View From the Road: Making Sense of the Economic Data

KCMN September Meeting

Our September meeting speaker, Dr. Chris Kuehl, Managing Director at Armada Corporate Intelligence, travels the country speaking with and to manufacturing groups. As chief economist for several national and international organizations – Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, National Association of Credit Management, and others, he has unique insights to make sense of the economic data that confronts manufacturers attempting to plan for 2018.

Join us for our September meeting to hear Chris discuss his view of the economy, of manufacturing, and trends to watch for 2018.

As part of the signup process, we will be gathering your requests for hot topics of interest to your business, so that Chris can present the information you need as you launch your planning processes. Please submit questions by September 5!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017   
7:30-9:00 AM (Note we are meeting on WED, not TUE)
River Market Event Place, 140 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106

Cost is $20 for KCMN members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non-mfg company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up BY CLICKING HERE  or contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958,


About our speaker:cHRIS k

Dr. Chris Kuehl is a Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. He provides forecasts and strategic guidance for a wide variety of corporate clients around the world. He is the chief economist for several national and international organizations – Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, National Association of Credit Management, Finance, Credit and International Business and the Business Information Industry Association. He is also the economic analyst for several state accounting societies – Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Kansas. View previous reports: Black Owl Report or Business Intelligence Brief

Prior to starting Armada in 1999 he was a professor of economics and finance for 15 years – teaching in the US, Hungary, Russia, Estonia, Singapore and Taiwan. He holds advanced degrees in economics, Soviet studies and East Asian studies.

Chris is the author of Business Intelligence Briefs and Executive Intelligence Briefs – both publications from Armada. He is also responsible for the Credit Manager’s Index from NACM and Fabrinomics from the FMA.

KC Federal Reserve to Host Luncheon for Area Industrial Associations

Members of industrial associations in the Kansas City area are invited to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to hear from President and CEO Esther George as she shares insights on the national and regional economy.



Date: Monday, August 7
Time: 11:30 am to 1 pm. Lunch will be served.

Location: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
1 Memorial Drive
Kansas City, MO 64198
Cost: There is no cost to attend, but registration is required

Registration: Register by July 31 at Advanced registration is required. Parking and building access information will be provided in the registration confirmation.

Contact Us: Please direct any questions to Jennifer Andrews or Melissa Jackson at 816-881-2683.

Summer’s Best Networking Event is Back!


This is our 6th Annual Summer Networking event, and it keeps getting bigger and better! Wrap up your Summer by having a beverage with your fellow manufacturers, and making some new connections.Logo merge

iWerx Co-Working & Event Space
1520 Clay Street
North Kansas City, MO 64116
August 24, 2017  4-7 PM

iWerx, located just off Burlington in North KC, offers office space and event space with a fun environment, massive bar and is right in the heart of KC’s hot new entertainment district, dubbed by the KC Biz Journal as ‘Industrial-Strength’ entertainment. NEW this year – Restless Spirits Distilling, 2016 Distillery of the Year for Missouri, will be sampling their wares, and we’ll also feature KC-produced craft beers!  Admission includes 2 complementary beverages, as well as great appetizers from crowd favorite Dean & Deluca, plus an opportunity to network with fellow manufacturers- all for only $25 per person

  • Event limited to the first 150 people who sign up
  • Networking activities, delicious food and an amazing drink selection!
  • Proceeds benefit the scholarship funds for the participating organizations.  
  • Advance registration is required, (online or No walk-ins will be accepted at the door
  • Pay online at OR Cash or check at the door – due to 8 organizations involved, no invoicing – Questions? Contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958

Your Choice of beverages, thanks to our drink sponsor:

Spencer Fane logo_color


Spencer Fane is the law firm where your business leaders work with our business leaders. We provide an unconventional approach to legal services geared toward protecting and advancing business and personal interests. Our clients are certain that their interests are our priority, because they work with leaders – leaders who work decisively, execute with purpose and understand the importance of flawless timing. Be certain.


Sponsor Logos 7.2017



Summer Networking Event Sponsor Opportunity!

