#ILoveWichita Night this Saturday with the Wichita Thunder

At an unveiling event on Jan. 4, Mayor Jeff Longwell displayed the Wichita flag jersey that will be worn at the Jan. 20 game, and Vanesa Barnard of Jason’s Deli showed off the rally towel that will be given to the first 500 people that evening.

The Wichita Thunder is celebrating our city this Saturday on #ILoveWichita Night, when they take on the Colorado Eagles. The Chamber is proud to partner with the team on this event to promote community pride, and the team will be wearing a special Wichita flag-themed jersey. Also, the first 500 fans through the door will receive a special Wichita flag rally towel. The event is presented by Chamber member Davis-Moore Autogroup, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell will be on-hand to drop the puck.

Game Details
Saturday, January 20
Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
INTRUST Bank Arena

Only 1,000 lower bowl tickets remain, and Chamber members can purchase tickets here for 50% off by using discount code “CHAMBER.” This offer excludes glass seats and is available online only.

Click here to watch the event promo video, and click here to see photos from the Jersey Unveiling Event that was help on Jan. 4.

Partnerships Fuel Wichita Flag Movement

Cassandra Bryan of Cassandra Bryan Design was one of the Wichitans featured in the series of community pride videos.

We like to say that the Wichita flag movement has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. Without all three, the message of the flag would not be as far reaching as it is. One partnership that contributed to the growing Wichita love in 2017 was when Chamber member World Studios ICT produced several videos that highlight the Wichita flag.

We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to their team for contributing their time and talents to the betterment of our community. Find links to and descriptions of each video below.

Your Wichita Flag | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
To celebrate the Wichita flag’s 80th birthday on June 14, 2017, this video was published to tell the story behind the city’s symbol. You can also catch this video playing on the City of Wichita’s City7 TV channel.

The Wichita Flag Movement | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
The Wichita Flag movement is important for so many reasons. This video features proud Wichitans sharing their thoughts on why.

The Best Thing About the Wichita Flag | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
When we asked people to name their favorite thing about the Wichita flag, we learned that everyone has a unique connection to the symbol.

#ILoveWichita Because… | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
How can you choose just one reason why you love Wichita?

We’d love to see your thoughts and feelings about the flag as well. Post your comments and tag @WichitaFlag and/or use #ILoveWichita.

We’re looking forward to seeing the Wichita pride continue to grow and to what partnerships emerge in 2018!

The team at World Studios ICT helped spread the Wichita flag message far and wide this year, with one of their videos receiving more than 30,000 views on Facebook alone.

 

Show Your Support for the Official Wichita Flag License Plate

It was announced in October that the City of Wichita will be submitting a bill during the next legislative session to add a Wichita flag license plate option for Kansas motorists. The City has surpassed their initial goal of 500 signatures of support for the bill, but we want to keep going! Help us continue to demonstrate the demand for a Wichita flag license plate by completing this form.

Here’s how the program, titled Plates for Parks, will work: By purchasing a Wichita flag license plate for $50 at the time of registration or renewal, the flag will ride with you everywhere you go. The annual royalty fee of each license plate sold will go towards improving the City’s park system through the Wichita Parks Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. So it’s a win-win!

Add your name today at the link above!

Wichita Flag will soon be flying at all Wichita Public Schools

Last year, the Chamber’s marketing and communications team was invited to make a presentation about the Wichita Flag to students participating in the annual Comm Week at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication (pictured below). Stressing that the #ILoveWichita and Wichita flag movement has been fueled by partnerships, passion and pride, we asked the students to spend a few minutes brainstorming ways to widen the movement and make it more inclusive.

The students came up with a list of about eight ways to further accelerate civic pride. One of the ideas at the top of their list was to donate a Wichita flag to every school in the Wichita Public Schools system so that students could see it flying every day.

Through the power of partnerships and collaboration, Together Wichita turned that great idea into a reality this week when ninety-three 3’ x 5’ Wichita flags were donated to Wichita Public Schools, one for each of their learning centers. The flags were presented at the November 30 District Council meeting to administrators from across the district.

Ben Jennings of Together Wichita (left) and Angie Prather of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce (right) present USD 259 Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson (center) will a 3’x5’ Wichita flag at the November 30 District Council meeting. Together Wichita has purchased and donated ninety-three flags for the district, one to fly at every learning center.

Ben Jennings from The Wichita Eagle manages the Together Wichita initiative and made the presentation at the District meeting. Jennings is a long-time flag enthusiast and said it was an easy decision for the Board to approve the donation, “We don’t believe this has ever been done before and we loved the idea of making it happen.”

The Wichita Regional Chamber is one of twenty-one organizations working year-round on community improvement projects under the banner of Together Wichita. (See the complete listing on togetherwichita.com and below.) Organized, staffed and managed by The Wichita Eagle, past Together Wichita projects include bicycle and walking path signage, a Memories Park, community chalkboards, the Keepers on Parade and a large Together Wichita sign to display at area events.

