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.

How Ideas Out of the Lab Have Helped Grow U.S. Industry

KCMN November Meeting

Clara Asmail, Senior Technical Advisor, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) Creative applications of R&D can sometimes yield profitable commercial success in unexpected areas.  The motivation that initially drives technology development does not necessarily predict the journey for innovations that can end up in excitingly different uses. Come hear how having an open mind to opportunities can help your company.  Specific examples of how technologies from one technical field have leaped into seemingly unrelated commercial areas will be discussed as will some tips on how to find your own diamond in the rough.

Jim Baxendale, Director, Whiteborard2Boardroom Whiteboard 2 Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and established businesses to technologies available for licensing at institutions of higher education and corporations in the bi-state region to stimulate applied research, leverage innovation in the marketplace, and accelerate the commercialization of technology. Jim will discuss how his local resource has helped institutions take ideas from the lab and apply them to established companies to help them grow their business.

 Tuesday, November 10, 2015

7:30-9:00 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas


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



Clara Asmail develops approaches to provide small R&D and manufacturing businesses with the services and access to resources to help them grow and improve their productivity. She works with SBIR awardees to cultivate partnerships with the MEP network in order to enhance the commercialization of SBIR research results. From 2001 to 2010, Clara managed the NIST SBIR Program and facilitated the commercialization of federal technology by leveraging the SBIR funding with access to federal research assets: SBIR TT. Previously, Clara was Project Leader for Optical Scatterometry at NIST and published 19 peer reviewed articles. Clara holds: M.S., Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, M.S., Physics, Tulane University, B.S., Physics, Fordham University. Her patented technology is the subject of the longest lived and highest revenue license in the history of NIST.

James Baxendale is responsible for cataloging a large pool of innovative technologies from bi-state academic and other research organizations to make them known to entrepreneurs and established companies in the bi-state region as licensing opportunities. He facilitates co-development projects between academic institutions, hospitals and industry. His role also includes mentoring university and high school students in regional entrepreneurship programs and assembling a network of talented individuals to serve as CEO’s of newly formed startup companies.


Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers.

After more than 26 years, MEP continues to innovate, meeting the challenge of developing new programs, services, and partnerships to help manufacturers flourish in the 21st century. MEP is a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency.

Due to our need to cover costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event, but you are welcome to send a substitute. If  you have paid online and cancel before the deadline, contact us for event credit for a future  meeting.


From Whiteboard to Boardroom

If you are interested in exploring new opportunities, have a technology you’d like to license, or would like to collaborate with university researchers,  read on!

The Whiteboard to Boardroom (W2B) Program was established in September 2009 with three-year funding from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation grant program.  The W2B program is a bi-state partnership of the following regional colleges and universities as founding members; University of Missouri Kansas City, University of Kansas, Johnson County Community College, and William Jewell College. The focus of the W2B program is to increase the entrepreneurial activity in the Kansas City Region by threading together existing regional technology commercialization programs in a seamless system resulting in new businesses and jobs. This is accomplished by identifying game changing technologies and processes and getting them into the hands of business owners and talented entrepreneurs, resulting in new projects and businesses that stay local and grow. The W2B also functions to integrate university, hospital and industry research into the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem. The W2B will become a clearinghouse for regional commercialization information that is available to innovators and companies alike to advance technologies to the marketplace. Please contact us if you are looking for an innovation to license into your existing company or want to form a new company based on an innovation. Denise Fields at (816)-235- 816.235.6074 or Jim Baxendale at (816)-235-6429.

Product Development: Finding the Right Path

KCMN’s March meeting featured three speakers who shared their company’s path from innovation to revenue for new product development.  The consensus shared by all three speakers is that there is no ‘one path’ to success.  However, there were some key themes that emerged during the discussion:

Get the whole company involved.  Drew Lericos from Robbie Manufacturing follows a stage gate process that includes a development team from diverse areas of the company, from sales, marketing, production, procurement and human resources where all have input throughout the process.  Jason Grove from Dimensional Innovations discussed their internal process innovation team who works in parallel with the manufacturing team to develop new products as well as custom projects.  While Steve Hall from Boelte-Hall noted that they are less formal in their process, all functional areas are responsible for continual innovation, as they operate in a rapidly changing market, where their top customers are buying products and services that were not even offered by the company 3 years ago.

