KC mayor appoints five new members to development board

01/14/2014 1:59 PM

01/14/2014 9:32 PM

Mayor Sly James has announced his five appointments to the board of the Kansas City Economic Development Corp., which was revamped recently to give him more authority over the key city development agency.

Last month, the Kansas City Council approved a plan called AdvanceKC that downsized the board from a range of 35 to 47 members to nine. James, who also has a seat on the board, now controls two-thirds of its appointments.

His new appointments:

• Bridgette Williams, deputy director of the Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City. Williams had been chairwoman of the EDC board before the AdvanceKC plan was approved in mid-December.

• Herb Sih, managing partner of Think Big Partners, an early-stage technology business incubator and accelerator in Kansas City.

• Tom Trabon, a licensed CPA who has been active with the Downtown Council and is chairman of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

• Rosana Privitera Biondo, president of Mark One Electric Co., a specialty electrical contracting firm.

• Spencer Fields, office leader and client manager in Mercer’s Kansas City and St. Louis offices.

The changes resulted from a review that began two years ago by AdvanceKC, a committee of public and private representatives established by James. It’s the biggest reorganization since the agency was established in 1987.

Besides James and his five appointees, the other members of the EDC board are City Manager Troy Schulte; City Councilman Ed Ford, chairman of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee; and Clyde McQueen, past president of the EDC board and president and chief executive officer of the Full Employment Council.

The intention of the overhaul was to create a single entry point for developers seeking incentives instead of the current multiple development agencies; to allow a more thoughtful review that reflects the city’s development priorities; and to steer more investment to underserved areas.

James said it will let the city more actively guide development.

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