Conference topics help your small business achieve big success

Interested in leading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business? Then you’ll want to attend the Chamber’s 2nd annual Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference on Wednesday, May 24.

The Details
9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24
Hyatt Regency Wichita
Choose three of nine breakout session topics (listed below).
Register here for only $15 per person.

Rachel Douglass, Manager of Membership & Engagement for the Wichita Regional Chamber, says the success of the 2016 conference made hosting a second rendition an easy choice. “The best part of the Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference is that it is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. All the sessions are planned specifically by small businesses, for small businesses.”

Ed O’ Malley of the Kansas Leadership Center was one of our 2016 presenters and is returning this year with “The Experimental Nature of Leadership.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from social media marketing to optimizing HR and hiring practices. Douglass said the Small Business Awards committee worked to keep the conference cost affordable at only $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

The Schedule | Register Here

9 to 9:30 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • The Power of Listening and Saying Thank You | Damon Young, Charles E. Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Stories from a Serial Networker, Not a TED talk, but Close | Brad Painchaud, Squid Ink Creative
  • The Experimental Nature of Leadership | Ed O’ Malley, Kansas Leadership Center

9:45 to 10:15 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Boosting Team Morale | Ashley Thill, Zernco, Inc.; Scott Ludwick, Builders Plus Construction; and Heidi Perez, Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Interviewing Techniques for Optimized Retention | Shawne Boyd, ARSI
  • Social Media Success In Just 3 Minutes a Day  | Tim Fruits, Malibu Creative, LLC

10:30 to 11 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Redefining and Prioritizing Sales Activities for Small Businesses | Allen Clouse, Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.
  • Unique Employee Benefits Small Business Can Offer | Carrie Cox, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.
  • Telling Your Why | Brandy Willett, e2e Accelerator, Inc.

The Awards
The Small Business Awards Luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m., where two businesses will be named the Small Business of the Year. Scott Redler, co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, will deliver the keynote speech. This luncheon always sells out, so get your tickets today.

Find more information about all the activities schedule for May 24 at wichitchamber.org.

Friends of McConnell receives national award

The Friends of McConnell, an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Abilene Trophy on April 28 at the Phoenix Rally at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Since 1998, the award has been presented annually to the community that demonstrates the most support of its local Air Force Base. Also known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, the trophy is awarded by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee.

To apply for the award, Friends of McConnell submitted a nearly-200 page document outlining how the Wichita region supports the airmen of McConnell Air Force Base. The document included examples of how the community worked alongside the military in preparation for the arrival of the KC-46, the re-designation of the 931st Air Refueling Wing from a group to a wing, and honoring the heritage and mission contributions associated with the 60th anniversary of the KC-135.

Pat Gallagher, Military Affairs Liaison for the Wichita Chamber, said Friends of McConnell was honored to receive the award on behalf of the entire Wichita community. “Wichita loves our Airmen and recognizes the vital role they play in our community,” she said. “I’ve been involved with McConnell for 25 years and I appreciate those who serve there tremendously. They are the very best this nation has to offer.”

A local award presentation and celebration will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14 where the Chair of the Abilene Chamber will unveil the trophy and present it to the Friends of McConnell. McConnell Commanders will be present to express their appreciation to our regional partners for their overwhelming support. The event will be hosted by Friends University. Find more information and register for the event here.

Col. Al Miller, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, said he was pleased the Wichita area was recognized. “For any Airman who is serving his or her first assignment and is fortunate enough to have been assigned to McConnell Air Force Base, they will struggle for the rest of their careers to find a community as supportive as this one. Wichita and the surrounding communities set the bar extremely high. This community is the very best.”

McConnell Air Force Base has an annual economic impact on the Wichita region of $800 million. The Friends of McConnell seeks to express community pride and appreciation of the area’s military by providing organizational and financial support for Commander-directed programs at McConnell Air Force Base. A primary goal of the group is to make McConnell the most desirable assignment of an Airman’s career.

Managing Underperforming Employees

By Rachel Douglass
Membership & Engagement Manager

Last week’s Small Business Owner Roundtable with Newman University Business Dean Brett Andrews was insightful – to say the least. It had attendees reflecting on not only how keyed into work their employees are, but also evaluating their own performance.

