The late NEAL PATTERSON was a successful Kansas City entrepreneur who named Ewing Kauffman, a great local business entrepreneur and founder of the Kansas City Royals, among his personal influencers. Along with friend and business partner Cliff Illig, Patterson was a principal investor in the five-person OnGoal LLC, the group that purchased the team from Hunt Sports Group in 2006.
Prior to his passing in July 2017, Mr. Patterson was chairman of the board, chief executive officer and co-founder of Cerner Corporation, the world’s largest stand-alone healthcare information technology company, with more than $2 billion in revenues and more than 10,000 associates worldwide, including more than 6,500 associates in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Mr. Patterson grew up on his family’s farm near Manchester, Oklahoma, was active in scouting, and worked his way through school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and his master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University in 1971 and 1972. In 1973, Mr. Patterson began his professional career as an information system consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co.
His entrepreneurial journey began in late 1979, when he and two Arthur Andersen colleagues, Cliff Illig and Paul Gorup, formed Cerner. As CEO, Mr. Patterson spearheaded more than three decades of Cerner’s growth, from its inception to its current position as the world’s leading healthcare information technology company.
Patterson was an active civic participant in entrepreneurial causes. He was a founding member of the Entrepreneurs’ Exchange, a 20-year-old forum of seasoned entrepreneurs who support and encourage the next generation of Kansas City entrepreneurs through private meetings and public events.
In 2010, he was fourth on Forbes’ list of "America's Best-Performing Bosses." He served as a trustee of the Midwest Research Institute and is active in healthcare leadership networks and local entrepreneurial organizations. Mr. Patterson was voted five times as one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.”
Mr. Patterson was co-founder and served on the executive board of the First Hand Foundation, Cerner’s non-profit foundation that provides financial assistance to children with critical healthcare needs. Outside of healthcare, he was co-owner of Kansas City's Major League Soccer franchise, Sporting KC, and served as a lifetime director for the 113-year-old American Royal livestock, horse show and rodeo.