The Johnson County Library Foundation has named five outstanding individuals as winners of the annual 2013 Pinnacle Awards: Larry Louk, Kim Bowen Harbur, Harold Frye, Emily Behrmann, and Shane Evans.
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 2013 Pinnacle Awards honorees were selected because they demonstrate excellence in their professional fields or philanthropic pursuits:
Larry Louk, Selective Sites Consultants, Inc.- Excellence in Business & Entrepreneurship
Larry Louk is one of the founding principals of Selective Site Consultants, Inc. (SSC), a leading provider of cell site development services to the telecommunications industry. Since its inception in 1997, SSC has opened offices in five key markets and employs over ninety people. Larry has over thirty years of management and business experience, fifteen of those as a practicing attorney. Larry also serves as President of SSC’s affiliated company, Selective Site Development, which develops, owns, and operates towers. SSC has been named as one of the top 25 engineering companies in Kansas City by Ingram's Magazine for each of the past five years and was named as one of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2013. Larry’s community involvement includes founding with his spouse, JoLinda Vega, Golfology Fore Cardiology, a premier charity golf event, and co-founding The Larry and Shirley Fund with friend Shirley Allenbrand, a 501(c)(3) that raises funds to support heart health initiatives. Larry is also President of the Cedar Creek Homes Association.
Kim Bowen Harbur, Gift of Life - Excellence in Advocacy & Public Engagement
In 1996, Kim and Nate Harbur learned that their infant son, Luke, needed a life-saving liver transplant. In the meantime, the Drake family from Olathe, lost their eight-year-old son Aaron, and were able to donate his organs. Thanks to Aaron’s gift, Luke’s transplant was an historic collaboration between Children's Mercy and the University of Kansas Hospital. In 1998 the Harburs founded Gift of Life to build awareness of the critical need for organ and tissue donation. Their first project was to create a fountain at the Stowers Institute honoring organ donors. Next, Kim developed the Life Savers high school program for students to learn about organ and tissue donation, then share their decision with loved ones. Now offered to ninety area high schools, Life Savers reached 25,000 individuals this year. The result? Kansas City is one of the best places to be listed for a transplant, more families are discussing organ donation, and Kim leads forty volunteers in this effort. Luke is now a high school student and older brother, Cole, is in college.
Harold Frye, Music 4 Jeremy’s Cherubs Foundation - Excellence in Advocacy & Public Engagement
Harold Frye is the consummate volunteer. As if a lifetime of service to his church, scouting, universities, professional organizations, and civic clubs weren’t enough, his skills were put to the test when his youngest son, Jeremy, succumbed to a brain tumor in 2008. Rallying family and friends, Harold formed Music 4 Jeremy’s Cherubs Foundation to carry on his son’s love of music. In less than 5 years, more than 750 instruments have been collected, rehabbed, and donated to children and youth who, otherwise, wouldn’t have the joy of music in their lives. M4JC has awarded more than 20 scholarships to future music educators. Two years ago, Harold extended M4JC’s work to support Guitars 4 Troops and has shipped over 100 guitars and keyboards to deployed soldiers. More than 30 have gone to those suffering from traumatic injuries, usually the loss of legs. After more than 3 decades in leadership positions in urban school districts, Harold joined the faculty of Baker University, co-authoring a successful doctoral program in which he teaches and advises future school leaders.
Emily Behrmann, JCCC Manager of Performing Arts Series - Excellence in the Arts
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in Voice from the UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, Emily Behrmann began her work in arts administration. Over the past 20 years, she has held positions with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College. After 14 years in the Foundation Office at JCCC, where she was involved in the capital campaign to raise $20 million for the construction of JCCC’s Regnier Center and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Emily returned to her first love – the performing arts. Emily sang with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus for ten years, and has performed solo for special events throughout the Greater Kansas City area. She also appears as host of occasional programs on JCCC-TV. As General Manager of the Performing Arts Series, she is responsible for booking artists, marketing events, and raising money. Emily wants to use the performing arts to make an impact on the citizens of Johnson County, KS and beyond, by presenting quality artists, championing arts education and collaborating with the many talented organizations and individuals in the Greater Kansas City arts community.
Shane Evans, Children’s Author and Illustrator – Excellence in Literacy & Education
Children’s author and illustrator Shane Evans receives accolades for his work in education and literacy. Evans is a multi-talented artist and visionary who combines his world travels with his art to influence others’ creativity. His illustrations can be found in such books as Shaq and the Beanstalk and Down the Winding Road. He received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for The Way a Door Closes. His travels to Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and throughout the United States are often attached to education. He shares his gifts with all ages, cultures, ethnic groups and backgrounds, often with his book, Olu’s Dream. “When I receive an award, it always means that someone connects with something I do,” Evans says. “It’s also that stamp of approval, that reflection of the things that I have been doing is right. I am honored, but I am also inspired to keep growing. With an acknowledgement like this, it challenges me to be even better and more responsive to the next step in journey.” He is working on illustrations for 28 Days with author Charles Smith and The Red Pencil with Andrea Davis Pinkney.
The Johnson County Library Foundation will host the 2013 Pinnacle Awards Dinner to honor the winners on Thursday, October 17, 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 Susan Mong (913) 826-4720, 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.