BEST ACCOUNTING/CONSULTING FIRM
It seems that Kansas Citians like to go large when choosing an accounting firm. Gold honors this year went to Deloitte (one of the Big Four), which has its area office Downtown, as well as dozens of offices across the country. Taking Silver is Springfield-based BKD, which also has an office Downtown and others stretching from New York City to Salt Lake City. The Bronze finisher, KPMG, is another member of the Big Four and has a massive footprint in the KC area. Its local presence is also in the Financial District, and the multi-national corporation can also be found in cities across the country.
BEST ADVERTISING FIRM (SMALL)
Trozzolo Communications Group might have taken the Gold in the Best Advertising Firm (Small) category, but it has experienced a lot of activity over the last few years. Its Prairie Dog healthcare outfit was recently named agency of record for Children’s Mercy Kansas City hospital. Full-service agency JNA Advertising, in Overland Park, took the Silver medal, and has done work for Kansas Lottery and several other visible clients. Taking Bronze was Crux KC, in the Crossroads. Earlier this year, the firm launched sister company Crux-Xcelerate to focus on small and mid-sized businesses.
BEST ADVERTISING FIRM (LARGE)
For Best Advertising Firm (Large), Kansas City-based multi-national outfit VMLY&R took home the Gold. With 7,000 employees worldwide, it counts Dell, Office Depot and Wendy’s among its clients. Barkley, also based in Kansas City, is the Silver-medal winner. Some of its recent client wins include, Planet Fitness, Taco John’s and Winnebago Motorhomes. Coming in with the Bronze is BerNstein-Rein, with its office on the Plaza. The firm recently won increased business from McDonald’s and does work for 124 of its locations in Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, including Kansas City.
BEST ARCHITECTURAL/DESIGN FIRM
Burns & McDonnell, one of Kansas City’s most visible companies over the last several years, captured the Gold in the Best Architectural/Design Firm space. Those talents have
been used to undertake its own headquarters expansion, adding another 142,000 square feet. HOK the Silver winner, with a local office in the Crossroads, has taken on several significant projects around the globe, including Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport. Bronze winner Helix Architecture + Design, in the Crossroads, has 25 years of experience in the market, including the renovations of the Folly and Midland theaters.
When banking, Ingram’s readers seem to like regional banks the best. Commerce Bank, the Gold medalist in the Best Bank category, considers itself a “super-community” institution, which is traded on the NASDAQ. Based in Kansas City Commerce has about 25 locations in the metro area and also has branches in Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado. Country Club Bank, the Silver-medal winner, headquartered in Kansas City, has 19 branches and is owned and managed by the Thompson family, with Paul Thompson as chief executive. It also operates Platte Valley Bank. UMB Financial Corp., also on the NASDAQ, took the Bronze. It has branches throughout Kansas and Missouri, as well as Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona.
BEST ENGINEERING FIRM
Burns & McDonnell takes another Gold, this time in the Best Engineering Firm category. The employee-owned business, headquartered in Kansas City, has offices across the country, as well as overseas, and works in industries from infrastructure to government buildings to telecommunications. HNTB Corp., also based in Kansas City, is the Silver winner. It also has a wide reach of offices in the United States and specializes in transportation and infrastructure. Overland Park-based Black & Veatch won Bronze, and it too has a worldwide presence. The company recently reorganized its global power business, launching a distributed-energy group and increasing focus on renewable energy.
BEST COMMERCIAL CONTRACTOR (SMALL)
A.L. Huber General Contractor nabbed the Gold in the Best Commercial Contractor (Small) field. The firm worked on J. Rieger & Co.’s new East Bottoms distillery; is building a $220-million mixed-use center called The Grove, in Lee’s Summit; and did an interior renovation of Commerce Bank’s headquarters, among other projects. Silver medalist Bear Claw Construction, which is Native American owned, has worked on multifamily, as well as dining-entertainment. Kelly Construction Group, in Grandview, is the Bronze-medal winner. Last year the company opened a new 20,000-square-foot office and warehouse headquarters for its business. The company works on everything from parking garages to hospitality.
