Nov 24, 2021 2:20 AM

Royals' Sherman named Kansas Citian of the Year

Posted Nov 24, 2021 2:20 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - John Sherman is an entrepreneur, civic leader, philanthropist, third owner of the Kansas City Royals, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Kansas Citian of the Year. 

The award announcement came tonight at the climax of the Chamber’s 134th Annual Dinner meeting, the most prestigious event of the Kansas City business community. 

Sherman built two incredibly successful companies within the space of ten years.  His first startup was LPG Services Group, founded in 1991. It grew rapidly, merging with Dynergy in 1996. That same year, Sherman founded Inergy L.P.  The company went public in 2001, merged with Crestwood Holdings in 2013. A propane supplier, it’s now an industry leader in natural gas storage and transportation worth $6-billion. 

Sherman has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and, along with Ewing Kauffman and Lamar Hunt, was among the first class of men and women chosen for UMKC’s Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame.  

The list of civic organizations Sherman’s been involved in is a long one, and includes the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Teach for America, the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, UMKC Foundation, Truman Presidential Library, and World War I Museum. 

He and his wife Marny founded the Sherman Family Foundation in 2006.  The foundation is a strong supporter of education, particularly urban education, including providing the startup costs for UMKC’s Urban Education Research Center.  His philanthropy, he says, is centered around the underserved segments of the Kansas City Community.  

Past Kansas Citians of the Year include: Don Hall, Jr.; Ewing Kauffman; Lamar Hunt; Anita Gorman; Buck O’Neil; Lucile Bluford; Congressman Emanuel Cleaver; Mayors Kay Barnes and Carol Marinovich; and Jim and Virginia Stowers.  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 recognized as the most significant honor bestowed upon an individual by any organization in the Greater Kansas City community. 

Kansas City for All 

The theme of the 2021 Annual Dinner was “Kansas City for All,” with many of the evening’s speakers talking about the importance of inclusive prosperity, one of the KC Chamber’s key strategic priorities.  Newly-elected Chamber Chair and McCownGordon Construction CEO Ramin Cherafat, whose family brought him to Kansas City from Iran when he was just six years old, talked about the economic importance of immigrants and the need to be a welcoming community.  

Outgoing Chair Carolyn Watley, who served an unusual two years as Chair because of the pandemic, spoke about the hard work of working together to create a Kansas City for all. “Working together often starts with conversations where we share different perspectives and we listen,” she said. “We know that solutions require cooperation and putting personal interests aside. The KC Chamber values our differences, as we create the forum where we can work together and make forward progress for all.”

Keynote speakers for the Annual Dinner were Davyeon Ross, local entrepreneur and founder of ShotTracker; entertainer Kalen Allen of Kansas City, Kansas, best known for his regular appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres show; and singer Casi Joy. 

The Annual Dinner was in a hybrid format, with a virtual as well as in-person format.  In-person seating was reduced this year for social distancing purposes, and all attendees were required to be vaccinated.