By Kayla Regan
A winning professional sports team makes a metropolitan area a more attractive place to live, said Jordan Rappaport, Kansas City Fed economist.
“It’s akin to having nice weather,” he said, citing previous Bank research.
According to this research, then, Kansas City has had a great year - not only because of the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, but also because of the 2023 NFL Draft, which was held in Kansas City in April. Few in the city likely had a better view of the fun than those at the Kansas City Fed, with the Super Bowl parade and draft festivities occurring on the Liberty Memorial Lawn and Union Station, right across from the Bank’s headquarters.
“A year like this is unlikely to happen again,” said Melissa Jackson, Public Affairs vice president. “That’s why the Bank took the opportunity to go all-in, particularly for the NFL draft.”
Not only did employees get to take part in the festivities, but dozens of individuals across multiple teams played parts in making sure the Bank was able to fully take advantage of its location ahead of the draft and remain fully operational during the event. Planning for the draft started in mid-2022 with meetings between the NFL and the Bank’s Business Continuity, Law Enforcement, Facilities and Public Affairs teams.
“We’ve obviously worked on parades and presidential visits, but that didn’t affect the Bank directly,” said Al Pisterzi, Law Enforcement assistant vice president. “This event was much broader in scale, not only because it was over three days, but also because it was seven months of preparation.”
Approximately 40 Federal Reserve Law Enforcement officers and operators collaborated with dozens of local and national agencies to guarantee the area was safe and secure for visitors. More than 100 external officers used the Bank building, courtyard and freight dock to track drones in the sky, power technology and equipment, and monitor activity in the area.
“Although it (the draft) was massive, the officers and dispatchers loved working it because it was different,” Pisterzi said. “It was out of the ordinary routine, and it gave us an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with external partners.”
Approximately 20 members of the Bank’s Facilities team worked with the NFL to build boundaries, ensure employee access to the building and fulfill maintenance requests related to the Draft. The team also made sure the building looked its best for the event by dressing the front entrance statues in Chiefs gear and installing new outdoor lighting that lit the Bank in red and blue, much like the rest of the Kansas City skyline.
Matt Ruemker, Facilities assistant vice president, said one of the biggest challenges was having such a short window of time to execute on months of planning.
“Our plans had to be extremely well orchestrated,” he said, “and we had to execute them in a way that properly represented the bank because we were being featured on local and national media.”
To be extra prepared, the team had back-up vendors on call and multiple contingency plans in place, said Facilities assistant vice president Josh Woods.
“We prepared for the worst, with not knowing what to expect or what would happen with 300,000 people right across the street, but everything went off without a hitch,” Woods said.
The Money Museum, just steps away from the Draft, also got in the spirit of the event. Before the Draft kicked off, External Linklocal news outlets covered the museum’s special plans for the week, as well as decorated exterior. With more than 300 visitors from across the country, the museum offered football-themed activities, an interactive origami exhibit and shredded money bags designed specifically for Draft fans.
“The Money Museum went all out for the draft, and it was great to have so many visitors enjoy the space for the first time,” said Money Museum coordinator Elizabeth Hartzler.
Jackson said she was pleased with how well Bank employees worked across multiple functions to execute on months of planning.
“This was a once-in-a-career opportunity, and we’re so happy that our teams worked together to help make the Draft special for the public, visitors to the Money Museum and employees,” Jackson said.
The singularity of the event wasn’t lost on employees, either.
"From a career perspective, one thing that was really cool was seeing the Bank in the backdrop of NFL draft, whether it was in person, on the news or in photos,” said Woods.
“It really brings home the value of the work we do, and I think many employees saw that."
By the Numbers
312,000 visitors to the draft
300+ visitors to the Money Museum
~80 employees involved
12 outside law enforcement agencies involved
30,000+ reached through social media
6 million impressions from local news mentions