Make your message consistent. A real challenge to the process of product development is finding the balance between encouraging enthusiasm from all areas of the company and making sure that customers aren’t getting confusing messages, and competitors aren’t getting a front row seat to your new strategy.  Boelte-Hall uses a color coding system to note confidential projects to all employees.  All three companies noted it’s important to make sure that the sales force is educated/trained on the new products, and can learn to approach different buyers within the same company.  The key to getting sales staff on board is for one or two sales people attaining success with a new product or market, which then helps the rest of the team realize that they too need to get on board or miss the boat.  Overall, internal marketing is just as important as external marketing.

Expect flexibility in the budgeting process.  Regardless of the process used, knowing the true cost for a product development process can be a challenge.  There are specific costs, such as equipment purchases, education and training, product development personnel time and raw materials.  It is more difficult to measure the opportunity cost, of time spent on one product when there are competing priorities for everyone’s attention.  Something that is projected to have 3 trials may end up needing 8.  However, there are federal R & D tax credits available, so documenting and tracking costs is an important part of the process.

Listen to your customers – sometimes.  While getting customer input throughout the process is important, it is also important to think about unmet needs that customers may not be telling you about.   Robbie has found success by taking a product that solves a problem in one area, that can also be used to solve a different customer problem with minor changes.  Steve Hall from Boelte-Hall noted that conversations with customers indicated they had no interest in a new process Boelte was considering. Boelte-Hall invested anyway and now those same customers buy products using that process on a daily basis.  While all 3 companies vary in their depth of research, they all agree that some level of customer and market research are important to guiding the both the decision to move forward, and the changes that need to be made along the way.  The key is to focus on solutions, vs. preferences.

Failure is an option.  Some product introductions may not meet expectations.  Drew Lericos from Robbie noted, “if your culture does not permit failure, you will not succeed at innovation”.  Jason Grove from Dimensional Innovations said they try to use the “fail fast, fail cheap” mantra to guide their process in order to try new developments with a smaller scale vs going company wide all at once. Steve Hall noted “Every one of our successful innovations had an element of failure somewhere in its development.” When things do not work out, it’s important to look at what areas can be improved the next time around so mistakes are not repeated.

Don’t give up too early. Lastly, Steve Hall reminded the audience not to give up too early.  In some cases minor changes can make a doomed project viable.  In other cases, it makes sense to consider timing in the marketplace.  An innovation that was not successful one year may be resurrected as market conditions shift in the future.

Product Development: Getting from Innovation to Revenue

KCMN March Meeting – Sign up by March 2nd!

Much is being written about the need for innovation in manufacturing to drive sales.  In fact, KCMN has covered this topic several times in the past few years.  However, we’ve not talked about the process of taking that innovation to market. Our March meeting features three KCMN member companies:

Lisa Kist – Robbie Flexibles

Steve Hall – Boelte Hall

Jason Grove – Dimensional Innovations

Our panelists will discuss their product or service offerings as well as:

  • The product development process – from innovation to revenue
  • Getting the right people involved
  • The customer’s role in development
  • Product development budgeting and planning
  • Suggestions and lessons learned

Tuesday March 6, 2012
7:30- 9 AM
Hilton Garden Inn at 5th & Minnesota, Kansas City,  Kansas

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up by no later than March 1st by clicking here, or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or

Jason Grove – Dimensional Innovations is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm taking ideas through design, fabrication and installation. We create experiences that make distinctive connections with our clients and your customers. Our proven experience in various market segments includes: cinemas, casinos, sports facilities, retailers, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, entertainment venues, museums, zoos, libraries and government.  In 2011, as a product of our Innovations Lab, we created and delivered to market Shield Casework™ , a solid surface microbial resistant line of healthcare casework. The product is designed to meet a wide range of applications in hospitals, labs, clinics and senior living facilities. Shield Casework™ delivers greater value and better bottom line performance.

