South KC News / Member News

  • 01 Mar 2017 3:40 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Annual awards program honoring the top funeral directors in the country includes a local Kansas City funeral home owner.

    Steve Pierce, Kansas City, has been selected as a 2016 Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up by American Funeral Director magazine. The annual nationwide award program selects the top funeral directors in the country based on the following criteria:

    • Community involvement
    • Role model for funeral service
    • Innovative approach to funeral service
    • Displays outstanding business acumen in sales/marketing/customer service
    • Demonstrates a compassionate approach to working with customer families

    Steve Pierce, the owner of Muehlebach Funeral Care and Skradski Funeral Home, was commended for his commitment to memorable customer service. As Steve stated, “Each funeral is an opportunity to paint a picture of a life and a way to capture the essence of someone you love.” Community involvement is also very important to Steve and his staff.

    Steve has worked in the funeral industry since he was a teenager and was honored to receive this recognition. Families can learn more about Steve and his staff by calling 816-444-2060 or reviewing the websites and

  • 23 Feb 2017 1:52 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Kansas City accounting and consulting firm MarksNelson LLC, is named one of the top accounting firms in the Midwest for the third consecutive year and also one of the fastest-growing firms in the U.S. by Accounting Today, the magazine for senior public accounting and tax professionals. The two distinctions illustrate the firm’s commitment to its mission, vision and values.

    In selecting the top regional accounting firms, the publication ranks firms by revenue in 10 sub-regions of the United States and then bases its selections on measuring each individual firm on several factors including performance and growth. The Midwest region includes seven states: Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. This is the third consecutive year for MarksNelson to make the prestigious national list and once again the only firm from the Kansas City area. Currently, MarksNelson is ranked as the 14th largest accounting firm in the Midwest.

    For the second time, Accounting Today also ranked MarksNelson as one of the Top 20 fastest-growing accounting firm in the United States. In the last year, MarksNelson’s strategic hires allowed the firm to bring national expertise and expand the Accounting Services and State and Local Tax departments as well as the Enterprise Resource Solution niche.

    The two Accounting Today distinctions validate firm-wide strategic initiatives, including leadership development and education, are key to firm growth and demonstrate what MarksNelson professionals can accomplish by staying true to the core values: commitment, curiosity, excellence and vigilance.

  • 05 Feb 2017 9:50 AM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Missouri’s 12 community colleges established the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network today to address a longstanding challenge facing Missouri businesses—the availability of a skilled workforce.

    The new network will tackle what groups like the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other economic developers have said for years, namely that the state’s workforce system needs to change in order for Missouri to compete with other states for job creation projects.

    “Economic development, more than anything, depends on a talented workforce,” Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan said. “No other issue is of more concern for businesses today. This network is the type of innovative solution Missouri needs to address workforce challenges. We are proud to stand with leaders of the state’s community colleges to help expand our workforce for employers and opportunities for workers no matter where they are located in Missouri.

    The most significant change resulting from the creation of the network will be that through their local community college, businesses will have access to resources at every college in the state.

    “This will align our workforce development system directly with our economic development efforts,” Missouri Community College Chairman and East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer said. “Our goal is to improve customer service for businesses and help Missouri compete for job creation projects that too often go to other states.”

    Currently, procedural and geographic barriers prevent colleges from working outside of their mandated service areas. This means that if a business approaches a college with a specific training need, but that college doesn’t have expertise in that field, then the business may not be able to get the workforce training its employees need.

    “By breaking down these barriers and drawing upon our collective resources, each college is going to be able to play to its strengths,” Rob Dixon, Missouri Community College Association President said. “We will be able to serve businesses in every square inch of the state.”

    Making the most of resources is going to be incredibly important given the cuts that have been proposed for community colleges and workforce development. The FY18 budget being drafted by the legislature would cut workforce training by roughly 16 percent and community colleges by more than 9 percent.

