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P1 Co-Founder Smitty Belcher Named Lawrence Chamber’s Citizen of the Years

P1 Group Smitty Belcher Award P1 CEO Smitty Belcher (L) and Chamber of Lawrence President and CEO Bonnie Lowe

Generosity, humor, kindness and a passion for community success.

If you know P1 CEO Smitty Belcher, these words might sound spot on.

Maybe it’s his visits around P1 offices and shops where he knows every associate’s name, or takes the time to get to know it. Maybe it’s his sense of humor that encourages us all to loosen up a little. Maybe it’s his genuine care for P1 associates and his community – making us all feel like family.

Whether it’s one – or all - of these things, the title “Citizen of the Years” sounds about right.

That’s not a typo – the word “years” is plural because the Citizen of the Years award honors individuals whose impact upon the Lawrence community spans a lifetime.

According to Lawrence Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bonnie Lowe, nominations are widely solicited by a committee of Chamber leadership and past Citizen of the Years recipients.

“This year, as in the past, we received many very worthy nominations,” Bonnie said. “All were fully vetted by the committee, and Smitty was the unanimous choice.”  

Smitty - and the Belcher family - have never wavered in their commitment to Lawrence.

Lawrence Chamber P1 Group

“The Belchers are committed to the success of Lawrence, Douglas County businesses, and their workforce needs,” Marilyn Heck, Heck Land Company said. “Smitty has served on many boards and committees, and remains a strong proponent of the Chamber and EDC.”

“He’s the first to give his support and bring others along.”

Smitty says his personal and professional connection to Lawrence runs deep. “Even though P1 has offices across the U.S., About 70 percent of our work is within the Lawrence/Kansas City metropolitan area,” he said.

“We are still a local contractor.”

The Belcher family moved to Lawrence in 1983, and has helped make P1, as an organization, an avid supporter of all things Lawrence.

“P1 is deeply committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work,” Smitty said. “Our family, the company, and our employees enthusiastically support local Lawrence causes, like the LMH Foundation, KU Endowment, Williams Education Fund, Lawrence Schools Foundation, Lawrence Arts Center, Junior Achievement, Friends of the Lied Center, and the Festival of Trees/O’Connell Children’s Shelter.”

But those are just a few. Bonnie notes that while Smitty never seeks the spotlight, he has been instrumental in the success of programs that help others.

“Smitty has been deeply involved in the success of several programs at the Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center. This is just one example of how his efforts in promoting workforce opportunities and enhancements propel the success of our community and region,” Bonnie said.

She also explained his critical role in capitalizing on the upcoming Panasonic plant to be constructed in nearby DeSoto, KS.

“Smitty stepped up to fund this position, and contacted others to be on board, bringing their expertise, ideas, and financial commitments. We would not have been successful in this important endeavor without Smitty’s leadership, which was completed in a mere few weeks,” Bonnie said.

Smitty continues to inspire his community and his associates with one of his favorite philosophies: “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Congratulations to Smitty on a well-deserved award!

P1 Smitty Belcher Career Path

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