Lisa Kist – Robbie Flexibles  Founded in 1970 and based in Lenexa, Kansas, Robbie, is a premier packaging company providing sustainable merchandising solutions using 10-color process printing on a variety of films for supermarkets, food/beverage, and consumer goods companies. In addition, Robbie supplies superior pouch and bag technology with high tech solutions for demanding applications.

Steve Hall – Boelte Hall was founded in 1967 to provide print services, including sheet fed lithography, die cutting, mailing, large format, posters, and banners. Over the years, we’ve grown and expanded our services to include not only print, but also event marketing and trade show displays, promotional items, brand management, mailing, video, online storefronts, variable data digital printing and complete cross channel marketing services.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center  and Missouri Enterprise  are our Network sponsors. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers.  Service providers are welcome with the understanding that they not utilize the network as a sales channel.  We invite you to join with us to make KCMN the premier resource for manufacturers.

Due to our need to cover the event costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event. Cancellations of reservations paid by credit card will be assessed a $10 processing fee by the registration service, or contact us for event credit for a future event.


The Innovation Process –Turning Ideas into $$

KCMN March Meeting


In the fall of 2010, we featured speakers who touted the value of having an innovation program in place, and stressed the importance of keeping a pipeline to improvement open. This meeting will feature 3 speakers who will focus on the nuts and bolts of dealing with the product of your innovation program:

  • What is the best process for evaluating and utilizing new ideas?
  • How do I prioritize new innovations?
  • Key principles that are relevant to a successful innovation program.

Our speakers will discuss:

Drew Lericos, Director of Marketing, Robbie Flexibles

Drew will discuss Robbie’s structured Innovation Process which is used to set strategic direction for innovation, create and populate an ongoing innovation funnel and establish a means to review and commercialize all new product initiatives. A key objective is to ensure that limited resources are being utilized for the best overall benefit of Robbie and are aligned with major company goals.

Patti Streeper , VP, Corporate Innovation Group, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Patti will provide a high-level overview of Hallmark’s consumer-driven innovation process and it’s linkage to their solution development process (stage-gate); including their funnel and pipe process configuration. Patti will also discuss the qualities of the people who make up successful innovation teams, which are the most important ingredient in the process. She will review key principles to successful innovation such as: knowing your customer and their expectations, and willingness to ask new questions, experiment, and adjust.

Jesse H Bechtold, CPA, CFO & COO, MAMTC

Mr. Bechtold coaches the Innovation Engineering Program to create, communicate and commercialize meaningfully unique innovations in products, services, markets, customers and process improvements. This system, based upon Deming’s rapid cycles of learning, is attributed by Proctor and Gamble with bringing innovations to market in 20% of the time and cost of alternative programs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 7:30-9:00 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) and Missouri Enterprise are the Network’s sponsoring organizations.


Our meeting sponsor is Brightergy Solar,  one of the leading solar integrators in the Midwest whose team designs cutting edge, high efficiency, and economic solar photovoltaic (PV) and thermal systems.  Brightergy Solar SolutionsThe event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers. We invite you to join with us to continue make KCMN a strong, vibrant resource for educational and networking opportunities for the region’s manufacturers.

Does Innovation Make You Uncomfortable?

From the blog Innovate on Purpose, the author argues that managers who are programmed to be process and control oriented do not embrace innovation due to it’s uncertain outcomes. Interesting analogies, including the comment that companies who focus on cutting 5% from their bottom line every year will cut themselves out of business in 15 years. Check out the article here.