    “We understand the difficult budget situation facing the state, and with this partnership, we hope to help grow the state’s economy in two ways,” Dixon said. “First, we want to help Missourians learn the skills they need to earn higher pay, and second, we hope to connect Missouri businesses with the workforce they need to grow and create jobs.”

  • 25 Jan 2017 12:41 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    During a recent Chamber breakfast event, KCMO 6th District City Councilman Scott Taylor surprised South KC Chamber President, Vickie Wolgast, with a proclamation from the City of Kansas City, Missouri recognizing the impact she has made over the past ten years in the South Kansas City region.

    In October 2006, the Chamber’s then President, Barbara Engel, retired and the Chamber hired Wolgast as the new Executive Director. Since then, Councilman Taylor says South Kansas City has only seen positive growth and is now leading the City of Kansas City, Missouri in job growth.

    “Hundreds of millions of dollars of investment are going into the South KC region,” said Councilman Taylor. He went on to say, “That doesn’t just happen by accident. It happens through leadership and Vickie has been a wonderful partner to both the City and the South Kansas City business community in moving things forward and making things happen.” So much so, Councilman Taylor said the Red Bridge Shopping Center is a topic of conversation at the White House!

    Read more and watch the video of Wolgast's recognition on the Martin City CID website. 

  • 18 Jan 2017 3:56 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Senior Star at Villa Ventura and Senior Star at Wexford Place are proud to announce today that they have each been awarded a three-year term of accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

    This decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and demonstrates Senior Star’s substantial conformance to more than 1000 CARF standards for quality and pursuit of excellence. Senior Star at Wexford Place was awarded this honor in the following programs: Assisted Living, Dementia Care Specialty and Independent Senior Living. Senior Star at Villa Ventura has maintained CARF accreditation in Assisted Living for the past 12 years and now also holds this honor in Independent Living. This distinction places the two communities as the only organizations in the state of Missouri to be CARF accredited for Independent and Assisted Senior Living and places Senior Star at Wexford Place as the only senior living community in Missouri to be CARF accredited for a Dementia Care Specialty program.

    Achieving the high standards required to becoming accredited and continually raising the bar with a focus on excellence is the hallmark of Senior Star’s culture. As an organization that provides direct services to people, Senior Star believes it has an obligation and responsibility to deliver the best in care, services, business operations and support to older adults and their families. To follow through on that obligation, seeking CARF accreditation was a priority.

    Choosing to be accredited by CARF is voluntary and a testament to Senior Star’s unwavering commitment to improve the quality of lives for the older adults and families in their care. The teams at both communities went through a rigorous peer review process, which confirmed that their wide range of programs and services are measurable, accountable and of the highest quality. “This accreditation really validates our commitment of providing exceptional services to aging adults and ensures we always exceed best practice industry standards,” said Marsha Rufener, executive director of Senior Star at Wexford Place. “It means that families can expect excellence from our team,” said Tom Inderhees, executive director of Senior Star at Villa Ventura.

    For more information about Senior Star at Wexford Place, call (816) 587-5700 or for more information on Senior Star at Villa Ventura call (816) 941-0525 or visit the website at

    For more information about CARF accreditation requirements, visit the website at

  • 12 Dec 2016 1:36 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Representatives of some of the biggest economic development projects in south Kansas City provided updates on their projects during a “Breaking News” panel at the South Kansas City Alliance Economic Development Summit.

    The favorable reception economic growth developers have received in south Kansas City was mentioned by several panelists as a positive factor that encouraged their investments in our area.

    “We look at transportation access, the area labor profile and where capital investment is welcome,” said Brent Miles, North Point Development Vice President, whose company is developing the Three Trails Industrial Park on the south side of 87th Street just east of U.S. 71 Highway.

    Miles said his company is investing about $75 million in the Three Trails project and tenants will invest another $35 to $40 million. He said the project will be split about half and half between Class A manufacturing and distribution facilities and should create about 750 fulltime permanent jobs at its three buildings.

