Chamber’s Inclusion Strategy Featured in Wichita Eagle Insert

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schwindaman Takes the Reins in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Company background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts on the Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal

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

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

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

Favorite business book?
Good to Great  by Jim Collins

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

Wichita’s Entrepreneurial Opportunities Expanding

Scott Schwindaman is the President/CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc. He will chair the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

Scott Schwindaman is the President/CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc. He will chair the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

By Scott Schwindaman
President/CEO Lubrication Engineers, Inc.
Chair Elect of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber’s current Chairman, Barry Schwan, recently wrote a column for the Wichita Eagle and the Chamber’s blog about the renewal of Wichita’s entrepreneurial spirit. As Barry noted, I helped initiate and have co-chaired the Entrepreneurship Task Force (ETF) with fellow Chamber board member Gary Oborny (Occidental Management) since it started several years ago.

Two organizations, of many, critical to the success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem are the Chamber and the e2e Accelerator, an initiative of the ETF focused on activating, accelerating and mentoring entrepreneurs. I’m pleased to see a developing partnership between the Chamber and e2e that will provide multiple opportunities to highlight entrepreneurship at some upcoming events.

I’d like to encourage you to circle a few dates on your calendar where you can learn more about some of these new opportunities and connect with the people leading them.

September 29 – Innovators can make valuable connections at the Chamber’s annual business-to-business trade show, Exposure, this Thursday. More than 200 businesses will be exhibiting, including many of the ETF liaison organizations. Representatives of the newly launched e2e accelerator will staff a booth to answer questions about how to apply for their unique mentoring program and to provide details about the upcoming Accelerate the Heartland event. Connecting with the Small Business Administration representatives should also be a priority for those who want to learn more about their successful Emerging Leaders program and their range of lending options. Wichita State University’s Kansas Small Business Development Center will staff a booth to share information about their free consulting services and upcoming educational offerings.

October 5 – Formerly known as the Great Plains Capital Conference, the renamed Accelerate the Heartland event offers a full day focused on jumpstarting Wichita’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with opportunities to learn, share and network. The conference will include entrepreneurs, service providers, government, universities, mentors, investors and others who want to be part of moving new ideas, products and services forward.

December 1 – We’ll be learning from the best when internationally renowned entrepreneur and investor Daymond John takes to the stage for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting. After sharing some of his thoughts about how to position and brand new products and services, John will interact onstage with local entrepreneurs and other area leaders who are fostering and mentoring new startups.

There’s been a tremendous groundswell in the number of opportunities for area entrepreneurs to connect with the people and resources they need to succeed. And it’s been rewarding to see so many organizations developing, supporting and promoting these opportunities together. I encourage you to be part of this movement. As the current chair of the Young Professionals of Wichita, Sam Foreman, so eloquently said earlier this year, our goal is to “shorten the distance from Dream to Done.” It’s all about creating new opportunities and transforming Wichita into the “Opportunity Capital.”

Broadening the Chamber’s reach in 2016

By Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman
Owner, House of Schwan

One of the Chamber’s 2016 strategic priorities is to enhance our regional profile. Our new partnership with The Wichita Eagle is one way we are increasing our regional reach as we accelerate our momentum. Eagle publisher and Chamber Board member Roy Heatherly has worked with his staff to develop two new tools in 2016 to communicate the Chamber’s initiatives and accomplishments across south central Kansas:  1) a Monthly Update in the Business section of the Eagle and 2) a six-page quarterly publication, called Synergy, inserted in the Sunday edition of the Eagle.

Barry Schwan 2016 Chamber Chairman

Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman

I’ve already heard favorable comments from colleagues about the three Monthly Updates we’ve published during the first quarter of the year. We’ve used this platform to inform Eagle Business section readers about new business openings, answer frequently asked questions about our role in the community, and encourage participation in a statewide summit of young professionals that takes place on April 22.

The first edition of our 2016 quarterly publication, Synergy, appeared as an insert in last Sunday’s Wichita Eagle. This publication replaces a printed quarterly 8.5” x 11” newsletter that used to be mailed to 3,500 Chamber members. The publication title remains unchanged and Chamber members will notice some similarities to the previous format. With more copy space available, we’ve  increased the coverage of Chamber members and activities. And our messages can now reach up to 197,000 Sunday readers. Chamber members will also receive the newsletter in a digital format and the public has access to it on our website.

I’m interested in your feedback about these changes and I encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with me, other Board members, and Chamber staff. We’ve set up a special communication survey on our website so that you can provide input about improving the delivery format and content of all of our communication tools. You’ll find the survey at wichitachamber.org/survey.

