Gov. Mike Parson
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
Held at Harrah’s North Kansas City Hotel and Casino, the event featured the 51st Look North Leadership Awards to Virginia (Jinny) McCoy and Timothy O. Kristl, two Northlanders who have made their marks throughout Clay County, the Northland and Greater Kansas City.
The event began with the keynote address by Gov. Parson, who quickly focused on workforce development and infrastructure improvements. “For those two things to happen is the only way we can truly move this state forward,” he said.
Parson expressed support for Proposition D on the November ballot, which would bring a 10-cent increase in the gasoline tax over four years. He noted the current tax generates the bulk of Missouri transportation revenue but is now worth only seven cents a gallon.
“We cannot and will not continue that way,” he said, noting Missouri has the seventh largest transportation system in the country but is 49th in funding.
Discussing workforce training, Parson cited the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Training (CAPS). “There’s nobody doing a better job than the Northland on workforce training,” he said. “Northland CAPS is a model. It’s showing the way we need to go.”
Gov. Parson noted up to 70 percent of the state’s high school students need job training, but also help seeing the opportunities in high-paying areas like advanced manufacturing. “We need to explain that it’s okay to be a specialist, to be a mechanic. We have to target that, and the only way to do that is by partnering. The private sector, government and education need to work together. We can’t do it alone.”
Congressman Cleaver complimented the governor’s priorities and cited last year’s approval of the federal Investing in Opportunity Act, which encourages economic growth and job creation in economically distressed communities. “China is devoting nearly 10 percent of their GDP to infrastructure,” Cleaver said. “Any place you go in China, you’ll see all kinds of construction, major construction. We’re spending less than four percent. That’s abysmal.”
Change is coming, he concluded. “And the Northland is the leader for much of that.”
Look North Leadership Award recipients Jinny McCoy and Timothy Kristl were honored for their longtime leadership in multiple areas.
McCoy is one of Greater Kansas City’s most prolific and impactful volunteers. She has been a board member of the Salvation Army since 2001 and is a founding board member for the Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City. She also served 12 years on the Park University Board of Trustees, helped lead the premiere of Science City and Union Station, served as finance chair for rededication of the Liberty Memorial, chaired the March of Dimes Gourmet Gala and more.
Kristl has helped direct numerous development projects in the region and has been instrumental in leading multiple initiatives for the EDC, where he is also a past board chair. He served on the Kansas City Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners and serves on the Liberty Memorial Association board. He has served on the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission and advised projects such as the Shoal Creek TIF Plan, the KCI Corridor TIF Plan and the Chouteau I-35 TIF Plan.
EDC CEO TJ Berry opened the meeting and Board of Directors Chair Rebecca Hill introduced the speakers while past President Tony Reinhart introduced the Look North Award recipients.
Virginia (Jinny) McCoy
Timothy O. Kristl