Wrap up your summer by making some new connections!



Following our sold out successful event last summer, we are making this year’s summer networking event even bigger and better. Join:

Kansas City Manufacturing Network,

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers,

Institute of Industrial Engineers, and

American Society for Quality

at our members-only event at the Dark Horse Distillery in Lenexa, KS from 4-7 PM on August 20, 2013.

Located just west of I-35 off of 87th Street in Lenexa, the Dark Horse Distillery is a family owned and operated distillery launched in 2010 with a complete unique event space.

Admission includes your choice of beverages, including Dark Horse Rider Vodka, Dark Horse Long Shot White Whiskey, well spirits, beer, wine and soda, complements of our drink sponsor, Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP. We will also have sandwiches and appetizers catered by Dean & Delucca.  Learn more about four great organizations who provide resources and support to the area’s manufacturing community, and participate in discussions to help you get to know your fellow manufacturers – all for only $20.

Attendees must pay online or by cash or check at the door.  Due to multiple organizations participating, there will be no invoicing.  Sign up today by clicking here!

Attendance is open to members only of the 4 participating organizations and invited manufacturing company guests, and will be limited to the first 100 to sign up.  If we are able to secure additional sponsors, proceeds from the event will benefit SME and IIE Scholarship funds.  Contact Brian Crawley from SME for more details if you’d like to help sponsor the event.

Your choice of beverages, thanks to our sponsors:

SFBB_Logo_Nobox 2

At Spencer Fane, we take pride in our ability to work in partnership with our clients to achieve their goals. Our client engagement philosophy highlights three critical steps: We identify achievable goals. We work to find the best strategy for achieving those goals. We implement powerful legal strategy in a skillful, aggressive and cost-effective manner. We believe our success is measured by our results. Spencer Fane has a wealth of experience representing regional, national, and international manufacturing companies. We have guided our clients through the complex legal issues that arise including contracts, employment issues, asset protection, and environmental requirements.

Thanks to our additional supporting event sponsors:

Bank of Kansas City Logo marksnelson logo




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 real world experiences such as plant tours, presentations by local subject matter experts, and panel discussions that share lessons learned from fellow manufacturing professionals.

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. A 501(c)3 organization, SME is a leader in manufacturing workforce development issues, working with industry, academic and government partners to support the current and future skilled workforce.

Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the industrial engineering profession and individuals involved with improving quality and productivity. Founded in 1948, IIE is an international, nonprofit association that provides leadership for the application, education, training, research, and development of industrial engineering.  Our members can be found in manufacturing, distribution, service, consulting, education, and even retirement!  In addition to continuing education opportunities, we provide exposure to an excellent network of fellow Industrial Engineers.

American Society for Quality (ASQ) is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better. ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality, was founded in 1946 and has over 78,000 members worldwide.  We offer technologies, concepts, training, solutions, and an active network of quality practitioners, leaders, and innovators second to none.


Combining Efficiency with Other Growth Platforms

Kansas City Manufacturing Network June Meeting – Case Study  

In recent decades there has been a relentless drive toward building extreme efficiencies in the business environment.  Some firms do this exceptionally well and surpass their competition by being shockingly efficient. However, for most of us the efficiency requirement just keeps increasing. Author and speaker Rick Tirrell, Ph.D., and Robbie Manufacturing C.O.O. Pepper Stokes will discuss four Competitive Platforms: Efficient Platform, Relationship Platform, Creative Platform and Marketing Platform.  They will describe the key characteristics of each Competitive Platform and then show the operational steps Robbie has taken to develop strengths in multiple platforms and how this has given the firm a clear competitive advantage.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013,
7:30-9:00 AM

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

Cost is $15 for members, $25 for guests.  Register by June 7 BY CLICKING HERE or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958

Rick Tirrell, Ph.D., President, Navigator Group, PA  Rick has been helping companies build competitive skills for over twenty years. His work focuses on strategy, culture and organization development. He helps firms establish or revise their strategic planning processes and he often facilitates their annual meetings. His book, The Wisdom of Resilience Builders: How our best leaders create the world’s most enduring enterprises, is a valuable guide to every business leader. He has been a quiet advisor to many presidents and CEOs.

