KC Rising, the Kansas City Region’s long-term vision to build capacity, bring existing businesses to scale and fully realize the KC region’s economic potential, welcomed 450 area business and civic leaders to its annual community update event on February 28, 2017.
In 2014, KC Rising launched its initial promise to the greater KC region, developed a distributed implementation model to facilitate the process of identifying the region’s best opportunities for growth, and is making progress on specific initiatives related to TRADE, IDEAS and PEOPLE.
“The launch of KC Rising focused on our promise to create a sustainable 20-year vision to accelerate the performance of the regional Kansas City economy and expand economic opportunity for every individual,” says Scott Smith, KC Rising co-chair and retired president and CEO of HNTB Infrastructure. “We found that the best way to create this type of change was to grow the Kansas City region’s gross domestic product, grow the number of quality jobs and increase the median household income.”
“In our first year, KC Rising focused on our process of achieving long-term growth,” stated Doug Girod, KC Rising Co-Chair and Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. “We honed in on what it was actually going to take to produce long-term change, and decided on our initial implementation through our three work groups.”
Event speakers included Smith, Girod and KC Rising’s three work group leads, Timothy Triplett, president of Legal, Risk Management and Government Affairs at Black & Veatch; Darcy Howe, manager of the KCRise Fund; and Madeline Romious, regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T, who each head their respective bodies of volunteers.
Triplett cited some of the initiatives developed by the Trade work group including:
- The Life Sciences Nexus which is creating collaborative forums between human and animal health researchers and companies.
- Go Global KC, led by the World Trade Center in Kansas City, serving as an export concierge providing advice, direction, data and other advantageous information to expanding companies. Video
- KC Global Design which is positioning Kansas City as a global center of excellence and destination for talent in architecture, engineering and technology. Video
Howe cited progress in the IDEAS work group, including:
- KC InvestED, in partnership with KC SourceLink, which provides connections and opportunities to increase early-stage investment in KC area companies.
- $14 million raised through the KC Rise Fund initiative which has invested in five Kansas City area companies. Video
- Work underway, led by the Kauffman Foundation, to research accelerator best practices and apply them in the KC region.
Romious shared progress within the PEOPLE work group, including:
- Life Sciences TIE (Talent-to-Industry Exchange) that brought together experienced business, labor, education and economic development leaders to identify gaps and opportunities to fill jobs in the Life Sciences.
- The Talent Tool Kit led by TeamKC, which sells Kansas City as a career destination to job candidates and new hires.
- GradForce KC, Gateways KC and KC Scholars which were highlighted as programs that help people within the greater Kansas City area gain greater access to post secondary degree opportunities. Video
At the end of the program, Girod and Smith passed the leadership baton to three new co-chairs, Bill Gautreaux, CMO and president of Crestwood MSL; John Murphy, partner and immediate past chairman of Shook Hardy & Bacon, and Sandy Price, board member with Great Plains Energy and retired senior human resources executive for Sprint. Each of the three new co-chairs has worked with KC Rising since its conception either as a Steering Committee member or as a work group chair.
“The KC Rising promise remains steadfast. To be business-led, collaborative, metrics-driven, and regionally-inclusive, and to execute on a shared vision for the prosperity of the Kansas City metropolitan area,” Price said.
Gautreaux added, “Our plans are ambitious and we are determined to be successful. We are all here because we care about Kansas City and we need everyone to remain engaged and supportive – the real work continues.”
About KC Rising
KC Rising is a regional, collaborative, business community-led effort to develop a path for the KC region to reach its full economic potential. KC Rising develops and executes strategies for accelerating the region’s economic growth and ensure its continued competitiveness in the global economy. KC Rising is supported by the leadership and staff of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Mid-America Regional Council, the Kansas City Area Development Council, the KC Chamber and regional chambers of commerce. www.kcrising.com.