STEM evangelist Cindy Moss touts STEMtastic career options

Event hosted by MCC-Longview and sponsored by Lee’s Summit R-7 offers alternate, lucrative perspective on traditional education path

By Krista Klaus

You don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to land a six-figure job. That’s the message carried by Dr. Cindy Moss, senior director of global STEM initiatives for Discovery Education and shared with LSEDC leaders at its February Advisory Luncheon.

Moss, a lifelong educator, economic developer and entrepreneur, is working to change the way communities and businesses view the STEM subjects of science, technology, math and engineering.
“For us, STEM is a culture. In most schools, when we ask people if they are doing STEM, they say they have a robotics club. STEM is not a club,” Moss said. “STEM is not something we do once a year and it’s not something that happens in a teacher’s classroom. It needs to be a culture.”

Moss encouraged the group of local business leaders to support the idea that all kids should be offered STEM skill development because those skills create problem-solvers. “We want it to be inclusive– kids PreK-12, all teachers—so we say it is ALL students and teachers energizing minds because every student needs these skills,” Moss said.

Kids with STEM skills can adapt more quickly to the changing job market and be in a position to enjoy a lucrative, specialized career after two years of post-secondary school, with little to no debt. In short, STEM helps communities simultaneously close the achievement gap and the wage gap.

Some high-paying jobs* that require only technical or trade training, according to Moss:
-Mechatronics technician starting at $75,000 a year -Surgical technologist starting between $55,000 and $90,000 a year
-Specialized car mechanic (NASCAR) or technician starting at $70,000 a year
-Certified ICAR technician starting at $55,000 a year
-Extracorporeal technologist starting at $150,000 a year
*Salary information based on Charlotte, North Carolina market

Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President and CEO Rick McDowell encouraged business leaders to continue to pay attention to the STEM conversation. “We have a great educational ecosystem here. We should expand and continue to build bridges between the business community and the educational system,” McDowell said.

During the Q&A portion of the event, Emily Rhoden, educational outreach and recruitment specialist for Burns & McDonnell, agreed that the talent pipeline is in need of STEM students. “There are plenty of companies in Kansas City that STEM educated students can take advantage of,” Rhoden said.

Calling herself a STEMinist, Moss emphasized the importance of motivating girls to become STEM proficient.
“In the U.S. right now, women make up about 50 percent of the workforce, which is totally expected,” she said. “In STEM, it’s less than 20 percent, and when you get into IT, it’s like 6 or 7 percent.”


CyberSecurity expert shares best practices with local business leaders

Cisco Systems security pro dubs STA’s CyberPatriot program “hidden gem”

Feb. 1, 2018—Lee’s Summit, Mo.—The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s Investor Spotlight for the month of January included a presentation from Cisco Systems Cybersecurity Specialist Carolina Terrazas. Terrazas manages security programs for Cisco’s public sector accounts in four states, including Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois.

Terrazas is an alumna of Lee’s Summit High School and a big fan of Summit Technology Academy’s CyberSecurity program and STA’s CyberPatriot Club founded by Summit Tech teacher Lisa Oyler.

After her presentation, LSEDC spoke in-depth with Terrazas about the current cybersecurity climate, the coming need for future cybersecurity expertise, and simple steps organizations can take to protect themselves from breaches.

LSEDC: What is the current demand for cybersecurity workers?

Terrazas: There are 1.8 million open cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. and they anticipate that to go up and up and up. The ratio of training security professionals needed, versus what exists, is between 10:1 and 15:1, and they expect that to go up as well.

Lee’s Summit is definitely a hidden gem in getting workers ready for those jobs. What you have built there is not the norm.

Cybersecurity is a complex problem and the only way to combat is with shoring up the workforce, and you have to reach kids at the junior high or high school level, so I think it is momentous what is going on here. I wish I could clone her (Lisa Oyler) in every district I work with.

LSEDC: What can organizations and even individuals do to mitigate their cybersecurity risks?

Terrazas: First I would say there’s no need to add access to everything in our lives. But there are some common-sense things to help you sleep easier at night.

You can ask your ISP (internet service provider) to put your internet enabled devices in their own network. That will minimize your risk if you’re compromised with malware. It’s also common sense to change your passwords periodically on all internet-enabled devices. Finally, if you receive an email offer, and it looks too good to be true, it probably is. One easy cheap trick is for hackers is to misspell a domain name by one letter, so be careful when you click on any links.

LSEDC: You mentioned you are a big fan of STA’s CyberPatriot Club. Tell us more.

