GWEDC to market WSU’s Innovation Campus in Germany next month

Wichita State University (WSU) announced this week that Airbus has signed a letter of intent to locate a major engineering center on WSU’s new Innovation Campus. Around 400 Airbus employees will move from their current location in downtown Wichita to a new two-story building on the Wichita State University campus in January 2017. The development firm MWCB LLC, led by David Murfin, Nestor Weigand Jr., Ivan Crossland Jr. and Steven Barrett, will finance and manage the project, known as Partnership 1.

David Murfin of MWCB LLC and Dr. John Bardo, President of Wichita State University, both serve as Members At-Large on the Greater Wichita Economic Development (GWEDC) Steering Council. GWEDC President Tim Chase said that his team will be using the announcement to market Wichita at upcoming trade shows and other events.

Chase said, “We have an opportunity next month at the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology in Hannover, Germany, to target executives that represent robotics, energy storage devices and advanced materials. They’ll be extremely interested in the fact that WSU has aligned itself with such an influential global company. Airbus is known for its innovative culture and this news will further demonstrate to our targets that Wichita should receive full consideration for their future expansions and partnerships.”

WSU will make an announcement on Tuesday, March 31 at 10 a.m. regarding the plans for the building in downtown Wichita that Airbus will no longer occupy after January 2017.

Follow these links to learn more about the WSU Innovation Campus:

Dr. Bardo shared his appreciation for the four local developers who are helping the University align with business needs. Pictured from left to right at the WSU news conference are:  Nestor Weigand, Steve Barrett, David Murfin and Ivan Crossland, Jr.  The four investors are  developing the project as MWCB LLC.

Dr. Bardo shared his appreciation for the four local developers who are helping the University align with business needs. Pictured from left to right at the WSU news conference are: Nestor Weigand, Steve Barrett, David Murfin and Ivan Crossland, Jr. The four investors are developing the project as MWCB LLC.

Learn about the Export Plan for South Central Kansas

Almost twenty-eight percent of the Wichita-area economy is export dependent. And many businesses in the South Central Kansas region would like to increase the number of products and services they export.

The long-awaited Wichita-South Central Kansas Regional Export Plan will be unveiled on Thursday, March 26 at the Meridian Center (1420 East Broadway Court) in Newton at 3:30 p.m. Participants will hear recommendations for growing exports in the ten-county region by one billion dollars over the next five years.

More than 100 people in our 10 county region have participated in the completion of the first-of-its-kind Export Plan for South Central Kansas.

More than 100 people in our 10-county region participated in the completion of the first-of-its-kind Export Plan for South Central Kansas.

Considered one of the boldest retention-expansion efforts ever undertaken in South Central Kansas, the plan is a joint effort of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Kansas Global Trade Services, WSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research, Regional Economic Area Partnership, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

Businesses that currently export their products and services or wish  to begin exporting should attend the meeting on March 26 to hear more about the plan that was orchestrated by the Brookings Institution in collaboration with JP Morgan Chase.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • issues exporters face
  • global opportunities
  • benefits of the export plan
  • anticipated economic impact

Please RSVP to Ella Reusser at reusser@kansasglobal.org.

Promoting Wichita’s superior workforce and supply chain

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) is promoting Wichita’s exceptional workforce and world-class aviation supply chain this week during the 2014 NBAA Business Convention in Orlando, FL at Booth #2067.  The Wichita Airport Authority, National Center for Aviation Training, National Institute for Aviation Research, Wichita AeroClub and the Kansas Department of Commerce are partnering with GWEDC as well as five local private sector companies:  Capps Manufacturing, CE Machine, Harlow Aerostructures, Impresa Aviation, and Image Resources Group.3col_vert_with_tag

GWEDC President Tim Chase said, “Wichita has the strongest pro-aviation business environment in the world and we have a unique story to share with NBAA participants about the breadth and depth of our capabilities.We will be promoting the fact that Wichita has the number one workforce for aviation engineering knowledge and advanced manufacturing skills.”

This year GWEDC and its partners will be promoting some of Wichita’s key differentiators:

  • The world’s top general aviation OEM’s – Textron Aviation’s Cessna and Beechcraft as well as Bombardier’s Learjet
  • More than 350 of aviation’s top suppliers
  • A world-class, skilled aviation workforce
  • The world’s largest aerospace R&D academic institution
  • Aviation training curriculum that sets global standards
  • Multiple options for general aviation air service and the state’s largest commercial airport

Trade show participants can attend GWEDC’s Talent Central Celebration on Wednesday, October 22, from 3:30 to 4 p.m. to meet Wichita City Council Representative Pete Meitzner. Meitzner will discuss the pro-business climate in the Air Capital that has fostered innovation and investment in Wichita.