6th Annual Summer Networking Event Details: 

Join us for the popular networking event with Kansas City Manufacturing Network, Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers, APICS, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Chemical Coaters Association International and American Society for Quality at the iWerx Co-Working Space from 4-7 PM on August 24, 2017.  This annual event has drawn between 100-150 people in the last 5 years.  Attendance is limited to members of the participating organizations and invited manufacturing company guests.  Sponsors help to cover event costs, and proceeds from the event will benefit participating organization scholarship funds.

You can download the complete sponsor flyer here:  Summer Event sponsor 2017

Who we are:

The Kansas City Manufacturing Network (KCMN) was established in 1993 as the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses. KCMN’s educational and networking opportunities create opportunities for manufacturers to learn through sharing of best practices with their fellow manufacturing professionals.

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE), founded in 1948, helps its members improve complex organizations around the world and across industries. Members turn to IISE for tools and connections that provide an integrated and systemic perspective to business challenges. IISE is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the profession with over 40,000 IISE members Worldwide and about 100 in our Greater Kansas City Sr. Chapter.

American Society for Quality (ASQ) The Global Voice of Quality: ASQ champions over 180,000 people passionate about quality in more than 150 countries. We provide training, professional certifications, and knowledge to a vast, global network of members. ASQ membership is broken down geographically into more than 250 sections and local member communities and topically into more than 25 forums and divisions. is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better.

APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain and operations management and the premier provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate end-to-end supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience. With over 37,000 members and more than 250 international partners, APICS is transforming the way people do business, drive growth and reach global customers.

The Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) is a technical and professional organization that provides information and training on surface coating technologies. Although CCAI is a national organization providing seminars, conferences and trade shows, the strength comes from local chapters that provide educational programs through meetings and plant tours to address specific finishing issues in their geography.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events, magazines, publications and online training division, Tooling U, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technologies and to the most up-to-date manufacturing processes. SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of chapters and technical communities.

Combined organizations represent >1500 manufacturing professionals in the KC area!

Sponsor Benefit  

Deluxe Supporting Sponsor event sponsorship package is $500. Your logo is included on all promotional material, website, and emails sent to the company membership, billing as supporting sponsor. Flyers or promotional material with a half table display at the event, announcement that you are a supporting sponsor at the event, can send 2 company representatives to the event at no charge.

Supporting Sponsor event sponsorship package is $300. Your logo is included on all promotional material, website, and emails sent to the company membership, billing as supporting sponsor. A table display at the event is not included, but includes 1 company representative to the event at no charge.

Note:  attendee list will be provided to the sponsors in advance of the event but phone numbers and emails of the attendees will not be shared.

You may pay with a credit or debit card BY CLICKING HERE  or contact Donna Gordon to be invoiced,, or 816-304-7958

Member/Attendee Profile 

  • KCMN has 92 member companies, who can send an unlimited number of company employees to KCMN meetings. (  Email list is 522 names.  Average attendance is 55, with most attendees focused on operations, such as plant managers, general managers, VP of operations, etc.
  • CCAI’s Local chapter is 200 manufacturers and industrial suppliers, with a National Association reaching 2,000 members. Website is:
  • ASQ Section 1301 Kansas City consistently reaches ~500 members in MO & KS. We host monthly workshops covering a broad range of quality topics of interest to professionals, including manufacturing, engineering, consulting, healthcare, and service industries.
  • IISE’s Greater Kansas City Chapter boasts around 100 members in the Kansas City area, including members as far west as Manhattan, Kansas and as far east as Columbia, Missouri with similar newsletter distribution.  Email list for bigger events is approximately 250 names. Event attendance of members and non-members typically ranges from 15-25.  IISE Kansas City Sr. Chapter Website is:
  • The Greater Kansas City Chapter of APICS has 225 members in the Kansas City area, with a newsletter distribution of the same number.  Members include operations and supply chain professionals in a wide variety of industries in the region.  Website is:
  • SME has over 141 members across nearly 65 companies. The Kansas City chapter holds events several times over the course of the year. Our events and newsletters reach over 528 individuals on the groups’ distribution list. Website is:

Contact Donna Gordon for more information on how you can increase your visibility with area manufacturers!

