Project Wichita Continues to Next Phase

By Bill Wood
Partner, Foulston & Siefkin
2018 Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bill Wood leads the Chamber Board as Chairman in 2018.

Project Wichita is a community engagement process that is being utilized to identify the future we want for our region and the steps necessary to achieve it. The listening sessions and focus groups for the first phase of Project Wichita have concluded and the co-chairs for the initiative have reported that input was received from 239+ focus groups and 3,800+ participants, ranging in age from 9 to 90.

I’m pleased that our Chamber team initiated and led 9 focus groups with 274 participants as we sought responses from the Young Professionals of Wichita, Past Chairmen and Chairwomen of the Chamber, the Small Business Committee, our regional partners, the Board of Directors, our Board of Advisors and participants from our 2017 Diversity and Inclusion listening tour.

Project Wichita co-chairs have shared eight major topics that are on the minds of the community.

  • Downtown Area (Downtown development and innovation, Old Town, Delano and entertainment districts, retail shopping, etc.)
  • Riverfront (Create destination place for entertainment, leverage river as community destination, performing arts venue and conference/convention center)
  • Strong Neighborhoods and Communities (Affordable housing options, support unique and diverse neighborhood cultures, safety and infrastructure issues)
  • Cultural Arts and Attractions (Cultural investment in museums, art, entertainment and restaurants, natural attractions, festivals, diverse entertainment options)
  • Economic Opportunity (Industry diversity and balance, emphasis on technology, promote education hub, workforce development)
  • Transportation (Completion of Kellogg and regional expressways, enhanced/improved public transit, air serves and connections, passenger trains and bike/walking paths)
  • Education (K-12 improvement and investment, all levels of higher education and pathways, increased emphasis on STEM, establish goals for graduation and global preparedness)
  • Community Wellness (Mental health care, access to quality health care, care for aging populations and homelessness)

The next step in this process is underway. A digital survey launched on June 18. It will remain open through July 6. Your input is vital to this phase and we hope that you’ll share the link found on projectwichita.org with your colleagues and neighbors. The survey results will be used to develop an action plan focused on the next ten years.

As a member of the Project Wichita Visioning Team I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about any phase of the initiative. I welcome your input and I look forward to continuing to share more information with you during the process.

Member Minute with the Alzheimer’s Association

1820 E. Douglas | 316-267-7333
Follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
alz.org/cwkansas/

Fe Vorderlandwehr is the Executive Director of the local chapter of the Association, which serves 68 counties in Kansas.

Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined each year? This month is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and Executive Director Fe Vorderlandwehr is featured in this Member Minute to share ways you can get involved to find a cure. And be sure to mark your calendar for Oct. 13 for the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Please tell us a little bit about your organization.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. We work on a global, national and local level to provide care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure.

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

The Association is the leading voice for Alzheimer’s disease advocacy, fighting for critical Alzheimer’s research, prevention and care initiatives at the state and federal level. We diligently work to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded in 1980 by a group of family caregivers. Today, the Association reaches millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s across the globe through our headquarters in Chicago, a public policy office in Washington, D.C., and a presence in communities across the country. The local chapter serves 68 counties throughout central & western Kansas and is located in Wichita. They operate with a staff of 8 and countless volunteers.

Describe your organization’s most recent success.
We recently hosted our inaugural Memory Gala. This first-time event brought together over 340 civic and community leaders. It allowed us to not only expand our reach and share our message with many for the first time, but it also raised over $384,000 to help fund local care, support and research programs.

Also, on June 1, Governor Jeff Coyler signed the Executive Order to authorize the development of an Alzheimer’s Kansas State Plan. With the Order, all 50 states now have a state plan.

On June 1, Governor Jeff Coyler authorized the development of an Alzheimer’s Kansas State Plan. 

