Dawson Grimsley to be honored as 2017 Uncommon Citizen

Dawson Grimsley

Dawson Grimsley, retired President and Owner of Davis-Moore Auto Group, is the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Uncommon Citizen. He will be recognized at the annual Honors Night celebration on Tuesday, April 11.

Established in 1974, the Uncommon Citizen is the Chamber’s most prestigious individual award. It recognizes those who, by their individual efforts year after year, have made uncommon contributions to the people and institutions of Wichita and the surrounding area. Recipients are honored not only for their role in business but for their participation in cultural, civic, social and philanthropic activities.

Grimsley spent his entire career with the Davis-Moore Auto Group team, purchasing the dealership in 2001, when he became president and majority owner. A well-known community philanthropist, he used his company’s advertising channels over the years to highlight the work of a number of local nonprofit organizations. The partnerships he forged with Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way of the Plains, the DUI Impact Center and the Kansas Humane Society, provided needed visibility to their important community services.

His dedication to community safety through television, radio and print advertising campaigns earned Grimsley numerous local, state and national awards during his career. His promotion of safe driving became an integral part of Davis-Moore’s messaging, branding and identity. The safety campaign he initiated continues today under new CEO Sean Tarbell.

Grimsely and his wife, Patty, have four grown children and seven grandchildren. He retired from Davis-Moore on Dec. 31, 2015.

Formerly announced Honors Night award recipients include:

  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

The announcement of the Exceptional Young Leader award will be forthcoming.

Reservations for Honors Night may be made online. For tickets and additional information, visit wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight or call 316-268-1123.

Our new website is live!

Chamber Marketing and Communications Manager Courtney Sendall welcomed the team from Howerton + White to the January 26 event to announce the launching of the Chamber’s new website and the unveiling of the rebranded signage at the south entrance to the building.

The Chamber’s new website went live yesterday. Here are some of the features we’ve incorporated to improve our user experience.

Our Membership Directory is now searchable by Google.
This Directory used to be a PDF that was updated monthly, so this upgrade is a great benefit to our members for their own Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as ours.

The site is now  mobile friendly.
Besides being more easily viewed on phones and tablets, this change also helps our Google ranking and makes it easier for our members to use our site when they are away from their desk.

Both Chamber events and Community Calendar events can now be added to your Outlook calendar.
Just find the event you want to add from our Calendar section and use the Add to Calendar button. This is a great benefit for our members who list their events on the Community Calendar and a nice feature for members who want to add both Chamber and community events to their Outlook calendars.

We’ve increased the visual appeal of the site with a cleaner look and better images.
One of our new front-page features includes images from our last three blog postings to pique interest in the latest Chamber news.

We’ll be able to update information more quickly.
The new editing tools provided by Howerton + White are easy to use and our staff can now create new pages and make other needed changes more efficiently and effectively.

The website and our blog have also been updated to incorporate our new branding. And our staff has reviewed and improved the content to make it as concise and accurate as possible so that users can easily find what they need.

Websites are never finished and this one is no exception. We will continue to look for new ways to improve our site and encourage you to forward us your ideas about how to maximize it.

Our special thanks to Courtney Sendall on our staff for leading and executing this project with our partner, Howerton + White. She’s put in many extra hours on weekends and after 5 pm to guarantee that we have the best possible product. Producing a new website is a daunting task and she’s ensured that we all have a great new tool that reflects our commitment to meeting the needs of our members.

We also want to thank Alan Kennedy and the rest of the team at Howerton + White. Alan provided us with exceptional customer service on our previous site and we appreciate his round-the-clock dedication and assistance on bringing this new site to life.

Schwindaman Takes the Reins in 2017

In addition to his role as the 2017 Chairman of the Board for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and President & CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc., Scott Schwindaman has a family-run operation that breeds, raises, and shows rare black Clydesdale horses. Photo credit: Brett Schauf with tjstudios.com

Scott Schwindaman has a family-run operation that breeds, raises, and shows rare black Clydesdale horses.
Photo credit: Brett Schauf with tjstudios.com

Scott Schwindaman, President & CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc. is the 2017 Chairman of the Board for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. He’s been involved in the Chamber ever since Gary Mason with iSi Environmental recommended that it would be the perfect place for him to channel his passion for improving the business climate in Wichita.

Shortly after becoming involved in the Chamber, Schwindaman participated in the Chamber’s annual Washington, DC Fly-in. His visit with the Kansas delegation and his conversations with Chamber leadership solidified his interest in contributing his talents and energy to Chamber programs and initiatives.

He’s serving as the Chamber’s Chairman of the Board during the organization’s centennial year and recently took the time to share his thoughts on the company he leads, what he likes about doing business in Wichita, and the Chamber’s 2017 strategic priorities.

