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.


2015 NBAA business delegation includes 19 organizations

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) is promoting Wichita’s exceptional workforce and world-class aviation supply chain November 17-19 during the 2015 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Business Convention in Las Vegas. Eighteen area companies and organizations are partnering with GWEDC to promote Wichita’s aviation-related products and services.

Nineteen local organizations and companies will participate in the GWEDC exhibit at NBAA.

Nineteen local organizations and companies will participate in the GWEDC exhibit at NBAA.

GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt said, “We’re really pleased to have a 60% increase in the number of participants in our booth this year. Our delegation will be much more representative of the breadth and depth of our aviation capabilities and expertise in this region.”

A 30’x30’ booth, #C6633, has been secured by GWEDC. Representatives from the 19 organizations and companies listed below will participate and promote their products and services:

Associated Industries Impresa Aerospace
Butler County Kansas Dept. of Commerce
Capps Manufacturing National Center for Aviation Training
CE Machine National Institute for Aviation Research
City of Wichita Omni Aerospace
Crate Tech Southwind Global Aviation
Fiber Dynamics Visit Wichita
GWEDC Wichita Aero Club
IMA Aviation Insurance Wichita Airport Authority
Image Resources

Jeff Fluhr of the Greater Wichita Partnership said the GWEDC team will be promoting more than 300 aviation suppliers in the south central Kansas region as well as the Air Capital’s largest aviation companies: Airbus, Bombardier Learjet, Spirit AeroSystems, and Textron Aviation – Cessna & Beechcraft.

A Business at Full Throttle Celebration will be held for trade show participants on Tuesday, November 17, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wichita City Council Representatives Pete Meitzner and Jeff Blubaugh will attend and promote the pro-business climate in the Air Capital. Assistant City Manager Scot Rigby is also scheduled to participate.

GWEDC Staff Changes

Debra Teufel

Debra Teufel

Teufel Departs Wichita
Debra Teufel has promoted Wichita’s workforce and positive business environment across the continent and around the globe since joining the organization more than seven years ago. She’s represented the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) in her travels to Norway, Spain, Germany, France, England, the Netherlands and Canada. Hosting international representatives who wanted a closer look at Wichita’s capabilities has also been part of her duties. Officials from Japan, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Belgium, Brazil and Denmark have benefitted from her extensive knowledge about the local economy and the large network she’s developed in her role as GWEDC’s Vice President of Business Development.

Debra has recently accepted a position as Director of Public/Private Partnerships for Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. We’ll miss her passionate advocacy for our community, region and state when she departs Wichita later this month. Please join us in wishing her all the best as she begins her new role on September 1.

Craig Bay

Craig Bay

Bay Joins GWEDC
Wichitan Craig Bay joined GWEDC last week as the Director of Special Projects. He brings 18 years of project and process management, customer relationship management, and leadership team experience from NetApp Corporation to his new role. Bay joins GWEDC’s Nick Campbell in supporting the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG). Follow this link to learn more about the eight regional BREG cluster teams and how they are defining specific actions to increase their economic strength in south central Kansas.

Bossemeyer earns certification

David Bossemeyer

David Bossemeyer

David Bossemeyer, VP-Business Development for the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), has earned his Professional Certification from Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI). The advanced level certificate requires the completion of a rigorous set of education requirements and demonstrated dedication to the profession. Bossemeyer has been with GWEDC since 2007.

BREI is the leading professional association for business retention and expansion. The organization is dedicated to promoting existing business retention and expansion programs in communities, regions, states or provinces.

Job changes for Shelton and Edwards

Beth Shelton, Manager of Business Development for GWEDC.

Beth Shelton, Manager Business Development at the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), has announced her departure effective Wednesday, June 3. Beth has  accepted a position with Harvey County Economic Development. She begins her new duties as a Business Development Specialist on June 8.

