Missouri Minute: FedEx to hire hundreds in KC area; Ascension to require COVID-19 vaccination

Hello, MBA readers,

As a new mask mandate was announced in Kansas City and a fight continued over the recently enacted mask order in St. Louis County, another major Missouri employer took a significant step to combat the spread of COVID-19. St. Louis-based health care system Ascension said it will require its more than 160,000 employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by this fall, joining a growing number of hospital systems to enact such a requirement. In the Kansas City area, FedEx has announced that it will hire 950 employees in a variety of part-time and full-time roles. The recent uptick in e-commerce has created increased demand for the services of delivery companies. Plus, it’s not exactly breaking news that the pandemic altered the way we spend our time. But a new report offers some specifics on how Americans whiled away their hours in 2020. Among the upshots: less time shopping, driving and dining out, and more time spent in solitude.

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Ascension to require COVID-19 vaccination
The St. Louis-based hospital operator, which is the largest nonprofit Catholic health system in the country, said it will require all of its more than 160,000 employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by this fall. (St. Louis Business Journal)

FedEx to hire hundreds in KC area
The delivery company announced plans to add 950 jobs at locations across the Kansas City area, including full-time and part-time positions. (Kansas City Star)

Medical marijuana group clashes with state over discounts, promotions
The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association is criticizing a recent warning by state regulators that dispensaries cannot advertise sales events or discounts on products. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Cerner to sell major KC campus
The Health care IT company, one of Kansas City’s largest public companies, plans to sell off one of its major campuses. The Kansas City, Kansas, facility is expected to hit the market next month as Cerner considers its real estate needs amid a shift to hybrid work. (Kansas City Star)

Bayer to fight $185 million verdict
The company said Wednesday it may appeal the verdict in the lawsuit filed by teachers exposed to chemicals made by its Monsanto unit. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Biotech company seeks incentives for St. Louis County expansion
Patheon Biologics, a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientifics, is asking the county for $85 million in public incentives to fund its expansion in north St. Louis County. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Stifel profits boom in Q2
The St. Louis-based investment bank reported earnings of $190 million, an 84% increase compared to the same period last year. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Five St. Louis buildings sold as part of industrial portfolio
Transwestern Investment Group sold the industrial properties, along with five others across the Midwest, to San Francisco-based private equity firm Stockbridge Capital. Terms were not disclosed. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Mariner Wealth Advisors to acquire estate planning company
The Overland Park, Kansas-based financial planning firm has agreed to purchase California-based Channel Islands Group, adding $277 million in assets. This is Mariner’s third acquisition in the past four weeks. (Kansas City Business Journal)

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It’s no secret that the pandemic changed the way many people spend their time. But now there’s data to quantify exactly how COVID-19 altered our hours. The annual American Time Use Survey, released last week, showed that Americans spent 26% less time driving, 60% less time in bars and restaurants and significantly more time alone after the pandemic hit in 2020 than they had the year before.

Say that again

“It’s a significant financial investment. When you have things that hurt your vines, it’s not as simple as, ‘Next year we’ll have a good crop again.'”

That’s Harper Smith, a researcher with the University of Missouri Grape and Wine Institute, addressing the impact climate change is having on Missouri’s vineyards. The grape industry in the state is worth about $3.2 billion, but climate change has forced growers to investigate alternative grape strains that are more resistant to extreme weather. The state has experienced colder Aprils over the past few years, leading to frost that often kills budding vines.

Go figure


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City had to cut its budget by one-quarter while its was closed for sixth months during the pandemic, the Beacon reports. The museum also had to lay off 15% of its workforce in October. It is now taking a slow approach to reopening, as the delta variant once again makes Missouri a COVID-19 hotspot. The number of visitors is currently about 70% of pre-pandemic levels. But with their return comes the return of revenue to help offset the losses sustained in 2020.

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Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Wednesday announced the specifics of the city’s new mask mandate, which will take effect Aug. 2 and run through at least Aug. 28. The order will apply to all people over the age of 5 who are inside of public buildings in the city, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, The Kansas City Star reports. Although the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County enacted their own mask mandates, which took effect Monday, the status of the county’s order is in question. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a suit against the mandate, and the St. Louis County Council voted to end the mandate. However, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page insists that the order still stands until the courts determine the status of the lawsuit, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Hello, my name is

Scott Leiendecker

The founder and CEO of St. Louis-based election technology company KnowInk has been named one of 11 regional winners of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. A former local election official, Leiendecker started KnowInk in 2011. Today, the company’s technology is used in elections in nearly 30 states. Nathan McKean, CEO of St. Louis-based concrete and building materials supplier BMC Enterprises, was Missouri’s other honoree in the annual awards.

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


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