Momentum for a Celebration

Why 2024 will be a milestone year for Ingram’s, and what that could mean for your organization.

By Joe Sweeney

I served on the board of directors of the Alliance of Area Business Publications for years, and in 1998 it was my pleasure to recruit our keynote speaker for the 1999 Summer Conference in Washington, D.C. I pursued Steve Forbes for that, called his office and talked with a couple of his associates.

The following day, a colleague said, “Joe—Steve Forbes on line 3”.  We visited, and he agreed to participate. “We subscribe to all 75-plus of your member publications, and I read three religiously—Ingram’s among them,” he told me. Flattered, I asked, why Ingram’s? “You produce the best executive summaries in the nation. Ingram’s is often required reading for our journalists,” he said.

Fast-forward a decade. Jack Cashill and I interviewed Mr. Forbes at the InterContinental on the Plaza, and I brought along a copy of Ingram’s 35th Anniversary edition from 2009. From about a foot above the table, I dropped the 200-pager. Thud! “That’s our January edition, Steve.” “There’s no damn way,” he said, not hiding his surprise. 

Each January since 1999, in years ending in 4 or 9, Ingram’s has produced the largest business publication in the nation. In January 2024, we intend to publish our biggest ever. A draft of the Table of Contents for Ingram’s 50th Anniversary edition is on the next page.

Recently, I gave a presentation in Detroit to publishers on the subject of Anniversary and Special Editions. Yes, it’s unfair to have the Chiefs in our market, as we’ve become accustomed to producing Super Bowl editions, but they may compel us to produce yet another. Our colleagues were surprised at the ambitious plan for a 250-page publication.

So I’d like to invite companies and organizations throughout the greater KC and bi-state business community to a birthday party. 

Ingram’s is knee-deep in planning for the biggest magazine in the publication’s history. On our to-do list in the run-up to that:

We’ll celebrate the start of our 50th year by covering the enterprises and executives who have formed the backbone of many industry sectors.

We’ll identify the key players of the past half-century—corporate and individual—in entrepreneurship, in business growth and job creation, in building the supporting infrastructure of industry. 

We’ll spotlight those responsible for major civic initiatives, along with leaders who took up the challenge of fulfilling those visions.

We’ll explore how the foundations of commerce here have shifted, making Kansas City a center of excellence in life sciences, logistics, engineering, agribusiness and other fields.

We’ll convene a General Assembly drawing from the ranks of the region’s most influential companies. Ingram’s Industry Outlook series will also return in full force with leadership from key sectors convening each month to align. And those are just for starters. 

While our own corporate milestone inspires this unprecedented effort, this isn’t about Ingram’s. It’s about those to whom this city owes a measure of gratitude, and a debt of thanks for gifting us a community that we see as brimming with possibilities. 

So what’s in all this for you? Well, for most of our history, we’ve focused on the realization of those possibilities for companies and individuals with our recognition programs that are key pillars of the editorial plan.

Like 40 Under Forty, introducing our executive readership to the younger talent now filling C-suites and leadership roles. 

Or Best Companies to Work For, our annual salute to organizations whose workplace design helps attract the best and brightest to the regional work force. 

Or Local Heroes and Corporate Champions (a personal favorite each December), showcasing the philanthropic spirit that sets KC apart from other cities.

It’s likely that, at some point, your organization has been part of that suite of honors and awards. That makes you part of our story. On a more personal level, it’s made you part of our lives over the nearly three decades since Michelle and I bought the magazine and have served as architects to design these programs and serve as stewards of business success throughout our region.

The opportunity to meet so many inspirational figures, true titans of business, has been unique—I can’t think of another leadership role in Kansas City that can match it. We’ve been blessed with the chance to create a product that serves all businesses not just with recognition awards, but with our core coverage of developments in key business sectors, with our industry ranking lists and business intelligence, with our hundreds, if not thousands of thought leaders who have served as guest authors for small business operations, finance, legal affairs and wealth management and more.

This, then, is your invitation to jump on board the celebration wagon with the January 2024 50th Anniversary special edition and with Ingram’s programming strategy throughout our 50th year. It’s a once-in-50-years opportunity for companies to promote their brands as advertisers or as sponsors of various events throughout 2024. You’ll have a vehicle that serves other companies, prospective clients and a new talent cohort, helping them understand your own corporate history and how it intertwines with this region’s broader successes.

For many of you, this keepsake edition will let you reflect on the achievements that earned you, your company or members of your team a place in a very bright spotlight. Success breeds success; this will be your chance to put yours on display.

About the author


Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher


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