by Rick McDowell

The Lee’s Summit EDC has undergone a strategic overhaul over the past three years. In 2016, the LSEDC staff reimagined the organization from the inside out with new structures, programs and initiatives. In 2017, we focused efforts on creating a successful business retention and expansion platform. And now in 2018, LSEDC’s mission comes full circle with a commitment to business attraction.

LSEDC kicked off its fiscal year with the announcement that IT service management company EXL will create up to 250 jobs in Lee’s Summit over the next three years. The property and casualty insurance service firm opened a 20,000-square-foot inbound customer support center at the Summit Technology Campus. EXL leaders cited Lee’s Summit’s ready and available workforce and access to higher educational institutions as a key reason for their expansion.

The Lee’s Summit EDC believes EXL’s new office signals additional attraction opportunities over the next year. As more industrial properties such as the recently vacated 725,000-square-foot Toys R Us distribution facilities come available, we believe our chances to win at the economic development attraction game increase significantly.

More available property means more companies will consider Lee’s Summit. In anticipation of this additional activity and interest, the LSEDC staff has been busy preparing marketing materials geared to specific industries such as health care, data center, call center, light manufacturing, and logistics. These brochures highlight targeted corridors that are best suited for various companies depending on their industry, and over the next year LSEDC will share these materials with the local commercial real estate brokerage community through a variety of initiatives and events.

This past spring alone, LSEDC responded to more than two dozen active projects and prospects. In one instance, the City of Lee’s Summit made the short list out of more than 250 sites for a $12 million corporate expansion. That decision should come later this year. The requests for information and strong level of activity should serve as a signal that the pipeline is full and the time is right for business attraction in Lee’s Summit.