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2016 Conference Agenda
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Click on the Speakers name to access their presentation. 

Sunday, July 31


(2:00-3:30 pm) 

Pre-Conference Optional Session – Attracting and Retaining Investors



Rich Fletcher
I-77 Alliance


Most of our organizations have companies, other organizations, government entities and individuals that make a financial investment in our programs of work. The solicitation and “after care” of these investors is critical to the continued success of your economic development organization. In this session, you will hear best practices in terms of investor/stakeholder management and programs.


(1:30 – 4:00 pm)

Optional Tours


Ennovation Center of Independence
(Separate registration required)

BNSF Intermodal Logistics Park
(Separate registration required)

Barley Bus
(Separate registration required)

Truman Presidential Library & 
City of Independence

(Separate registration required)

18th & Vine Historic District
(Separate registration required)

College Basketball Experience
(Separate registration required)

(4:00 – 5:00 pm)

Committee Meetings

(5:00 – 6:00 pm)

State Caucus Meetings

(6:00 – 6:30 pm)

Transportation to World War I Museum and Memorial

(6:30 – 8:00 pm)

Welcome Reception - World War I Museum and Memorial
Join conference attendees as we celebrate, remember, interpret and understand the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community with a reception on a glass bridge over poppy flowers. From the first shots fired in 1914 to the last attempts at peace in 1919, this award-winning museum offers a global perspective of “The War to End All Wars,” and includes firsthand accounts from the battlefield and home front alike.


Monday, August 1


(8:00  – 9:00 a.m.)            


(8:00  – 9:00 a.m.)            
New Member Breakfast  

(9am – 10:30 am)

Opening Remarks, Welcome and Keynote - 

“More than a Season: Building a Championship Culture”

Keynote Speaker - Dayton Moore, Senior Vice President-Baseball Operations/General Manager of the Kansas City Royals

From his first day with the Royals in 2006, Dayton Moore was determined to bring a World Championship back to Kansas City, a dream that was brought to fruition in 2015. The Royals bested the New York Mets in five games to win the franchise's first World Series championship in 30 years.

Along the way, the Royals set records in attendance, local television viewership, and All-Star selections. For his part in the success during the 2015 season, Moore was named the Esurance MLB Award for the Best Executive. It marked the second-straight season that the Royals' GM earned the honor.

Hear him share his insight into what it takes to build a winning team and a strong sense of community pride. He’ll also discuss how innovation and success can be achieved by fostering the next generation of talent.


(10:30  – 10:45 a.m.)            


(10:45am – Noon)

General Session - What Cities Can Do to Boost Innovation & Entrepreneurship



The Honorable Mayor Sly James
Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri



Zachary Markovits
What Works Cities

Evan Absher
Kauffman Foundation

Chad Shearer
Brookings Institution

This general session features a panel of national leadership experts led by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James. Panelists will discuss techniques and strategies engineered to allow cities and communities to play a vital role in the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship. Emphasis will be placed on promotional methods for leadership in rural and urban areas and cities both large and small.


(12:15  – 1:30 p.m.)               
Honoring our Communication Award Winners and Community and Economic Development Awards (CEDA) Winners

(1:45pm – 3:00pm)

Track 1- Encouraging an Entrepreneurial Workforce


Mac Holladay 

Market Street Services


Jennifer Littlejohn
Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce

Allyson Rothrock
The Harvest Foundation

Mark Heath 
Martinsville-Henry County (Va.) EDC

This session features a team of panelists focused on showcasing strategies in educational and workforce development that is being used to fill the jobs of the future. Members of the panel bring strong experience in transitioning the manufacturing workforce to a technology-based workforce and increasing rural workforce capacity.



Track 2- Encouraging Innovation in International Investments


Andrew Nave
Shawnee Economic Development


Keida Ackerman
U.S. Department of Commerce

Evan Hoffman
Organization for International Investment 


Dr. Hans-Aloys Wischmann
Phillips Research North America

There is a strong link between foreign direct investment (FDI) and U.S. innovation and workforce development. Since global companies invest in America to partner with top-notch networks and access the world’s best R&D talent, it is no surprise that global companies fund almost 20 percent of all U.S. R&D efforts. Any economic development strategy to grow a community’s innovation network would benefit from FDI attraction. This panel will examine the link between FDI and innovation and include private sector perspectives on best practices in working with governments and EDOs to build successful innovation and workforce models.

(3:00 – 3:15 p.m.)                     

(3:15  – 4:45 p.m.)                  
Track 1- Entrepreneurship Business Training Programs



Alex Krause 

Kauffman Foundation

Rob Williams 
US SourceLink

Steve Radley
Network Kansas



Mark Turnbull

The Joplin Reional Partnership

This session will focus on diversity in entrepreneurship and the ongoing efforts to assist business owners and managers with leadership strategies. Emphasis will be placed on support for rural, small and mid-sized communities; non-traditional training for technology entrepreneurs; and efforts used to encourage the development of minority- and women-owned businesses.


Track 2- Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing Businesses



Andy Hrasky 
LMV Automotive Systems


Chuck Sexton
One East Kentucky



Al Figuly 

Greater Kansas City Foreign Trade Zone

Cultivating interest in innovation within manufacturing industries has become a successful method for driving growth in traditional economic development. This session will focus on strategies that communities can pursue to encourage their existing manufacturing businesses in continuous business development, growth and reinvestment.