To what do you attribute your success?
We have a great Board of Directors and passionate committee volunteers representing many different industries and interests. But we all are working together to achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

What is something people may not know about you or your organization?
We provide respite grants for caregivers. While care giving can be rewarding, it can also create tension and exhaustion. Without some time off, the mental and physical health of the caregiver becomes affected. This could reduce the quality of care for the loved one. The purpose of the Respite Assistance Program is to provide family caregivers time to do necessary or desired activities. The program helps pay for care for the loved one while the caregiver gets a short break, respite. The program can allow the caregiver to do things such as: go to the beauty shop, have lunch with a friend, maintain the garden, visit the physician, take a nap, and more. With this program, we hope to ease the burden on families by helping with some of the costs. 

What differentiates your organization from your others in similar spaces?
We are the largest Alzheimer’s-related nonprofit that provides care and support programs AND research.

As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure. Our peer-reviewed research grant program has invested over $385 million in more than 2,500 scientific investigations since 1982. 

Where do you see your organization in five years?
It is important that while we look toward funding research we continue to provide care and support. The Association will contribute to research breakthroughs that are life-changing for people with Alzheimer’s disease by driving the international research agenda.

The Association will contribute to a dramatic increase (e.g., to 90 percent) in the accurate and timely diagnosis of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and a significant increase in the number of people with dementia and their caregivers who receive affordable, high-quality care and support (e.g., to 80 percent of people with the disease).

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Participating in community activities is something that we enjoy. We have been a part of the Wichita WagonMaster’s Chili Cook-Off, ICT Open Streets, Wichita Women’s Fair, Wichita Pride, and Final Fridays in the Douglas Design District.

What about your organization are you most passionate?
Finding a cure! And the path toward a cure is research. The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the largest funders for Alzheimer’s research, behind only the American and Chinese governments.

THE CHAMBER
What do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?

Being part of the Chamber not only helps us with community outreach and awareness but with community engagement as well. Outreach and engagement are two separate things. The Chamber allows us to reach more businesses as well as engage not only them but ourselves with the community.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
The Sunrise Scramblers are a wonderful way to start the day. Getting to network and know members from the community, as well as hear from great speakers on relevant topics are reasons why we are part of the Scrambler Club and we reserve a seat at breakfast for the entire year!

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your organization?
It has given us access to business and community leaders and allowed us to explore partnerships that can be mutually beneficial.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10 – Really the question isn’t ‘why to join’ but ‘why not join’. The Chamber offers so many different ways to get involved and meet fellow business colleagues and leaders. You can choose how to be involved and what areas interest you.

NONPROFIT
What is the greatest challenge in operating a nonprofit?
Outreach. We have a small staff of 8 individuals and cover 68 counties in Kansas. We just can’t physically be everywhere, however, we have great volunteers and ambassadors that help us with education classes, programs and fundraisers. We are always looking for more passionate volunteers to help us reach and engage our community members in central and western Kansas.

Mark your calendar for Oct.13 for the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at INTRUST Bank Arena.

How can people get involved with your organization?
We have many volunteer opportunities that range from fundraising, marketing, education, office help, special events, etc.  If you are looking for a way to get involved, please give us a call. Whatever your interest or skills, I know there is a volunteer opportunity. For example, we have some volunteers that help sew “busy blankets” for those with Alzheimer’s, some help download iPods with music for our Roth Project, some help with data entry, some help plan events, and so much more.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
I’ve always described Wichita as the “largest” small town. Even though there is close to 400,000 residents in Wichita (and over 640,000 total for the metro area), there is still a strong sense of community and of helping your neighbors and fellow citizens. I feel we get the best of both worlds.

OTHER
Favorite app?
Walk to End Alzheimer’s App. Staying up to date with your Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising progress is easy! Just click on the My Fundraising Progress button to get real-time goal and raised amounts. Take advantage of all your potential donors with email addresses by sending them an email donation ask. Schedule posts on Facebook, too! You can choose from a list of weekly messages or other timely messages to automatically post on your Facebook Timeline and your friends’ News Feeds just like any posts shared from the Facebook app.

Favorite business book?
Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell.  It is a short read but a great read – a great guide to being a better leader and mentor.

Is there anything else you would like to include? 

