Deloitte & Touche LLP captures the Gold along with a
large portion of business, staff and partners from last years number
one. The accounting firm traces its Kansas City roots back to 1920 and
now provides multiple services, including accounting and assurance, enterprise
risk services, tax consulting and technology and financial consulting.
Over 95,000 employees at Deloitte & Touche serve roughly one-fifth
of the worlds largest companies. The Silver is taken home
by Grant Thornton LLP, a Chicago-based firm that has built its
business serving middle-market clients. BKD, LLP retains its position
on the list and is again awarded the Bronze.
Not only is Bernstein-Rein Advertising the largest advertising
company in Kansas City, its also regularly chosen as the best. A
fourth Gold award goes to Bernstein Rein as it further cements
its excellent standing in Kansas City. Its "brand humanity"
approach to marketing aims for both the hearts and minds of
consumers and has been connecting brands to peopleto the tune of
$400 billion in goods and services for its clients last year alone. The
Silver goes to a 27-year-old named Fasone Garrett Boehm Advertising.
The self-proclaimed "Little Agency That Roars" has certainly
made itself heard this year. Barkley Evergreen & Partners picks
up the Bronze and returns to the best ad agency category.
Kansas City travelers have been hitching a ride with Midwest Express
Airlines since it established a connection in 1989. The company vision
is to be a world leader in customer service, employee commitment, operational
performance and business results. Adherence to its mission has brought
Midwest Express the devotion of Kansas City flyers and their award of
the Gold for the fourth year in a row. Southwest Airlines
carried over 1.7 million passengers in and out of MCI last year and wrangles
another Silver. The Bronze award goes to American Airlines
as voters confirm their opinions and renew the winners in this category.
Since 1914 this Kansas City firm has been building a sturdy reputation
in transportation, bridge, aviation, architecture and environmental services
industries. HNTB created its architectural division with the merger
of Kivett & Myers in 1975. Its more recent acquisition of Mackey Mitchell
Zahner Associates has further strengthened the architectural prowess that
wins HNTB the Gold for the second year in a row. The Silver
will reside with two firms this year. Regular honorees in the Best of
Business, Gould Evans Goodman Associates and CDFM2 Architecture
Inc. tie for the award. The Bronze is given to HOK Sports
& Venue & Event Architecture.
UMB Bank has a strong hold on Kansas Citys banking business,
if its fourth consecutive Gold award is any indicator. UMB dates
back to 1913 as a storefront bank that began with $1,100 in deposits.
Under the direction of a long line of Kemper presidents, the bank has
grown into a multibank holding company covering six Midwestern states
with $7.3 billion in assets. In the metro area it covers the most ground
in the local banking business with 56 full-service facilities. The
Silver has also returned to Commerce Bank for the fourth time.
The bank stays in favor as its 5,500 employees carry out their promise
to be accessible, offer solutions and build relationships. Bank of
America has been on the board and growing in Kansas City since its
acquisition of NationsBank and nets the Bronze.
Best Child Care
Crème de la Crème rises to the top to take the Gold
award from the traditional honoree, La Petite Academy. Crème de
la Crème, based in Colorado, opened in Leawood, Kan. in 1999 and
is part of a premium-quality childcare organization that has eight facilities
in four states. Its mission to provide the most nurturing, creative and
educationally innovative environment possible in a secure and immaculate
facility has made it a favorite in KC and across the country. La Petite
Academy takes home the Silver award this year. Roughly 87,000
children, from age 6 weeks to 12 years old, are under the care of the
academy, which recently headed back to its original state of Illinois
to relocate its headquarters to Chicago. The Bronze is awarded
to Berkley Child & Family Development Center on the UMKC campus.
Interior Design Firm
Another award is tallied for CDFM2 Architecture Inc.this
time the Gold is captured for its interior design work. Other honors
have been stacking up for CDFM2, including the 2002 International Illumination
Design Award; multiple AIA Kansas City Allied Arts and Craftsmanship Awards
in 2001 for work on the Valencia Place Dome, Lockton Headquarters Staircase
and Decorative Wall Panels and the American Century Services Conference
Table and Credenza. Gould Evans Goodman Associates also picks up
a second award, the Silver, for this category. A newcomer to the
honoree list, Rees Masilionis Turley Architecture debuts with a
Bronze in the bag.
