“Probably the funniest comment I’ve ever heard is, ‘I thought you’d be taller’,” laughs Kansas, discussing how his last name often becomes a conversation piece. “I should have been a cowboy.”
But, Kansas is not a cowboy, he is a radio show host and the owner of a commercial real estate brokerage firm, although Urban Cowboy is one of his favorite movies. Kansas is originally from New Orleans, which further complicates his wild west ambitions, since as we all know there aren’t too many cowboys in the swamps of southern Louisiana. Even heading out west to college at University of Arizona didn’t do the trick, but it did give him a great education. Kansas graduated with an Honors Degree in Entrepreneurship from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program in the Eller College of Management. This esteemed program is consistently ranked in the Top 5 programs of its kind in the country.
It was while at UofA that Kansas first got into professional story telling, becoming a published author by the age of 21. Granted, Police Beat, was no literary work of art, it still sold well and allowed Kansas to learn more about publishing and journalism. Upon moving to Atlanta in 1995, just in time for the ’96 Olympic Games, Kansas took a job working for Turner Network Television as a content developer. Content lead to feature and freelance projects for many newspapers and magazines and eventually lead to copywriting.
After several years of getting to know the business, and with the help of a network of creative friends and associates, Kansas launched The Kansas Agency in late 1996, having worked for Atlanta Magazine the previous year. This boutique marketing and advertising firm specialized in image and identity work and served clients like UPS, Turner, Gables Residential, Land Rover, Smoothie King, Swissotel, and Coldwell Banker to name a few. Then, he ended up selling that company and working in a cubicle. Those days were marked by meetings about meetings and birthdays in the break-room.
In the year 2000, Kansas partied like it was 1999, and also began working for Advantis Commercial Real Estate, a subsidiary of the St. Joe Company. It was there that he got his formal training in real estate brokerage, although he had been marketing properties for developers, investors and operators for years through the ad agency. ”After two wonderful and exciting years, it was time to go out on my own”, remembers Kansas. ”I founded Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate with the goal of not being confused with any other commercial real estate company. I meant that from a creative sense, a community sense, and from a programatic approach to doing business.” GK|CRE specializes in Atlanta’s in-town markets, helping their clients buy, sell and lease property.
It was during the marketing for sale of one such property that Kansas had a chance meeting with Joe Weber. Weber owns AM 1690 “The Voice of the Arts”, a radio station that sets itself apart from other local stations through creativity, community and culture. Kansas and Weber immediately hit it off, and unbeknownst to Weber at the time, started Kansas thinking about an old idea he had…a radio show focused on featuring the human interest and arts side of commercial real estate: art, architecture, design, development, city planning and preservation, to be exact. Ladies and gentlemen, that show is Sidewalk Radio, and Gene Kansas is your host. Saddle up, and enjoy the ride!