‘Better than Ribs’: Forum December Speaker Examines KC Region’s Growth

By on November 21, 2018

by Tom Finan, Executive Director, Construction Forum STL

Article updated Dec. 4 to reflect event VENUE CHANGE.

“Low and slow” is the mantra of anyone who has ever successfully smoked a side of ribs. A good rub is important (sauce is optional). But time and constant low heat are essential.

The Dec. 12 Construction Forum STL speaker, David Warm, executive director of the Mid America Regional Council in Kansas City is a sensei in the art of time and low heat (patience) when it comes to building regional alliances that produce economic growth.

Warm’s presentation, “Better Than Ribs: Building Collaboration KC-Style,” will take place at the Mildred Bastian Center for the Performing Arts at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, from 7:30-9 AM. As has been the practice at all Forum events, there will be networking from 7:30 to 8:10 preceding the speaker presentation. The event is free to attend, but registration is required.  To register, click here.

This program is the second stage of the Forum’s examination of the impact of effective regional collaboration. At the conclusion of the Forum’s 10-month examination of effective regional political structures, Forum President Joe Blanner presented a summary. At that point the Forum’s board of advisors felt that it was a logical next step to examine the impact of effective regionalism on economic development and construction.

Kansas City-Style

David Warm has been the Executive Director of the Mid-America Regional Council since July 1990. Prior to coming to MARC, David was the city administrator of Liberty, Missouri, and also served in administrative positions with the city of Kansas City, Missouri. MARC is a nonprofit association of city and county governments and the metropolitan planning organization for the bistate Kansas City region. Governed by a board of directors made up of local elected officials, MARC serves nine counties and 119 cities.

He said that in his region citizens are supportive of their leaders working collaboratively, but noted that such collaboration faces natural structural barriers. “Regionalism is not a natural act. It is really hard work,” Warm said in a 2015 presentation to other regional leaders.

“The organization that I represent covers two states, nine counties, 119 different cities and towns, countless special districts, at least 100 school districts. Those are thousands of different jurisdictions when you add them all together.” He pointed out that the total number of elected officials responsible for a piece of regional governance is in the thousands. It is really hard, he acknowledged to develop regional strategies that address the needs of all those groups.

Warm said that it is hundreds of informal collaborations — what Construction Forum STL regionalism speaker David Rusk termed “communities of common interest” — in areas such as public safety and education that collectively get the heavy lifting done.

Funded by federal, state and private grants, local contributions and earned income. The Mid-America Regional Council promotes regional cooperation and develops innovative solutions through leadership, planning and action.

MARC’s key focus areas are efficient transportation, competitive economy, land use and sustainability, healthy environment, healthy community, early education, public safety and emergency services, and support for local governments.

MARC is part of a collaborative, “KC Rising“, that charts the Kansas City region’s progress in number of jobs, median household income and regional gross domestic product against the 30 metro’s with populations closest to the KC region. Other partners are the Civic Council of Kansas City, the Kansas City Area Development Council, the KC Chamber.

KC Rising charts and publicly posts metrics in the three focus areas, including rankings on various initiatives that the collaborative has undertaken to move the needle in those areas.

For more information on the December program, contact Dede Hance, Construction Forum STL director of administration at 314.880.2063, ext. 302; email Dede@ConstructForSTL.org.



About Tom Finan