Company background

What products and services does Lubrication Engineers provide?
We’re a high-performance lubricant manufacturer and service company, operating in 74 countries around the world. We help businesses improve their bottom lines by improving their uptime and efficiencies from an operational standpoint.

Where do you see Lubrication Engineers in five years?
We’ll continue to offer our customers high value products and services. And we’ll be growing at a rapid pace through new international and domestic joint ventures and some acquisitions.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your company?
I am highly committed to growing our company and taking care of our employees. I also enjoy this industry because of the things I get to see and experience. One day I could be standing on a NASA launch pad, and the next day I could be eating ice cream at the Häagen-Dazs factory. We supply lubricants to a vast array of companies and industries.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
We’ve undertaken a joint international venture with Kyodo Yushi USA to create a new company, Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing Americas, LLC. The new company will be located in the Wichita region and we anticipate that they’ll create five permanent jobs and up to 30 contract jobs.

To what do you attribute your growth and success?
Our success is 100% due to our commitment to customer service and satisfaction. Our ability to give our customers what they need, when they need it, is our highest priority.

What’s the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
It’s very easy to do business here. Many deals are still done on a handshake and a relationship. You don’t find that on the coasts.

When did you get started in the business world?
My first job was with Southwest Grease and Oil when I was 16 years old. At that time they had three plants and one of them was located where the Hyatt now stands. I started with Lubrication Engineers when I was in college as a lab tech. So I grew up in the business.

Thoughts on the Chamber

What one word best describes the Chamber?
Dynamic. I see a lot of things happenings in our community right now, and I feel that some of that positive movement can be attributed to the Chamber. One example is the work of the Leadership Council’s Entrepreneurship Task Force that was launched at the Chamber. There’s an excitement in the city that I haven’t sensed for a long time, and it’s because leaders are coming together to do things that benefit the community as a whole, and not just for their own financial gain. We’re united in expanding the opportunities for entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

Through my work as the co-chair of the Entrepreneurial Task Force, I’ve seen Startup Grind Wichita, e2e, 1 Million Cups ICT, the Chamber, Startup Wichita, MakeICT, GroundWork, SCORE, WSU MakerSpace, the Wichita office of the Small Business Administration, and so many others working in concert to connect entrepreneurs to the resources and expertise they need. And the visibility of the organizations supporting young entrepreneurs like DECA, Youth Entrepreneurs, Junior Achievement, and SocialPreneur has also increased dramatically.

How does this Chamber compare to other Chambers?
I travel around the U.S. quite a bit so I get to see how Chambers operate in other communities. We have a very strong Chamber and we should be proud of that. We’re looking forward to increasing our membership levels this year.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I always look forward to the Annual Meeting. This Chamber does a tremendous job of selecting and bringing high caliber speakers to Wichita. That’s not common in other communities. I really liked the new format we used in 2016. Moving from a formal sit-down dinner to an informal networking event generated a lot of positive feedback from our members.

What do you find most valuable about your Chamber membership?
One of the many lessons I learned from my father was that everyone has a civic duty to give back to their community. So for us, giving back to the community where our business is located and where our employees live is a priority. Being a member of the Chamber is one way to accomplish that.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
9 – The benefits are so huge for both small and large businesses. From political advocacy, to education, to networking and leads generation – the benefits far outweigh the cost of a membership.

What do you consider Wichita’s biggest challenge that the Chamber can influence?Diversity and inclusion. The Chamber Board and staff have four strategic priorities in 2017, but our ongoing work in attracting and retaining our region’s workforce will be much more focused on diversity and inclusion. A workforce that’s engaged, innovative and productive is vital. But intent doesn’t always equal impact. Leadership is key to making it happen. Every single business and organization needs to step up and become involved. During our February 7 Chairman’s Lunch we’ll be providing our members with some specific tactics they can use to work on this issue. Working on this issue together strengthens our community as a whole and makes our region a much more attractive place to grow companies, careers and communities.

Personal

What is something people may not know about you?
My family is one of the major Clydesdale horse breeders in the U.S. Our operation has 30 horses. We’re unique because we raise and work with black Clydesdales, which are a rare color for that breed. We travel around the country showing and selling them and participating in events. All three of my children are involved in the operation and we’ve really enjoyed becoming part of an international network that’s allowed us to meet so many interesting people and even some celebrities. What I originally thought would be a six-month stint as a short-term hobby for my children when they were youngsters has turned into a lifelong interest and commitment that involves our entire family.

How do your colleagues describe you?
I’ve been called the “niche master” because I love the challenge of finding solutions to problems other people describe as unsolvable. Saying something is impossible to fix always motivates me to tackle it. Whether it’s researching horse pedigrees for breeding programs or finding solutions for my customers, I really enjoy engineering a solution.

Favorite app?
I’m a Weather Channel junkie, so I’m always checking my app to see what the weather is like, both in Wichita and other places I visit.

