In a metropolitan area of 2.77 million people strewn from Topeka to St. Joseph to Sedalia, is it possible to pick out 250 people that are absolute pillars of commerce? Yes … yes it is. But for every slam-dunk choice that went into selecting the Ingram’s 250—high-profile chief executives of the region’s largest companies—there are vast numbers of people who operate behind the scenes, in key roles on corporate or non-profit boards, in private-capital environs, or in other important ways. We asked them about their best advice for young executives and biggest achievements, and threw in a few off-the wall questions, just for fun.
Sometimes, the nature of their work keeps them flying below the radar. Sometimes, they simply prefer to occupy that space. In this, our first-ever Ingram’s 250, we bring you our take on where business muscle is being flexed, where influence is being exerted, and by whom. Some you’ll see as naturals; some you may take issue with, and some not on this list will, in readers’ minds, be missing. We’re prepared for this, and we’re open to that discussion. So let us know who you think we’ve overlooked, and why you think they belong. We don’t do this one often, but when we do, you can bet it will once again include 250 people who are, unequivocally, the drivers behind business being done in the greater Kansas City area region.
While the inaugural line-up in the Ingram’s 250 is loaded with C-suite power players, sprinkled throughout are key executives from non-profit and public-sector settings, those whose day-to-day decisions go a long way toward influencing regional business. It all comes down to throw-weight: The financial power they have at their fingertips, the influence their companies exert on business transaction volume and public policy, their presence in civic affairs as well as corporate. We started with lists of the largest employers in the region, we factored in the top public and private revenue generators, we combed public data for executives whose skills command the highest compensation—we even made allowances for companies whose cultures that promote civic engagement, rather than cases of bottom-line tunnel vision. For many in the Ingram’s 250, objective criteria helps make the case. A certain element of subjectivity, however, must necessarily be involved, and ours was informed by this staff’s combined half-century of editorial experience covering the region’s business scene and its key influencers.
MANAGING PRINCIPAL, BLOCK REAL ESTATE SERVICES
In commercial real estate, Kansas City has a name that tends dominate: Block. From a seedling planted by brothers Allen and James Block in 1946, a tree has branched out, and one of the branches is overseen by Ken Block, who founded BRES in 2009 and built it into a billion-dollar production powerhouse. “We believe,” he says, “we are changing the way people do real estate business in Kansas City and in our other markets, as well.”
COLLEGE: Michigan State University Honors College
BEST ADVICE: “Work very hard. Be honest. Be bold. Take risks.”
MOST-ADMIRED CEO: “My father, Allen Block. He built an incredibly successful company, was entirely honest, and believed that his word was his bond.”
BUCKET LIST NO. 1: “To play Augusta Country Club (have done it three times); then to get a hole-in-one, and finally did that last month after 53 years of trying; guess I have to start a new list!”
PASSION/HOBBY: “Golf is a great way to de-stress after work, and while it is my favorite hobby, my passions are my family and work.”
ONE FOOD YOU WOULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT: “Steak!”
To see the entire list, click here.