Kansas City Southern, whose north-south railroad network has benefited from the North American Free Trade Act, is the 2013 “Champion of Enterprise” chosen by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The state chamber honored Kansas City Southern at its annual meeting Thursday night along with seven other Kansas City area companies that were among the chamber’s multiple award winners.
About half of Kansas City Southern’s rail network is in Mexico. Company officials said NAFTA shifted shipping patterns and set the table for the company’s growth. With a market capitalization of more than $13 billion, it’s considered the fastest-growing railroad in North America.
Economic development tied to NAFTA also was the focus of remarks by Antonio Garza, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Garza spoke at the chamber’s dinner meeting at Kansas City’s Union Station.
In other business, the chamber gave its “Fast Track Awards” for business growth to Addison Biological Laboratory, of Fayette; Gasket Engineering, Kansas City; Moresource, Columbia; New Horizons Enterprises, Kansas City; Smokin’ Guns BBQ, North Kansas City; Safety National, St. Louis; and 3 Interactive, Columbia.
St. Luke’s Health System of Kansas City received the chamber’s “Missouri Prosperity Award” for hospital expansion in the state, and Cerner earned the “Education Innovator” award for its Innovation Campus and Cerner Scholars program.
Several state legislators also were acknowledged for their “above and beyond” support of Missouri employers.
The state chamber’s award for local chamber of the year went to the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce.