Wetzel, 32, is the Director of Business Development for McCownGordon Construction. In this role, he is able to combine his professional and personal mission to improve the urban core of Kansas City through architecture, urban planning, construction, education, real estate development and public service. McCownGordon provides construction services to a diverse portfolio of commercial, pharmaceutical, industrial and institutional clients, including GE Insurance Solutions, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the city of Kansas City, Mo and Ingram’s. He has been an adjunct professor at the Urban Design Studio in KU’s School of Architecture and Urban Design. The studio focuses on a different section of Kansas City’s urban core and brings together students with neighborhood residents, business owners, real estate developers and government officials to determine strategies and implementation plans to revitalize the areas. His charitable work includes the Ronald McDonald House and the ImpactKC Foundation, which is part of the Greater Kansas City Foundation. He and his wife, Mary, are expecting their first child in July.
A three-year starter at defensive back on the Princeton University football team, Wietharn, 37, spreads his “coverage” to several Kansas City area charities. He serves on the board for the Gillis Center for Children. He also volunteers with the American Cancer Society, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), the Princeton Club of Kansas City, the United Way of Kansas City, the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center, the Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club and the Church of Ascension. Even as a youth, he was involved in several charitable events with his family, such as Christmas in October, March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon and serving meals at homeless shelters. The Director of MarketSphere Consulting LLC, Wietharn grew up in Kansas City and recalls all the opportunities that Kansas City provides youth. He has set it as his goal to help those opportunities survive and thrive. He and his wife, Lucy, have two children: Marshall (4) and Cate (2).
Each of this year’s 40 Under Forty honorees has adopted and followed a personal definition of success. For Wilkerson, 39, Vice President/Principal for Trammell Crow Company, that means “doing my best for my client in every scenario without ever compromising.” He also defines success as “finding that perfect balance between your work and your personal life.” Check marks on both of those. Wilkerson is a three-time “Highest Volume Producer Award” honoree by the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, unheard of for commercial agents. He has finished second in investment sales and third in total production nationwide for Trammell Crow. Personally, he says he has “found my greatest success.” He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Highlawn Montessori School. He and his wife, Debbie, have been married for 13 years and have four children: Sam (7), Catherine (4), Meg (3) and Henry (4 months). For the last eight years, the couple has served as marriage preparation leaders through the Church of the Nativity.
Life is all about construction and partnerships for Young, 34, Vice President of Straub Construction. Straub specializes in commercial and multi-family construction, and recently was recognized as the fourth largest commercial contractor in the 20-county area. Young is proud to be part of a company “whose owners are so philanthropic-ally involved” in the community. He also serves as chairman of the board of Associated Builders and Contractors, which is devoted to assuring safety and quality control in construction. Young is a member of the board of directors of the Delta Upsilon Alumni Corporation at his alma mater, Kansas State University. He has played a key role in the Church of the Resurrection’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for low-income families. “Habitat impacts not only individual families but helps entire neighborhoods, especially in the inner-city,” he says. His favorite partnership, however, is with his wife, Rene. “We are very happily married and are partners in raising our three children: Taylor (8), Marie (6) and Hayden (3).”