Kansas City Business Kudos

Recent business promotions, awards, new hires and special announcements

Have news or promotions that you would like to share? Email them to [email protected]. Please include the name of the person you would like to applaud along with his or her formal job title and a 100-word biography and hi-resolution photograph.


U.S.SourceLink welcomes Brian Raleigh as its new chief business development officer. Raleigh will lead the effort for global expansion of the SourceLink network, helping communities around the world build stronger entrepreneurial ecosystems and create an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish.

“I am very excited to join the U.S.SourceLink team,” Raleigh says.  “As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand how hard entrepreneurship is and how difficult it can be to find the resources you need to grow when you’re in the middle of crafting a grand idea. I look forward to helping communities around the nation and around the world build vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems to help give their entrepreneurs the edge and resources they need to create jobs and build stronger communities.”

Raleigh brings extensive experience and a deep understanding of the struggles entrepreneurs face—and how critical the right resource, at the right time can be in a company’s success. Raleigh was co-founder of R&R Marketing in Overland, Kansas, where he was most recently vice president of sales and marketing.

el dorado

El dorado received four awards at AIA Kansas City’s Design Excellence Awards.

The Leawood Speculative Office Building received an honor award in the architecture category. The 18,000-square-foot, two-story office building in Leawood was one of el dorado’s design-build project. Byers Residence, designed for a family five on a stretch of prairie, received a citation award in the architecture category.

Volland General Store was named the People’s Choice Award and also received a citation award in the architecture category. Kratzer Brothers Mercantile opened in Volland, Kansas on October 18, 1913. In 2013, Kansas Citians Patty and Jerry Reece purchased the neglected building, deciding to put the building back into community service. El dorado worked with the Reece’s to create a large, open space for events and exhibitions and a second-story living space at the back, above a catering kitchen and restrooms.

Home Builders Association

Brenner Holland, Hunt Midwest vice president of residential development, has been elected president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City in 2016. In addition to serving as president of the HBA’s board of directors, Holland will lead the organization’s 2016 executive committee.

Brenner Holland

“It is an honor to be elected by my peers in the homebuilding industry to lead the HBA. This is an exciting time to be involved in residential real estate construction and development, and I look forward to working in the best interests of the local homebuilding community in 2016,” says Holland, who has served in various HBA leadership positions since 2005.

Holland says his goals for 2016 include increasing public awareness of the benefits of new home construction for both families and the community, growing a new base of young homebuilders in the region and increasing the involvement of women in the HBA.

Intouch Solutions

Intouch Solutions announced the promotion of four employees in its Kansas City office.

Debbie Smith, manager, marketing analytics, has been promoted from senior marketing analyst to manager of marketing analytics. In her new role, Smith will lead the day-to-day operations of a team of marketing analysts, managing workloads and coordinating deliverables.

Debbie Smith

Michelle Armbruster, director, eCommunications, began working at Intouch in July 2013 as senior manager of relationship marketing. As director of eCommunications, Armbruster will act as senior contributor to client relationship marketing projects, focusing primarily on email and SMS implementation and deployment strategy.

Michelle Armbruster

Katema Adriyel, senior director, marketing operations, will lead the marketing operations department that supports Intouch on enterprise initiatives, global communications, compliance and data management.

Katema Adriyel

Chris Knoll will now serve as senior quality architect, providing guidance for testing mobile applications, including both Android and Apple solutions.

Chris Knoll

Last month, Intouch Solutions also presented $10,000 to Children’s Mercy Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City as part of its philanthropy spirit week.

Science City

Science City at Union Station—in partnership with Guadalupe Centers, Inc.—is one of 11 science museums nationwide to participate in Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool (CHISPA) program, recently recognized by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics and listed in the Bright Spots catalog. The catalog features over 230 programs, models, organizations and initiatives that support and invest in the educational attainment of Hispanics, from cradle to career.

The White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics’ Initiative recognizes Bright Spots in Hispanic education, supporting and/or ensuring access to a quality, well-rounded education for Hispanics.

CHISPA provides a hands-on science curriculum, available in English and Spanish, offered by local NCLR or ASPIRA afterschool programs. Parents are encouraged to participate in a series of parent engagement workshops designed to give parents the tools they need to support their children at school and at home. Families are invited to enjoy free CHISPA Family Science Days at their local museum.

Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains

Mason Elementary and Pleasant Ridge High School are the winners of the third Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains, one of the nation’s most unique STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competitions. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation distributed $155,000 in grants among the top 20 finalists at an awards ceremony at Union Station, providing Mason Elementary and Pleasant Ridge High School each with the top amount of $50,000. Burns & McDonnell and Science City revealed that Mason Elementary’s proposal, called “ Not-So-Simple Simple Machines Playground,” earned the grand prize and will be transformed into a million-dollar exhibit at Science City.

Mason Elementary School receiving its Battle of the Brains prize

“Now the fun really begins!” says Greg Graves, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “One of the coolest parts of winning Battle of the Brains is getting the opportunity to work alongside our STEM professionals over the next year to see their classroom dream come to life. In just a matter of weeks, these elementary students will be sitting in a meeting with our engineers, architects and construction team at Burns & McDonnell to create the next permanent exhibit at Science City.”

Spencer Fane

Spencer Fane LLP is pleased to welcome Associate Justin Leck to its Kansas City office. Leck will rejoin the firm’s Corporate Practice Group where he will focus on corporate law and real estate, including transfers and leases of real property, mergers and acquisitions, securities, corporate finance and providing general advice and services for privately held companies.

Justin Leck

In addition, Leck has a strong background in environmental law and related real estate matters. He previously served as a contract negotiator at Sprint’s corporate headquarters where he acted as the Commercial Transactions team lead for sustainability initiatives, including “green lease” terms.

KCAC Aviation

KCAC Aviation, a full service aviation company representing Pilatus Aircraft across the Great Plains and western Great Lakes, announces the appointment of Joshua Kovac as the regional director of sales – Pilatus Aircraft. Kovac will be responsible for new and pre-flown Pilatus Aircraft sales in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Josh Kovac

“Josh is an experienced business jet advisor and a great addition to the KCAC team as we enter our 50th year,” says Angelo Fiataruolo, general manager of KCAC Aviation. “Our most exciting years lie ahead, particularly with the entry of the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet only a few years out.”

In his new role, Kovac will be responsible for representing two of the most important business jet markets in the country, Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Prior to joining KCAC, Kovac was a consultant to NFS Advisors, a buyer’s representative boutique focused on the business aviation market. In his role at NFS Advisors, Kovac was responsible for client aircraft and fleet acquisitions.

PRIER Products

PRIER Products, a Grandview-based manufacturer of residential, commercial and ground hydrants, angle sill faucets, plumbing brass, drainage products and specialty valves, has appointed Krishna Mad­dineni as its machining lead.

“PRIER was fortunate to find someone as motivated and intelligent as Krish. We have laid a lot of responsibility on him, but we know he is extremely capable and has tremendous potential to prove even more impactful in PRIER’s future. In the few weeks that Krish has been here, we have already seen significant improvements in production and overall cleanliness of the machining area. We are very excited to continuously improve our machining process with him in this role,” says Brady Poskin, manufacturing manager.