From: Missouri Department of Economic Development []
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 6:01 AM
Subject: Missouri Focus - The Economic Development Newsletter for the State of Missouri
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April 18, 2014
MindMixer to Invest $1.5 Million in Kansas City Expansion
MindMixer, an online hosted engagement software company, recently announced plans to make Kansas City its new home base. The company, which already operates a small local office, will invest more than $1.5 million and create 80 new jobs in Kansas City. “Once again the Show-Me State has proven itself to be a top destination for growing tech companies, and MindMixer’s announcement today is the latest win for Missouri,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. In addition to its Kansas City office, MindMixer also currently has offices in Omaha (its current headquarters location) and Lincoln, Neb. However, it will be consolidating all of its operations in Kansas City. “We’re a proud Midwestern company, but in order to sustain growth we needed to be in a location with a skilled workforce that meets the needs of our high-tech business,” said Nick Bowden, chief executive officer and co-founder. “That’s where Kansas City comes in.” Founded in 2011, the company is an informational technology company that provides an online platform to encourage civic involvement to its more than 600 clients. Read more... 

Gov. Nixon Helps Break Ground on Watson Metal Masters’ New Facility
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recently took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for Watson Metal Masters’ new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Republic. The new facility represents a $4.8 million investment that is expected to create 77 new jobs. Construction on a new 63,000 square-foot building, as well as an additional 4,450 square-foot complex for corporate offices, has begun in Republic. The company’s new campus will accommodate its 47 existing employees, who are being relocated to Republic, as well as the 77 new employees. “We have outgrown our current location, and we’re at 130 percent capacity with over six month backlog,” said Bill Schahuber, president and owner of Watson Metal Masters. “Our new facility will allow us to meet our demand and better serve our rapidly growing client base.” Founded in 1988, Watson Metal Masters designs and fabricates custom stainless steel tanks and vessels for a variety of industries. It is the fourth stainless steel manufacturer in the Springfield region to announce growth plans in the past few years. Read more... (Photo above: Gov. Nixon (fifth from left) helps break ground on Watson Metal Masters' new facility in Republic.)

Two Missouri Cities are 2014 Top U.S. Travel Destinations
TripAdvisor recently released its list of the top 25 U.S. destinations for 2014, and two Missouri cities made the list. After accounting for users’ rankings of hotels, attractions and restaurants over a 12-month period, TripAdvisor named Branson the No. 19 best U.S. destination, and St. Louis the No. 23 best U.S. destination for 2014. The website recognized St. Louis for its family-friendliness, pointing out the Saint Louis Zoo, Magic House, Missouri Botanical Garden and City Museum. Branson, which is known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” was recognized for its more than 90 music, magic and comedy shows a day. The natural beauty of Branson, including nearby Table Rock Lake, was also noted. This is the first year that both St. Louis and Branson have appeared on the annual list, which has been released five times prior to this year. New York City was ranked the No. 1 U.S. destination, followed by Chicago, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Read more...


Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are currently available for the 2014 Governor's Conference on Economic Development, to be held September 3-5 at the Lake of the Ozarks. For more information, please click on the image above.

Printing Company Announces Expansion in St. Louis
Stamford, Conn.-based Cenveo, a leading global provider of print and related resources, recently announced plans to expand its St. Louis operations. The company will invest $4 million to expand its 220,000 square-foot facility in Eureka, a suburb of St. Louis, adding new jobs, innovative equipment, and an additional 44,000 square-feet of space. The expansion plans are expected to be complete this month. “We are delighted to have more than 50 new office and manufacturing employees join us in our world class facility, and to provide a positive economic impact on the city of Eureka and the St. Louis region,” said David Hunnius, vice president of sales and operations at Cenveo. The decision to expand operations in St. Louis was made last year in an effort to provide Cenveo clients with a wider range of custom solutions and ease of distribution from a central location. With the expansion, Cenveo expects significant organic growth from its St. Louis facility. Read more...