According to a recent Forbes study, four reasons employees underperform include:

  • Instructions were not clearly understood
  • They don’t have the resources
  • They don’t have the ability
  • They just don’t care


Can you tell which of these bullets are a leadership issue versus an employee issue? If you guessed the first three bullets as leadership issues (with the last bullet being an employee issue), you’re right. The activity served as a friendly reminder to all: employee issues usually begin with the leader or management.

Employee performance issues can become toxic if they’re ignored. As Andrews said, “It’s important to understand the difference between misconduct and poor performance when evaluating employee issues.” Misconduct can easily be defined as willful disobedience, while a performance issue is categorized as the failure to meet minimum standards.

Andrews walked attendees through six easy-to-follow steps to help address employee concerns. Those six steps include:

  • Early recognition
  • Early notification
  • Continuous observation and documentation
  • Verbal warning
  • Written warming
  • Conclusive action

Whether you utilize these specific steps or not, Andrews encouraged attendees to strive to adhere to a consistent and trackable procedure to optimize workplace positivity and increased productivity.

Chamber and Plummer recognized for diversity and inclusion

By Suzy Finn
Director of Community Advancement

Chamber President Gary Plummer accepted an award from the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber for efforts to promote the importance of inclusion and diversity in the Wichita business community.

The Heartland Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Black & White Ball on April 22. The Ball is the Chamber’s main fundraising event, as well as an opportunity to honor inductees into the Black Business Hall of Fame.

2017 Hall of Fame inductees included Juanita Hayes-Hill, Ed Givens Sr., and James Arbertha. Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Alicia Morris-Thompson received the new BIG Apple Award, and Cox Business and Walmart were inducted into the Presidents Circle.

At the end of the evening, Heartland Chamber President Bernard Knowles recognized two other individuals in attendance, one of which was Christal E. Watson, President and CEO of the Heartland Chamber, based in Kansas City.  Knowles also recognized Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, for the Chamber’s efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in the Wichita business community, such as inviting the presidents of the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber, Wichita Hispanic Chamber, and Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce to be part of The Chamber Board of Directors.

Chamber Board Members in attendance included Gene Bowen, Suzy Finn, Junetta Everett, Christina Long, Greg Cole, Gary Plummer and Bernard Knowles.

“We are truly honored by this recognition,” Gary said, “and I accept it on behalf of Junetta Everett, Suzy Finn and many others who are dedicated to this important initiative.”  Junetta, of Delta Dental of Kansas, is the Chamber’s Vice Chair of Inclusion, and Suzy is the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement and Young Professionals of Wichita.

Inclusion is one of the Wichita Regional Chamber’s four strategic priorities in 2017, with a goal of convening business leaders and partners to enhance Wichita’s image as an inclusive community that values the many aspects of diversity.

Welcome to our 245 new members!

And thank you to our volunteers! Because of their efforts, the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce set a statewide record of most members recruited during a 56-hour time frame when we welcomed 245 new members (listed below) during a recent membership event. During the event on April 18-20, more than 200 community volunteers gathered to invite their peers and colleagues to join the Chamber.

A celebration was held for volunteers at the conclusion of the membership event, where several individuals were recognized as top performers. The following individuals were recognized for recruiting at least six new memberships: Kyle Blasdel of Conco Construction; Brandon Brungardt of Hutton Construction Corporation; Dan Madrigal of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Bob Reyes of Envision, Inc.; and Sean Tarbell of Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc.

Diane Iseman of INTRUST Bank and Michael Monteferrante of Envision, Inc. were also recognized for their exceptional efforts during the membership event.

The Chamber’s 245 new members raises the Wichita Regional Chamber to more than 1,800 members, solidifying its role as the voice of the business community and the distinction of being the largest business membership organization of its kind in Kansas. View a complete list of new members below.

