Leading Entrepreneur to LSEDC: Focus on Existing Resources

EyeVerify Founder Toby Rush encourages Lee’s Summit leaders to identify density and concentration of existing business assets at March Speaker Series luncheon  

Lee’s Summit, MO—March 10, 2017– Toby Rush, founder of biometric security company EyeVerify Inc., headlined the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s March Speaker Series luncheon. Comparing the family farm he grew up on in rural Kansas to the most simple “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Rush shared how raising pigs in grade school and hiring friends to help him throw hay in high school helped lay the groundwork for his future career growing and selling tech companies.

“I didn’t see it as entrepreneurship at the time, but looking back, that’s exactly what it was. Understanding the resources and needs of the market in front of you, amassing those resources to solve a problem and then hoping everyone can make a little money out of that,” Rush said.

Rush founded biometric security company EyeVerify Inc. in 2012 and sold the company in 2016 for a reported $100 million to Ant Financial Group, the financial services arm of AliBaba Group. EyeVerify is headquartered in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District and plans to almost double its headcount from 50 to 90 employees by the end of the year.

Reflecting on the value of trusted mentors along his journey, Rush cited the success of his RFID technology company, Rush Tracking Systems. “We would go into companies like John Deere, Dairy Farmers of America, Smuckers and Chevron, and we kept winning deals. I kept being really surprised, and a trusted mentor said to me, ‘Toby, you’re going to realize you’re growing up when you quit being surprised that you’re winning.”

Rush also encouraged the group of successful and established Lee’s Summit business leaders to not be afraid to dream. “If we want to make a meaningful difference, sometimes we have to take a step back and dream like children. Invite more people into the conversation and not necessarily think about what resources do I have– or what background and collective knowledge do I have to solve this problem? So you can kind of literally become the victim of your own success.”

After his speech, LSEDC Board Member Todd Haynes asked Rush what it would take for EyeVerify to build a new headquarters in Lee’s Summit.

“The reason we are in the Crossroads is because that’s where the (tech and entrepreneurial) community is. Plain and simple, it’s easy for me to connect with lots of other entrepreneurs just by walking across the street or into a nearby business,” Rush said. “What makes the Crossroads successful is the density of entrepreneurs and resources, so I encourage Lee’s Summit to focus on where your resources (industry clusters and workforce) are concentrated.”

Market Center of Ideas Kicks off Velocity Event

The Lee’s Summit Market Center of Ideas was created to bring entrepreneurs in and around Lee’s Summit together to collaborate with one another, provide mentor-ship, educational programming and additional opportunities to support growth and success. The first program, called Velocity, featured a panel of entrepreneurs and local start-ups who shared their story and advice followed by networking. Check out the article from the Lee’s Summit Journal. (photos provided by Michael Moore Photography) – This program is just picking up speed. The next event will be a social hour on March 16th at Main Slice Pizza in downtown Lee’s Summit. For more information visit their Facebook page!

 

 

Statement regarding Diodes FabTech Inc.

The City of Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council are not able to comment on Diodes FabTech’s plans for its local operation because the company has not officially notified either the City or LSEDC of an immediate decision to close.

The City of Lee’s Summit sympathizes with employees potentially affected by the social media rumored closing of Diodes FabTech. Its lease at Summit Technology Campus will expire in December of 2017.

Assistance with workforce issues is a core mission of the LSEDC, and LSEDC has contacts with local employers to identify potential opportunities for displaced workers and will share that information on its Facebook page when it becomes available. https://www.facebook.com/lsedc/

In 2016, the Lee’s Summit Fire Department responded to two separate structure fires at Diodes FabTech, which disrupted operations for Diodes FabTech as well as other tenants. The City assisted Diodes FabTech and building owner in safely reopening the damaged portion of the facility as quickly as possible.

