KC SmartPort Event to Feature Amazon Keynote, Insight on 'Flexible' Distribution, April 4

March 25, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - March 25, 2019 - Industry giants, including Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield and BNSF Railway will share insight on how they continue to adapt to rapid changes within the supply-chain and logistics space at KC SmartPort's 11th annual Industry Briefing, Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the KC Convention Center. This year's keynote speaker is former Amazon Director of Economic Development, Mike Grella.

Massive changes in the supply chain and logistics industry are underway, especially as the ecommerce space powers toward the $4 trillion mark globally by 2020. Companies are facing rapid transformation in workforce, automation, sourcing/procurement and transportation, as well as the evolving needs for space design and use. At the briefing, "FLEX," experts will explore the need to be "flexible" to constant change. Kansas City continues to be a leading logistics hub by responding to these demands.

In fact, Kansas City had 5.1 million square feet of new industrial space delivered in 2018, with 4.2 million square feet under construction in Q4 of 2018. KC SmartPort hosts the annual industry briefing to educate regional ecommerce/logistics leaders about these budding trends in design, and this year will host Grella, the keynote speaker, who led Amazon’s economic development team from 2012-19 and oversaw the comany's expansion projects totaling more than 50 million square feet, encompassing $10 billion in investment – generating 100,000-plus jobs. Additional speakers include:

Karl Heitman, President, Heitman Architects

Heitman has 30 years of experience in corporate facility design, plus a unique understanding of “Manufacturing 4.0” technologies and digital connectivity. He recently helped create the whitepaper, “Roadmap for Change,” about flexible distribution facilities.

Colby Tanner, Assistant VP, BNSF Railway

Tanner is responsible for directing, planning and implementing the location and expansion of industries to the BNSF System.

Ann Petersen, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Petersen brings 15 years of experience to economic development negotiations, including coordination and implementation of incentives.

A special focus of the briefing will be "verticality" in space usage/design, an emerging preference among ecommerce leaders in the multi-trillion-dollar space. Both developers and site selectors are growing bolder in their space usage, allowing distributors, suppliers and others to optimize their square footage and bolster their bottom lines.

For more information about the event, head to: http://kcsmartport.thinkkc.com/industry-briefing.

About KC SmartPort

KC SmartPort is a non-profit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies, such as manufacturing, distribution and warehouses, to the 18-county, bi-state Kansas City region. http://kcsmartport.thinkkc.com/.