My thanks to Roy and his staff for making these improvements possible. New partnerships like this one are contributing to renewed momentum in the business community. These vital collaborations sharpen our focus on driving economic growth and community advancement.

Five panelists announced for Feb 11 Chairman’s Lunch

Barry at podium cropped

2016 Chamber Chairman Barry Schwan will host the annual Chairman’s Lunch on February 11.

The annual Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Lunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 at INTRUST Bank Arena. A panel of five local leaders will dig deeper into Wichita’s four clear drivers of economic growth as presented during the first phase of the Focus Forward initiative.

Funded and managed by the Wichita Community Foundation, Focus Forward is a multi-year project focused on advancing the region’s future economic growth. James Chung, a Wichita native with Reach Advisors, recently presented his initial diagnosis about Wichita’s four most important growth challenges (business cycle, entrepreneurial, human capital and perception) to a number of Wichita audiences.

“Local business community leaders have been discussing Chung’s findings and are interested in learning more from elected officials about their thoughts on these same topics,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. “This year’s program is an opportunity to demonstrate how the Chamber, the community’s local governing bodies, and other leading organizations are utilizing the information Chung shared with us to address the challenges he’s identified.”

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

  • Barry Schwan, 2016 Chamber Chairman
  • Jeff Longwell, Mayor, City of Wichita
  • Bob Layton, Manager, City of Wichita
  • Jim Howell, Chairman, Sedgwick County Commission
  • Mike Scholes, Manager, Sedgwick County

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

Building a better business environment in 2016

Jon Rosell (pictured left) received a plaque commemorating his tenure as the 2015 Chamber Chairman from 2016 Chairman Barry Scwan.

Jon Rosell (pictured left) received a plaque commemorating his tenure as the 2015 Chamber Chairman from 2016 Chairman Barry Schwan.

by Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman

Jon Rosell, the Chamber’s 2015 Chairman, is a well-respected leader throughout our community who guided us through a landmark year in 2015. During his tenure, Jon worked in conjunction with others on the transformation of the Chamber’s Leadership Council into a new and separate entity, the Greater Wichita Partnership.

The Chamber had a significant role in establishing this new economic vision for our region. Jon and Gary Plummer, the Chamber’s President & CEO, were fully engaged in moving the work of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) to this new partnership.

Jon also oversaw other major Chamber accomplishments last year:

  • Increased membership for the fourth year in a row, adding nearly 400 new members with 226 resulting from a 3-day membership drive
  • Lobbied for 18 pro-business legislative wins, including major reform for the unemployment insurance system and funding for NIAR
  • Completed the Chamber’s tenth city-to-city visit to learn from peers across the country
  • Celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Young Professionals of Wichita, a Chamber affiliate, as they experienced a record number of members and record event attendance
  • Secured an experienced and talented CFO to oversee the financials for the Chamber, Greater Wichita Partnership and the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

I’d like to thank Jon for the role he played in building a better business environment for all of us in 2015, and his continued commitment to our community. His collaboration with other Chamber partners last year set the stage for further advancement in 2016.

The global competition for talent and innovative ideas makes it imperative for Wichita’s stakeholders to align and integrate our efforts. We need to maximize every opportunity to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. I look forward to continuing that positive momentum in 2016 as the Chamber accelerates our collaborative efforts with partners and stakeholders.

 

Introducing Our 2016 Board Officers & New Members

Barry Schwan

Barry Schwan

The new year brings new Board leadership for the Chamber, and Barry Schwan (owner of House of Schwan) will serve as the 2016 Board Chairman. Scott Schwindaman (president and CEO of Lubrication Engineers) will serve as the Chair-Elect.

Bill Wood (partner at Foulston Siefkin LLP) was elected at a recent board meeting and will serve as First Vice Chairman in 2016.

The complete list of 2016 officers and Executive Committee members is as follows:

  • Barry Schwan, Chair, House of Schwan, Inc.

    Scott Schwindaman

    Scott Schwindaman

  • Jon Rosell, Immediate Past Chair, Medical Society of Sedgwick County
  • Scott Schwindaman, Chair Elect, Lubrication Engineers, Inc.
  • Bill Wood, First Vice Chair, Foulston and Siefkin LLP
  • Mark Tucker, Treasurer, Cox Business
  • Gary Plummer, President and CEO, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • David Hodge, Finance Vice Chair, Emprise Bank
  • Walter Berry, Government Relations Vice Chair, Berry Companies, Inc.
  • Shelly Prichard, Community Advancement Vice Chair, Wichita Community Foundation
  • Gary Schmitt, Economic Development Vice Chair, INTRUST Bank, N.A.
  • Claudio Ferraro, Leadership Vice Chair, Via Christi Health
  • Michael Monteferrante, Membership Vice Chair, Envision, Inc.
  • Jeff Van Sickle, Business Services Vice Chair, GLMV Architecture
  • Sam Foreman, Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) Vice Chair, Klenda Austerman LLC
  • Junetta Everett, Vice Chair at Large, Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc.
  • Martha Linsner, Vice Chair at Large, TCK – The Trust Company of Kansas
  • Vic McMullen, Vice Chair at Large, Spirit AeroSystems
  • Mark Nichols, Vice Chair at Large, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC
  • Bill Voloch, Vice Chair at Large, Wesley Medical Cente
  • Jim Walters, Vice Chair at Large, Textron Aviation