The City and LSEDC do not interfere in private lease negotiations. However, the LSEDC does play a role in identifying relocation opportunities, and the City of Lee’s Summit will consider and provide economic incentives to attract or retain major employers to the city. In Diodes FabTech’s case, the LSEDC in 2016 identified two Lee’s Summit potential sites for future operations, but the company has not pursued either option. LSEDC continues to be available for any relocation discussions, if applicable to Diodes FabTech’s operations.

KC SmartPort President to LSEDC: 2017 Spec Industrial Market Set to Sizzle

Lee’s Summit, MO—Feb. 3, 2017—Leading investors with the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council learned about opportunities to tap into the region’s growing e-commerce and export businesses at the LSEDC’s monthly Advisory Board Luncheon on Feb. 1, 2017 at The Stanley Event Space, 308 SE Douglas St.

Chris Gutierrez, president of Kansas City SmartPort, told LSEDC investors that Greater Kansas City delivered a record 9 million square feet of speculative industrial space in 2016 and is on track to deliver another 9 million square feet in 2017.

“The great thing about all of this speculative industrial space is that it is all getting leased,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a hot market for three reasons: We have product available, our labor force is strong and there is significant public/private investment.”

Workforce availability and readiness is a top concern for companies seeking locations for warehouse/distribution and e-commerce operations. Gutierrez urged business leaders to help spread the word to school districts and communities that supply chain jobs are career jobs.

“The message needs to get to parents and educators, and it really needs to start as early as 8th grade,” Gutierrez said. “It is important for groups like the Lee’s Summit EDC for example, to be a resource for Lee’s Summit and provide information to the community and schools.”

SmartPort is a non-profit economic development organization that promotes and enhances the Kansas City region’s status as a leading North American logistics hub.

Investors also received an update from the World Trade Center of Kansas City on a regional effort designed to improve exports. WTC-KC Director Ivry Karamitros said that a 2014 Brookings Institution Study found that when it comes to export intensity and overall economic growth, Kansas City lags behind peer cities. The study led to the creation of the Kansas City Global Cities Initiative, a five-year project designed to grow exports.

“We want to help Kansas City become more globally minded and focused,” Karamitros said. “It truly takes a regional effort.”

WTC-KC is housed at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and serves as a global business liaison for companies who export goods. The agency offers companies one-on-one access to an “Export Concierge” who can provide trade leads, a customized market analysis and needs assessment, as well as assistance with Certificates of Origin.

Karamitros said building relationships with local economic development agencies like the Lee’s Summit EDC are a key part of WTC-KC’s strategy, which calls for connecting 100 companies to export assistance providers over the life of the initiative.

This spring, WTC is hosting an Ambassador to Colombia for a workshop on exports to the South American nation. Companies interested in meeting with the ambassador are encouraged to call the World Trade Center to set up an appointment.

Visit KC SmartPort’s web page for more information along with more information on the Global Cities Initiative and the World Trade Center.

LSEDC Touts Economic Development Benefits of City Hangar Purchase

Hangar investment and airport runway extension expected to boost recruitment and expansion

Lee’s Summit, MO—Dec. 20, 2016—The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council will aggressively leverage recent investments and improvements at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport to help grow the city’s overall business base and burgeoning aviation industry, Lee’s Summit EDC President and CEO Rick McDowell has announced.mayor-hangar-photo

“The increase in aircraft activity taking place at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, along with additional activity expected as a result of upcoming runway improvements, creates a tremendous opportunity for enhanced business retention, expansion and attraction activity tied to the airport,” McDowell said. “In addition, the City’s purchase of this hangar provides another community asset the EDC can tout as it works to grow and attract businesses that rely on aviation.”

The City held a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Dec. 16, 2016, to celebrate its Nov. 30 purchase of Hangar 1. Lee’s Summit EDC Chairwoman Christine Bushyhead told attendees that ongoing airport investments will open up new development opportunities for Lee’s Summit as well as surrounding communities in Eastern Jackson County and the entire Kansas City region.

“The Lee’s Summit EDC is confident that all the exciting activity at the airport will continue to spur new investment and interest,” Bushyhead said. “The airport now has the ability to accommodate ‘based’ corporate aircraft, as well as offer additional room for overnight, transient aircraft. All of that creates a strong selling point for Lee’s Summit to serve as an important gateway to the Kansas City region.”

More than 60 representatives from the cities of Lee’s Summit and Kansas City, the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, LSEDC, Board of Aeronautic Commissioners, as well as key business partners and residents attended the ribbon cutting event held inside Hangar 1, 2525 N.E. Douglas Road.

For more information:
Tina Chace | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org
Krista Klaus | 913-284-5752 | kristamartinklaus@gmail.com

Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council is HIRING!

Director of Community and Investor Relations

– If you’re interested in submitting a resume for this position, please email to info@leessummit.org

______________________________________________________________________________

JOB SUMMARY

The Director of Community and Investor Relations, under the direction of the President & CEO, is responsible for existing business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts and for the strategic planning and programming of workforce development initiatives in coordination with various city, state and regional partners on behalf of the LSEDC.

JOB SCOPE

Works with current investor base to establish relationships in effort to maintain BRE program. Coordinates strategic planning programs for workforce development initiatives and utilizes LSEDC partners to encourage/facilitate targeted outcomes.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES

1. Existing Business Retention and Expansion

a. Primary responsibility for existing business retention and expansion activities, programs, initiatives, policies and appropriate success metrics.

b. Establishes & manages a BRE program to conduct business visits with economic driver employers to collect data and identify and respond to issues as appropriate.

c. Researches, creates, organizes and manages appropriate stakeholder collaborative responses for public policy and business-climate related issues.

d. Secondary responsibility for attraction of new investment activities, programs, policies and success metrics in collaboration with President & CEO.

e. Develops trusted, consulting-oriented relationships with all Lee’s Summit business leaders and their designees.

f. Generates various reports and retrieves data for prospect inquiries.

g. Keeps the President & CEO alert to written and/or oral comments, complaints, suggestions and information requests from the public, associates, guests and business prospects.

2. Works with City, Regional and State on Programs and Policy

a. Acts as LSEDC liaison to appropriate regional and community groups/initiatives to include but not be limited to Eastern Jackson County Alliance, Downtown Lee’s Summit Mainstreet and Lee’s Summit Chamber.

b. Acts as LSEDC representative as needed for state resources to help address new and existing business issues and questions.

c. Understands and utilizes local, state, and federal tools to assist new and expanding industries.

d. Develops and nurtures an active regional network of peers and business interests complementary to LSEDC’s mission and vision.

e. Represents Director & CEO as needed at events and activities where he cannot attend or as requested.

3. Workforce Development Initiatives

a. Develops and manages all workforce development programs, services and committees on behalf of the LSEDC.

b. Actively engages local partners like the Business Roundtable, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Missouri Innovation Center, Summit Technology Academy, MCC – Longview, University of Central Missouri, Summit Christian Academy and St. Michael’s of the Archangel High School for consistent collaboration and communication.

4. Directs the maintenance of database collection and research including Synchronist, Location One, Xceligent, CC Assist and other project management software as appropriate.

5. Other duties as assigned by President & CEO

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.

ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS

1. Four year college degree or a combination of experience and education
2. Five years previous experience in same position or related assignment. BRE and Workforce Development in a project management type position preferred.
3. Prior public/private sector experience is a plus.

Royals General Manager Dayton Moore On Deck For LSEDC Speaker Series

World Series-winning manager joins ‘heavy hitting’ Speaker Series lineup in November

Lee’s Summit, MO—October 11, 2016– The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council is pleased to announce that Dayton Moore, general manager of the World Champion Kansas City Royals, will headline its Speaker Series luncheon on Nov. 2 at the Emaline Ballroom, 616 SW 3rd St., Lee’s Summit, Mo. Signed copies of Moore’s book, “More Than a Season. Building a Championship Culture” will be available for purchase by LSEDC investors and guests.

