Chamber receives award for Diversity & Inclusion work

In 2017, Diversity and Inclusion became one of the Chamber’s Strategic Priorities. Since then, the organization’s volunteer and staff leadership has led the way in championing the competitive advantage of having a diverse and inclusive business climate.

This work was recently recognized by the Wichita Business Journal, when Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer was named a 2018 Leader in Diversity. He was presented with the award at a luncheon event on Sept. 17.

When asked what advice he would give an individual or an organization that seeks to be more supportive of diversity, he said, “Be intentional about discussing inclusion and working to make sure your organization reflects your community.”

“Failing to embrace diversity and inclusion limits the breadth of perspectives that are considered and ultimately limits the organization’s impact,” Gary said.

Read more of Gary’s thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion in this profile by the Wichita Business Journal.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer (center) was named a 2018 Leader in Diversity by the Wichita Business Journal. He accepted the award with others who have been instrumental in the Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion work. From left to right: Junetta Everett, Delta Dental of Kansas; Gary Plummer; Suzy Finn, USD 259; and Jonathan Long, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

New Connections, Great Prizes & Good Eats at Exposure on Sept. 27

If you’re looking for more reasons to attend Exposure on Thursday, Sept. 27, then look no further. In addition to making connections to grow your network, trade show attendees can enter to win the incredible prizes listed below. And don’t forget to visit the BizBite vendors that are offering samples of their signature eats and drinks throughout the floor (scroll down to see the list).

More than 220 businesses from the Wichita region will be showcasing their products and services at Exposure, the region’s premiere business trade show and networking event. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 at Century II Expo. Admission is free for business professionals, and we encourage everyone to register here in advance to expedite the check-in process at the event. See the floor map and find more information about the event here.

Prizes
(Listed in Alphabetical Order and Includes the Prize Value and Vendor’s Booth Number)

Account Recovery Specialists Inc (#822)
Coleman cooler with beer in Wichita Flag Swag theme, $150

Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, Chtd. (#732)
Game Night Basket, $400

Chick-fil-A (#836)
Catered Meal delivered to one business, $100

Crossland Construction Co., Inc. (#610)
Yeti Roadie Cooler Surprise, $250

Davis-Moore Auto Group (#724)
One complete automotive detail, $150

DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport (#402)
A weekend stay with breakfast for two, $250

Futurity First Insurance Group (#Table 1L)
QuikTrip gift cards, $100

Genesis Health Clubs (#702)
3 Month free membership and 2 FREE personal training sessions, $300

Heartland Credit Union (#114)
Gift basket from Augustino Brewery ($100), cash prizes ($200) and Sonospher Speaker ($105), $405

Homewood Suites by Hilton @ the Waterfront (#416)
One complimentary weekend night (Fri., Sat., or Sun.) stay in a Luxury King Studio Suite – Includes complimentary Suite Start Hot Breakfast Buffet, $140

Hyatt Regency Wichita (#730)
Complimentary one night stay in our Presidential Suite, $950 

INTRUST Bank Arena (#913)
Two tickets to Cirque du Soleil Crystal at INTRUST Bank Arena on Friday October, 26 at 7:30, $174

Kansas Star Casino & Event Center (#501)
Dinner for two to the Woodfire Grille, $100

QueenBee Marketing (#906)
Apple HomePod, $350

Signs & Design (#211)
4’ x 8’ Custom Full Color Banner, $192

Starkey Inc (#826)
Amazon gift card, $100

Succentrix Business Advisors – Wichita (3G)
Amazon Echo, $130

SumnerOne (#703)
Lorell Sit-to-Stand Electric Desk Riser, $535

Superior Signs & Engraving, Inc. (#116)
Printed Wichita Flag tote bag stuffed full of Wichita swag: beach towel, hat, t-shirt, coffee mug, tumbler, golf balls, bottle opener, key chain, license plate, and more, $250

Sunflower Bank (#820)
Shockers Men’s Basketball home tickets and parking pass in a decorative basket, $250

The Alley Indoor Entertainment (#506)
Free Escape Room Package. Valid for up to 6 people, 1 escape room adventure, $193

The Alley Indoor Entertainment (#506)
2 hours Unlimited Bowling, & Karts; good for up to 10 guests. Shoes included, $200

The Lodge at Old Kinderhook (#815)
1 Night Stay, 2 round of golf and 4 ICE passes + skate Rentals, $400+

