In Northeast Kansas the winds of opportunity are blowing. The question becomes “are you prepared to seize the moment”?

Over the past months we have sent many emails to promote, encourage and provide insight on the growth opportunities in the Greater Kansas City Kansas area. Greater to us meaning Wyandotte, Leavenworth, and Johnson County. As those of you receiving this email should know (I’ve sent the information before again and again) over a BILLION dollars of construction is in motion due to the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village & Resort and future Casino in Wyandotte County. The opportunity for contracts or subcontracts are available and provision of products and services for ongoing operations is imminent. Where will you and your business stand when the dust clears?

To its merit, Unified Govt of Wyandotte County, Kansas City KS has had the wisdom to appeal to the General Contractor for the Schlitterbahn development for the utilization of women, minority and locally based businesses and unlike any other city in Kansas this efforts has become standard procedure when public funded or supported developments happen in the county. The pathway for consideration is pretty clear, but it is up to business owners to fulfill their role if they want to partake in the opportunities presented.

This month, the developer for the Wyandotte Casino will be chosen. Regardless of which one is chosen and we firmly endorse the Kansas Speedway/Cordish Company’s Hard Rock Cafe proposal, there is a responsibility for the chosen developer to be aggressive in reaching for the M/W/LBE goals established and considering the existing and ongoing disparity or high Black unemployment in Wyandotte county, it all boils down to chance favoring those prepared.

When the Casino/Hotel developer is chosen, there is one other thing that you can bet on. A call will be made to establish a clear link between African American, Women and other Minority Enterprises that feel they can produce quality products and services in a timely manner.

Since the development boom in Wyandotte County, opportunity that should have filtered from the Village West developments to Black and other minority-owned businesses never materialized. The truth of the matter is, blame can be placed across the board, but crying over spilt milk never birthed no baby. Ergo, waiting for opportunity to be signed, sealed and delivered; without putting in personal work and responsibility will produce no results worth writing home about.

For over a year I have heard what did not happen and I have observed and learned what people have not done for themselves,,, but Wyandotte Countians and those residing in close proximity to the county are fortunate to have a second chance that may not come around again for some time. So, those who failed the first time to prepare themselves to compete for opportunities that could change their lives and that of their children, families and neighborhoods are fortunate to be given another chance. The question becomes ‘how will we react’?

If you don’t know what you need to do to be positioned or prepared for the casino/hotel opportunity, then I can only propose that you get with the right people or agency so that you can begin the steps to being prepared. As an insider, I know what it takes, what it will take, what you will need to do, and who you should be speaking with RIGHT NOW in order to effectively compete for future contracting and procurement opportunity.

In an economy that has its challenges to create JOBS, entrepreneurship has its value. Historically, workforce development focused on getting people jobs; even when statistics continue to prove that more jobs and paycheck are created by small businesses. Whether you have dump trucks ready to haul dirt and rock, can provide shuttle transportation, can supply meat to restaurants, or have equipment to paint lines on parking lots,,, there is a lot that it will take to build and maintain operations of the magnitude presented under these new developments. Without giving preferential treatment to anyone, and assuring an equal opportunity to everyone, those willing to take the necessary steps today will probably benefit down the road.

One of the first step you need to take if you are already in business is to ensure you are registered as a vendor with Wyandotte County at:

Next, you need to ensure you have the proper certifications that will position you for companies needing to meet utilization goals set by Unified Government of Wyandotte County and developers. Thanks to the ongoing efforts and advocacy for Minority, Women and Disadvantaged businesses by numerous individuals, companies and agencies like IBSA, the Kansas Governor has signed by Executive Order that the Kansas Dept. of Commerce will now provide the required women and minority business certification (Free of Charge) that can push your business onto the radar of prime contractors and corporations with supplier diversity procurement goals.

Developments of the magnitude in West Wyandotte require a business to fully understand their capacity, product or service and feasibility. So, even though many small legitimate businesses do good work, many have never completed either a feasibility or business plan to ensure they are on point with what they have to offer; and few fully understand what companies are looking for. You can either shoot from the hip or you can ready, aim and fire; it all depends on you and not someone else.

Finally, when you find yourself too small to effectively compete; team up and partner with another business to increase your strength and diminish your weakness. Half of the profits from a half-million dollar contract is way better than winning no contract at all. Others do it when necessary; are you willing to do it too? As a ‘service organization’ we can help any business locate and bring compatible entities to the table in order to foster collaborative agreements and develop mutual working relationships.

Chance favors a prepared mind and opportunity benefits a prepared business.

As for employment opportunities, we will also be speaking with developers about meeting diversity in employment. High unemployment in a land of opportunity is brought on by being unprepared to seize that opportunity. Besides the need for African Americans and other minorities to win more contracts to increase employment opportunities; which will definitely decrease unemployment rates, efforts will be made to prepare, train and conduct job development activities such as negotiating OJT and apprenticeship opportunities. Like contracting, there is a pathway to these jobs but one must take a proactive role in preparing for and seeking out these opportunities. Get help, get plugged in, get in the loop so we can increase our employment numbers and therefore take ownership of our collective destiny.

Government agencies and officials, prime contractors and future businesses should seek you out, but to cover your own base it will take ‘personal responsibility’ to ensure your consideration.

To get plugged in to Schlitterbahn contracting opportunities, you need to visit a special website created by Turner Construction (General Contractor) at:

Opportunities that are not mentioned, promoted or covered by Wyandotte County; because they are in Leavenworth County exist too. Unfortunately, IBSA is one of the few agencies that’s connected with the growth opportunities in that area and because development is spilling over into that county, we want to use our position to help small, minority and disadvantaged businesses tap into these growth opportunities.

Below is a saying that is befitting of the moment: “Those who believe that life is better without risk will also miss most of the opportunities that come their way”


Lazone Grays
IBSA, Inc.

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