School administrators also learned that Ben Hutton, CEO of Hutton Construction, has generously donated a Keeper of the Plains sculpture to USD 259. Hutton is a member of Together Wichita and also leads the Chamber’s Quality of Place Strategic Initiative. A student from the Wichita Public Schools will paint the Keeper. The finished sculpture will be unveiled sometime in 2018 when it’s completed. It will then be included on the Keepers on Parade map located on the organization’s website.

Visit TogetherWichita.com to learn more about how your organization or company can become involved and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2017 TOGETHER WICHITA PARTICIPANTS

Sean Weaver
Allen, Gibbs & Houlik

Susan Armstrong
Armstrong Chamberlin

Patty L. Sanders
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Walter Berry
Berry Companies, Inc.

Jeff Longwell
City of Wichita

Bob Thurman
Credit Union of America

Kacie St. John
EddysEverything.com

Charles Millsap
Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch

Dr. Amy Carey
Friends University

Ben Hutton
Hutton Construction

Ben Jennings
The Wichita Eagle

Patty Koehler
JR Custom Metals Products, Inc.

Scott Schwindaman
Lubrication Engineers, Inc.

Dr. Noreen M. Carrocci
Newman University

Thomas Gentile
Spirit AeroSystems

Patrick J. Hanrahan
United Way of the Plains

Bill Voloch
Wesley Healthcare

Don Sherman
Westar Energy

Sheree Utash
Wichita Area Technical College

Gary Plummer
Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Bardo
Wichita State University

Announcing the #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest winners

The 2nd annual #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest has concluded and the results prove that Wichitans love their hometown’s flag. The contest received nearly 173 unique entries, which was more than triple the number that was received in 2016. At the conclusion of the summer, the Wichita flag has been photographed in all 50 states, 36 different countries and on 5 continents. It’s safe to say that flag fever has spread worldwide.

Before the contest winners are revealed, here are a few other fun facts from this year’s contest:

  • The flag visited 7 different National Parks in 6 states
  • 124 individual accounts participated
  • 15 posts were from area businesses who joined in the fun
  • 28% of the entries included Wichita flag t-shirts
  • 20% of the entries used cloth flags (any size)
  • 9% used a flag picture on their phone
  • 6% used stickers
  • 5% used the insert published in the June 14 Wichita Eagle
  • The remainder (32%) used other flag swag (socks, koozies, hats, license plates, pins, magnets, etc.)

Contest winners are pictured below. They will each receive prizes from Great Image Designs (@greatimagedesigns on Instagram) and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to all who entered and are helping spread Wichita love around the world!

50th State
When the @WichitaFlag account reported that Delaware was the only state it had not visited, Brandi Brenner (@brandi.brenner) and family changed their vacation plans so the flag could represent in its 50th state! They are photographed here at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

 

Best Group Pic
Can you say #SquadGoals? Heather Feist (@honeyfeist) and friends spent their friend-cation in matching flag tanks at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

 

 

Best Story
When Gabby Garlow (@garlogab) visited The Temple Bar Pub in Dublin, Ireland, early this year, she placed a Wichita sticker on a wall inside the pub (pictured left). Fast forward to July when Hillary Martin (@Hillarymartin22) visited that same pub and found the sticker her fellow Wichitan had left behind (pictured right).

 

Farthest Away
The flag was carried to many corners of the earth this summer, but the farthest it traveled from Wichita was to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is 9,358 miles away. The flag is pictured here at the Petronas Twin Towers with Juan Velazquez (@juanpv00).

 

Highest Point
Kacey and Paul Bowen of Wichita Real Estate (@wichitarealestate) summited Mount Massive in July and carried along the flag and some local brews to celebrate at the top. Standing at 14,421 feet in Colorado, Mount Massive is just that. Josh Herman (@josh_herman) also conquered the 14er with the flag in hand in August.

 

Least Amount of Oxygen
Alejo Cabral (@mr_alejo_cabral) is a Wichita transplant, but that doesn’t hinder his love for the flag. During his vacation to Tulum, Mexico, the flag accompanied him during a dive into some underwater caves. Any guesses on how many takes it took to get that shot?

 

Most Countries Visited
This year’s MVP award goes to Juan Velaquez (@juanpv00), who submitted four contest entries from three different countries. Thanks to Juan, the flag crossed Cambodia (pictured), Vietnam and Malaysia off its travel bucket list.

 

 

Most Patriotic
Airman Lauren Nguyen chose to pose with the Wichita flag following her formal graduation from  boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She makes us all proud to be Americans and proud to be Wichitans. Photo submitted by Lauren’s mother, Kim (@kimmisuu).