Watermark Books & Cafe (#303)
Gift certificate, $100

Wichita Sports Forum (#1037)
A 6-month family membership (up to 4 people) to Aviate Extreme Air Sports, inside Wichita Sports Forum, $420

Wichita Thunder (#213)
Four VIP Tickets good for any game, $116

World Impact Wichita (#518)
Flying Stove gift card, $100

World Impact Wichita (#518)
Espresso to Go-Go gift card, $100

Xclusive Events (#1030)
2 Tickets to Bloktoberfest Beer Tasting ($80) and 2 Bloktoberfest shirts ($30), $110

Xtreme Racing & Entertainment (#Table 1D)
6 Person Grand Prix Event, $310

Zinta Inspired Language LLC (#Tabletop 2J)
One Adult 8-week Language Class (Spanish or French) With textbook, $298

Biz Bites
(Listed in Alphabetical Order and Includes the Vendor’s Booth Number)

American Fun Food Inc. • 401
Augustino Brewing Company • 114
Chick-fil-A • 836
Costco Wholesale • 101
Cowboy Chicken • 212
Eat Fit Go • 507
Fredo’s • 902
Hall’s Culligan Water Conditioning • 827
Hopping Gnome Brewing Company • 920A
J Rae’s Bakery • 932
Jason’s Deli • 1201
LongHorn Steakhouse • 500
PrairieFire Coffee Roasters • 828
Reverie Coffee Roasters • 200
Rib Crib • 733
River City • 514
Sweetly Scrumptious • 514
Texas Roadhouse • 927
The Farris Wheel • 721
The Kitchen • 920B
The Monarch • 1030

Admission is free for business professionals, and we encourage everyone to register in advance at wichitachamber.org/exposure to expedite the check-in process at the event.

Open Streets ICT: A Dunkin’ Good Time

By Tram Ngo

Ever wanted to dunk the Mayor, Police Chief or a City Council Member or two? Well we’ve lined up your opportunity at Open Streets ICT on Sunday, Sept. 23.

“What is Open Streets ICT?” you might be asking. Open Streets ICT is a FREE (we all love free) community-building event that closes a usually busy street to traffic and opens it for biking, walking, running, dancing, yoga and more. All Wichitans (that means you!) are invited to join the fun and to stop at local Douglas Avenue businesses, restaurants, street vendors and activity hubs. The goal of Open Streets ICT is to promote the interaction of local businesses and organizations with the community to help strengthen the connections in Wichita. You can check out the website here for more information.

You might also be asking, “Why is the Chamber participating?” Well because why not?! The Chamber’s mission is to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region, so the mission of Open Streets ICT falls right in line with what we want to accomplish for our community. This is the second year the Chamber has participated in the event and you can see photos from last year’s activities on our Facebook album.

This year, we’re ready for a dunking-good time. $5 will get you three shots at sending one of the individuals listed below into a dunk tank. All proceeds will go to United Way of the Plains, so be sure to come see us in front of our building at 350 W. Douglas. Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing to the Facebook event!

Dunk Tank Schedule
1:30 p.m. – Jeff Longwell, Mayor of the City of Wichita
2:00 p.m. – Gordon Ramsay – Chief of Wichita Police Department
2:30 p.m. – Pete Meitzner – City Council member of District 2
3:00 p.m. – Jeff Blubaugh – City Council member of District 4

Interested in checking out the Wichita Flag murals along Douglas that day? Download the free izi.TRAVEL app (search for Wichita Flag Murals –Downtown Wichita, Kansas) to access an audio guide and digital map.

Member Minute with LightSpeed VT Midwest

229 E. William St., Ste. 410, Wichita, KS | 316-771-5050
lightspeedvtmidwest.com
Facebook: LightSpeed VT Midwest
LinkedIn: LightSpeed VT Midwest

LightSpeed VT Midwest President Steve Hull

If you’ve ever sat through a dull training video, then you’ll understand the necessity of LightSpeed VT Midwest. Through their interactive video technology, their team helps companies, trainers and subject matter experts to maximize their effectiveness, automate accountability, reduce costs and in many cases drive new revenue. Steve Hull, President of LightSpeed VT Midwest, shares more about his company in this Member Minute interview.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
Founded in 2006, LightSpeed VT Midwest is a training solutions company that takes your content and creates web-based training that engages users with interactive components within lessons. Whether your content includes customer service training, leadership, business development, or self-improvement, LightSpeed VT Midwest can scale it down, and create state-of-the-art training modules to help broaden your audience.

