A look back at the 2024 MARC Regional Assembly

Jun 18, 2024
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The Regional Leadership awards on the stage at the 2024 Regional Assembly

More than 600 people from across the region attended the event.

The program included a luncheon, an overview of MARC’s focus areas and presentation of the Regional Leadership Awards.

Event Recap

Janeé Hanzlick, commissioner for Johnson County, Kansas, and chair of the MARC Board of Directors, led the program. 

"What makes today’s gathering unique is that it is a regional event," said Hanzlick. "We have people here today from across the nine-county metro region. While we represent different communities, we all come together through the Mid-America Regional Council to serve our residents and the region."

David Warm, MARC's executive director, introduced the year in review, centered around the theme of Innovation through Collaboration. 

"As any metropolitan region – we face complicated, vexing problems and, at times, it can seem like our work has never been harder," said Warm. "Yet, at the same time, this moment is shaped by an urgent need to not only do more to address pressing challenges, but do it differently … to create new ideas, new approaches, new systems that can address our challenges more fully and effectively. And when we come together — to share interests and resources, to find common ground, to collaborate … the possibilities for innovation are endless and exciting."

Regional leaders joined the stage to discuss highlights from the year. Topics and speakers included:

  • Competitive Economy, presented by Ryana Parks-Shaw, mayor pro tem, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Healthy Environment, presented by Kris Turnbow, mayor, Raymore, Missouri, and MARC board member
  • Quality Early Learning, presented by Dr. Kenneth Thomas, medical director, Swope Health Services
  • Effective Local Government, presented by Susan Sherman, deputy city manager, Olathe, Kansas
  • Safe and Secure Communities, presented by Jonathan Duncan, city council member, Kansas City, Missouri, and MARC board member
  • Thriving Older Adults and Communities, presented by Tina Uridge, executive director, Clay County Senior Services
  • Efficient Transportation and Quality Places, presented by Logan Heley, city council president, Overland Park, Kansas, and MARC board member
Janeé Hanzlick and David Warm with the 2024 Regional Leadership Award honorees

2024 Regional Leadership Awards

MARC also honored the recipients of the 2024 Regional Leadership Awards. The 2024 Regional Leadership Award recipients are:

Gloria Ortiz-Fisher

Executive director, Westside Housing Organization

For significant leadership on affordable and fair housing and sustainability in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and for bringing a commitment to equity and deep understanding of community development to the regional agenda, ensuring we create communities that work for everyone.

"I have been a colleague and fan of Gloria’s for many years, and there is no doubt we are better off because of her leadership and commitment … not only to her neighborhood but to the entire metro," said Beto Lopez, mayor pro tem of Lee's Summit, Missouri, and first vice chair for the MARC Board of Directors. 

Kansas City, Missouri, Aviation Department

For their vision and professional delivery of the new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport, a critical regional asset that is transforming the metropolitan area.

"I am in awe of the team that made this impressive project a reality. Their performance is why we have this amazing resource," said Curt Skoog, mayor of Overland Park, Kansas. 

Julie Lorenz

Former secretary of transportation, State of Kansas 

For exemplary leadership at the Kansas Department of Transportation, advancement of regional transportation goals and commitment to engaging local governments in positively transforming the systems that form the backbone of our economies and communities.

"Julie and her team were especially helpful with some priority issues in Miami County, so I know that her work in my community and across the region has had a profound impact," said Rob Roberts, commissioner for Miami County, Kansas.

Carolyn Wells

Trauma and emergency preparedness manager, Liberty Hospital

For enduring leadership and service to the region through advancing health care coordination and emergency response essential to regional homeland security, and tireless efforts to strengthen the systems, relationships and protocols that help keep our communities safe.

"Carolyn has served on pretty much every MARC health-related committee that exists, including chairing the Hospital Committee for nearly 20 years. We can’t thank her enough for her sustained impact," said Dr. Bridget McCandless, Independence, Missouri council member and secretary of the MARC Board of Directors. 

Making of the MARC Regional Leadership Awards

Save the Date

Please plan on joining the next Regional Assembly on Friday, June 13, 2025, at the Westin Crown Center.