Terrazas: Lisa Oyler had 150 kids come out for her CyberPatriot program last year. This is an after-school club and kids just participate because she gets them excited about it. A lot of her kids– a huge percentage– are college bound and because of her programs, they end up with internships at companies like H&R Block and Cerner, eventually going on to do great things.

What Lisa has built with the CyberPatriot club at STA– the size and depth of those teams–is not something I have seen anywhere else. I cover public sector accounts for four states, and my customers are every city, county, sub-state department, and educational institutions, so I can say that with at least some authority.

New LSMC tower, maternity unit set for 2018 delivery

Jan. 28, 2018– Lee’s Summit, MO — Interior work is well underway for Lee’s Summit Medical Center’s $21 million tower expansion, with completion expected in May.

The project includes a new 25,000-square foot center for orthopedic, spine and rehab patients on the third floor, plus a new 12,000-square foot labor and delivery unit on the second floor. 

Rooms on the third floor are designed and constructed with the needs of total joint replacement patients in mind, according to Lee’s Summit Medical Center President and CEO Matt Sogard.

“Lee’s Summit Medical Center is the leading joint replacement location in the area, and now we will have the space to better handle the growing volume of patients,” Sogard said.

The fully renovated second floor maternity unit is due next summer and will include the latest labor and delivery amenities and technology. Sogard said the renovation will help Lee’s Summit Medical Center respond to the community’s need for a modern maternity unit.

“The growth in Lee’s Summit is significant, and our patient satisfaction scores are very high,” Sogard said. “The ability to deliver babies here is long overdue.”

Project partners include JE Dunn, general contractor; Henderson Engineers, general engineering; MMC Contractors, mechanical engineering; and Faith Technologies, electrical engineering.

Lee’s Summit EDC Announces New Board Member Mike Lally

January 11, 2017

The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council would like to officially announce the addition of Mike Lally, vice-president and shareholder with Olsson Associates to the Board of Directors.  

At Olsson, he leads business development efforts across the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. He also has client management, project executive, and special project responsibilities. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Geological Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla) and a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in finance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a professional engineer and professional geologist and has been in the engineering consulting field for over 30 years. He is a member of the American Public Works Association, Urban Land Institute, where he is a board member of the Kansas City District Council, and Design Build Institute of America.

Mike has also been deeply involved in the greater Kansas City community for over twenty-five years. From 1992-2001, he was a City Councilman for the City of Overland Park, Kansas. Prior to being on the City Council, he was a planning commissioner for the city. He has served as chairman of the Overland Park Economic Development Council; chairman of the Downtown Overland Park Partnership; president of the Holy Cross Catholic School Advisory Council, chairman of the Blue Springs Economic Development Council, and chairman of Johnson County Developmental Supports. Currently, Mike serves in the following capacities: chairman of Don Bosco Centers; president of the Kansas City Industrial Council board member of Mutual Aid Exchange Insurance; board member of CU Holding Company; advisory board member of Enterprise Bank and Trust; board member of the Kansas City Area Development Council; board member of KC SmartPort; board member of Team Kansas, and member of the Downtown Kansas City, Missouri Rotary Club. He is a 2007 graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program and in 2015 was listed in Ingram’s Magazine as one of “50 Kansans You Should Know”.

Mike and his wife Susan have been married for 27 years. They have three young adult children: Katie who careers with Toyota North America in Dallas, Texas; Michael, Jr. who is in graduate school at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and Meghan who is a senior in the journalism school at the University of Missouri.

Lee’s Summit Symphony partners with John Knox Village for the 2018-19 concert season

January 4, 2018
Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra
Re: Press Release

The Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce their partnership with John Knox Village for their 2018-2019 concert season. Beginning in July of 2018, all concerts performed by the LS Symphony will be held at the Pavilion on the campus of John Knox Village.

The Lee’s Summit Symphony, under the direction of Russell E. Berlin, Jr., is a high- quality community orchestra comprised of professional, semi-professional and volunteer musicians. Currently in its 15th year of existence, the organization prides itself on providing outstanding, accessible live performances that inspire, educate and entertain.

Concert dates include: October 13, 2018 – December 15, 2018 – March 23, 2019 – May 18, 2019

For more information, please visit their web page at

Site preparation begins for Meridian at View High multifamily

Cityscape Residential will develop 312-unit apartment community within Village at View High mixed-use project

Lee’s Summit, Mo.—November 28, 2017— Site preparation and infrastructure construction is officially underway for Meridian at View High, a 312-unit luxury apartment community located on the northeast corner of 3rd Street and View High Drive within Lee’s Summit’s 74-acre Village at View High mixed-use development. 

