Commissioning Committee

RADM Jeffrey R. Penfield; USN (ret.) - Chairman

Rear Adm. Jeffrey Penfield was commissioned in October 1982 via the Aviation Officer Candidate Program and earned his Navy Wings of Gold in June 1984. His operational assignments include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA 136) as a plankowner, VFA-94 and command of VFA-115. While in command, he deployed on the maiden F/A-18E Super Hornet cruise participating in Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch and the initial combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His shore tour assignments include Training Squadron (VT-23), Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 5, the Super Hornet Fleet Introduction Team and VX-9 where he was the lead operational test director for the F/A-18E/F operational evaluation.

His assignments as an acquisition professional include program manager air (PMA) 265, the F/ A-18 & EA-18G Program Office; command of PMA-259, the Navy’s Air-to-Air Missile Program Office; command of PMA-268, the Navy Unmanned Combat Aerial System Program Office; and assignment to the Naval Air Systems Command staff working Integration and Interoperability initiatives.
Penfield’s flag assignments were commander, Fleet Readiness Centers and commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force.

Penfield retired from the Navy on 01 September 2016 after 34 years of service. Penfield has over 4,000 flight hours and 750 carrier landings. He has been recognized as the 1995 Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet Pilot of the Year and the National Defense Industrial Association Navy Military Tester of the Year for 1999. He has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (six awards, one individual with combat V/ five Strike Flight), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards, one with combat V), and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Awards along with various other personal, unit and service medals.

Penfield previously served as the Chairman of the Commissioning Committee’s for the USS WICHITA (LCS-13). He also is currently serving as a board member for Camp Valor Outdoors, a member of the Greater Kansas City chapter of People-to-People, and a member of the Greater Kansas City chapter of Navy League

Mr. Ward Cook - Executive Director

Ward Cook was born and raised in the Kansas City area, and is a 1999 graduate of the University of Kansas with degrees in Communications and History. He served on the Washington, D.C., staff of former U. S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO). He has worked in government relations for 20 years. He has been a member of the Navy League of the United States since 2008 and holds numerous positions which include National Director, Regional Vice-President for Legislative Affairs, and President of the Central Area, Midwest Region. He also has served as Co-Chair of the USS MISSOURI (SSN-780) Commissioning Committee, and Executive Director of the USS WICHITA (LCS-13) Commissioning Committee. Ward is married to his lovely wife Sally and they have two kids Katie, and Jack.

Mr. Paul Sephens - Treasurer

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Larry McMullen - Legal Counsel

One of the finest, most ethical and most congenial trial lawyers in the Midwest, Larry L. McMullen, AB ’53, JD ’59, has specialized in defending doctors and engineers for more four decades. Of Counsel at Husch Blackwell LLP in Kansas City, he started with the firm in 1959 and helped it grow from a 10-lawyer Kansas City firm to a 700-lawyer Midwestern firm with a national practice. He is among the two percent of U.S. trial lawyers to be elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 1979, he received the Significant Sig Award for his contributions as a national alumni leader of the Sigma Chi fraternity. In his community he has been a vestryman for Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, director for Saint Luke’s Hospital and director for the Scholars Center. As an MU law student, he was first in his law class and editor-in-chief of the Missouri Law Review, president of his fraternity and board member for the Law Student Association; and upon graduation commissioned from MU NROTC to serve three years as a line officer on a fleet mine sweeper. An avid MU supporter, he is a member of the MU Alumni Association, a Very Distinguished Fellow of the Jefferson Club, and he served on the Law School Foundation from 1980 to 2000, including four years as president. He has also served MU as chair of the Development Council from 1996 to 2001 and co-chair of the For All We Call Mizzou Capital Campaign Steering Committee. He received a Faculty-Alumni Award from the MU Alumni Association in 1985.

Mr. Sean Murray - Legal Counsel

Bio coming soon!

Mrs. Sindy Gaona - Pubic Affairs Officer

Bio coming soon!