Pepper Stokes, COO, Robbie Fantastic Flexibles  Pepper Stokes, COO has been at Robbie Fantastic Flexibles in Lenexa, KS for 20 years. Prior to Robbie he was CFO at a couple of Kansas City based companies and he started his career at Arthur Andersen & Co in Kansas City.  Pepper and his wife are native Kansas Citians and have two awesome 20-something daughters. Robbie is a recognized industry leader in flexible packaging solutions producing innovative ideas and top-quality packaging products since their founding in 1970.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (www.mamtc.com) and Missouri Enterprise, (www.missourienterprise.org ) are our Network sponsors. 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 our need to cover costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event so we can provide spaces for those who may be on a wait list. 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 at 816-304-7958


Health Care Reform for Manufacturers – Get Ready for 2014

KCMN May Meeting

health careThe Affordable Care Act promises a host of new issues, choices, regulations and penalties for employers with the implementation of many of the new provisions in 2014.  Whether you are confident your company will be ready, or just trying to get up to speed, KCMN’s May meeting will be a great source of information for you.  Our panel of experts is aware of the changes on the horizon, and will focus their remarks on decisions and choices that you should consider as you prepare for 2014.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
7:30-9:15 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota, Kansas City, KS

Panel Moderator:
Amy Peterson, Human Resources & Safety Manager, Huhtamaki, Inc.

Robert Aschentrop, Business Consultant for Benefits, Insurance, and Financial Services, CBIZ

Rick Kahle, President—Employee Benefit Division, Lockton

Kenneth A. (Ken) Mason, Leader, Employee Benefits Group, Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, LLP

Ron Rowe, Dept. Vice President, Small Group and Consumer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

The panelists will discuss the specific provisions of the law that will likely impact employers, both those with less than 50 employees, and those with over 50 employees, penalties for opting out of health care, and other considerations when making health care coverage decisions.

Cost is $15 for Members, $25 for guests.  Guests may attend 2 meetings before joining as a member.  Sign up by May 10 BY CLICKING HERE, or contact Donna Gordon at donna@kcmn.org, 816-304-7958

Questions you’d like to make sure we cover?

Online registrants will be asked about company size (only reported in aggregate) and will have the opportunity to submit questions they’d like to see the panelists address.

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Centerand Missouri Enterprise are our Network sponsors. 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 costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event so we can provide spaces for those who may be on a wait list. 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.


Amy Peterson  Amy has been Huhtamaki’s Human Resources and Safety Manager since 2000.  Huhtamaki is a specialty packaging organization that provides many of the world’s most recognizable consumer goods packaging and foodservice containers, as well as the retail line of Chinet® premium disposable tableware.

Robert Aschentrop  With 14 years of financial industry experience, Robert joined CBIZ in 2010 to help build the enterprise consulting practice.  His chief focus in this capacity is analyzing the way companies finance, mitigate and transfer business and health risk.  The CBIZ is the 7th largest public accounting firm and the 14th largest insurance brokerage firm in the U.S. according to Business Insurance. CBIZ was also ranked as the #1 Employee Benefits Specialist in the U.S. for six out of the last nine years.  Robert started in the financial service industry in graduate school while working for the Iowa State University Foundation.  Robert earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Computer Science and Geography from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO and a Master’s degree in Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University.

Rick Kahle Rick has nearly 25 years’ experience in the employee benefits field. He came to Lockton Companies in May 2001 as a Producer and was promoted to President in December 2005. Rick is responsible for developing new client relationships and ensuring outstanding service for clients. In addition, his responsibilities include serving on the Kansas City and National Employee Benefit Executive Committees. Prior to coming to Lockton, Rick was the Area President of the Kansas City division at Gallagher Benefit Services.  Rick has become a trusted source related to the PPACA and its implications to health plan sponsors, making numerous health reform presentations and serving on health reform panels. Rick has a B.S.B.A from Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri, and holds Series 6, 63, and 65 Securities Licenses. He is a member of the Employee Benefit Professionals Association (EBPA)

Ken Mason   Ken, a partner with Spencer Fane, leads the Firm’s Employee Benefits Group. He concentrates on ERISA and other aspects of employee benefits law, including both tax and fiduciary issues. He has substantial involvement with retirement and welfare plans, executive deferred compensation, federal employment discrimination statutes, and issues unique to governmental and other tax-exempt employers.  Ken has hosted webinars and seminars on a wide variety of employer-focused issues concerning employee benefits.   Distinctions include listing in the Best Lawyers in America, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2005-2009 and has chaired both the Employee Benefits Institute of Kansas City and the Employee Benefits Committee, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Ron Rowe, Ron Rowe is the Vice President of Individual and Small Group Markets for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). For over 15 years Ron has been responsible for various advertising, sales, and product development initiatives at Blue KC. He currently serves on the Blue KC Healthcare Reform Task Force Oversight Committee and Co-Chairs the company’s Health Care Reform Product and Pricing sub-committee.  Prior to joining Blue Cross, Ron was the CEO of six specialty hospitals over a 7 year period and worked with political committees on Healthcare Reform in the early 1990’s during the Clinton Administration. Ron began his healthcare career as an Orderly in a rehabilitation hospital working on nights and weekends while in high school.  After graduating high school and attending Kent State University, Ron served in the US Army on active duty for 8 years working in the medical corps. He holds a BS in Management and Accounting from Park University, and studied in the MBA Program at Rockhurst University.

