Your Chamber at Work - November 22, 2022


The prestigious group of people chosen as Kansas Citians of the Year has just grown by one, and you could say it’s in his genes. Congratulations to our 2022 Kansas Citian of the Year Bill Berkley! He was awarded this honor at the 135th Annual Dinner.

Bill has been a tremendous force in KC for decades, both as a business leader and as someone who consistently gives back to the community. He’s been President and CEO of the Tension Corporation since 1986, leading the business through a transformative time in their industry, as they moved from the name of Tension Envelope to Tension Corporation, reflecting the company’s growth.

Beyond the workplace, he advocates for issues he’s passionate about and that help make a better Kansas City for all. He has a special focus on inclusivity, regionalism, life sciences, and education. That’s evident through the organizations he has and continues to lead and support. Bill has been involved with and served in leadership roles with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and BioNexus KC, PREP-KC, the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, and with the KC Chamber itself, just to name a few.

When we interviewed those who know him best, there was a recurring theme to what they say makes him a strong leader.

“He doesn’t want the credit.”

“He’s a great listener.”

“He leads with a sense of caring, dedication, and purpose.”

Friends say Bill learned that from his mother and father. He comes from a family who is leaving a lasting legacy on KC and has had a few previous Kansas Citians of the Year. His father Bert was the 1971 Kansas Citian of the Year, and Bert’s cousin, former Mayor Richard Berkley, was the 1994 Kansas Citian of the Year. In fact, Bill has often said how lucky he was as a child to sit around the dinner table and see business and civic issues being talked about among his parents, and how he would spend his childhood Saturdays at the Tension Envelope plant, where he saw how much fun business could be.

I am so pleased that Bill Berkley is this year’s Kansas Citian of the Year. He inspires all of us as a leader and reminds us how important it is to listen to each other, especially when we don’t always have the same ideas. Bill is a Kansas City resident that we can aspire to be like.

I hope this gives you something to think about over the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Chamber to you and your family.