OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — 02/03/2006
Kansas and Missouri political and business leaders gathered today at the Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) campus to participate in the Governors’ Summit on Regional Growth. Participants included Gov. Matt Blunt of Missouri and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, who joined Sprint Nextel president and chief executive officer Gary Forsee in leading a discussion on regional economic growth. The summit was co-sponsored by Sprint Nextel and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Hosted at the Sprint Nextel campus in Overland Park, the Governors’ Summit on Regional Growth addressed the unique geographic advantages of Kansas City and outlined a roadmap on ways Kansas and Missouri can develop a shared vision for the Kansas City metro area to compete on a national and global stage.
"The goal of today’s summit was to outline a shared vision to position Greater Kansas City as a magnet for new business and establish an ongoing regional growth agenda that ensures its continued growth," said Forsee.
Governors Blunt and Sebelius came together in signing a Letter of Commitment demonstrating a unified commitment to accelerate regional growth in the Greater Kansas City metro area. Forsee and Tom Bowser, chairman of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, joined the governors in support of this initiative.
"The Kansas City region is one of the economic pillars of our state," noted Governor Blunt. "In Missouri, we have been focusing on education and improving our business climate to help our state and the Kansas City region meet their full potential. By joining together to cultivate continued growth and economic development we can ensure the area will continue to see new jobs, new partners and new opportunities."
"We need to work together to take advantage of the great opportunities we have before us," said Governor Sebelius. "The Kansas City area is an engine for growth and job creation, and growing the area economy helps Kansas and Missouri as a whole. This agreement demonstrates that we’re not going to let the state line interfere in our mission to create jobs."
The Governors’ Summit focused on a broad range of topics, including how business and community leaders can work with elected officials to overcome those challenges shared by the two states. Special emphasis was placed on economic drivers such as life sciences and biomedical research, higher education and the need for a regional transit system.
Also announced at the summit was the creation of a special task force led by The Chamber to monitor the progress made against the agenda outlined during the summit. The special task force will report on the collective results in twelve months to ensure continued focus and support are placed on the business plan designed around new tactical ways to accelerate regional growth.
"Today’s summit is an important, even historic, event," said Bowser. "The Greater Kansas City Chamber has several decades of commitment to regional cooperation, exemplified by today’s session. The task force will be chaired by Chamber Vice Chair Roshann Parris (Parris Communications), and will ensure that today’s event has measurable and significant results for our entire community."
"To trigger true economic regional growth we have to work as one community and start to think differently about how we can leverage our assets and geographic advantages," Forsee said. "The support of Governors Sebelius and Blunt demonstrates the relevance of this initiative and that we’re all committed to the economic health and vibrancy of our communities."
Speakers included Pete Levi, president, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Bob Marcusse, president and chief executive officer, Kansas City Area Development Council; Laura McKnight, president, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; David Warm, executive director, Mid-America Regional Council; Irv Hockaday, chairman, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute; Dick Brown, co-chairman, Stowers Institute for Medical Research; and Joerg Ohle, president and general manager, Bayer Healthcare LLC, Animal Health Division, North America.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
About the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is the area’s oldest and only regional business organization, serving both Kansas and Missouri companies throughout the Kansas City metro area. Founded in 1887, nearly 8500 companies belong to The Chamber. The Chamber’s mission is twofold: to provide responsive and committed leadership that builds a vibrant and thriving community, and to assist its members in growing their businesses.