More #ILoveWichita Events and Promotions in 2018

2018 Chamber Chairman Bill Wood threw out the first pitch at the June 6 Wichita Wingnuts game and modeled the Wichita flag jerseys the team will wear on June 9.

The #ilovewichita movement has been making some measurable progress since it was initiated in 2015. The informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign is centered around the promotion of the city’s official flag and a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners have resulted in a positive platform and a powerful microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Measurable Results
Last year the Chamber’s Quality of Place committee recommended leveraging the ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. The committee’s chair, Ben Hutton, challenged Chamber Board members to apply an #ilovewichita decal to their front door to show community support and to use the same hashtag in their company and personal Twitter postings. He also extended the challenge to Chamber members.

The number of #ilovewichita Tweets has grown significantly since 2015.

The result was a major jump in the hashtag usage last year. Research by social media monitoring expert Ian Anderson Gray showed a significant increase from 913 mentions on Twitter in 2016 to 9,342 mentions in 2017—all without paid advertising or sponsored posts.

2018 Events and Promotions
Since its inception the campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. In early 2018, the area’s minor league hockey team, the Wichita Thunder, hosted the first-ever #ilovewichita community pride night. The team wore specially-designed Wichita flag-themed jerseys for the January 20 game against the Colorado Eagles and the first 500 fans received special Wichita flag rally towels. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell dropped the ceremonial hockey puck to kick off the game.

Adam Ortega of Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems designed and installed the new decal on the Chambers pedestal sign.

Chamber members M.A.D. Ad Company and Midwest Billboards have committed to accelerating the movement this year with a partnership that includes donating ad space to the cause. M.A.D. Ad Company has donated space on mirrored billboard displays that are positioned in area bars and restaurants, and Midwest Billboards has donated space on nine of their Wichita-area electronic billboards. The space utilizes repurposed images and content posted on Instagram using the hashtag #ilovewichita. Watch our social media channels later today (June 8) for a video announcement about a new social media contest.

The hashtag got another major boost this year when Wichita hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It was utilized by Chamber partners Visit Wichita, the City of Wichita and INTRUST Bank Arena along with numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals. Our partnership with Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems in producing a giant basketball hoop and backboard included a large #ilovewichita decal and the seven-day social media contest they sponsored incorporated the hashtag in photos with the 3-dimensional display.

This month Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems donated and applied an #ilovewichita decal to Chamber signage just in time for the annual Wichita River Festival. And the Wichita Wingnuts, Wichita’s independent baseball team and a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball Association, are hosting an #ilovewichita night of baseball this Saturday at 7 p.m. when they take on the Kansas City T-Bones. The team will be wearing special Wichita flag jerseys designed just for this game.

Our thanks to all of our partners who continue to fuel pride in our region and improve our quality of life and place.

Gaulding Promoted to Accountant

Peter Gaulding has been promoted to Accountant.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has promoted Peter Gaulding to Accountant effective June 1. Peter joined the Chamber two years ago in a part-time accounting clerk role to perform billing duties. He moved to a full-time position earlier this year and his additional duties as an Accountant will include monthly reconciliations, report creation and preparation of tax returns. He is a recent graduate of Wichita State University with an Accounting degree.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said Peter earned his promotion through dedication and hard work. “During his tenure with the Chamber, Peter has assumed increasing levels of responsibility and the successful completion of his accounting education will allow him to perform professional-level accounting work. His assistance with a planned move to advanced technology tools will be critical to the success of the project.”

In his off hours, Peter is a drummer in a local alternative rock band called Letters from Rome. You can catch him at Riverfest on Thursday, June 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Food Court Stage.

Congratulations on your promotion, Peter, and on the great band gig at Wichita’s biggest party! We’ll be there rocking with you.

Peter is also a drummer in a local band called Letters from Rome.

Last Day to Nominate Innovators, Challenge Seekers and Continual Learners

Still mulling over who to nominate for our 2018 Leadership Wichita class? Three program graduates offer some insight into the qualities they look for when submitting nominations. Submit your nomination today on the Chamber’s website.