Beth has been an invaluable member of the GWEDC team during her tenure. Her primary responsibilities included the retention and expansion of existing industries through the coordination of more than 100 visits to area companies each year to investigate and discuss their growth potential. Most recently she has focused on the coordination of industry cluster meetings for the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) initiative. Through her diligent efforts, more than 600 area companies in the 10-county region have been invited to collaborate on the development of industry-specific growth and action plans.

While Beth’s dedication, expertise and enthusiasm will be missed, we’re also pleased that staff and volunteers will continue working with her on regional economic development efforts in her new position. We wish her all the best as she begins the next exciting phase of her career.

Jim Edwards, Production Supervisor for the Chamber.

Jim Edwards, Production Supervisor for the Chamber.

Jim Edwards, Chamber Production Supervisor, retired from the Chamber on Thursday, May 7. He joined the Chamber in 1976, making him the Chamber’s longest tenured employee. Jim was responsible for coordinating property maintenance, mailings, office supply orders, and assisting with event setup.

We appreciate his many years of service and wish him the best as he begins his well-earned retirement.

Termination notice changed for three County contracts

Discussion about County funding for the Greater Wichita Economic Development sglogoCoalition (GWEDC), Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo took place at yesterday’s May 13 Commission meeting. Each of these three organizations currently has a five-year funding agreement in place with Sedgwick County. The agreements run through 2018 and require the County to notify each entity by June 1 about funding changes in the following calendar year. County funding for GWEDC is $300,000 per year during the five-year agreement or about 0.07 percent of the total County budget.

Citing concerns about the deficit in the proposed 2016 County budget, the Sedgwick County Commission voted in favor of moving the agreement termination notice for the five-year agreements for all three entities from June 1 to September 1. The 2016 budget is expected to be adopted August 12.

Wichita Metro Chamber Chairman Jon Rosell and GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt were among more than twenty-five local business leaders and citizens who spoke during the meeting in support of maintaining the five-year agreements. Most of the speakers voiced their approval for reviewing budgetary commitments made with taxpayer dollars, but also cited compelling reasons for the County to continue their multi-year funding agreements. Representatives of ten Chamber member organizations and businesses voiced their support of multi-year arrangements, including:  Visit Wichita, Wichita Public Schools, The Independent School, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, Boy Scouts of America/Quivira Council, Cox Machine, Inc., Friends University, Star Lumber & Supply Co., Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

An article in yesterday’s Wichita Eagle cites 14 additional agencies that have been notified about the possibility of changes in their funding from Sedgwick County. Some of those agencies are Chamber members, including:  Wichita Area Technical College, Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, Wichita Festivals, Child Advocacy Center, Nonprofit Chamber of Service of Sedgwick County, Kansas African-American Museum, and South Central Kansas Economic Development District. Hearings on the budgeting for these organizations are scheduled for July 29 at 9 a.m. and August 6 at 6 p.m.

During the proceedings, Commissioners mentioned they had heard from a number of constituents prior to yesterday’s discussions. The Commissioners continue to welcome your questions and thoughts on these budget items and other important issues. Follow this link to our website for contact information for your elected officials.

You can learn more about yesterday’s decision here:
Sedgwick County pushes back termination option for zoo funding – Wichita Eagle
Sedgwick County Commission punts funding decision to September – KMUW
Sedgwick County delays decision on funds for zoo, eco-devo – Wichita Business Journal
County gives notice to 17 agencies about possible funding changes – KWCH-TV


What do the Zoo, Exploration Place and Jobs have in common?

Discussion about County funding for all three are expected to be on the agenda for the Sedgwick County Commission meeting next Wednesday, May 13. Commissioners have proposed reviewing the multi-year funding agreements the County has with the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, and the organization charged with leading area economic development efforts, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC).

The next meeting of the Sedgwick County Commissioners will include a discussion about the County partnership with the Zoo, Exploration Place, and GWEDC.

The next meeting of the Sedgwick County Commissioners will include a discussion about the County’s partnership with the Zoo, Exploration Place, and GWEDC.

An article published in the Wichita Eagle provides background information about how the County funding is used and the importance of these partnerships. An Eagle editorial makes the case for keeping these long-term partnerships in place.

