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 

Gearhart appointed to Chamber Board of Directors

Pat Gearhart

Pat Gearhart

Pat Gearhart, President of Bank SNB, has been appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors by Chairman Jon Rosell. Classified as a Chairman’s Appointment, Gearhart will serve on the Board for one year.

“We’re delighted to add Pat to the Chamber Board of Directors,” Rosell said. “Pat is active in the community and will be a strong supporter of the mission and vision of the Chamber. I personally look forward to learning from and working with Pat to help further the work of the Chamber in our community and region.”

A complete listed of the Chamber Board of Directors is always available at wichitachamber.org.

Wayne Chambers: Champion of collaboration and alignment

By Jon Rosell, 2015 Chamber Chair

Jon Rosell and Wayne Chambers at the 2014 Annual Meeting

Jon Rosell and Wayne Chambers at the 2014 Annual Meeting

2014 Chamber Chair Wayne Chambers closed our December Board meeting with some eloquent remarks. He defined his 12-month term as a “privilege to serve” and “a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud.”

At the outset of his tenure, Wayne stated that his primary goal was to encourage increased collaboration and alignment among community organizations. That happened in a myriad of new ways in 2014, including these successful efforts:

  • The Chamber’s Leadership Council collaborated with the Wichita Community Foundation and the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation to initiate a Fuel the Fire speaker series.
  • The Chamber partnered with other business groups (Wichita Independent Business Association, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce) to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance and to make the state’s unemployment insurance (U.I.) program more flexible for employers.
  • The Chamber collaborated with 18 other “Yea-sayer” organizations interested in shaping the community’s future by endorsing a proposed sales tax initiative. A “yes” vote was also endorsed by both The Wichita Eagle and The Wichita Business Journal as a way to advance the community. The effort aligned some of these groups on a single community issue for the very first time.
  • The Chamber worked with Go Wichita and other local organizations on a community branding initiative.

Wayne also worked with Chamber CEO Gary Plummer and other Chamber members to secure sponsorships for an internationally-known speaker for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting. Our December 4 event featuring Dr. Condoleezza Rice attracted 3,000 people who gathered to hear her insightful remarks about the power of education to ensure social equality and democracy.

All of these efforts drew people together and elevated the conversation about charting Wichita’s future. As we build on these activities in 2015, I want to thank Wayne for his leadership and devotion to this community. He’s brought many organizations together to take ownership in defining the future of Wichita and I look forward to working with each of you in new ways to advance our community in meaningful and measurable ways this coming year.

Introducing our 2015 board officers

Jon Rosell

Jon Rosell

Our 2015 Board Chairman and Chair-Elect were officially introduced at a recent board meeting. Jon Rosell, Executive Director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, will serve as the 2015 Board Chairman. Barry Schwan, Owner of House of Schwan, will serve as the Chair-Elect. Also elected to a top leadership position was Scott Schwindaman, President and CEO of Lubrication Engineers. Schwindaman will serve as First Vice Chairman in 2015.

The complete list of 2015 officers and Executive Committee members is as follows:

Barry Schwan

Barry Schwan

  • Jon Rosell, Chair, Medical Society of Sedgwick County
  • Barry Schwan, Chair-Elect, House of Schwan, Inc.
  • Wayne Chambers, Immediate Past Chair, High Touch Technologies
  • Scott Schwindaman, First Vice Chair and Business Services Vice Chair, Lubrication Engineers, Inc.
  • Mark Tucker, Treasurer, Cox Business
  • Gary Plummer, President and CEO, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Walter Berry, Advocacy Vice Chair, Berry Companies, Inc.
  • Jeff Fluhr, Communications Vice Chair, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation
  • Shelly Prichard, Community Advancement Vice Chair, Wichita Community Foundation
  • Gary Schmitt, Economic Development Vice Chair, INTRUST Bank, N.A.
  • Rod Young, Leadership Vice Chair, Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A.
  • Michael Monteferrante, Membership Vice Chair, Envision, Inc.
  • Martha Linsner, Special Events Vice Chair, TCK – The Trust Company of Kansas
  • Laura Bernstorf, Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) Board Vice Chair, Airbus Americas Engineering, Inc.
  • Vera Bothner, Vice Chair at Large, Bothner and Bradley, Inc.
  • Junetta Everett, Vice Chair at Large, Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc.
  • Claudio Ferraro, Vice Chair at Large, Via Christi Health
  • Matt Leary, Vice Chair at Large, Wesley Medical Center
  • Mark Nichols, Vice Chair at Large, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC
  • Jim Walters, Vice Chair at Large, Textron Aviation
  • William Wood, Vice Chair at Large, Foulston Siefkin LLP

The following individuals were recently elected or appointed to the Chamber’s 2015 Board of Directors:

  • Walter Berry, Berry Companies, Inc.
  • Gene Bowen, Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Cindy Claycomb, WSU Ventures
  • Moji Fanimokun, Kansas Secured Title
  • Tim Farrell, RST Ventures, Inc.
  • Sam Foreman, YPW Chair-Elect
  • Mary Beth Jarvis, Wichita Festivals, Inc.
  • Jerry Jones, Slawson Real Estate Company
  • Vic McMullen, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
  • James Nastars, Meritrust Credit Union
  • Linda Snook-Davison, Seeders, Inc.

“I am confident in the leadership that Jon Rosell and the rest of the board will provide the Chamber in 2015,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We plan to continue working with other community groups to move Wichita forward this year.” The new term began on Jan. 1, 2015. A complete list of the current Chamber Board of Directors is always available at wichitachamber.org.

Why can’t Wichita wait on securing another water source?

The Chamber’s Board of Directors supports the 1 percent sales tax referendum. Wichitans will vote on this issue on November 4. Chamber board members are utilizing this blog to provide commentary and answer questions about the sales tax. Today’s question is answered by Chamber Board member Barry Schwan in a letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle.

We can’t wait another 20 years to develop a plan for water. Water planning is a continual planning process. It takes several decades to bring another water resource on line. Work on the current Aquifer Storage and Recovery project has been ongoing for more than 20 years, and it is not yet fully developed. Finishing the project is one of the benefits of the 1-cent sales tax.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

Barry Schwan is a member of the 2014 Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the President of House of Schwan.

In fact, the last major water resource brought on line was Cheney Reservoir in the 1950s. The city of Wichita has continued to plan for additional resources since that time, but state and federal laws and regulations have prohibited two other viable options. That’s why the ASR is and must remain our focus. The 1-cent sales tax will help move that project to completion.

Please visit the City of Wichita website to learn more about the proposed sales tax and to read the plans for water, roads, transportation and jobs. Visit the Yes Wichita website to see who is supporting the sales tax and to learn about upcoming events.