Purple Goldfish authors coming to Wichita

Authors and customer experience leaders Evan Carroll and David Rendall will be speaking in Wichita on June 21. Their three-hour workshop is titled “Think Outside the Bowl: Creating a World-Class Experience to Drive Customer Loyalty and Advocacy” and is based on the Purple Goldfish book series. The workshop will challenge attendees to think differently about their customers and to do the little things that make a big difference in customer experience. The program is presented by AMA Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. It will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 at The Hudson – directly following Wichita American Marketing Association’s Awards luncheon.

Evan Carroll is an NPR, CBS, and New York Times featured author, keynote speaker, Veteran SXSW presenter, and IBM Futurist who humanizes technology to connect with customers, engage employees and drive a stronger bottom line. As a workshop facilitator, Evan inspires companies to leverage technology, data, and analytics to drive customer loyalty and advocacy. He is the author of two books: Blue Goldfish and Your Digital Afterlife.

During the last fifteen years, David Rendall has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the US Air Force, Australian Government, and Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, United Health Group, Fannie Mae and State Farm. David has a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership, as well as a graduate degree in psychology. He is the author of four books: The Four Factors of Effective Leadership; The Freak Factor; The Freak Factor for Kids; and Pink Goldfish.

Emily Juhnke of Gardner Design is the incoming president of Wichita’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and has heard Evan speak on previous occasions. “The AMA is made up of professionals who are leaders in their fields of expertise, and this definitely includes Evan and David,” Emily said. “We’re so excited for Wichita businesses to benefit from their insights, which, when applied, will no doubt lead to increased sales and profitability.”

“We’re thrilled to have national thought-leaders like Evan and David joining us in Wichita,” said Chamber Director of Engagement Rachel Douglass. “When the Wichita American Marketing Association secured them for their annual awards luncheon and asked if we’d like to partner on a post-luncheon workshop, it was a no-brainer. The importance of customer service and overall differentiation is key to the success of our local businesses – and our community’s economic growth.”

Tickets are available for $45, and each ticket holder will receive will receive a signed copy of Purple Goldfish ($15.95 value) and a copy of the Purple Goldfish Workbook ($19.95 value). Register at wichitachamber.org.

More #ILoveWichita Events and Promotions in 2018

2018 Chamber Chairman Bill Wood threw out the first pitch at the June 6 Wichita Wingnuts game and modeled the Wichita flag jerseys the team will wear on June 9.

The #ilovewichita movement has been making some measurable progress since it was initiated in 2015. The informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign is centered around the promotion of the city’s official flag and a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners have resulted in a positive platform and a powerful microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Measurable Results
Last year the Chamber’s Quality of Place committee recommended leveraging the ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. The committee’s chair, Ben Hutton, challenged Chamber Board members to apply an #ilovewichita decal to their front door to show community support and to use the same hashtag in their company and personal Twitter postings. He also extended the challenge to Chamber members.

The number of #ilovewichita Tweets has grown significantly since 2015.

The result was a major jump in the hashtag usage last year. Research by social media monitoring expert Ian Anderson Gray showed a significant increase from 913 mentions on Twitter in 2016 to 9,342 mentions in 2017—all without paid advertising or sponsored posts.

2018 Events and Promotions
Since its inception the campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. In early 2018, the area’s minor league hockey team, the Wichita Thunder, hosted the first-ever #ilovewichita community pride night. The team wore specially-designed Wichita flag-themed jerseys for the January 20 game against the Colorado Eagles and the first 500 fans received special Wichita flag rally towels. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell dropped the ceremonial hockey puck to kick off the game.

Adam Ortega of Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems designed and installed the new decal on the Chambers pedestal sign.

Chamber members M.A.D. Ad Company and Midwest Billboards have committed to accelerating the movement this year with a partnership that includes donating ad space to the cause. M.A.D. Ad Company has donated space on mirrored billboard displays that are positioned in area bars and restaurants, and Midwest Billboards has donated space on nine of their Wichita-area electronic billboards. The space utilizes repurposed images and content posted on Instagram using the hashtag #ilovewichita. Watch our social media channels later today (June 8) for a video announcement about a new social media contest.