When completed, the mixed-use project along Lee’s Summit’s booming View High corridor will feature walkability, high-end retail and a true “live-work-play” lifestyle desired by Millennials and empty nesters alike.

“Over the next few months, construction crews will build sewers, roads, and a retention pond on the development site. It is exciting to see this important first piece of Village at View High begin to take shape,” said John Bondon, president of Parrot Properties LLC, master developer for the Village at View High.

Parrot Properties chose Cityscape Residential to develop Meridian at View High’s 18 buildings, with vertical construction expected to begin in early 2018 and units available for lease by the spring of 2019. Cityscape Residential is an award-winning developer of luxury multifamily properties.

“The partners of Cityscape Residential have seen the attractiveness of investing in Lee’s Summit since making our first luxury apartment investment in the city over 15 years ago,” said Jim Thomas, Partner, Cityscape Residential. “High quality of life, excellent schools, proximity to good jobs, and thoughtful local leadership have all lead Cityscape to make Lee’s Summit a significant part of our $250 million investment in the Kansas City metro area.”

Overlooking the Fred Arbanas public golf course located within Longview Lake Park, a 4,800+-acre green space with plentiful outdoor recreational opportunities, Village at View High is located in the heart of Lee’s Summit’s View High corridor on the city’s west side.

“It is rewarding to see dirt moving on Meridian at View High, as it is a critical ‘domino’ for the overall Village at View High project,” said Lee’s Summit EDC President Rick McDowell. “A high-quality, plentiful, and diversified housing stock is central to our mission of promoting Lee’s Summit as a model community for economic innovation and growth.”

For More Information:

Tina Chace | | 816-525-6617
Krista Klaus | | 913-284-5752

About The Village at View High | The Village at View High is a planned mixed-use project developed by Parrot Properties LLC that will include luxury apartments, dynamic retail, first class senior living, and office/medical development. While incorporating some of the historical elements of the surrounding area, the project will remember the history of the past while providing an exciting future for the area. The retail portion, The Village, will create a unique shopping destination with a dynamic blend of shops, entertainment and dining options many of which will be new to the area. Pad sites, end caps and inline space opportunities are available.

About Cityscape Residential | Cityscape Residential is a multifamily real estate development and construction firm with its heart planted firmly in the Midwest. The principals of Cityscape average more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of sophisticated real estate transactions, including complex multi-party joint venture transactions, public-private partnerships, and complex financial instruments and structures. Cityscape is most well-known for its award-winning history of luxury multifamily rental communities. The principals of Cityscape have been responsible for the successful development and/or financing of several billion dollars’ worth of real estate throughout the eastern half of the United States during their careers and have been responsible for the development and construction of several thousand for-sale and rental residential units across multiple market areas.

Former Burns & McDonnell CEO offers leadership insight

Retired executive and civic leader Greg Graves adds voice to Speaker Series lineup

Lee’s Summit, MO—November 10, 2017— Greg Graves, former CEO of Burns & McDonnell, headlined the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s Speaker Series luncheon on Wed., Nov. 8 at the Emaline Ballroom, 616 SW 3rd St., Lee’s Summit, Mo. Graves, who retired in 2016, shared leadership insight gleaned from “go-to” books such as Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Graves said mentors throughout his career taught him to be willing to listen and learn from others while striving to “be present” at all times. He cited H&R Block Founder Henry Bloch, Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, and current Kansas City Mayor Sly James as demonstrating “Level 4 Leadership” outlined in Collins’ book.

“KC’s top leaders throughout the years also happen to be great listeners,” Graves said.

Greg Graves is one the most successful local business leaders in Kansas City history. During his 12 years as CEO of Burns & McDonnell, gross revenue grew from $300 million to $3 billion and employment grew from 1,500 to 5,500 employees. He retired from Burns & McDonnell in 2016 but continues to serve the Kansas City community as Chair of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board and The Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Besides philanthropic service, Graves is staying busy in retirement by developing a family retreat and lake in rural Cass County.

“When LSEDC kicked off the Speaker Series, Greg Graves was at the top of our list for speakers. It was fantastic to hear his personal story and thoughts on leadership, success and commitment to the community,” said LSEDC President Rick McDowell.