Missouri DESE Names Gold Star Schools
The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) recently recognized eight high-achieving public schools in Missouri as Gold Star Schools. The 2014 recipients are:
        • Concord Elementary, Lindbergh Schools, St. Louis County
        • East Elementary, Ozark R-VI School District
        • Festus Elementary, Festus R-VI School District
        • Henry Elementary, Parkway C-2 School District, St. Louis
        • Lincoln College Prep, Kansas City 33 School District
        • Long Elementary, Lindbergh Schools, St. Louis County
        • Mason Ridge Elementary, Parkway C-2 School District, St. Louis County
        • North Glendale Elementary, Kirkwood R-VII School District
The Gold Star Schools program is designed to identify schools that are performing at a high academic level or who are performing at a high level while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students. Established by DESE in 1991, the program aligns with the national Blue Ribbon Schools program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Recipients of the state’s award were nominated for national Blue Ribbon recognition, the recipients of which will be announced this fall. “Congratulations to these schools for achieving this standard of excellence,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “They are laying the foundation beginning in the elementary grades to ensure students graduate prepared for college and career." Read more...
2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Save the Date: October 7-9, 2014
The 2014 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism will take place at the recently renovated Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, conveniently located adjacent to St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The Governor’s Conference on Tourism is all about tourism in Missouri. During the conference, you can learn about the newest methods of advertising, public relations, social media, Internet practices and innovation, and other topics that directly affect travel and tourism. In addition, there are opportunities to network and socialize with representatives of Missouri’s tourism industry. The conference is open to all-not just those employed in the tourism industry.

As part of the conference, the Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) and the Missouri Tourism Commission recognize outstanding contributions to Missouri tourism. If you know a person or entity that has made an exceptional impact on tourism, please let us know. Nominations close May 30, and information and nomination forms can be found on MDT’s nominations page or by contacting Lori Simms at 573-526-8027. The nomination categories include:
        • Missouri Hall of Fame
        • The Sen. Emory Melton Legislative Award
        • The Marketing Campaign Award
        • The Pathfinder Award
        • The Innovator Award
        • The Navigator Media Award
        • The Ambassador Award 
        • The Spotlight Award
Sponsorship and vendor booths for the conference are available, and speaker announcements will be made soon. In addition, the Renaissance Hotel is offering special room rates if booked by September 16. For more information, please contact Mary Oberreither at 573-751-1908.

Missouri Main Street Connection Call for Awards Nominations
Missouri Main Street Connection will present awards in 18 categories for excellence in revitalization during the annual Downtown Revitalization Conference July 29-31 in St. Louis. Nominations for awards are open until May 23. For award details and to access the nomination form, please click here.

Labor Supply and Demand Analysis    
Sometimes there is a mismatch between the jobs people are seeking and the jobs employers are hiring for. This analysis takes job seeker information from people who registered with in 2013, and compares that to employer job ads during the same time period. The research shows that, with training, employment opportunities exist that can bridge the gaps between labor supply and demand. In 2013 there were 191,355 active job seekers in Missouri’s workforce data system, 43 percent of whom are registered in the unemployment insurance system. During the same time, employers posted 167,454 online job ads according to postings from Burning Glass Technologies. Read more...

Easter Holiday Consumer Spending
Welcoming the coming of spring and the Easter bunny with open arms, consumers are ready for chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and jellybeans. According to the National Retail Federation's Easter Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average American celebrating the holiday will spend an average of $137.46 on apparel, food, candy, gifts and more, slightly less than the $124.90 that Midwest consumers, including Missouri, plan to spend this year. Total spending is expected to reach $15.9 billion for the nation. Read more... 

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Missouri’s Smartest Cities
Three Missouri cities rank among the top 100 smartest cities in the country, according to a study by Lumosity. Kansas City ranked 85th, Columbia ranked 41st, and coming in as the 19th smartest city in the U.S., Rolla ranked the highest among Missouri cities listed. The Lumosity study analyzed data collected from more than 3 million people across the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 75. Lumosity measured raw cognitive performance in memory, processing speed, flexibility, and problem solving to compile the rankings. Interestingly, many of the cities making the top 100 list are home to research universities. Kansas City, Columbia, and Rolla each house a branch of the University of Missouri. A number of other colleges and universities are also located in the three cities. Ithaca, N.Y., ranked as America’s smartest city. Read more...

Challenging Schools Prepare Students for College
The Washington Post recently ranked the nation’s top 2,000 most challenging high schools, and 13 Missouri schools made the list. The study ranked schools based off the ratio of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests given each year to the number of graduating seniors. AP, IB, and AICE tests, and the classes that prepare students for the tests, are an important part of preparing students for college. Past research has shown that students who take such tests tend to do significantly better in college. The 13 Missouri schools that made the list are:

• Metro Academic and Classical (St. Louis)
• John Burroughs (St. Louis)
• Ladue Horton Watkins (St. Louis)
• Rockwood Summit (Fenton)
• Eureka (Eureka)
• Lindbergh (St. Louis)
• Lafayette (Wildwood)
• Kirkwood (Kirkwood)
• Marquette (Chesterfield)
• Park Hill Senior (Kansas City)
• Park Hill South (Riverside)
• Parkway West (Ballwin)
• North Kansas City (North Kansas City)

Gov. Jay Nixon has made public education in Missouri a top priority of his administration, and continues to stress the importance of education through his “Good Schools, Good Jobs” initiative, which will fully fund the state’s K-12 foundation formula by Fiscal Year 2016. Math and reading scores have increased on his watch and Missouri’s high school graduation rate is now the eighth highest in the nation. Over the past five years, Missouri has also led the nation in minimizing tuition increases at its public universities. Read more...