    “Unlike what you hear in the debates, things are still made in the U.S. and in Kansas City,” Miles said.

    Noting the importance of government investment in public infrastructure to attract development, Miles said his company never would have built the Three Trails project without the recent improvements to 87th Street.

    He added that the nearby highly visible presence of the Police Department’s South Patrol Campus has been a great help in overcoming a perception of crime in the area.

    South Kansas City’s welcoming attitude toward business growth also was cited by Dave Claflin who handles marketing for Legacy Development, the company developing new restaurants on the south side of Ward Parkway Shopping Center and redeveloping Truman Corners Shopping Center as Truman’s Marketplace.

    “In no area have I found a more welcoming community. South Kansas City is open for business,” Claflin said.

    He noted construction is now underway for four sit down restaurants at Ward Parkway, and the name of the fifth restaurant planned for the area should be announced very soon. He said there is still room for two pad sites for additional restaurants at Truman’s Marketplace.

    Read more on the Martin City Telegraph's website

  • 17 Nov 2016 1:10 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    KCSourceLink is taking its show on the road to better serve entrepreneurs and business owners in all parts of the metro area. KCSourceLink staff will office out of different Resource Partner locations every Tuesday afternoon to better serve each geographic area.

     "We've been talking with our KCSourceLink Resource Partners, and we think this will be a great way to bring the resources of the network to the entrepreneur, and to more actively promote our network of 240+ service providers," said Jenny Miller, KCSourceLink network builder.

     Office hours at the South KC Chamber office will be October 13th from 1-4 p.m. with no appointments necessary. KCSourceLink staff will meet with business owners, assess their needs and make referrals to the appropriate resources in the KCSourceLink network. Each person will leave with an action plan tailored to their individual situation. The network is made up of nonprofit, government and educational organizations whose services are typically low or no cost. The initial meet with KCSourceLink staff is free.

     This outreach is in addition to the referral services KCSourceLink provides through the hotline, 816.235.6500, and through the website,

     The entire schedule can be found at!-kcsourcelink-hosts-fall-traveling-office-hours

  • 12 Oct 2016 1:03 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Cerner is building the largest office park in Missouri history, which is expected to transform the Bannister Mall area. The company said more than 3,000 employees will work there in January of 2017, and there will be 16,000 new Cerner jobs created by 2025.

    The South Kansas City Alliance (SKCA) completed a survey with Cerner employees to find out what surrounding businesses they would frequent.

    "We want to make sure our community had the resources and services, retail, housing, they were looking for,” said Stacey Johnson-Cosby, SKCA president. “We don't want to lose them to Johnson County, Lee's Summit. We want to keep them right here in Kansas City. In the neighborhood, in the community where they will be working.”

    View survey results here

  • 09 Sep 2016 3:18 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Colleen Ellis, President of J.M. Neil & Associates, a personnel consulting and staffing solutions company, was presented the 2016 Missouri Governor’s Woman-Owned Business of the Year Award on September 8, 2016, at the 2016 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development Awards Luncheon, at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, according to Pam Fields, Ellis’ Human Resource Administrator.

    The Missouri Governor’s Woman-Owned Small Business Award is presented annually to a business owner who has demonstrated outstanding success through the contributions her enterprise has made to Missouri communities and the economy. The award selection is based on the following criteria: the business must be 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman who is a Missouri resident and have 100 or fewer employees, be in business a minimum 3 years in Missouri, be a viable for-profit company and successful in business, maintain a responsible and rewarding workplace environment, and give back to the community through volunteerism, contributions or in-kind services.

    Founded in 1986 by Ellis’ mother, JoAnne Mina, Ellis began working alongside Mina at JMN in 1994, and purchased ownership in 2007 after the passing of her mother. Under Ellis’ leadership, and the building of a strong management team, several significant milestones were charted for JMN in the last decade These includes its evolution into a world class agency offering commercial staffing, government staffing, project planning and both contract and permanent hire options. JMN decided to pursue technology business segments in the Midwest, acquiring seven new clients and placing more than 250 people in contract positions.

