Blog   Tagged ‘Kansas City’

Mariner Kemper – 2014 Chairman of the Board of the American Royal

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Mariner Kemper is taking the reins of the America Royal. He will be continuing a family tradition of involvement in this organization with his father, R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. serving as chair in 1991 and 1992. The building itself, Kemper Arena, was named in honor of Mariner’s grandfather, R. Crosby Kemper, Sr. Below is an excerpt from his speech at Tuesday’s annual meeting.

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Mariner Kemper Addresses the American Royal

It is truly an honor to continue the tradition of The American Royal. The mission of The American Royal is—

To promote and celebrate the excellence in agricultural progress and to develop future generations of leaders through agrarian values.

My personal interest in this mission dates back to the lessons I learned from my father. My childhood and adolescent memories are filled with a connection to land, nature, animals and getting your hands dirty.

Sure they wore suits and ties, worked in office buildings, and helped people manage their money – the RIGHT way. But at the end of the day, and most Saturday afternoons – ties were replaced by hats, hallways replaced by fences and ceilings became the blue sky.

My father truly loved the American Royal as did his father before him. I share that love and understanding of the agrarian lifestyle and values.

The example of Eisenhower

This philosophy really hit home this past Thanksgiving as I was reading the biography of President Eisenhower by Stephen Ambrose.

President Eisenhower. Here’s a man who served as Supreme Commander in Chief of World War II and President of the United States. And when he could find time to take a break from serving our nation, what did he do? He returned to his roots in Abilene, Kansas. Put on his boots, saddled a horse, talked about the weather and last year’s alfalfa crop, and voiced his opinion on John Deere vs. International Harvester. He put himself in an environment that he believed in:  the values, the sensibility and self-reliance born from an agrarian lifestyle. He embraced and understood the work ethic and ambition that is formed from living off the land. And then carried those principles and experiences in leading people and our nation to peace and prosperity.

I believe we need to “act like Ike,” as many have said before. Lead with that work ethic and ambition. Self-reliance. Values matter.

State of The American Royal

Today, The American Royal enters the 115th year of serving and celebrating agriculture. And the core of our mission is to support the future of agriculture. We cannot, and must not, lose sight of this purpose to serve current and future generations. Every year we are introduced to some of these inspirational leaders, The Royal Scholars, and are captivated by their accomplishments and what is important to them.

It’s motivating.

And when we listen to them, it’s not about their farm, their town, their county or their state. Their vision is about our future and our country – and this reinforces what The American Royal stands for.

The American Royal is not an isolated activity for Kansas City or the Midwest. It is the AMERICAN Royal. You can build a case that every person, every company, every community is touched by and obligated to play a role in our agriculture system. After all, our economy and livelihood are reliant on a functional and safe agricultural system.

We are lucky to have such a rich ag history in Kansas City that gives us the platform to not only provide leadership but to celebrate what Kansas City and our surrounding regions mean to our national food and agrarian culture.

As Greg Maday once coined, the American Royal is truly Kansas City’s most authentic asset. Every city has a performing arts center. Every city has a football team, but there are only a handful of cities in America that have something as special as the American Royal.

The American Royal is a critical piece in that food chain. We have done a great job as a supporter and advocate of agriculture throughout the years. The American Royal livestock shows, rodeos, educational programs, scholarships and world-famous barbecues are a foundation we all can take pride in.

Our Barbecue is the world’s largest, but in my opinion, it is still Kansas City’s best kept secret. When visitors come to town, what’s the first thing they want to do? Hit up a world-famous Kansas City barbecue joint. We have a better reputation nationally than we recognize locally. We are continually listed on every Best Barbecue list and the Food Network does regular exposés on Kansas City barbeque. The American Royal barbecue should be THE event in Kansas City. It’s one of our best assets.

And now is the time to think and act deeper than our roots and beyond our fences. But before we do that, we must have a heightened focus on cultivating our community. It is essential for us to involve a broader base of individual, civic and corporate support for The American Royal.

We need to act and think like Louisville, Kentucky when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. Or like Austin, Texas when it comes to the South by Southwest Festival. Or Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Those communities not only rally around the purpose–they also captivate the attention and participation of people throughout the U.S. and internationally.

And that’s what we need to do. That’s what we CAN do. The American Royal is valuable, unique and important—and it’s up to all of us to make sure others have the opportunity to know the purpose it serves and the benefits it provides.  This will be part of our mission for 2014, and we need your help to make it happen.

The American Royal in 2014

Many believe no other city in the U.S. can claim an agricultural history as rich as Kansas City’s. From Lewis & Clark, to The Oregon Trail to one of the country’s biggest railway hubs, Kansas City has served as a focal point for transporting grains, animals and freight. A recent report estimated the total value of freight handled within the Kansas City area each year is more than $800 billion. 

Thanks in large part to the entrepreneurial vision of Kansas City Southern Railway, Kansas City has direct access to markets throughout the southern U.S., Mexico and the Pacific region.

This intersection of transportation and commerce has fueled entrepreneurial opportunities established by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Big 5 initiative. In fact, Kansas City has now established a global reputation as the center of the Animal Health Industry, and hosts several important international animal health conferences every year.

Given this, here are my three priorities for 2014:

  1. Capitalize on location in the Heartland – We have an opportunity to rally around what is unique in Kansas City and become recognized nationally. I also want to expand scholarship and educational activities.
  2. Secure broader engagement and endorsement from corporate and civic leadership – The impact of the American Royal is undeniable. Compared to the MLB All-Star Game that brought $60 million to the local economy ONCE, the American Royal does this every year. We need to remind the community of this impact to engage more advocates. Our ultimate goal is for the entire city to feel ownership of the American Royal.
  3. And finally, create a collaboration between Kansas City and American Royal for new facility – A new facility will breathe new life into the American Royal and agriculture. The American Royal will remain the inspiration for the future of agriculture. Rather, it will SAVE the city money. All while catering to constituents, community and ag-related interests from across the country.

