Missouri Minute: Cerner swaps employees with major client; Helzberg offers in-store marriages

Good morning, MBA readers,

After a three-year absence, Missouri once again has a team in the Major League Baseball playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals face the Atlanta Braves today in the first game of a postseason they hope ends with World Series rings. Speaking of bling, Kansas City’s Helzberg Diamonds has ordained hundreds of its employees so it can offer marriage ceremonies at its stores. In a different kind of union news, workers in the St. Louis and Kansas City regions are on the 17th day of the national labor strike against General Motors, as the company and the workers remain far apart on key issues. Scroll down to learn more about these stories and other business news from around the state.

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Recruiting top tech talent ‘Back2KC’
This week’s episode of the Speaking Statrtup podcast features a conversation with an organizer of #Back2KC, an event designed to bring top technology professionals with Kansas City roots back to the area. Plus, we chat with a Missouri entrepreneur whose frustrations as a software contractor led him to launch an AI startup.

Stay alert

UAW rejects GM offer that ‘came up short’
The United Auto Workers rejected a contract offer from General Motors this week, claiming the offer “came up short” in areas like health care, wages, job security and the use of temporary employees. (Fox Business)

Parson names Zellers as revenue director
Gov. Mike Parson has named acting director Ken Zellers the permanent head of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Zellers joined the department in 2017 as chief operating officer. (MBA)

Funding boosts Missouri construction jobs, shortage of jobs
Missouri added 2,300 construction jobs between July and August thanks to a windfall of federal infrastructure grants. Yet, an industry group says 80% of state’s contractors don’t have enough workers to catch up. (Missourinet)

State investigates dozens of gas station gambling terminals
The Missouri Highway Patrol has launched a probe into 73 complaints of alleged illegal gambling machines, such as video slot machines, in gas stations, truck stops and other businesses across the state. The investigations were sparked by citizen complaints that the unregulated devices are illegal. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Page appoints Stenger rival, Bi-State alum to city-county merger board
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has nominated nine people to serve on the Board of Freeholders, which will explore a potential city-county merger in St. Louis. Page’s nominees include Mark Mantovani, who lost the Democratic nomination for county executive to Steve Stenger, and former Bi-State Development Agency CEO John Nations. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Cerner swaps employees with major client
Cerner announced this week that California-based Adventist Health will hire about 1,500 Cerner associates, including 360 from the health care IT company’s North Kansas City headquarters. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Forever 21 puts three KC stores on the chopping block
Los Angeles-based Forever 21 has released a list of 350 stores worldwide that could close as part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, including three of six stores in the Kansas City metro area. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Helzberg Diamonds offers marriage ceremony
Seizing on shifting engagement trends, Kansas City-based Helzberg Diamonds is now offering “Hitched at Helzberg,” an official in-store marriage ceremony service, free of charge. The company recently ordained hundreds of its employees so that every one of its 200-plus stores can perform legal marriage ceremonies during regular business hours. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Charles County to buy 286 acres from UM System
St. Charles County plans to buy 286 acres from the University of Missouri System for $2 million. About 86 acres would be used for future park development and the rest leased to the Missouri Bluffs Golf Course, which currently leases the land for $100,000 annually. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Former Bunge leader to take over top role at St. Louis Science Center
Todd Bastean, who retired Monday from his role leading the North American business of grain trader Bunge, has been named president and CEO of the St. Louis Science Center. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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Where can you get the most bang for your homebuying buck? You could do worse than Missouri, according to a recent report. The state has the 10th-lowest median listing price per square foot, according to SmartAsset, a provider of personal finance data.

Say that again

“Everyone that says that (they are) for or against (airport privatization), they have no idea, because there’s literally nothing in front of us to say what we can make a decision on.”

That’s St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed’s take on the hotly debated prospect of privatizing the city’s airport, St. Louis Public Radio reports. Reed, who signs all city contracts and holds one of four votes on the St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group, seems to consider the privatization debate futile until the council starts approving bidder requests for qualification and requests for proposal. There’s nothing to really discuss until there are actual bidders on the table, he says.

Go figure


St. Louisans can no longer pride themselves on living in the city with the lowest national ATM fees, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. Although the city’s average of $4.25 is still low in comparison with the rest of the country, Los Angeles ($4.21) and Seattle ($4.15) have the St. Louis average beat. Houston has the highest average fee of $5.58.

Hello, my name is

Nabil Cabbabe
The former Simmons Bank commercial lender was named president of Houston Bank and will start later this month, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Chartered in Houston, a southern Missouri town with a population of 2,000, the bank was purchased in July for $2 million by around 80 investors and has just $30 million in assets. The bank plans to focus its business in St. Louis, particularly in commercial and Small Business Administration lending, the type of work Cabbabe says he’s most suited for.

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


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