Power People of Kansas City 2017
Super powers, dynamic duos and wonder women of KC
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Kathy Nelson (President and CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation)
The Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation does incalculable behind-the-scenes work in town, and Nelson has been its president and CEO since 2011. Nelson and the Sports Commission have been influential in bringing such diverse sporting events as the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and December’s NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship while keeping the Big 12 Tournament a Kansas City tradition.
Bob Kendrick (President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum)
The museum wouldn’t be what it is without Buck O’Neil, nor would it be the same without Kendrick, who was welcomed back as the museum’s president in 2011 and has put it on steadier footing. Under his eadership, the legacy of the Negro Leagues remains at the forefront.
Tony Severino & Terry English (High school coaches)
Before Severino won seven state championships at Rockhurst High School, he won another at Shawnee Mission Northwest in 1982. The man and Rockhurst football are synonymous with one another as he leads a state title contender (again) in 2017, his 35th season with the Hawklets. What Severino is to high school football in Kansas City, Terry English is to high school basketball. Last year was his 40th season coaching the girls’ basketball team at Bishop Miege High School, highlighted by two milestones: his 800th career win (820-162 overall) and his 20th state title.
Rob Thomson (Executive Vice President, Sporting KC Communications & Digital)
Thompson is one of the very few Sporting KC associates to be with the club since its inaugural 1996 season (except for a brief one-year hiatus) and has played a leading role in transforming the club into a model MLS organization — especially since the rebrand from the Kansas City Wizards to Sporting KC in 2011. Under Thomson’s guidance, Sporting KC has set the standard for a fan/fam-friendly experience.
Earl Santee (Center)
Kansas City is a mecca for stadium architecture, and Santee, the founder of Populous, has revolutionized the way America views games in the stands. With the completion of SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Santee's company has designed or renovated 20 of the 30 major league ballparks. Santee, a University of Kansas graduate, is a central figure in modern baseball without stepping to the plate for a major league at-bat.
And when Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium needed facelifts and upgrades, it was Populous that was selected for each project. The firm helped co-design Sprint Center, which turned 10 years old in October. What about Children’s Mercy Park, the home of Sporting Kansas City? You guessed it: That’s a Populous stadium, too.
Santee and Populous have their hand in virtually every sports cookie jar. College football stadiums, soccer stadiums, and even tennis venues like Margaret Court Arena for the Australian Open have trusted the Populous touch.
The sheer number of buildings around the world have made Santee a preeminent figure in the industry. A company that started with only seven employees has grown into a force with headquarters not just in Kansas City, but in London and Brisbane, with offices in cities such as New York, Beijing and a new office in Tokyo.
Santee says every design process starts with a narrative. “It’s a story about the culture, the history, the traditions, the future of a community. And of course, the fans. When I see all the fans together for the first time on opening day, I get goosebumps every time. It’s the moment of seeing them fall in love with their new home, a home that we created unique for that moment.”