2020 Journey Awards: Silver Medal Award Winner Tom Hansen

Posted on Jul. 17, 2020  /  Journey Awards  /  

This week, we’re celebrating our Kansas City visionaries virtually at the 2020 Journey Awards.

Tom Hansen was an important member of the Kansas City advertising community, having worked and led agencies and brands throughout the midwest. He was a true visionary in our industry and is missed by many.

Check out this video introducing Tom Hansen, our 2020 Journey Awards Silver Medal Award Winner, and read his wife’s full acceptance letter below.

2020 Silver Medal Award - Tom Hansen from AAF - Kansas City on Vimeo.

Tom didn’t live for awards.

Maybe that’s why he won so many of them.

Tom was about serving the work and his clients.

Growing brands by growing the people on his teams.

Their growth and success were Tom’s greatest trophies.

That said, Tom was a proud man, and he took great pride in the awards that he and his teams won. He was especially proud of the Addy Awards trophies that came from his peers in Kansas City. 

No matter where he worked or lived, Tom Hansen was first and foremost a Kansas City kid.

He was also an avid golfer. So, it should come as no surprise that while he had a special place in his heart for the Addy awards he won over the years, the shiniest trophies, with the most prime real estate on Tom’s mantle, might have been his Championship Trophies from the old Ad Club Scramble Golf Tournaments.

But this, this is different. The Journey Awards Silver Award would have meant the most to him. 

It will stand as the centerpiece and crowning achievement of his career. It means that Tom’s lifelong work in the advertising profession has been brought full circle. 

While his legacy will live on everywhere someone he touched walks, it all started in KC. 

Although Tom had an innate, God-given ability for creative writing and to craft incredible stories, Tom’s career foundation was formed in Kansas City working alongside other great KC creative talent. And it served him well.

Tom became a master craftsman. A teammate. A leader. And more often than not a dear friend and mentor.

But first, he was mentored by some of the best KC creative talent. Gifted and generous people who helped him achieve his success here and in Chicago and Dallas. 

Tom worked at Barkley, Brewer/Y&R KC, Valentine-Radford, and helped found a start-up agency CMH&H. He moved on to work as creative director at Tracy Locke in Dallas and Leo Burnett in Chicago, and CEO of TM Advertising (an IPG agency) and founded Square One in Dallas.

During his career, Tom was proud of the work he and his teams did in Kansas City for clients like Bayer, ERC, KC Star, BASF, BeechCraft, Tallgrass Technologies, Merchants Bank, AmeriSource, ERA, Lee Jeans, and many others. He went on to create award-winning work for Hallmark, American Airlines, Coors and Miller beer brands, Nationwide Insurance, McDonalds, Whataburger, Frito Lay, Sprint, United Airline, and Tabasco to name a few.

But no matter where his career took him, Kansas City kept calling. Even more than the savory barbecue and his beloved Chiefs, Tom longed for the humble work ethic and camaraderie of its advertising and marketing community.  He was proud of the work this town produced and fiercely defended the KC ad community and creative talent to any large market naysayer.

During the latter stages of his career, Tom came back to consult for local agencies. Tom looked to get back to KC and be part of the ad community, and about 5 years ago Neal Sharma and DEG made Tom’s goal a reality. Working with Neal and the DEG executive team, Tom joyfully helped shape the DEG that we know today.

And now, like a tight closing line that perfectly pays off what its headline started, this award is the perfect button to Tom’s career. A career that began in Kansas City and now comes to a formal close here, as well.

On behalf of the Hansen family, it is an honor and privilege to accept this award for my late husband, Tom. Our gratitude goes to AAF-KC, the Journey Awards, and the Silver Award members who were unanimous in their support for Tom. He would be very honored to join his fellow Silver Awards winners, many of whom were friends, colleagues and mentors. AAF-KC (or the KC Ad Club as Tom referred to it) and the Kansas City ad community were near and dear to Tom. And instrumental in developing his gift for language.

Tom’s gift helped give his life meaning and purpose. And his contribution to future generations of creative writers will live on. Tom was a proud graduate of the University of Kansas. And because of his belief in the power of the written word, the Tom Hansen Scholarship Fund for Influential Writing was created. Writing that may take the form of the Great American Novel, justice-seeking journalism or the writing of grants for cancer research and other worthy causes. For more information about Tom's scholarship fund, please go to

Since Tom’s untimely passing from cancer in November, our daughters and I have been touched by the outpouring of wonderful stories and memories about him. He was loved, and he loved you all. Thank you so much for that. 

On behalf of the Hansen family, we are very proud of what Tom achieved, and thank you, Journey Awards, for keeping his memory alive with the prestigious Silver Award. Tom was a bright light and this award assures that his light will shine on.

Patty Hansen, Tom's wife


About the Journey Awards

The AAF-KC Journey Awards honor Kansas City’s best and brightest advertising professionals where they stand today. These awards recognize five local leaders who make an impact on the Kansas City advertising community through volunteerism, personal or agency-led efforts or commitment to the development of others.

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