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.

Managing Underperforming Employees

By Rachel Douglass
Membership & Engagement Manager

Last week’s Small Business Owner Roundtable with Newman University Business Dean Brett Andrews was insightful – to say the least. It had attendees reflecting on not only how keyed into work their employees are, but also evaluating their own performance.

According to a recent Forbes study, four reasons employees underperform include:

  • Instructions were not clearly understood
  • They don’t have the resources
  • They don’t have the ability
  • They just don’t care


Can you tell which of these bullets are a leadership issue versus an employee issue? If you guessed the first three bullets as leadership issues (with the last bullet being an employee issue), you’re right. The activity served as a friendly reminder to all: employee issues usually begin with the leader or management.

Employee performance issues can become toxic if they’re ignored. As Andrews said, “It’s important to understand the difference between misconduct and poor performance when evaluating employee issues.” Misconduct can easily be defined as willful disobedience, while a performance issue is categorized as the failure to meet minimum standards.

Andrews walked attendees through six easy-to-follow steps to help address employee concerns. Those six steps include:

  • Early recognition
  • Early notification
  • Continuous observation and documentation
  • Verbal warning
  • Written warming
  • Conclusive action

Whether you utilize these specific steps or not, Andrews encouraged attendees to strive to adhere to a consistent and trackable procedure to optimize workplace positivity and increased productivity.

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.

Top 3 Moments from Honors Night 2017

By Courtney Sendall
Marketing & Communications Manager

Each year when Honors Night concludes, I think, “This year was the best yet.” And while I have only attended 5 of the 54 Honors Night celebrations, this one was no exception because the Honors Night Committee once again selected highly deserving individuals and organizations to recognize in front of 665 members of the business community.

This year’s honorees included Dawson Grimsley, Chris Callen, Foley Equipment Company, Conco Construction, Howard+Helmer, and the Wichita Art Museum Art Garden. (Click the links to view the videos played at the event <<< you want to watch the videos.)

                                                                2017 Honorees

In no particular order, here are my favorite moments from Honors Night 2017, all of which left me feeling energized and excited about the future of Wichita.

  1. Howard+Helmer unveiling their new brand: Alloy Architecture
    At the conclusion of the video highlighting Over the Years award recipient Howard+Helmer, Principal Dave White announced he had some exciting news to share with the Honors Night attendees. After beginning with a restroom remodel project in 1981, their company has significantly contributed to the landscape of Wichita (think MarkArts, WSU’s Rhatigan Student Center & Shocker Hall, and Church of the Magdalen to name a few), and the Chamber was honored that they chose that moment to unveil their new brand: Alloy Architecture. We can’t wait to see what the next 36 years will bring.
  1. Chris Callen accepting the {FIRST} Exceptional Young Leader award
    In his humorous and sincere acceptance speech, Builders Plus CEO Chris Callen credited several people, ranging from his drum line instructor to his parents, for his success. In responding to people who question his motivation for launching GroundWork, a startup hub in his Builders Plus office, he says this: “I want to live in, I want to do business in, and I want to prosper in a great city. Period. That’s my dream.” Chris’ “doing something” attitude is something we should all emulate to make Wichita better than it was yesterday. Watch Chris’ Honors Night video here and view a live stream of his touching acceptance speech on the Young Professionals of Wichita Facebook page.
  1. Dawson Grimsley on giving back, texting and driving, and Fords
    I briefly introduced myself to Dawson at the Honors Night rehearsal on Monday afternoon, and when I saw him on Tuesday evening, he shook my hand and said, “Nice to see you again. It’s Courtney, right?” Working at the Chamber, I have the wonderful opportunity to meet a lot people, but it’s rare that they remember my name upon second meeting (and I’m guilty as well). So I was a Dawson fan even before seeing his Honors Night video and hearing his acceptance speech.

    In his video, he spoke about the responsibility that business owners have to support charitable organizations and pointed out that the more money you make, the more money you can give away (love that theory!). The video was also sprinkled with clips from the Davis-Moore PSAs that he became known for, and he delivered a live PSA during his acceptance speech when he urged audience members not to text and drive. From the stage, Dawson told Chris Callen that he seemed like a great guy, aside from the Ford truck he drives, but promised to make him a great deal when he visits Davis-Moore to trade it in.

Again, I encourage you to check out all of the honoree videos at the links above, and you can view photos from the event on the Chamber Facebook page.

I’d love to hear what your favorite moments from the night were, so tweet your comments to @ChamberWichita.

Local Awards to Celebrate Local Honorees

By Rachel Douglass
Manager of Membership & Engagement

The Chamber’s annual Honors Night celebrates an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitments to the community, and striking architectural achievements. Each honor is bestowed in recognition of a unique contribution to the enhancement of our community.

The event is a tradition started more than 50 years ago in 1963. New this year, though, will be the honorees’ awards. For the 2017 Honors Night, three local glassblowers were commissioned to create awards for our six honorees (listed below). Bob Adams, Chad Droegemeier and Robin Lies are glass blowing instructors at Chamber Member CityArts. They not only agreed to assist in the creation of the awards, but they plan to use the award proceeds to purchase new blow pipes and wooden blocks for CityArts.

Chad Droegemeier works to create one of the awards that will presented at Honors Night on April 11.

“This was a great opportunity for us to partner with the Chamber on a long-standing Wichita program, while also giving back to a studio that offers so much to Wichita’s art scene,” said Robin Lies, General Manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design (also a Chamber member).