In addition to Graves, the LSEDC 2016-2017 Speaker Series lineup has featured Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, EyeVerify Founder and CEO Toby Rush, National Civic League President Doug Linkhart, and Carol Marinovich, former CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.

Construction set to begin on Pine Tree Plaza renovation

Lee’s Summit, Mo.—November 2, 2017—The strongly anticipated renovation of the Pine Tree Plaza retail center at Blue Parkway and Jefferson Street is underway as the property owner reconfigures the former Price Chopper store into three separate retail spaces. 

“We are going to be doing a complete facade remodel, so it should look like a new center when we are finished,” said Trent Overhue, property owner and principal of NSI Investments LLC. “This will be a dramatic improvement with all new landscaping, parking lot lighting and signage.”

Planet Fitness will open a 25,000-¬square foot facility in December, and Harbor Freight Tools plans to open a 16,000-¬square foot store in the spring of 2018, leaving about 24,000 square feet of the former grocery store available for lease, according to Overhue.

Redevelopment of two retail “wings” on the east and west sides of the former grocery store totaling about 40,000 square feet will take place in early 2018, followed by improvements to two outbuildings suitable for restaurant or medical office tenants.

Pine Tree Plaza is located north of the new U.S. 50/Missouri 291 South interchange and is part of the city’s “Envision Lee’s Summit” redevelopment area, which aims to help Lee’s Summit achieve higher density housing and mixed-use development.

“Pine Tree Plaza is a longtime south Lee’s Summit retail fixture in a prime location, but the center has struggled with vacancy in recent years,” said Lee’s Summit EDC President Rick McDowell. “I am optimistic that this long overdue facelift will boost tenant interest, lift occupancy rates and potentially increase nearby property values.”

KC’s Regional Bid for Amazon HQ2 Represents Largest Response Effort in Kansas City Area Development Council History

PRESS RELEASE: Provided by Kansas City Area Development Council

October 19, 2017 – The KC region’s proposal for Amazon HQ2 was delivered to the company’s Seattle, Wash., headquarters this afternoon representing the largest regional response effort in Kansas City Area Development Council’s (KCADC) history. Honoring Amazon’s request for one response from each market, the KC region came together at an unprecedented scale of regional cooperation to present a proposal representing two states, 18 counties, and many communities from across the metro area.

In addition to many state, county and local community partners, more than 200 private sector leaders provided crucial input, lent their expertise and contributed significant value throughout the process. An online submission tool on the KCADC website received more than 60 ideas from members of the community and outside of the KC region. Several individuals who submitted ideas were contacted and further engaged in the process.

Joel Kotkin, internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends, and Richard Florida, the world’s leading urbanist, international best-selling author and professor, consulted with KCADC for the Amazon HQ2 proposal.

Kotkin said, “Kansas City is a jewel in the Heartland – with a great cultural heritage, affordable housing of all kinds and, most of all, a strong spirit of cooperation across the whole region. The next wave of American innovation seems poised to take place in the Midwest, and KC will be at the heart of it all.”

“Great regions are federations of neighborhoods; and Kansas City provides affordable options for living and working in a range of urban and suburban locations,” said Florida. “The Kansas City region has created a true community process and partnership … Kansas City will be well positioned to compete.”

In addition to its affordability, quality of life and strong growth in key occupational sectors, KC offers something no other city can claim – a vision that is recasting education and reshaping the workforce of the future, led by the world-renowned Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“The Kansas City region’s bid offers an uncommon approach and bold ideas that invite Amazon to imagine its future alongside ours and to take part in the many ways our region is leading the nation and world, from right here in the middle of the country,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO, Kauffman Foundation.

Recommended Amazon HQ2 sites from the Kansas City market showcase the breadth of choice available to companies considering a KC location.

In a release from the State of Missouri earlier today, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said, “Amazon is a company full of people who turn big ideas into reality. My team fully and equally supported the proposals submitted by our major metropolitan areas, Kansas City and St. Louis. We challenge Amazon to envision what it could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire state. We’d love to work with Amazon to build their new home here in Missouri.”

“We have been preparing for an opportunity like Amazon’s HQ2 for a generation. We want to create with Amazon the most prosperous and livable region in North America, right here in the heart of it. The Kansas City region recognizes the importance of redefining the workforce of the future through top notch education. We are building Amazon’s next generation of pioneers to be both skilled and empowered and we’re excited to redefine the next generation of talent with Amazon,” said Kansas Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer.

