26th Annual Business Excellence Awards Luncheon

PCEDC Staff News

The Platte County Economic Development Council celebrated its 26th Annual Business Excellence Luncheon on Friday, December 9th at the Embassy Suites KCI. The main event sponsor was the Kansas City Aviation Department and the printed programs were sponsored by the North Kansas City Hospital.

Thirteen Platte County companies were awarded Business Excellence awards for job creation and/or significant expansion and investment projects. These companies contributed $113 million in public and private investment, filled nearly 400,000 square-feet of space and  employ nearly 5,000 people.

Community Development awards were given from the communities of: Kansas City, Parkville, Platte City, Riverside and Weston.

“Our annual Business Excellence lunch is an opportunity for the Platte County EDC and its members to say ‘thank you’ to those businesses which have chosen Platte County as the premier location to operate a successful and profitable business,” said Executive Director Alicia Stephens. “Our businesses are growing and expanding and this was a great event focused on celebrating Platte County successes and partnerships.”

2016 Community Development Awards

Weston Community Development Award winner: Weston Café
The Weston Café has been a mainstay in downtown Weston for decades and has made it a priority to give back to the community. In addition to contributing to many school activities, including furnishing food for West Platte’s High School football pre game meals, current owner Dena Minor holds several bake sales each year for people in Weston who are in need.

The Café also purchases gifts for and prepares meals for needy families at Christmas time and they buy gifts for local nursing homes. Dena also delivers food to elderly who are homebound, and she is also a recent member of the Board of Directors of Weston Chamber of Commerce and participates in Chamber activities.

Riverside Community Development Award winner: Complete Home Concepts
Complete Home Concepts has been in Riverside for almost 10 years. During that time, they have been involved in numerous community activities and owner Jeff Goodwin serves as President of the Riverside Quindaro Bend Levee District Board of Supervisors. Complete Home Concepts was the first company after the flood of 1993 to take a chance on developing in Horizons behind the newly constructed levee.

Complete Home Concepts was started by Jeff’s father in 1977 and Jeff actually mixed the first batch of stone for the new company. Complete Home Concepts not only have a long history with the City of Riverside, they have a long history with its employees. The company’s second employee, a stone mason, was hired back in 1977 and he is still employed with the company. Many employees have been with the company for close to 20 years.

Complete Home Concepts focuses on working with residential home builders and serves a 150 mile area. Complete Home Concepts is now owned by Jeff and his sister Jenny who grew-up in the Northland and look forward to continuing to serve the City of Riverside and servicing their customers.

Platte City Community Development Award winner: Culver’s
When Culver’s opened its Platte City doors, owners Mark and Michelle Schuler achieved their dreams of being small business owners.

Mark and his wife Michelle grew up familiar with the Northland and traveled the world due to Mark’s time in the Military. When Mark retired they decided to chase that dream and began their search on a restaurant franchising opportunity.

The Schulers decided Culver’s would be a great match for the endeavor due to the hands on management opportunities and community involvement. The opportunity knocked on their door when they were approved for a franchise.

Since opening, Mark and Michelle have embraced Platte City and take pride in giving back to the community in many ways. The Schulers are active with the Platte City Chamber, assist with the Northland Career Center, and help support Platte City sports teams and the Platte County R-3 School District. Culver’s in Platte City strives for positive and fun work environment, and more than 30 local youth have made it their first job.

Parkville Community Development Award winner: BankLiberty
BankLiberty is truly a Northland Bank that strives to serve the communities it resides in. BankLiberty has owned their downtown Parkville brank for 3 years and opened the 45 and 9 Highway location in 2009. BankLiberty has served Platte County since 1973.

BankLiberty has proven time and again that they have the Parkville community’s best interests at heart. BankLiberty consistently support the community financially but most notably with a strong presence at all community organizational functions. They’ve been a leader in the success of Parkville through these efforts.

Getting employees involved in community volunteer opportunities is a priority for BankLiberty. The community service activities bank employees have been involved with include clean-up activities, packing backpacks at Harvesters, assisting at Hillcrest and raising funds for Susan G. Komen and families for the Christmas holiday. BankLiberty also recognizes the importance of interacting with education partners and has participated in educational activities for students. BankLiberty not only wants to bring value to their customers, they want to bring value to Platte County.

