Meet Your 2015 Downtown Council Board Officers

Front Row: Nathan Orr, Vice Chair; Jon Copaken, Chair; Cathy Beaham Smith, Vice Chair; Back Row: Doug Stockman, Vice Chair; Christopher Briggs, Treasurer; Mike Hagedorn, Treasurer; Charlie Miller, Secretary

Front Row: Nathan Orr, Jon Copaken, Cathy Beaham Smith; Back Row: Doug Stockman, Christopher Briggs, Mike Hagedorn, Charlie Miller

The Downtown Council is pleased to introduce our 2015 Board Officers!

 

We asked the officers two questions about the Downtown Council and Downtown Kansas City.  Check out their responses below:

1) What is the top reason you would recommend someone should join the Downtown Council?

“The organization has more impact than any other civic group as it rolls up its sleeves and gets things done.  It is the only group that can unabashedly advocate for Downtown.” Jon Copaken

“If you have passion for Kansas City and want to see it continue to grow and thrive, you have to have passion for Downtown, because Downtown is literally the heart of the region.  So much of what has helped transform this city’s image, amenities and ability to attract top global talent is a direct result of the explosive rebirth of Downtown.  And there is no better way to get involved with this heart of the city than to join the Downtown Council.  It is literally guiding the city’s rise.” Nate Orr

“The Downtown Council is helping to shape the future of Downtown and helping us sustainably grow in a manner that supports business.” Mike Hagedorn

“It’s great opportunity to serve the community and collaborate with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues.” Doug Stockman

“The DTC works on a wide variety of important and interesting things that are part of downtown KC.  The organization is effective and dynamic.” Cathy Smith

“After every Downtown Council meeting, I am always excited about the future of downtown and proud to live/work in Kansas City!” Christopher Briggs

 

2) What is your favorite Downtown restaurant for lunch?

“Tie: The Bristol and Vietnam Café (greater Downtown)” Nate Orr

The Westside Local Jon Copaken

The Bristol Mike Hagedorn

TwentyTwenty Doug Stockman

The Westside Local Cathy Smith

Milwaukee Delicatessen Christopher Briggs

 

 

Gigabit Summit attracts tech leaders to KC

Ilya Tabakh (right), who works for Somametric, an interaction agency, discussed technology with Anurag Patel of the University of Kansas Medical Center at the Gigabit City Summit at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Ilya Tabakh (right), who works for Somametric, an interaction agency, discussed technology with Anurag Patel of the University of Kansas Medical Center at the Gigabit City Summit at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Kansas City has been a lot of hubs over the years: cattle hub, railroad hub, greeting card hub, college hoops hub. And now … tech hub?

“We’re not there yet, but last week brought the city closer to being a place recognized for its appetite for innovation,” according to a story in today’s Kansas City Star.

‘“Yes, Kansas City has buzz around the country,” said Heather Burnett Gold, who lives in Virginia. “Have you ever had buzz before?”

“Ouch. But her point had merit as Gold, an advocate for threading homes with high-speed fiber, joined delegates from more than 40 cities at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for a three-day conference called the Gigabit City Summit.”

The Gigabit City Summit began just days after the Downtown Council introduced its new LaunchKC tech startup business plan competition. LaunchKC will award up to 10 (ten) $50,000 grants at the new Techweek Kansas City conference in September to aspiring tech entrepreneurs with plans to build high growth potential starts right here in Kansas City.

The Gigabit City Summit was designed to attract tech leaders and players from around the country to learn from Kansas City and get the opportunity “to explore ways of juicing up their communities with ultra-fast Internet connections.”

The Star’s story continued:

Midway through the meeting, even the White House lauded Kansas City’s emergence on the high-tech stage.

Just before President Barack Obama’s appearance in Iowa last Wednesday to pitch a plan to boost bandwidth around the country, the White House released a video of him cradling an electronic tablet displaying a bar chart.

On his screen glowed the words “Kansas City,” among the pioneers of a small pack of communities with a “huge competitive advantage,” he said, because of the bistate venture into wiring neighborhoods with Google Fiber.

Throw in Kansas City’s victory this month in landing a prestigious technology expo known as Techweek, coming in September, and gee, maybe we are becoming an “it” place for geeks.

Not quite yet, said one of them.

“I think a lot of things are converging,” said local native Jonathan Wagner, founder of a startup called Big Bang. “But it’s still harder to raise money here than on the coasts.”

