Kansas Citian of the Year Award

The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is the highest honor the KC Chamber can bestow.

Presented at the Annual Dinner in November, the award is given “only to those persons whose civic contributions and achievements have reflected the insight, creativity and consciousness necessary to build and maintain a quality urban community.”  The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is now recognized as the most significant honor bestowed upon a single individual by any organization in the metropolitan area.

The announcement of the award is a surprise – and each year presents a different challenge in making sure the unsuspecting award winner is, in fact, in the audience to receive it!

An indication of how times have changed: when the award was first presented in 1960, it was called the “Mr. Kansas City Award.”

Since that time, the list of award winners has grown to include dozens of men and women who have made a lasting and positive impact on their community. 

Past Kansas Citians of the Year

Greg Graves2015 Kansas Citian of the Year
As Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell, Greg Graves leads one of the fastest-growing and most successful engineering, architecture, construction and environmental consulting firms in North America. In January 2004, when Greg was appointed CEO, approximately 1,500 employee-owners worked at Burns & McDonnell. Annual revenue in 2004 was $420 million. Since then, the employee count has grown to more than 5,200, and sales last year exceeded $2.5 billion.
Under Greg’s leadership, Burns & McDonnell has earned a reputation as a national leader in many technical specialties within the energy, public infrastructure, government, aviation, process and healthcare sectors. This year, Burns & McDonnell ranks as the 17th largest engineering, architecture and construction firm as measured by Engineering News-Record magazine.  
In 2014, for the fifth consecutive year, Burns & McDonnell received the prestigious Premier Award for Client Satisfaction from the Professional Services Management Journal (PSMJ). The organization names a select group of winners each year that earn an average score of “Exceeded Expectations.” The award is based on an independent survey of clients across all industry categories served by Burns & McDonnell.
More important to Greg, the firm is nationally recognized as one of America’s best places to work. In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked Burns & McDonnell the 15th best place to work in its annual ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. It was the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall that Burns & McDonnell has been selected for the high-profile ranking. Fortune magazine also teamed up with Great Place to Work® and recognized Burns & McDonnell as the 14th Best Workplace for Millennials in the U.S. in its inaugural 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials List. In addition, the Kansas City Business Journal has named Burns & McDonnell the No. 1 Best Place to Work among large workplaces in Kansas City for four consecutive years, while earning a spot on the top 10 list for a decade. In fact, Burns & McDonnell has won top workplace honors from more than 20 different publications across the country.
Greg joined Burns & McDonnell in 1980. After holding several positions of increasing responsibility with the firm, he was promoted to General Manager of Burns & McDonnell’s Energy division in 1997. In 2001, he was promoted to President of the division, a position he held until he has named the firm’s sixth CEO three years later.
Greg’s entrepreneurial approach to achieving success for his clients and firm earned him the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Award in the Engineering category in the Central Midwest. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
In 2015, Greg was invited to lead the boards of two iconic Kansas City metro institutions that are trailblazers in fields he is extremely passionate about – healthcare and the arts. Greg was named Chair of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board after serving as a board member since 2009. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre also appointed Greg as Chairman of its board after serving on the Executive Committee for one year.
Greg also serves on the boards of Union Station Kansas City, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Kansas Advancement Board and United Missouri Bank. Greg is a past chairman of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He has been named the CEO of the Year by the Mid-America Minority Business Development Council and the Difference Maker of the Year by the Urban League of Greater Kansas City
Greg and his wife, Deanna, view public service as a duty in return for all Kansas City has given them. In 2014, they donated $1 million to the University of Kansas Hospital, paired with an additional $2.5 million donated from the Burns & McDonnell Foundation, which the CEO promotes avidly with his employee-owners. The foundation has provided more than $16 million and staff volunteer hours toward four strategic areas: educational outreach, environmental responsibility, human services, and arts and culture. 
In 2009, Greg and Deanna were named Kansas City’s Philanthropists of the Year. Together, they have chaired fundraisers for the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Starlight Theatre, Treads and Threads for KU Hospital’s Cancer Center, Hope House, the Tocqueville Society of United Way, MOCSA, St. Luke’s South Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs, Ozanam, SafeHome, the Greater Kansas City United Way campaign, Children’s Mercy and the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
Greg has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University.