City-to-City Destination: Nashville, TN

By Stef Flores
Community Advancement Program Coordinator

Last month, Suzy Finn and I went to Nashville in preparation for this year’s City-to-City Leadership Visit, scheduled for September 19-21. Besides eating our way through the city’s restaurants and winding our way through the city’s streets, we met with some instrumental city leaders and reaffirmed why Nashville is the perfect destination for this year’s trip.

Nashville is an impressive city. It hosts one of 10 Google tech hubs in North America, the downtown area has seen over $4 billion in investment since 2000, and between 70-100 people move to Nashville every day. So, what are some parallels that exist between Nashville and our very own Wichita?

IMG_0705Nashville hasn’t always had a prized downtown district. “Twelve-fifteen years ago, people took pride in how long they could avoid our downtown area,” Tom Turner, with the Nashville Downtown Partnership, told us. “There’s finally a shift in that mentality.” And he’s right. With the development of The Gulch, which used to be warehouses and train tracks, and the immense effort put into keeping the downtown area both safe and clean, the area is drawing more visitors and more residents than ever before.

There’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit that shines in Nashville. With the sun posed high in the sky, we made our way out to Nashville’s Trolley Barns to tour the esteemed Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Founded in 2010, the EC (as locals call it) touts programs in four focus areas: technology, music tech, publishing, and healthcare and provides mentoring opportunities to strengthen the ties in the community.

Suzy Finn (pictured) & Stef Flores visited Nashville last month to prepare for our City-to-City visit this fall.

Suzy Finn (pictured) & Stef Flores visited Nashville last month to prepare for our City-to-City visit this fall.

Healthcare is one of Nashville’s top industries. According to Jamie Lee with the Nashville Health Care Council, more than 400 healthcare companies operate in Nashville, and more than 600,000 people are employed in the industry.

The Cumberland riverfront is getting a makeover. A pedestrian bridge offers those seeking modes of active transportation an impressive view of the city (we can attest!), while the new Riverfront Park boasts an amphitheater that can hold up to 6,500 people for outdoor concerts.

CmD3DkwWIAEHFhx_cropNashville’s found its identity. No one named them the “Music City;” they named themselves. Self-branded but nationally recognized as the center for all things music, they live and breathe this identity. As we stepped off the plane, we were greeted by live music from Tootsie’s airport location, rock music blasted us from boxes along their downtown streets, and it was difficult to miss the large music note printed on the floor at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Music City certainly has a lot going for it, and we’re excited to show this year’s leadership group some of the initiatives, programs, and partnerships that secured Nashville as our top selection this year.

For more information, please contact Stef Flores at

Exposure early-bird pricing ends Friday

Exposure, Wichita’s largest business-to-business trade show, will take place this fall at Century II Expo Hall. To take advantage of early-bird booth pricing, businesses must register to exhibit by this Friday, July 29. Register here.

Tammy Taylor-Lindholm

Tammy Taylor-Lindholm

If you’re still on the fence about showcasing your products and services at Exposure Tammy Taylor-Lindholm of Meritrust Credit Union has answered a few FAQs about the show. Click here to see yesterday’s FAQ post from Brad Painchaud of Squid Ink Creative.

Is exhibiting at the show only for Chamber members?
No, all Wichita area businesses are invited to participate but there is a price break for members of the Wichita Metro Chamber. Of course I recommend becoming a member but if you’re still on the fence, this event is a great way to see some of what the Chamber has to offer.

What type of businesses should participate?
Many think it’s strictly a business-to-bustiness event, but the networking and brand awareness EXPO offers is great for all kinds of businesses.

I’ve never exhibited before. Is there any assistance to get me on the right track?
Definitely – this year there are four free exhibitor prep sessions prior to the show. Not only that, but Chamber staff and members of the Exposure planning committee are available and more than willing to offer firsthand advice from their own exhibiting experience.

What has your business gained from exhibiting at Exposure?
By participating in Exposure, Meritrust Credit Union has gained opportunities to grow current business relationships and build relationships with new, local businesses. The event also provides an excellent setting for promoting our products and services.

So what are you waiting for? Exhibit prices go up at the end of this week. To find more information about Exposure, including a floor map and a link to register your business to exhibit, visit

2016 Exposure Brochure_CoverCrop


Four reasons to exhibit at Exposure

Exposure, Wichita’s largest business-to-business trade show, will take place this fall at Century II Expo Hall. To take advantage of early-bird booth pricing, businesses must register to exhibit by this Friday, July 29. Register here.

Brad Painchaud

Brad Painchaud

Brad Painchaud of Squid Ink Creative, longtime exhibitor and chair of our Exposure event committee, has answered a few FAQ’s about the show. Check back tomorrow to see a few more answers from Tammy Taylor-Lindholm of Meritrust Credit Union.

What is Exposure?
Exposure is the only area trade show event that brings the entire business community together for face-to-face networking. This will be the 13th year for the event, scheduled for Thursday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Century II Expo Hall. Nearly every industry in the Wichita area will be represented.

Why should I exhibit my business at Exposure?

There is a long list of benefits to taking part in Exposure, but I’ve listed a few of my top reasons here:

– 1,800+ attendees from the Wichita business community looking for products and services
– Gain access to 220+ other exhibitors, with 89% of them being B2B
– Significantly increase your brand awareness in one day
– Expand your network by inviting prospective customers to visit your booth

How much does it cost?
Exhibiting your business at Exposure is incredibly affordable. Space starts at only $150 and runs to $2,000. We have options in every price range to meet the needs and budget of any business that wants to have a presence at the show. You could also consider partnering with another company that compliments yours to expand your footprint and heighten your visibility. Early bird booth pricing ends on July 29, so visit to see a floor map and reserve your space.