GWEDC Aggressively Pursuing New Leads

Wichita received some outstanding economic development news this week with the final selection of McConnell Air Force Base for the KC-46A Refueling Tanker mission. The base will benefit from $219 million in improvements to prepare for the mission and the new mission strengthens the local economy in numerous ways that will show long-term benefits.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement from the Air Force, Spirit AeroSystems announced that it is filling 250 open positions in Wichita, while 575 Kansas employees at Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft received 60-day layoff notices. Airbus has also announced pending layoffs.

These types of announcements strengthen the resolve of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) to provide more employment certainty for our skilled workforce. Aggressively pursuing opportunities to grow our established businesses and attract new ones will help our community retain experienced employees and their families.

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) staff believes this quarter will set a new record for the number of leads generated. They have been primarily focusing on three sectors this month: non-aviation manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and pitching the Boeing facilities.

Non-Aviation Manufacturing
GWEDC President Tim Chase and VP-Business Development Debra Teufel spent 12 days in Germany earlier this month. The first part of their trip was devoted to making connections during the world’s largest annual manufacturing trade fair,  Hannover Messe. Chase and Teufel held 25 meetings with technology company representatives during their four-day stay. Held April 7-11, the fair is made up of over 20 halls filled with 5,000 exhibitors representing 100 nations. About 180,000 industrial company representatives attended this year.

Debra Teufel at the Hannover Fair 2014

                                        Debra Teufel at the Hannover Fair 2014

Chase and Teufel also spent time in Bremen to capitalize on relationships that were established when GWEDC hosted a 30 member Bremen delegation in Wichita last fall. Bremen shares some interesting workforce similarities with Wichita and officials there reciprocated with meetings and tours of some of their manufacturing and assembly facilities, including those operated by Airbus (where the wings of the A330 and A350 XWB Aircarft are equipped with relevant systems) and Mercedes. In addition to discussing similar supply chains and learning more about the special development effort that has resulted in  Airport City Bremen, information about WSU’s proposed Innovation Center were shared with three engineering companies that are possible candidates for establishing a US presence.

Additive Manufacturing
Beth Shelton, Manager of Business Development for GWEDC, attended an Additive Manufacturing Users Group conference in Tucson, Arizona. Utilizing the unique expertise found at user group events vs. traditional trade shows proved to be extremely more enlightening as GWEDC prepares our strategy.  Beth established additional contacts in the 3D Printing industry to those identified at last year’s Aerospace and Defense event by Tim and Debraand was able to familiarize them with the technical expertise available in Wichita.

Pitching the Boeing Facilities
GWEDC is reaching out to a variety of companies that can re-occupy the vacant Boeing properties. One primary use would be for large aircraft modification.  Beth Shelton participated in GWEDC’s first time at the MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition. The Conference was well attended with 10,000 registered attendees and over 720 exhibitors representing 72 countries. More than 25 Wichita companies exhibited. Beth had pre-arranged meetings with several of the largest MRO companies in the world.

Follow this link for a webinar that was posted this week with more information about the role of the GWEDC.

Economic Development Feasibility Analysis

Gary Plummer

Gary Plummer

At its first meeting more than a year ago, the Leadership Council chose Growing Primary Jobs as its top priority along with two other priorities:  1) Diversification through Entrepreneurship and 2) Enhance Educational Attainment and Workforce Development. Of course, growth in primary jobs is also one of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce’s top priorities. (Primary jobs are defined as those that produce goods and services primarily sold outside the community, bringing payroll and wealth into a community.) Managed by the Chamber, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition’s (GWEDC) mission is to expand Greater Wichita’s regional economy through aggressive business retention, expansion and recruitment activities.

The Chamber’s Leadership Council, a think tank of 100 top business, non-profit, and public-sector CEO’s, asked GWEDC and the Chamber what it needed to be able to double our competitiveness in this area of local business expansions here and capturing expansion projects. Business leadership identified four issues:

  • Diversification
  • Real estate solutions
  • Telling our story
  • Incentives

During last week’s GWEDC Annual Meeting, GWEDC Chairman Steve Sharp outlined the integrated plan developed to begin addressing the first three areas identified. The Chamber’s Leadership Council has taken the lead on the vital discussion of how to become more competitive in the area of incentives.

As part of that process, the Leadership Council asked the Chamber to lead a feasibility process on how to best fund more competitive incentives. To assist with that effort, the Chamber has engaged Jim East, a government relations consultant who lives in Tulsa and has extensive policy experience. East will provide additional due diligence on this issue for the business community. He will also work with the Chamber on behalf of the Leadership Council to help understand and evaluate policy issues facing the community, including jobs, and their potential funding plans. Jim has extensive experience helping municipalities, counties, businesses, foundations and nonprofits shape policy and explore funding alternatives for communities.

We know that jobs are on the minds of most Americans. The latest Gallup poll shows that Americans believe that the most important problem facing this country today is unemployment/jobs. Locally, the City has gathered feedback from 102 community meetings that demonstrates that Wichitans are most concerned with two things:  a stable long-term water source and jobs.

As we begin to broaden our discussion with our partners about what we need to do to address these concerns, it’s very clear that we must do our due diligence in researching plans and how to fund them. We look forward to sharing more information with you as we continue to study these issues.

Gary Plummer
President & CEO

GWEDC Shares Mission at Cessna Supplier Forum

Debra Teufel

Debra Teufel

By Debra Teufel

This week GWEDC had the honor of being a presenting sponsor at the Cessna Supplier Forum.  This event attended by over 400 in the aviation industry, gave us the opportunity to showcase our Greater Wichita message to an audience of local suppliers, as well companies from around the globe.  What a perfect opportunity to share our economic development mission – marketing our region, providing a service to local business & industry, and sharing the Wichita business case to companies who we hope will consider a future location here in our great community.  

We highlighted the top factors that make Wichita a winning combination and keep us on top as the #1 U.S. Metro for Aviation Manufacturing – Labor Costs, Transportation Accessibility, Tax Climate, Energy Costs, Availability of Skilled Labor, Quality of Training, Research & Development, Construction Costs and Affordability of Real Estate, and finally the tools and resources at the State and local level for companies seeking a competitive location.  The audience had the first opportunity to see GWEDC’s newest Air Capital of the World video (coming soon!) – a collection of images showing how Wichitans built the “business of flight”.  

It was an honor to be a part of such a quality event, and to hear about the exciting new developments from the Cessna team.  We heard about the importance of partnerships, productivity, quality, speed to market, branding & promotion, innovation, winning together – all of the elements that our Wichita companies know well.  It made me proud to be a part of their day.  Thank you to Cessna for allowing us to share our message with your audience, as we work together to help our economy reach new heights. 

Debra Teufel
Vice President, Business Development
Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition

Recap of Recent GWEDC Happenings

Last week your GWEDC team hit the trifecta of high-profile marketing events aimed at stimulating job creation and investment in the region.   All three events just happened to be in and around the Las Vegas area making this a very cost-effective week for promoting Wichita to specific targets.

CoreNet GlobalI attended the opening gala for the Corporate Office Real Estate Network’s Annual meeting on Monday, October 21.  This is the world’s leading corporate real estate event. If you are the VP of real estate for a large company this is the where you go to network with 2,000 of your peers and take advantage of continuing education.  We had a booth at the trade show depicting all the real estate solutions in the region with a special focus on the soon-to-be-vacant Boeing properties.

Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing Summit – Debra Teufel and I met with 24 aerospace and defense companies for 30 minutes each on October 20-21.  The general purpose of these meetings was promoting how companies can take advantage of Wichita’s attributes and we were pleased to uncover several recruitment opportunities. Our presence at this event was further enhanced by Paul Jonas, Director of Environmental Test Labs and Special Programs at Wichita State University for the National Institute for Aviation Research. Paul made a presentation at the summit about innovative partnerships and tailored solutions the Institute provides for the aviation industry.

NBAA – Coinciding with CoreNet was the National Business Aviation Association’s Annual meeting, October 22-24, with some 30,000 attendees.  Your GWEDC staff and seven partners worked a large booth at this event which is promoted as the world’s largest civil aviation show.  GWEDC was one of 1,000 exhibitors, including about seven states and cities pitching to this amazing audience.  We aggressively marketed for new jobs and investments to the business aircraft industry product, service, part, and manufacturers in attendance.

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Our thanks to all of our investors and trade show partners for making these valuable marketing and recruitment opportunities possible.

Our local media provided extensive coverage during NBAA and the links below will connect you with some of their stories, photographs, and videos.

Tim Chase
GWEDC President