Groundwork is under way at the major crossroads of Interstates 435 and 70, where two towers with exteriors resembling digitized human DNA soon will rise as a new endeavor for Cerner Corporation, and a telling marker of Wyandotte County’s success story.
The 600,000-square-foot campus will employ 4,000 and add an important office presence with day traffic for the bevy of shopping and entertainment at Village West. As an anchor of the area, the hope is that Cerner will attract other tech companies. After years of being labeled by some as the armpit of the metro, the county has arrived as a focal point of Kansas City’s immense potential. Greg Kindle is on the front lines to get that message out locally and nationally.
Kindle stepped into the role as president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council in December 2011. His experience as senior manager of economic development and customer solutions for KCP&L and president of the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation gave him a leg up on national candidates. Now, it seems, everyone wants to be a part of The Dot.
“We’re pedaling as hard as ever for that next big thing,” Kindle says. While the perception is that the county has finally made it with LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and Kansas Speedway in tow, he’s moving ahead on projects and industries that will continue the county’s resurgence.
It’s quietly growing into a logistics hot spot, particularly in Edwardsville, where action-sports company Zumiez will bring 100 jobs for an order-filling operation and where FedEx Freight, Earp Distribution and more call home. Centralized location in the U.S. and easy access to rail lines and major highways make it a no-brainer that is gaining steam, and it also plays well with Wyandotte’s strong industrial and manufacturing base rooted in the Fairfax District.
These connections come together for businesses because Kindle stays in touch with everyone’s needs, private and public. “The key is to stay out of the politics and in the data,” Kindle says. “I get to be on the front end, focused on the art of the deal.”
His next mission is to connect major centers of the community to each other, extending the momentum of certain projects to the entire county. At its heart is the State Avenue corridor, where the Connex transit improvement project will bring a new hub to downtown KCK, followed by new facilities at Indian Springs Mall (recently approved as a TIF district) and Village West. The project is the foundation for an image and mindset geared toward what the future can hold.
“Optimism begets success,” Kindle says. “We’re [the EDC] here to create an environment to move things forward.”
No one knows for certain what the next big thing will be, but Kindle has plenty of ideas, and with the county’s current trajectory, it could be hard to keep up as The Dot takes center stage.