As we look to the future, our role is not to defend The American Royal, but rather to promote it and build excitement for what we offer. We have an obligation and a responsibility before us.

President Eisenhower once said, Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.

Well America, here we are. The American Royal. 

Mr. Kemper is the chairman and chief executive officer of UMB Financial Corporation and UMB Bank, n.a. He joined UMB in 1997. Mr. Kemper is active in both civic and philanthropic endeavors. One of the causes he is most passionate about is the arts. He currently serves as a trustee and executive committee member for the Denver Art Museum and is a past board member for The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.

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UMB CANstruction: A food drive for Harvesters – The Community Food Network

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Pit Crew (front)For the second year in a row, UMB organized a fun, creative food drive for Harvesters – The Community Food Network called UMB CANstruction at our headquarters in downtown Kansas City. This event is quickly becoming an associate favorite around here and I can see why.

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UMB CANstruction has grown to include more than 100 associates making up 10 teams this year. Each team built an artistic structure, using cans, non-perishable foods and occasionally wooden boards to stabilize the designs. The competition was used to raise awareness about hunger in Kansas City.  Our associates showed some amazing creativity this year. Some of the unique structures included:

  • Sprint Center replica
  • Top Gun airplane
  • Etch-a-Sketch to etch out hunger
  • Kansas Speedway
  • Andy Warhol painting replica made of soup cans

All of the food used to make each 8′ x 8′ structure was donated to Harvesters at the end of the campaign. UMB also conducted an online donation drive and provided more than five tons of food for hungry children and families in Kansas City.

We added a little element of competition this year by giving our associates the opportunity to vote online for their favorite structure during the week they were on display. Take a look at the winning designs below.


Best Meal: Etch Out Hunger
Design that would create the tastiest meal based on CANstruction ingredients

Etch Out Hunger

Best Theme: Pit Crew
Best creativity and execution of the theme

Pit Crew (side)

Best Use of Labels: More than a CANstruction
Design that uses can labels most artistically

More than a CANstruction

Harvesters Food Bank Award: Operation: Wingman
Best use of healthy foods and those on Harvesters’ most-needed food list

Operation Wingman (front)

Jurors’ Favorite: UMB Feed KC
Best in show design that wows the judges


Structural Ingenuity: Sprint to End Hunger
Design that is the most technically sound without the use of stabilizers

Sprint to End Hunger

Creative Collaboration: UMB 1st Drive-Thru
Design that demonstrates interdepartmental synergy and partnership

 UMB 1st Drive-Thru

Honorable Mention Visionary Award: More than a CANstruction

More than a CANstruction

Honorable Mention Mission Driven Award: Consumer North Metro

Consumer North Metro

Honorable Mention Most Creative Name: Warhccanart


People’s Choice Best in Show: Operation: Wingman
Award determined by more than 515 online votes

Operation Wingman (side)

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

Mr. deSilva is president and chief operating officer of UMB Financial Corporation. He is also vice chairman of UMB Bank, n.a. Mr. deSilva joined UMB in January 2004. He is primarily responsible for UMB's fee-producing business units and product lines, including Scout Investments; UMB Fund Services, UMB Healthcare Services Payment Solutions, Prairie Capital Management. Additionally, he is responsible for all corporate operations, technology, properties, security and marketing.

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Meet Beulah Thompson

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Beulah Thompson

Meet Beulah Thompson. She was born in Lincoln, Mo., in 1909. Yes, you read that right. 1909. She recently celebrated* her 104th birthday at St. Andrews Church in Kansas City, where she has been a member for more than 70 years. Another fun fact is that she’s been a UMB customer for more than 50 years.

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To this day, Beulah is a strong yet kind woman who is no stranger to hard work. She started working in her early teens, washing clothes for 60 cents a day.

“Then I got a raise, and they paid me 75 cents a day!” she joked.

Eventually she worked for the Sullivan family and took care of their children. She worked for the Sullivans for 23 years, helping raise all seven of their children. To Beulah, the Sullivans were more than an employer. They were her family.

One day Beulah was talking to a friend, a customer of City National Bank and Trust Company (which would one day become UMB Bank). The two were chatting about running errands and paying her bills when her friend suggested Beulah open a checking account at City National Bank and Trust.

More than 50 years later, Beulah still banks with UMB. Until recently, she was a regular at the branch in downtown Kansas City at 10th and Grand. She doesn’t make it in to the bank as often as she used to, so she’s embraced convenient bank technology like direct deposit and bill pay. She still writes her own checks to pay some of her bills and says she’s always been happy with UMB.

“Everyone is so nice when I go to the bank. And when I call in they’re very pleasant and nice as they can be,” Beulah said.

Today, Beulah enjoys an active life of going to church, visiting friends, reading The Kansas City Star as well as several national newspapers and magazines. She says she wants to know what’s going on in the world. She also enjoys doing crossword puzzles and watching her favorite team, the Royals, on TV.

Beulah has a lasting impact on everyone she meets. To this day, the Sullivan kids still say, “I’m one of Beulah’s kids.” She talks to them on a regular basis and continues to give the advice she has lived by to this day: “Don’t say you’re going to do it; do it.”

Born at the beginning of the 20th century, Beulah has watched the world change as we entered the 21st century, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Even today, she is still fiercely independent and a fighter. As she said, “I’ve been through it, honey, but I’m still kickin’!”

As we look back on the first 100 years of UMB, we want to thank Beulah for more than 50 years as our loyal customer.


* Courtesy of KCTV5

Bank deposit products provided by UMB Bank n.a., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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