Coleen Tabor

CONTINUAL LEARNERS
Coleen Tabor,
Talent and Diversity Director
at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I consider these qualifications when making my nominations: people who have demonstrated leadership capabilities by leading cross-functional teams both inside
the company and in the community; people who show a strong commitment to continuous learning in both personal and professional realms and whose commitment is based in a humble understanding of their strengths and opportunities for growth; and people who have a desire to impact the region by building economic and cultural value for all community members.”

Matt Cortez

CHALLENGE SEEKERS
Matt Cortez,
VP & Opportunities Studio Lead
at GLMV Architecture

“When submitting my nomination for the program, I look for the intangible qualities in a person that allow them to see opportunities in every difficulty (along with qualifications that show up on a resume). These individuals must have integrity, they must be
visionaries and they also must have a substantial amount of grit to overcome challenges.”

INNOVATORS
Sheelu Surender,
Director of 
Financial Aid and Scholarships
at Wichita State University

Sheelu Surender

“The individuals I nominate have a passion and commitment for innovation and growth, both in their organizations and in our community. They are leaders who give of their time, talent and resources to advance the greater good. As they participate in the program and gain a greater understanding of the local environment, the perspective gained will be transformative.”

Today is the last day to nominate our next group of 30 community changers who will participate in the 2018 Leadership Wichita class. This annual immersive experience is managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and the program runs between August 23 and November 14. Visit wichitachamber.org/leadershipwichita for more information about the program or contact the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement, Jonathan Long, at 316-268-1170.

2018 Small Business Award Winners Announced Today

Watermark Books & Café and Allmetal Recycling, LLC are the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Businesses of the Year. The Chamber made the announcement at today’s award luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. Watermark Books & Cafe represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Allmetal Recycling represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas: leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

Watermark Books & Cafe is our Tier One 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Watermark Books & Café opened its doors in 1 977 and is located at 4701 E. Douglas. Twenty-five employees at the independent bookstore keep the minds and bodies of their customers fed by hosting interesting reading events involving nationally-known authors and selling made-from-scratch café items. Owner Sarah Bagby credits her success to a passionate staff and a complex marketing infrastructure as well as her partnerships with authors, area businesses, schools, publishers, and literary houses. A champion of local authors, Bagby said, “We love to bolster stories being written in Wichita.”

Allmetal Recycling is our Tier Two 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Founded in 2009, Allmetal Recycling, LLC currently employs a team of seventy-seven and is located at 800 E. 21st St. N. The company has been growing its footprint and changing the culture as well as attitudes about the scrap metal and recycling industry with the tagline, Not your typical scrap yard. Owner and general manager Clint Cornejo said, “We set out to change the image of the industry. Safety is our top priority and we’ve created a friendly environment for our customers.”

The Presenting Sponsors of the 2018 Awards program were Mahaney Roofing Company and The Monarch. Joe Ontjes of Luminous Neon, Inc. gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up almost 90 percent of the Wichita Regional Chamber membership. The Small Business Awards program, now in its 14th year, is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

2018 Small Business Awards Finalists

Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)

McCurdy Auction, LLC
Paint the Towne
Reverie Coffee Roasters
Shelden Architecture
Watermark Books & Cafe

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)

Allmetal Recycling, LLC
Elite Staffing Solutions
Stearman Field Bar & Grill
The Anchor

Visit the Chamber’s Facebook page to see photos of the event. Videos highlighting each of the finalists will be posted to the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Member Minute with The McGinty Machine Co.

222 N. Hydraulic – Wichita, KS 67214 –  (316) 269-3344
mcgintymachine.com | Facebook and Twitter: @mcgintymachine

The McGinty Machine Company, Inc. was recently honored as a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics 2017 Elite Supplier. The company started building airplane parts seven decades ago and has earned other supplier awards from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Owner and President Don McGinty shares more information about his company’s achievements, Chamber involvement and the Wichita business environment in today’s Member Minute.

Don McGinty is the President and Owner of The McGinty Machine Co.

