Gina Danner is CEO of Mail Print, Inc. In two decades, Gina has helped grow Mail Print from a small offset shop with one press in 1988 to an industry leader. Managing growth from a 2,000 to a 40,000 square foot facility with two employees to 57 without a down year despite economies showcases Gina’s leadership, vision, marketing savvy, and tenacity as an entrepreneur. She’s helped develop and deploy direct marketing systems and marketing portals for hundreds of nationwide and Fortune 500 companies. Gina is the president elect for the National Association of Women Business Leaders and a past board member for Operation Breakthrough, the Entrepreneurial Exchange as well as a past entrepreneurial coach for the Kauffman
Foundation. She’s a graduate of the University of Missouri—Kansas City.
Eric Cole operates 34 Panera Bread Bakery-Cafes throughout Kansas and the Kansas City Metro area. He is also the owner and operator of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburger franchise locations throughout Central Missouri and the St. Louis Metro area.
Joe Polo is the owner of Original Juan Specialty Foods. Original Juan specializes in an array of fine food products from dessert sauces to hot sauces to pasta and bbq sauces. They co-pack and private label for companies ranging from local to international. Product development of benchmarks in the industry and brand awareness are personal and company goals which will ultimately lead to our brands becoming household names.
This is a very special speaker who we are thankful to have speak at KC Roundtable. He has a very unique and successful story which has earned him a spot among the elite of Kansas City entrepreneurs. This was a can’t miss breakfast.
Chris Isaacson is a founding employee and chief operating officer at BATS Global Markets. He is also a senior vice president of the firm. Chris is responsible for ensuring BATS remains an innovative, world-class leader in technology and his leadership has helped BATS grow quickly.
John Gordon Jr.
John Gordon Jr. is the founder of Boys Grow. Boys Grow is a non-profit that is a two-year agricultural entrepreneurship program for inner-city kids. The idea is to teach Kansas City, Missouri, children, a few at a time, a set of life and business skills. You can read more about him from The Pitch article here: http://www.pitch.com/kansascity/boys-grow-john-gordon/Content?oid=2979292
Matt Watson was the founder and CTO of VinSolutions which was sold to AutoTrader.com in May 2011. He is now the founder and CEO of Stackify.
Scott Carlile was the founder of Progressive Medical, Inc. which he just recently sold.
Harry S. Campbell
Harry has been a president for two Fortune 500 companies, co-owner of an award-winning small business, CEO/board member of an Internet start-up and founding member of the industry-changing Wal-Mart/P&G Customer Team in Northwest Arkansas. He has driven exceptional people and business results in organizations of 25 to 3,500 employees in a broad range of industries — from consumer packaged goods to telecom to sports marketing to digital media. Harry is known as an identifier, developer and motivator of exceptional talent at all levels of the organization.
Jo Anne Gabert
Jo — Anne Gabert is president of Bicknell Family Holding Co. LLC, which acquired her company. She runs all the companies in the $400 million portfolio, including Adams-Gabbert (her acquired company).
Thad Langford has a history of building transformative businesses within both Fortune 500 companies and early stage ventures. Most recently Thad served as the President & Chief Executive Officer of Zave Networks, an early stage technology venture dedicated to creating a service that closes the loop between online/mobile digital advertising and the sale of the product in brick and mortar retail stores. He redefined the go to market approach and grew the company to position Zave as the leading digital incentive platform provider. This led to Zave’s acquisition by Google in 2011. Prior to his position at Zave, Thad led several different businesses during his eight year tenure at Sprint in the areas of wireless data, wireless wholesale and local services. Among his accomplishments, he rapidly grew Sprint’s wireless wholesale business unit which led the industry in the MVNO and M2M space. He also spearheaded business development efforts to forge partnerships in the wireless data space, culminating in industry-leading products and services in music, imaging, multimedia, gaming, location and content. In addition, he managed Sprint’s Innovation program to identify and commercialize disruptive products/services in areas such as mobile commerce and founded Sprint Nextel Ventures to invest in game changing start-up companies.
Dave Gale is president of Gale Communities, Inc. currently managing three major development projects in Lee’s Summit, Missouri: New Longview, Winterset Valley (the last of the Five Neighborhoods of Winterset) and Arborwalk. Since inception these award winning projects have delivered 1,310 single-family and 560 multi-family residential units, along with 200,000 square feet of commercial space plus an elementary school, church, numerous parks, etc. Each of these are large, mixed use projects; total capital investment is projected at 1.6 billion dollars. At build-out these neighborhoods will consist of over 5,500 residential units, a million and a half square feet of commercial space, parks, trails and lakes, several churches, schools, etc. Resident in Lee’s Summit since 1996 he is an active community volunteer having served on the boards of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Eastland Foundation, Real Estate Community Foundation, Lee’s Summit Civic Roundtable, Premier Life, New Longview Foundation and was charter president of Lee’s Summit Sunrise Rotary. He is a past chair of the Johnson County Art Council, John Knox Village and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council. He is President of the Winterset Park Community Association, New Longview Community Association and the Arborwalk Community Association.
