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Four years later, auto-parts company follows KU business students' suggestion to open plant in KCK
A newly reported move of a manufacturing facility from Missouri to Kansas is at least partially thanks to a group of one-time KU business students.
Back in 2008, a mix of graduate students and undergrads in a KU School of Business course had a real-world class project, according to Wally Meyer, the school's director of entrepreneurship programs, to determine which of about 100 General Motors parts suppliers might benefit most from moving closer to the company's Fairfax assembly facility.
After some analysis, they picked Flex-N-Gate, an Illinois-based company that supplies bumpers to the Fairfax plant. The students met with GM, Flex-N-Gate and the Kansas City, Kan., mayor's office, also recommending incentives the different parties could offer to one another as well as a potential building for Flex-N-Gate.
Any action resulting from that process was delayed for a while by GM's subsequent bankruptcy and reorganization, but last week the Kansas City Business Journal reported that Flex-N-Gate is preparing to move into the very building those students recommended. It had leased another location in Kansas City, Mo., last year, announcing that a new facility would create about 300 jobs.
So, Meyer says, the students not only got some authentic real-world experience; they also, in the end, helped out the economy of their home state.