Our thanks to Westar Energy for serving as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Membership Event. Other sponsors include: AVI/Corporate Caterers, Drury Plaza Hotel, Foulston Siefkin, House of Schwan, Jason’s Deli, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Lubrication Engineers, Sam’s Club, Starbucks, The Kitchen, and Truffles Catering.

View photos from the calling sessions and volunteer celebration on our Facebook page.

New Members

  • 3G Supplements
  • 3R-Mechanical
  • A Better Solution In Home Care Inc.
  • AA Auto Clean
  • ACM Removal – Kansas, LLC
  • Advanced Personnel
  • Advantage Marketing
  • Aerospace Turbine Rotables, Inc.
  • Agile HR
  • AKG Office Solutions
  • All Angles Collision Repair – East
  • All Elements Auto and Marine
  • All Saints Health Care
  • All Seasons Construction, Inc.
  • Allstate Insurance – Kevin Hutchinson Agency
  • Ally Construction
  • American State Bancshares
  • Ametek Advanced Industries
  • Andover Family Dentistry
  • Andrews Cleaning Service
  • Applianz
  • Approved Auto Sales
  • Ariagno, Kerns, Mank And White
  • Artistic Builders
  • Ascension Lutheran
  • Ascension Lutheran – Maple
  • Barton Solvents, Inc.
  • Baxter & Associates, Inc.
  • Bell Mirror & Glass, Inc.
  • Benchmark Mortgage
  • Billy Sims BBQ
  • Bishop Carroll High School
  • Black Water Fire Protection, LLC
  • Blake Clotia
  • Bruce & Lehman LLC
  • Buckert Contracting, Inc.
  • Buffco Engineering
  • Burwell Construction, Inc.
  • Butler County Backhoe Services LLC
  • C & S Appraisals, LLC
  • Candle Club
  • Candye Daughhetee, Rodan & Fields Consultant
  • Ceco Inc.
  • Central Mechanical Wichita, LLC
  • Central Standard Brewing
  • Clean Harbors
  • Click Bond
  • Clint Bowyer Autoplex
  • Comfort Systems HVAC
  • Cook’s Heating and Air
  • Corporate Safety Compliance, Inc.
  • Cory Ayres – Wealth Legacy Advisors
  • Cowskin Creek Farm
  • Cox and Company
  • Creative Business Resources
  • CrossFit Wichita
  • D & H Auto Transport
  • DB Construction of Wichita, Inc.
  • DCS, Inc.
  • Dellrose United Methodist Church
  • Designer’s Home Gallery
  • Dickson Distribution
  • Diggs Construction
  • Dirtwork Contractors
  • Dugan & Giroux
  • Duty First Holdings
  • e2e Holdings
  • East Wichita Dentist
  • Eastridge Cleaners Inc.
  • Engineered Door Products
  • Ergonomic Solutions, Inc.
  • Everyday Beaut
  • Eviction One
  • Express Print & Signs
  • Farmers Insurance
  • FedEx Express
  • Fetch Bistro
  • Fleet Feet Sports Wichita
  • Frederick Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Galdean Law Firm
  • Gateway Wireless & Network Services
  • Global Partner Solutions
  • G Mac Construction
  • Golf, ETC
  • Goode Pool & Spa
  • Gottschalk Brothers Roofing, Inc.
  • Great Plains Diabetes
  • Greenwich AeroGroup
  • Grumpy Old Men
  • Guthridge Property Maintenance
  • Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming Boutique
  • Harman Huffman Construction Group
  • Harris & Co. Frame Shop
  • Hayford East
  • Healing Waters
  • Heartland Animal Hospital
  • Hephner TV & Electronics Inc
  • Hobby Town USA
  • Hollow Metal Door Co.
  • Hopper’s Glass
  • Hopping Gnome Brewing
  • Hub Supply
  • Hurricane Sports Grill
  • ICS Construction
  • Ignite Strategies LLC
  • Inside Out Fitness
  • J Cox Realty Group
  • Jackson Mortuary
  • Sky Contracting Co Inc