Sedgwick County Zoo’s funding agreement with county in jeopardy
Wichita Eagle – 5/3/15

County shouldn’t shred agreements
Wichita Eagle – 5/6/15

While it’s always fiscally prudent to review budgetary commitments made with taxpayer dollars, there are also compelling reasons to continue the current funding commitments for these three organizations. Long-term public-private partnerships symbolize the County’s commitment that each of these organizations need to achieve maximum positive results for our region.

Believing that each of these organizations have an impact on our quality of life and our ability to grow and attract businesses and a talented workforce, Chamber leadership plans to attend and weigh in on the discussion among the County Commissioners on May 13. We encourage you to do likewise.

Commissioners welcome your questions and your thoughts in advance of the meeting on this and other issues. The phone number for all Commissioners is 316-660-9300, where you can leave a voicemail. You may also reach them by email or Twitter:

FIRST DISTRICT – Dave Unruh or @DaveUnruhSedgCo

SECOND DISTRICT – Tim Norton or @TimNortonSC

THIRD DISTRICT – Karl Peterjohn or @KarlPeterjohn

FOURTH DISTRICT – Richard Ranzau

FIFTH DISTRICT – Jim Howell or @Howell4KS

Use this link to confirm your district and your representative

Meetings are held in the Commission Meeting Room located on the third floor of the Sedgwick County Courthouse at 525 N. Main. If you plan to attend, please arrive by 8:45 a.m. since seating is limited.

We’ve also provided other important links so that you can follow this issue:

View the May 13 agenda once it has been published

Join the social media conversation
#ontheagenda  @GWEDC  @SedgwickCoZoo  @DiscoverAtEP  @SedgwickCounty

Watch the Commission meeting live or tune in to KPTS Channel 8 at 9 a.m. on Wednesday

Subscribe to receive weekly commission meeting agendas

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 

GWEDC on 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday morning

From partnering on the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) and the Wichita-South Central Kansas Export Plan, to helping secure Figeac-Aero North America’s expansion in Wichita, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) has been hard at work promoting Wichita and our region.

Debra Teufel, Tim Chase & host Gayla Crouse

Debra Teufel, Tim Chase & host Gayla Crouse

For more information about these and other GWEDC initiatives, tune to 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday morning at 8. GWEDC President Tim Chase and Vice President Debra Tuefel will be guests on the Lite Is Local program, during which they will answer questions like these:

  • How does GWEDC work in with the city, county and state departments to retain and attract primary jobs?
  • What are some recent “wins” that are putting Wichitans back to work?
  • What is Wichita’s secret weapon for keeping and attracting great jobs?
  • How long does it typically take to close a deal?

Be sure to tune in Sunday morning! If you miss the original airing, you can catch a podcast of the interview on the station’s website.

GWEDC participates in two local initiatives

Nick Campbell, Brad Eilts and Beth Shelton

From left to right: Nick Campbell with GWEDC, Brad Eilts with McPherson County and Beth Shelton with GWEDC participated in the BREG town hall meeting on April 2.

GWEDC is participating in both the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) initiative and the implementation of the Wichita-South Central Kansas Export Plan. These important economic development efforts have made headlines the last two weeks.

Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG)
This is a 10-county regional economic development effort that coordinates existing assets in new ways with the goal of accelerating growth. Eight economic clusters have been identified and industry leaders in each cluster will be meeting through the month of June to collaborate and develop growth and action plans. GWEDC staff worked with other BREG partners during the last few months to invite representatives of more than 600 area companies to participate in the process. Find out more about this plan at and follow #BREG for social media commentary about the initiative and the recent town hall meeting that was held in Newton.

Regional export plan released
The Wichita-South Central Kansas Export Plan was introduced last week at a special event held in Newton. Eight organizations have committed to implementing the five-year plan through the execution of specific tactics that will increase area exports by $1.1 billion over the next five years. View the plan to learn more.