Innovation Strategies: It’s Not Just About The Bottom Line

KCMN Roundtable
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 7:30-9:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas

Through the downturn, it’s become tempting to focus on cost cutting as a means of survival. However, product and process innovations can help lift companies out of the doldrums through new markets. Join us on November 9 to hear 3 company leaders share what they have achieved through innovation, and learn how you can apply some of the concepts they have used in your company.
• Why is innovation important
• Getting the process started
• Tools for driving innovation in your company
• Sustaining your efforts
• Overcoming challenges

Jim Baker, CEO, Dimensional Innovation – Making Left Brained Sense out of a Right-Brained Process
Jim will discuss DI’s reasons for pursuing a commitment of innovation: You need more than LEAN to survive, and how the current economy “commoditized” the company’s offerings. He will discuss how DI used the Winning Ways methodology and formed DI’s Innovation Division.

Jeff Gray, CEO, Jakobe Furniture – Engineering a Turnaround
Jeff will share the processes that led to the company’s financial turnaround, including continuous improvements to the quality and processes of the company. In addition, he will talk about sources of information for his turnaround and the importance of continually connecting and communicating the company’s vision.

Richard Powell, General Manager, Brunson Instruments – Keeping Innovation in the Forefront
Richard will discuss Brunson’s start with the Eureka Winning Ways program in 2007. The process of developing and implementing an innovation process has helped Brunson to energize and streamline their growth strategies. He will share how they continue to utilize the concept three years later.

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend two meetings before having to join as a member, and are required to pay in advance or at the door. Sign up today by clicking HERE or contact Donna Gordon.

Our founding sponsors, Mid America Manufacturing and Technology Center (MAMTC) and Missouri Enterprise, will be our sponsors for this event. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers. We invite you to join with us to make KCMN the premier resource for manufacturers.
Due to our need to cover the event costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event. Cancellations of reservations paid by credit card will be assessed a $10 processing fee by the registration service, or contact us for event credit for a future event. You may register as a guest for up to 2 events before membership is required. For questions or comments, please contact Donna Gordon.

About our Speakers
Jim Baker, CEO, Dimensional Innovations, Inc.
Jim is the CEO and a founding partner of Dimensional Innovations, Inc. an award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm taking ideas through design, fabrication and installation. We create experiences that make distinctive connections with our clients and your customers. Today, Jim is a vital part of the team, actively involved with every department. He is ultimately responsible for financial success, employee and client satisfaction and future strategic planning. Building our one-of-a-kind team is Jim’s proudest accomplishment and most significant contribution to DI. In addition, Jim was World Champion Skydiver as a member of the United States Freefall Exhibition Team, the United States Parachute Team, and World Team’s 94 & 96. He’s owned and operated a commercial photography studio and processing lab. Currently, Jim’s passion is mountain climbing recently summiting Kilimanjaro and Mt. Rainier. He is currently training to climb Aconcagua in Argentina in January. He founded a new charity to raise money and awareness to help fight the deadly disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Jeff Gray, CEO Jakobe Furniture
Jeff Gray formed Jakobe Furniture as a legal entity in September 2004 to manufacture custom furniture for the restaurant and hospitality industries. Because of its custom capabilities, and market demand, the company quickly evolved into its current niche of “custom manufacturer and service provider to the contract and hospitality industries.” Simply put, they manufacture, deliver, install and service the custom furniture needs of their clientele. The company’s products can be found all over the country, and even beyond the United States, with marquee customers like M.I.T, Kansas City Royals, New York Jets, AMC Theaters, and Energizer Batteries. After falling into nearly every pitfall a new start-up business could possibly find, the company has found its way financially in the last 18 months.

Richard Powell, General Manager, Brunson Instruments
Brunson Instrument Company is one of a very few American companies that specializes in industrial measurement. The 81-year-old company helps solve measurement problems for manufacturers of large machines, including aircraft, paper mills, satellites, ships, machines tools and particle accelerators. Brunson operates its manufacturing facility using Theory of Constraints and lean processes including lean accounting. Richard Powell has been the General Manager since 2001. In 2007 Brunson was approached by Missouri Enterprise to participate in a pilot program for business growth called “Winning Ways”. The program was developed by Doug Hall, founder and CEO of the Eureka Ranch a corporate think tank that is utilized by some of the biggest corporations in the world.