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2016 Regional Assembly

At its 20th Annual Regional Assembly, held on June 9, 2016, at the Muehlebach Hotel, MARC presented Regional Leadership Awards to four individuals and one organization. The awards recognize outstanding contributions in advancing a regional vision of excellence; advocating for regional concepts, approaches and programs; and applying innovative solutions to regional challenges. The 2016 honorees include:

  • Dr. Doug Girod and Scott Smith, Co-chairs of the KC Rising Initiative
    For the past 18 months, Scott Smith and Dr. Doug Girod have served as the volunteer co-chairs of KC Rising — a collaborative, long-term, metro-wide initiative to grow the region’s economic competitiveness. Under their leadership, KC Rising has advanced a compelling regional agenda on trade, innovation and entrepreneurship, and human capital. Dr. Girod is an executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he oversees education, research, patient care and community engagement. After 28 years, Scott Smith retired from his position as president of HNTB in 2013. His work has been influential at the local and national levels.
  • KC Healthy Kids
    KC Healthy Kids strives to ensure that every child in the Greater Kansas City region has access to healthy food options and an environment supporting active living. KC Healthy Kids fosters collaborative relationships that bring farmers markets and community gardens into food deserts, and add more sidewalks, bike lanes and transit options into neighborhoods where few residents own vehicles. KC Healthy Kids also helps shape local food policies to improve food systems and our physical surroundings.
  • Dr. John Nalbandian, Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas
    John Nalbandian has influenced the trajectory and quality of countless local governments across the Greater Kansas City region. He has taught and mentored numerous city and county managers and built a national reputation for helping local governments develop professional staff and sound governing practices. Nalbandian joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1976, and served 12 years as dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration. 
  • Gene Shepherd, Emergency Manager, Kansas City, Missouri
    Since 2010, Gene Shepherd has served as the emergency manager for the city of Kansas City, Missouri, after 32 years at the Kansas City Fire Department. Shepherd’s leadership has helped bring local, state and federal officials together with private industry to strengthen the Greater Kansas City region’s capacities to plan, prepare and respond to emergency events. He has been a driving force in the creation of one of the most well-coordinated emergency response systems in the country.

Awards Videos


A slideshow of photos from the event are availble on Flickr»

2016 Regional Assembly and Regional Leadership Awards

Keynote Speaker

Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville, Kentucky
Greg Fischer is serving his second term as mayor of Louisville and guiding the city on three key priorities — creating good paying jobs, improving education at all levels, and making Louisville a compassionate city. He was named the 2013 “Public Official of the Year" by Governing Magazine and serves as a trustee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.