“Dayton Moore’s role in transforming of the Kansas City Royals from a last-place team to a World Series Championship in a few short years makes him a perfect fit for our Speaker Series,” said LSEDC Chair Christine Bushyhead. “We want our speakers to tell us the good, the bad– even the ugly– so Lee’s Summit leaders can learn how to move along the continuum from vision to action and ultimately to success.”

In addition to Dayton Moore, the LSEDC 2016-2017 Speaker Series lineup includes EyeVerify Founder and CEO Toby Rush and Burns & McDonnell CEO Greg Graves. Speaker Series headliners in 2016 have included National Civic League President Doug Linkhart and Carol Mmore-than-a-seasonarinovich, former CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.

The Lee’s Summit EDC launched its Speaker Series in response to tremendous business investment and community growth, with the goal of inspiring, supporting and building continued investment in Lee’s Summit. Guest speakers from a variety of industries are sharing insights into community engagement, cultivating leadership, and the importance of being willing to take risks for the greater good of an organization or community.

The Lee’s Summit EDC is celebrating 30 years of successful business development and expansion activity in 2016, with more than $1.5 billion in public and private investment announced over a two-year period. Bushyhead said now is the time to ensure responsible stewardship of that unprecedented investment.

“As a community, we can never simply think we have arrived. We need to continue to push ourselves and lay the groundwork for smart growth and development,” said Bushyhead, president of the law firm Bushyhead, LLC. “It is incumbent upon the EDC to inspire people to think bigger and engage with the process of building, shaping and securing Lee’s Summit’s future for the next generation and beyond.”
For more information:
Tina Chace | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org
Krista Klaus | 913-284-5752 | kristamartinklaus@gmail.com

To register for this event please RSVP on the LSEDC website at www.leessummit.org.

MC Power Hosts LSEDC Advisory Board Luncheon

investor-spotlight

 

 

LSEDC joined with long-time Investor, MC Power Companies for October’s Advisory Board Luncheon in our first ever ‘Investor Spotlight’.group

Advisory level investors enjoyed a catered lunch, presentation and discussion from owner Tony Ross and Senior V.P’s Brian Barton and Loren Williamson, followed by an office tour. MC Power Companies began 6 years ago with 5 employees and have quickly expanded to 50 employees with a newly created custom office space designed to encompass something for each employee. Thats right, they asked everyone of their employees during the design phase what they would like to see in their new office and it shows. Long hallways for pacing, glass doors and walls for openness and transparency and plenty of collaboration space – including a family style kitchen. And did I mention the solar picnic table with wi-fi plug in?

mc-powerAs you listen to Tony and the others speak about their company its very obvious how well everyone gets along. Company culture is the driving force for how they do business. From hiring to project execution, its all about relationships. “In our business it would be easy to follow the incentives and the dollar bill but we choose to do business based on relationships,” said Tony. Not only does Tony believe in his employees, but he also loves Lee’s Summit. He shared his story with us about being approached to relocate to the other side of the border and how he didn’t think twice. Staying in Lee’s Summit was a no brainer to him. “I love this place. Not only is it conveniently located, it’s just a great place to do business. ”

MC Power Companies provides project engineering resources with a focus on design build electrical construction, solar project design and solar production forecast modeling and consulting as well as commercial construction.

Hats off to the MC Power team for a successful showcase. We look forward to seeing more of those trucks out and about!

