Does Wichita need some swagger?

Brad Segal, the speaker in last night’s Fuel the Fire series, thinks Wichita needs a bit of an attitude adjustment. And he thinks that stopping to celebrate some of our accomplishments may help kick start our confidence in our ourselves and our City.

Several hundred people gathered on Wednesday evening to hear Brad Segal, the speaker for the final Fuel the Fire series.

Several hundred people gathered on Wednesday evening to hear Brad Segal, the speaker for the final event in the 2014 Fuel the Fire series.

Segal has worked in 35 states and with 150 different cities during his career as a real estate economist and planner. He’s spent time in Wichita on both a personal and professional level and believes the city would benefit from displaying a little more swagger. Why? It’s been his experience that successful cities believe in themselves, embrace their strengths and always celebrate their victories.

Previous Fuel the Fire speakers have stressed that Wichita needs to understand its differential advantages and then promote them. Segal echoed that theme and suggested that promoting the community’s affordable housing might be one of the keys to retaining, attracting, and bringing back the young professionals that local companies need to fill their skills gap.

Segal sees jobs moving to those cities that strengthen their millennial talent pool. By the year 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be made up of millennials.

Segal said, “It’s up to cities and regions to invest in their future.” Investment in infrastructure, education and innovation will need to be made at the local level as federal investment continues to decline.

For photos from the event, see the Chamber’s Facebook album. The video of Segal’s presentation will be posted in early November at fuelthefirespeakerseries.com. Photos and observations from participants are also available on Twitter at #FueltheFireICT.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series was underwritten by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation, the Leadership Council of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and other generous community donors. It was organized and presented by the Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

City accepting nominations for Sales Tax Citizen Oversight Committee

Wichitans are voting on the City’s proposed sales tax on November 4. The initiative includes community oversight of the funds collected from the sales tax. Chamber members are encouraged to learn more about the Citizens Oversight Committee and to consider completing and submitting an application form found on the City’s website: http://www.wichita.gov/Government/Departments/CMO/Pages/BetterFuture.aspx

Nominees must be residents of the City of Wichita and a financial background is helpful.

Applications are now being accepted for the Sales Tax Citizen Oversight Committee

Applications are now being accepted for the Sales Tax Citizen Oversight Committee

The City’s website (wichita.gov) is also a good source of information about the background and plans associated with the sales tax.

A Wichita Eagle story about the committee indicates that the deadline to apply is the end of November. Read the story by following this link.

 

 

Why can’t Wichita wait on securing another water source?

The Chamber’s Board of Directors supports the 1 percent sales tax referendum. Wichitans will vote on this issue on November 4. Chamber board members are utilizing this blog to provide commentary and answer questions about the sales tax. Today’s question is answered by Chamber Board member Barry Schwan in a letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle.

We can’t wait another 20 years to develop a plan for water. Water planning is a continual planning process. It takes several decades to bring another water resource on line. Work on the current Aquifer Storage and Recovery project has been ongoing for more than 20 years, and it is not yet fully developed. Finishing the project is one of the benefits of the 1-cent sales tax.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

In fact, the last major water resource brought on line was Cheney Reservoir in the 1950s. The city of Wichita has continued to plan for additional resources since that time, but state and federal laws and regulations have prohibited two other viable options. That’s why the ASR is and must remain our focus. The 1-cent sales tax will help move that project to completion.

Please visit the City of Wichita website to learn more about the proposed sales tax and to read the plans for water, roads, transportation and jobs. Visit the Yes Wichita website to see who is supporting the sales tax and to learn about upcoming events.

 

 

 

Wichita Eagle publishes answers about city’s proposed sales tax

Chamber members who need more information about the city’s proposed sales tax are headline - Wichita Eagleencouraged to follow this link to today’s Wichita Eagle article. The article provides answers to more than 20 commonly-asked questions about the topic. The questions are grouped by these subheads:  Effect on consumers, Jobs fund, Water project, and Streets and transit.