Wash U Receives Energy Grant to Further Green Technology
Washington University has received a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help develop technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal combustion. Richard Axelbaum, Ph.D, received the grant to further his research on pressurized oxy-combustion technology. Oxy-combustion systems decrease carbon dioxide emissions by using oxygen, instead of air, to combust coal and produce a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide that can be more easily stored or used. Also collaborating on the project are the Electric Power Research Institute, Praxair Inc. and Ameren Corp. Washington University is a leader in advanced coal research and development. Last week, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a new statewide initiative to develop a comprehensive energy plan for the state that charts a course toward more sustainable and prosperous energy solutions. Read more...

Flag of Freedom Award Presented to 12 KC-Area Businesses that have Hired Veterans under the Show-Me Heroes Program
Twelve Kansas City-area businesses that have hired military veterans under the Show-Me Heroes program recently received the Flag of Freedom award from the Division of Workforce Development during a ceremony at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in conjunction with the Veteran’s Career Fair in KC. Companies receiving the Flag of Freedom award were: All My Sons Moving, American College of Technology, Antioch Dental Group, Auto Truck Group, Central Power Systems, Grantham University, Hillview Nursing and Rehab Center, Home Depot (Store No. 3008 and 3019), Midwest Data Center, O’Reilly Automotive (Store No. S0289), and VintageTech. The Show-Me Heroes program, established by Gov. Nixon in January 2010, helps connect military veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Administered by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Show-Me Heroes showcases Missouri businesses that are willing and eager to hire veterans. Employers participating in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge to ramp up efforts to reach out to, recruit and interview veterans for job openings at their business. To date, 3,850 Missouri businesses have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge and 6,703 veterans have been hired. Read more... 

Spreading the Word (STLCC WorkKeys Use Model)
St. Louis is on the cutting edge of developing a workable, “value added” business and education partnership with the St. Louis Community College (STLCC) “WorkKeys Use Model” – a way of involving companies and appropriate educational units into all aspects of work readiness, course development and educational delivery. Read more...

Award-Winning Boeing Pre-Employment Program Starts June 2
The award-winning, always in high demand Boeing Pre-Employment Training Program will start a new session on June 2 at the Center for Workforce Innovation. The accelerated job training program is offered by the Workforce Solutions Group and the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College in partnership with Boeing. This 10-week, 408-hour program prepares individuals for entry-level employment as an assembly mechanic in the aerospace field. Students who successfully complete the training program will receive an interview with Boeing. Read more...

New Tools Available for Workforce Investment Boards
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration released a new set of resources in March to give workforce investment boards around the country more tools to better serve workers. The resources include new research and guides on how to improve the administration and functioning of workforce investment boards, a compilation of best practices of high-performing boards, and tips on improving the delivery of employment and training services to workers. While the tools are intended for management and staff at workforce investment boards, the information also can benefit other professionals in the public workforce system as they strive to provide the best possible service at American Job Centers. Read more...

Kansas City-Made Truck Tops Vehicle Sales in March
The Ford F-150, the most popular version of the F-series pickup, was the top selling vehicle in the United States in March 2014 by a wide margin. Produced at Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Ford F-series trucks registered 70,940 sales in March, its highest March sales numbers since 2008 and a number that is up 5.1 percent from one year ago. According to Automotive News’ U.S. sales report, the F-series had nearly twice as many March 2014 sales as the No. 2 best seller Dodge Ram, which had 42,532 last month. Read more...