He said Kansas City needs to attract more deep-pocketed venture capitalists and software developers “willing to take a chance on a big idea and swing for the fences.”

Still, there’s broad agreement within the local technology set that area leaders have made huge strides toward becoming the capital of Silicon Prairie.

“The local average Joe working at a restaurant probably doesn’t recognize it,” said Mike Burke, co-chairman of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team, which was coordinating efforts. “But I can tell you, the energy within our entreprenuerial and technology communities is a thousand times greater now than a decade ago.”

Outsiders are watching.

They’re watching from Portland, Ore.; Charlotte, N.C.; Nevada City, Calif.; and Provo, Utah. All sent delegates, often teams of them, to the Gigabit City Summit.

In total, more than 200 people showed up to hear about the Google experiment from local planners, from national experts in the “smart city movement” and from the mayors of Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan. The summit was co-sponsored by several organizations and companies, including Google and the Kauffman Foundation.

Although the selection of the two Kansas Citys by Google as its starting point for Fiber launched much of the tech drive, the movement now includes other providers and startups.

Gail Roper flew in from Raleigh, N.C., where she works as the city’s chief information officer. She held a similar job in Kansas City until she left eight years ago.

“You wouldn’t have seen this conference in Kansas City back then,” Roper said.

To read more of reporter Rick Montgomery’s story, click here.

Downtown Council Annual Luncheon – highlight reel

More than 900 business and community leaders came out to support Downtown Kansas City last Friday at the 2015 Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon.  Keynote speaker Leigh Gallagher, a managing editor of Fortune Magazine, shared some interesting statistics about urban growth in downtown areas across the country and it was encouraging to see that we are on the right track.

Leigh Gallagher, Key Note Speaker

Leigh Gallagher, Keynote Speaker

The J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award, in honor of Downtown stewardship and vision, was given to Tom Trabon, who received a standing ovation when he stepped on stage to receive award.

The 2014 Urban Hero honorees, individuals who are passionate working at a grass-roots level to continue bringing life to Downtown Kansas City, were announced:

 

2014 Urban Heroes

2014 Urban Heroes

 

Jon Copaken, Downtown Council Chairman, announced a new Downtown Council priority is a “corporate recruitment with the measuring stick of success being at least one major corporate relocation downtown.”

 

Jon Copaken, Copaken Brooks, Downtown Council Chair

Jon Copaken, Copaken Brooks, Downtown Council Chair

Mayor Sly James spoke at the luncheon, emphasizing that Downtown is where innovation intersects with opportunity and stated that the KC Streetcar will be the new organizing principle for the future of Downtown and introduced a new video on the subject.

Matt McGraw, President and CEO of DSI, announced a new partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Downtown Council and the EDC, to bring a $50K grant competition to Kansas City through the LaunchKC initiative. LaunchKC seeks to attract technology startups and plans to select 10 companies for their first class. If selected, companies receive $50,000 in grant funding, free workspace for a year and access to industry expertise and mentors.

Matt McGraw, DSI, LaunchKC Committee Chair

Matt McGraw, DSI, LaunchKC Committee Chair

Another highlight of the luncheon was made by Iain Shovlin, Executive Director of Techweek, who announced that Techweek has chosen Kansas City to host their week-long technology conference beginning in September 2015. Kansas City is the sixth city nationally to attract a Techweek presence. Others include Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Techweek is a seven-day technology conference/festival that will be held in Kansas City, September 14-20.  The event will connect and showcase Kansas City’s emergent tech scene, as well as attract companies from outside of the area to take a look at what Kansas City has to offer.

For more photos, tweets and videos, visit www.downtownkc.org/2015luncheon.

Zebra looms large over Downtown

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Phil “Sike Style” Shafer recently completed this “Angry Zebra” mural on the side of the Bonfils building at 12th and Grand, and opened a one-person show at the 19 Below gallery on Oct. 3. (Photo credit Rich Sugg)

There is an Angry Zebra loose in Downtown Kansas City.

In mid-September, a provocative new mural joined Kansas City’s Downtown streetscape, the Kansas City Star reported.

“Angry Zebra,” a signature image of KC artist Phil “Sike Style” Shafer, rises 50 feet high on the south wall of the Bonfils building at 12th Street and Grand Boulevard.

The project, sponsored by the Art in the Loop Foundation, coincides with the recent opening of “State of Shock,” a one-person show by Shafer at the 19 Below gallery.

To read more, follow this link.