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2021 Class of Rising Stars – Luke Deets

Family is a driving force in Luke Deets’ philanthropic work. He is a humble, relationship-driven leader who sees opportunities to provide support to those in need and does not hesitate to raise his hand. Married to an educator, both Luke and his wife see volunteerism as fundamental to their family values and traditions. Luke seeks to model giving back to the community for his four children, while demonstrating the impact of intentional giving of one’s time and resources.

Luke is a vice president of McCownGordon Construction, where he leads the company’s K-12 market sector team. He oversees a team of more than 100 associates who specialize in K-12 learning environments. Luke has played a crucial role in growing McCownGordon’s presence in the education market, and he enjoys working with architects, engineers, and owners to produce highly successful projects for public and private schools.

Luke’s passion for education is evident in both his career and his community engagement. He summed up his philosophy this way, “Education is the way to advance in the world and it is not only teachers who can guide students; we all can play a role.” It is the belief that we can collectively support students in our community that has led Luke to several key roles in advancing education access to those who may experience barriers or challenges. He is a transformative leader who supports organizations and initiatives that provide key resources to students in K-12. He sees education as playing a vital role in putting students on the path for their futures while also helping to break cycles of poverty leading to generational impact.

As a member of the board of directors of the Olathe Schools Foundation, Luke’s purpose is clear. He is a mission-driven leader whose work with schools is more than a role, it is a passion to which he is incredibly committed. Luke holds several leadership roles, yet states his most impactful and meaningful work has come from his one-on-one time reading or engaging with youth. His compass for his work in philanthropy is simple, “You get more than you give when you have the right heart and open mind.” Luke connects not only to the mission of an organization but also builds deep connections one relationship at a time.

Luke serves on the board of the Association for Learning Environments and is the immediate past board president of the National Institute for Construction Excellence (NICE). He is an advocate for diversity and believes engaging with diverse communities, “makes you a better person,” and encourages others to do the same.

Luke serves as a member of the Lawrence Center for Technical Education and the North Kansas City Schools’ Industry Executive Council, where he helps to create education opportunities for children seeking careers in professions that don’t require college degrees. Luke and his wife, Genia, also lend their time and talents to several other non profits, including Cancel Out Cancer, Braden’s Hope, and Traveling Turkeys, which provides Thanksgiving meals to those in need.

Also featured in the September 18, 2021 issue of The Independent
By Nicole Jacobs Silvey
Photo Credit: Tom Styrkowicz


Nicole Jacobs Silvey

Nicole is passionate about philanthropy and spent more than 20 years working in the non-profit sector. She became a contributing writer for The Independent in April of 2021 and enjoys telling the stories of Kansas City’s most noted leaders. When not writing for The Independent, she dedicates her time as the Founder and President of Connection Coach KC. Nicole can most often be found cheering on her son, Rowan, during a sporting event or spending time volunteering at one of the many organizations she admires. Nicole and her husband, Patrick, enjoy raising Rowan and Cooper (their golden puppy!) in Kansas City, a community they love to call home.


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