1 Million Cups Celebrates 2-Year Anniversary
1 Million Cups, an entrepreneur-driven program first launched in Kansas City in April 2012 at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, recently celebrated its second anniversary. The program, which is now in over 30 cities across the nation, welcomes two local entrepreneurs each week to deliver a six-minute presentation on their company in front of attendees. Afterward, presenters and the audience engage in a 20-minute, interactive question-and-answer session about the presentation and business idea. To celebrate its anniversary in Kansas City, the program welcomed back its first ever presenters and inaugural innovators, Mike Farmer of LLC and Kirk Hasenzahl of RareWire LLC. Farmer said 1 Million Cups helped his company grow through added exposure. The program also afforded his company both a platform on which to both introduce itself and hone its message. “Invention and innovation can come from anywhere, and I think a lot of times it just needs an audience,” Farmer noted. “I think that’s the big thing that 1 Million Cups has brought to the table..." Read more...

St. Louis Initiative Eyes National Expansion
Jim McKelvey, co-founder of LaunchCode, has announced that the St. Louis initiative is eyeing a national expansion into cities including Miami, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver, and a location somewhere on the West Coast. LaunchCode uses a process called paired programming that pairs inexperienced coders with a seasoned programmer well versed in the language of code. The inexperienced coders then work full-time with the veteran and their company for three months, with the ultimate goal of a job at the end of the mentorship. McKelvey noted that LaunchCode currently has agreements in place with 100 of St. Louis’ most notable companies, including Monsanto, MasterCard and Enterprise, as well as many startup companies, allowing the companies to bypass the traditional human resources process and hire directly through the initiative. He also noted that a national expansion would give St. Louis companies the opportunity to pick top talent from the rest of the country. Read more...      

Aegis Communications Announces Joplin Hiring Spree
Aegis Communications Group recently announced plans to hire 150 full-time workers at its Joplin call center, where workers take incoming calls and make outgoing calls for company clients. According to the company, hiring will begin immediately. A recruiter for Aegis also noted that the new jobs are the result of an existing client adding a new line of business. The company, which currently has 480 employees in Joplin, is working with the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri and the board’s on-the-job training program to help fill the job openings. Read more...

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Rawlings Ventures into New International Sales
Town and Country-based Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., a 127-year-old leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods in the U.S., recently invited more than 40 baseball players and coaches from China and an internationally known cricket player from Australia to St. Louis as part of its new overseas sponsorship deals. The company has recently signed multiple foreign sponsorship deals as it seeks to grow its global sales. Last month, Rawlings signed a six-year sponsorship deal with the Chinese Baseball Association that includes the National Youth Team of China’s players, coaches, trainers, and management staff. In addition, it recently signed a sponsorship deal with Cricket Australia captain Michael Clarke to develop a new line of cricket gloves, marking the company’s first foray into the sport. At the beginning of this year, Rawlings also signed a three-year deal to sponsor the Australian Baseball League and Baseball Australia, making the company the official baseball, batting helmet and catchers’ gear provider for both organizations. “That opens up a whole new revenue stream that we weren’t even considering,” said Kurt Hunzeker, Rawlings’ senior director of brand marketing. Currently, less than 5 percent of Rawlings’ sales are outside of the U.S. and Canada, giving it room for growth, according to executives. Read more...

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Missouri Partnership Marketing Events
Schedule of Missouri Partnership Marketing Events 
April 18, 2014
Missouri TechLaunch Program Application Deadline
April 18, 2014
Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) Program Application Deadline
April 28, 2014
Start Smart 2014 Early Childhood Education Application Deadline
April 30, 2014
2014 Missouri City/County Management Association (MCMA) Spring Conference
Lake Ozark, MO 
May 5-9, 2014
Small Business Week of Eastern Missouri
May 5-9, 2014
International Medical Device and Supplies Show
Hong Kong 
May 13-16, 2014
Seoul Food & Hotel Trade Show
Seoul, Republic of Korea 
May 20-22, 2014
CPhI Southeast Asia Trade Show
Jakarta, Indonesia
June 2-6, 2014
Missouri Agribusiness Academy
Northwestern and Jefferson City, MO 
July 13-17, 2014
Build-a-Business Camp
Columbia, MO
July 14-18, 2014
2014 Farnborough Air & Trade Show
London, England 
August 25, 2014
KC Animal Health Corridor Homecoming
Kansas City, MO 
September 3-5, 2014
2014 Governor's Conference on Economic Development
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
October 7-9, 2014
2014 Missouri Governor's Conference on Tourism
St. Louis, MO 
November 12-15, 2014
Dusseldorf, Germany 
Missouri Focus
April 11, 2014
Missouri Focus
April 4, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 28, 2014
Missouri Focus
March 21, 2014

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Please contact:

Jamie Volkart
(573) 522-1593

or email:

Missouri Department of Economic Development

P.O. Box 118, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Phone: (573) 751-4962 FAX: (573) 751-7384

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