Our mission is to inspire people to learn by delivering the most engaging, innovative and reliable training solutions in the world.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
We recently launched a client with all new content in 90 days with over 1,500 interactive videos.

To what do you attribute your success?
Our staff are the key to our success. The people here bring a high level of talent and customer service.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Our business model of revenue sharing with content experts and interactive technology.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Our clients include both local and national brands. Some of our local clients are Lubrication Engineers and Billy Sims. A few of our non-local clients are Grant Cardone, The Black Swan, and Dale Carnegie.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
In five years we hope to have doubled our client base along with diversifying the content provided by those clients.

What about your business/organization are you most passionate?
Our people and our interactive technology. The two combined are a powerhouse!

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We recently went to L’Ouverture Technology Magnet Elementary for their Career Cookout. The goal was to expose kids to a variety of careers in technology. We asked kids to show us their best dance moves, so we could make a music video. You can see the end result on our Facebook page.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about  membership? We joined the Chamber to support Wichita and the local business community. The networking events alone have brought value to our business.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
Our favorite Chamber event is Exposure. It’s a great way to expose our products and services, as well as explore what the rest of the city has to offer.

The LightSpeed VT Midwest team created this interactive video to promote the Chamber’s upcoming Exposure event. How could this technology be utilized for your company?

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
Two great local clients, Fundamental Learning Center and Wired Within!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10 –  Involvement in your community is the most important thing a small business can do.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is the best thing about being a small business?
The best thing about being a small business is that all staff members get to be hands on with our clients, which provides a closer relationship and level of customer service.

What is the most challenging thing about running a small business?
The most challenging thing about running a small business is that staff members do wear multiple hats at times.

What is your best piece of advice for new small business owners/entrepreneurs?
My best piece of advice for a new small business owner is to get involved in the community. Use that to learn what resources are available to you.

What is something you wish you had known when your started your own business?
To always build more time into your expected costs than you think you will need.

Favorite business book?
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

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.

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

Internships Make an Impact

By Emma Meyer, Chamber Intern

Emma Meyer is a senior at Valley Center High School and plans to attend KSU in the fall to pursue a marketing degree. Follow @vchsinterns on Twitter to see posts about Emma’s experience and the work of other Valley Center High students.

Many people probably do not expect to see a high school intern in a professional business setting, but here I am at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. I began my internship with the Marketing & Communications Department in January and will complete it this week.

I’m a senior at Valley Center High School and am involved in activities ranging from volleyball and softball to National Honors Society and Student Council. Additionally, I am in the Internship Program that is coordinated by Mrs. Cody Lee. The program is for seniors, and this year there are 25 participants. Each student is released from class to go to their internship every day, and our internship experiences help us determine what we would like to pursue as a career. It helped me tremendously because I had no idea what I wanted to do until recently.

My first semester, I interned at Wesley Medical Center and Newton Medical Center. I saw some really cool things like a hysterectomy and open heart surgery… and no I did not pass out in the operating room. I found these things to be fascinating but ultimately decided the medical field is not for me. I wondered if I would enjoy something in the business field, so here I am.

I have loved every second that I have spent at the Chamber. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, and I am able to contribute to the team every day. Some of my projects  included posting ribbon-cutting photos on social media and writing captions for Chamber event pictures that are published in the Wichita Eagle. My biggest assignment dealt with the #ILoveWichita Campaign. I found pictures on Instagram that have used #ILoveWichita and selected a few each week that were later displayed on billboards throughout Wichita.

This fall, I plan to attend Kansas State University with a major in Marketing. My time at the Chamber has helped make this decision easier. I am very thankful for the things my internship has taught me and how it has allowed me to meet many amazing people and businesses in the Wichita area.


Experiences like the one Emma described above are key to retaining talent for Wichita. The Youth Employment Project (YEP), led by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, teaches Wichitans, as young as age 16, the skills necessary to become great employees and then connects them with an employer to provide a work experience to practice those skills. The program’s goal is to combat the exodus of our talent is by forging a deeper and earlier connection with our local talent pool.

How can you get involved?