Mrs. Darcy Stewart - Pubic Affairs Officer

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Bob Bennett

Mayor’s Office

Mr. Eric Bosch

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Alex Braszko

Lieutenant Colonel (USA, recently retired) Alexander Braszko is currently serving Kansas City, Missouri as its new Chief Innovation Officer. A first-generation American, Alex has 22+ years active duty experience as a Military Intelligence and Space Operations officer. His background in planning and conducting multi-domain operations using cutting edge technologies provides him a unique perspective and proven experience towards implementing Smart City Initiatives; integrating new technologies and innovative methods into municipal operations for complete Digital Inclusion within Kansas City, Missouri. He views integrating innovative processes and systems, new-but-proven capabilities, and analyzed data into municipal operations as critical components toward improving the quality of life of Kansas Citians. He believes his new mission is an exciting and truly worthwhile one, and considers it an honor to serve Kansas City, his new home in the Heartland.

CAPT Ron Brooks USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Mark Bryant

Bio coming soon!

Mr. George Bukaty

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Rick Butler USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Mrs. Breanna Cameron

Bio coming soon!

COL Tim Carlin USA (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Bob Cook

J. Robert “Bob” Cook, Born in Kansas City, MO and raised outside of Indianapolis, IN. He attended Miami (OH) University and is a former Officer in the U.S. Navy. Early in his career, he was Mill Representative for Armstrong World Industries. Bob served as President Batliner Paper Company before starting his own company, Cook Paper Recycling in 1986. Bob served as President of the Greater Kansas City Navy League as well as Midwest Area President of the Navy League. He was a board Member of the Mid-American Council, BSA and the International Business Forms Association. He also has served on many local board’s including Greater KC Chamber of Commerce & Chairman First Small Business Council, First Business Bank, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City United Way, Plaza Club, Vanguard Club, Mercury Club, and the Kansas City Rotary Club. Bob also served on the Citizens Environmental Council, and is active in Cure of Ars Catholic Church. He married to Linda Batliner Cook for over 50 years and has a daughter Lindsay, a son Ward, and four grandchildren.

LCDR Bob Culler USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Bill Feller

Bill is a 1982 Lee’s Summit H.S. Graduate, right after graduation he enlisted into the US Navy Submarine Service. Where he spent the next 25 years on various types of submarines from fast attacks, deep ocean research and even the big Trident missile submarines. Initially trained as a Culinary Specialist then later as a Nuclear Electrician, before retiring and returning back to the Kansas City area in 2007. Bill has worked on two other ship commissioning committee’s with the USS Jefferson City (SSN-759) and the USS Missouri (SSN-780), and is honored to once again serve the community and the Navy in this capacity. Bill currently lives in Blue Springs, MO and works for the Department of Homeland Security/US Citizenship & Immigration Service as an Immigration Services Officer.

CAPT Mike Gochis, USNR

CAPT Mike Gochis was raised in Kansas City and graduated from Shawnee Mission South in the class of ’86. He then attended and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1990 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He then completed the Naval Nuclear Power school and served aboard the USS Texas (CGN-39) and USS South Carolina (CGN-37) and an engineering and damage control officer. He transitioned to the Naval Reserve in 1995.

Within the Naval Reserve he has served in a number of units including a deployment to Kuwait and Iraq in 2002/2003 providing port security in the region. Additionally, he has served in leadership roles in Naval Reserve unit supporting Military Sealift Command in Korea and Naval Cooperation for Shipping in Bahrain. He most recently served as Commanding Officer of Defense Support of Civil Authorities for the Navy’s Southeast Region. In this role his team provided support to civil emergency response organizations in response to national disasters including Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael during the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons. Currently he serves as the LANT HUB Coordinator for Cooperation for Shipping at United States Fleet Forces Command.

While not serving the Navy, Mike lives in Overland Park, KS with his wife Jane. He works full time for Microsoft Corporation as a Technical Strategist. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Kansas.

Mike is excited to support the commissioning committee to help bring to life a combatant ship bearing the name of his home town.

Mr. Leonard Graham

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Tim Grunhund

Bio coming soon!

CDR Chris Higginbotham USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

LT John Jacobs USN (ret.)

