A team of volunteers from Lee's Summit businesses has been assembled to conduct the Valued Industry Program (VIP) interviews and surveys. They are: First Row - Jacques Smith, Bank Midwest; Ron Cox, City of Lee’s Summit; Pat Case, Summit Bank of Kansas City and Teresa Evans, Vice President of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC). Second Row - Trent Schwab, Summit Bank of Kansas City and Dina Conseco, Commerce Bank. Third Row - Tony Justin, Union Bank; Meredith Novak, Hawthorn Bank; Bruce Hattig, Bartlett and West and Jeff Sullivan, Bank Midwest. Fourth Row - Larry Hillier, Union Bank and Bill Regan, Lawing Financial Group. Not Pictured - Stan Christopher, Archer Engineers; Greg Foss, City of Lee’s Summit; Stephen Koranda, McCown Gordon; Chip Moxley, WC Tingle; George Pagels, St. Lukes – East; Madeline Romious; AT&T; Greg Singleton, Summit Bank of Kansas City and Jim Devine, President and CEO of LSEDC.
LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (July 9, 2008) — The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC), along with a team of nearly 20 trained volunteers, recently launched its 2008 Valued Industry Program (VIP). The third biennial initiative to retain and expand existing businesses in Lee’s Summit, the VIP process gathers feedback about operating a business in Lee’s Summit and compiles the results to determine how to best assist local businesses with expansion. Over the next few months, the VIP team will survey the CEOs and top executives of approximately 100 local companies to assess their individual and collective needs, as well as gauge the overall business climate in Lee’s Summit. LSEDC will release the findings in spring 2009.
“During the confidential interviews, the VIP volunteer team will listen to the CEOs to find out how LSEDC can leverage its resources to help them achieve their growth objectives,” says Teresa Evans, Vice President of LSEDC, who is leading the VIP initiative. “Our goal is to obtain honest, constructive feedback about doing business in Lee’s Summit, so we know what the community can do to enhance and improve the business environment.”
The VIP interviews will identify challenges and opportunities, address legislative issues, assess the workforce in and around Lee’s Summit and help LSEDC match local companies with incentives and state-funded programs that meet their needs. LSEDC will compile an aggregate report that shares outcomes with the participating companies, LSEDC investors, the City of Lee’s Summit, the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders within the community. The 2008-2009 report will compare the data from previous VIP surveys to identify any developing patterns and trends.
The last VIP initiative resulted in interviews with top executives of 64 Lee’s Summit companies. The report, released by LSEDC in May 2007, revealed the following:
Recommended actions that were taken based on the outcomes included:
- Participants employed 8,200 people with an estimated payroll of $310 million and occupied approximately 3.8 million square feet of building space.
- 70 percent planned to expand in the next three years
- 714 new jobs were created
- Look for ways to reduce the local tax burden on capital intensive industries
- Work collaboratively with companies and relevant workforce development agencies to assist employers to attract and retain quality workers
- Assist small, basic employers to ensure their growth, thereby balancing and diversifying Lee’s Summit’s economy
- Ensure an adequate supply of land and buildings are in inventory for new and expanding business
“One of the foundations of any strong economic development organization is business retention,” says Jim Devine, President and CEO of LSEDC. “Because 80 percent of a community’s growth comes from within, we must take care of the businesses we have so they remain satisfied, which leads to expansion in Lee’s Summit and continued investment in our community. The VIP initiative lets local CEOs openly share their feedback, and helps LSEDC shape its business retention strategies and solutions.”
The Lee's Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC), a public-private sector partnership, is the city's designated marketing and product development arm to retain and attract business. LSEDC is devoted to improving the economic well-being of residents and businesses in Lee's Summit. For more information, visit www.leessummit.org