  • Jersey Mike’s of Wichita
  • Jet AirWerks LLC
  • Jimmie’s Diner
  • JPI Glass
  • Kansas Eye Bank & Cornea Research Center, Inc.
  • Kansas Foot Center
  • Kansas Gastroenterology
  • Kansas Grain Sorghum
  • Kansas Secured Title
  • Kansas West
  • Karl’s Tire
  • Kendrek Electric
  • Kim Koester, Monat Market Partner
  • Kim Rhodes – JP Weigand
  • Koehn Painting Co
  • Kristie Nedbalek Agency
  • Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing
  • LaCrone Enterprises
  • Launch Prep
  • Lawn Buddy
  • LED Source City
  • Lee Air
  • Liebau Greer Wealth Management Group – Wichita
  • LifeTeam Critical Care Transport
  • LightSpeed VT
  • LINE-X
  • Liquidynamics
  • Lola’s Bistro
  • Longhofer Lawn & Tree Care
  • Lou’s Place
  • Lucky’s Convenience & Tobacco
  • Lucky’s Everyday
  • Main Place Youth
  • Maize Digital Billboard
  • Makino
  • Manheim Wichita
  • Martin Event Services
  • Mary Kate and Company
  • Max Aerostructures
  • Maybee Home Inspections
  • McKenzie & Associates
  • Metalform Industries Inc.
  • Mid America Equipment
  • Midland Insurance
  • Mill-Tel
  • MK Consignment Store – East
  • MK Consignment Store – West
  • Mobile Comm
  • Music Scene
  • Net Pay Capital
  • Northstar Therapy Center
  • O.M.T. Inspections
  • Opti-Life
  • Optimal Performance
  • Park Aerospace Technologies Corp
  • Pat’s Concessions
  • Perfection Builders
  • Pet Supplies Plus
  • Phones To Go, Inc.
  • Pinnacle Homes
  • PrimeCo Painting
  • Pro Kansas Recycling
  • Professional Cleaning Systems
  • Promo Depot
  • Propane Central
  • Rachel Clark Landscape Design
  • RBP Inc.
  • Revolution Bag
  • Rise Up for Youth
  • River Vista, LLC
  • Rockin M Media
  • Seven K Company
  • Shaken or Stirred Bartender
  • Shelton Collision Repair
  • Shire Signs
  • SignLab.net
  • Sims and Associates
  • Smile Craft Family Dentistry
  • Smith Chiropractic
  • Songbird Juice Co
  • South Seneca Car Care
  • Southeast Chiropractic Center
  • Specialized Service Co
  • Stearman Field Bar & Grill
  • Steve Hausmann Agency
  • Stifel-Moser-Lowe Financial Group
  • Stuart and Assoc
  • Studio 420
  • Sweeney Bookkeeping LLC
  • Sweetly Scrumptious
  • Sweetman Investors
  • Tablerock Ventures
  • Tactical Safety Solutions
  • Tami Koester – Xyngular Distributor
  • Taylor Made Cleaning
  • Ten Talent
  • Tenbrink Enterprises
  • The Alternative Board
  • The Anchor
  • The Barbary
  • The Growth Plan
  • The Incubator for Nonprofits of KS
  • The Living Room Salon
  • The Mattress Hub
  • The Windshield Shop
  • Tim Hartman – CoreNorth Capital Planning
  • TMD
  • Tobie Andrews Photography
  • Tortilla King
  • Trajectory RCS, LLC
  • Transpacific Oil
  • Trax Express Carwash
  • TriMark Signworks
  • TriMet Group
  • Uniquities Home
  • Urban Air Trampoline Park
  • Via Fone
  • Village Tours
  • Visibility Optics
  • WAAL Wichita Animal Action League
  • Warsh My Windows
  • Welcome Home
  • Westurban Little League
  • Whiskey Dicks
  • Wichita CDK
  • Wichita Construction Group, Inc.
  • Wichita Littlest Heroes
  • Wichita Rentals Property Mgt
  • Wilcox Painting
  • Wilks Underground Utilities
  • Window Blind Outlet
  • WMW Consulting
  • Woodard Mercantile
  • World Studios
  • Wyatt Kesler Educational Foundation
  • Your Chamber Connection

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.