The hashtag got another major boost this year when Wichita hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It was utilized by Chamber partners Visit Wichita, the City of Wichita and INTRUST Bank Arena along with numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals. Our partnership with Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems in producing a giant basketball hoop and backboard included a large #ilovewichita decal and the seven-day social media contest they sponsored incorporated the hashtag in photos with the 3-dimensional display.

This month Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems donated and applied an #ilovewichita decal to Chamber signage just in time for the annual Wichita River Festival. And the Wichita Wingnuts, Wichita’s independent baseball team and a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball Association, are hosting an #ilovewichita night of baseball this Saturday at 7 p.m. when they take on the Kansas City T-Bones. The team will be wearing special Wichita flag jerseys designed just for this game.

Our thanks to all of our partners who continue to fuel pride in our region and improve our quality of life and place.

Gaulding Promoted to Accountant

Peter Gaulding has been promoted to Accountant.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has promoted Peter Gaulding to Accountant effective June 1. Peter joined the Chamber two years ago in a part-time accounting clerk role to perform billing duties. He moved to a full-time position earlier this year and his additional duties as an Accountant will include monthly reconciliations, report creation and preparation of tax returns. He is a recent graduate of Wichita State University with an Accounting degree.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said Peter earned his promotion through dedication and hard work. “During his tenure with the Chamber, Peter has assumed increasing levels of responsibility and the successful completion of his accounting education will allow him to perform professional-level accounting work. His assistance with a planned move to advanced technology tools will be critical to the success of the project.”

In his off hours, Peter is a drummer in a local alternative rock band called Letters from Rome. You can catch him at Riverfest on Thursday, June 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Food Court Stage.

Congratulations on your promotion, Peter, and on the great band gig at Wichita’s biggest party! We’ll be there rocking with you.

Peter is also a drummer in a local band called Letters from Rome.

Is the Wichita Flag Copyrighted?

Both the Chamber and the City of Wichita frequently field questions about the legal and design rights surrounding the Wichita flag. The simple answer is this: the Wichita flag is not copyrighted and never will be. The City of Wichita proudly uses the flag as a symbol of local government and allows others to use it for personal and/or commercial use.

Over the last several years, the flag has become more popular and widely used. You will see it on shirts, cups, skateboards, home decor, chocolate, tattoos and more. Since the flag is public domain, businesses and individuals are allowed to truly make the flag their own.

National Flag Day is next week on June 14. It’s the day that both the U.S. flag and the Wichita flag were officially adopted. We’re encouraging flag enthusiasts to show their community spirit by posting Wichita flag photos on social media and using #ILoveWichita with the images they share.

Check the June issue of VIP Wichita magazine for a two-sided coloring sheet with information about the flag’s history and symbolism.

History & Symbolism

The famous Wichita flag was designed in 1937 by a local artist named Cecil McAlister. McAlister placed an abundance of meaning in his design and it is one that has stood the test of time. The red and white rays symbolize the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc represents happiness and contentment. The white center includes a Native American symbol called a hogan, which means “permanent home.”

Learn more about the flag’s symbolism and history in this video, titled Your Wichita flag.

Helpful Links

Last Day to Nominate Innovators, Challenge Seekers and Continual Learners

Still mulling over who to nominate for our 2018 Leadership Wichita class? Three program graduates offer some insight into the qualities they look for when submitting nominations. Submit your nomination today on the Chamber’s website.

Coleen Tabor

CONTINUAL LEARNERS
Coleen Tabor,
Talent and Diversity Director
at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I consider these qualifications when making my nominations: people who have demonstrated leadership capabilities by leading cross-functional teams both inside
the company and in the community; people who show a strong commitment to continuous learning in both personal and professional realms and whose commitment is based in a humble understanding of their strengths and opportunities for growth; and people who have a desire to impact the region by building economic and cultural value for all community members.”

Matt Cortez

CHALLENGE SEEKERS
Matt Cortez,
VP & Opportunities Studio Lead
at GLMV Architecture

“When submitting my nomination for the program, I look for the intangible qualities in a person that allow them to see opportunities in every difficulty (along with qualifications that show up on a resume). These individuals must have integrity, they must be
visionaries and they also must have a substantial amount of grit to overcome challenges.”

