The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Announces ‘Big 5′ List

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has announced the “Big 5” list of initiatives which will be the focus of the region in the coming years. Last spring the Greater KC Chamber compiled a total [...]

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has announced the “Big 5” list of initiatives which will be the focus of the region in the coming years. Last spring the Greater KC Chamber compiled a total of 182 proposals from community panels and the public. Following an in-depth analysis the board has announced the final five initiatives and the “champions” that will be in charge of each project. Frank Ellis, incoming Chamber Chair and Chairman & CEO of Swope Community Enterprises, said the champions will be responsible for bringing in other people to help devise and implement the tactical milestones necessary to achieve success.

The Big 5 are:

1. The World’s Symposium on Animal Health; Champion: Gary Forsee. The organization and hosting of a global symposium on animal health is meant to solidify the position of the region as a leader in world animal health interests. Out of the $19 billion global animal health market almost 32 percent of total sales are accounted for by KC area companies.

2. The Urban Core Neighborhood Initiative; Co-Champions: Terry Dunn, President & CEO, JE Dunn Construction Group, & Brent Stewart, United Way of Greater Kansas City. The Champions are expected to come up with a strategic plan to tackle areas such as violence, education and economic development within the following 90 to 120 days.

3. The Making of America’s Most Entrepreneurial City; Champion: Peter deSilva, Chairman & CEO, UMB Bank. Already having the well-established Kauffman Foundation and Bloch School, deSilva said Kansas City needs to continue to nurture and help local entrepreneurs grow rather than attract other companies.

4. The KC Regional Translational Research Institute; Champion: Dr. Patrick James, Sr. Managing Partner, Quest Diagnostics; Chair, KC Area Life Sciences Institute. In the pursuit of making KC a nationally-recognized center of translational research, the five-year goal is to raise $60 million for grants to area researchers.

5. The New UMKC Downtown Conservatory; Champion: Leo Morton, Chancellor, University of Missouri-Kansas City. The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance needs to be relocated to a new downtown location.The ultimate goal is to raise $50-$80 million to cover the relocation costs and to reach a target of 2000 students and a Top 10 ranking for the institution within five years.