The Best Practices Conference: Bringing Together the Best in Economic Development

Monday, May 22, 2023

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The Best Practices Conference, organized by Mid-America EDC, is an eagerly awaited annual event that gathers economic development professionals, business leaders, and experts from the Midwest region to share insights, discuss the latest trends, and explore strategies in economic development. The conference, which took place this year in Kansas City from May 10 to May 12, was an exceptional resource for attendees.

Hosted at the magnificent Hotel Kansas City, in the heart of downtown, the conference welcomed participants from 22 states across the United States and international representation from Quebec. The agenda was carefully crafted to cover various topics, ensuring attendees gained valuable knowledge and actionable best practices.

The Best Practices Conference: An enlightening experience

The conference started with a warm welcome from Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, setting the stage for an engaging and enlightening experience. One of the standout presentations was delivered by Jill McCarthy of the Kansas City Area Development Council, who shared insights into the remarkable renaissance in the Heartland. The greater Kansas City area has been witnessing robust growth across multiple business sectors, a vibrant resurgence of the arts, and the elevation of the city as a sought-after destination.

Conference Highlights

  • A highlight was the panel discussion on broadband and 5G access. This session shed light on the solutions and opportunities presented by these technologies, particularly in light of the substantial federal broadband investments. Attendees gained valuable insights into how broadband access can revolutionize economic development and drive community growth.
  • A fascinating presentation by Tim Waggoner of T. Waggoner Design & Consulting showcased Kansas City's status as the sports architecture capital of the world. Attendees learned how local architecture firms have been at the forefront of modern stadium design, creating iconic structures for collegiate and professional sports teams nationally and internationally.
  • As project infrastructure needs grow larger and timelines become shorter, communities and providers must adapt and remain competitive. Jeff Pipkin of Hoosier Energy moderated a panel discussion that addressed the evolving landscape of infrastructure requests and explored strategies to meet these changing demands effectively.
  • The conference also featured a fireside chat with Ron Frierson, Director of Economic Development for the U.S. West Region at Amazon. This session provided valuable insights into business attraction, site selection, retention, and recovery strategies, offering attendees a deeper understanding of successful economic development practices.
  • Jason Kester of Agracel, Inc. moderated a panel that reviewed best practices and success stories about winning mega projects in the Kansas City region. The discussion shed light on the strategies employed to attract these high-profile projects, showcasing the region's potential as a destination for significant investments.

Beyond the informative sessions, the conference provided ample opportunities for networking and socializing. Attendees had the chance to bond over a Kansas City Royals game, network during the opening night reception with breathtaking views of the Kansas City skyline, and enjoy a fun-filled evening at a local karaoke club. These informal interactions fostered meaningful connections and collaborations among industry professionals.

The Competitiveness Conference in December 2023

For those who missed out on the Best Practices Conference, fear not. Mid-America EDC will be hosting the annual Competitiveness Conference in Indianapolis this December. Stay tuned for further details, as this event promises to be another exceptional opportunity for economic development professionals to exchange ideas, learn from experts, and propel their communities toward growth and success.

The Best Practices Conference in Kansas City served as a hub of knowledge, innovation, and networking for economic professionals. Attendees had the privilege of learning from industry experts, exploring best practices, and experiencing the development and innovation that Kansas City has to offer. The conference was vital in empowering economic development professionals to drive community growth and prosperity by facilitating collaboration and providing a knowledge-sharing platform.

Category: News