Open Streets ICT: A Dunkin’ Good Time

By Tram Ngo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Robinson named Director of Government Relations

Sean Robinson begins his new duties at the Chamber on October 9.

Sean Robinson will join the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce as Director of Government Relations in early October. He will direct the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level in his new role.

 

Robinson has been the Communications Director for the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas since 2016, leading communication initiatives for former Congressman Mike Pompeo and current Congressman Ron Estes. A graduate of Friends University, he holds a B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing.

 

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said he is confident that Robinson’s experience and skills will provide long-term benefits for Chamber members. “Sean has the key contacts and expertise required for this vital role of advocating for the best possible business environment. He’s adept at cultivating strategic partnerships and leading high-performance teams.”

 

Robinson’s first day at the Chamber is October 9. Please help us welcome him to the Chamber team.

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.

Government Relations Staff Changes Announced

Toni Porter will begin leading the Chamber’s Government Relations team on May 1 .

Gary Plummer, President & CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, announced today that Toni Porter has been promoted to Director of Government Relations for the organization. In her new position, Porter will lead the Chamber’s Government Relations efforts. She  originally joined the Chamber in 2015, in a part-time position as the Government Relations Project Manager. Prior to her role at the Chamber, Porter served as the District Director for U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo.

The Chamber’s Government Relations team oversees two of the organization’s four focus areas, advocating and influencing. Plummer said that Porter’s experience made her a natural choice for the position. “Our members will continue to benefit from Toni’s extensive experience. She is well connected in the business community and is respected by government officials and leaders at the local, state and federal level.” Porter will assume her new full-time role on May 1.

Barby Jobe is relocating to Oklahoma. Her last day as the Chamber’s V. P. of Government Relations is April 28.

Plummer also announced the departure of Barby Jobe Myers from the Chamber. Myers joined the organization in 2008, and has most recently served as the Vice President of Government Relations. Her last day at the Chamber is April 28. Myers is relocating to Oklahoma to join her family.

Plummer said, “We’ll miss Barby’s dedication to impacting the local election process and advocating for the best possible business environment. We’ll continue to follow her career with great interest and look forward to hearing how she’ll be utilizing her unique talents and skills when she returns to her home state of Oklahoma.”

Wichita Regional Chamber Supports WSU/WATC Affiliation

Today I testified in Topeka before legislators in support of S.B. 174 concerning higher education. The bill authorizes the affiliation of Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) with Wichita State University (WSU).

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Both of these institutions are vital assets for the economic growth of the south central economy. The Chamber supports the proposed affiliation since it will provide growth opportunities for students at both institutions and benefit the business community.

Others testifying today in Topeka include:
–Blake Flanders, President and CEO, Kansas Board of Regents
–Jeff Fluhr, President, Greater Wichita Partnership
–Sheree Utash, President, WATC
–John Bardo, President, WSU
–Lyndon Wells, Community Volunteer

Written testimony was provided by:
–Sam Sackett, Senior Manager of Government Relations and Corporate Communications, Spirit AeroSystems
–Shelley Hansel, Mayor of Wellington, KS

Chamber testimony
SB 174 WRCC

Wichita Regional Chamber Supports KanCare Expansion

The Chamber provided testimony yesterday in Topeka in support of expanding KanCare (Medicaid). Leadership from fourteen organizations joined the Chamber in support of H.B. 2064, an act establishing the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program.

Leadership from fourteen organizations testified in Topeka yesterday in support of expanding KanCare.

Among those testifying were David Jordan, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas; Joe Reardon, President & CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Michael Mullins, President & CEO of Via Christi Health, Inc.; Jon Rosell, Executive Director of the Kansas Medical Society; and Tom Bell, President & CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association.

The Chamber supports the expansion of KanCare in part because it’s a unique, budget-neutral solution that makes healthcare coverage more accessible at no additional cost to Kansas taxpayers and without using State General Funds.

Please check the links below for more information:
Written testimony from the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
-KAKE TV story – Kansas health committee to vote on Medicaid expansion
KFDI story – Legislative committee holds hearing on KanCare
-Wichita Eagle story – House health panel to vote on KanCare expansion

Your Community and Your Country Need Your Vote

Damon Young

Damon Young

By Damon Young
Vice President of Mahaney Roofing Company

Are you voting early? Or waiting to cast your vote on election day? Either way, your community and your country need you and your employees to vote. Whether you’re a solopreneur or the manager of a large company, you and your business can’t afford to be disengaged from the political process.

And your engagement in our governance shouldn’t stop on November 8. Regardless of the outcome of this election, it’s vital for you to meet your local newly elected officials and stay connected with policy makers.

The Chamber is hosting several upcoming events where you can connect with local elected officials. Please register and attend, then watch for more opportunities in 2017 to interact with your peers and government leaders.

Local Elected Officials Reception – November 10
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Current and newly elected officials and legislators from the Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission, USD 259 Board of Education, Elected Officials from Regional Municipalities and our South Central Legislators will attend.
Register now

2016 Chamber Issue forum with Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell – December 14
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell will deliver his second annual mayoral address to Chamber membership.
Register now

Providing input on how laws and regulations are affecting your business outcomes is vital to building the best possible business environment, so I hope you’ll join me on both of these dates. And please, VOTE in this and future elections.

Damon Young is a member of the Government Relations Committee for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Chamber’s Political Action Committee.