“Kansas City, Kansas has an unparalleled track record of bringing big projects to our community. From Google Fiber to Cerner, and even the National Soccer Training Center, we are a city that is proud of our business friendly, can-do attitude. We are happy to join forces with our regional partners to highlight our area’s advantages to Amazon,” said Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland.

“I believe Kansas City is competitive with any city in the world. I’m extremely proud of the bid produced by our team and how this entire community has embraced this unique opportunity to showcase Kansas City’s creativity, its people and it’s potential,” said Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James.

Chairman Ed Eilert, Johnson County Commission, said, “Upon arriving in Kansas City, Amazon would quickly learn what many of us who came here have known for years — this is a region of smart, hard-working individuals committed to providing opportunities for everyone to grow and prosper. Amazon’s second headquarters would be well-placed in the Heartland, with access to an excellent workforce, a lower cost of living, world-class schools, parks and libraries, and a vibrant regional culture. Johnson County would proudly welcome Amazon to the metro.”

Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland said, “This area is simply a great place to do business. The climate has cultivated world-class start-up businesses and nurtured corporate giants, and it’s been a source of support and stability for everything in between. It fosters risk-taking and innovation, and it’s fueled by a work force with strong values, a tremendous work ethic, loyalty, and commitment. So many people have moved here from across the country to work in our many leading companies, but you would be hard pressed to find any who ever want to leave.”

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr., said, “Jackson County is fully supportive of this collaborative and creative regional effort to be the new home of Amazon’s second headquarters. We are excited about the opportunity to advance to the next round of evaluation of the HQ2 project. The Kansas City region is ripe for economic growth and we applaud the aggressive campaign to make our case known as we move forward as one.”

“Lee’s Summit is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Missouri, offering a collaborative, ‘can-do’ business environment that is on target to attract $2 billion in public and private investment over three years,” said Lee’s Summit Mayor Randall Rhoads. “Thanks to the Missouri Innovation Campus and an educational ecosystem that serves as a global model for excellence, Lee’s Summit is building the workforce of the future right here in the Heartland. We look forward to sharing our time, talent and treasure with Amazon.”

“It’s exciting to work with visionary leaders across our region to compete for Amazon HQ2. Independence is proud to contribute our ideas, expertise, and assets to the proposal, and to be a part of a community that truly understands the power of collaboration,” said City of Independence Mayor Eileen Weir.

“A collaborative effort of this magnitude is only possible with an immense level of trust. It is a core value of Amazon’s, and of the KC region. VML was honored to be involved in such a significant opportunity for our home town,” said Jon Cook, Global CEO, VML, whose agency developed the interactive digital platform for KC’s Amazon HQ2 proposal.

Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council said, “Our KC region has never seen an economic development opportunity of this magnitude that is so publicly visible, requiring the amount of information in the time frame that Amazon requested, and the level of community engagement and response that we needed for this opportunity. I am so proud of our OneKC team. This project has proven we have the ability to come together and tell a comprehensive KC story that sets our region apart from all others across North America.”

Given the highly competitive nature of the site location process and Amazon’s required Non-Disclosure Agreement, no additional details of the KC region’s proposal will be available to the public.

The Kansas City Area Development Council serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies around the world. Working closely with its 50+ state, county and community partners and its more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-year history. KCADC ranks as the number one regional economic development organization in the nation based on a survey of its site location consultant clients (DCI Winning Strategies Survey, 2017), and leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, KCnext and TeamKC. Visit for more information.

Ashlie Hand

CEO Luncheon Brings Major Employers and City Leaders Together

Lee’s Summit, Mo. – October 19, 2017 – The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC) hosted an intimate lunch to bring together city leaders and c-suite executives doing business in Lee’s Summit. Those seated around the table included Lee’s Summit Medical Center, GEHA, AT&T, Truman Medical Center – Lakewood, John Knox Village, ViraCor Eurofins, IPL Plastics, and Bennett Packaging. LSEDC Board Chair, Keith Asel and Vice Chair Machelle Riffe were also in attendance along with assistant city manager Mark Dunning and Mayor Randall Rhoads. 

“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for open dialect about the benefits and the challenges of doing business here in Lee’s Summit,” said Rick McDowell, President of the LSEDC. “As an outside resource, we assist in many areas such as site selection, incentives and viable connections.”

Topics of discussion included workforce, transportation and logistics, housing and growth opportunities. LSEDC plans to host an additional meeting in the spring and will continue to work one-on-one to provide solutions to the business community.

Special thanks to our sponsor Equity Bank!


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