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KC Chamber announces its Centurions Leadership Program 2016 class

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome the class of 2016 to its Centurions Leadership Program. Members of the Centurions Leadership Program spend two years exploring the opportunities and issues of the Kansas City region.

Learn And Lead

Established in 1976, Centurions was the first program of its kind in the metro. Over time, it has developed the reputation as an unequaled training ground for future leaders of Kansas City. Centurions are focused on building community awareness through civic opportunities and on community issues that affect Greater Kansas City. The mission is to prepare a representative cross-section of the community’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of Greater Kansas City. Task forces will include topics such as immigration, healthcare, KC traditions, and more. This year’s Legacy Project, service designed to leave a lasting impact, will be Amethyst Place. The organization provides transitional housing for women in recovery and their children.

“Centurions continue to recruit and foster the best and brightest in our community,” said Jim Heeter, president and chief executive officer of the KC Chamber. “We’ve heard people liken the experience to getting a Master’s degree in all things Kansas City. The Chamber is pleased to welcome members of the class of 2016 as they embark on the journey of learning about our wonderful city, serving its most vulnerable, and leading our community into the future.”

Applicants are selected on the basis of proven professional success and community engagement, as demonstrated through a written application, recommendations, and personal interviews. The program selects a group of men and women from diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds, each with strong potential as a future community leader.

The class of 2016 includes the following individuals:

Patrick Amey - KHC Wealth Management
Mohamed Awan - Shook, Hardy, & Bacon
Seth Baker - Cerner
Mark Basola - BMO Harris Bank
Michael Bell - American Century
Matthew Benge - SRA Benefits
Brent Blacklock - TPP Certified Public Accountants
Jeff Blaesing - JE Dunn Construction Group
Angela Brees - General Services Administration
Timothy Burkhalter - Burns & McDonnell
Chad Cillessen - C&C Group
Marie Dispenza - KC Royals Baseball Corporation
Krystle Dunn - Armstrong Teasdale
Margaret Fitzgerald - Milbank Manufacturing
Tanesha Ford - Kauffman Scholars, Inc.
Amanda Jane Garbach - Gould Evans Associates
Matthew Gigliotti - City of KCMO
Gail Gray - Community America Credit Union
Christie Hammond - Hope Network of Raytown
Hannah Hasselquist - Camp Fire
Tricia Johnson - Show Me KC Schools
Jennifer Matney - Pioneer Services
Kieth McGovern - BKD, LLP
Kate McKinney - Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, LLP
Rachel Merlo - Google
Leslie Michaud - Drisko, Fee, and Parkins Orthopedics
Megan Mulvihill - HNTB Corporation
Ellen Neidlinger - VML
Ivan Nugent - Kansas City Public Schools
Lara Pabst - Krigel & Krigel, P.C.
Adam Pankratz - Ogletree Deakins
Adam Rossbach - KC Chiefs Football Club
Scott Rowe - Arvest Bank
Jeremy Smith - H&R Block
Mary Olive Thompson - Kansas City Public Library
Mario Urquilla - Enterprise Bank & Trust
Ann Van Zee - Harvesters
Caroline VanDeusen - NIC Services LLC
Holly Villasi - BlueCreek Investment Partners, LLC
Richard Winslow - KCUMB

Alumni of the program go on to serve on nonprofit boards, run for public office, and otherwise step into leadership roles in the interest of making Greater Kansas City a great place to live and work. A list of alumni and a complete list of active Centurions is available online at

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