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About Us

Steve Noll


Steve grew up in Independence, Missouri, but finished high school in Topeka, Kansas. After two years at the University of Kansas, he withdrew from school and took a job at a small Kansas City manufacturer. This experience motivated him to return to his accounting and economics studies after only one semester away but left Steve with a lifelong fascination of Kansas City's strong industrial base and the history of its manufacturing heritage.

After completing his degree, Steve rejoined his former employer and was immersed in that firm's growth and expansion. In 1981, he took a different tack and joined the Macy's Department Stores Midwest Division's management training program.

Steve quickly realized that department store retailing culture was not the best place for his next career. In 1983 he joined an acquaintance in a partnership to save the "Shirt-Man" chain of eight retail t-shirt and sportwear shops in the Kansas City market. After three years, the corporate restructuring was completed, and the business became a competitive commercial apparel screen printing business that continued for several more decades. Steve withdrew from the partnership as the company regained stability, and he then moved onto the next adventure.

In 1987, Steve joined the Stanley Works Hardware Division beginning a corporate career that included responsibilities at the new Kansas City distribution center. His duties expanded to include roles at other Stanley Distribution facilities in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

After retiring from the corporate world, Steve completed a paralegal certificate program. In 2004, Steve began a new career as executive director of the Jackson County Missouri Historical Society, retiring thirteen years later in 2017.

Throughout his career, and continuing today, Steve has been active in private and public civic activities. As a college student, Steve served in the KU Student Senate and as the treasurer of the Association of University Residence Halls. Later, Steve served on the Prairie Village City Council from 1991-2006, and again from 2010-2018.
His other civic work includes:

  • Shawnee Mission East Fund: Helped organize this private sector endowment fund of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, serving as its first treasurer and the second board president.
  • American Royal: Board of Governors: Member since 1980, chair of Barbecue 2001-2003
  • Great American Barbecue Festival: Founding Committee, chairman
  • Truman Heartland Community Foundation: Board of Directors 2018 to present
  • 40 Year Ago Column Club, Kansas City Star: past president and historian
  • Heritage League of Greater KC: past president
  • Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City: past president and board member.
  • Possum Trot Festival / Historic KC Foundation: Festival co-chair, 1983
  • Kansas City Spirit Festival: Founding committee, vice president of production, 1984 - 1987.
  • Greater Kansas City Marathon Committee: course director, past chairman, and treasurer.
  • Unity Temple on the Plaza: former director, board secretary, and treasurer
  • Boy Scouts of America: Eagle scout: Tribe of Mic-O-Say member
  • Minnesota Prairie Wind Charitable Foundation: founder and president
  • Consolidated Fire District No. 2 of Johnson County: trustee 2019 - 2022)

 Steve's commitment to supporting the preservation of area history has included work as a writer, editor, consultant, or publisher.

  • The First Beverly Hillbilly, the Paul Henning Story. Ruth Henning (Published at MCPL’s Woodneath Press)
  • Cowtown, Cattle Trails and West Bottoms Tales. Ed Matheny Jr. (Published at MCPL’s Woodneath Press)
  • Kansas City, Our Collective Memories. Bruce Mathews and Steve Noll
  • Kansas City Houses 1885 - 1938. Michael Kathrens; Steve Noll, Co-Publisher with Bauer and Dean

Steve is married to Marianne George Noll and lives in Prairie Village, Kansas, where Steve and Marianne raised their two children.