On March 26th Chris Gutierrez, President of Kansas City SmartPort, Inc. joined the International Trade Council to provide an update on Kansas City’s logistics industry.
SmartPort is a non-profit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies, such as manufacturing, distributions, and warehouses to the 18-county, bi-state Kansas City region. Chris and his team at SmartPort contributed to record development in 2020, and are confident that 2021 could surpass 2020’s growth.
- Chris has worked in development, logistics, and international business for more than thirty years – in both the public and private sectors. His passion around international business actually started at a young age when he and his Dad realized that if they sent American beer overseas, they would receive Foreign beers back. He started quite the beer can collection!
- Throughout Chris’s career, he has traveled to about 40 different countries, and has some great (sometimes scary) travel stories.
- SmartPort was responsible for bringing in 12 new companies to KC in 2020 – about 4.4 million square feet of space and $900M in capital investment, 3,000+ jobs, and $123M in payroll. Companies that added new locations in KC in 2020 include: Chewy, Urban Outfitters, Dot's Homestyle Pretzels, Melaleuca, Pretzels Inc., Tuthill, Kenco Logistics, Project Frosty, UPS, Phoenix Package Logistics, BoxyCharm, and World Pantry.
- Much of the current and anticipated growth stems from the Food & Beverage and E-commerce industries.
- Chris and his team have been leaning on social media and technology to tell the story of KC during the pandemic and plan to incorporate this strategy, in addition to in person conferences and meetings, in the future. The team’s passion for Kansas City economic development is evident and allows them to really explain why Kansas City is a crucial area in which to invest.
Written by Kelly Steck, ITC Board Member
Access the presentation slides here.