BEST COMMERCIAL CONTRACTOR (LARGE)
Gold-medal winner JE Dunn Construction, headquartered Downtown, has offices from coast to coast. It is currently working on the new KCI Airport terminal, Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, the new Downtown YMCA, and other major projects. Silver-recipient McCownGordon Construction, also Downtown with additional offices in Manhattan and Wichita, has built several major area developments, including Johnson County Monticello Library, multiple buildings at Hospital Hill and is currently working on a new building at the Kansas City Art Institute. Turner Construction Group, which took the Bronze, is a multinational company with Kansas City operations Downtown. The firm has done work on Sporting Park and Arrowhead Stadium.
BEST COMMERCIAL PRINTER
In the commercial-printing world, Lee’s Summit-based Summit Litho owns the Gold medal. The company specializes in brochures, invitations and bindery, and can do digital as well as six-color printing. Summit also offers fulfillment and warehousing services. Silver-medalist, Soli Printing, in Kansas City, does mailing and fulfillment, as well as promotional items, along with having several different printing capabilities and formats. Callender Printing, the Bronze winner, has been around since 1893, is located in Downtown Kansas City, Kan. The outfit prints business cards, brochures and pamphlets, door hangings, catalogs and newsletters, and several other products.
BEST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FIRM
Gold-medal winner in Best Commercial Real Estate firm is Reece Commercial, which is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Based in Overland Park, Reece Commercial works with office, industrial retail, multifamily, and investment properties for sales and leasing transactions. Newmark Grubb Zimmer, the Sil-ver recipient, is headquartered Downtown, with offices in eastern Jackson County, Salina and St. Louis. It recently brokered a deal to bring a Niagra Bottling facility to South Kansas City. Copaken Brooks, also Downtown, takes Bronze. It is leasing up The District, Lenexa’s new downtown project, as well as other office and retail properties around the metro area.
BEST DRY CLEANER
Pride Cleaners, Gold-medal winner in Best Dry Cleaner, seems to always be opening locations throughout the Kansas City area and now has about 30 to choose from. Based in KC, it has been in business since 1987. Hangers Cleaners, the Silver medalist, has outposts in Martin City, Lee’s Summit and Midtown. It also
provides pickup and delivery at homes and businesses. Bronze-winner Tide Cleaners is a national outfit that has four locations in Johnson County, in Leawood, Prairie Village and Overland Park and offers 24/7 drop off and pick up using secured lockers.
BEST HEALTH CLUB
Gold medalist Genesis Health Clubs started in 1986 in Wichita, but it has a strong Kansas City presence with 12 locations around the area. Depending on the location, Genesis offers swimming, tennis, basketball, children’s programs, corporate wellness and other activities. Life Time Fitness, owner of the Silver, is a national chain with outlets in Lenexa and Overland Park that are considered “athletic resorts.” Taking the Bronze is The Athletic Club, in Overland Park, which was until recently Prairie Life Fitness, with Overland Park and Olathe outposts, aquatics, physical therapy, youth programs and other attractions.
BEST INSURANCE PROVIDER
Hometown favorite Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City takes the Gold in the Best Insurance Provider category. And the organization is under new leadership, with Erin Stucky recently replacing Danette Wilson in the president and chief executive officer roles. Silver-medal winner is national firm Humana, which has been testing a local senior healthcare program with Walgreens that could spread across the country. That is said to be a response to Bronze winner Aetna’s merger with drugstore giant CVS, which is sure to lead to more of a presence by the insurer in its dozens of Kansas City locations.
BEST HOSPITAL/MEDICAL CENTER
For the best overall medical care in the Kansas City area, Saint Luke’s Health System takes Gold in a very competitive category. Last year the organization was recognized for its work with a $13 million donation from the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation to go toward its Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute. Taking the Silver medal is University of Kansas Health System, which has a new health education building on its campus and is renovating its main courtyard. AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, taking the Bronze, formerly known as Shawnee Mission Health, is planning a new Lenexa campus.
There are a lot of new faces in the Kansas City hotel world’s construction boom, but Gold-medal winner the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza has been around since 1972. The facility underwent a $16 million renovation two years ago that updated its guest rooms, lobby and other areas. Silver medalist The Raphael has been around even longer, since 1928, and is now the historic, European-style setting is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. Newcomer Crossroads Hotel took the Bronze. It opened last year and is already busy, with 131 guest rooms, meeting spaces, a restaurant, café and rooftop bar.