Sam Meers is a strong proponent of advertising and digital strategy to build brands, Sam has developed his marketing communications beliefs through experience. Founding Meers Advertising in 1993, he has witnessed the rapidly evolving integration of traditional and digital communications first-hand. Some of the companies with which the agency works include American Academy of Family Physicians, multiple Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Husch Blackwell, Starlight Theater, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Kansas City Film Festival and The Whole Person. In 2011, Meers Advertising was recognized by Inc. Magazine as the fastest growing company in Kansas City, Missouri. The company was also recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal as a technology leader in marketing communications and received the publications first Impact Award for innovative use of technology. Also in 2011, the Downtown Council of Kansas City named Sam an Urban Hero for the work he and his company have done to revitalize the Urban Core of Kansas City. Sam posts frequently to his blog, Smoke & Meers, on the ever changing advertising and digital marketing scene. His agency has become known for helping clients achieve thought leadership positions in both traditional and digital marketing. Meers serves as Vice President of the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City, is on the Kansas City Board of Governors of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, is a member of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, and is a long-time supporter of Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.
Chris Lundine’s 17 years of sales & entrepreneurial experience have been an invaluable tuition and education that he draws upon while providing consultation to his client base. Lundine’s career has been invested working in sales planning & development capacities with several organizations. Whether hewas working with Healthcare organizations, small startups or as an independent consultant, he brought structure, vision, passion & growth to the organization.
Bob Ramm who is the owner of Topsy’s International Inc. Today Topsy’s International Inc. is comprised of 12 franchised popcorn and ice cream shops in the Kansas City and outlying areas. The Topsy’s Shoppes in the Kansas City area achieve approximately two to three times the sales that a typical popcorn shop attains and Topsy’s ranks as one of the top two U.S. retailers in Christmas gift tin sales.
Tim Webster was the CEO of the publicly trading company American Italian Pasta Company and he is now the COO of Xikar. Tim Webster grew up in an entrepreneurial family with interests in petroleum distribution, real estate development and the quirky passions of his eccentric father.
He graduated from Drake University in 1983 with a degree in Business Administration. After almost 6 years in Public Accounting as an auditor and consultant, he became the CFO of American Italian Pasta Company at the age of 28. Eighteen months later he was CEO. During his 17 years at the Company, revenues grew from $6mm to $440mm and five state of the art facilities were built on greenfield sites. Following the Atkins Diet impact on the carbohydrate complex and an investigation of the Company’s accounting, Tim left AIPC in December 2005. The Company was subsequently sold to Ralcorp for $1.2 Billion. Since 2006, Tim has provided growth consulting and investment capital to high potential consumer products companies through his Growth Consulting and Investments LLC. His clients/investments include Xikar, Inc., Three Dog Bakery, Inc., Original Juan Specialty Foods, SCD Probiotics, Indigo Wild, and Pollenware. Tim’s journey has included dramatic highs and lows. There are many lessons he has learned and was eager to share.…
Kurt Van Keppel
Kurt Van Keppel is the founder and CEO of Xikar Inc. He has his product in over 3,000 stores and revenue in the millions. The Kansas City Star wrote a nice piece on his company: http://www.xikar.com/images/news/2007–02-27_XIKAR_KCSTARFeature.pdf.
Tyler Prochnow is Senior Partner and Co-Founder of Think Big Partners. In 1995, Tyler graduated from the University of Denver College of Law and began a successful law practice with Patton Boggs, LP in Denver. In 1997, he moved to Kansas City as an associate with the Lathrop & Gage law firm. Specializing in marketing and advertising law, Mr. Prochnow has been called to testify as an expert before congressional committees, federal agencies, state legislatures and in private litigation. Mr. Prochnow was also a frequent lecturer to national groups on marketing issues and a guest columnist for several trade publications. In 2003, on the night he was to be elected partner at Lathrop & Gage, Prochnow left the practice of law and founded Golden Peak Sports, a full service sports representation agency that counted among its clients such notable athletes as Deion Sanders, Amy Van Dyken, Amare Stoudemire and Ed McCaffrey. In 2005, Prochnow was awarded ownership of the expansion franchise that came to be known as Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League. He served as owner and President of the team until 2007. Today, Prochnow also serves as President and CEO of Connexsus, LLC, one of the nation’s premier direct marketing service companies, providing telephony, data management, data consulting, call center and e-commerce services for domestic and international marketers. He is also President and Managing Member of ACS Properties, LLC where he manages the company’s varied business ventures, including its interest in Q Masters BBQ, GradeGenie.com and multiple real estate projects nationwide.
August Grasis was recently named the 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award Winner in the Central Midwest Technology category, Augie Grasis is an established entrepreneur known for his savvy business approach and industry-changing ideas. Since founding Handmark in 2000, Grasis has played an important role in defining the mobile content industry and changing the way people use their mobile phones. Currently as Chairman of the Board, Grasis remains deeply engaged in the day-to-day business leveraging his experience to advance the company’s position as a leading developer and distributor of mobile applications and services, supporting some of the largest brands in the world. Prior to Handmark, Grasis founded Foresight Resources (later acquired by Autodesk) where he lead industry-first initiatives in the CAD and Home Design software business.
After the sell of one company, Michael Sommers started another named BalancePoint. Michael was instrumental in the founding, business development, and growth of several highly successful companies prior to BalancePoint. These previous business experiences provided Michael with extensive and varied industry knowledge, which is currently being applied to the benefit and success of BalancePoint. Mr. Sommers is responsible for Business Development/Service Delivery, and Marketing. He is ultimately accountable for vision, strategy, and execution in the marketplace.