“Service is what makes you who you are. It is something that, for me, is a lifestyle. Not only have I served the community through Gates Ba-B-Q, but I (we as a company) have served on corporate boards that we felt would propel the city into a beautiful, safe and enjoyable city for everyone. To assist where and when we can, ensuring growth and leadership for the next generation.”
For more than 50 years, the name Ollie Gates has been synonymous in Kansas City with great barbeque. The family restaurant business, Gates Bar-B-Q, opened in 1946, and Ollie began working there. He attended Lincoln University and served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then inactive duty with the National Guard. Ollie has been president and CEO of Gates Bar-B-Q since 1970; there are now six family-staffed and operated restaurants in town. During that same time, Ollie has served on countless government and community organizations including 18 years of the Kanas City Board of Parks and Recreation (former president), chairman of the Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission and board member/officer for the Plaza East Community Improvement District. He has received numerous awards, most recently the Cornerstone Lifetime Achieve Award – Contributions to KC Economic Strength, the LB Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lincoln University Corporate Award for Commitment to Education and Diversity. Ollie and his wife Maureen have been married for 69 years and are the parents of five children.