For unwavering volunteerism and selfless service to the Great Bend community, Barry Bowers earned the 2018 Citizen of the Year award from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development. Bowers received this surprise honor during the organization’s Annual Meeting & Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Great Bend Events Center.
Bowers was a 1979 graduate of Great Bend High School and 1981 graduate of Barton Community College. That was also the year that he married his high school sweetheart, Monica. For several years, he helped manage Bell Rentals, an equipment rental company before setting out on his own as an entrepreneur offering Perma-Glaze resurfacing for tubs and showers all over Central Kansas. But it wasn’t until 2000 that Bowers fulfilled his dream of becoming an accountant when he graduated Cum Laude from Sterling College. He earned his CPA designation shortly afterward in 2001.
Barry worked independently for other CPA firms for several years before forming a partnership called Holste & Bowers in 2008 with local accountant David Holste.
The two built a successful client base before forming a new partnership called Spectrum CPA Partners in 2016 along with David Zink and Cynthia Lockwood.
Together their firm employs 10 people and offers a continually expanding list of accounting and bookkeeping services to companies all over the state of Kansas.
While Barry’s professional career has been quite accomplished, it’s his personal achievements and volunteer service that set him apart from the crowd. Bowers started learning about leadership as a Boy Scout, and was the very first Eagle Scout from troop 184, a troop that he continues to support. He even served as Scout Master for two years, and helped on the Kansas Executive Council as well.
“Barry has volunteered with more organizations than I can count, and I’m not sure if anyone could put the whole list together because he is so humble about it,” says longtime friend David Thill. “He’s not doing it for the attention or for personal gain. He really cares about others and does what he can to help. He is the best representation of humility and servant leadership.”
Over the years, Bowers has served in a variety of public capacities including being elected to the Great Bend City Council, serving on the Barton Community College Foundation Board, volunteering as a Chamber Ambassador, and he’s always been an active part of his church in many capacities. Other past volunteer roles include serving on the Habitat for Humanity board as a director and also as president, United Way board of directors and campaign co-chairs, and as a Grand Marshall for the Home for the Holidays Christmas parade. And those are just the roles that he no longer serves in.
Currently, Barry is volunteering his time and his talents for more than a dozen local organizations, some focused on social issues and poverty while others are focused on business and preserving local history. These organizations include:
• Ellinwood Foundation - Current Treasurer
• 100+ People Who Care - Board Member
• Almost Home, Inc. - Board Member & Treasurer
• Central Kansas Development, Inc. - Board Member & President
• Barton County Historical Society - Board Member & Treasurer
• Central Kansas Dream Center - Board Member & Treasurer
• Grace Community Church - Elder, Board Member, Finance Committee
• Great Bend Foundation - Board Member, Secretary & Treasurer
• Kiwanis Club - Member & Past President
• Gideon’s - Board Member & President
• Healing Hearts Ranch - Board Member
• Child Abuse Prevention Education (CAPE) - Board Member
Barry is also an active member of the Golden Belt Woodcarver’s club, and has won numerous ribbons for his craftsmanship creating character carvings by hand. Bowers is a certified Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University instructor, volunteering his time to teach numerous classes over the last 10 years to help people manage their finances and get out of debt.
“There could not be someone more deserving than Barry for this award,” Thill concluded. “If you look around at the good things that have happened for local organizations over the years, chances are that Barry Bowers had a hand in their progress at one time or another. He is the cream of the crop.”
Citizen of the Year Criteria
The “Citizen of the Year” award is presented by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development to recognize an individual for their volunteer service. The winner must be creating a meaningful impact as a role model for others, and be seen as a leader who has helped pave the way in their workplace and in the community.
Previous Citizen of the Year Recipients
2017 Mark Mingenback
2016 Dan Bonine
2013 Rick Ball
2012 Tim Miller