Levings, 28, is a Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard, where she heads the Biotechnology/Health Care Team, one of the largest biotechnology accounts in the global network. When she began with Fleishman-Hillard six years ago, she immediately accepted a role on the Biotechnology/Health Care Team, because of her interest in the life sciences. Today, she manages the team of more than 20. Her work in media relations has earned two PRISM Awards for excellence from the Public Relations Society of America. Although she considers herself a determined career woman, her top priorities continue to be her husband, Eric, and daughter, Ally. She still finds time to serve on the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City and the William Jewell College/ Career Mentor Program. “My board service and pro bono clients have afforded me the opportunity to build and support many different public relations initiatives in the Kansas City area, all of which are focused on making a difference in the lives of others,” she says.
Upon graduating from Rockhurst University in 1995, Long, 31, accepted a job with Zimmer Real Estate. By 2001 he had been named Vice President, and was named Senior Vice President and Director of Sales and Leasing in 2003, where he heads up the company’s 16-member brokerage division. He leads Zimmer’s effort in handling key brokerage accounts for major Kansas City companies and regional real estate investment groups. He is a repeated annual award winner by the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors for personal sales volume. He also was recognized in 2001 as Commercial Real Estate Salesperson of the Year by KCRAR. Besides his affiliation with realty associations, he is a member of the Rockhurst University Alumni Board of Directors. He’s also President of Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors. He is active in the Economic Development Councils in Grandview and Lee’s Summit, and the North Kansas City Business Council. He and his wife, Aimee, are involved in the Heart of America Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They have a daughter: Anna (2) and are expecting another child in July.
Wong, 38, caught the entrepreneurial spirit nine years ago when Steve Stroade approached him about a partnership in Contract Furnishings Rents, a subsidiary of Contract Furnishings Inc. Today, Wong is the President of the firm. He has helped the company grow into a successful business with more than 40 employees in Kansas City, Wichita and Denver. Stroade and Wong also formed U-go-Ergo, which manufactures and assembles ergonomic workspace accessories for wholesale distribution; purchased significant equity in Spring Valley Woodworks, which manufactures high-end custom wood office furniture; and formed STRONG DevCo, to hold a new 25,000-square foot warehouse to store Contract Furnishings’ inventory of pre-owned office furniture. The fourth of six children of first-generation immigrants from China and Switzerland, Wong has served on the Boards of Directors for the Kansas City Youth Symphony, Young Friends of Art and the Wonderscope Children’s Museum. He and his wife, Heather, still found time in September to travel to China to meet and adopt their son, Travers Fu An Wong (14 months).
During five years of practicing law, McKnight, 36, sought a way to combine her passion for her community and enjoyment of working one-on-one with her clients. As the Senior Vice President, Development of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, she believes she has found it. She oversees a team that is responsible for increasing charitable giving in the greater Kansas City area. “It is enriching to be a part of the Community Foundation. It gives us all an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, making our region an even better place to live,” she said. Laura has been named to become the President of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in January, 2006. Besides her “professional philanthropy,” McKnight is President and co-Chair of the Mattie Rhodes Center, co-Chair of the Leave a Legacy Campaign of the Mid-America Planned Giving Council and a Board member of the Council on Philanthropy. She’s also an Advisory Board member for the University of Kansas School of Law and the KU Edwards campus. She and her husband, Clay Barker, have two daughters: Ann (4) and Lindy (1).