Inclusion: Experience Rather than Appearance

Dan Powers addressing the crowd of 500+ at Chairman’s Lunch on Feb. 7.

Following the Chairman’s Lunch centered on diversity and inclusion, Dan Powers (Managing Partner at Grant Thornton LLP) recapped his thoughts on the topic. The original published content can be seen on page 3B of today’s Wichita Eagle.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical that employers and communities recognize that inclusion has and will continue to be a benchmark for perception and success.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Lunch on February 7 brought together public and private-sector leadership to discuss how Wichita can utilize four specific tactics to build an inclusive community: utilize a new talent app and website that will launch later this year, expand diversity and inclusion training, support a youth employment project and partner with minority business organizations. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, Wichita is striving to cultivate and sustain an open environment that nurtures both growth and development.

For us to be as inclusive as possible, it’s important to recognize that diversity is defined by much more than just appearance. Rather, diversity includes attributes that aren’t as readily seen, such as religion, educational background, socioeconomic status and work experience. Inclusion is accepting and understanding that varied perspectives and past experiences foster innovation and create a competitive advantage for Wichita in today’s global environment. It’s capitalizing on the strengths of each person to build a more empowered and efficient workforce.

Addressing diversity and inclusion is a priority, and the consequences of failing to acknowledge them are profound. However, I’m confident our city has the power to enhance Wichita’s image at the regional and national level as a leader in diversity – but to do so, it will take everyone’s support. Intention doesn’t always translate into action. We must all play an important role in advocating for and celebrating diversity and practicing inclusion in our businesses and throughout our community.

Grant Thornton LLP was the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Chairman’s Lunch. The event took place on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at INTRUST Bank Arena and featured a panel discussion titled “Creating a Workforce for the Future Through Diversity and Inclusion.” To see photos and video from the event, please visit our Facebook page.

To learn more about the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, please contact Suzy Finn.

Two Entrepreneurs Pitching to Daymond John and Local Experts at Annual Meeting

Trevor Crotts

Trevor Crotts

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has invited two local entrepreneurs to present investor pitches as part of this year’s Annual Meeting program on Thursday, December 1 at Century II Convention Center. Trevor Crotts and Miguel Johns will join Daymond John, star of ABC’s Emmy-winning Shark Tank series, on stage after the keynote speech about entrepreneurism and branding he will deliver at 7:30 p.m.

Crotts is the Executive Director & Founder of BuddyRest, a local company that produces and sells  American-made orthopedic dog beds. Founded in 2011, the company has received multiple awards from the pet industry.

Miguel Johns

Miguel Johns

Johns is the CEO of KingFit Preventative Health and Performance, LLC, an innovative health and wellness platform powered by artificial intelligence. KingFit helps healthcare organizations improve their diabetes management quality of care and increase their reimbursement.

Both Crotts and Johns have presented at 1 Million Cups-Wichita, a national program that connects and strengthens the entrepreneurial community through weekly presentations and discussions. They have also completed the e2e Accelerator program, an initiative of the Greater Wichita Partnership’s Entrepreneurial Task Force. Both entrepreneurs will give five-minute product pitches to Daymond John and a panel of local experts made up of:

  • Christina Long, Owner and Principal Consultant for CML Collective, LLC; co-founder of the Create Campaign
  • Scott Schwindaman, President/CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc.; co-chair of the Entrepreneurial Task Force
  • Jeff Turner, Partner at the Turner Nichols Group; co-chair of the Greater Wichita Partnership’s  Leadership Council; retired President/CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

Barry Schwan, 2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the interactive format of this year’s Chamber event was designed to celebrate the successes of the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Schwan said, “The audience will get to hear about products developed locally by two very innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs. And the business leaders we’ve assembled will share advice with those entrepreneurs about maximizing their business plans and developing future investment opportunities. It’s an on-stage learning experience for everyone involved. But it also clearly demonstrates the important role we all play in growing the regional economy and championing innovation.”

