A wide range of construction projects plus unique contributions to business and workforce development were honored Wednesday at the annual Clay County Keystone Awards Luncheon.
Presented each year by the Clay County Economic Development Council, the 2017 Keystone Awards featured creative public and private projects that are creating jobs and building communities. The event drew over 200 people to Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino and Hotel.
This year’s Keystone recipients were Chuck Anderson Ford, Excelsior Springs; Linden Woods Village, Gladstone; SUBTROPOLIS – Virbac Warehousing & Distribution Center, Kansas City; Hunt Midwest | HSA, HMBC Logistics II, Kansas City; Kearney Culinary Academy at Old Church Plaza, Kearney; Cellar & Loft at Old Church Plaza, Kearney; Liberty Commons, Liberty; Meierotto Jewelers, North Kansas City; Solar Holdings, North Kansas City; and Hildebrand Dental, Smithville. Special public awards went to the Rock Creek Trail in Gladstone and the Downtown Liberty Streetscape. Special awards also went to the Northland Angel Investor Network which has now provided $1 million to startup companies and LMV Automotive of Liberty for its skilled trades training program and scholarship.
Other highlights included presentation of the first Visionary Excellence Award to Tony Reinhart for his efforts creating the EDC’s five-year-old Strategic Initiative. Formed while Reinhart was EDC chair, the Initiative is working on multiple fronts to create an outstanding environment for businesses and entrepreneurs, while boosting workforce opportunities.
Reinhart said he appreciated the award, but it should be shared by many others, including several at the luncheon. “Nobody does this by themselves,” he said. “A lot of you deserve this, too.”
EDC Chair Sam Lodhi presented the Visionary award after reviewing Clay County successes in 2017. The region has become one of the leading economic areas in Missouri through job creation and other accomplishments, many tied to the Strategic Initiative.
“A few years ago, we set a goal of creating 5,000 jobs within a decade,” Lodhi said. “We blew the ceiling off that one. Beginning in 2013, Clay County grew employment at a record level, moving from under 90,000 jobs to more than 100,000 jobs. That’s an increase of more than 10,000!”
At the end of the meeting, Lodhi formally presented the gavel to 2018 Chair Rebecca Hill.