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Your Chamber At Work - September 18, 2017


There’s no better example of the business case behind the need for “A Better KCI” than news of Amazon’s decision to build a second headquarters somewhere in North America.
KCMO and the Kansas City Area Development Council quickly announced they were getting to work on their bid for the new HQ, as did dozens of other cities around the country. The community that wins this economic development prize will be transformed: Amazon promises an investment of $5 billion and 50,000 new, mostly high-paying jobs ($100,000/year on average).

The KC region offers Amazon a lot of what it’s looking for: a low cost of living, high quality of life, plenty of land on which to build, an active tech community, a community of at least one million people, and a stable, business-friendly climate.

The one item on Amazon’s list we lack is a truly international airport (as Mayor Sly James says, flights to Toronto and Cabo don’t get us there). Airlines have been adding international flights to other mid-size airports – Nashville and New Orleans recently beat out KC for flights overseas – and there’s enough demand already on the ground here to justify adding an international flight. But the current conditions at KCI’s terminal precluded us from consideration. In fact, The Kansas City Star reported last week that we are the largest U.S. city without direct air service to Europe.

In my role as Chamber President/CEO, I am leading the Incentives/Politics working group that is helping support KCADC’s efforts.

If our region is to compete – whether for Amazon’s second headquarters or other possibilities – we need “A Better KCI.” And, for that matter, better mass transit.


The ATHENA reception is scheduled for September 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium’s Little Theatre. Carol Hallquist, a retired Hallmark executive, will receive the 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award, joining past winners like Dianne Cleaver, Julia Irene Kauffman, Adele Hall, Mamie Hughes and Beth Smith. She was in senior leadership roles for 22 of her 32 years at Hallmark, and is staying busy in retirement. This past year, Hallquist founded PrincipalsConnect, a nonprofit matching retired business execs with KC urban school principals, offering mentoring and support.

Jessica Nelson, Managing Director, TeamKC: Life+Talent, Kansas City Area Development Council, will be presented the annual ATHENA Young Professionals Leadership Award. That award honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business, contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and serve as role models for young women personally and professionally.

There’s still time to register for the ATHENA Reception. Just click here.

Thanks to 2017 Presenting Sponsors: KPMG, and Bank Midwest; 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award Leadership Sponsor: American Century Investments; 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award Service Sponsors: Arvest BankDST Systems, and Sprint; 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award Emerging Sponsors: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas CityCBIZ | MHMCentral ExchangeEnterprise Rent-A-CarFleishmanHillardGarmin International Inc.Grant ThorntonHallmark CardsHenderson EngineersHoneywellJE Dunn Construction GroupLockton Companies, LLCMcCown Gordon Construction, LLCMissouri Gas EnergyPNC BankSaint Luke's Health SystemSouthwest AirlinesState StreetUMB Financial Corp, and Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc.

The KC Chamber and Trauma Matters KC are partnering for a community dinner to share key findings from Kansas City’s ACE’s report, to celebrate the success of Resilient KC, and to share some exciting announcements in partnership with Sesame Street in Communities.

Resilient KC focuses on mental health, and is a part of the Chamber’s Healthy KC initiative. The metro-wide survey on ACEs was designed to measure Kansas Citians experience with trauma, especially in childhood, which can result in damaging effects later in life.

Families are welcome at the October 10th event – childcare and dinner will be available for children ages 2 – 5, and they’ll enjoy a special appearance from the Zoe muppet walk-around character.

The event will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. Here’s the schedule:
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Free Sesame Street session for providers and educators, focusing on social/emotional learning led by the Sesame Street in Communities team.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Registration and cocktail hour.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.: Dinner and program.
Click here to register.

The KC Chamber is hosting a procurement event on October 12, and you are sure to walk away with valuable connections. Matt Condon, incoming Chamber Chair and CEO of ARC Physical Therapy + and Bardavon Health Innovations, will share some of his experiences as he grew (and grew and grew) his companies. In addition, large businesses from a wide variety of industries will have purchasing officers on hand to meet and discuss their purchasing and supplier diversity programs. This event will take place in the KC Chamber Board Room at Union Station, next door to Pierpont’s, at 30 W Pershing Road, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It is completely free for Chamber members with RSVP, and $10 for non-members. View the list of participating companies and register online here.

The KC Chamber can provide valuable experiences like this for our members because of the generous support of our sponsors. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is the presenting sponsor of this procurement event, and Burns & McDonnell and DST are event supporting sponsors. REACH Healthcare Foundation is our regional diversity sponsor in 2017. Supporting diversity sponsors include HNTB, Mosaic Life Care, Stinson Leonard Street, Truman Medical Centers, and the University of Kansas. If you have any questions, please contact the KC Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Director, Greg Valdovino. Email or call (816) 374-5494.


Join us after work, 5:30-6:30 p.m. on September 26 at REACH Healthcare Foundation, 6700 Antioch, Suite 200 in Merriam, KS. Yoga in the City, sponsored by Lead Bank and Pro Athlete, is a free yoga session for KC Chamber members and non-members, held around the metro area at companies that value wellness and encourage active and healthy lifestyles. In addition to a great yoga session, this event will feature Allison Edwards, MD of Kansas City Direct Primary Care, offering free health screenings, blood sugar measurements, and blood pressure readings. Space is limited and these events sometimes will close registration when capacity is reached, so please RSVP online if you’d like to come. For questions or more information, please contact Madison Rich, or call (816) 374-5434.