2017 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Chris Gaunce

Chris Gaunce EditedWashington High School, 1975

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: John F. Kennedy Elementary, Coronado Junior High

Chris Gaunce’s advice to students is to “be open to opportunities because you think you might know what you want to do in life right now, but you might end up doing something totally different.” He knows this to be true from experience.

Gaunce had been a successful bank auditor for one and a half years when he decided in 1982 he wanted a different occupation. However, he was not sure what he wanted to do next.  A golfing friend told him he knew someone in the copier business he should meet. “I had never considered working in the copier business, but when I thought about it I realized every business has a need for one or multiple pieces of this office equipment,” Gaunce said.

That first meeting between Gaunce and Ken Hamilton was the beginning of a great friendship that would develop into an even greater business partnership as the co-owners of Unisource Document Products, a copier, printer, document management and network services company in Lenexa, Kansas. 

The business flourished under their guidance together, including a merger with another office company, DataMax.  They would later sell their company to the Sumner Group Inc., a nationally ranked office products corporation. While Hamilton had already made the decision to retire, Gaunce was persuaded by the Sumner Group to remain on at the company as the division president.

Under Gaunce’s leadership, he has expanded the company’s client territory to include Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, St. Joseph and Springfield, Mo. Clients for the company include the University of Kansas, large school and public library systems as well as nationally recognized law firms, as well as churches and larger business offices. 

Gaunce is described as a leader who masterfully empowers and promotes those around him to shine while he remains in the background.  Kevin Burgess, an employee and graduate of Sumner Academy of Arts in Science said, “I can always count on Chris to do the right thing. He truly has an open-door policy to guide all employees to the best solution for any issue that arises. His collaborative approach instills confidence in our employees.”  Burgess worked for the Datamax division when Gaunce arrived.  Burgess was promoted to sales manager under Gaunce’s tutelage. 

Gaunce has often been recognized by copier manufacturers his company represents and by organizations in the metro community, but chooses to accept the recognitions humbly without great notoriety.  He recently accepted a board position as director of the Milburn Golf & Country Club to help with the 100-year anniversary of the club and festivities surrounding this momentous occasion. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Gaunce and his wife Janie, his childhood sweetheart, are the proud parents of Chase and Mallory, both are young adults living in the metropolitan area.