Planning for Growth & Taking the Leap – Dimensional Innovations Tour

KCMN October Meeting – MFG Day Event 

In January of 2016,  DI opened a new design build fabrication facility in Lenexa, almost doubling its fabrication footprint to 140,000 square feet.  With full design, engineering, fabrication and installation capabilities, this division of DI focuses on signage projects and serving DI’s programmed accounts such as AMC and Cinemark. Join us for a tour of their new Lenexa facility, where the company will discuss expansion / opening a second manufacturing facility

·         The decision to expand and the process of planning
·         Preparing for the move and the plant layout process
·         Thinking like a startup: leadership structure and building the team
·         Relocating 85 employees to a new location
·         Managing culture and communication between two facilities
·         Maintaining performance and managing KPIs through the move and ramp up phase
·         “Day 2” Adjustments to the plan after moving in and lessons learned along the way

Tuesday, October 10
7:30 – 9:00 AM
Dimensional Innovations, 15500 West 108th Street, Lenexa, KS 66219

Maximum attendees: 50

Cost is $20 for KCMN members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non-mfg company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up BY CLICKING HERE  or contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958,

7:30 AM Breakfast & Networking
7:45 AM Company Presentation
8:15 Dimensional Innovations Tour

Please wear closed-toed shoes and bring safety glasses if you have them.

About Dimensional InnovationsDI_Logo_Square

Dimensional Innovations, named a Business Journal 2017 Champion of Business,  is an experiential design firm that creates and builds immersive and interactive brand experiences. Combine a team of graphic designers and brand strategists with architects and animators, then take interior, interactive and environmental designers and connect them to a team of digital engineers, throw in an innovation lab, then bolt on a workshop where we can build just about anything and, well, you’ve got us. Together, we are designers, makers and innovators of world-class experiences, places and products.



Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. We welcome all regional manufacturers to join us to make KCMN the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses across many functional areas.

Thriving in a Changing Industry – H&H Color Labs Tour

KCMN February MeetingH&H

This event is sold out. Please contact to be added to the waitlist.

H&H Color Lab, begun nearly 50 years ago as a resource for photographic prints on paper from film, has weathered an industry in constant change. Through all the changes, H&H has survived and thrived through continuous innovation, customer education, and a relentless  focus on quality and customer service.

Join us for our February meeting and plant tour at H&H Color Lab, where they will discuss:

-Adapting and growing in a rapidly changing industry

-Managing the ups and downs of a seasonal workforce

-Utilizing Lean principles for more agility in the production process

Tuesday, February 14
7:30 – 9:00 AM
H&H Color Labs 8906 E. 67th Street Raytown, MO 64133


Cost is $20 for KCMN members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non-mfg company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958,

Maximum attendees: 40  Open to KCMN Current members through Jan 12, then will open to guests if space is available.

7:30 AM Breakfast & Networking

7:45 AM Company Presentation

8:15 H&H Tour


About H&H Color Lab

H&H Color Lab has served the needs of the professional photographer for 47 years. As the industry changes, the H&H mission remains the same: to support and serve our customers by providing the highest quality photographic printing, customer service, and education to help maximize their business potential. Operating within a set of core values, and lean manufacturing principles, lab employees work diligently to deliver the very best product to its customers.

H&H takes pride in offering an extensive line of high-quality albums, beautifully printed press products, photo jewelry, innovative metals, specialty products and much more. Production capabilities in their 55,000 square foot facility include photographic, ink jet, digital press and dye sublimation. Other services include color correction, printing, finishing and shipping. H&H also supports the independent school and sports photographer with complete turnkey programs designed to help them compete in this competitive market.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. We welcome all regional manufacturers to join us to make KCMN the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses across many functional areas.

Planning for 2017: what’s Next for Manufacturing?