You may also want to review these Wichita Eagle and Wichita Business Journal articles for more specific information:

Incentives at heart of debate over sales tax jobs fund – October 26, 2014
‘No’ vote outspends ‘yes’ in Wichita sales tax campaign – October 19, 2014
More groups announce support for proposed sales tax – October 16, 2014
Wichita sales tax vote bringing home costs of future water needs – October 12, 2014
What you would pay under the proposed new sales tax – October 8, 2014
Tax would target fixing worst of Wichita’s streets – September 28, 2014
Finkle:  ‘More oversight than I’ve ever seen’ – September 19, 2014
Proposed 1-cent sales tax would add, expand Wichita bus routes – August 3, 2014

Promoting Wichita’s superior workforce and supply chain

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) is promoting Wichita’s exceptional workforce and world-class aviation supply chain this week during the 2014 NBAA Business Convention in Orlando, FL at Booth #2067.  The Wichita Airport Authority, National Center for Aviation Training, National Institute for Aviation Research, Wichita AeroClub and the Kansas Department of Commerce are partnering with GWEDC as well as five local private sector companies:  Capps Manufacturing, CE Machine, Harlow Aerostructures, Impresa Aviation, and Image Resources Group.3col_vert_with_tag

GWEDC President Tim Chase said, “Wichita has the strongest pro-aviation business environment in the world and we have a unique story to share with NBAA participants about the breadth and depth of our capabilities.We will be promoting the fact that Wichita has the number one workforce for aviation engineering knowledge and advanced manufacturing skills.”

This year GWEDC and its partners will be promoting some of Wichita’s key differentiators:

  • The world’s top general aviation OEM’s – Textron Aviation’s Cessna and Beechcraft as well as Bombardier’s Learjet
  • More than 350 of aviation’s top suppliers
  • A world-class, skilled aviation workforce
  • The world’s largest aerospace R&D academic institution
  • Aviation training curriculum that sets global standards
  • Multiple options for general aviation air service and the state’s largest commercial airport

Trade show participants can attend GWEDC’s Talent Central Celebration on Wednesday, October 22, from 3:30 to 4 p.m. to meet Wichita City Council Representative Pete Meitzner. Meitzner will discuss the pro-business climate in the Air Capital that has fostered innovation and investment in Wichita.

Is Wichita open for business?

Wayne Chambers

Wayne Chambers

By Wayne Chambers
2014 Chamber Board Chairman
President, High Touch Technologies

Fifty community leaders recently participated in the Chamber’s city-to-city visit to Austin, Texas, and some very familiar themes emerged from our visit with Austin leadership.

They’re the same themes that we heard from Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup, when he spoke at the Chamber’s annual meeting last year. And they were repeated by respected demographer James Chung when he made his Fuel the Fire presentation to the community on Sept. 17.

Jumpstarting Wichita’s economy requires focusing on three important things:

• community alignment and partnerships
• an educated workforce
• activation – an understanding that no one else will do this for us

It’s obvious that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market” won’t fix our local economy. We must take different actions if we expect different results. Mr. Chung put it even more succinctly: “Wichita must decide now whether to stagnate or innovate.”

Shaping a more positive future requires investments in a long-term water plan, street maintenance, transit, and a proactive jobs plan. Let’s not miss the opportunity to say YES to these investments and vote YES on Nov. 4 for the city sales tax. We’ll be sending the right message to the workforce and businesses that we’re trying to grow and attract. “Wichita is open for business.”

Are local nonprofits supporting the sales tax?

Michael Monteferrante is a the President and CEO of Envision, Inc. and a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Michael Monteferrante is a the President and CEO of Envision, Inc. and a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors recently announced their support of the 1 percent sales tax referendum. Wichitans will vote on this issue on November 4. During the next few months Chamber members will utilize the blog to provide commentary and answer questions about the sales tax. Today’s question is answered by Chamber Board member Michael Monteferrante.

Yes. The Nonprofit Chamber of Services (NPCS) has announced support of the sales tax. NPCS works with 175 area nonprofits and not-for-profits in the community and is one of seven local organizations who believe the additional funding will move Wichita forward:

  • Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • IBEW L.U. 271 Electrical Workers
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, Local 441
  • The Nonprofit Chamber of Service
  • Wichita Downtown Development Corporation
  • Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Young Professionals of Wichita

“The proposed sales tax is crucial to growing our city. To vote ‘yes’ is to vote for growth and evolution. To vote ‘no’ is to vote for stagnation. We must choose to invest in our community,” said Michael Monteferrante, President and CEO of Envision, Inc., Yes Wichita co-chair and NPCS board member.

Monteferrante added, “A crucial component of the initiative is the transit expansion. Our transit system provides two million annual rides to jobs, shopping and medical appointments but could do so much more. Voting ‘Yes’ to this initiative will allow service improvements including the addition of extended transit hours. A robust public transportation system is essential to a healthy community.”

The Nonprofit Chamber of Service exists to support 175 area nonprofits and not-for-profits through training for staff and volunteers and representation of nonprofit interests to the community and government at all levels.

Please visit the City of Wichita website to learn more about the proposed sales tax and to read the plans for water, roads, transportation and jobs. 
Visit the Yes Wichita website to see who is supporting the sales tax and to learn about upcoming events.