Kansas City Community Development Award winner: Citizens Bank & Trust
Citizens Bank & Trust is a strong community partner that is engaged in their neighborhoods and community.

Citizens Bank & Trust makes conscientious efforts to help others with financial literacy which provides a great opportunity for the company’s employees to teach and interact with all ages, from elementary students to senior citizens. In 2016 alone, Citizens Bank & Trust has participated in more than 200 financial literacy events.

Citizens Bank & Trust also provides a debit card program that gives back to local schools. This program has paid thousands of dollars to support education with the bank’s communities. Citizens Bank & Trust’s community outreach includes working with local organizations such as Park Hill’s Professional Studies Program, Northland Symphony, Hillcrest, Synergy and the Northland Healthcare Foundations to name a few.

Founded in 1889, Citizens Bank & Trust is the fifth largest bank headquartered in Kansas City, MO and a fifth generation family bank. Citizens opened the first Platte County location in 2006. In 2008, they moved their headquarter offices to Zona Rosa and this year, Citizens changed their charter to Kansas City, MO. They now have 20 locations throughout Northwest Missouri and the Kansas City metro area.

2016 Business Excellence Awards

Embassy Suites Kansas City Airport
Built in 1989, the Embassy Suites Kansas City – International Airport continues to invest significant funds in its 237-suite hotel located at 7640 Northwest Tiffany Springs Parkway. Recent improvements to the hotel range from pillows to parking lots and the hotel also added a new roof and chiller in 2016.

Guests now enjoy brand top-of-bed presentation meaning new sheets, duvets and pillows in all the suites. On the IT side, Embassy Suites KCI guests can also check-in using a digital key and even choose their room using the new digital check-in and room selection option put into place this year.

Recent renovations included a new room for the ballroom, which is the largest single ballroom in the Northland. Embassy Suites KCI boasts 15,000 square feet in event and banquet space capable of hosting a special event or conference for up to 1,200 guests.

The hotel currently employs 120-150 employees depending on the time of the year. Surrounding the 8 story Atrium, each spacious two-room suite includes a separate living area, two flat-screen TVs, WiFi and a galley kitchen with microwave and fridge. Embassy Suites has recently been recognized with a triple A Diamond Award and a JD Power Award for Upper Upscale/Guest Satisfaction.

Hilton Kansas City Airport
The Hilton Kansas City Airport recently underwent extensive renovations at its 347-room hotel.

Located along 112th Street in the KCI Corridor since 1974, the Hilton Kansas City Airport completely renovated its guest rooms, updated all the meeting space and turned the restaurant into a new venue and rebranded it the Asado Urban Grill. The extensive capital improvements demonstrate the Hilton’s continued commitment to investing in its hotel and Platte County.

The renovated guestrooms all have new beds, bedding and furniture with refrigerators added. The guestroom bathrooms were completely gutted so they now boast new tiling, showers and marble countertops. The meeting spaces renovations include new lighting, carpeting and all new chairs plus a completely new boardroom. The lobby area now includes a sundry area plus new seating. A Starbucks opened onsite in September of this year.

In addition to these major renovations, the Hilton Kansas City Airport continues to invest in its property by updating the parking lot, landscaping improvement projects, pool renovations and adding a new telephone system.

Holiday Inn KCI
The Holiday Inn KCI, located on Northwest Ambassador Drive, is in the midst of transforming all its rooms into a new, contemporary style. Every aspect of the rooms will change with a focus on guest convenience. Rooms now include movable furniture and a plethora of outlets for its many transient guests.

So far, one floor of the 141-room Holiday Inn KCI has been converted to the new European-style rooms, and the rest will be upgraded in 2017.

Also new is Burger Theory restaurant, which is unique to Holiday Inns. The restaurant opened in April 2016 and offers specialty burgers with a Create-Your-Own menu offering 4,320 possibilities plus more than 30 local, regional and classic craft beers. Next year, the restaurant will add cabanas and fire pits in its patio area.

Visitors to the Holiday Inn KCI will see a brand new lobby with a lounge, e-lounge, marketplace and media lounge, all created to offer an open, loft feel. In addition to all its changes this year, Holiday Inn’s staff has also grown by 20 percent this year.

