Dundas receives Lifetime Sales Achievement Award

One of our favorite things to do is celebrate milestones with our member businesses. Almost equally as exciting is celebrating milestones in the careers of our employees, and today we have that opportunity.

Kresta Dundas, Director of Membership Development for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, has been recognized with the ACCE’s (Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives) Lifetime Sales Achievement Award. Kresta was honored in the Silver Category, meaning she is responsible for 750 new members or $300,000+ in sales over the course of her Chamber career. The official announcement was made in July at the ACCE’s national conference in Nashville.

Kresta joined the Chamber in July 2012. Her responsibilities include overseeing the sales of Chamber memberships, the retention of current members, representing the Chamber at Member Milestone events, and helping businesses get the most value from their membership investment.

“Kresta is an amazing asset to any business, big or small,” said Heather Branson, CEO of Dynamic Sign Solutions. “Her desire to help others grow their organization, along with the Chamber resources she provides, are well worth our annual Wichita Chamber membership dues. The business relationships she can help spark, the wisdom she can share, and her caring demeanor make her a quality investment.”

“Kresta is a key member of our leadership team and is committed to ensuring businesses are successful in their Chamber membership,” said Gary Plummer, Chamber President/CEO.  “She is most deserving of this recognition, and we are proud of her contributions to the Wichita Chamber and our region.”

She has more than 15 years of marketing and sales experience, including nine years in media sales. She is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for various animal welfare causes.

Please join us in congratulating Kresta!

About ACCE
ACCE—the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives—serves more than 7,500 chamber of commerce professionals, 1,300 chambers of commerce and hundreds of other businesses and organizations, like convention and visitors bureaus and economic development organizations. Established in 1914, ACCE offers resources, industry information and data, professional development opportunities, peer connectivity and best practice sharing through the annual convention and topical conferences, their award-winning magazine, online education, peer networking and other activities.

Web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan coming to Wichita

Author and web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan will be speaking in Wichita on Oct. 27. His speech is titled “The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What Your Business Must Do About It” and is specifically designed for marketers and small business owners. The program, presented by Digital Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber,  will be held from 7:15 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 at Abode Venue and includes breakfast.

Marcus is the author of the Sales Lion, a sales, marketing and personal development blog, and a partner in River Pools and Spas, which he is credited with saving during the 2008 economic crisis.

An internationally sought after speaker and strategic marketing consultant, Marcus brings clarity to what B2B and B2C companies must do to not only align themselves with the recent shift in buyer patterns, but take advantage of the digital age as well.

Forbes magazine named him one of seven “Best Speakers for Business Growth,” while Entrepreneur magazine last week named him among “11 Marketing Experts Whose Insights Could Change Your Business.”

Early-bird ticket are available for $40 through Aug. 31. A Social Host Package is also available for $375, which includes eight tickets and logo recognition at the event. Each ticket holder will receive a copy of Sheridan’s book They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer. Find more information register here before prices go up.

Event sponsorships are still available. Contact Rachel Douglass for more information.

The Monarch, Mahaney Roofing Company named Small Businesses of the Year

Please join us in congratulating The Monarch and Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. on being named the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Businesses of the Year! Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. The Monarch represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas: leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

The Monarch opened its doors in December of 2012 and currently employs twelve individuals in a full-time capacity. Owner Jennifer Ray has branded the establishment as a bourbon bar and has the largest craft bourbon and whiskey list in the state. Ray says the large majority of the business’ advertising budget is earmarked for donations to community organizations. “We have worked hard to build a business that adds value to not only the city of Wichita but also to the people who live here,” she said.

Founded in 1888, Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. has a long history of growth in the Wichita community. The business currently employs ninety-three individuals, and the leadership is dedicated to delivering the highest quality product for their customers and providing a safe, fulfilling workplace for their employees. “We are never content to be ordinary,” Vice President Damon Young said. “As much as we have grown in the last three years, the next three years look even more exciting because we are growing through our people.”

The 2017 Awards program was presented ComfortCare Homes, Inc. and Occidental Management, Inc. Scott Redler of Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up almost 90 percent of the Wichita Regional Chamber membership. The Small Business Awards program, now in its 13th year, is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

Carrie Rengers of the Wichita Eagle served as emcee of the awards luncheon, where she told the audience that she has attended all thirteen of the annual luncheons. “I truly believe that all the businesses who made it to this point as finalists are winners,” she said. (View the Wichita Eagle article here.)

Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and thank you for putting your time and energy into this program.

2017 Small Business Awards Finalists
Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)
McCurdy Auction, LLC
Reverie Coffee Roasters
The Monarch
The Workroom

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)
Builders Plus Construction
Mahaney Roofing Company
Elite Staffing Solutions
Fiber Dynamics Inc.
The McGinty Machine Co., Inc.

Visit the Chamber’s Facebook page to see videos of the live award announcements and more photos from the event, and visit the Chamber’s YouTube channel to see videos highlighting each of the finalists.

