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The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council is a public-private partnership that focuses on attracting and retaining investment in Lee’s Summit. For more than 25 years, the program activities of LSEDC have been four tried and true focal points: community product improvement; business retention and expansion; attract targeted, higher paying industry and generate a positive community image. With those initiatives as our foundation, LSEDC evaluates and acts on market-based and visionary opportunities to advocate, create and solidify sustainable growth in our community. One key ingredient of the process is connecting the business community through education, integrated communication and the promotion of new opportunities to support organic business growth in Lee’s Summit.

Since July 2011, continuous process improvement to enhance foundation has been an organizational objective. Those initiatives include 1) increasing attendance at our monthly meetings, 2) improving our investor partners’ return-on-investment by enhancing the meeting experience and 3) actively including all stakeholders in the LSEDC meeting/communication process. To date, we have successfully met those goals. Our overall meeting attendance numbers are significantly higher than the previous year. Investor feedback has been extremely positive regarding the value and quality of content of our meetings. Lastly, our stakeholders have been effectively represented as presenters at our meetings, which feature timely and topical discussions with a regional perspective. Examples of programs include the commonality of challenges facing local mayors, school district superintendents and regional economic development professionals. In addition, print and electronic media professionals provided insights about the power and effective usage of media, and a corporate culture specialist explained the need to identify and align corporate cultures to achieve sustainable and successful results.

As part of our Strategic Planning process, LSEDC also dedicated a recent meeting for our Board and Advisory Board members to participate in a structured dialogue about mapping out the next five years for the organization. Based on outcomes from that meeting, topics for further LSEDC focus may include: redevelopment, public policy, entrepreneurial assistance and increased collaboration with allies to execute our mission. Future meetings will include a panel discussion on issues affecting health care and a commercial development roundtable with industry leaders commenting on regional and local trends. In our quest to enhance the LSEDC experience, we actively solicit feedback and encourage our investors, partners and community stakeholders to help us improve and make our meetings events you won’t want to miss.

Finally, this past year LSEDC launched a process-driven program called “Innovation, Collaboration and Execution or ICE,” which we have successfully used as the litmus test by which to judge our organizational efforts, messaging, program content, brand, customer service – everything we do to continually improve our interaction with investors and stakeholders. In this context, “I” stands for “Innovation”: the promotion of new ideas and approaches to challenges. “C” stands for “Collaboration”: focusing on working together with our allies. “E” stands for “Execution”: getting things done. By using this process, we have aligned our resources to be more creative in our approach, more connected in our action and more driven to completion of tasks.

As my term as LSEDC Chairman winds down, I am proud to report that the 2011-12 fiscal year has been an extraordinary one for LSEDC, but the work has truly just begun. Building and sustaining the Lee’s Summit business community is a never-ending process, but one that is worth the journey. I believe we all win if we find those areas of common ground, work together and continue to move forward to help promote the experience that is Lee’s Summit.

To learn more about LSEDC, visit www.leessummit.org or call 816.525.6617

A lifelong Lee’s Summit resident, Daren Fristoe is president of The Fristoe Group, and serves as the 2011-2012 LSEDC Chairman.

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