Local Awards to Celebrate Local Honorees

By Rachel Douglass
Manager of Membership & Engagement

The Chamber’s annual Honors Night celebrates an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitments to the community, and striking architectural achievements. Each honor is bestowed in recognition of a unique contribution to the enhancement of our community.

The event is a tradition started more than 50 years ago in 1963. New this year, though, will be the honorees’ awards. For the 2017 Honors Night, three local glassblowers were commissioned to create awards for our six honorees (listed below). Bob Adams, Chad Droegemeier and Robin Lies are glass blowing instructors at Chamber Member CityArts. They not only agreed to assist in the creation of the awards, but they plan to use the award proceeds to purchase new blow pipes and wooden blocks for CityArts.

Chad Droegemeier works to create one of the awards that will presented at Honors Night on April 11.

“This was a great opportunity for us to partner with the Chamber on a long-standing Wichita program, while also giving back to a studio that offers so much to Wichita’s art scene,” said Robin Lies, General Manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design (also a Chamber member).

“As a Chamber that strives to celebrate Wichita pride, it felt like a natural decision to recognize our Wichita honorees with locally-made awards,” said Angie Elliott, Vice President of Membership & Engagement. Glass blown awards will also be presented to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Small Business Awards recipients this May.

Honors Night 2017 will be held Tuesday, April 11, at Textron Aviation Activity Center, 9710 E. Central. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling 265-7771.

The 2017 Honors Night recipients are as follows:

  • Uncommon Citizen: Dawson Grimsley of Davis-Moore Auto Group
  • Exceptional Young Leader: Chris Callen of Builders Plus Construction
  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

    Robin Lies is the general manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design and a glass blowing instructor at CityArts.

Chamber’s Inclusion Strategy Featured in Wichita Eagle Insert

2017 Chamber Chairman Scott Schwindaman provides an update on this year’s strategic priorities in our six-page quarterly insert that published today in The Wichita Eagle.

Our six-page newsletter is published quarterly in The Wichita Eagle to update the entire community about how we are fulfilling our mission and vision. The two front-page stories in today’s edition of the newspaper insert share information about our Diversity and Inclusion priority and how the Chamber is leveraging our regional strength to advocate for business in Topeka.

Be sure to pick up a copy of today’s insert so you’ll know–

  • Which 15 Chamber members to congratulate on their important milestones
  • Who will begin leading our Government Relations team on May 1
  • Which 31 new organizations we’ve welcomed to the Chamber since December
  • How your generous Centennial Campaign contributions are being used
  • Which Chamber Board members are leading each of our four strategic priorities
  • Who to congratulate on graduating from this year’s YPW Leadership Academy
  • How to register for April and May networking events

You may also read and share the insert by following this link to our website.

Contact us if you need additional printed copies of the insert for you team or for your recruitment materials. Our next insert publishes on Thursday, June 29.

Eight-time World Cup Medalist Will Inspire YPs

Eight-time World Cup Medalist and Paralympic Snowboarder Nicole Roundy is the keynote speaker for the Kansas YP Summit.

The inspirational theme of the 2017 Kansas Young Professionals (YP) Summit is Ad Astra – a Latin phrase meaning “to the stars.” And keynote speaker Nicole Roundy will provide attendees with plenty of motivation to reach upward as she shares her personal story of overcoming adversity to achieve her goals.

Roundy rocketed to fame as a World Cup Medalist and member of the U.S. Paralympic Snowboard Team after losing her right leg to cancer. She’ll share her thoughts on how to set and attain personal and professional goals at the day-long event that is scheduled for Friday, May 5 from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Chamber’s affiliate, the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW), is hosting the event at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. This is the eighth statewide Summit and the second time it has been held in Wichita.

The event is aimed at young professionals who want to develop their professional skills, connect with others and learn new ways to channel their passion for revitalizing their communities.

Look for images from last year’s event and registration information in the Thursday, March 16, edition of The Wichita Eagle. Or follow this link and register before April 16 to receive discounted pricing.

Follow the 2017 Kansas YP Summit on Twitter – @ypkansas or Facebook – @KSYPSummit.
Follow Nicole Roundry on Twitter – @NicoleRoundy, Instagram – @nroundy and Facebook – Nicole Roundy.

Wichita Regional Chamber Opposes Two PEAK Senate Bills

The Chamber’s lobbyist, Jason Watkins, testified today in Topeka.

Jason Watkins, a lobbyist representing the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, testified in opposition of S.B. 222 and S.B. 223 in Topeka, today. Watkins submitted written remarks and also provided verbal testimony in front of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. He was joined by other representatives in the region who are concerned about the need to have economic tools in place to grow the economy.

In his remarks, Watkins indicated that the Chamber supports Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK) as a valuable economic development tool. S.B. 222 places a moratorium on the program and S.B. 223 restricts it. Watkins pointed to a report from Legislative Post Audit that shows a positive return on investment for the program.

Watkins said that “a moratorium or restrictions on PEAK would stifle growth and likely lead to jobs originally destined for south-central Kansas to land in Oklahoma instead. Kansas needs more economic development tools – not less. PEAK provides a conduit for critical investment in our state’s economy. And it pays immediate dividends with job growth and capital investment.”

Links to the written testimony from Watkins are shown below.

SB 222 WRCC 2017 PEAK

SB 223 WRCC 2017 PEAK

Government Relations Staff Changes Announced

Toni Porter will begin leading the Chamber’s Government Relations team on May 1 .

Gary Plummer, President & CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, announced today that Toni Porter has been promoted to Director of Government Relations for the organization. In her new position, Porter will lead the Chamber’s Government Relations efforts. She  originally joined the Chamber in 2015, in a part-time position as the Government Relations Project Manager. Prior to her role at the Chamber, Porter served as the District Director for U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo.

The Chamber’s Government Relations team oversees two of the organization’s four focus areas, advocating and influencing. Plummer said that Porter’s experience made her a natural choice for the position. “Our members will continue to benefit from Toni’s extensive experience. She is well connected in the business community and is respected by government officials and leaders at the local, state and federal level.” Porter will assume her new full-time role on May 1.

Barby Jobe is relocating to Oklahoma. Her last day as the Chamber’s V. P. of Government Relations is April 28.

Plummer also announced the departure of Barby Jobe Myers from the Chamber. Myers joined the organization in 2008, and has most recently served as the Vice President of Government Relations. Her last day at the Chamber is April 28. Myers is relocating to Oklahoma to join her family.

Plummer said, “We’ll miss Barby’s dedication to impacting the local election process and advocating for the best possible business environment. We’ll continue to follow her career with great interest and look forward to hearing how she’ll be utilizing her unique talents and skills when she returns to her home state of Oklahoma.”