Past Issues

News Updates

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Speak in KC on May 6

Thinking Bigger Business Media has joined with Rainy Day Books for an upcoming author event featuring Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Senator Claire McCaskill about Sheryl’s new hardcover book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (co-authored by Adam Grant).  (more…)

Building Kansas City, with Hartline Construction owner Jennifer Hartline

Jennifer Hart, owner of Hartline Construction, joins host Kelly Scanlon to discuss entrepreneurship and how she’s grown her company.

Hartline Construction specializes in interior construction and finishing, including metal studs and drywall, doors and frames, finish carpentry, accoustical ceiling, painting and construction management. Among the projects the company have been involved with are Argosy Casino, Isle of Capri and others.


Coss Marte, Former Drug Kingpin Turned Fitness CEO, Talks Transformation

Coss Marte, a former drug kingpin turned fitness CEO, joins host Kelly Scanlon to share his story of transformation from NYC cocaine ringleader to business owner.

Marte, who is the owner of ConBody, came up with the company’s business plan while he was in prison serving time as the head of a multi-million dollar cocaine operation. His doctor tod him that his weight would lead to a heart attack and eventually kill him—probably within five years. Realizing his sentence was seven years, Marte did not want to die in prison. He developed a series of exercises he could do in his prison cell, and he lost 70 pounds in six months. He began sharing his system with other inmates and put together the plan for ConBody, his current company.

ConBody went on to win several major business pitch competitions such as Pitch for Good by TOM’s shoes and the YPO Shark Tank competition with Barbara Corcoran. The company currently has more than 6,000 clients.

Marte trains and hires formerly incarcerated individuals as instructors, mindful of the struggle that former inmates have when they are released.

Marte and ConBody have been featured on hundreds of news shows and major media outlets. He has also shared his story at prisons, conferences and TEDx in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Listen to the complete lineup of Smart Companies episodes in the archives.

Botwin, El Dorado Team With Kansas State on Waldo Duplex Project

Botwin Commercial Development has joined with Kansas State University’s Design + Make Studio, el dorado and Studio Build to construct an affordable duplex project in the Waldo Business District.

The project, located at 7509 Pennsylvania Avenue, should be completed this summer.

Botwin partner David Alpert said the project was designed to meet a need, noting many people work in Waldo but can’t afford to live there. He noted Kansas City rent is increasing at a rate 56 percent higher than the national average. The project starts with one duplex with two units.

“This duplex project is designed to accommodate families and individuals who want quality housing at a price they can afford,” Alpert said. “Rent will be based on individual income levels, following government guidelines.”

Botwin formed a partnership with Kansas State University’s Design+Make Studio under the tutelage of el dorado inc, an architectural firm based in the Crossroads Arts District. The KSU Design+Make Studio provides students with opportunities to work with real clients, budgets and timelines.

The project allows graduate architecture students to participate fully in the design and build process. The Waldo duplex project is its most ambitious project to date and aligns with KSU’s focus on service learning.

The duplex is being built by Studio Build, a local design and construction firm located in the Crossroads Art District. The students will also get ”hands on”’ construction experience supervised by Studio Build.

The project uses quality design materials in a modest footprint yet includes amenities a new tenant would expect. Each unit is two-bedroom, one bath with 735 square feet of living space.

Design+Make is an academic partnership between a Kansas State University capstone design studio and el dorado inc. This studio explores conceptually driven, expertly crafted architecture at all scales of work, with all types of clients and in all locations.

Botwin Commercial Development (Class of 2010) and el dorado (Class of 2007) are Thinking Bigger Business Media 25 Under 25 alumni.

Business With a Heart: Purpose-Driven Companies, with Mark O’Renick

Mark O’Renick, co-founder of Will & Grail, joins host Kelly Scanlon to talk about building socially responsible companies. Mark is an experienced business leader, brand strategist and entrepreneur.  As co-founder of Will &Grail, Mark helps companies use collaboration and design thinking to create believable, purpos- driven brands that build stronger, more profitable relationships with customers, employees, shareholders and the community. Mark also leads initiatives to foster conversation and research about the need to build socially responsible organizations that make a profound positive impact on lives, communities and the world. Recently launched initiatives include Conquer for Good ( and Brand Believability (  Prior to Will & Grail, Mark was co-founder and CEO of Salva O’Renick and marketing services company.  You can reach him at

Listen to the complete lineup of Smart Companies Thinking Bigger podcasts in the archives.


  1. (913) 432-6690
  2. PO Box 754
        Shawnee Mission, KS


  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Linked In
  4. Google Plus