“As a Chamber that strives to celebrate Wichita pride, it felt like a natural decision to recognize our Wichita honorees with locally-made awards,” said Angie Elliott, Vice President of Membership & Engagement. Glass blown awards will also be presented to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Small Business Awards recipients this May.

Honors Night 2017 will be held Tuesday, April 11, at Textron Aviation Activity Center, 9710 E. Central. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling 265-7771.

The 2017 Honors Night recipients are as follows:

  • Uncommon Citizen: Dawson Grimsley of Davis-Moore Auto Group
  • Exceptional Young Leader: Chris Callen of Builders Plus Construction
  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

    Robin Lies is the general manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design and a glass blowing instructor at CityArts.

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.

Chris Callen to be honored as Chamber’s first Exceptional Young Leader

Chris Callen, CEO of Builders Plus Construction and Grit Virtual, is the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s first Exceptional Young Leader. He will be recognized at the annual Honors Night celebration on Tuesday, April 11.

In honor of the Chamber’s Centennial year, the Exceptional Young Leader award is being added to the lineup of traditional Honors Night awards. Its purpose is to provide premiere recognition of extraordinary young talent through service to community and noteworthy accomplishments. Future recipients will have a history of demonstrated leadership within their job and philanthropic involvement.

A graduate of Maize High School and the University of Kansas, Chris assumed the role of CEO at his parents’ business, Builders Plus Construction, in 2013. Since that time, the company has brought high-tech to the construction industry through the use of virtual reality, which led to the launch of a new division of Builders Plus (Grit Virtual) earlier this month. The company has seen four years of record revenue with Chris at the helm and was one of our 2016 Small Business Awards finalists.

An entrepreneur himself, Chris is passionate about supporting start-up companies in Wichita. When Builders Plus relocated to downtown Wichita, he dedicated 2,200 square feet of space to GroundWork – A Startup Hub for start-up companies to reside. Currently, five companies and three freelancers are utilizing the space.

In addition to his professional accolades, Chris serves the community through involvement on several nonprofit boards, including the Arthritis Foundation, Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Associated General Contractors of Kansas. He also acts as a mentor for the e2e Accelerator and is a member of Young Professionals of Wichita.

Formerly announced Honors Night award recipients include:

  • Uncommon Citizen: Dawson Grimsley
  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture.
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden.

Please join us in congratulating Chris and all the other 2017 honorees!

Reservations for Honors Night may be made online. For tickets and additional information, visit wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight or call 316-268-1123.

Chamber surpasses Centennial capital campaign goal

At today’s Chairman’s Lunch event, Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer announced the completion of our Centennial Celebration capital campaign. Originally launched with a goal of $650,000 on Dec. 1 of last year, it concluded today with a total of $706,306.

The funds will be used to make updates to the public areas of our headquarters, originally constructed in 1972 at 350 W. Douglas and frequently used by our 1,600 Chamber members, 25 committees and five affiliates.

But the changes will be more than just cosmetic our organization prepares for the next 100 years of leading the community. Funds will also be used to initiate new programs focused on inclusion and education policy.

“Two of the Chamber’s four strategic priorities in 2017 are centered on these new initiatives that we believe will help establish the foundation for our future legacy,” said Scott Schwindaman, 2017 Chamber Chairman and President of Lubrication Engineers. “Our Education Policy priority will focus on the important issue of funding for K-12, and our Diversity and Inclusion priority will focus on specific tactics that will further position our region’s image as a leader in this area.”

“All of these improvements, both physical and in our programming, have been made possible through generous donations made from our members to our Centennial fundraising campaign,” said Plummer. “A special thank you to INTRUST Bank who committed $100,000 to kick off our campaign.”

A complete list of Centennial Celebration supporters can be found on our website here.

Dawson Grimsley to be honored as 2017 Uncommon Citizen

Dawson Grimsley

Dawson Grimsley, retired President and Owner of Davis-Moore Auto Group, is the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Uncommon Citizen. He will be recognized at the annual Honors Night celebration on Tuesday, April 11.

Established in 1974, the Uncommon Citizen is the Chamber’s most prestigious individual award. It recognizes those who, by their individual efforts year after year, have made uncommon contributions to the people and institutions of Wichita and the surrounding area. Recipients are honored not only for their role in business but for their participation in cultural, civic, social and philanthropic activities.

Grimsley spent his entire career with the Davis-Moore Auto Group team, purchasing the dealership in 2001, when he became president and majority owner. A well-known community philanthropist, he used his company’s advertising channels over the years to highlight the work of a number of local nonprofit organizations. The partnerships he forged with Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way of the Plains, the DUI Impact Center and the Kansas Humane Society, provided needed visibility to their important community services.

His dedication to community safety through television, radio and print advertising campaigns earned Grimsley numerous local, state and national awards during his career. His promotion of safe driving became an integral part of Davis-Moore’s messaging, branding and identity. The safety campaign he initiated continues today under new CEO Sean Tarbell.

Grimsely and his wife, Patty, have four grown children and seven grandchildren. He retired from Davis-Moore on Dec. 31, 2015.

Formerly announced Honors Night award recipients include:

  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

The announcement of the Exceptional Young Leader award will be forthcoming.

Reservations for Honors Night may be made online. For tickets and additional information, visit wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight or call 316-268-1123.