Port Of Kansas City Names Jon Stephens As New President And Chief Executive Officer
Officials at Port KC named Jon Stephens, a long-time economic development and civic executive, as president and CEO on September 18. With more than 20 years of leadership experience spanning development, tourism and civic affairs, Stephens comes to his new role from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., where he served most recently as director of economic development. Stephens will start at the port October 8.
Dana Gibson, commission chairperson, and CiCi Rojas, commissioner, led the eight-month search process with support from the full commission and recruitment firm Fenaroli & Associates.
“A comprehensive, nationwide search for the next dynamic leader of Port KC led us to our own backyard and Jon,” said Gibson. “We were drawn to Jon because of his track record in economic development, his creative vision and his deep knowledge of Kansas City. Port KC is poised to accomplish great things for our city with our new dynamic leadership.”
Stephens grew up in the Hickman Mills area of Kansas City and attended the University of Missouri. Beginning his career in advertising and marketing, he turned those skills to executive and community leadership, first as president of the Kansas City Power & Light District, then as president and CEO of Visit KC and several other interim executive and consulting roles through his firm, Rockhill Strategic.
“Playing a key role in the continued transformation of Kansas City is simply a dream come true,” he said. “As a city, we have ignored the river for too long. It is one of our most vital assets. We must continue a thoughtful and lasting return of people, business, entertainment and economic vitality to the riverfront.”
Troy Schulte, city manager, said he was impressed with Stephens’ knowledge of the issues, and his commitment to serving as a collaborative community leader.
“Port KC’s work is vital to the economic growth of our city and region,” said Schulte. “With Jon in that chair, I am confident that we have thoughtful visionary and collaborative leadership.”
Stephens is active in many local and industry organizations, including the Visit KC Board, Arts KC Board of Directors, the American Cancer Society and many more.