    JMN has successfully partnered with federal and commercial clients in the U.S. and internationally to provide contingent and temporary solutions, professional search, workforce management services, and outsourced project solutions for over 30 years. Clients include global corporations, technological companies, financial institutions, engineering firms, manufacturing and the wireless industries.

    In addition to personnel consulting and executive search services, the agency has added staffing options into the areas of aeronautics, avionics, telecommunications, transportation, electrical engineering, and information technology. “We are aggressively expanding our market focus and evaluating the latest trends and technologies,” adds Ellis. “Our goal is to achieve double digit growth in revenue and profits in 2017, while continuing to expand the portfolio of services we offer.”

    Colleen Ellis holds accreditation as a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), a professional designation earned through the National Association of Personnel Services, and is a current member of NAPS. Since 2010, Ellis has been a member of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program (HEMP). Other organizations in which JMN is actively involved include the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

    J. M. Neil & Assoc., Inc. is a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC). JMN currently has 14 corporate employees.

    J.M. Neil and Associates is located at 9734 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114. For more information about, refer to their website at, or contact Colleen Ellis at (816) 941.4997 or by email at

  • 22 Jul 2016 10:03 AM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Food Equality Initiative (FEI) and Community Assistance Council (CAC) are pleased to announce a partnership allowing families with food allergies and Celiac Disease more access to the foods needed to maintain their health. Beginning Friday, July 22, 2016, pantry services will begin for diagnosed families living in Missouri.

    Emily Brown, Chief Executive Office of FEI, says, “After opening our first location in Overland Park, Kansas, we quickly realized the transportation barrier for families in Missouri to reach our pantry. Common interests connected us with CAC, and talks began, resulting in a partnership to establish CAC-SAFE.”

    CAC-SAFE is the designation for those allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods that will be distributed through CAC. “A separate pantry name was needed, to help our staff and volunteers become cognizant of dietary requirements. SAFE stands for ‘Suitable Allergy Friendly Edibles’, and is a quick reference to those families using these services,” Carol Bird Owsley, Executive Director of CAC explained.

    Pantry services begin July 22, 2016, and appointments will be required. All families are screened through FEI. Eligibility requirements include income guidelines (at or below 250% of federal poverty level), a doctor’s diagnosis, and a physician’s signed diet order. At this time, services are only available to families diagnosed with food allergies or Celiac Disease.

    “Families experiencing these chronic allergies and Celiac Disease learn firsthand how expensive required foods are to purchase. Providing pantry options for them to shop for these foods takes away barriers that keep them from living healthy lives,” Ms. Brown states. “Especially for families first diagnosed, there is a huge learning curve regarding what is good for their family member, and what is bad. The stress can be overwhelming.”

    Ms. Owsley agreed, “Any way we can help a family—such as offering services closer to their homes, will enable them to better deal with the other concerns in their lives. We love this partnership, where we can use FEI’s expertise and knowledge, while helping Missouri families improve their situation.”

    CAC offers a variety of services to area residents, including a food pantry, clothes closet, rent/utility assistance and a host of seasonal programs. As the only social service agency physically located in south Kansas City, Missouri, they will be celebrating 40 years of service in September.

    A formal ribbon cutting ceremony for CAC-SAFE is planned for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at Community Assistance Council, for the formal opening of the pantry. A presentation of the need and impact to the community will be made with tours available.

South KC Chamber of Commerce

406 E. Bannister Road, Suite F
Kansas City, MO 64131-3028

Phone: (816) 761-7660
Fax: (816) 761-7340





South Kansas City is one of the fastest growing areas in the KCMO metropolitan area. Millions of investment dollars are being spent in this region, which makes it a prime location for businesses to grow and prosper. 

The South KC Chamber is dedicated to working with KCMO's city leadership, our business members, and local community organizations to create a positive, growth-oriented business environment in South Kansas City. We would love to support your company's growth too! 


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