Best Day Spa
Naturally has made quite the impression on voters as it zooms past
its rivals to claim the Gold. The AVEDA Concept Salon is owned
by Richard and Sally DeLozier and has been named as one of the fastest
growing salons in the nation by Salon Today magazine. The salon serves
a host of noticeable clients, including the Chiefs Cheerleaders, Mary
Tyler Moore, Lauren Bacall, Kate Jackson, Steven Tyler, Julie Andrew,
Gov. Ann Richards and others. Mario Tricoci holds on to its Silver
with its meticulous attention to detail and a drive to make an ordinary
beauty treatment an unforgettable, enjoyable indulgence. The Bronze
award goes to a regular favorite, bijin salon and day spa, which
continues to thrive and expand in Prairie Village.
Companies, big and small, have been dropping left and right in the last
year, but employees at Hallmark relax comfortably with supreme
confidence in their employer. The company has long been earning the good
marks of its workers with excellent benefits and a creative and nurturing
environment that have kept it the top dog in this category with another
Gold. American Century Investments has been noted locally and nationally
for its employee-praised working environment. The investment management
firm, led by James Stowers Jr., earns the Silver. Though it may
seem a broad statement, voters decided that the Federal Government
earned its keep this year and have awarded it the Bronze.
From a two-man operation in 1898 to a 1,350 employee-owned international
engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has built a solid reputation
in Kansas City. "Burns & Mac" recently received the prestigious
project-of-the-year honor from the American Public Works Association for
the emergency sewage system repair along the Blue River. Its work is commonly
awarded with high praise, certainly reflected in the voters selecting
it for the Gold award. Black & Veatch is a multibillion-dollar
powerhouse in the world of international engineering with operations on
every habitable continent. The Silver is awarded for expertise
in engineering, only one of its many services including construction and
consulting in the fields of energy, water and information. HNTB
picks up another award, this time Bronze to complement its gold
Best Financial Service Firm
American Century Investments picks up its second award this year
in a new category. The firm has built a name for itself in the financial
industry, starting as a small, single-style mutual-fund manager in 1958.
It has evolved to a multidisciplined global firm managing nearly $85 billion
in assets with over 3,000 employees. The firms guiding belief that
its performance is measured by the clients success has won it the
Gold. Founded by Chauncey Waddell and Cameron Reed in 1937, Waddell
& Reed Financial has gained more than 661,700 mutual fund customers
and manages $32.3 billion. Its leadership in the financial industry has
gained the respect of clients and earned it the Silver. The Bronze
is awarded to UBS Paine Webber.
Best General Contractor
For the best builders when it comes to construction, voters have answered
without hesitation for the last four years. The honor of the Gold goes
to its seeming owner, J.E. Dunn Construction. The companys
mark on Kansas City is obvious with high-profile projects such as the
Sprint Campus, Stowers Institute, Union Station and others. A less visible
effect is the investment goal of returning 10 percent of its pre-tax earnings
to the Kansas City community as well as over 400 charitable organizations
throughout the United States. Walton Construction Company has made
quite a name for itself since Greg Walton founded it in 1985. It has become
one of the Engineering News Record magazines Top 100 contractors
in the nation and bags the Silver. The Bronze award goes
to Turner Construction, a contractor with 4,000 employees completing
roughly $6 billion in construction annually.
Best Health Club
This Gold winner dates its inception back to England in 1844. Since
then, the YMCA has spread across the globe to more than 120 countries
around the world. There are 2,400 facilities in the United States that
serve over 17.9 million individuals annually. From Blue Springs to Bonner
Springs and Olathe to Quality Hill, 13 locations cover the Kansas City
metro area. Services include various exercise, dance, martial arts, racquetball
and community education classes, fitness evaluations, wellness screenings,
and multiple clubs and special events. Prairie Life Center, with
locations in Olathe and Overland Park, Kan., takes the Silver.
In 37 years, Golds Gym has grown from its origins in Venice
Beach, Calif., to encompass over 600 gyms, 2.5 million members and a Bronze
award from our voters.
Best Home Builder
Roth Construction Co. is well-known for some of Kansas Citys
most distinguished residences. Founded by Harry and Beverly Roth, the
company has been in the custom-home-building business for 18 years. Custom
details flow through each unique home and have caught the eye and vote
of enough Kansas Citians to capture the Gold. Brett and Cory Childress
have fashioned Timberstone Development Inc. into one of the top
custom home builders in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 price range. Along
with this years Silver award, the company is a Grand Award
Winner and First Runner-up in the Spring Parade of Homes 2002. Provence
Homes Inc.By John Lober draws a lot of Northland recognition
and wins the Bronze.
