Kansas City’s so-called “Bean Baron” was recently named a top entrepreneur in the region.
O’Neill, who launched the specialty coffee producer in 1993, accepted the award Monday evening as part of a Global Entrepreneurship Week event at UMKC. Now an outspoken advocate of Kansas City entrepreneurship, O’Neill opened the first Roasterie Café in Brookside in 2005. The company has grown to include three cafés and a roasting factory with event space. He serves on a number of advisory boards for Kansas City companies and associations, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City Board of Trustees.
O’Neill dished credit of the Roasterie’s success to his mentors and advisors, including his father.
“From my Dad, I learned to always do more than is asked of you, and to never ever quit,” O’Neill said in a UMKC release.
O’Neill added that his best business advice came from Henry Bloch, founder of H&R Block.
“If I hire people better than me and smarter than me at every position in the company, they just might succeed,” O’Neill said of Bloch’s advice.
UMKC also awarded Gary White, CEO and co-Founder of Water.org, the John and Marion Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Water.org helps empower millions of people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation.
Here’s a video showing a bit more of O’Neill’s personality.