Company background
My dad and uncle started The McGinty Machine Company, Inc., to build parts for war planes and general aviation in the mid-1940s. Since then, McGinty Machine has delivered quality precision-machined parts and customer service to the Wichita community and beyond. We offer both blue streak (or expedited) and long-term production, including sheet metal and small, benchtop assembly. We believe in quality, customer service and working as a team with our customers, so they can be the very best at what they do.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Most recently, we were honored as a 2017 Elite Supplier from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Only 23 suppliers, representing the top two percent of Lockheed Martin’s suppliers, earned this based on at least 98 percent quality, 98 percent delivery and a $1 million contract value. We had 100 percent quality and delivery.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recently named The McGinty Machine Company a 2017 Elite Supplier. The company’s performance has earned them other awards.

To what do you attribute your success?
This is a second-generation business, and we’ve survived because of the foundation my father and mother left. I also attribute our success to our team. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Reliability – Our customers know they can count on us.
Longevity – They know we will be with them year after year as we have been for the past 70+ years.
Experience – We have more than 30 years’ experience at the lead and throughout our company.
Innovation – We are always looking to improve our processes to provide quality work for our customers.
Quality – Quality is number one for our company.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Most people don’t realize the technology involved in manufacturing and how quickly it’s advancing.

Where do you see your business in five years?
Continuing to grow and expand our capabilities with the addition of new technology.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Quality. Customer service. Technology. Innovation.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Our company supports a variety of community and civic activities, including the Wichita Open (formerly Air Capital Classic), Wichita Aero Club, Wichita Children’s Home, and many others. Our employees are active with a number of organizations, and as a company, we try to support those as best as we can. Personally, I am involved with the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee and on the Wichita Aero Club board.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
I joined the Chamber to be more involved and to stay in touch with our decision makers. I’ve developed connections throughout the community and especially like serving on the Government Relations Committee.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I enjoy the government relations events the most because of the opportunity to talk with and hear directly from decision makers. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet other business leaders at various awards and roundtable events.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague? Why?
10. The connections are invaluable no matter what stage of life or business you are in.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
There are many challenging factors in running a small business. The labor force is one of those factors. Recruiting the talent needed to succeed can be a challenge as a small business.

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
Being your own boss is both stressful and rewarding. It allows you to grow something for your family and the people working for you.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
Don’t be afraid to try and fail. This is how you gain experience in your industry. If one thing isn’t working, change it. Keep trying until you get to where you want to be.

Something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I’d had a better understanding of the market’s up and down trends. It’s important to understand this, so you can prepare and protect your business. Also, keeping your debt service at a minimal to not overextend yourself or your business is important to know.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
There is no better place to live or do business than Wichita. I grew up here. I enjoy the people, the community, and the ease of getting around.

Earlier this month the 55 members of The McGinty Machine Company team celebrated their supplier award.

Help Shape Our Region with a Leadership Wichita Nomination

We asked three area leaders why they have consistently nominated candidates for the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program. They shared their responses in the Chamber Update that published in today’s Wichita Eagle. We’re also sharing them here to inspire you to submit a nomination before May 25.

VALUE

Sheelu Surender

Sheelu Surender, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Wichita State University

“I nominate someone for the Leadership Wichita program every year because of the tremendous value I believe it offers participants, their organizations and the larger community. The program is unique in that it brings together cross sections of our community and offers a rare opportunity to learn, network and develop relationships with other leaders who are committed to improving and growing our community.

“This type of intensive immersion, over a relatively short period of time, truly connects participant with their community and helps underscore how we, as engaged citizens, can make immediate and direct impact on community success.”

Matt Cortez

OPPORTUNITY
Matt Cortez, VP & Opportunities Studio Lead at GLMV Architecture

“I believe the Leadership Wichita program provides individuals with a unique opportunity to understand their community by exposing them to issues and opportunities facing Wichita and the surrounding area. The Leadership Wichita program has a rich history of alumni who have gone on to have tremendous success within their organizations and the community. This success can be attributed to the development of their skills within the program, along with the motivation from classmates to become more effective leaders. The Leadership Wichita program sets itself apart from all other leadership programs in this way and that is why I nominate individuals for this program every year.”

CONNECTIONS

Coleen Tabor

Coleen Tabor, Talent and Diversity Director at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I nominate someone for Leadership Wichita every year because the program plays an important role in Spirit’s leadership development programming by providing context, connections and involvement. The program accomplishes these goals by exposing leaders to the strategic plans for the community, connecting them with people and organizations influencing these plans, and involving them in the forward motion for the business, government and cultural advancement of the region.”

Leadership Wichita is an immersive experience for 30 area achievers that runs between August 23 and November 14. The program provides interactive learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Since it was introduced in 1983, the program has graduated more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military. For more information about the program, contact Director of Community Advancement Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

Member Minute with Dandelion Wine Design

Facebook and Instagram @dandelionwinedesign – 316-308-0803

Jan Sattler is the creative talent behind many of the Chamber’s most popular graphic design projects. She’s developed numerous invitations as well as the Chamber’s award-winning annual summaries. And she just finished producing a unique intern passport for the Chamber’s affiliate, the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). In this interview, you’ll learn more about what inspires her to find creative solutions to the challenges faced by her clients.

Jan Sattler owns and operates Dandelion Wine Design.

What products and services do you provide?
The name of my business might lead you to believe that I specialize in the fermentation of dandelion blossoms into wine. Not so. I love a good challenge and I find great satisfaction in transforming what some people may view as a problem into a positive opportunity. My objective with this business is to find creative solutions. That’s reflected in the name and motto for my business:  “When life gives you dandelions, make dandelion wine. Turn your nemesis into something divine.”

I specialize in logo & branding design, business cards, stationery, brochures, flyers, postcards, ads, banners, forms, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, posters, billboards, signs, infographics, trade show materials, murals and apparel design.

In addition to graphic design services for businesses and organizations, I also design invitations, announcements, signage and room decor for events celebrating the special occasions of life: birth, birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, retirement, and memorials to name a few.

Another category of my design work involves various Wichita Flag swag items, including a 2018 calendar and unique seasonal items.

My objective with this business is to find creative solutions – to surpass the typical way of thinking by creating an end product that is truly unique and unforeseen. I strive to exceed the expectations of the client while meeting the specific needs of their company, organization or special event.

About my company
I’ve been a graphic artist for 20 years, but only recently under the name Dandelion Wine Design. Past clients include the Diocese of Wichita, Wichita Clinic and Via Christi Health. I’m the Principal & Creative Director, Project Manager, Business Manager and Graphic Designer for my business.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?

Initially I prefer to meet face-to-face with new clients. I want to get to know them and learn their story. I’m interested in their style and their preferences. I want to create specifically for each client and satisfy THEIR unique graphic needs rather than MY wants, without any templates or preconceived idea.

Jan Sattler likes to incorporate unique folds in her designs so that they stand out for her clients.

What about your business are you most passionate?
The creative part. My favorite projects are the ones where I can be “extra” creative. Perhaps a special fold will take the project to the next level as was the case with the 2015 & 2016 Chamber Annual Summaries. My 2018 Wichita Flag calendar design took “special fold” to a whole new level. Another fun project was the interactive Wichita Flag mural I designed for the Chamber. Now I have been challenged to create a fun mural for one of my Chamber member clients, SpinICT.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Together with the Chamber, three awards were received for the 2015 Annual Summary “folded Wichita flag” document: 2016 Silver Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association Annual Report category, 2016 First Place from the Kansas Professional Communicators Annual Report category and 2016 Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women Nonprofit Brochures category. We also won the 2016 Gold Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association for the #ILoveWichita Wichita Flag cityscape design and initiative.

To what do you attribute your success?

I was drawing and painting from a very early age and always had a sense of the elements of design before I learned their technical definitions. Certainly, many useful traits have been passed down through my family, like the courage and determination necessary for growth and new ventures as well as a strong work ethic.

What is most valuable about Chamber membership?
Since I work alone at my home office, what is most valuable to me is networking and socializing with other Chamber members. Many of my clientele are Chamber members, whose design work was secured as a result of my Chamber membership and their recognition of my graphic projects produced specifically for the Chamber. On a scale of 1-10, I rate Chamber membership at a 10 for anyone who wants to build a successful business in this vibrant, pride-filled community.

What is your favorite Chamber event?

The Annual Meeting of course, since I have been given the opportunity to create the printed materials for the event: the folded flag brochure in 2015, the new logo reveal with special fold in 2016 and the Sports Celebrated magazine in 2017.

Sattler designed the interactive Wichita flag mural that is positioned on the east side of the building.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
If you have some talent and you are willing to work hard, you can become very successful at your trade. But excellence, peak performance, and being the best you can be at something can really be enhanced with coaching. Don’t be afraid to seek appropriate counsel, mentoring and advice. Fortunately, Chamber membership provides many of these coaching opportunities to build your business.

What’s the most effective social media tool for your own business?

So far, I have not taken full advantage of the positive impact that social media could have on my business. I have an Instagram account, a Facebook page and a website that I am currently updating. However, I have dedicated time to create graphics for social media use for my clients.

Where do you see your business in the next five years?
I plan to nurture the seed that has already been established, to strive to make Dandelion Wine Design more efficient and profitable. We all know that it’s difficult to keep a good dandelion down. To be resilient and deeply rooted are key.

2018 Leadership Wichita Nominations Underway

Nominations opened this week for the 2018 Leadership Wichita program and will close on May 25. Managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Wichita provides an immersive experience every year for 30 area achievers. The program runs between August 23 and November 14 and provides interactive leadership learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Participants gain valuable insight into local government, economic development, education, and media; and interact with the key community and business leaders working to make progress in each area.

Ryan Bond of Sasnak is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Wichita and currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees.

Since Leadership Wichita was introduced in 1983, more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military have completed the program and have committed to become stronger leaders for our community. Those interested in participating must be nominated by another person and then submit a completed application.

Ryan Bond, Director of Brand Experience for Sasnak Management Corporation, graduated from the Leadership Wichita program in 2014. He currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. Bond said the Board plans to announce the 2018 Leadership Wichita class on August 6. “Our Board’s goal is to have a group of participants, representing a broad spectrum of industries, backgrounds and viewpoints from across the region, that desire to make a positive difference in the community we share.”

Please visit the Chamber’s website to find more detailed information about the program and to submit a nomination by the May 25 deadline. For more information, contact the program manager Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

Member Minute with Red Door Three

1400 Terradyne St #210 | Andover, KS 67002 | (316) 570-2773
FB: @RedDoorThree | Twitter: @edmundson3

Stacy Edmundson is the President and Owner of Red Door Three.

Stacy Edmundson is the President and Owner of Red Door Three. Located in Andover, the company has been a Chamber member since 2014 and a member of the Wichita Manufacturer’s Association (a Chamber affiliate) since 2015. Edmundson’s passion for customer service shines through in this Member Minute.

What products and services does Red Door Three provide?
Red Door Three is a display and exhibit company that specializes in creating exhibits that are custom to the client’s needs — from design to manufacture to set-up and dismantle. Our main areas of focus are custom exhibits, portable displays, custom kiosks and interior signage. We handle the project, from the design process to manufacturing  to final installation. We are also an authorized Nimlok dealer.

Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?
Business is all about relationships. We joined to connect with other businesses in the Wichita area. It’s been an amazing marketing tool for us and has helped with name recognition and credibility.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
Wichita is a great city to do business in, especially in our industry, because of the variety of businesses that call Wichita ‘home’. Every business needs what we have to offer in some way or another. We want our clients to succeed in their marketing efforts so that they can grow and create more jobs. We take great pride in that. There’s no more gratifying feeling than designing an exhibit and having it come to life to create business opportunities for our clients.

A rendering of the Solution Center that will open soon inside the new warehouse space Red Door Three will occupy in Andover.

Describe your business’ most recent successes.
It’s been a banner year, so I’d have to list five things.
— I was just accepted into the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative. In completing the program, I will have developed a three-year strategic growth action plan for my business.
— With the help of the Kansas PTAC Team, we are finalizing our government contracting certifications.
— We’ll soon be finalizing a Solutions Center for our clients at our facility located in Andover. It will be a great environment for clients so that they can see various products and what materials and options are available.
— We were recognized by Nimlok for “2017 Best Design” for an exhibit we created for a local Wichita client.
— Last year’s growth was amazing and our referrals are helping our expansion.

To what do you attribute your success?
Making sure that every client we have feels like they are our only client. We are focused on customer service. Our clients know that we will take care of them. That’s crucial in our industry. We live by deadlines and we don’t get second chances.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
There are two of them actually. I try to attend every Small Business Owner Roundtable. It’s a great opportunity to meet with other business owners in the community and the session topics are very informative. The topic may not pertain to my business at this point in time, but things change so rapidly that it probably will soon.

My other favorite is the Member Business Exchange. You meet so many different businesses in such a short period of time. Great event!

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
The fact that we offer complete trade show coordination — logistics, show service coordination, set-up/dismantle, and exhibit storage. All of those services are needed to put a client’s exhibit to use and they can continue to rely on us for those.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
We’re LOCAL. Many companies in our area have relied on exhibit houses outside of Wichita to develop their exhibits and may not realize that they can get the same level and depth of services with Red Door Three right here in the Wichita area. I would put us up against anyone’s current exhibit partner in terms of customer service, value, and overall expertise in the industry. Also, many other exhibit houses require their customers to sign multiple-year fulfillment contracts. These contracts require the client to work exclusively with an exhibit house for a specific period of time, typically two years. We don’t believe those types of contracts are necessary. We hold ourselves to the highest standards on all of our projects at all times. Returning clients and referrals are a testament to our high level of service.

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
Visibility. I didn’t buy an existing business. I started a brand new one. While I had years of industry experience and people knew my name, they weren’t familiar with my company. The Chamber was the best way to get my name out there. It helped with both visibility and establishing credibility.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
We just celebrated our fourth anniversary and we’ve had a lot of growth in those four years. I predict even more growth for us in the next five years. I want to keep building our diverse list of clients and hope to hire a few more people over the next few years.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Learning about businesses and telling the client’s story thru exhibits and displays.  By doing this, it allow the client a platform to open more doors and provide more opportunities for their business. The variety of businesses in and around Wichita is truly amazing. I always try to get a tour of our client’s facility to get a real sense of what they do and how they do it. It helps us to provide the background and details our designers need to do the best job for the client. Those details definitely show through at the end.

Best thing about being a small business?
Knowing that the sacrifices and challenges are worth it when you get to pursue your own passion.

Most challenging thing about owning a small business?
Juggling so many priorities can be challenging, but there’s a real sense of gratification when you deliver exactly what you promised the client.

Best piece of advice for new small business owners.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek mentors who you can connect with and support your vision. I’ve been so impressed with the business professionals who’ve been able to help me. Just one example: Shawn Nguyen at Wichita State University’s Kansas PTAC Team guided me through the entire certification process for government contracting. That group is invaluable for small businesses like mine.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
A 10 for sure. There’s no better way to connect with the many great businesses in and around the Wichita area.

Favorite business book?
Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
I recently joined the Wichita Aero Club and I’m a member of the Board of the Wichita Manufacturer’s Association (WMA). The majority of our clients are manufacturers, so I really enjoy learning more about that they do through the tours WMA offers. It’s really beneficial to interact with people who have so much experience in that industry. Our manufacturing experience in this region elevates us globally and I like being part of that organization.

Is there anything else you want to share?
People always ask me about the company name. I can’t take credit for it. I gave one of my dear colleagues the task of coming up with something that represented my beliefs. She came up with three words.
RED – is for leadership, courage and passion. It’s a bold color that stands out, even from afar. It represents the courage to outshine others and do the things others might be afraid to do.
DOOR – we offer different options.
THREE– represents my three children.

That sums it up!

Member Minute with Augustino Brewing Company

756 N Tyler Rd – Wichita, KS 67212 – (316) 721-5554 – augustinobrew.com
Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @augustinobrew

The four founders of Augustino Brewing Company have decades of brewing and business expertise. They opened their brewpub in November 2017 and offer locally made craft beer along with special cocktails, coffee and a full range of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, sides and desserts. A calendar filled with special events provides their customers everything from a Mother’s Day brunch experience to a Cornhole Tournament Throwdown.

Augustine and Bianca Iacopelli hosted a ribbon cutting at Augustino Brewing Company for Chamber Champions in April. Check the Chamber Facebook page for event photos.

A majority woman-owned brewery, the business owners include Bianca and Augustine Iacopelli and Kara and Geoff Finn. Augustine Iacopelli recently provided some insights into Wichita’s growing brewery scene and the highlights of owning a small business.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
We improve our community by creating daily moments of joy for our friends and neighbors. We do this through offering food and beverage experiences not available elsewhere. We feature an American cuisine food menu, a 3.5 barrel brewery that our bar guests can look into, and a full coffee and cocktail bar. If you’re looking for a place to bring a party for drinks, there will be something nearly everyone in your group can enjoy. We also feature special seminars and events in “Beerology” and mixology and host intimate tours of our brewhouse on Saturday afternoons at 3 p.m.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Every day we have guests coming through our doors and trying out our beers for the first or fiftieth time. Each week, our team has become stronger as we bring on additional A-players that see they are getting in on the ground floor of something really cool and unique in the brewing and restaurant industry. It’s difficult to quality when you’re a startup company and may not be able to offer all the perks of other companies, so you have to find team members who see the big picture and realize the best is yet to come.

To what do you attribute your success?
Never being afraid to fail and never being afraid of being the dumbest guy in the room. Surrounding yourself with smart people who have learned lessons before you is important. Also, trying to absorb (and filter) as much information as possible, while thinking about what might be applicable to what you are trying to accomplish is important.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
We focus on building relationships with our guests by offering our Ultimate Mug Club, which is our “gym membership without the sweat and a lot more beer!” For one flat price each month, members get beers and coffee included in their membership along with additional discounts. All their beers and coffees are served in our signature 20oz stoneware mugs instead of our pub pint glasses.

We’re also the only brewery in the area that both features a full coffee and mixology bar. There are specialty coffees and cocktails that are available at Augustino Brewing that you cannot get anywhere else. One example of this is Lu’s Habitude. This is a Cuban coffee nitro collaboration between Augustino Brewing and Nitro Joe’s. It can be ordered with or without alcohol and is fantastic either way.

We also produce a podcast called “What’s Brewing with Augustino.” This originated to simply create content to improve our website ranking on Google and other search engines. I’d created over 100 episodes prior to opening our doors and didn’t necessarily intend to continue producing them. However, shortly after we opened, people started asking our staff if I was planning to do new episodes for the show. So, we’re starting the show back up, currently via Facebook Live, with archives going to our channel on SoundCloud, iTunes, and our Augustino Brewing blog on our website. It’s a fun way to get our news and events out to fans.

Augustino Brewing Company is located at 756 N. Tyler Road.

What is something people may not know about your business?
Very few people realize that Augustino Brewing is either the only or one of the only majority women-owned breweries in the state of Kansas and among a handful of women-owned breweries in the region. Even though the sign says Augustino, which people associate with me because of the closeness in name, my spouse Bianca Iacopelli, owns over 60% of the business outright and is our financial hero behind the scenes that makes Augustino Brewing happen.

Where do you see your business in five years?
We’d like to expand our business into additional locations bringing our craft food and beverage experiences to additional communities in the Wichita area and beyond. We’ve been asked many times about distributing our product on a larger scale. We very recently signed a distribution contract and you’ll start seeing Augustino Brewing on draft in some of the finer craft beer establishments in the immediate Wichita area. That stated, we are not in a hurry for mass distribution. All the movement currently in craft beer is toward smaller-scale and local establishments. People want beer that’s made near them in many cases, which is why the regional and national brewery markets are struggling. We believe that we are building a model that is scalable, while still allowing for localized innovation and community involvement.

What about your business are you most passionate?
As a homebrewer for about 20 years, the craft beer side of the business is the focus of my passion. However, our ownership team realizes scaling our business requires looking beyond the beer to having a passion for the food and beverage category in general. One thing that is concerning to the craft beer industry right now, is that many younger drinkers are not drinking craft beer, or drinking less of it than their parents’ generation. Just like macro beer was my generation’s “parents’ drink of choice,” and thus not as “cool” as craft beer to people around my age, “craft beer” is becoming that way for the younger generation as they seek out other beverage categories. Because we offer high-end mixology and craft coffee in house in addition to our beer, we’re able to bridge the gap between generations and offer unique products not available at our other area competitors. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to recruit some of the top bartenders and mixologists in the area that bring a level of creativity and passion to other beverage areas. Their enthusiasm for what they do excites me as well and adds significant value to the Augustino Brewing Company brand as a whole.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We love participating in area philanthropic events, particularly those that support causes helping disadvantaged children and women escaping trafficking and abuse in the community.