Favorite business book?
Good to Great  by Jim Collins

Favorite meal?
Bite Me BBQ (located at 132 N. St Francis)

Diversity & Inclusion to be main focus of Chairman’s Lunch

We have announced our program agenda for our 2017 Chairman’s Lunch, coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Chairman's Lunch Panelists

In keeping with the event’s tradition of presenting perspectives from the City, County and Chamber, the event will begin with each organization addressing their respective 2017 priorities.

The second portion of the program will be a panel discussion titled “Creating a Workforce for the Future Through Diversity and Inclusion.” It will highlight the necessity of including people with different ideas and backgrounds to move our community forward.

The discussion, moderated by Chamber President Gary Plummer, will include the following panelists:

  • Scott Schwindaman, 2017 Chamber Chairman
  • Jeff Longwell, Mayor, City of Wichita
  • David Unruh, Chairman, Sedgwick County Commission
  • Junetta Everett, Vice President of Professional Relations, Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc.
  • Dr. Kim Krull, President, Butler Community College

“The importance of diversity and inclusion will be at the forefront of the Chamber’s top priorities as we celebrate our Centennial year in 2017,” said Plummer. “This year’s Chairman’s Lunch program is an opportunity to demonstrate how the Chamber, the community’s local governing bodies, and other organizations are being intentional about including people with different ideas and backgrounds in order to increase our competitiveness in the global economy.”

This community event is open to the public. Tickets are $50 for Chamber members, $60 for general admission, and $650 for a corporate table sponsorship (includes eight tickets and sponsorship benefits). Contact Rachel Douglass at 316-268-1127 with questions or visit wichitachamber.org to purchase tickets.

Announcing the recipients of 54th annual Honors Night awards

The Chamber will recognize an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitments to the community, and a striking architectural achievement at the 2017 Honors Night event on April 11. In addition to the tradition awards of Uncommon Citizen, Spirit of Wichita, Over the Years and Keeper of the Plains, the Exceptional Young Leader award will be given for the first time in the history of the program (recipient to be announced at a later date). This will be the 54th year for the annual event.

The 2017 award recipients are as follows:

Foley EquipementThe recipient of the Spirit of Wichita award is Foley Equipment Company. Established in 2002, this award is given to an organization or not-for-profit organization that received the Over the Years award at least 20 years ago, in recognition of its continued strength of employment, leadership, innovation, and community involvement. Foley Equipment Company won the Over the Years award in 1979.

The two recipients of the Over the Years award are Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture. The Over the Years award recognizes businesses and institutions with long-standing performances as good corporate citizens and major contributors to the community’s economic well-being; displaying leadership, innovation and community involvement.

Copy of Logo KC+ICTconco construction

 

 

 

 

 

The recipient of the Keeper of the Plains award is the Wichita Art Museum Art Garden. The Keeper of the Plains award recognizes an outstanding architectural achievement completed by a firm, organization or individual, which has contributed to the beauty of our community.2016-wichitaartmuseumRED

The Uncommon Citizen award and Exceptional Young Leader award recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

Honors Night 2017 is presented by Metro Courier, Inc. and will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11 at Textron Aviation Activity Center, 9710 E. Central. Tickets are now available for $90 per person or $720 for a table of eight and can be purchased online at wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight.

Formal invitations will be sent to Chamber members, but the general public is also invited to attend.

Sponsorships are still available. Contact Rachel Douglass at 268-1127 for more information.

Leadership is Key to a Strong Education System

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

We applaud the Board of Education of Wichita Public Schools for inviting public input as they begin their search for a new superintendent. Replacing an administrator as strong as John Allison won’t be an easy task, so it makes sense to seek the advice of business and community leaders as part of the process.

Chamber members are invited to take the five-minute survey, titled Wichita USD 259 Superintendent Characteristics. The survey is open until Thursday, January 19.

The Chamber recently created a special Education Policy Task Force that also speaks to the need for strong leadership when it comes to education in Kansas. Co-chairs Walter Berry (Berry Companies) and Lyndy Wells (INTRUST Bank, retired) are making the business community’s voice heard on issues like the new K-12 funding formula and the special needs of urban districts like Wichita and our surrounding area. The Task Force has given Kansas Governor Sam Brownback their input and is reaching out to legislative leaders who are working on the funding plan which will replace the block grant system that Kansas schools have been living with in recent years.

Our recent survey of the Chamber membership indicated that school funding is a primary concern of the business community. Chamber members are encouraged to continue sharing their thoughts with us about this issue. Please forward your comments to Toni Porter at tporter@wichitachamber.org.

We thank you for your continued input and support and hope you’ll join us as we highlight the important role of education and diversity in building our future workforce at our annual Chairman’s Lunch on Tuesday, February 7 at 11:30 a.m. A panel of public and private leaders will discuss their 2017 priorities and the importance of “Creating a Workforce for the Future through Diversity and Inclusion.”