(5:30  – 6:30 p.m.)                     
Silent Auction Reception Benefiting the SEDC Educational Foundation - Sheraton Kansas City

(6:30  – 7:00 p.m.)                     
Transportation to Tech Week Countdown Party


( 7:00 p.m.)

Tech Week Countdown Party

Tuesday, August 2

(8:00  – 9:00 a.m.)      

(9:15  – 10:30 a.m.)              
Track 1- Assistance in Business Capital Options



Drew Solomon 


Joe Bannister
MO Technology Corp.

Nathan Kurtz
Kauffman Foundation



Drew Solomon 


The greatest enemy to entrepreneurship and innovation is often a lack of capital to cover the cost of development. This session will look at community-led strategies to help entrepreneurs access the necessary capital to start and grow their business throughout various stages of the business life cycle.


Track 2- Encouraging Innovation in Distribution/Logistics Businesses


Bryan Fox
KCP&L & President of KC CSCMP

Colby Tanner


Morgan Bell
KC SmartPort

As technology continues to evolve, the implications for distribution and logistics centers have grown exponentially. The result is an environment with higher potential for innovative approaches than ever before. Add a workforce with more technical expertise and access to collaborative research than generations past, and the industry is poised for increased growth and competitive advances. This session will focus on strategies for communities to pursue to encourage growth and reinvesting within existing distribution and logistics businesses.

(10:30 – 10:45 a.m.)       

(10:45  – 12:00 p.m.)                 
Track 1- Encouraging Technology Transfer for Business Creation & Expansion 


James G. Baxendale
UMKC Innovation Center


Dr. Mike Paulus
Oak Ridge National Lab


Rebecca Robinson
Kansas State University’s Institute for Commercialization


Elyse Davis 
Georgia Power


In recent years, higher education and private business sectors have seen significant results in investing resources into the development of private enterprises and spin-off companies. This session will discuss traditional University led efforts as well as private sector efforts to assist in the development of new business enterprises.



Track 2- Encouraging Innovation in Arts Based Businesses


Chris Dahlquist
Professional independent artist

Megan Crigger
City of Kansas City, MO


Julie Nelson Meers
Missouri Bank


Mike Marcus
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Asheville, NC


Josh Best

The arts affects more than quality of life. They should be viewed as businesses, and the artists as business people. This session will focus on strategies that communities can pursue to encourage arts-based businesses to grow and reinvest as well as assisting the arts in finding a sense of place within their local communities.

(12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.)          
Luncheon- SEDC Awards Presentations and Annual Meeting



(1:45 – 3:00 p.m.)                      
Track 1- Incubators & Accelerators as New Business Development  

Amisha Miller
Kauffman Foundation

Bill Kirkland
University of South Carolina

Sarah Fustine 
Think Big Partners

Stuart Ames
Duke Energy

The past decade has seen explosive and dynamic development through business accelerators and incubators. Phrases like “collaborative office spaces,” “talent development” and “entrepreneurship forums” have become ubiquitous. In this new world of business development, what tactics and approaches have proven successful and how can innovators recognize worthwhile endeavors? This session will explore efforts to build new businesses through the use of business incubators and accelerators.


Track 2- Encouraging Innovation in Real Estate Redevelopment 

Alex Ogata 

Jim Allen
Honor Capital

Lee Langerock  
Ennovation Center of Independence, Missouri

Jon Williams
Williams & Associates

Disruption in real estate development has been a critical component to growth in the real estate industry throughout the 21st century. Innovative approaches to redeveloping buildings continue to challenge public perception of real estate development. This session will focus on several strategies that communities can pursue to create innovation and new business development through the use of redeveloping their community real estate.

(3:00 – 3:15 p.m.)       

(3:30 – 4:30 p.m.)       
Transportation to Children's Mercy Park/Sporting KC

(4:30 - 5:45 p.m.)                     
General Session – Trends in Site Location Issues

Dennis Donovan
WDG Consulting, LLC

Larry Moretti
LFM Corporate Location Solutions

Chris Steele
Investment Consulting Associates

Tim Cowden
KC Area Development Council

Site selection historically has been driven by deadlines and competition. The comprehensive impact of a new site location process can have profound results on the success or failure of a company and community. With the use of global information systems (GIS) and the increased available of information online, the process of site selection is considerably shorter and more competitive than ever before. With so many elements to consider, how can communities learn from trends in site selection and be positioned for success? This session with a panel of site location experts will give their perspective of positioning your community for success.

(6:00  – 8:00 p.m.)                     

Reception, and Dinner- Children's Mercy Park/Sporting KC

Children's Mercy Park/Sporting KC

Children’s Mercy Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, incorporates the latest in sports technology aiding in fan connectivity and player development. The reaction to the venue has been universal: Children’s Mercy Park is iconic, fun, intimate, authentic and awe‐inspiring. In bringing to bear all of Populous’ global soccer knowledge, the team’s goals of a completely authentic stadium were realized. In short, it is simply a world‐class venue designed with the passion of the game it houses.