Conference topics help your small business achieve big success

Interested in leading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business? Then you’ll want to attend the Chamber’s 2nd annual Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference on Wednesday, May 24.

The Details
9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24
Hyatt Regency Wichita
Choose three of nine breakout session topics (listed below).
Register here for only $15 per person.

Rachel Douglass, Manager of Membership & Engagement for the Wichita Regional Chamber, says the success of the 2016 conference made hosting a second rendition an easy choice. “The best part of the Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference is that it is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. All the sessions are planned specifically by small businesses, for small businesses.”

Ed O’ Malley of the Kansas Leadership Center was one of our 2016 presenters and is returning this year with “The Experimental Nature of Leadership.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from social media marketing to optimizing HR and hiring practices. Douglass said the Small Business Awards committee worked to keep the conference cost affordable at only $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

The Schedule | Register Here

9 to 9:30 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • The Power of Listening and Saying Thank You | Damon Young, Charles E. Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Stories from a Serial Networker, Not a TED talk, but Close | Brad Painchaud, Squid Ink Creative
  • The Experimental Nature of Leadership | Ed O’ Malley, Kansas Leadership Center

9:45 to 10:15 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Boosting Team Morale | Ashley Thill, Zernco, Inc.; Scott Ludwick, Builders Plus Construction; and Heidi Perez, Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Interviewing Techniques for Optimized Retention | Shawne Boyd, ARSI
  • Social Media Success In Just 3 Minutes a Day  | Tim Fruits, Malibu Creative, LLC

10:30 to 11 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Redefining and Prioritizing Sales Activities for Small Businesses | Allen Clouse, Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.
  • Unique Employee Benefits Small Business Can Offer | Carrie Cox, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.
  • Telling Your Why | Brandy Willett, e2e Accelerator, Inc.

The Awards
The Small Business Awards Luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m., where two businesses will be named the Small Business of the Year. Scott Redler, co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, will deliver the keynote speech. This luncheon always sells out, so get your tickets today.

Find more information about all the activities schedule for May 24 at wichitchamber.org.

Love of people, community unite #SmBizAwards finalists

Our 2017 Small Business Awards finalists truly couldn’t be more different when it comes to the industries they span (think from roofing to retail). But what they all do have in common is a love of people and a love for their community. The Wichita Eagle has profiled each of the 10 finalist companies in today’s edition, and links to each story can be found below.

There is another opportunity to hear directly from the finalists at next week’s Sunrise Scrambler, where a representative from each company will share some entrepreneurial insights about what has contributed to their success. The event will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26. Then the Small Business of the Year will be announced at a luncheon on May 24.

About the Small Business Awards
Small business is at the heart of what we do at the Chamber, so we’re so pleased to celebrate the 13th annual Small Business Awards this year. This annual program offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community by offering the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts. Click here to learn more about the program and to see a list of previous award recipients.

Have a favorite small business? Nominate them!

2017_sba_awards_4cThe Wichita Chamber is accepting nominations for the 2017 Small Business Awards now through Friday, Dec. 9. The program, now in its 13th year, is presented by ComfortCare Homes, Inc. and Occidental Management, Inc. It offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community and provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita Metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Metro Chamber at the time of application

Nominations can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards.

One business from each tier will be selected as the 2017 Small Business of the Year, and an awards luncheon will be held in the spring to announce the recipients.

ComfortCare Homes, Inc. was the recipient of our 2016 Small Business of the Year Award (Tier 2) and is a Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Program.

ComfortCare Homes, Inc. was the recipient of our 2016 Small Business of the Year Award (Tier 2) and is a Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Program.

5 Reasons to #ShopSmall on Nov. 26

Think about your favorite coffee shop, boutique or restaurant. Now imagine Wichita without all of our local businesses that make our city unique. Small Business Saturday, a day when holiday shoppers are encouraged to support local brick-and-mortar businesses, is scheduled for November 26, 2016.

K. Lanes is a women's boutique located at 600 S. Tyler.

K. Lanes is a women’s boutique located at 600 S. Tyler.

But what exactly are the benefits of shopping small (on the 26th and everyday)? Here are just a few:

1. Supporting your city
When you shop small, you’re also supporting and growing your community. Businesses pay taxes, which in turn fund schools, roads, firefighters, etc. Studies have shown that $68 of every $100 spent at small businesses stays in the community.

2. Impacting the economy
More than half of new U.S. jobs created since 1995 have come from small businesses, making small biz the backbone of America.

Burnell's Fine Jewelry and Design is located at 550 N. Rock and offers pieces from world-famous designers, as well as custom work.

Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design is located at 550 N. Rock and offers pieces from world-famous designers, as well as custom work.

3. Being WOWed by excellent customer service
One of the biggest advantages small businesses have over large retailers is the ability to provide more personable, hands-on, and memorable customer service. You will most likely be helped by the owner, their family or someone vested in the success of the business.

