My name is Kevin Koster. I am a marketing and business value advisor, a 4th generation Kansas Citian and someone who never in a million years thought he would be in the middle of a city-wide debate. But important questions concerning KCI’s future were not being asked, let alone answered.
On the Saturday before Easter 2013, I read an article reporting that the city was paying a PR firm $117,000 to sell the idea of a new single-terminal for KCI. Having already read the proposal, it was easy enough to understand. What was hard to understand were the reasons behind it. The explanations offered as to why we needed to invest a billion dollars into a recently renovated terminal were at best misinformed and at worst, intentionally false and misleading. The fact that the city felt it needed to spend over $100,000 to spin it seemed to validate those concerns. And no one in the media was questioning any of it.
So in frustration I created a quick website and asked how aviation officials could be saying that KCI was horrible and that we needed a new terminal while at the same time, the KCCVA was marketing the city as convenient and inexpensive for conventions because of our great airport that had even been recognized as best in class by J.D. Power.
By Monday the site had been discovered and immediately became something of a lightning rod, the media were calling and the conversation was on. Thousands of visitors came to the site in the first few days. That week, the city council advanced the single-terminal proposal to the FAA for consideration which only turned up the volume of the conversation and I found myself with a new part-time blogging job. Someone flew a banner at Royals opening day directing people to the site. A group called Friends of KCI formed to gather petition signatures. Eventually, Mayor Sly James called time-out and appointed a citizen task force to re-evaluate the issue. I was honored to be asked to participate.
To be very clear: It was not that I was against a new terminal, but that I was against it for the reasons stated. They were shaky reasons to spend a billion+ on a new terminal and in some cases as we’ve learned since, simply untrue. As we progressed in our task force hearings, it became increasingly clear to me and to others with an open mind, that the proposal never should have advanced as far as it did. Thanks to the public outcry and an 18-month delay caused by the appointment of the task force, we are finally having a discussion. Most importantly the airlines, left out of the original conversation, are now involved. So are you.