greenwood, Cleaves-Bessmer-Marietti, Inc.; Johnny Jacobson, TranAm Trucking, Inc.; Craig Miller, retired.

Summit Bank of Kansas City

Summit Bank of Kansas City, a full-service community-based bank, has recently elected Carl L. Chinnery, founding partner of Chinnery Evans & Nail, as board chairman, along with two new board directors, Robert “Bud” Herzog, veterinarian and practice manager at Lee’s Summit Animal Hospital, and John W. Bluford III, president emeritus and past president/CEO of Truman Medical Centers.

“Our board plays a pivotal role in Summit Bank’s success. Each of these individuals embodies the core values of Summit Bank and we are grateful Carl will chair the board and delighted to welcome Bud and John,” says Summit Bank President and CEO Rick Viar.

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Burns & McDonnell chairman and chief executive officer Greg Graves has been elected as the new chair of Kansas City Repertory Theatre Board of Directors. Graves, who had served on the finance committee, will serve as chair for two years and succeeds Scott Boswell. He has been on the board since 2014.

“I’m a true believer that one of the key elements of having a world class city is having exceptional arts programs,” says Graves, newly elected chair of Kansas City Repertory Theatre Board of Directors. “For decades, KC Rep has been entertaining all of us with programming that educates, challenges and inspires its audience. I’m honored to share my commitment and passion to the arts with such an iconic Kansas City institution.”

New members elected to the board include H. Jeffrey Dobbs, KPMG global sector chair and national service line leader for Industrial Manufacturing; Timothy J. Marchesi, president and chief executive officer of DeMarche Associates, Inc. and chair of the DeMarche Manager Review Committee; and Roshann Parris, founder of Parris Communications Inc.

Spencer Fane

Spencer Fane announced the addition of associates Thomas S. Hiatt and Madison A. Fischer to its Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group in the firm’s Kansas City office.

Prior to his current position with Spencer Fane, Thomas Hiatt served as a summer associate with the firm. His past experience also includes interning for the Hon. Julie A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

Thomas Hiatt

Madison Fischer joins the firm following her graduation from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in the top 15 percent of her class. Prior to Spencer Fane, Fischer served as a student research representative for LexisNexis as well as a summer associate at one of the state’s largest law firms.

Madison Fischer 

Cornerstone Mortgage

Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc., a privately-held St. Louis based mortgage-banking firm is excited to announce it has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in America, according to the 2015 INC. 500/5000 list.

With this exclusive ranking, Cornerstone has now been featured on the INC. 500/5000 list for 5 consecutive years. The list represents a comprehensive look at America’s independent entrepreneurs and highlights the fastest growing companies in America.

Cornerstone has grown by more than 66 percent over the last three years, adding 80 new employees. The company’s revenues exceeded $22 million in 2014, and in the last year, Cornerstone opened new offices in Festus, Missouri and Overland Park, Kansas.

“We are honored to be named one of the fastest growing companies on the 2015 INC. 500/5000 list for 5 years in a row,” says Senior Vice President and COO Angi Stevenson. “What inspires Cornerstone is the desire to be better than our competitors by providing our customers with the best service possible. We have a team who seeks to constantly move the bar a notch higher. We will continue to build on our practices, strategies and superior service that has made us so successful.”

Reece Commercial Real Estate

PG Partners, a partnership with former Chiefs player Deron Cherry, announces the selection of Reece Commercial Real Estate and John Sweeney, senior broker, as the exclusive leasing and sales agent for the soon to be developed Gateway Sports Village, a $400 million soccer, retail, hospitality and residential development in Grandview, Missouri.

John Sweeney

“Families and coaches are looking for easy access to amenities, food, lodging and shopping without having to stray far from the soccer field. Being a former soccer dad, combined with my commercial and retail real estate experience, I have the perfect combination for working with the Gateway team,” says Sweeney. RC Jensen, Senior Associate, with Reece Commercial Real Estate, will assist Sweeney on the project.

Working in partnership with Pycior of Gateway Sports Village, the Reece Commercial team will quickly begin identifying potential tenants for the initial 168,000 square feet of retail space, restaurants, stores, hotels, services, apparel, medical, financial and more. In keeping with the family-friendly venue concept, potential tenants could include a movie theater, bowling alley, grocery store and other retail stores and services. Gateway Sports Village will also offer families outdoor spaces including trails, bike paths and playgrounds.