INNOVATORS
Sheelu Surender,
Director of 
Financial Aid and Scholarships
at Wichita State University

Sheelu Surender

“The individuals I nominate have a passion and commitment for innovation and growth, both in their organizations and in our community. They are leaders who give of their time, talent and resources to advance the greater good. As they participate in the program and gain a greater understanding of the local environment, the perspective gained will be transformative.”

Today is the last day to nominate our next group of 30 community changers who will participate in the 2018 Leadership Wichita class. This annual immersive experience is managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and the program runs between August 23 and November 14. Visit wichitachamber.org/leadershipwichita for more information about the program or contact the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement, Jonathan Long, at 316-268-1170.

2018 Small Business Award Winners Announced Today

Watermark Books & Café and Allmetal Recycling, LLC are the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Businesses of the Year. The Chamber made the announcement at today’s award luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. Watermark Books & Cafe represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Allmetal Recycling represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas: leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

Watermark Books & Cafe is our Tier One 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Watermark Books & Café opened its doors in 1 977 and is located at 4701 E. Douglas. Twenty-five employees at the independent bookstore keep the minds and bodies of their customers fed by hosting interesting reading events involving nationally-known authors and selling made-from-scratch café items. Owner Sarah Bagby credits her success to a passionate staff and a complex marketing infrastructure as well as her partnerships with authors, area businesses, schools, publishers, and literary houses. A champion of local authors, Bagby said, “We love to bolster stories being written in Wichita.”

Allmetal Recycling is our Tier Two 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Founded in 2009, Allmetal Recycling, LLC currently employs a team of seventy-seven and is located at 800 E. 21st St. N. The company has been growing its footprint and changing the culture as well as attitudes about the scrap metal and recycling industry with the tagline, Not your typical scrap yard. Owner and general manager Clint Cornejo said, “We set out to change the image of the industry. Safety is our top priority and we’ve created a friendly environment for our customers.”

The Presenting Sponsors of the 2018 Awards program were Mahaney Roofing Company and The Monarch. Joe Ontjes of Luminous Neon, Inc. gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up almost 90 percent of the Wichita Regional Chamber membership. The Small Business Awards program, now in its 14th year, is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

2018 Small Business Awards Finalists

Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)

McCurdy Auction, LLC
Paint the Towne
Reverie Coffee Roasters
Shelden Architecture
Watermark Books & Cafe

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)

Allmetal Recycling, LLC
Elite Staffing Solutions
Stearman Field Bar & Grill
The Anchor

Visit the Chamber’s Facebook page to see photos of the event. Videos highlighting each of the finalists will be posted to the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Member Minute with The McGinty Machine Co.

222 N. Hydraulic – Wichita, KS 67214 –  (316) 269-3344
mcgintymachine.com | Facebook and Twitter: @mcgintymachine

The McGinty Machine Company, Inc. was recently honored as a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics 2017 Elite Supplier. The company started building airplane parts seven decades ago and has earned other supplier awards from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Owner and President Don McGinty shares more information about his company’s achievements, Chamber involvement and the Wichita business environment in today’s Member Minute.

Don McGinty is the President and Owner of The McGinty Machine Co.

Company background
My dad and uncle started The McGinty Machine Company, Inc., to build parts for war planes and general aviation in the mid-1940s. Since then, McGinty Machine has delivered quality precision-machined parts and customer service to the Wichita community and beyond. We offer both blue streak (or expedited) and long-term production, including sheet metal and small, benchtop assembly. We believe in quality, customer service and working as a team with our customers, so they can be the very best at what they do.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Most recently, we were honored as a 2017 Elite Supplier from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Only 23 suppliers, representing the top two percent of Lockheed Martin’s suppliers, earned this based on at least 98 percent quality, 98 percent delivery and a $1 million contract value. We had 100 percent quality and delivery.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recently named The McGinty Machine Company a 2017 Elite Supplier. The company’s performance has earned them other awards.