Energy Management: Now is the Time, and This is the Place

KCMN February Meeting

In a marketplace with fluctuating costs, and an uncertain regulatory environment, energy use is increasingly coming under scrutiny.  The wide variety of energy intensive processes makes it difficult for manufacturing facilities to track and manage energy costs. While the cost to purchase energy is a significant line item factor, the cheapest energy is that which you don’t use.  There are no lack of opportunities for manufacturers to trim energy consumption, but a lack of knowledge can hinder the ability to take advantage of these opportunities.  Energy engineer Gary Hogsett presented to a packed house of KCMN attendees in early 2011, so KCMN is happy to bring Gary back to provide practical, actionable solutions for dealing with this unavoidable cost of doing business.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
7:30-9:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota Avenue, 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 today by clicking HERE , or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958, or donna@kcmn.org

About our Speaker  

Gary Hogsett P.E., CEM, LC, LEED-AP, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center

Gary Hogsett serves as the worldwide President of the Association of Energy Engineers for 2012.  He received two engineering degrees specializing in industrial energy management, and has performed more than 4,000 energy studies in the last 32 years.  He is also a passionate speaker on the topic of energy, and in one respect, he’s something of a rarity: a very experienced energy engineer who has also won ten humorous speaking contests.  Join us for a fast paced, inspiring presentation which will provide recommendations for saving energy in your facility that are ready for immediate implementation.

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 at 816-304-7958



Don’t be left in the dark! Get to know your fellow manufacturers!

A special KCMN networking event hosted by Alphapointe

Featuring Boulevard Beer and Jack Stack Barbecue

FREE to KCMN current members and their invited guests

Alphapointe Association for the BlindKCMN is kicking off our fall season with a special networking event! Our meeting is sponsored by Alphapointe Association for the Blind, a unique manufacturer, and will feature free food and drink for KCMN members who are current with their membership. The meeting will feature a networking roundtable where participants will have an opportunity to learn about each other’s accomplishments, opportunities and challenges.

  • Members who RSVP by the August 19 deadline get in for free
  • Please limit participants to 5 per company so everyone has a chance to participate
  • Please invite your manufacturing colleagues to come and check out KCMN. Guests will need to RSVP with their contact information, and who invited them in order to get in free.
  • Guests not invited by a KCMN member will be $15 – proceeds from the event will be donated to Alphapointe, a non-profit organization
  • Donations are also appreciated!

Alphapointe Association for the Blind
Thursday August 25
4:00 to 6:00 PM
7501 Prospect, Kansas City, MO


4:00 PM – Enjoy Jack Stack barbecue and Boulevard Beer
4:30 PM – Welcome and introduction to Alphapointe
4:40 PM – Networking roundtable discussions begin
5:40 PM – Enjoy barbecue and beverages

Bank of Kansas City



Bring your business cards for a drawing for some great prizes from Bank of Kansas City and Johnson County Community College!

Space is limited, so sign up today at by clicking here or contact Donna Gordon

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise,  are our Network sponsors. 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.

About Alphapointe

Our Mission is to empower people with vision loss to maximize their independence.

Alphapointe Association for the Blind is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has continued to serve people who are blind and visually impaired in the Kansas City, Missouri community and surrounding region since 1911. Alphapointe Association for the Blind is the largest single employer of visually impaired individuals, employing 175 people, approximately 100 of which are blind or visually impaired, and is the only comprehensive rehabilitation and education agency for people with vision loss in the state of Missouri, serving over 4,000 individuals.

Alphapointe is 3 Shift operation ISO-9001:2008 Certified, cGMP compliant. Their facility includes:

  • eCommerce Office Supply Store with over 40,000 products offered featuring SKILCRAFT® products
  • Military Base Supply Stores at Fort Leonard Wood Army Base and Little Rock Air Force Base
  • Over 50 million pharmaceutical bottles produced for the Veterans Administration mail order pharmacy program
  • Produce over 12,000,000 writing instruments per year
  • Sales to federal government and commercial distribution network of nearly 200 locations coast-to-coast
  • Complete, State of the Art, plastics processing facility

In addition, Alphapointe is the only comprehensive Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center in the State of Missouri. Services include low vision services for seniors and Low Vision Clinic, diabetes outreach and education, adaptive technology instruction , job skills evaluation, placement, and training and many more services. In 2010, Alphapointe provided direct rehabilitation services to over 750 individuals who are blind or visually impaired in 2010 and served over 4,000 people through various training and outreach programs.