  • HIRE
    interns (age 14-21) for a six- to 10-week paid work experience opportunity.
  • SPONSOR
    a paid intern work experience opportunity at another business or organization.
  • SPREAD THE WORD
    about this important program through your own professional and social networks.

For more information contact the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas:
Employers  call 316-771-6622
Intern Applicants – call 316-771-6620

Follow this link to see a 2017 video produced by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas regarding the Youth Employment Project from the perspective of employers.

Frontier Airlines Announces Nonstop Wichita/Denver Service

As Wichita carries on its Air Capital legacy into the next generation, local leaders in both the public and private sectors are strategically focusing resources to grow businesses and attract talent to our region. Ease of travel and low-cost airfare to high-demand destinations is a component vital to our success. For years, business and leisure travelers alike have made it known that improved service between Wichita and Denver is desperately needed. The Wichita Airport Authority has worked hard to make these needs known to the airlines. Yesterday, Frontier Airlines answered the call to action.

Beginning August 30, Frontier will return to Wichita with nonstop service to and from Denver for as low as $59 each way. With current round-trip fares to Denver often exceeding $1,000, this is fantastic news. If businesses and leisure travelers want the competition to remain in Wichita to keep fares low, they should fly this new, low-cost option to Denver as often as possible.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically welcomed the news. Our public and private partners have been hard at work to support the Wichita Airport Authority in communicating current demand. “I am extremely excited for this addition to the Wichita market!” said Peggy Deiter, Manager of Governance, Internal Communications & Community Affairs for Bombardier Learjet and Chair of the Chamber’s Air Services Task Force. “Enhancing air services in South Central Kansas is vital to our competitive growth and improved quality of place. Frontier Airlines service to Denver helps advance these goals.  This is great news for the entire Wichita region.”

This truly is great news. To celebrate this service, Frontier is offering special introductory one-way fares as low as $29 which are available now at flyfrontier.com. To get this introductory fare, flights must be purchased by 10:59 p.m. Central time on May 9, 2018.

Media Links
Wichita Eagle – Frontier Airlines launches service to Denver with $58 fares
Wichita Business Journal – Frontier Airlines ready to bust the high fares from Wichita to Denver
KMUW – Frontier Announces Nonstop Flights Between Wichita And Denver

Growing the Youth Employment Project

By Jonathan Long, Director of Community Advancement for the Chamber

Jonathan Long is the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement.

How many of you remember your first job? For many of us that experience – great or otherwise – helped set a foundation that we’ve continued to build upon professionally. However, many of today’s youth are waiting later and later to establish this foundation and thus aren’t developing the soft skills and work habits needed to excel in the full-time work world.

The Youth Employment Project (YEP) is helping young adults make progress on this issue. YEP teaches Wichitans, as young as age 16, the skills necessary to become great employees and then connects them with an employer to provide a work experience to practice those skills. The program is a partnership between several community organizations and employers.

In 2017, the project placed 463 individuals with 91 employers. This year we want to increase that number. Spirit AeroSystems provided 20 work experiences in 2017 and they’ve doubled their commitment for 2018. We’d love to see more companies increase their placements as well.

Enhancing our human capital has been a growing issue for Wichita and the South Central Kansas region for quite some time. A way to combat the exodus of our talent is by forging a deeper and earlier connection with our local talent pool. There is no better way to do that than with a youth employment experience.

How can you get involved?

  • HIRE
    interns (age 14-21) for a six- to 10-week paid work experience opportunity.
  • SPONSOR
    an intern’s paid work experience opportunity at another business or organization.
  • SPREAD THE WORD
    about this important program through your own professional and social networks.

For more information contact the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas:
Employers  call 316-771-6622
Intern Applicants – call 316-771-6620

Follow this link to see a 2017 video produced by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas regarding the Youth Employment Project from the perspective of employers.

Scholarship Applications Due March 30

The Wichita Manufacturer’s Association (WMA) is a Chamber affiliate that encourages students to pursue manufacturing careers. The organization offers scholarships for those planning to study manufacturing at any technical college, community college or state college/university in Kansas.

The scholarship program was created in 1993 to support the educational and training opportunities that develop better manufacturing interest, methods and employees. The organization distributed a record number of 24 scholarships last year. Complete and return this year’s application before March 30 to be eligible for one of their $1,000 scholarships towards tuition or related education expenses.

All applicants will be notified of results in April. Scholarships are awarded for the academic year starting in the fall.