4. Finding unique items
Searching for the perfect gifts can be difficult enough without seeing the same products time after time. Small businesses are more likely to offer “Where did you get that?” items not found in departments stores.

MODE is a designer denim outlet boutique located at 2431 N. Greenwich.

MODE is a designer denim outlet boutique located at 2431 N. Greenwich.

5. Being part of the American Dream
Small-business owners are the embodiment of the American Dream; supporting  them makes you part of the dream, and who wouldn’t want that?

Search #ShopSmall on social media to see many more reasons, then add your own!

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.”

Renewing Wichita’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Barry Schwan 2016 Chamber Chairman

Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman

By Barry Schwan
Owner, House of Schwan, Inc.
2016 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

If you’ve followed the work of Wichita native and economic analyst James Chung, you’ve heard him outline the four challenges facing Wichita. One of those is the Entrepreneurship Challenge. Chung’s findings indicate that Wichita is behind the curve in startup density and venture capital investments. He’s challenged Wichita to “move the needle” on entrepreneurship and drive innovation forward as we’ve done in the past.

The Chamber appreciates the efforts of two business leaders who are helping Wichita move the needle on entrepreneurship. As co-chairs of the Entrepreneurship Task Force (ETF), Gary Oborny (Occidental Management) and Scott Schwindaman (Lubrication Engineers) have spearheaded an inclusive approach to strengthening our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through their efforts, we’ve seen the emergence of e2e (Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur), a new nonprofit initiative where experienced area entrepreneurs are offering mentoring, seed money and programming to startups and scalable business ventures (see e2ewichita.com).

In addition to their involvement in ETF, both Oborny and Schwindaman are members of the Chamber board of directors. Schwindaman will take over the helm as Chamber chairman in 2017. A past Chamber chairman, Wayne Chambers (High Touch Technologies), recently donated a prime downtown location to launch the e2e Accelerator. It’s at that new site that John Dascher, President/CEO of e2e, and Accelerator Director Jacob Wayman have assembled a team who are working daily to recharge Wichita’s entrepreneurship environment.

Awareness was the first step taken by Oborny, Schwindaman and others to face Wichita’s entrepreneurship challenge. They started convening nearly 40 different organizations on a biweekly basis nearly three years ago to focus attention on the most pressing needs of our entrepreneurs and the gaps in our support of them. Our hats are off to the many loyal supporters who are still a part of that movement in the Wichita region.

One of those partners has been the Wichita district of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Entrepreneurs must have access to capital, and it was reported in August that SBA expects to achieve a near-record lending total of $85 million in fiscal year 2016 (ending September 30). That’s up more than 15% from $72.3 million in 2015. Wichita SBA Director Wayne Bell attributes the increase in lending to more awareness about the variety of financing tools available to startups. That’s a very positive step in the right direction.

We’re also impressed with some of the partnerships that private companies are undertaking. GroundWork is a startup incubator housed in the new offices of Builders Plus Construction in downtown Wichita. Builders Plus Construction CEO Chris Callen believes that entrepreneurism is the key to Wichita’s future and he’s committed to housing early-stage startups who are working collaboratively in the new space.

To further energize Wichita’s entrepreneurial spirit, the Chamber has secured one of the most sought after entrepreneurial experts in the country to speak at our December 1 Annual Meeting. As a major investor on ABC’s Emmy-winning Shark Tank series, Daymond John has invested more than $8 million to date on 61 deals with entrepreneurs across the country.  And while he certainly understands the importance of venture capital investments, his most recent book also champions the “power of broke” and the importance of creativity, substance and passion in entrepreneurial ventures.

All of these “good news” activities are renewing and revitalizing Wichita’s entrepreneurial spirit. The community leaders who are supporting these vital programs through financial investments, expertise and mentorship are too many to mention in this column. The Chamber applauds all of these efforts and is proud to be part of the growing network supporting the region’s businesses and advocating for the best possible business environment.

This column was originally published in the September issue of Synergy, the Chamber’s quarterly newsletter. Check this link for the full contents of the six-page issue.

Expose Your Biz, Grow Your Network

By Lyndsey Edwards

Are you looking for a good way to expose your business? The 2016 Exposure Business-to-Business Trade Show will be held Thursday, September 29 at Century II Expo Hall. Exposure is the largest trade show of its kind in the area with more than 220 exhibitors and 1,800 attendees. We invite you to register to exhibit your business at Exposure today! Not only will you get to promote your business and expand your network, but you’ll also get an exclusive look at new products and services.

Taylor Dixon with Criser, Gough and Parrish LLC said, “We meet hundreds of people at Exposure, which has led to new clients and relationships. The business connections are why we come back every year. The community connections we make at the show are irreplaceable as well.”

Make sure you check out the brochure that will hit your mailbox this week for all the details on how to register and to pick your booth space. Early-bird pricing ends one month from today on July 29, so make sure to get your registration in before the prices go up. For more details and to see a floor map, check out WichitaBusinessExposure.com.

2016 Exposure Brochure_CoverCrop