The Clay County Economic Development Council has named David Slater as its next executive director. Slater started work Aug. 24.
“I’m honored with the EDC’s selection,” Slater said. “The opportunities for Clay County are immense. But there’s a lot to do. We’ve got to tap our full potential, and I believe the EDC, working with others, can do just that.”
Slater noted several issues he hopes to help address, ranging from internet access in rural areas of Clay County to funding for MoDOT to help with area transportation needs. The EDC’s support for area businesses remains critical. A top goal involves the strategic plan Big 4, which includes development of vacant land around I-435 and Highway 152.
“That’s one of the prime interchanges in Greater Kansas City, but it’s largely empty,” Slater said. “We’ll be working on that.”
The Big 4 includes expansion of the KC Tech Academy in Liberty; a “587” project for high quality development surrounding I-435 and Highway 152; expansion of the University of Missouri Center for Excellence in Orthopedics at Liberty Hospital; and creation of 50 new Clay County businesses and 5,000 jobs.
EDC Chair Greg Canuteson said Slater’s selection was relatively easy. “David has shown great leadership as mayor and intense commitment to Clay County for many years,” he said. “We’re delighted that he has accepted the challenge of leading Clay County.”
Slater has served eight terms as mayor of Pleasant Valley since first being elected in 1987 at the age of 28. He also brings more than 20 years of experience in banking and finance, most recently serving as senior vice president for Bank 21.
A passionate advocate for the community, Slater has represented Clay County on numerous regional and state groups. These include Mid-America Regional Council; the Executive Board for the Metro Mayors Caucus where he is currently chair; the Board of Directors for the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce where he also sits on the Planning and Development Committee; and the Missouri Mayors United Board of Directors where he was elected president in 2019. In 2016, he was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Missouri Municipal League and, in 2019, the Leadership Award by the Mid-America Regional Council.
Mayor Slater has a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster University and an accounting degree from Missouri Western State University. Prior to joining Bank 21, he served with H & R Block and Commerce Bancshares. His community involvement includes the St. Pius X Board of Directors and the Missouri Western State University Alumni Board. He has three adult children and a grandson.
Slater succeeds TJ Berry who recently accepted the position of deputy district director for the Kansas City Region of the Small Business Administration.
Canuteson announced the Big 4 in late 2019 after nearly a year of work by EDC members, including community roundtables and extensive research. The KC Tech Academy and the MU Center for Excellence in Orthopedics build on existing developments. The Tech Academy targets creation of the most effective advanced manufacturing and skilled trades workforce in the nation. The Orthopedics Center will grow the current University of Missouri and Liberty Hospital partnership into a major treatment and research facility.
The most dramatic element of the Big 4 involves development of vacant land at one of Greater Kansas City’s most strategic locations, I-435 and Highway 152. Christened the “587 Project” by adding the two highway numbers, the effort would launch marketing and land-use studies to jumpstart development in the largely vacant land around the interchange.
The final Big Four component is the bringing of 50 new companies and developing 5,000 new jobs by 2023, doubling growth targeted in the original, 2013 Strategic Imitative.