John Jacobs, Chief Information Officer of JE Dunn, previously held the roles of Project Manager and then Vice President of Operations. Prior to joining JE Dunn he served as a Supply Officer in the US Navy. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Civil Engineering from Notre Dame University in 1991, followed by receiving his MBA at Baker University in 1998. He has been with JE Dunn for 17 years.

John was the integration officer responsible for the strategic planning and implementation to consolidate 20 JE Dunn offices from five companies into a single operating company. He also created the Learning & Performance department, responsible for national training and performance standards throughout the company.

Today, John leads all Information Technology efforts and oversees integration of national operational processes. He continues to oversee the development of applications focused on operational and field efficiency, including mobile applications, intranet and internet portals, and database reporting tools. He also leads the IT department, which includes systems, infrastructure and end-user support.

Mr. Crosby Kemper, III

Crosby Kemper III is executive director of the Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. He co-founded and is chairman of the Show-Me Institute. He has taught English at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and been a bookseller in Grand Central Station in New York City. He is the editor of, and contributor to, Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will. In 2003-04, he chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Missouri for then-Missouri Gov. Bob Holden. He has served on the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation which operates Monticello, and the boards of the Kansas City Symphony, the Black Archives of Mid-America, Union Station Kansas City, and Lapham’s Quarterly. He helped Marilyn Strauss found the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and was its first board chair. He also founded and chaired the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. He has received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Kansas City, the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College, the 2010 Harmony Humanitarian Hoffman Legacy Award, and he and the KCPL received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services presented at the White House by former librarian and First Lady Laura Bush. He was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame by the Kansas City Kansas Community College Endowment Association and was appointed to the Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University.

Mr. Benny Lee

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Andy Lewellen

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Michael Liss

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Jim Malouff


Malouff Companies: 1982- Present: Various activities present/past including Real Estate services, Development, Asset Management, Management Consulting, International Trade Development, Executive Recruiting, Training, Designs, Product Development and Communications.
Chairman Advisory Board: IBNEWSMAG
Advisory Board: Anti-Ballistic Systems, Inc.

Previous Business:

Eugene D. Brown Companies 1971-l982
Eugene D. Brown Company, Inc. President/COO/Director
Eugene D. Brown Insurance Agency, President/COO/
(Prior to being acquired the Eugene D. Brown Co., was one the largest, independent, residential/commercial brokerage firms in the Midwest. EDB C0 and related entities were also engaged in commercial and multifamily development, and asset management. The Eugene D. Brown Insurance Agency Inc. was a full line, independent, insurance agency.
Hallmark Cards, Inc.- 1966-1971
Various positions (confectionery product sales, industrial engineering, special projects, specialty product planning/marketing)
Kansas City Star Newspaper – 1963-1966
Display advertising (sales, layout and copywriting)

Previous Business Related:

National President – Inter-Community Relocation, Inc. Trade Association
President – Real Estate Board of Kansas City, MO
Vice President – Missouri Association of Realtors
Vice President – Sales and Marketing Club of Kansas City

Community, International, and other activities:

Current Activities:

President/Founder- Pan American Association of Kansas City
Advisory Board member: Navy League Council of Greater K. C.
Member: Nat’l WWI Museum President’s Council
Commissioner, Global KC Commission
Commissioner – Sister Cities Commission of Kansas City
Member – International Relations Council
Member/participant- Global Ties (KC)
Member – International Trade Council
Member – United Nations Association USA-KC
Member – Greater Kansas City People to People Chapter
Member- Society of Fellows- Nelson Atkins Gallery of Art
Member (Life)- Navy League of the United States, Associations of the United States Army, and the United States Air Force
Member – Kansas City, MO-Xi’an, China Sister City Committee
Member (Life) – Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, Missouri Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors
Member- Friends of the Kansas City Museum
Member – Friends of the Zoo
Kentucky Colonel (Appointment by the Governor of KY)

Previous Community Activities:

Vice President- Navy League Council of Greater Kansas City
Board of Trustees-Nat’l WW1 Museum and Memorial
Kansas City Museum Advisory Board
Board of Directors-FBI Kansas City Citizens Academy Alumni Association.
Member -Product Development Committee – Convention and
Visitors Association of Kansas City, MO
Board of Directors – Friends of the River-KC, Inc
Advisory member, KCMO City Market Oversight Committee
Co-Chairman, Riverfront Development Committee
Board of Directors – Film Commission of Greater Kansas City
Chairman and Founding Board member – Brush Creek Enterprise Center (a technology business incubator, successor to Center for Business Innovation, Inc.)
Vice Chairman – Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, MO
Chairman – Mayor’s Task Force on Consolidation of Economic Development Agencies (Structured the Econ Dev Corp of K. C.)
Chairman – Kansas City Redevelopment Authority of Kansas City
Chairman – Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City
Chairman – Planned Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City
President & Founder – Mobile Educational Drug Information Center, Inc. (M.E.D.I.C). (MEDIC was selected the number one community project out of 19,000 entries).
President – Kansas City Junior Chamber of Commerce
President – Our House Community Center
Chairman – Grisafe Memorial Statue project (16th and Paseo)
Board of Directors – KC Catalyst
Advisory Board Member – YK2000 Coalition
Board of Directors – Kansas City Corporation for Industrial Development
Board of Directors – Missouri Mental Health Association
Board of Directors – Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Advisory Director – American Royal Association
Board of Governors – American Royal Association
Member – Kansas City Charter Review Committee
Member – Capital Improvements Advisory Committee
Member – Mayors Task Force on Drug Abuse
Member – President of the United States “Key Man Advisory Council”
Member – Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast Committee
Member – Mayor’s War On Drugs Committee
Member – American Royal Queen Committee
Member – Mayor’s Visitors Council
Member – Rotary Club of Kansas City, MO
Participant – National Alliance of Businessmen “JOBS” project –
Assistant Publicity Director- Missouri Repertory Theatre
Several other committees not listed, including Chair, Vice Chair, Parliamentarian or member on numerous Nominating, Bylaws, Finance/Audit, Strategic Planning, Marketing/PR, Awards, Membership, and Program committees of various organizations.

Previous Humanitarian/Charitable:

Chairman – Riot Relief Project – Kansas City, MO
Chairman – Riot Relief Project – Detroit, MI
Chairman – Humanitarian Relief Project – Ethiopia
Chairman – Humanitarian Relief Project – Jordan
Chairman – Humanitarian Relief Project – Viet Nam
Chairman – Aiding Leukemia Stricken American Children Drive
Board of Directors – Human Rescue Inc
Board of Directors – Lalamba Association
Several other humanitarian/charitable activities

Previous International Activities:

Member, Board of Trustees, People to People International
Chairman – Chamber of Commerce World Trade Center Sub-Committee
Chairman-Organizing Committee: Kansas City, MO-Metz, France Sister City Committee
Founder – International Student/Business Connection
Chairman – Organizing Committee: Kansas City, MO – Xi’an, People’s Republic of China Sister Cities Committee
Chairman – Mayor’s Task Force to Revitalize the Kansas City Sister City Association
Chairman – International Visitors Guide Book Committee
Vice President – Sister Cities Association
Midwest Board Member –Institute of International Education
Board of Directors – Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone
District Export Council-Appt by the U. S. Sec of Commerce
Member – Chamber of Commerce Int’l Business Partnership
Member – Rockhurst University Committee on Global Studies
Member – Strategic Planning Committee on the Global Economy University of Missouri (appointment by the President of the University of Missouri system)

Previous Political Activities:

Active in six Mayoral Campaigns
Mayoral Campaign Chairman
Mayoral Advisor
Chairman – Citizens Association of Kansas City
Board of Directors – Committee for County Progress
Active in local, state, and national elective office campaigns


International Travel – 35 countries/territories, islands.
Life Constituency- U. S. Army Command and General Staff
College Foundation
Member – King Christian IV Guild – Denmark
Graduate, FBI Kansas City Citizens Academy
Graduate, Kansas City MO Police Citizens Academy
Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow
Kansas City Rotary Foundation Fellow
Junior Chamber International Senator
Life Member – University of M0-KC Alumni Association
Life Member – Kansas City, Missouri Jaycees
Life Member-Junior Chamber International Senate
Amateur Poetry award
Various other awards

