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Johnson County Library Foundation selects local leaders As 2012 Pinnacle Award honorees

Posted on Sep. 25th, 2012

Johnson County Library
The Johnson County Library Foundation has named five outstanding individuals as winners of the annual 2012 Pinnacle Awards: Stacy Jones, Joel Wiggins, Chuck Haddix, Janis McMillen and Ron Gier.

The four award categories Literacy and Education, Business and Entrepreneurship, Arts and Advocacy and Public Engagement, reflect the focus of the Foundation and the Library’s work in the community. The 2012 Pinnacle Awards honorees were selected because they demonstrate excellence in their professional fields or philanthropic pursuits:

Ron Gier, Leawood – Excellence in Literacy & Education

RON GIER, Vice President of Human Capital Planning & Employee Relations at Sprint, enables Sprint employees across the country to be successful. His focus in the community is no different. Ron is passionate about improving educational opportunities for youth in science, technology, engineering and math. More specifically, he feels it is important to help students connect what they are learning with real world applications as it increases their engagement and desire to learn. Ron serves on the industry council for the Kansas City STEM Alliance, is a mentor for the Blue Valley School District’s FIRST Robotics team, and volunteers with the Boy Scouts. He is a strong advocate for Project Lead the Way and the Blue Valley School District’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). Ron’s involvement with CAPS led to Sprint being presented with the “Friends of Education” Award by the Blue Valley School District in 2009.

Joel Wiggins, Lenexa – Excellence in Business & Entrepreneurship

DR. JOEL WIGGINS is CEO & President of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County (ECJC), which provides business assistance to high-tech, biotech, and service industries. ECJC clients have raised $80M and generated sales of $110M while creating 850 net new jobs since 2000. Joel is also founding organizer and executive manager of the Mid-America Angels Investments, LLC. Started in March 2006, MAA has invested $9.6 million in 26 companies. In addition, he is vice chair of the KU Edwards Workforce Development Advisory Board, serves on the Kansas BIO Industry Advisory Panel, KCNext Board, National Association of Seed & Venture Funds Strategic Planning Committee, and the Invest Midwest Venture Forum Board. Joel holds a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Texas, and conducts technology venture development workshops worldwide.

Stacy Jones, Overland Park – Excellence in Business & Entrepreneurship

STACY JONES founded Helpers, Inc. in2006 in response to a void she discovered in the delivery of in-home supportive care for developmentally disabled children and adults. She combined Fortune 500 human resource and recruiting expertise with empathy and understanding from having a developmentally disabled child. The result was an innovative approach to matching the skills and personality of each “Helper” with the unique needs of the family to create successful, rewarding and lasting supportive relationships. Helpers has serviced over 2,000 families and currently employs over800. In addition, Stacy serves on the Kansas Council for Developmental Disabilities and the Blue Valley Special Olympics board of directors. In2009, the Kansas City Business Journal selected her as one of Kansas City’s Women Who Mean Business.

Chuck Haddix, Kansas City, Missouri – Excellence in the Arts

CHUCK HADDIX is the director of the Marr Sound Archives, a collection of 338,000 historic sound recordings housed in the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Haddix hosts the “Fish Fry” a popular radio program featuring the finest in blues, soul, rhythm and blues, jumpin’ jive and zydeco on KCUR FM 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station. Over the years, Chuck has contributed to a wide variety of theatrical, recording, video and film projects including “Cronkite Remembers” a biography of Walter Cronkite, Robert Altman’s “Kansas City” and Merchant-Ivory’s “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.” His articles have appeared in Down Beat and Living Blues Magazine. In 2005, he co-authored with Frank Driggs, Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop–A History, for Oxford Press.

Janis McMillen, Overland Park – Excellence in Advocacy & Public Engagement

JANIS McMILLEN became involved in public advocacy after joining the League of Women Voters where she advocated for many issues affecting her local community. Her advocacy efforts expanded statewide during her four years as president of the Kansas League of Women Voters. As a board member of United Community Services of Johnson County, she advocated in the Kansas legislature for continuing support of human services programs. As president of MainStream Coalition, she advocated for church-state separation and quality public education. Currently she is serving as first vicepresident of the League of Women Voters of the United States, where her public engagement and advocacy efforts are more nationally focused. Janis spent her professional career in research and research management in the pharmaceutical industry after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.

The Johnson County Library Foundation will host the 2012 Pinnacle Awards Dinner to honor the winners on Thursday, October 18, in the Regnier Center at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan. The event begins with a reception at 6:00 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7:00 p.m.

Individual tickets to the event may be purchased for $75 each. Event sponsorship opportunities are available at $500, $1,000, $3,000 and $5,000 levels. For details about sponsorship benefits or to purchase tickets, call Lynne Brown at (913) 515-2025, or visit www.jocolibraryfoundation.org/pinnacleawards.

Established in 1998, the Johnson County Library Foundation's mission is to build an endowment for the Library's collection and secure support for life-long learning programs offered at Johnson County Library. Funds have been provided for 6by6 Ready to Read Early Literacy, Legacies of the Civil War, civic engagement programming, Changing Lives through Literature, Court Assisted Reading Encouragement (CARE) and the purchase of library materials.