Spirit of cooperation helped secure presidential visit

tporter@lsjournal.comJuly 31, 2013 


It’s not just a catch phrase for the Lee’s Summit 360 initiative; it’s a way of handling business.

So much so, the chair of the group’s education component – one of six key performance areas the organization established in 2009 – was reluctant to take credit for having a hand in President Barack Obama’s visit July 24 to the University of Central Missouri to tout, among other things, the Lee’s Summit-based Missouri Innovation Campus.

Instead, Mike Allen, chair of the education KPA – the LS 360’s KPAs include components for economic development, health and human services, local government, quality of life, and transportation, in addition to education – deflected credit to several different entities, explaining the collaborative effort of all involved may have gotten the attention of the White House.

The MIC is an accelerated college curriculum program initiated by UCM and developed in partnership with Metropolitan Community College, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and several business partners from across the Kansas City metropolitan area. The program launched in the fall of 2012.

“We’re behind the curtains, and maybe under the radar as far as involvement goes,” Allen said July 29 of its role in the president’s stopover. “Our role would probably be the role of making sure that as communication to the public, and communication from citizens involved with LS 360, that the communication with R-7, MCC and UCM is well-heard and well-orchestrated.”

According to Lee’s Summit 360, its vision is “for a dynamic spirit of cooperation among our diverse citizens, businesses, organizations, educational systems and governments.” The way things played out with Obama’s speech at the UCM campus in Warrensburg, the vision is quite clear.

“I think that LS 360…is recognized as a broad collaborative (effort) of citizens involved with the KPA,” Allen said. “That then resonates through the institutions of the innovation curriculum. So, then as we communicate with legislators; if we communicate with other partners in business and in our civic community, then I think the others institutions tend to take note. LS 360, I think, on a broad scale, the idea is, as a citizenry, we are moving this community forward. It takes (all KPAs) to make sure we are meeting the 21st century and the next century and the next century.”

Nick Edwards serves as a city liaison for the chairs of LS 360’s KPAs. The historic visit by a standing president to UCM by virtue of the MIC program at Summit Technology Academy was confirmation the 360 initiative is working, Edwards said.

“It’s clear that you can see the fruits of LS 360’s labor,” Edwards said. “That includes R-7 and UCM. You can see that…President Obama has made a visit. I think that all of that comes about through partnerships. I think Lee’s Summit 360 has been very successful in weaving people together and getting them out of their silos and providing not political support, but community support for things that are important.”

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