Summit focuses on minority business needs

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Jim Echols saw the need for minority business to communicate better.

Echols, a retired manager with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, came to Kansas City, Kansas, in 2017 and founded Renaissance Management and Training Solutions, a consulting company.

Echols reached out to various business organizations that serve minorities. Two other key resources for the Kansas Minority Business Summit would be the Kansas Chamber, who provided logistical and administrative support; and Kansas City Kansas Community College, that provided space for the event at its Technical Education Center. The summit was held Tuesday, July 23; about 150 persons attended.

A keynote speaker at the summit was Alan Cobb, the president of the Kansas Chamber. Cobb said that the free market economy is important to the economic success that the United States enjoys. Examples of failed state-owned economies can be seen in Venezuela and Russia. He also pointed to the failure of the Yugo automobile which was manufactured by the state in Yugoslavia.

Another speaker was Vercie Lark of Overland Park. He is a past executive vice president of DST Financial Services, Kansas City, Missouri. During his leadership, annual revenue for DST grew from $750 million to about $1 billion, according to his resume.

Lark cautioned those attending not to be too dependent on government business. He said such business can be lost with the stroke of a pen.

Lark is the author of the book “Pathway to Prosperity.”

Others who actively participated in the Summit included Carlos Gomez, president, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Joseph Melookaran, co-founder of the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City; John O’Brien, executive director, American Indian Enterprise and Business Council; Daniel Felder, Axiom Construction Group; Delbert Selectman, president, SnapIT Solutions; and Kim Randolph, president, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce.

Echols said plans call for the summit to be held next year.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.