 

Most Popular
It’s probably not difficult to believe that the contest photo that received the most likes was this adorable entry from Kelly Korroch (@2kellyk). The photo of her pup Teddy was taken in Breckenridge, Colorado, as he took in the views and fresh mountain air.

 

Most Unusual
There have been many photos of the flag posing with animals like cats and dogs and even hedgehogs. But this was definitely a new one: riding a camel in the Sahara Desert with Kris Hammer (@kris.on.the.road).

 

 

State with the Most Entries
It may come as no surprise that more entries were posted from Colorado than any other state — 16 entries to be exact. This one was taken by Kyle Hiebert (@qb3rt5) in the Garden of the Gods and was one of the favorites.

 

 

Youngest Flag Fan
It’s always fun to see young Wichitans learning about the flag and its symbolism. Victor White (@ginger727) shared this photo of his grandson at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, showing his love for the flag and for Wichita.

 

To see all of this year’s entries, search #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest on Instagram.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 3)

We have four more ideas to share with you for celebrating Wichita’s 147th birthday bash on Friday, July 21.

Increased social media activity during the @wichitaflag’s 80th birthday celebration put Wichita on the map.

Share what you love about our city with the world
Using #ILoveWichita and posting on your favorite social media channel creates a constantly updated and authentic digital brochure about the best things to see and do in Wichita. During last month’s 80th anniversary celebration of the adoption of our city flag, Chamber Board member Mark Nichols with Koch Companies said he noticed the additional @wichitaflag Twitter activity and was impressed with the quantity, quality and creativity of the posts–everything from floral flags to flag cakes. And indeed, all those great posts put @Wichitaflag on the Twitter trendsmap. Nichols said Koch employees use Yammer as an internal platform to share ideas and create a sense of community. He noticed that many of the anniversary flag posts were shared that day in a popular group Koch employees can join called “We Love Wichita.”

Newman University shows their Wichita pride year-round on their digital signage.

Put a birthday message on your digital signage
We salute those Wichita businesses and organizations that have incorporated Wichita pride messages year-round on their digital signage. They’ve contributed to the growth in city pride. Return visitors to the community have noticed the change and first-time visitors are asking questions about the city’s flag. The ABC News crew that visited Wichita in February to cover local reaction to national politics wanted to know about the symbolism behind the Wichita flag since they noticed it displayed at all the locations they visited.

Add the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of your business or organization.
You can join more than 50 Wichita organizations and businesses that have placed a decal on their front door. It’s fast and easy. And if your front door doesn’t have the perfect location for a decal, consider placing one in your employee break room or another spot that works best for your team. Check out the videos from area companies who have shared why they love being here after they’ve placed their decal and then call Courtney at the Chamber (316-268-1153) to learn about how to join the #ILoveWichita movement.

Stacy Ward Lattin just added the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of Hopping Gnome Brewing on East Douglas.

Download a Wichita flag coloring sheet
Our partnership with Fidelity Bank has included the development of a coloring page for children and adults with flag facts. More than 900 have been printed and distributed to area basketball camps, preschools, and other organizations that provide services for children. The two-sided sheet is free to download and print and can be found on ilovewichita.org. It was developed at the suggestion of Wichita State University students from the Elliott School of Communication who recommended that the Chamber focus on instilling community pride at an earlier age. Download it, learn some flag facts, color the sheet, complete the sentence at the bottom, “#ILoveWichita because ______,” and then share it on social media.

Check out our previous two blogs this week for suggestions about more ways to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday?  (Part 2)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We shared some ideas in yesterday’s post and have five more listed below.

Hyde Elementary School proudly displays a Wichita flag.

Wave your #Wichitaflag
Gone are the days when only a handful of businesses and homes were flying the city’s official flag. Wichitans are showing their pride at home, school and work by flying their favorite civic symbol and tagging @wichitaflag on social media. Don’t own a flag, yet? Chamber members Henry Helgerson, The Workroom and Wings of the Wind Kites & Toys can set you up with various sizes of flags. Why is community pride and championing the flag imperative for rallying our city? Check The Chung Report article titled Raising the Wichita Flag and watch the Roman Mars Ted Talk about the impact city flags have on civic pride.

#FlagItForwardICT
Know a neighbor, business or organization you think would love to be part of the Wichita flag movement? Gift them a flag! A Wichitalks speaker proposed this idea last year and we think it’s a great one. This is the ultimate Wichita welcome, whether it’s for a business near you that just opened their doors or for a new neighbor who just moved to your block. And the connections built by becoming a better neighbor are imperative for growing our companies, careers and community. Visit this post from The Chung Report about the community and personal benefits of good neighboring – Good Neighboring and the Perception Challenge.

A young visitor from West Chester, Pennsylvania checks out one of Wichita’s outdoor murals.

