regional tidbits of business news
from around the metropolitan area
STEP 1 TAKES ANOTHER STEP
Step 1 Inc. announced on April 2 that it would change its name to Conseva effective as of that date. The company attributes the name change to its continued growth and desire to find a name that provides full national trademark protection. Conseva is a seven-year-old company that offers a variety of computer training classes aimed at professional computer programmers. Ingram's recognized Step 1 as one of the top 10 fastest-growing businesses in Kansas City in 1999 and 2000.
K.C. SOUTHERN CUTTING BACK
Kansas City Southern Industries has announced a cost reduction plan that will cut total workforce by approximately 6 percent of its 3,000-member workforce, or about 170 employees. The company is also implementing a voluntary, temporary annual salary reduction for middle and senior management and is suspending certain management benefits. The company's CEO, Michael R. Haverty, will reduce his annual salary by 15 percent. Haverty states that the reductions are a result of the current economic slowdown.
UMB MAKES ACQUISITION
UMB Financial Corporation and Sunstone Financial Group Inc. announced on April 18 that UMB had closed the acquisition of Sunstone. The two companies combined will offer all aspects of a mutual fund back office, and it is anticipated that Sunstone will assume back-office duties for UMB's $2 billion proprietary mutual fund family, the UMB Scout Funds. Sunstone will remain under the leadership of founder Mim Allison and will keep its offices in Milwaukee, Wis.
SOLBERG NAMED TO BOARD
Midwest Express Holdings Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis., has announced the election of Elizabeth T. Solberg to its board of directors. Solberg is regional president and senior partner of Fleishman-Hillard Inc., the largest public relations firm in the world. She serves on numerous boards in Kansas City, including the Midwest Research Institute, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation & Affiliated Trusts.
FARMLAND DEDICATES HQ
Farmland Industries officially dedicated its new World Headquarters building in a ceremony on April 17. In attendance were Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, Farmland Chairman of the Board Al Shively, and Farmland President and CEO Bob Honse among other dignitaries. "The building is a testament to the efforts of Farmland farmer-owners and the employees who built our cooperative system," said Shively. The new six-story, 260,000-square-foot headquarters building sits just east of Kansas City International Airport at 12200 North Ambassador Drive. More than 900 employees will be housed at the location when the moving process is complete.
The Stowers Institute for Medical Research opened on April 19 in a ceremony attended by U.S. Senators Pat Roberts, Kit Bond, and Jean Carnahan, Gov. Bob Holden, Mayor Kay Barnes and over 500 other invited guests. Jim and Virginia Stowers, both cancer survivors, have spent about $200 million to develop the old Menorah Medical Center at 50th Street and Rockhill Road into what they hope will become an internationally recognized biomedical center for research.
SBA RECOGNIZES LOCAL SBDC
The Kansas City District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the winners of its 2001 Small Business Awards. Reuben Siverling is this year's Financial Services Advocate of the Year for Region VII and for the entire state of Missouri. Siverling has worked as a business consultant for the Rockhurst University Small Business Development Center for three years.
HISTORIC RAPHAEL HOTEL
The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Kansas City announced that the Raphael Hotel was one of 23 hotels nationwide admitted for 2001 membership by The National Trust for Historic Preservation to its prestigious program, Historic Hotels of America. The Raphael is the only member hotel in Kansas and Missouri.
HOT HOUSING COOLING OFF
Single-family permit activity in Greater Kansas City during the month of March reflected a continued slowdown in the housing industry, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA). During March, single-family permit activity totaled 788 compared to 944 in March 2000. Permits in the first quarter of 2001 totaled 1,842 compared to 2,409 in the first quarter of 2000.
AMC CLOSES SALE
AMC Entertainment Inc. announced April 20 that it has sold $250 million of preferred stock to Apollo Management L.P., a New York private equity investment firm. The sale will give Apollo 60 percent ownership in the theater-exhibition company. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce borrowings on AMC's senior revolving credit facility.
UPS BRINGS HQ TO KANSAS CITY
United Parcel Service announced in April that it had chosen the Greater Kansas City area as the location of its general services regional headquarters. UPS will move its current regional headquarters from Omaha, Neb., to Leawood, Kan., with plans to be fully operational by September 2001. UPS will relocate approximately 70 executives from Omaha to the facility, which will serve 10 states. The two UPS sorting facilities in Kansas City will not be affected by the move. The company considered several Midwest locations, including Denver, before choosing the Kansas City area.
The Computerworld Honors Program - "A Search for New Heroes" - named Rebecca MacKinnon as a Computerworld Smithsonian Laureate for her contribution of BeyondNow Technologies' RoadNotes product. RoadNotes allows home-care clinicians to collect clinical data in a patient's home without extensive paperwork.
A SHOCKING REMINDER
The month of May is National Electrical Safety Month as well as the 100th anniversary of NECA, the National Electrical Contractors Association.