KCMN November Meeting

As the dollar has strengthened, US Exports have dragged. Policy uncertainty from both the US and Europe have frozen some from taking action. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) indicates declining growth.  There has been an ongoing concern over the lack of skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.  Given this spate of less than optimal economic news, what’s a manufacturer to think when planning for 2017 and beyond?

Despite the gloomy news, Kansas City is seeing much activity. The Kansas economy showed some strength in manufacturing, outpacing the nation in both durable and non-durable manufacturing. Missouri’s GDP in 2015 grew at a 1.8 percent rate – slightly ahead of the national rate of 1.7 percent. Manufacturing, construction and healthcare were particularly strong in Missouri as each sector outpaced national rates.

Join us for our annual forecast meeting on November 1 to learn more.  Jon Willis, economist with the Federal Reserve, and KCMN favorite since 2011, will present his overview of the current economic conditions in both the US, and in manufacturing.  Following Jon’s presentation, our panelists will present the view of the Kansas City Manufacturing and Industrial economy from the perspective of those who are out in the marketplace daily.  The event promises to be a thorough look at what’s happening, and what’s next for manufacturing in Kansas City.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7:30 – 9:00 AM

CBIZ MHM, LLC 700 West 47th St. 11th Floor, Kansas City, MO 64112

 Cost is $20 for KCMN or KCIC members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non manufacturing company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or


Jonathan L. Willis, Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Jon Willis is a Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He joined the Economic Research Department in September 2000. A native of Iowa, Willis received a B.A. degree in economics from Grinnell College in 1993 and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Boston University in 2001. Willis conducts research on labor market dynamics over the business cycle and the relationship between the price-setting behavior of firms and inflation dynamics. In addition to working at the Bank, he has served as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Panel Discussion Leader: Mark Chalfant, CEO, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) Mark leads the MAMTC team, not only providing direction and guidance to the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, but also working with other agencies and organization to help build the manufacturing sector in Kansas. Mark is a graduate of the Industrial Engineering program at Kansas State University, and has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern
California in Systems Management. He has 30 years of manufacturing and industrial setting experience working for both large and small companies in California, Utah and Kansas. Mark is an Innovation Engineering Black Belt
working with companies on growing their top line utilizing the Innovation Engineering Management System.

Rob Bratcher, Senior VP, Commercial Banking Division Manager, Kansas City, Commerce Bank Rob joined Commerce Bank in early 2012 as the Commercial Division Manager for Healthcare Banking across the  bank’s Western Region.  Beginning in 2014, Rob was promoted to serve as the head of Commercial Banking for the Kansas City Region.   Rob has spent 20  years in the financial services industries, providing guidance to medium and large middle market companies. Rob’s community interests include serving as Treasurer of the Kansas City Repertory Theater, and serves in multiple leadership roles for the United Way of Greater Kansas City. Rob is a cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri- Columbia with a BSBA in Finance & Real Estate from the Trulaske College of Business.

Chris Gutierrez, President, Kansas City SmartPort, Inc. Chris Gutierrez is the President of Kansas City SmartPort, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization that promotes and enhances the Kansas City region’s status as a leading North American logistics hub. SmartPort is an affiliated group of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC). Chris has been active in logistics and international business for more than twenty-five years. He has worked in the public and private sector in international business and logistics. Chris’ community involvement includes his positions as a board member of the Board of Advisors of the University of Kansas Supply Chain Management Program, CSCMP, and the World Trade Center – Kansas City and Feed Northland Kids. He’s also alumni of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions.

Bob Dowling, Lead Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC Bob is a Lead Managing Director in the Kansas City office and serves as a Lead Managing Director responsible for supervising, reviewing and performing attestation engagements for a variety of middle to large market-sized clients. Formerly an audit partner at a Big Four firm, Bob has over 30 years of experience as a public accountant. He works with clients in a wide array of industries, including retail, manufacturing, distribution, consumer products, software and life sciences. Bob is responsible for business growth, particularly in the public company arena and he is the leader of the local Manufacturing, Retail and Distribution (MRD) industry practice. Additionally, Bob is responsible for performing independent quality reviews of financial statements and served as the technical leader of the Kansas City Attest Practice for many years.