To find these 50 Kansans, we cast an 82,227-square-mile blanket across the Sunflower State.
Time for a little global geography test. Here are a few countries from around the world: Syria. Cambodia. Greece. North Korea. Ireland. Cuba. Switzerland
Now for the test: What does each of those have in common?
Answer: Every one of them—and 157 other nations on this planet—is smaller than the state of Kansas.
Maybe that helps shed light on the enormity of the annual task of identifying Ingram’s 50 Kansans You Should Know, always a group of highly accomplished individuals, and from all walks of life—business, education, non-profits, cultural, artistic and sporting venues, and many more avenues. In short, each year’s installment is meant to be a cross-section of life in Kansas, told through the stories of the people who make this great state tick.
So it’s worth pausing with this, the fifth installation of 50 Kansans, to see how effective we’ve been in trying to blanket a state of 82,277 square miles. With this year’s group, 250 people from 76 cities and 51 of the state’s 105 counties have made this prestigious honor roll.
Consider that last metric: We’ve brought you bankers, physicians, farmers, ranchers, university presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs, authors, filmmakers, monks, star athletes and many more. And yet there remain 54 counties still to be represented in this feature.
Granted, there are far more communities in the Sunflower State than the 76 explored herein. But for the sake of perspective, note that the 76 largest cities in Kansas account for 1.99 million of the state’s 2.8 million residents. Which means there’s a lot of space out there. And that makes the challenge of spotlighting high achievers in Wallace County (population density: 1.6 per square mile) a tad more difficult than in, say, Hays, where Ellis County has 32.2 residents by that same measure.
What that all comes down to is this: Now 250 strong, our aggregate number of Kansans You Should Know has just scratched the surface. And that’s why, based on what we’ve already learned about these rugged, determined, resilient and successful individuals and the places they call home, we can’t wait to explore the rest of this great state.
To make the kind of impact Jim Parrish has made on Topeka, you almost have to live at Cedar Crest—the governor’s mansion. If there’s one figure who embodies the promise and potential of Kansas’ capital city, and has spent a career advocating for both, it’s Jim Parrish.
His considerable achievements earned a 2010 induction in to the city’s Business Hall of Fame, sponsored by Junior Achievement, but chronicling his activities over the past 50 years would fill several magazines. He’s a lawyer, entrepreneur, hotelier, past legislator, commercial property owner and manager, former state securities commissioner and past state Democratic Party chair, board member for the Stormont-Vail Foundation and the parent hospital. And trust us, that’s scratching the surface of his resume.
As a hotelier, he helped lead the revitalization of the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, among others, and took a lead role to persuade fellow Topekans to pass a half-cent sales tax to fund street improvements.
Additional link: http://www.ingrams.com/article/50-kansans-you-should-know-2/
Credit to: 50 Kansans You Should Know, By: Dennis Boone, Published by: Ingram