 

Lee’s Summit Poised to Consider $500 Million in New West Side Projects

Proposed development projects in the View High corridor include more than 300 acres of mixed-­‐use, multifamily, senior housing and retail investment

Lee’s Summit, MO—September 14, 2016- Lee’s Summit’s development wave is rolling west with an estimated $500 million in proposed projects on the table in the city’s rapidly growing View High corridor. Proposed investment includes $212 million for the first phase of the $400 million Paragon Star mixed-use soccer village at I-470 and View High Drive, $50 million for phase two of the New Longview commercial project including a new B&B movie theatre, a proposed $225 million, 80-acre mixed-use project located at View High and 3rd Street, and the under-construction Summit Church at $9 million for the first phase. view-high-corridor-development-west-side-story-v2

“We call all this new development activity Lee’s Summit’s very own ‘West Side Story,’ “ said Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President and CEO Rick McDowell. “If all the projects currently on the table are approved, Lee’s Summit is looking at a half billion in fresh investment on the city’s west side over the next two years.”

With Cerner’s new headquarters campus taking shape just seven miles away, McDowell said, Lee’s Summit’s View High corridor will be an attractive place for future Cerner employees to live and play.

“This new residential, retail and restaurant development is expected to drive future population trends in Lee’s Summit. We believe this is not only a very exciting development story, but also an exciting growth story for the City of Lee’s Summit,” McDowell said.

In planning for new growth and increased vehicular traffic in the View High corridor, a regional Transportation Development District is being created that will provide funding for necessary improvements at the View High and I-470 interchange. The TDD will be of benefit to existing development and neighborhoods on the west side of Lee’s Summit, as well as proposed developments within the View High corridor.

Such development includes the highly anticipated Paragon Star soccer village, a sprawling mixed-use project being developed in two phases by entrepreneur and businessman Flip Short. Paragon Star will include 10 artificial turf soccer fields, a 100,000-square-foot retail village comprised of office, restaurant, retail and entertainment space, a 120-room hotel, and 220 apartments.

“Future residential and retail development along the View High corridor south of Paragon Star soccer village, as well as planned improvements to I-470, will create important synergy for the Lee’s Summit community specifically and eastern Jackson County in general,” said Bill Brown, a member of the Paragon Star development team.

Paragon Star’s preliminary development plan is currently scheduled to go before the Lee’s Summit City Council on Oct. 6th, with groundbreaking expected to follow in November. The 3rd & View High and New Longview proposed developments also arescheduled for council consideration in October and November.

For more information:

Tina Chace | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org
Krista Klaus | 913-284-5752 | kristamartinklaus@gmail.com

Advisory Board Luncheon Hosts Project Spotlight with B&B Theatre’s #BigAnnouncement

Chairman Christine Bushyhead kicked off the luncheon on Wednesday by welcoming advisory board members, elected officials and special guests at the historic Longview Mansion. There was no time wasted as everyone waited in anticipation for Rick McDowell, President & CEO to introduce his project announcement. B&B Theatres quickly took the lead announcing they will be making a significant re-investment in the current Lee’s Summit 16 theatre on NE Douglas street as well as building a new state-of-the-art theatre in the New Longview commercial district.  (See full release and rendering here.)Rick address crowd

“Lee’s Summit is a fast growing market and we are excited to bring two theatre options to patrons in the community: luxury, boutique movie-going at New Longview, creating the perfect date night or special family outing and our Lee’s Summit 16 experience with family-friendly pricing and updated lobby and bathroom features. 2017 will bring a new era of movie-going for Lee’s Summit and the surrounding area.”  – Bob Bagby, President of B&B Theatres Bagby

Press for this announcement was timely with attendees receiving ‘News Alerts’ from Kansas City Business Journal as they were seated for lunch with the  Lee’s Summit Journal, KC Star and Metro Wire Media following suit.

LSEDC’s main program for the day highlighted the multiple ways to get involved in Lee’s Summit with guest speakers from the City of Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Truman Heartland Community Foundation and LS Cares. The following links are available for reference.

City of Lee’s Summit Boards and Commissions and other Opportunities to Get Involved

Lee’s Summit Chamber – Leadership Lee’s Summit

Truman Heartland Community Foundation

Lee’s Summit Social Services

Lee’s Summit Cares

Rachel_THC

1 2 3 8