The following business leaders were recently elected or appointed to the Chamber’s 2016 Board of Directors:

  • Jeff Beasley – Westar Energy
  • Jason Cox – Cox Machine
  • Ellen Decker – Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C./Young Professionals of Wichita
  • Peggy Deiter – Bombardier Learjet
  • Joy Eakins – Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc.
  • Adrienne Foster – Wichita Hispanic Chamber
  • Ben Hutton – Hutton Construction Corporation
  • Matt Michaelis – Perla Capital/Emprise Bank
  • Jack Pulley – Davis Moore Auto Group/Friends of McConnell
  • Gabe Schlickau – State Farm
  • Col. Dave Weishaar – Kansas Air National Guard
  • Kris Wessel – The Martens Companies/Wichita Manufacturing Association
  • Wendy Williamson – Williamson Wellness Center LLC
  • Zach Woodburn – Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
  • Damon Young – Mahaney Roofing Company/Wichita Metro Chamber Political Action Committee

The new board terms began Jan. 1, 2016. A complete list of the current Chamber Board of Directors is available at wichitachamber.org.

Final letter from our 2015 Chairman Jon Rosell

Dear Chamber members,

Jon Rosell

Jon Rosell

I’ve shared with many of my colleagues that serving as your 2015 Chairman of the Board has been one of the highlights of my career. I’ve been actively involved with the Chamber for many years, but my role as your Chairman has provided me with a unique opportunity to work much more closely with our members, other area leaders and our elected officials. I’ve gained new insights into the challenges our members face and the various issues that require resolution, yet I’m leaving with great optimism about the future of our Chamber and overall community.

The Chamber’s 2015 accomplishments have paved the way for new strategic priorities in 2016. As we begin a new year of advocating, influencing, connecting and promoting the community on behalf of our members, I want to encourage your participation in the important process of improving our business climate. Your involvement in the dialogues convened by the Chamber throughout the year and your contributions to the development and shaping of public policy are needed for an improved business environment.

My thanks to each of you for your encouragement, expertise and the energy you contributed this year as you helped the Chamber staff and Board fulfill our organization’s mission and vision. It’s been very rewarding to work with our membership, Board and the Chamber staff during the last twelve months and to see the results of their dedication. I have great confidence in our 2016 Chairman, Barry Schwan, and am excited to support his efforts to propel us even further in 2016.

Jon Rosell
2015 Chamber Chair &
Executive Director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County

2015 Annual Meeting Speaker Announced

by Jon Rosell, 2015 Chamber Chairman

Every year the Chamber strives to make the Annual Meeting a memorable and informative occasion. I’m very pleased that our 2015 Annual Meeting promises to be one of the most unique events we’ve presented in quite some time.

Jon Rosell

Jon Rosell is the 2015 Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

On Monday, November 2, we’ll have an opportunity to hear from a global business leader who is also a Wichita native. The evening will include a discussion between our speaker and a nationally-known moderator, who will be announced at a later date.

We hope that you and your colleagues will join us.

Find out who our speaker is here:
Link to video
Link to news release
Link to program information and tickets

A new course for economic growth

A new partnership is being formed to align, focus and fast forward our economy. The Greater Wichita Partnership is based on a “best practice” model that has been successful in other communities. The Partnership consolidates the efforts and initiatives of related nonprofits focused on economic development growth (Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Leadership Council).

The Chamber’s last economic development campaign set the stage for this effort with the creation of the Leadership Council and the formation of the Leadership Council’s three priority initiatives:  growing primary jobs, diversification through entrepreneurship, and enhancing educational attainment/workforce development. The Chamber Board, GWEDC and the Leadership Council agree that this new alignment is an important step towards a more regional effort that provides our area with a more focused and competitive advantage.

As the newly formed Greater Wichita Partnership assumes the responsibility for  job growth activities, the Chamber will work to align our programs with the Partnership and evaluate new ways to strengthen Wichita’s business community.

More information is available in these two news releases that can also be found on the Chamber’s website :
Greater Wichita Partnership formed
Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) leadership change