Teresa Evans, vice president of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council, is taking a job with similar responsibilities for a neighboring community.
Evans will start with the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation in November.
She has worked for the Lee’s Summit organization 12 years.
“It’s been a great run in Lee’s Summit, I met so many great people and friends, it was a delightful chapter in my life that I’ll always cherish,” Evans said.
She said she won’t be absent from the community because she’s keeping her Lee’s Summit home.
She said Blue Springs is a much younger organization, started in 2005, so it gives her an opportunity to use her skills in helping it grow. Evans said she knows the staff of the BSEDC well because the two groups cooperate on many projects to promote eastern Jackson County.
Evans said her primary focus in Blue Springs will be expanding its business retention program, which was why BSEDC added another full-time position. She said she’s most proud of that kind of work in Lee’s Summit.
During her time with LSEDC she helped many firms apply for state programs supporting expansion or moves to Lee’s Summit.
Evans assisted 13 companies file for tax incentives or abatements available through the Missouri Quality Jobs program, a benefit of more than $9 million for the companies and creating 1,200-plus Lee’s Summit jobs with an average salary of $55,000.
“We’ve had a lot of good companies in Lee’s Summit striving to grow and expand,” Evans said.
She also led six business reports, including one for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. which enlisted more than 60 volunteers and 293 company visits.
Those reports were to assess the business climate in Lee’s Summit. Often it uncovered specific problems that Evans could act as a liaison to solve.
“Sometimes it was as simple as a no-parking sign,” Evans said.
She also assisted in founding the Lee’s Summit Gateway Business Alliance, bringing together manufacturing and logistics companies with shared needs, such as improving the U.S. 50 and Missouri 291 South interchange.
“She’ll be missed,” said Jim Devine, president of the LSEDC. “She was the ballast that kept the ship upright. She was a wonderful partner.”
He said as they worked together, she understood his strengths and weaknesses and shored up areas where needed.
Evans did a lot of detailed research for published reports the LSEDC provides to prospects and governments, such as Lee’s Summit by the Numbers, Devine said.
During their shared time at LSEDC, the investor’s base has grown by about 30 percent and LSEDC added two more staff members.
Devine said Evans’ departure will probably lead to some reassessment by the organization’s executive board.
He said he’ll consult the LSEDC’s executive board when choosing a new vice president and the group should keep in mind the evolving nature of the LSEDC’s role. The next vice president will need to be adept at public policy and community advocacy as well in business retention and especially in redevelopment, as Lee’s Summit is maturing from a “green-field” city to one where renewing older properties is a priority.