Meet Your Ambassador

Meet Your Ambassador - Gary Sibbitts,
founder, Z-KNOW Computing Solutions…and Chamber Ambassador

Growing up on a dairy farm in a small farming/college town located 20 minutes from the Canadian border in Canton, NY, I spent a lot of time shoveling manure. In the years since leaving the farm, I have yet to work at any job that didn’t have a certain amount of manure to deal with.

Meet Your Ambassador - Kirk Faubel
Creative Audio, Video & Automation…and Chamber Ambassador

I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of a police officer and a nurse’s assistant.  Milwaukee is a beer town like St Louis whose economy had relied heavily on manufacturing.  I loved the comfortable summers, having a ton of snow in the winter and I grew up playing baseball in the summer months as well as camping and doing anything in the water. 

Mike Knopfel, Partner
Principal Financial Group…and Chamber Ambassador

This scene always reminds me of why Kirkwood is special: quiet summer night in the heart of downtown Kirkwood. We’re at the Custard Station where you always see a familiar face. Kids rush to the fence to watch the Amtrak or freight trains rumble by. Across Argonne, firemen sit in chairs in front of the station and say hello to anyone passing by. As I survey the scene, it reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting. It is small-town life captured in a big city setting. Almost perfect.

Meet Randall Higgins
Owner, Speedpro Imaging and Chamber Ambassador

Like many others, I’m an ‘immigrant’ to St Louis. I grew up in a small town in northwest Alabama called Florence, which I don’t think was named after the more famous Italian city. So when folks here ask me where I went to school, I answer that I went to West Point; and that was a long way from NW AL! Four years at the Military Academy taught me more things than I knew there was to know, and that education was more than just academics.

Meet Your Ambassador
By Judy Honigfort, Co-Owner, Great Harvest Bread

Transplants from Kansas City and married one week, Tom and I feel we “got lucky” when our realtor, after showing us houses from Ballwin, to Webster Groves, to Creve Coeur, pulled into the driveway of a charming little starter home in Kirkwood. We stepped inside, and declared the house “it”. Thirty-three years later, we still live in the Kirkwood area, and cannot imagine working or living anywhere else.

Meet Your Ambassador
by Kelly Jackson

My name is Kelly Jackson. I am married to Brad, 15 years this year, and have a daughter, Taylor (13) who attends North Kirkwood Middle School. We have two pets, Tanner a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Prince, a Teacup Yorkie. We have lived in Kirkwood for 9 years, previously living in West County. I am the founder of KRJ Marketing+, a strategic marketing and creative services agency serving small to mid-sized businesses and our office is located in downtown Kirkwood.

by Jeff Ehrhardt, Owner, Ehrhardt Agency-State Farm Insurance

Just a few months away from our 5 year anniversary, Erica and I spend a lot of time with our furry friend…Ace! He’s our 16 month old, 90 lb. yellow lab. Much of our time and efforts the last few years has been centered around getting the business up and running, but in our free time we enjoy car rides in our Jeep Wrangler with the top down, going out to dinner, sitting around the fire pit with good friends, and going to movies. Our goal is to buy a house that sits on 3-5 acres of land outside St. Louis and spend time hosting our friends and family!

If the Terry Sibbitts NOW could have talked to the 2007 Terry Sibbitts, one of the first things I would tell her is to be patient with the whole networking at the Chamber process.

Welcome to Your Chamber!
Kendra Young, Great Southern Bank

I’d like to start with a little about myself first; I am a native St. Louisan and have lived here all my life, minus a brief stint in Florida for my eighth grade year of school through mid-sophomore year, when I guess my parents decided the summers weren’t quite hot enough and the winters not quite cold enough, so we moved back to St. Louis. Well, I don’t think I need to tell any of you how much fun it was to be the “new” kid in high school. While in high school I obtained my first job ever, cashier at Kentucky Fried Chicken! After six (6) years, I realized the colonel was NOT going to share his secret recipe and I decided on a new career path, banking.

Allow me to introduce you to Simmons First National Bank located at 302 N Clay Avenue in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Simmons First National Bank is committed to providing exceptional quality customer service and giving back to the communities that we serve.

We believe that our community banking philosophy has been the key to our success. It is a philosophy that stresses the importance of being involved in our communities by putting our time, talents and money into these same communities. In 2013, Simmons First had over 1400 associates involved in contributing more than 27,000 volunteer hours to over 600 organizations in 53 communities.

Name-dropping often has negative connotations. Whether its aim is to impress or advance a person up the rungs of a social hierarchy, name dropping is seldom as fun for the recipient as it is for the name dropper. I can think of one example, however, when name-dropping is not only acceptable, it is golden! That’s when the names belong to members of the Kirkwood - Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce. When we show up at Chamber events and make a commitment to “Shop Chamber First,” we find valuable resources for getting things done and strengthening our local business economy. Then it’s only natural to spread the good word by name-dropping. Let me show you what I mean.

A Flashback to childhood and I think about my Dad painting a rainbow on my bedroom wall. On the adjacent wall he painted half yellow and half green. I am one of seven girls, so it’s not like my Dad had a lot of time to create art. I never knew if my Dad had a real artistic flair, or if he was just using up some extra paint. He never painted any of the other rooms in the house like that. But, I’m not sure any of my sisters would’ve appreciated his artwork like I did. I think he was testing me, in a way! Maybe he was planting the seed.

The Negatives of Being a Chamber Ambassador


After talking with several of the Chamber’s ambassadors, you may end up sighing a bit and asking, “Are there any negatives to being an Ambassador?” Well, of course there are; I just can’t think of any. It’s a giant job of meeting and greeting just about everybody who participates in a Chamber function. Talk about super networking made easy! Just be there and do your job and you get names and numbers of folks you may do business with, and you are able to help them get involved in the Chamber.

Meet Your Ambassador – March 2014
By Dennis Cooper, The Federal Savings Bank

This article may seem like I am repeating myself, but that is because I am. My experiences with chambers of commerce started early in my career assisting seniors with accessing the equity in their homes with the use of Reverse Mortgages. I realized that I couldn’t go into a neighborhood and determine which homeowner was interested in the process, but in almost all cases the homeowner or buyer had someone they considered an advisor.