Born and raised in Orland Park, IL, I’m a Kansas City area sales leader and entrepreneur with a history of success in business development, program design, and team building. I grew up in an enterprising family with immigrant grandparents who ventured into the restaurant business in the 1950s. They sold their restaurant in the 1970s and built a ceramic tile retail and distribution business where I spent a lot of his time growing up. (Their business evolved into one of the largest importers of European ceramic tile in the United States.)
I completed my Master’s Degree with Honors from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa, which is also where I met my wife, Melissa. We are both still devoted Hawkeye fans.
My early successes were in the golf industry. I was a golf professional right out of college, and then drifted towards the sales branch of the sport – a move that would shape the rest of my career. At the tender age of 27, I was hired as the youngest sales representative at Slazenger Golf Company in Greenville, South Carolina. At that job, a well-respected golf pro advised the person who would later become my manager that “someone should hire me before you-know-who nabs that kid.” And I guess he was right, because during my time there, I more than tripled sales in my territory.
I later worked in a similar role for Callaway Golf Company in Carlsbad, California where I continued to see exceptional results and establish my mastery of the sales profession. I relocated with Callaway to the Kansas City area in 2000.
In 2003, I took my experience to the next level and opened Leawood Office Business Center, a series of executive office suites. I served as the project manager of the multi-million dollar real estate development, utilizing my sales background to build up the business through advertising, public relations, and product pitches. I also built an engaged, well-trained staff and implemented business strategies to ensure the long term health of the operation.
After a little over 10 years as an entrepreneur, I took another leap forward and founded Kevin Downey Recruiting Systems in Overland Park, KS. As director, I created a formula for optimizing the recruitment process using my business analysis abilities. My eye for high-quality, qualified candidates combined with my advertising background built a business that produced boundless talent for my clients.
The following years led me to create my own full scale B2B sales firm, which I named Lightning Sales & Marketing Group as a nod to how quickly my and my team produced results. In 2018, the company saw success in a variety of industries nationwide from food services to digital marketing. My focus at Lightning was not just to build teams and strategies but to take this one step further and make them simple, scalable, and repeatable. I knew that these would be the keys to his clients’ long term success and growth.
I joined the Apple Spice team in 2019. As a consulting VP of Sales, I became a pivotal part of developing their franchise locations. I quickly saw areas for development, resulting in my creation of my turnkey lead generation and sales solution that revolutionized their operations. I built and trained a nationwide team from the ground up and devised all tools to ensure their success. Apple Spice continues to lead the catered box lunch industry to this day.
When I’m not building businesses and closing sales, I enjoy competitive running, golf, travel, and of course, spending lots of quality time with my wife and two sons.