An influential economic development leader for almost four decades described by the mayor of Lenexa as a “titan,” has announced his retirement.
Driving the news: Blake Schreck, the longtime CEO of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce and often-consulted expert in city and county growth strategies, will step down in February.
- He has not yet made public his plans for what he will do after that.
Why it matters: Schreck was instrumental in one of Lenexa’s biggest projects – the development of the City Center campus on West 87th Street Parkway, just west of Interstate 435.
- That was a years-long effort to create a new city hub that now holds Lenexa city offices and public market, a recreation center and continuing development of apartments, offices and a hospital nearby.
What else: His hand has also been in the development direction of other Johnson County cities as well.
- He became vice president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce in 1984 and was director of economic development there for 10 years before serving another three years as the CEO of the Olathe Chamber.
- Schreck has been at the Lenexa Chamber since 1999 as CEO and director of economic development.
Zooming out: Schreck has been involved in several corporate headquarters relocations, including Perceptive Software, Kiewit Power, the Sprint Campus and the Environmental Protection Agency office.
- He was also consulted as a negotiator between Missouri and Kansas on the “border wars” escalating use of public incentives to lure businesses from one side of the state line to the other.
What they’re saying: “Blake has been a titan of economic development for Johnson County for decades and we have been blessed to have him working in Lenexa for the past 24 years,” said Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm.
- Boehm also noted Schreck’s work as a regional influencer on development and legislative matters: “On a personal level, I will miss our regular conversations on growth and development strategy as we worked together to grow in Lenexa.”
Bigger picture: Schreck’s career also drew accolades from Kansas Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, who said Schreck’s career has “enhanced not only the physical landscape of Lenexa and Johnson County but has also changed for the better how our communities see themselves as places to live, work and play.”
- Tim Cowden, CEO and president of the Kansas City Area Development Council, noted Schreck’s stature as a development expert.
- “I can’t count the times I ran a regional issue or opportunity by Blake to see how it would play in Johnson County and Kansas, and I’m not the only one,” he said.
What happens next at Lenexa Chamber
A Lenexa Chamber announcement on the retirement said Schreck’s successor has been chosen. The name is expected to be made public next week.
Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.