What has your business gained from exhibiting at Exposure?
We have had the ability to show off our creativity. Most of our work samples we show off are for other clients. We use Exposure to engage potential clients with interesting and fun ways to show off our talents. Most of our business has been word of mouth, but this show has expanded our footprint. Also by engaging people at the show, they get to see our personalities and who we are.

To find more information about Exposure, including a floor map and a link to register your business to exhibit, visit

2016 Exposure Brochure_CoverCrop

Chief Ramsay’s leadership noticed nationally

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been impacted by the recent coverage around the country about racial justice, violence in our streets and the risks taken each day by our law enforcement community. Certainly, Wichita isn’t immune to those sort of issues.

But we credit Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay for his leadership in taking a different approach in our community. Coverage of the community picnic in McAdams Park on July 17 has been trending across America (see the links below). Just a few days after hundreds of citizens took to the streets to protest police shootings around the country, Chief Ramsay invited organizers to come back together for a barbecue and meaningful dialogue aimed at real understanding and healing.

It’s worth noting that it also certainly took the willingness of Black Lives Matter organizers  and other community leaders to make this approach successful. The Chamber commends all the partners involved in the July 17 barbecue for demonstrating real leadership and love for our entire community. Chief Ramsay and other leaders will tell you the community barbecue was just the beginning on a long journey toward inclusiveness and understanding. Even the name of the event was First Steps Community Cookout.

However, we can’t imagine a better way to start.  Everyone involved has given us another great reason to be proud of Wichita!

Video posted on Facebook
Wichita Eagle story
KWCH story
CNN story 
NPR story

A Different Kind of Contest for Wichita’s Birthday

By Kali Babich

With Wichita’s 146th birthday quickly approaching on Thursday (July 21), we want to give you presents to celebrate. We will be holding scavenger hunts around Wichita, and clues to the prize locations will be posted on our Snapchat account. Don’t let the physical activity requirement discourage you; the Wichita flag-themed prizes will make it all worthwhile (and you might catch a Pokemon at the same time).

So tell your friends and family if you think they’d enjoy some Wichita goodies as well. Don’t have us on Snapchat? Add us! Search our username, wichitachamber, or use our Snapcode below. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the birthday of our beautiful city.

Official RulesSnapcode
1. Follow wichitachamber on Snapchat.
2. View our story throughout the day on Thursday, July 21 to find clues to our location.
3. The first person to follow the clues and find Chamber reps at the designated locations will win some Wichita flag swag.

Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Must be 13+ years of age to participate. This is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered, or associated with Snapchat.

Good luck!

Prizes up for grabs on Thursday

Prizes up for grabs on Thursday

Employers should be aware of GOALS

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

I had the opportunity recently to meet an individual who is working diligently to break down barriers and change lives. He’s also helping employers find valuable new workers to help them grow their organizations.

Dan Sanchez, of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, met with me about “GOALS,” a new 3-year pilot project designed to set Kansans on a path to successful careers that pay living wages, offer advancement opportunities, and restore their sense of value to themselves, their families and communities.  Dan was introduced to me by my friend Ray Frederick, of WIBA.

Kansas is one of 10 states to operate GOALS through a grant from the USDA. This pilot project will enroll 4,000 food assistance recipients in 36 counties across the state over three years. Half the participants will receive GOALS services, and the other half regular Employment & Training services (where available) in order to compare outcomes through a comprehensive evaluation process.  Services will be individualized to each participant’s needs, with a Career Navigator providing guidance over a six-month period.

In addition to career counseling, GOALS participants receive assistance on job barriers, ie. transportation and childcare. As part of the GOALS program, participants receive training in job-seeking skills including preparing applications and resumes, effective interviewing, life-skill development, and job retention skills. Training may also be tailored to meet labor market demands.

GOALS will partner with local organizations and employers to match participants with labor market opportunities and provide ongoing skill development for career advancement. Employers are also eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credits for hiring graduates from the GOALS program.  The commitment of Dan Sanchez and the entire GOALS team is to recruit and retain the type of skilled, reliable employees businesses need. In addition to finding valuable new talent, business people are invited to support the program by participating in job fairs, mock interviews and even mentorships with GOALS participants.

If you are an employer interested in finding out how GOALS can work for you, please contact Dan Sanchez, Employer Liaison, at or by calling 316-337-6421 or 316-285-8395(cell).  You can also find out more at

USS Wichita crest celebrates city’s roots

By Lyndsey Edwards

Photo by Derek Pruett

Photo by Derek Pruett

The new USS Wichita under construction in a Wisconsin shipyard is actually the third ship to bear Wichita’s name. This version of the USS Wichita (LCS-13) will be nearly 400 feet long and sprint at top speeds of over 40 knots.

The vessel’s crest was recently unveiled and the design offers insight into the history of our city. The red and white partition of the shield and the Zia Sun are properties from the flag of the City of Wichita. The city’s flag was adopted 79 years ago and each design element has a specific meaning. The red and white rays symbolize the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc or sun represents happiness and contentment. Stitched on the blue sun is an Indian symbol for Hogan or permanent home, represented by a white circle with four sets of three parallel rays emanating from the circle’s principal axis.

Along with the flag, the crest displays other familiar city and state symbols. A buffalo skull symbolizes the Wichita Indians, wheat stalks represent the main crop of Kansas and its residents, and feathers pay tribute to Wichita’s Native American heritage. The ship’s motto, “KEEPER OF THE SEAS,” honors Wichita’s iconic Keeper of the Plains sculpture.

The USS Wichita should be christened in early fall. The two previous ships named after Wichita earned 17 battle stars and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Contact Pat Gallagher (316-268-1157) at the Chamber for more details about upcoming USS Wichita events.