BEST LAW FIRM
The Gold-medal winner in the Best Law Firm category is a local player with a national presence. PolsinellI PC, headquartered in Kansas City with offices in Overland Park and St. Joseph, has locations nationwide and the second-most attorneys in the area. The Silver winner is Lathrop Gage, with the fourth-most lawyers and 10 offices around the country. Founded in 1873, it is considered the area’s oldest firm. Stinson LLP, formerly Stinson Leonard Street, takes the Bronze, and is the third-largest firm in the area. The company rebranded in April.
BEST MEETING/CONFERENCE CENTER/FACILITY
The Overland Park Convention Center might not be in the center of the metro area, but that doesn’t take away from its appeal. Attached to the Sheraton Overland Park and a major meeting draw since 2002, it took the Gold in the Best Meeting/Conference Center/Facility category. The Kansas City Convention Center, Silver-medal winner, will soon have a neighboring convention hotel, the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, on track to open next year. Taking Bronze is Sporting KC’s Pinnacle National Development Center, which opened at the beginning of the year and also serves as a training facility for Sporting.
BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE FIRM
In this competitive housing market, finding the right broker is important, and Kansas Citians have some favorites to help secure that important transaction. Gold-medal winner
ReeceNichols was founded in 2001 after the combination of J.C. Nichols Real Estate and J.D. Reece Co. and has the distinction of being a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. The firm has 34 area franchised offices. The local presence of national firm Keller Williams Realty, which has several offices here from Gladstone to Raymore, took the Silver. The Bronze goes to the local operations of Re/Max, which also has offices throughout the metro area.
BEST RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
A favorite place to spend one’s golden years in the metro area, John Knox Village takes the Gold medal. The 400-acre campus has been a Lee’s Summit fixture since 1970. Silver winner Village Shalom opened in its current form in 2000 and is undergoing an expansion with the addition of 48 free-standing dwellings dedicated to memory care expected to open this fall. The Bronze goes to Saint Luke’s Bishop Spencer Place, which is an affiliated with the hospital system and located near the Country Club Plaza. It opened in 1995 and has 135 residents.
BEST SMALL BUSINESS LENDER
In a vibrant small-business metropolitan area, lending to those is a vital component to the local economy. And Arvest Bank, based in Fayetteville, Ark., has the area’s attention. The sponsor of the Midland theater takes the Gold medal in the Best Small Business Lender category. Enterprise Bank & Trust, based in the St. Louis area, takes the Silver. It has locations in the Crossroads; Kansas City, Kan., Olathe and Overland Park. Locally based Commerce Bank, which has branches throughout the Midwest, took the Bronze. It also has about two-dozen locations on both sides of the state line.
For needed pampering and a refreshed look, Salon Mission and Day Spa takes the Gold medal with Ingram’s readers in the Best Spa category. Located in Overland Park’s Ranch Mart shopping center, the enterprise also has an outpost at Sprint’s headquarters campus. Bijin Salon & Spa, in Prairie Village, is the Silver medalist, offering its own line of soaps, candles, body scrubs, fragrances and more. Taking Bronze is the Spa at the Elms Hotel, in Excelsior Springs. Its 25,000 spa square feet sit on the historic hotel’s grounds for those needing a recharge.
BEST WEALTH MANAGER (FIRM)
Accumulating wealth is one thing; holding on to it is another. Kansas City has several wealth-management practices that can help residents keep and grow their savings, and Creative Planning, based in Overland Park, is the Gold medalist in this category, with about $39 billion in assets under management. Taking the Silver is Waddell & Reed, also in Overland Park. The firm, which was founded in 1937, has $71.9 billion under management. Taking the Bronze: Mariner Wealth Advisors, with more than $22 billion under management. This year Mariner has also acquired firms in other locales, including Cincinnati, Houston, and Corte Madera, Calif.
BEST WIRELESS PHONE SERVICE
Wireless-carrier competition is a tough business, even in the area your headquarters calls home. Apparently wireless loyalty knows no geographical boundaries. Readers gave the Gold to Verizon Wireless. The company has started rolling out its 5G network, and phones, earlier this year. Overland Park-based Sprint, which is also rolling out its 5G capabilities, takes the Silver. And the Bronze goes to AT&T Mobility, and, of course, it is also in the 5G-rollout process.