Representative Awards/Recognition:

Certificate of Appreciation- Navy League of the United States. – 2017
Kansas City Spirt Award – 2010
Elected to Man of the Month Fraternity- Kansas City – 2009
James C. Denney Spirt Award – Econ Development Corp- 2008
World Citizen Award -United Nations-USA/KC -2007
Circle of Distinguished Volunteers – Sister Cities International- 2006
Chairman’s Award – People to People International- 2005
Community Service Award – Sister City Association of K. C. MO- 2006
Cornerstone Award- Economic Development Corporation of K. C. MO – 1997
International/Student Business Leadership Award- International Student Board- 1994
Distinguished Service Award- Real Estate Board of Metropolitan Kansas City -1980
Hall of Fame Award – Inter-Community Relocation, Inc. – 1979
REALTOR of the Year Award – Real Estate Board of Metropolitan Kansas City-1978
Selected to appear in the Dictionary of International Biographies- 1974
Editorial Recognition- The Kansas City Star Newspaper-1972
Outstanding Citizen Award – Kansas City Junior Chamber of Commerce – 1971/72
Awarded a Life membership in the Kansas City, MO Junior Chamber of Commerce-1970
Designated as One of the Outstanding Young Men of America- 1970 and 1971
US Jaycees Project of the Year Award- 1971
Recognized as one of the Five Outstanding Young Men of Missouri-MO Jaycees -1970
National Alliance of Businessmen Recognition- l969
Outstanding Chairman Award- Kansas City, MO Junior Chamber of Commerce
Key Man Award- 2 consecutive years – Kansas City, MO Junior Chamber of Commerce

Place of Birth:

La Junta, Colorado, USA


University of Missouri-Kansas City
BA in Economics; Various CE courses


United States Navy and Naval Reserve:

CW04 David L. Miller USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Ramon Murguia

Bio coming soon!

Mr. Dale Peterson

Bio coming soon!

Paige Perlik

Bio coming soon!

Hon. Joe Reardon

Bio coming soon!

CDR Bob Reintjes USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

CDR Jack Rush USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

CAPT Richard Scharff USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

LTCOL Greg Shuey USAF (ret.)

Lt. Col. Gregory Shuey has more than forty years of management experience in the aerospace sciences, engineering, manufacturing, business and government as a career military officer, space systems engineer, entrepreneur and business owner. Among his many duties in his 25 years of service in the US Air Force, he served as an engineering subsystem manager for a major satellite system development program, the Air Force Director of Engineering for the Space Shuttle at Johnson Space Center for 14 shuttle launches, and the Special Advisor for Political Affairs and negotiator for US Forces, Korea.

He has served as associate professor of mathematics and physics for three colleges and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Space Physics from the US Air Force Academy, a Masters in Biomechanical Engineering with a minor in Astrogeophysics from Arizona State University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Auburn University. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and Air War College Seminar program.

Colonel Shuey is a Command Pilot with 2,900 hours in 13 aircraft as an instructor, test and fighter pilot and he flew 350 combat missions in Vietnam. He holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, 13 Air Medals, 2 Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry and 21 other decorations for his service.

In his professional business career, he served as the International Marketing Director for Ferranti International (United Kingdom) for Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. He is the founder and owner of several international technology companies and was also the director of an international master chorale and orchestra. As a classically trained pianist, he has performed on stage as an accompanist for the Air Force Academy Chorale and other many groups and has been on national TV with stars such as Carol Channing and Ed Sullivan.

Colonel Shuey has six children of which four have served 8 tours in the Middle East in their respective Army and Marine careers. He is also a 14-yr Liaison Officer for the Air Force Academy and is the founder of the Kansas City Chapter of the Association of Graduates of the Air Force Academy.

CDR Chuck Stevens USN (ret.)

Bio coming soon!

Ms. Kristi Wyatt

Bio coming soon!