High Atop the Town

My position may be unique in this region, but it offers a certain perspective.

By Joe Sweeney

Random Thoughts: We may not retire independently wealthy, but I have to tell you that serving as publisher of Ingram’s for 20 years (come February) has enabled me to get to know thousands of the brightest and most talented business and government leaders throughout the region.

While we may have felt somewhat connected after the first year or two—multiply that factor by two decades and that’s where we are today. In this time frame, we’ve watched one after another print and electronic media implode, including The Kansas City Star, which thankfully has at least survived. We had a bit of a war with The Star and their then-partner, Greater Kansas City Chamber, back in the late ’90s and I think we finally realized that it was better for business and blood pressure to just move on. I do believe, however, that it’s sad The Star is a far cry today from its dominance and quality journalism in prior decades. I do believe leadership and consistent commitment is the key to cohesion and longevity for media properties. This, I’m happy to report, has been in place for a long time at Ingram’s.

This month’s edition is a unique one. When we planned the October edition last fall, we did so with the intent to identify and recognize 250 of the most powerful and important business leaders in the greater Kansas City area. We have, however, deferred this special edition until next month—we believe it will be the most talked-about issue of Ingram’s in years. We established the theme of the “Rainmakers” feature this year towards recognizing the most significant sales producers among area Commercial Realtors throughout the region. Our research disclosed, interestingly, that among the top sales producers were two Realtors doing deals in this area, but from home offices in Dallas and Denver. As with most industries, we’re seeing a more national and global perspective and I think you’ll find our honorees to be quite accomplished perennial performers.

Among this year’s Rainmakers is my brother John—top producer for six years running at Reece Commercial. The irony in our family is that it’s much more difficult to be included in Ingram’s as a relative than someone else. By selling $30 million a year and serving as the master developer of the massive Gateway Sports Village among other emerging projects, John, like  the others, has earned the recognition.

Another feature this month, beginning on Page 65, is on the magnificently restored Power & Light Building. The story about this project goes much deeper than being about a successful redevelopment project. The real story is the cohesive relationship between the funder, developer, designer and builder.

Here I feel the need for a public shout-out. The coalition made up of Tradebot Properties (funder), NorthPoint Development, Neighbors Construction and NSPJ Architects is an extraordinary one.  They’ve aligned as a design-build team to construct thousands of apartment units at more than a dozen large sites.

This year’s election zaniness can cause us to overlook what truly matters.

The masterpiece, in my opinion, is how this cohesive team worked so well together to overcome the obstacles at P&L—one of the most challenging redevelopment projects in the region—and to convert it into a masterpiece. These four companies, and especially their top execs who drove this project, have done an extraordinary job and they deserve plenty of credit and praise.

Also in this month’s edition is our annual class of 20 in Their Twenties. One might think it’s relatively easy to research and select these honorees each year but I can honestly tell you that it’s the hardest assignment for our edit-ors. Twenty somethings move—perhaps even more so within this group than with Gen-Xers or even back in the days of the  Boomers—so it’s extremely challenging to select folks who are stable and who won’t jump companies and even careers.

I’ve been trying to work while recovering from back-to-back reconstructive and complete hip replacements. It’s been a tough go but fortunately the surgeries are now behind us. Michelle has been incredible through it all. Ironically, I mentioned to her last week that she has been so compassionate and caring that I’d recommend her as a care-giver anytime. Her smile suggested she didn’t appreciate the suggestion and that it was time to end the project.

Life is a funny thing and we all encounter, at one time or another, obstacles that keep us from living our plan.

On this eve of arguably the oddest election in our nation’s history—I thought I’d take a minute to share some stories of the sane and good, and to recognize those deserving of the accolades. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition as much as our team had in preparing it for you. Thank you for your continued patronage.

About the author


Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher


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