January 31, 2015

Settlement reached in suit over failed Mamtek project

The Mamtek facility sits empty at the north end of Moberly.

The Mamtek facility at the north end of Moberly.

A settlement has ended the civil case against investment banker Morgan Keegan and its legal advisor, Armstrong Teasdale, in the failed Mamtek project at Moberly.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the details of the settlement have not been released.

The two firms were accused of misleading potential investors and failing to adequately investigate the project before offering it.

Mamtek’s former CEO, Bruce Cole, is serving a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to securities fraud and for stealing as much as 1.3-million dollars from the Moberly Industrial Development Authority’s 39-million dollar bond fund.

Missouri Nondiscrimination Act finds optimistic new sponsor

A bill aiming to keep people from being fired over their sexual preference finds a new sponsor in the state Senate.

Senator Joe Keaveny (Courtesy; Missouri Senate)

Senator Joe Keaveny (Courtesy; Missouri Senate)

The Missouri Non-Discrimination Act, as its been called, would add lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender to Missouri’s existing law preventing workplace discrimination. It’s been offered since 1998.  This year Senate minority leader Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis) will for the first time be its primary sponsor.

He says he’s optimistic.

“We did pass it in the Senate in 2013 on the last day of session. It got over to the House and was never taken up,” said Keaveny. “I think the environment is ripe to at least have a discussion about it.”

“The environment” Keaveny refers to is the recent series of rulings regarding same-sex marriage in Missouri and other states, rulings regarding benefits for same-sex spouses in Missouri, and other instances that have drawn attention to LGBT issues.

He says that could impact how some Republican senators who voted for the act in 2013, vote on it now.

“It could make it tough on some of them, but it could also make it easier on some of them,” Keaveny told Missourinet. “It’s harder to defend a staunch opposition to it when ruling after ruling is in support of gay marriage.”

Nine Republican senators voted for the bill in 2013.

One of the opponents of the bill is the Missouri Chamber, who says it would lead to more lawsuits against businesses. Keaveny doesn’t dispute that.

“Yes it does create another cause of action. There’s no denying that, but it’s a justified cause,” said Keaveny. “Why would a business and why would we allow a business to discriminate against an employee for only his sexual preference?”

More than 500 businesses supported the proposal in 2014.

Ground is broken on Boeing expansion in St. Louis

Boeing 777-9x

Boeing 777-9x

Boeing executives were joined today by Governor Jay Nixon, members of Missouri’s Congressional delegation and state and local elected officials to break ground on the company’s expansion in St. Louis to make parts for its 777X commercial aircraft.

Boeing announced in October it would expand its current composite facility and create up to 700 jobs in St. Louis to make parts for the plane. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with work on the parts for the plane to begin in 2017.

The project marks the first time Boeing has brought commercial aircraft production to St. Louis. Boeing’s St. Louis facilities have manufactured military aircraft.

Construction of the 367-thousand square-foot expanded facility will also provide up to 250 full-time construction jobs.

Cerner Corp. $4.45 billion development underway in Kansas City

cerner rendering

Rendering of Trails Campus project, courtesy Cerner Corp.)

Officials in Kansas City, state leaders and Cerner Corporation say a project started today will create up to 16,000 jobs in the next decade as part of a $4.45 billion development. Governor Jay Nixon’s office calls it the largest economic development project in state history.

Cerner, a global health information technology provider, is constructing a 4.7 million-square-foot campus at the former site of the Bannister Mall in Kansas City.

The site is planned to be developed in 16 phases and consist of 16 buildings, and is slated to generate 4,500 construction jobs in the area.

Cerner President Zane Burke told Missourinet, “That’s our expected growth over that ten years time period, is to grow to 16,000 jobs,” said Burke.  “The additional benefit to the community is the building of the project itself, which will create additional jobs to Kansas City as the project is built over that ten year period.”

“These are high-paying, high qualified jobs,” Burke continued.  “Health care workers, software engineers, consultants, very well-paying jobs that will benefit people here in Kansas City and the broad community.”

The facility will include two data centers, on service center, a training/conference center and associate amenities, including an on-site daycare and health clinic. The campus will include 370,000 square feet of retail space restaurants, stores and a hotel.

Governor Jay Nixon, said in his remarks at the event, “By redeveloping hundreds of acres of a blighted area and creating up to 16,000 jobs, Cerner’s Trails Campus will have a profound and positive impact on this region and our state for decades to come.”


Ford rolls out design of F-150 soon to be built in Claycomo, Missouri

Ford officials are launching in Michigan today a newly redesigned truck that will soon be made at Kansas City.

The 2015 Ford F-150 will be built at the Claycomo, Missouri Ford plant.  (photo courtesy; Ford Motor Company, Photo by: Sam VarnHagen)

The 2015 Ford F-150 will be built at the Claycomo, Missouri Ford plant. (photo courtesy; Ford Motor Company, Photo by: Sam VarnHagen)

Ford’s says its latest entry in the popular F-150 truck line uses a “military grade” aluminum body and is the toughest, most efficient truck with the highest towing capacity in that line.

The event in Dearborn marks the first one to roll off an assembly line there, but Vice President of North American Manufacturing Bruce Hettle says production in Kansas City won’t be far behind.

‘We’re launching the truck in Dearborn but as we move into the end of 2014 and into the first quarter of next year we’ll launch the same product at our Kansas City site,” says Hettle.

A new body shop is being built in Kansas City that is just like the one launching today in Dearborn.

Hettle says the new truck requires an all new body shop and stamping technology, which is being readied in Kansas City now.

“The prior, steel vehicle, the body would be welded together. With the aluminum construction we use screws now and a structural adhesive and rivets, so it’s a very different fastening strategy,” says Hettle. “It provides a lot more structural rigidity and tough truck strength, but then we get the benefits of a lighter body which gives us more fuel efficiency.”

Hettle says a rollout of the new truck in Kansas City will happen sometime early next year. It will be for sale in December.

Learn more about the new truck and configure one on Ford’s website.