Best Hospital/Medical Center
Saint Lukes Hospital brings another mark of pride for its
Saint Lukes-Shawnee Mission Health System with a solid hold on yet
another Gold award. The Plaza-based facility has been serving Kansas
City since 1882 and has earned a regional, national and international
reputation for excellence in care. Honored with the Silver this
year, Menorah Medical Center was originally founded on Rockhill
Road in 1931 and has made a new home for itself in Johnson County, Kan.
The medical center takes pride in its beautiful park-like setting, the
highest standard of patient care and cutting edge technology. The Bronze
goes to first-time recipient Childrens Mercy Hospital.
For the nights rest and relaxation, voters point to The Fairmont
at the Plaza and salute it with the Gold. The hotel takes the
award for the fourth timefirst as the Ritz-Carlton. Nestled into
the hill overlooking the County Club Plaza, the 400-room hotel was built
by the J.C. Nichols Company in 1972. Its prominent location and elegance
has made it a consistent favorite for visitors and residents alike. Swayed
by its old-world styling, voters gave the Silver to The Raphael
Hotel. The historic building was originally built in 1927 as an apartment
house and has since become Kansas Citys choice "little"
The Kansas City Marriott/Muehlebach Downtown holds its course on
the list with the Bronze award.
First Step 1, then Conseva, now kaput - the Center for Business and
Technology-JCCC is more than happy to take control of the Gold.
Employers have been taking notice of the center because of its versatility
in education. It offers broad-based programs in training, assessment,
consulting, certification and grant-funding opportunities. Add on-site
training and a staff with a combined 225 years of experience, and the
center is hard to beat. Though the name has shifted from IKON Technology
Services, the strength of leadership and constant line of owners and directors
have made CENTRIQ a favorite in the training industry. CENTRIQ
reels in the Silver and PC University goes home with the
Bronze to finish off a list of all new names in this category.
Best Internet Service Provider
On top of the list again Time Warner Cable is KCs choice
to go online. Providing Internet service that includes the popular Road
Runner, the company nets the Gold with its high-speed connections.
AT&T knocks AOL off the list and captures the Silver
this year. Now under the wing of Interland Inc., CommuniTech.Net
keeps its hold on the Bronze for its second year.
Best Law Firm
Returning to its debut spot in the category, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
reclaims the Gold. The areas largest firm, with nearly 350 lawyers,
has been in the business since 1889. It serves clients as superb litigators
and its community as dedicated volunteersits staff donates considerable
time and money to various charities across the country. This years
Silver award goes to Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin, which
has practiced in Kansas City since 1916. The honor of the Bronze
is shared between Lathrop & Gage and Shughart Thompson &
Best Public Relations
Fleishman-Hillard started as a two-man team in 1946 to become one
of the worlds leading public relations firms. The Kansas City office,
which again takes the Gold, was established in 1977, early in the
firms expansion that would eventually lead it around the globe.
The company now boasts 70 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia,
Latin America, Australia and South Africa. Barkley Evergreen &
Partners returns to the PR category for a Silver to add to
its bronze in advertising. For its first Best of Business award in PR,
sturgesword takes home the Bronze.
Stepping up from last years bronze, Cohen-Esrey Real Estate Services
reaches to reclaim its 2000 Gold. The Kansas City company was founded
in 1969 and has become a premier real estate agency in Chicago, Topeka,
Wichita, St. Louis and Des Moines. Since its inception, Cohen-Esrey has
completed leasing and brokerage transactions in excess of $5 billion and
has managed more then 57 million square feet of investments. Block
and Company keeps its Silver award for a second year, while
voters give B.A. Karbank & Co. its first Bronze.
The Country Club Plaza has been a favorite district for business,
shopping, dining and entertaining long before voters were given the chance
to laud its various pleasures. The historic area continues to thrive as
new residential and business developments gather to associate themselves
by location with the Gold-earning district. Also making a four-year
claim on its award, the Town Center Plaza holds on to the Silver
yet again. The Leawood open-air shopping center maintains a marketplace
feel that keeps customers strolling through. Oak Park Mall rounds
up the list with the Bronze.
Best Staffing Service Company
The Gold goes to the Kansas City office of Accountemps/Robert
Half of KC. The company takes pride in its continuing position of
leadership and its staff of the highest quality recruiters and temporary
consultants in the area. The firms ability to fill the most basic
or the most difficult position has kept it a heavyweight in the staffing
business. Voters decided on two new additions to the category this year.
Human Resource has three offices across the metro area, one in
Denver, Colo., and a Silver award to hang on its wall. J.M.
Neil & Assoc., a regular on various fast-growing company lists,
is awarded the Bronze.