EVENT DETAILS:
Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Century II – Convention Center
5 to 7 p.m. – Networking gala
7 to 8:30 p.m.– Business meeting and program

Ticket prices:
Networking Dinner Gala & Program: $115
Program Only: General Loge Seating – $55 or General Balcony Seating – $35
Call 316-268-1123 for information on special pricing for students.
Register at wichitachamber.org

Chamber Doubles Down on Education Policy

A new policy group at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce will give business a stronger voice on future education issues, particularly at the state level.

Barry Schwan 2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Barry Schwan
2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Barry Schwan, 2016 Chamber Chairman, announced the creation of the Chamber’s Education Policy Task Force consisting of representatives from the Wichita Metro Chamber’s Government Relations Committee (GRC) and from the Business & Education Alliance (BEA) at the Greater Wichita Partnership. Co-chairing the task force are Walter Berry and Lyndon Wells, who chair the GRC and BEA, respectively.

Schwan said the task force will start by focusing on two areas:  1) understanding changes to Kansas funding formula for K-12 education and the potential impact on Wichita Public Schools; and 2) working to expand the region’s workforce development capacity through both public and private resources.

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has been engaging members of the BEA in developing the Chamber’s education agenda since forming the BEA in 2012. The BEA is comprised of leaders from the business community, educational institutions and nonprofits interested in supporting a strong education system, from K-12 to higher education. “Through the BEA, the dialogue between business and education has resumed and significant improvement in cooperative advocacy has occurred which will continue to help our region grow an educated workforce that will meet the needs of our industries,” stated co-chair Lyndon Wells. Some of the issues on prior Wichita Metro Chamber state legislative agendas have included funding for the National Center for Aviation Training, more spending flexibility for local districts, technical training programs and increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In 2016, the Wichita Metro Chamber added language to its agenda that opposed cuts to K-12 public education. Schwan credits that position to the input of both business and education members. “It’s important for business leaders to carry on a dialogue with education leadership on matters of mutual interest,” said Schwan. “An educated workforce is clearly an important economic driver for the region.”

During his Chamber tenure, Schwan helped start the BEA and recruited its current co-chairs:  Wells, of INTRUST Bank, and Dr. Noreen Carrocci, president of Newman University.

Berry and Wells have assembled a small and focused working group that will engage additional stakeholders and experts throughout the process. “We know the education funding formula is critical to our future and business should be at the table as the funding formula discussions progress. We certainly appreciate the challenging job of our policymakers and look forward to our conversations with them,” said co-chair Walter Berry.

The co-chairs have begun their task force deliberations with a basic understanding of how the Kansas school formula has evolved in the past and the importance of a fully integrated education system linking resources and outcomes from pre-school through post-secondary training. Other task force members include Schwan (House of Schwan), Mark Nichols (Koch Industries), John Allison (Wichita Public Schools), Richard Taylor (Plumbers & Pipefitters), Brian Black (Spirit AeroSystems), Steve Cox (Cox Machine) and Sam Williams (retired).

Follow this link for KMUW coverage of this story.

The mission of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. 

Chamber announces staff promotions

Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber, has announced two staff promotions that are effective immediately.

Kresta Dundas

Kresta Dundas

 

Kresta Dundas has been promoted from Manager of Membership Development to Director of Membership Development. She joined the Chamber in July 2012. Her responsibilities include overseeing the sales of Chamber memberships and the retention of current members. She has more than 15 years of marketing and sales experience, including nine years in media sales. Dundas is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for various animal welfare causes.

Jaime Dupy

Jaime Dupy

Jaime Dupy has been promoted from Manager of Investor Relations to Director of Investor Relations. Dupy also joined the Chamber in 2012, and played a key role in the Chamber’s successful Business At Full Throttle fundraising campaign. She has a comprehensive background in sponsorship development and her fundraising responsibilities at the Chamber have increased during the past two years. She has also worked in a managerial role for Young Professionals of Wichita and as a Project Manager for Business Services and Government Relations. Dupy is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is a member of the Junior League of Wichita.

Plummer said Dundas and Dupy are key members of his senior leadership team. “Both are dedicated to our Chamber members. They’ve sought out additional responsibilities and assumed more leadership in their areas of expertise. I’m very pleased that we’re able to retain such talented and well-respected professionals on our team.”