Your Chamber at Work - October 15, 2019


As Kansas billionaire Charles Koch said in announcing his support for hiring returning citizens, a second chance “gives somebody the opportunity to contribute, rather than destroy, rather than do harm. In this, then, it improves their families, their communities, and society.”

His is an opinion shared by the KC Chamber and the idea behind our “Smart Justice” effort to encourage area businesses to hire ex-offenders. It was also the focus of the “Reaching Out from Within Criminal Justice Forum” the Chamber co-hosted last week. Our members have told us the importance of reducing crime in our region and believe one of the most effective strategies the business community can take is leading the conversation on hiring returning citizens.

We heard from prison and criminal justice experts Axel Briemle and Scott Erfe about their successful efforts in restoring dignity to incarcerated individuals while giving them the tools to succeed when they are released from prison.

We also heard from the business community on the business case for hiring returning citizens. These folks often become the best employees a company has and often remain the most loyal. These businesses also provided insights as to what makes a returning citizen hiring program successful.

If you missed last week’s session, you’ll have another opportunity to learn more about why second-chance hiring is good business at our next Polsinelli Public Policy Speaker Series October 30 featuring Jeffrey Korzenik, Chief Investment Strategist at Fifth Third Bank, and a panel including returning citizens, businesses and non-profits. To register, click here.


This year’s Leadership Exchange best practices trip destination was Nashville, where the delegation of 148 area leaders studied Nashville’s booming economic development, business-education partnerships, the cost of growth as it relates to inclusive prosperity, and regionalism.  The KC Chamber’s Public Policy Department also spent time in September working on the following advocacy projects.

  • The KC Chamber and World Trade Center Kansas City hosted a business policy roundtable with Missouri Governor Mike Parson and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II on the importance of the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) to the Kansas City region.
  • We held a Polsinelli Public Policy Up Close Speakers Series event featuring Economist Jordan Rappaport of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, focused on the KC region’s economic positioning, and its ability and opportunities to grow.
  • The KC Chamber ventured deeper into Crime and Justice, including work to guide the launch of a Chamber reentry program for formerly incarcerated citizens.
  • Transportation Policy work had a big month in September, including work related to the Buck O’Neil Bridge, the Big 5 Transportation initiative focus on workforce access and regional transportation funding alternatives, and the Blue Ribbon Panel studying the potential for a Hyperloop Certification Track in Missouri.
  • The KC Chamber advocated for the business case for energy sustainability and carbon reduction related to the September 14 Climate Action Summit hosted by the Kansas City Metro Area Climate Action Coalition.


There is a lot happening in KC when it comes to transportation. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has been expanding its micro-transit offerings and introducing new options like RideKC Freedom, and the KC Streetcar’s plans to expand are moving forward. So what’s next? Join us at the KCMO Committee Meeting, Tuesday, October 22, as we welcome Robbie Makinen, CEO of KCATA, Tom Gerend, Executive Director of the KC Streetcar Authority, and Councilman Eric Bunch, Vice-Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee. They’ll present an update on new transportation projects. This meeting is from 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. in the Chamber’s Board Room, located in the southeast corner of historic Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. Registration is $15 and includes lunch. Any member is welcome to attend the KCMO Committee meeting, but please register here no later than Friday, October 18.


Register here for this year’s Economic Forecast Breakfast, Thursday, October 24 at The View at Briarcliff, 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Registration is $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members. We’ll release a dashboard resource to chart some of the KC region’s top successes, goals, and upcoming challenges. We’ll talk about employment numbers, transit access, and the health, education, and crime measurements for the region and why these indicators matter to Kansas City’s prosperity. Frank Lenk of Mid-America Regional Council will deliver the Chamber forecast of what's in store for KC’s economy heading into the 2020 election year. This year’s presenting sponsors are BMO Harris Bank and Waddell & Reed. Our impact sponsors are Black & Veatch, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and SS&C.


When it comes to document technology, SumnerOne has worked with everything from mimeographs to printers to the cloud. But they’re about more than office tech. SumnerOne is about helping your business run more smoothly. Find out how they can help you at our next Neighborhood Networking event Friday, October 25, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Head to their headquarters at 8030 Flint in Lenexa for strong coffee, great conversation, and networking with one of the largest independent office technology dealers in the Midwest. This event is free for Chamber members and just $15 for nonmembers. Register here. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. You can join us November 8 for Neighborhood Networking at the National WWI Museum. Thanks to Neighborhood Networking sponsors Andrews McMeel Universal and Spectrum Reach. The KC Chamber’s 2019 networking sponsors are Mazuma, SS&C, and Sprint.


The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to host the graduation ceremony for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellows from Fort Leavenworth, KS. Come show your support for these men and women, as they transition from the armed forces to positions of leadership in corporate America. This graduation ceremony is Thursday, November 14 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. in the Chamber’s Board Room, located in the southeast corner of the first floor of historic Union Station. Hear which companies are taking part in this unique fellowship program, and how your business can get involved. It's a great way to connect with veterans, their families, and active military. More than half the graduates are from the KC metro area. A buffet breakfast will be served after the ceremony. Register today. This event is sponsored by the Chamber and the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee.