Leadership Wichita Graduates are Community Game Changers

Clark Bastian is the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Bank.

Nominations for the Chamber’s 2017 Leadership Wichita program are underway. We’ve asked some area decision makers to weigh in on the benefits of the Leadership Wichita program. This blog post is by Clark Bastian, Fidelity Bank Chairman and CEO.

There are a number of ways you can increase your organization’s visibility and viability. One proven method is to provide your best and brightest employees with new learning experiences and opportunities to connect with their peers. Investing in their growth provides your organization with knowledgeable and respected ambassadors. And retaining the most engaged members of our workforce can change the course of a community.

Leadership Wichita is a highly successful Chamber program designed to inform, connect and inspire active community leaders. It’s an immersive experience that identifies 30 local achievers and then provides them with the tools they need to take increasingly significant roles in the community.

Top area leaders present and interact with the class over the course of nine intensive sessions. They willingly invest their time in the program every year because they see the results. Leadership Wichita graduates can be found leading game-changing initiatives for their companies and their communities.

The nomination process is easy.

  • Look for potential nominees in your own company, professional organizations, and places where you volunteer. Target those who want to make more meaningful contributions to the success of their employers, the business community and the region.
  • Spend two minutes on the Chamber’s website nominating them for Leadership Wichita.

We owe it to the future champions of our region, companies and organizations to equip them with the best possible understanding of the progress being made in our community as well as the challenging areas where we need their talent and energy. Mentoring the next generation of leaders is critical. It clearly demonstrates our confidence in their future contributions and our desire to make them an integral part of our community’s advancement.

Leadership Wichita is a program of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Educational Foundation. Nominations are due Friday, June 2.

Leadership Wichita – A Powerful Community Investment

Claudio J. Ferraro is the President of Via Christi Hospital Wichita St. Teresa, Inc.

Nominations for the Chamber’s 2017 Leadership Wichita program are underway. We’ve asked some area decision makers to weigh in on the benefits of the Leadership Wichita program. This blog post is by Claudio Ferraro, President, Via Christi Hospital Wichita St. Teresa, Inc.

Every day we assess the return on investment (ROI) for many aspects of our business, from equipment purchases to employee training. Most employees already have the technical training needed to do their jobs. And many companies offer internal leadership training for those who have demonstrated an aptitude for taking on more responsibility. So why should a local company or organization nominate candidates for Leadership Wichita and invest in that program?

The true value of Leadership Wichita goes beyond refining skills. It’s an opportunity to forge relationships with people across other industries and understand their perspectives. It’s the formation of long-lasting partnerships that strengthen and advance our businesses and organizations. Ultimately, it’s laying an important foundation for the future of our business community and the economic health of our region.

I think it’s quite possible that my own career might have taken a different trajectory if I hadn’t participated in the Leadership Wichita program in 2000. So many of my classmates from that program are now playing important senior leadership roles throughout the community. Michael Grier is the President and CEO at Martin Eby Construction. Debbie Gann is the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at Spirit AeroSystems and was part of the leadership team that led them through their transition from a Boeing facility to Spirit AeroSystems. She was also the 2013 Chair of the Chamber. Richard McCafferty is an owner/officer at Key Construction. The list goes on and on. We share a common bond from our Leadership Wichita experience and I still interact with them in my role at Via Christi.

So when I nominate someone for this program, I’m looking for a candidate who is perceptive enough to understand that they will be doing much more than honing their own leadership skills. They will be learning about the dynamics of the region and building interpersonal connections with people who will eventually become key community leaders and contributors.

The nomination process is easy.

  •  Look for potential nominees in your own company, professional organizations, and places where you volunteer. Target those who want to make more meaningful contributions to the success of their employers, the business community and the region.
  • Spend two minutes on the Chamber’s website nominating them for Leadership Wichita.

The earlier we can identify our future decision makers and help them build relationships with each other, the more quickly we can achieve the maximum return on our investment with better results for our organizations, businesses and community.

Leadership Wichita is a program of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Educational Foundation. Nominations are due Friday, June 2.

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.

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.

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.

Chamber and Plummer recognized for diversity and inclusion

By Suzy Finn
Director of Community Advancement

Chamber President Gary Plummer accepted an award from the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber for efforts to promote the importance of inclusion and diversity in the Wichita business community.

The Heartland Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Black & White Ball on April 22. The Ball is the Chamber’s main fundraising event, as well as an opportunity to honor inductees into the Black Business Hall of Fame.

2017 Hall of Fame inductees included Juanita Hayes-Hill, Ed Givens Sr., and James Arbertha. Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Alicia Morris-Thompson received the new BIG Apple Award, and Cox Business and Walmart were inducted into the Presidents Circle.

At the end of the evening, Heartland Chamber President Bernard Knowles recognized two other individuals in attendance, one of which was Christal E. Watson, President and CEO of the Heartland Chamber, based in Kansas City.  Knowles also recognized Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, for the Chamber’s efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in the Wichita business community, such as inviting the presidents of the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber, Wichita Hispanic Chamber, and Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce to be part of The Chamber Board of Directors.

Chamber Board Members in attendance included Gene Bowen, Suzy Finn, Junetta Everett, Christina Long, Greg Cole, Gary Plummer and Bernard Knowles.

“We are truly honored by this recognition,” Gary said, “and I accept it on behalf of Junetta Everett, Suzy Finn and many others who are dedicated to this important initiative.”  Junetta, of Delta Dental of Kansas, is the Chamber’s Vice Chair of Inclusion, and Suzy is the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement and Young Professionals of Wichita.

Inclusion is one of the Wichita Regional Chamber’s four strategic priorities in 2017, with a goal of convening business leaders and partners to enhance Wichita’s image as an inclusive community that values the many aspects of diversity.

Welcome to our 245 new members!

And thank you to our volunteers! Because of their efforts, the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce set a statewide record of most members recruited during a 56-hour time frame when we welcomed 245 new members (listed below) during a recent membership event. During the event on April 18-20, more than 200 community volunteers gathered to invite their peers and colleagues to join the Chamber.

A celebration was held for volunteers at the conclusion of the membership event, where several individuals were recognized as top performers. The following individuals were recognized for recruiting at least six new memberships: Kyle Blasdel of Conco Construction; Brandon Brungardt of Hutton Construction Corporation; Dan Madrigal of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Bob Reyes of Envision, Inc.; and Sean Tarbell of Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc.

Diane Iseman of INTRUST Bank and Michael Monteferrante of Envision, Inc. were also recognized for their exceptional efforts during the membership event.

The Chamber’s 245 new members raises the Wichita Regional Chamber to more than 1,800 members, solidifying its role as the voice of the business community and the distinction of being the largest business membership organization of its kind in Kansas. View a complete list of new members below.

Our thanks to Westar Energy for serving as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Membership Event. Other sponsors include: AVI/Corporate Caterers, Drury Plaza Hotel, Foulston Siefkin, House of Schwan, Jason’s Deli, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Lubrication Engineers, Sam’s Club, Starbucks, The Kitchen, and Truffles Catering.

View photos from the calling sessions and volunteer celebration on our Facebook page.

New Members

  • 3G Supplements
  • 3R-Mechanical
  • A Better Solution In Home Care Inc.
  • AA Auto Clean
  • ACM Removal – Kansas, LLC
  • Advanced Personnel
  • Advantage Marketing
  • Aerospace Turbine Rotables, Inc.
  • Agile HR
  • AKG Office Solutions
  • All Angles Collision Repair – East
  • All Elements Auto and Marine
  • All Saints Health Care
  • All Seasons Construction, Inc.
  • Allstate Insurance – Kevin Hutchinson Agency
  • Ally Construction
  • American State Bancshares
  • Ametek Advanced Industries
  • Andover Family Dentistry
  • Andrews Cleaning Service
  • Applianz
  • Approved Auto Sales
  • Ariagno, Kerns, Mank And White
  • Artistic Builders
  • Ascension Lutheran
  • Ascension Lutheran – Maple
  • Barton Solvents, Inc.
  • Baxter & Associates, Inc.
  • Bell Mirror & Glass, Inc.
  • Benchmark Mortgage
  • Billy Sims BBQ
  • Bishop Carroll High School
  • Black Water Fire Protection, LLC
  • Blake Clotia
  • Bruce & Lehman LLC
  • Buckert Contracting, Inc.
  • Buffco Engineering
  • Burwell Construction, Inc.
  • Butler County Backhoe Services LLC
  • C & S Appraisals, LLC
  • Candle Club
  • Candye Daughhetee, Rodan & Fields Consultant
  • Ceco Inc.
  • Central Mechanical Wichita, LLC
  • Central Standard Brewing
  • Clean Harbors
  • Click Bond
  • Clint Bowyer Autoplex
  • Comfort Systems HVAC
  • Cook’s Heating and Air
  • Corporate Safety Compliance, Inc.
  • Cory Ayres – Wealth Legacy Advisors
  • Cowskin Creek Farm
  • Cox and Company
  • Creative Business Resources
  • CrossFit Wichita
  • D & H Auto Transport
  • DB Construction of Wichita, Inc.
  • DCS, Inc.
  • Dellrose United Methodist Church
  • Designer’s Home Gallery
  • Dickson Distribution
  • Diggs Construction
  • Dirtwork Contractors
  • Dugan & Giroux
  • Duty First Holdings
  • e2e Holdings
  • East Wichita Dentist
  • Eastridge Cleaners Inc.
  • Engineered Door Products
  • Ergonomic Solutions, Inc.
  • Everyday Beaut
  • Eviction One
  • Express Print & Signs
  • Farmers Insurance
  • FedEx Express
  • Fetch Bistro
  • Fleet Feet Sports Wichita
  • Frederick Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Galdean Law Firm
  • Gateway Wireless & Network Services
  • Global Partner Solutions
  • G Mac Construction
  • Golf, ETC
  • Goode Pool & Spa
  • Gottschalk Brothers Roofing, Inc.
  • Great Plains Diabetes
  • Greenwich AeroGroup
  • Grumpy Old Men
  • Guthridge Property Maintenance
  • Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming Boutique
  • Harman Huffman Construction Group
  • Harris & Co. Frame Shop
  • Hayford East
  • Healing Waters
  • Heartland Animal Hospital
  • Hephner TV & Electronics Inc
  • Hobby Town USA
  • Hollow Metal Door Co.
  • Hopper’s Glass
  • Hopping Gnome Brewing
  • Hub Supply
  • Hurricane Sports Grill
  • ICS Construction
  • Ignite Strategies LLC
  • Inside Out Fitness
  • J Cox Realty Group
  • Jackson Mortuary
  • Sky Contracting Co Inc
  • Jersey Mike’s of Wichita
  • Jet AirWerks LLC
  • Jimmie’s Diner
  • JPI Glass
  • Kansas Eye Bank & Cornea Research Center, Inc.
  • Kansas Foot Center
  • Kansas Gastroenterology
  • Kansas Grain Sorghum
  • Kansas Secured Title
  • Kansas West
  • Karl’s Tire
  • Kendrek Electric
  • Kim Koester, Monat Market Partner
  • Kim Rhodes – JP Weigand
  • Koehn Painting Co
  • Kristie Nedbalek Agency
  • Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing
  • LaCrone Enterprises
  • Launch Prep
  • Lawn Buddy
  • LED Source City
  • Lee Air
  • Liebau Greer Wealth Management Group – Wichita
  • LifeTeam Critical Care Transport
  • LightSpeed VT
  • LINE-X
  • Liquidynamics
  • Lola’s Bistro
  • Longhofer Lawn & Tree Care
  • Lou’s Place
  • Lucky’s Convenience & Tobacco
  • Lucky’s Everyday
  • Main Place Youth
  • Maize Digital Billboard
  • Makino
  • Manheim Wichita
  • Martin Event Services
  • Mary Kate and Company
  • Max Aerostructures
  • Maybee Home Inspections
  • McKenzie & Associates
  • Metalform Industries Inc.
  • Mid America Equipment
  • Midland Insurance
  • Mill-Tel
  • MK Consignment Store – East
  • MK Consignment Store – West
  • Mobile Comm
  • Music Scene
  • Net Pay Capital
  • Northstar Therapy Center
  • O.M.T. Inspections
  • Opti-Life
  • Optimal Performance
  • Park Aerospace Technologies Corp
  • Pat’s Concessions
  • Perfection Builders
  • Pet Supplies Plus
  • Phones To Go, Inc.
  • Pinnacle Homes
  • PrimeCo Painting
  • Pro Kansas Recycling
  • Professional Cleaning Systems
  • Promo Depot
  • Propane Central
  • Rachel Clark Landscape Design
  • RBP Inc.
  • Revolution Bag
  • Rise Up for Youth
  • River Vista, LLC
  • Rockin M Media
  • Seven K Company
  • Shaken or Stirred Bartender
  • Shelton Collision Repair
  • Shire Signs
  • SignLab.net
  • Sims and Associates
  • Smile Craft Family Dentistry
  • Smith Chiropractic
  • Songbird Juice Co
  • South Seneca Car Care
  • Southeast Chiropractic Center
  • Specialized Service Co
  • Stearman Field Bar & Grill
  • Steve Hausmann Agency
  • Stifel-Moser-Lowe Financial Group
  • Stuart and Assoc
  • Studio 420
  • Sweeney Bookkeeping LLC
  • Sweetly Scrumptious
  • Sweetman Investors
  • Tablerock Ventures
  • Tactical Safety Solutions
  • Tami Koester – Xyngular Distributor
  • Taylor Made Cleaning
  • Ten Talent
  • Tenbrink Enterprises
  • The Alternative Board
  • The Anchor
  • The Barbary
  • The Growth Plan
  • The Incubator for Nonprofits of KS
  • The Living Room Salon
  • The Mattress Hub
  • The Windshield Shop
  • Tim Hartman – CoreNorth Capital Planning
  • TMD
  • Tobie Andrews Photography
  • Tortilla King
  • Trajectory RCS, LLC
  • Transpacific Oil
  • Trax Express Carwash
  • TriMark Signworks
  • TriMet Group
  • Uniquities Home
  • Urban Air Trampoline Park
  • Via Fone
  • Village Tours
  • Visibility Optics
  • WAAL Wichita Animal Action League
  • Warsh My Windows
  • Welcome Home
  • Westurban Little League
  • Whiskey Dicks
  • Wichita CDK
  • Wichita Construction Group, Inc.
  • Wichita Littlest Heroes
  • Wichita Rentals Property Mgt
  • Wilcox Painting
  • Wilks Underground Utilities
  • Window Blind Outlet
  • WMW Consulting
  • Woodard Mercantile
  • World Studios
  • Wyatt Kesler Educational Foundation
  • Your Chamber Connection