Visit a mural
Take your picture at one of the many new murals featuring Wichita flag elements and post it on social media. What can you say about a community where three new Wichita murals went up just last weekend? We love art. The number of local-based outdoor murals has skyrocketed in the last several years. Locals and visitors are really enjoying all the new and interesting artwork and those murals are good for business. Check the Wichita Eagle story posted by Matt Riedel earlier this year about how a mural has attracted new customers for a local business. Find a current listing of mural locations at ilovewichita.org or the @wichitaflag mural Facebook album.

Area artisans are painting the Wichita flag on everything from tree stump tables to athletic shoes. This table was painted by local artist, Johnny Freedom.

Support a local artist
Stumped about how to mark a special occasion for a friend, family member or co-worker? Purchase some flag wearables or art to display at your home or office. The variety and quantity of creative folk and commercial art that Wichitans are creating is dazzling. Check the @wichitaflag accounts and look for the flag swag listing on ilovewichita.org

Watch and share flag videos
Look for these titles:

Your Wichita Flag – The Chamber produced a new video last month with member World Studios ICT that was released on the 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag. It’s received nearly 30,000 views on the Chamber’s Facebook page alone.

Resurgence of the Wichita Flag – A ‘first place’ was recently awarded by the National Federation of Press Women for the Resurgence of the Wichita Flag video that the Chamber developed last year with Washburn film student and Wichita native Ben Faires.

Check out yesterday’s post and watch for a new one tomorrow with more suggestions about how to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 1)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We have some ideas to share with you in this week’s blog posts.

Attend a Birthday Celebration 
Several Chamber members are hosting special events.

Produce Your Own Birthday Bash
Offer a special discount or service for people wearing Wichita flag swag and promote it via your social media channels.

Watch for more suggestions on blog posts that we’ll publish this week.

Friends of McConnell receives national award

The Friends of McConnell, an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Abilene Trophy on April 28 at the Phoenix Rally at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Since 1998, the award has been presented annually to the community that demonstrates the most support of its local Air Force Base. Also known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, the trophy is awarded by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee.

To apply for the award, Friends of McConnell submitted a nearly-200 page document outlining how the Wichita region supports the airmen of McConnell Air Force Base. The document included examples of how the community worked alongside the military in preparation for the arrival of the KC-46, the re-designation of the 931st Air Refueling Wing from a group to a wing, and honoring the heritage and mission contributions associated with the 60th anniversary of the KC-135.

Pat Gallagher, Military Affairs Liaison for the Wichita Chamber, said Friends of McConnell was honored to receive the award on behalf of the entire Wichita community. “Wichita loves our Airmen and recognizes the vital role they play in our community,” she said. “I’ve been involved with McConnell for 25 years and I appreciate those who serve there tremendously. They are the very best this nation has to offer.”

A local award presentation and celebration will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14 where the Chair of the Abilene Chamber will unveil the trophy and present it to the Friends of McConnell. McConnell Commanders will be present to express their appreciation to our regional partners for their overwhelming support. The event will be hosted by Friends University. Find more information and register for the event here.

Col. Al Miller, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Commander, said he was pleased the Wichita area was recognized. “For any Airman who is serving his or her first assignment and is fortunate enough to have been assigned to McConnell Air Force Base, they will struggle for the rest of their careers to find a community as supportive as this one. Wichita and the surrounding communities set the bar extremely high. This community is the very best.”

McConnell Air Force Base has an annual economic impact on the Wichita region of $800 million. The Friends of McConnell seeks to express community pride and appreciation of the area’s military by providing organizational and financial support for Commander-directed programs at McConnell Air Force Base. A primary goal of the group is to make McConnell the most desirable assignment of an Airman’s career.

Wichita Regional Chamber Opposes Two PEAK Senate Bills

The Chamber’s lobbyist, Jason Watkins, testified today in Topeka.

Jason Watkins, a lobbyist representing the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, testified in opposition of S.B. 222 and S.B. 223 in Topeka, today. Watkins submitted written remarks and also provided verbal testimony in front of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. He was joined by other representatives in the region who are concerned about the need to have economic tools in place to grow the economy.

In his remarks, Watkins indicated that the Chamber supports Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK) as a valuable economic development tool. S.B. 222 places a moratorium on the program and S.B. 223 restricts it. Watkins pointed to a report from Legislative Post Audit that shows a positive return on investment for the program.

Watkins said that “a moratorium or restrictions on PEAK would stifle growth and likely lead to jobs originally destined for south-central Kansas to land in Oklahoma instead. Kansas needs more economic development tools – not less. PEAK provides a conduit for critical investment in our state’s economy. And it pays immediate dividends with job growth and capital investment.”

Links to the written testimony from Watkins are shown below.

SB 222 WRCC 2017 PEAK

SB 223 WRCC 2017 PEAK