KC to Indy Day One


October 3, 2010

Kristi Smith Wyatt, Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Policy Development

Approximately 100 Kansas City-area residents arrived at KCI early on this chilly Sunday morning to embark on The Chamber’s 8th Leadership Exchange – to Indianapolis.  Business leaders, mayors, chamber of commerce executives, and not-for-profit leaders spent day one seeing the highlights of the city and hearing an overview from area leaders. 

Bob Kipp climbed into an Indy Car for a souvenir photo opportunity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

We deplaned in Indy’s new state-of-the-art airport, then proceeded to the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where we visited the museum and took a ride around the track, at a speed slightly less than Indy race cars. 

Later, we met up with former Mayor and U.S. Congressman Bill Hudnut, who is credited with laying the groundwork 25 years ago for the success Indy enjoys today.  Mayor Hudnut, along with a panel of civic leaders, educated us on what makes Indy tick.

“The private sector provides the continuity that helps us adhere to our regional plan,” said Roland Dorson, president of the Indy Chamber.  “Collaboration here is a big deal.  We need to be assertively aspirational.”

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is celebrating its centennial in 2011. Leadership Exchange delegates Charlotte Barksdale of LaserCycle, Christal Watson of Truman Medical Centers, Mark Jorgenson of US Bank, and Laurie McCormack of Park University enjoyed learning about the history of this prestigious motor sport.

Ron Gifford, president of the Indy Partnership, (equivalent to KCADC) said three big challenges were 1) underfunded public services; 2) wealth moving outside the city and 3) education – great schools located down the street from struggling ones.  Yes, Indy has its challenges, but the civic community believes it is nothing that cannot be fixed. 

The panel expressed concern about a diminished property tax base.  Correlation between taxes and services is not always apparent to the taxpayers, said Carolene Mays, Commissioner of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.    

There was a discussion about privatization of services – city has already sold toll roads, and parking meters.  Discussion is now centering on the gas utility purchasing the water services function from the city.

We heard strong support for referendums – expensive but they seem to work here in Indy.  In Missouri there is talk that there are too many referendums.

Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, was funded by a regional tax in 2006.  State and local leadership combined to put forth a proposal to pass a food and beverage tax to pay the bonds.  Counties that passed it kept half of the proceeds.  Only 2 counties did not pass.

Our delegation asked the question, What Makes Indy Work? And these folks gave us the answers. Pictured here are Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter, Chamber Chairman Peter deSilva of UMB, Carolene Mays of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, Indy political talk show host Abdul Hakim Shabazz, and Indianapolis Chamber President Roland Dorson.

On education trends, the Dewayne Matthews, VP of Policy Strategy for the Lumina Foundation, presented some provocative new statistics and trends in secondary and post-secondary education. 

The Lumina Foundation is a conversion foundation with $1.2 B in assets.  Its guiding principle is that education has the power to transform people’s lives and the goal is to increase the proportion of Americans with high quality degrees and credentials from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2025.

The problem is described as this: the U.S. used to be No. 1 in the world for young adult population that had completed college, and today we have slipped to 10th.  The top four countries are now Korea, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.  Current annual production in Missouri of degrees is 50,181.  To reach 60% in 2025, we need to increase degree production by 5,713 each year.  In Kansas, current annual production of degrees is 25,223 – to reach 60% by 2025, we need to increase production of degrees by 2,001 each year.   

Matthews went on to say that education beyond high school has become the only way to get to the middle class.  Over 60% of American jobs will require post secondary educations by 2018. 

For more information on this fascinating topic, visit the website at www.luminafoundation.org.  

The day ended with a steak dinner and KC relationship-building sponsored by UMB at the 100-year-old St. Elmo Steak House. It was a perfect ending to a busy day, and left us hungry for more of what tomorrow will bring in Indianapolis.

Read more about The Chamber’s Leadership Exchange, KC to Indy, Day Two blog >>

Read more about The Chamber’s Leadership Exchange, KC to Indy, Day Three blog >>


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One Response to “KC to Indy Day One”

  1. The final day in Indy – Day 3 « The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Says:

    […] Read more about The Chamber’s Leadership Exchange, KC to Indy, Day One blog >> Read more about The Chamber’s Leadership Exchange, KC to Indy, Day Two blog >> […]

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