 Holladay Distillery
 The 160-year old Holladay Distillery in Weston began offering tours, making bourbon again and has gone through major expansions and renovations. One of the oldest distilleries in the US, Holladay opened in 1856 and the company’s products are available across the US and in 78 countries.

The renovations include Holladay Distillery’s welcome center, which was completely redone and includes a retail shop, historical info, tasting room and kitchen. In addition, the original stillhouse from 1856 has been restored and has new distillation equipment for modern-day bourbon making. The structures of the barrel warehouses were reinforced and the bottle shop expansion is now complete.

In December 2015, Holladay started making bourbon for the first time in 30 years. Public tours began again in April 2016, and visitors can see for themselves why the distillery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The distillery now has 180 employees after adding 30 new jobs due to its expansion. The Platte County EDC previously awarded the distillery with a Job Development Award in 2003.

 k12itc, founded in 2010, provides technology solutions tailored specifically for K-12 schools. The innovative company, located at 5904 NW 63rd Terrace in Kansas City, now serves more than 450 schools across seven states, including public, private and charter schools. Its adaptable solutions serve school districts with as few as 85 students to enrollment of over 25,000 students.

CEO Brad Sandt founded k12itc so that schools, even those in rural districts, would have equal access to the latest technology and support systems. They are changing the way technology is managed and implemented in K-12 schools. k12itc’s employee count has increased from four in 2012 to 32 employees today. The company continues to add new staff at a rate of 1 every other month and shows no signs of slowing down.

k12itc has won numerous business awards including the 2016 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Ingram Magazine’s named k12itc #5 on its list of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies, INC Magazine named them to their INC. 5000 list.

KC Sausage
KC Sausage opened its sausage manufacturing facility off of 106th and Pomona in 2009 with 18 employees and it has since grown to 175 employees with 200 required during peak periods.

The company continues to expand and recently added a new blast freezer and an additional production line. The new freezer allows them to freeze 250,000 pounds of product from 34 degrees to 0 degrees in 24 hours. The expansion added 18,000 square feet to the existing 37,000 square feet and KC Sausage plans to add another 15,000 square feet in 2018 to add another production line and additional employee areas.

KC Sausage, who was awarded a Job Development Award in 2008 by the Platte County EDC, currently produces 35 million pounds of product for three main customers: Wal-Mart, Save-A-Lot, and Smithfield. KC Sausage prides itself on beating industry standards for safety, and since 2007 the company has been Safe Quality Food Level 3 Certified, meaning it exceeds the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative benchmark.

MULTIVAC, a global leader in packaging solutions for food, medical, consumer and industrial products, recently underwent an expansion of its U.S. headquarters in Platte County.

The company, which has global headquarters in Germany and conducts operations in over 140 countries, has been steadily growing in Kansas City where it has manufactured food packaging equipment for 26 years. MULTIVAC’s employee count is expected to reach 300 with the current expansion as its engineering and service teams continue to grow. The additional 32,000 square feet of space brought MULTIVAC’s total space to nearly 120,000 square feet. The new space provides more office space and a larger, more modern Innovation Center which offers customers the ability to do package testing on their products to evaluate the look and quality of various package solutions.

MULTIVAC’s clients include some of the largest food processors in the United States and it is a 12-time Hormel Spirit of Excellence Award winner. MULTIVAC was also previously honored by the Platte County EDC in 2002 with a Community Award.

Park University
Park University recently completed significant capital improvements on its Parkville Campus. In May 2016, Park University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony as it reopened Norrington Center as a library and academic commons.

Built in 1908 as a library building, Norrington Center now includes the McAfee Memorial Library plus the University’s Academic Support Center, a multimedia classroom for distance learning, collaborative technology work stations, the Campanella Gallery for art exhibits and a café.

In addition, Park moved its Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing into a new location in the Parkville Commercial Underground. The program is evolving from an Associate of Science in Nursing program into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. The nursing program is now housed in a 40,000 square foot space which includes smart classrooms and simulators. The new location led the number of full-time facility to nearly double, and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing pre-licensure program can accommodate 60 students per year. Park University was previously honored by the Platte County EDC in 2004 with a Job Development Award.