To what do you attribute your success?
This is a second-generation business, and we’ve survived because of the foundation my father and mother left. I also attribute our success to our team. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Reliability – Our customers know they can count on us.
Longevity – They know we will be with them year after year as we have been for the past 70+ years.
Experience – We have more than 30 years’ experience at the lead and throughout our company.
Innovation – We are always looking to improve our processes to provide quality work for our customers.
Quality – Quality is number one for our company.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Most people don’t realize the technology involved in manufacturing and how quickly it’s advancing.

Where do you see your business in five years?
Continuing to grow and expand our capabilities with the addition of new technology.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Quality. Customer service. Technology. Innovation.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Our company supports a variety of community and civic activities, including the Wichita Open (formerly Air Capital Classic), Wichita Aero Club, Wichita Children’s Home, and many others. Our employees are active with a number of organizations, and as a company, we try to support those as best as we can. Personally, I am involved with the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee and on the Wichita Aero Club board.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
I joined the Chamber to be more involved and to stay in touch with our decision makers. I’ve developed connections throughout the community and especially like serving on the Government Relations Committee.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I enjoy the government relations events the most because of the opportunity to talk with and hear directly from decision makers. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet other business leaders at various awards and roundtable events.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague? Why?
10. The connections are invaluable no matter what stage of life or business you are in.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
There are many challenging factors in running a small business. The labor force is one of those factors. Recruiting the talent needed to succeed can be a challenge as a small business.

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
Being your own boss is both stressful and rewarding. It allows you to grow something for your family and the people working for you.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
Don’t be afraid to try and fail. This is how you gain experience in your industry. If one thing isn’t working, change it. Keep trying until you get to where you want to be.

Something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I’d had a better understanding of the market’s up and down trends. It’s important to understand this, so you can prepare and protect your business. Also, keeping your debt service at a minimal to not overextend yourself or your business is important to know.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
There is no better place to live or do business than Wichita. I grew up here. I enjoy the people, the community, and the ease of getting around.

Earlier this month the 55 members of The McGinty Machine Company team celebrated their supplier award.

Help Shape Our Region with a Leadership Wichita Nomination

We asked three area leaders why they have consistently nominated candidates for the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program. They shared their responses in the Chamber Update that published in today’s Wichita Eagle. We’re also sharing them here to inspire you to submit a nomination before May 25.

VALUE

Sheelu Surender

Sheelu Surender, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Wichita State University

“I nominate someone for the Leadership Wichita program every year because of the tremendous value I believe it offers participants, their organizations and the larger community. The program is unique in that it brings together cross sections of our community and offers a rare opportunity to learn, network and develop relationships with other leaders who are committed to improving and growing our community.

“This type of intensive immersion, over a relatively short period of time, truly connects participant with their community and helps underscore how we, as engaged citizens, can make immediate and direct impact on community success.”

Matt Cortez

OPPORTUNITY
Matt Cortez, VP & Opportunities Studio Lead at GLMV Architecture

“I believe the Leadership Wichita program provides individuals with a unique opportunity to understand their community by exposing them to issues and opportunities facing Wichita and the surrounding area. The Leadership Wichita program has a rich history of alumni who have gone on to have tremendous success within their organizations and the community. This success can be attributed to the development of their skills within the program, along with the motivation from classmates to become more effective leaders. The Leadership Wichita program sets itself apart from all other leadership programs in this way and that is why I nominate individuals for this program every year.”

CONNECTIONS

Coleen Tabor

Coleen Tabor, Talent and Diversity Director at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I nominate someone for Leadership Wichita every year because the program plays an important role in Spirit’s leadership development programming by providing context, connections and involvement. The program accomplishes these goals by exposing leaders to the strategic plans for the community, connecting them with people and organizations influencing these plans, and involving them in the forward motion for the business, government and cultural advancement of the region.”

Leadership Wichita is an immersive experience for 30 area achievers that runs between August 23 and November 14. The program provides interactive learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Since it was introduced in 1983, the program has graduated more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military. For more information about the program, contact Director of Community Advancement Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.