VP with KC SmartPort earns supply chain honor

Elli Bowen

KC SmartPort, a nonprofit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies to the Kansas City region and an affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council, announced that Elli Bowen is a recipient of the 2020 “Women in Supply Chain” award from Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

As the Vice President of Business Development for KC SmartPort, Bowen works to close supply-chain related deals for the 18-county, two-state Kansas City region. During the past four years, her projects, including Chewy, Inc., Hostess, Amazon, PAE, Are You Game and American Box, have amounted to $332 million in capital investment, 2,165 jobs, about $78 million in payroll and more than 3.5 million square feet of industrial space.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late-winter 2020, Bowen has worked on 17 freight-based expansion projects, including e-commerce, food production and distribution, and advanced manufacturing, as companies expand to handle increased demand.

In Kansas City, distribution projects are up 25 percent and manufacturing projects are up 21 percent from the same time in 2019, according to the Kansas City Area Development Council.

Through Bowen’s board of directors position on the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, she also works to grant scholarships for local students to attend supply-chain conferences and further their professional connections. In affiliation with the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, as well as local initiatives such as KC Tech Academy and Skilled KC Technical Institute, Bowen also helps cultivate supply chain opportunities and promotes hands-on experience to aspiring professionals. This includes internships, part-time work, full-time employment, technical certifications, higher education programs and more.

“It is essential for women to have a seat at the table as successful companies require diverse leadership teams,” says Bowen. “As the supply chain industry continues to diversify, it’s imperative we all get involved with programs and institutions that are working to attract and train diverse, versatile professionals.”