Roll On Industries
Roll On Industries, a shipping logistics provider, continues to expand at its headquarters in Parkville. This year, the company created 32 new jobs, doubled its brokerage and added 25 new power units and 65 new trailers.

CEO Chris Troutner and his family started Roll On Industries back in 2000. The company moved into its current Parkville location at 171 English Landing Drive in November 2015. In addition to its headquarters in Parkville, the company also has a warehouse a fulfillment facility in North Kansas City and an asset maintenance facility in Liberty. The company currently employs 70 staff and has plans to add another eight to 12 new jobs in 2017.

Roll On Industries says finding the right workers in Parkville has been vital to its growth, and part of the reason the company is so committed to Platte County. Roll On Industries ships a variety of products all over the country as well as internationally. The company focuses on helping its clients find the most efficient and cost-effective transportation plans domestically and abroad. Clients include paper products, building materials, insulation and beverage companies.

USA800 Inc. opened its new call center on NW Tiffany Springs Parkway in May 2016 and with it created 200 new jobs for Platte County. USA800 was founded in 1976 as a call center services provider. The primary function of the Platte County call center is inbound customer service and support. Customer service agents place orders and provide information and tech support for companies such as Hickory Farms, Schwann’s and Vizio. Employees work in two shifts and all training is done onsite.

The 150-workstation, 14,000-square-foot facility is the fourth location for the Raytown-based USA 800. Other locations are in Lawrence, St Joseph and Raytown. A fifth location recently opened in Wichita Falls, Texas. The company handles more than 60,000 contacts a day and employs 1900 nationwide. USA800 has been awarded Customer Interaction Magazine’s Top 50 Inbound Call Center award for the last 10 years.

Park Hill School District
The Park Hill School District’s continued growth led to significant facility improvement projects in 2016. By far the biggest projects were a new, district-wide fiber optic network and major roof renovations and replacements district-wide. Numerous school improvements were completed to protect the community’s investments in Park Hill facilities. The projects came from Park Hill’s last no-tax increase bond issue.

Now Park Hill is looking forward to its future growth to keep up with its booming enrollment. Park Hill School District has experienced 32 straight years of steady enrollment growth and the district needed 22 new classrooms to hold 2015’s enrollment growth. Nearly 400 new students enrolled in the district last year. The total employee count for the district is now 1,684, an increase of 51 employees more than last year.

Park Hill was the first school in Missouri to earn a Missouri Quality award and was the only district to receive the honor twice. In addition, Park Hill has received the Missouri Distinction Performance Award annually since it was created. Park Hill: Building Successful Futures. Each Student. Every Day.

Platte County R-3 School District
A new elementary school highlights the Platte County R-3 School District’s busy 2016. The 65,000 square-foot Compass Elementary opened its doors in August and now houses kindergarten through fifth grade students. The new school has a capacity of around 700.

In addition to a new school, Platte County R-3’s growth this past year includes the Pathfinder Elementary School addition which added 14 new classrooms and a multipurpose room. Paxton School was also repurposed to become part of the Platte County High School and Platte County R-3 is currently constructing a new tennis facility. The growing school district’s current enrollment is 4,000 and it employs 590 staff members, an increase of 25 this school year.

As a result of its partnership with MD Management, Platte County R-3 School District was gifted 80 acres of land as part of the new Costco Northland project. The land donation will allow the District to address projected short-term needs, as well as prepare for a major long-term need of another high school.

West Platte School District
The West Platte School District, located in Weston, underwent some major construction projects this year. From a new stadium and renovated science labs to a new special education life-skills suite, the growing school district has seen huge changes in the past year.

A new district office also opened its doors on August 22, and it overlooks the new stadium and playground. Other upgrades include new science labs with state of the art, up-to-date technology including 3D printers. Future upgrades in the district include a preschool expansion, Vocational-Technical expansion and renovations to the softball and baseball facilities. A new stadium, football field and track all made their debuts this fall, and other new sporting facilities include locker rooms, weight room and wrestling room.

West Platte’s current enrollment has increased to 590, a 7% increase from 2015, and the Kansas City Business Journal recently rated West Platte as #3 on a list of the metro area’s best public schools. Currently, the district employs 66 teachers and 30 support staff.