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Chairman's Message

December 2023

From the Business Perspective Newsletter

The Year in Review

As I reflect on the Overland Park Chamber in 2023 it is summed up in one word – momentum. It was a year of starts and firsts and launches.

We kicked off the first year of implementation of Opportunity NOW, our 5-year community and economic development strategic plan that expands resources to address pain points in OP businesses. We raised $3.2 million in private funding over five years, dedicated to three goal areas:

  • Talent
  • Jobs & Investment
  • Creating a Pro-Business Environment

To address the top pain point – Attracting and Retaining Talent – the Chamber added a workforce department. We developed tools to help you create internships, externships and apprenticeships and expand your talent pipeline. We launched a workforce study to analyze the local laborshed and barriers to our talent pipeline.

Progress is evident all across Overland Park:

  • The long-awaited expansion of U.S. 69 – a top priority for the Chamber for years – began.
  • We welcomed Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s new headquarters and 475 new employees to the Aspiria Campus.
  • We celebrated the groundbreaking of Meridian, the $2 billion, 200-acre mixed-use redevelopment at Brookridge.

The Chamber doubled down on small businesses as a backbone of economic development. We escalated small business and entrepreneurial programming with the graduation of our first GAME cohort to help second-stage businesses grow and the launch of our first Kauffman FastTrac® class. Johnson County’s 1Million Cups is now hosted by our Chamber.
Engaging and equipping our community members is a priority.

  • Voter education and participation increased through with a 165% increase in viewership and 62,000 page views in this last local election cycle.
  • Three recent Leadership Overland Park graduates were elected to local office in Johnson County. And, LOP honored 38 new graduates in 2023.

Momentum is built over time – the result of many committed individuals and initiatives coming together to create a movement that is powerful and difficult to stop. I am grateful to have had this moment in my life to build relationships with passionate community leaders and to have witnessed firsthand the beginnings of so much progress that will have decades long impact on our collective future.

Wells-Joan headshot

written by

2023 Chairman of the Board

Joan Wells

President, Experience