What unique beverage can people find at Augustino Brewing Company?
We feature the only nitrogenized Cuban coffee beverage in town, if not anywhere. Lu’s Nitro Habitude Cafecito packs a huge punch in terms of caffeine and sweetness and was our first collaboration on a beverage project with Nitro Joe’s. The reaction we’ve gotten from everyone who has tried it is… “WOW, that’s amazing.”

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
We believe we’re uniquely positioned as a business that can cater to other businesses. By being one of only two brewpubs currently in town with separate seating areas that can handle groups of over 100 with a full kitchen, we’re able to cater to groups looking for unique food and beverage experiences for both their employees and clients. Before we even opened our doors we were receiving phone calls to book special events and meals at our location and have found that our business clientele was higher than we originally predicted. We look forward to working with fellow Chamber members on planning special events at Augustino Brewing Company in the future.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
Thus far, I’ve only been to one event which was Networking at Noon at Hopping Gnome Brewing. I enjoyed myself and the fact that there were a number of people I knew there from other professional circles.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague? Why?
Honestly, the jury is still out for me as I’m a new member. If it’s like many other things I have been involved with in my professional career, the more you invest into an organization the more you’ll get out of it. We’re happy to continue to explore the many resources and opportunities the Chamber has and hope to continue to grow with the Chamber.

Are there other Chamber members that you do business with?
Several, perhaps most notably Heartland Credit Union, who played a very significant role in making Augustino Brewing Company a reality.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
What’s not a big challenge as a small business startup?! Paying down debts and keeping money coming in, while refining business practices and constantly trying to improve on shoestring budgets. We’ve definitely seen increased business since the beginning of the year, but it’s always a struggle. We go by the mantra, “If we help enough other people and philanthropic organizations where we can, we’ll wind up building good karma in the community and helping ourselves in the process.”

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
Being a “jack of all trades” is finally paying off! I’ve probably learned more in the past six months than the past twenty years. Business ownership is fraught with challenges, but each one is like trying to solve a puzzle and is extremely engaging and exciting.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
I’ll pass along some good advice I received from another business owner:   “Remember, the highs are never as high as they feel, nor are the lows as low.”

Something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
Nothing really prepares you for the mental, emotional, and physical toll starting a business can take. You can “know” the things you will face as you deal with the challenges and triumphs of owning and operating a business, but there isn’t anything that lessens the impact ownership has on your well-being and the importance of making time to recover and recuperate, even when it feels like there is no time to do so.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
Because it’s a great city with great people. All of our owners are “transplants” from other parts of the country and settled down in Wichita because it’s a gem that many people who have grown up here are only now starting to realizing. There’s a wonderful resurgence in the entrepreneurial community that provides support to local businesses and entrepreneurs trying to bring their ideas and projects to reality.

OTHER ADVICE
Favorite business app? Why?
Evernote Premium is the BOMB! It pretty much ties my business and personal life together no matter where I’m at. I also live off the business card scanning tool when networking. It’s nice to be able to just scan the cards you receive and have them automatically saved and filed within Evernote and in your contact lists simultaneously, not to mention automatically searching to see if the contact is on LinkedIn and available to connect.

Favorite business book? Why?
Winning by Jack Welsh is a pretty easy read, albeit a little longer than many business books, but many of the principles are rock solid regardless of your industry.

Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell cuts to the bare bones principles of creating a great customer experience. It’s based on his years in hospitality at Hilton, Marriot, and Walt Disney World.

Start Here by Clay Clark, Johnathan Kelly, and Marshall Morris is a beast of a book. It literally outlines the steps of starting a successful business in an actionable manner, complete with accompanying website, templates and business podcast.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
What’s the most effective social media tool for your business? Why?
Right now, it’s definitely Hootsuite. We’ve set up months of “timeless” posts for our feeds to give us a good baseline of communication with our audience that we augment with our more timely photos, videos, and events that we drop in on a more ad hoc basis.

How many hours per week do you devote to connecting with your customers and partners on social media?
It can vary, but the short answer is a lot. As a new business, social media is a very cost effective way to reach our specific audience and test marketing and branding messages before trying to scale our messaging to a wider audience.