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

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.

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