Update on the new Department of Labor Overtime Rule

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined a broad coalition of more than 50 other national and Texas business groups that have filed a lawsuit challenging the new Department of Labor overtime rule. A second suit was filed by a coalition of 21 states in their role as employers.

The state of Kansas has joined the lawsuit. Your Chamber is also supportive of this lawsuit.

This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6094, a regulatory relief bill that would delay the effective date of the new overtime rule for six months until June 1, 2017. All members of the Kansas delegation voted in favor of the bill.

We understand that many of you may have questions about the lawsuit, its implications, and how it may impact your to plan for the coming change in employee compensation. To help address your questions on the legal challenge, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Legal Challenge to the new Overtime Rule – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Q:        Who are the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit?
A:         The plaintiffs in the business groups’ diverse coalition include the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the Texas Association of Business, more than 40 local chambers of commerce throughout the state of Texas and other business groups in Texas, and more than a dozen other sector-specific business groups. 

Q:        Why did the business groups file the lawsuit?
A:        The Department’s unprecedented doubling of the minimum salary threshold for executive, administrative, or professional employees to be considered exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will have significant adverse effects on businesses, nonprofit groups and associations, and employees. The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule will impose significant new economic costs and limit workplace flexibility, impede career and promotion opportunities, and make it harder for businesses and nonprofits to expand to meet the needs of their customers and constituents. The new overtime rule will be particularly damaging to nonprofit organizations, including trade associations and chambers of commerce, that will be subject to the rule.

Q:        What are the main legal arguments against the overtime rule?
A:        The business groups’ lawsuit advances three legal arguments against the Department of Labor’s overtime rule: (1) the excessively high salary threshold contradicts the intent of Congress to have executive, administrative, and professional employees exempt from overtime; (2) the new automatic update provision, which would impose new salary thresholds every three years without going through rulemakings, is not authorized by the FLSA, and in fact the FLSA directs the secretary to make changes to these exemptions through the notice and comment regulatory process; and (3) the Department acted arbitrarily and capriciously in promulgating its new overtime rule, in violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

Q:        What other steps has your organization taken regarding the DOL’s new overtime regulation?
A:        The U.S. Chamber and its federation of state and local partners have been highly active in this rulemaking from the outset. We met with the Secretary of Labor before the regulation was proposed, submitted extensive and comprehensive comments describing in detail the problems this regulation will cause, and have explained at every step how the Department has gone too far. The Chamber and its federation partners also sent a letter to Congress urging action to provide relief from this regulation. The letter had almost 370 groups signed on.

Q:         Will this lawsuit impact the December 1st date that the DOL rule is scheduled to go into effect?
A:         While the Chamber’s suit seeks to invalidate the regulation, when or how the court will rule on this suit is impossible to predict at this point, therefore we recommend that businesses continue to prepare to be in compliance by December 1st. We will continue to provide updates as the suit moves forward.

Please contact me or the Chamber’s Government Relations Department if you have additional questions or concerns.

Pompeo Updates Chamber Membership

DSC_0046The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo at a Federal Issues Forum luncheon today. Pompeo shared his thoughts on the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, the current regulatory environment for businesses, the state of the economy, military issues and the current risks and threats to national security.

A question and answer period followed his presentation. Pompeo took questions from Chamber members about these topics:

  • Congressional conflict and the need for bipartisan efforts to move the country forward
  • The findings of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi
  • Agricultural security and the safety of the U.S. food supply chain
  • Viable options for combatting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism threats to this country
  • Challenges facing the nation’s healthcare system

Pompeo ended the Federal Issues Forum with remarks about his confidence in the ability of Americans to find innovative solutions to the issues facing our communities and our country.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor, Envision, for today’s event. Gold sponsors included AT&T, Cox Communications, Koch Industries, Inc., Legacy Bank, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., and the McGinty Machine Co., Inc. AGH Wealth Management provided an E-Media Sponsorship.

Please plan to join other Chamber members at the Congressional Summit, featuring the entire Kansas Federal Delegation, on October 14, the Local Elected Officials Reception on November 10, and the Chamber Issue Forum featuring Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell on December 14.

Photos from today’s event are posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Wichita’s new program may serve as a model for other communities

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Congratulations to the Wichita City Council for approving a new Voluntary Off-site Storm Water Quality Best Management Practice (BMP) Program at their June 10th meeting. The idea came from a collaborative effort involving the public and private sectors with much of the credit going to Gary Oborny (Occidental Management) and Chris Bohm (Ruggles & Bohm), who chairs the city’s Storm Water Advisory Board. A lot of credit also goes to City Manager Bob Layton and Public Works Director Alan King for working toward an innovative solution.

The Chamber’s environmental policy supports an effective and efficient regulatory structure so that existing business and industry are not unduly constrained or burdened so that the City can competitively attract new business and industry. The storm water management plan provides developers a new option regarding storm water quality regulations and will provide extensive savings from the current program. The off-site BMP program was supported by the Chamber’s Environmental Resources Committee, chaired by David Traster (Foulston Siefkin LLP).

This program will be the first of its kind in the United States and an opportunity to make Wichita unique in the market place. The program will provide significant costs savings for area developers, businesses and the city and county. It will make dramatic improvements to the quality of storm water flowing off sites in the agricultural community and could be a huge economic development consideration. We commend all of the partners – KDHE, K-State WRAPS, the EPA, the Storm Water Advisory Board and the City of Wichita – for working together and finding a solution that will ultimately provide great benefit to business owners and developers.