Missouri Minute: St. Louis sees job growth; Perficient eyes more deals

Good morning, MBA readers,

The St. Louis area added 1,600 new jobs in June, breaking a months-long job-growth slump. In the Kansas City area, CrossFirst Bankshares hopes to get a market valuation of nearly $900 million in its upcoming IPO. Plus, St. Louis IT consultancy Perficient has its eyes on making more acquisitions over the second half of the year. Read on for these and other top business headlines from across Missouri.

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St. Louis area adds 1,600 jobs in June
The St. Lous metro area saw a seasonally adjusted job growth of 1,600 in June and added 21,000 jobs over the last 12 months. Unemployment in the area fell to 3.4% in June from 3.5% in May. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CrossFirst IPO seeks over $885 million market value
Leawood, Kansas-based CrossFirst Bankshares plans to sell about 8.18 million shares during its initial public offering at about $15 a share. The offering could give the bank an initial market cap of about $885.7 million. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Perficient eyes more deals by year’s end
Jeffrey Davis, chairman and CEO of St. Louis IT consultancy Perficient, says the company hopes to complete another acquisition or two by the end of the year. In May, Perficient acquired Sundog Interactive to complement its organic growth. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Joint venture buys KC-area Marriott, plans $17 million renovation
A joint venture between Texas-based Rbn Holdings and Ohio’s Wexford Lodging Advisors has purchased the nearly 400-room Marriott Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. The group plans to spend $17 million to upgrade guest rooms and amenities. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis startup makes first acquisition
Conn Education, which publishes reading materials for K-12 education, has acquired Texas-based Novel Units, a company that publishes teaching guides and student workbooks. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

$8 million upgrades, fee waiver planned at Missouri State Fair
State lawmakers have approved $8 million in upgrades and repairs to the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. This year’s fair, which opens Thursday, will waive late fees for entries to accommodate farmers affected by flooding and tornadoes. (Missourinet)

MU faculty object to tax in new budget model
A letter signed by 172 University of Missouri faculty criticized the university’s policy of taxing a percentage of unspent reserve funds for administrative use. The faculty called the practice a “punishment for success and for being careful with money.” (Columbia Missourian)

KC contract startup moves to new space, brings expanded staff together
Kansas City startup RFP360, which makes technology to streamline the process of filing a request for proposal, has moved to a new office in Leawood, Kansas, allowing the company to bring all of its 41 workers under one roof. RFP360 has more than doubled its staff since December, when it closed on a funding round. (Startland News)

St. Louis manufacturer hires new CEO
Potter Electric Signal, a maker of fire and life safety products, hired 30-year industry veteran Gerald Connolly as CEO. Connolly replaces Benrie Lears, who retired after nearly 40 years with Potter, including 21 years as president and CEO. (St. Louis Business Journal)

In their words

Entrepreneurship lessons from Nana: Social venture part of grandmother’s legacy
Though high-growth startup founders are inspirational, they don’t actually represent the majority of entrepreneurs. Many people apply the entrepreneurial process in other areas of life beyond startups. Today’s guest post features the story of one such entrepreneur, told from the perspective of her granddaughter.

Say that again

“I came from one of those small towns with 356 people. And the reality is, you don’t have doctors there, you don’t have medical services in those small towns. … If we don’t take care of them in the counties, you know, and they end up getting in worse situations, they end up just costing more money.”

That’s Gov. Mike Parson, who spoke to KSMU last week about the Medicaid waiver task force he created this summer. Parson said the task force will consider “everything on the table we can put on the table,” including using federal waivers to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. A priority for the task force is to find a way to drive health care costs down while improving coverage in rural counties. Parson added that the task force will consider ways to improve access to health care in rural counties through options such as telemedicine and mobile offices.

Go figure

That’s how much Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s family farm received in federal bailout last year amid escalating trade tensions with China, The Kansas City Star reports. The payment to Hartzler Farms in Harrisonville is almost 14 times the average payout to Missouri farmers of $7,915. Subsidies to Missouri farmers over the last two years totaled $444 million. A spokesman said Hartzler and her husband have the same challenges as other farmers in the region, from declining commodity prices to market uncertainty. Hartzler, a Republican, has been a consistent supporter of President Donald Trump’s trade policies.

Hello, my name is

Victor Hwang
The vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will leave his post at the end of the year, Startland News reports. Hwang, who joined the Kauffman Foundation in 2016, has not specified what he will do next, but indicated that he will remain in the sphere of entrepreneurship and advocacy. The foundation has yet to name Hwang’s successor, but Hwang said he plans to continue acting as a champion for the organization and its programs.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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