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.

It’s a Great Day to be a Shocker!

Gary Plummer is the President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

I was fortunate to attend the American Athletic Conference (AAC) announcement today at Wichita State University (WSU). The University’s move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the AAC is a BIG WIN for the entire community, not just the athletic department and Shocker sports fans.

The cheerleaders, WuShock, pep band and entire crowd made the announcement a high-energy event. Speakers included WSU President John Bardo, Athletic Director Daron Boatright, Coach Gregg Marshall, Student Body President-Elect Paige Hungate, Mayor Jeff Longwell and Commissioner David Unruh.

A move to AAC means much more for Wichita than better basketball. Alignment with respected research institutions and other innovative cities enhances the perception of our entire region as well as the University’s image. The business community recognizes that WSU is an important economic engine for the region. When WSU succeeds, the entire Wichita region succeeds. We lift each other up and this is a great example of why it’s so important for us to continue to work together.

The new conference puts Wichita in the same league as some of the major cities represented by AAC schools:  Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, Tulsa, Tampa, Orlando, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and more.

I must add that one of the classiest parts of today’s announcement were the positive comments about the Missouri Valley Conference that were shared by Dr. Bardo, Boatright and Coach Marshall.

That honestly made me just as proud of our great University.

It’s a great day to be a Shocker!

Check @WichitaState on Twitter or the WSU Facebook page to see the “live” posts from today’s news conference.